“Dr” David Jeremiah: On ResultSource, Honorary Degrees, and Satan’s Financial Strategy for Armageddon

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight."- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4031&picture=holy-bible
The Bible

How often do we get a chance to combine Result Source, lots of money being made by preachers selling books, Satan's financing of Armageddon with oil from the Garden of Eden, honorary doctorates, and TBN all in one fell swoop? I'm leaving the Satan stuff until the end of the post in case you can't wait.

Today we are discussing Dr David Jeremiah who is well known for his end times theology which includes a pretribulation rapture combined with a premillenial point of view. I will not be discussing this in any depth since I am looking at other issues. I used to espouse his eschatological view but now consider myself to be an amillenial, partial preterist with an emphasis on the word "partial" for any reader who might think I have jumped the shark.

I came across Jeremiah as I searched for recognizable pastors and theologians who have a large following and discuss their views on Satan and/or demons.These are the people who are in a position to affect the thinking of many people. I am attempting to understand the development of thinking of folks like Robert Morris, Chris Hodges, Peter Wagner and Neil Anderson.

Who is David Jeremiah?

According to his website:

Dr. David Jeremiah, founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church,

…In 1963, Dr. Jeremiah received a Bachelor of Arts from Cedarville College. In that same year, Dr. Jeremiah married his college sweetheart, Donna Thompson who also was attending Cedarville College as a business major. He went on to earn a Masters degree in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1967. He completed additional graduate work at Grace University and was granted the Doctor of Divinity degree from Cedarville College in 1981.

His predecessor in the church was Tim LaHaye of Left Behind fame.

"Dr" David Jeremiah does not have an earned doctorate.

It is poor manners to use the title of "Doctor" socially or professionally when one has not earned the degree yet there are plenty of preachers who assume the title. A Doctor of Divinity is an honorary degree link and link.

How you, too, can get a Doctor of Divinity degree. 

For a small fee, the American Fellowship Church will confer upon you the Doctor of Divinity Degree. Dr Dee has a certain canchet! From their website:

With this credential, you will be legally known as Doctor. This handsome credential is printed on high quality paper and bears the church seal. 

The certificate states that: “The American Fellowship Church has conferred upon (your name) the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.” All Doctor of Divinity degrees wherever awarded are honorary.

Degrees are either "earned" or "honorary". Earned degrees are those for which you must complete a course of study. Honorary degrees are awarded for something you do with your life that distinguishes you or for making a donation of time or money to the institution that awards the degree. 
We request an offering of $50 for the Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree.

"Dr" Jeremiah is supportive of Paul Crouch and TBN

 This fact surprised me since his alma maters do not subscribe to "name it and claim it" theology.

David Jeremiah concludes his pitching for pledges for TBN and lauds the vision of Paul Crouch, which Jeremiah offers came from God. I’ll spare you his closing prayer where Jeremiah calls TBN an “incredible delivery system” for the Gospel and how thankful he is that God gave this vision to Crouch:

We can do this together. These 14 networks aren’t gonna just keep going because we started them. They’re gonna keep going because we have a part in financing them and working to make them happen. So tonight I wanna ask you, help us do this. Help Paul do this.

"Dr" Jeremiah appear to be  quite proud that he is a New York Times multiple bestseller.
From his website:

 Dr. Jeremiah is a sought-after conference speaker for organizations around the country. 

… Signs of Life, which made The New York Times best-seller list, What in the World Is Going On?, which made The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best-seller lists, The 12 Ways of Christmas, Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World, which made TheNew York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and USA Today best-seller lists, The Coming Economic Armageddon, which made The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly best-seller lists, 

David Jeremiah's media ministry is allegedly worth $40 million.

Dr Throckmorton posted this link to Turning Points 2012 tax form. (Good going, Warren!). However, Jeremiah claims to give all the money back to the ministry.

There appears to be some ties between ResultSource and Dr Jeremiah's enterprise.

1. Dr Warren Throckmorton

Dr Throckmorton (who earned his doctorate) wrote Why Did ResultSource Need David Jeremiah’s Ministry to Help Get Mark Driscoll on the New York Times Best Seller List? In a memo from Kevin Small to Jamie Munson at Mars Hill,

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 12.22.35 PM

Dr Throckmorton goes on to add:

According to Turning Point’s most recent 990 form, Paul Joiner is the higher paid member listed on Jeremiah’s staff, with the title Director of Creative Services. Joiner is often lauded by Jeremiah in his books, including his most recent book, Agents of the Apocalypse, now sitting at the top of the New York Times best-seller list in the Religious, Spirituality and Faith category. 

The Daily Beast featured an article by Warren Throckmorton How the Religious Right Scams Its Way Onto the New York Times Bestseller List in which he ties ResultSource's CEO to Jeremiah.

…In fact, it appears that ResultSource CEO Kevin Small, as a graduate of Liberty University, is right at home with Christian clients.

…Jeremiah has written numerous books and credited Small in at least two of them for his marketing genius.
 

2. Wenatchee the Hatchet 

Wenatchee did some digging and found an interview between Marvin Olasky of World Magazine and "Dr" Jeremiah in June 2014. Note how Jeremiah indicates that his intense marketing schemes shows he really cares about his books and so should any author.

Marvin Olasky: 
I appreciate your demystifying the process of authorship. What about becoming a bestseller? 

David Jeremiah:
We release a new book every fall, and around that book are eight rallies that we do across the country in arenas. We have radio and television programs and a magazine read by 200,000-300,000 people: During the month the book is released all the articles, all the devotionals, everything has to do with the content of that book. We have a prelaunch campaign from August 15 to the first days of October, offer that book through the internet. We try to get people to pre-buy the book, and in order to do that we say if you pre-buy the book, we will open up for you a whole library of digital assets.  

Marvin Olasky: 
Then comes the release.  

David Jeremiah:
We keep those books as they’re ordered until the book is released. Then we push them all through the wicket at the same time. When that happens, the book gets noticed: It’s not about how many you sell; it’s about how fast they go through the sale programs so they get noticed. One of the challenges if you write as a Christian is that Christian bookstores don’t report to the bestsellers lists, so you’ve got to build a marketplace in the Barnes & Nobles, the Books-A-Millions, the Targets, the big houses so the books get counted. For the first time last year we sold more books in secular bookstores than we sold in Christian bookstores. 

Marvin Olasky: 
The New York Times for its bestseller list counts sales from a bunch of secular stores; I understand there’s a company that will go in and buy several books in each of these bookstores. The companies that do that spread the release point of these books that are purchased by individuals so they can get attention. Is that legitimate? 

David Jeremiah:
The bottom line is you’re selling these books and they’re just not getting noticed. If you want the books to be noticed so that you can reach more people with them, you’ve got to figure out how to do that. I don’t know all of the ramifications of it, but I know that you can’t just write a book and say I’m not going to have anything to do with marketing. If you don’t care enough about it to try and figure out how to get it in the hands of other people, nobody else is going to either. 

Satan is financing his coming battle with God with oil that came from the Garden of Eden

 I decided to check out Jeremiah's view on Satan and the End Times and was startled when I came across this blog post How Crazy Is Dr David Jeremiah?

 Dr. Jeremiah was preaching on the coming Armageddon—apparently a favorite topic of his—and I was dumbfounded by the leaps of association and logic that he made. Here was one of his central claims: Satan is (ironically) using the oil-money produced from the destroyed foliage of the Garden of Eden both to create dissension in the world and to finance his global diabolical plans.

Yes, you read that right. Dr. Jeremiah believes that the lush foliage of the Garden of Eden, which the Bible places in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, having been destroyed and buried by Noah’s flood, is now the oil that the Middle East pumps out of the ground today. When Americans fill up their cars with gasoline, they are filling them with the detritus of the Garden of Eden. I swear that’s a fair and true summary of what he said. I’m not writing an Onion article.

Dr. Jeremiah’s thesis is that the destroyed foliage of the Garden of Eden is—both in its exploitation as oil and in humanity’s competition for it—Satan’s way of bringing us to the End Times. 

I felt sure this was some sort of hoax and decided to go directly to David Jeremiah's site for corroboration. Here is a link to his online Prophecy Book. On Page 14 you can read the following.

My friend Robert Morgan flew into New Orleans several years ago, and the man who met him at the airport was a geophysicist for a major oil company. Driving to the hotel, he explained to Robert that oil deposits result from the decomposition of plant and animal life now buried by eons of time. Oil is found all over the world, he said, even under the ice of the Arctic and Antarctic. That means forests and abundant vegetation once covered the world until destroyed in a vast global cataclysm (such as a worldwide flood).

The geophysicist went on to say that the earth’s richest, deepest, and largest deposits of petroleum lie under the sands of countries just to the east of Israel in the location pinpointed in the Bible as the garden of Eden. Eden was a teeming expanse of forests, foliage, and gardens with rich fertility unparalleled in human history.

Barren sand and blazing desert now exist where once grew a garden flourishing with dense, lush flora, the likes of which the world has not seen since. It was destroyed in some disastrous upheaval and has decayed into the largest deposits of oil in the world. I had never before imagined that the gasoline I pump into my car might be the ruined remains of the rich, vast foliage of the garden of Eden.

It’s ironic to think that Satan may finance the Battle of Armageddon at the end of human history with revenues generated from the garden he spoiled at the beginning of human history.

 Here is a quote from Page 16.

Oil is the new gold in the world economy and holds the key to the prophetic events of the future. 

Darn….he does believe this stuff!

You can continue to read his other interpretations of current events and the End Times that he links directly to passages in the Bible. Jeremiah takes a literal view of the Bible and believes that the prophetic passages he discusses are relevant to today because he believes that we are in the End Times and he can prove it. Or can he? 

Lydia's Corner: Exodus 8:1-9:35 Matthew 19:13-30 Psalm 24:1-10 Proverbs 6:1-5

Comments

“Dr” David Jeremiah: On ResultSource, Honorary Degrees, and Satan’s Financial Strategy for Armageddon — 337 Comments

  1. Hmmm…far out there! Wonder if DTS seminary wishes they could sometimes rescind their degrees?

    Although He did say Satan MAY (and not WILL)finance his coming whatever by the oil from the Middle East….I’m from the same generation as Mr Jeremiah….perhaps he still remembers his history–when that was considered the cradle of civilization & there was a presumed lush “Fertile Crescent”….

    I dunno—maybe he’s just a product of his times who hasn’t done much studying since college….

    I try to ignore folks like that who make so darn much money from their outrageous statements.

  2. Wait a second……does this mean that somebody has or will have the trees of life and knowledge of good and evil in their car’s gas tank? Wowzers.

  3. Thanks for turning your attention to this guy. He has been on my radar for most of my life.

  4. I don’t know about the oil idea and why he took that up, but isn’t DTS some sort of mecca for dispensationalism?

  5. I’m not sure Jeremiah’s idea about oil being in or around Israel (am I understanding this right? I may not be) is original.

    Some other prophecy teachers believe that that around Armageddon, that one thing that brings it on, is that vast amounts of oil will be found on Israeli land and/or possibly some other resource that the world wants.

    Hal Lindsey was one of the first guys I hear to speculate this, but I’ve heard another prophecy teach or two say the same, or similar in the last several years.

    I’ve seen Jeremiah’s show on TBN. His preaching usually sounds okay to me, I’ve never heard him say anything too outlandish, so when I saw him on TBN tele-thons the last few years, asking people to send TBN money, I was disappointed.

    IIRC, Jeremiah also appeared with Crouch Sr. on their “Behind the Scenes” show sometime in the last 3 or 4 years, and on one episode, Jeremiah attempt to bolster Crouch Sr’s position that the principle of tithing for Christians today can be found in the Old Testament.

    Jeremiah doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would shill for TBN, but he has done so on several occasions. I would expect flamboyant slick, greasy, types like Benny Hinn or Rod Parlsey to be on TBN money-thons and such, but not Jeremish (he seems more clean cut, subdued), but he’s been on there.

  6. @ Nancy:

    Oh yes…DTS is pretty much the home of dispensationalism…I have a brother in law who attended and taught there…While Mr Jerremiah is a dispensationalist, I don’t know that he is really very mainline with many who attended and taught there.

    He’s gone farther out than many with those views.

    I was the original commenter who brought up DTS–don’t want to hijack this thread into too much about them….

    DTS is really a side issue…

  7. This is reaching back about fifteen years into my memory banks, but I vividly recall Jeremiah saying in a radio broadcast that as the end of the world approaches, everything will begin to cast very noticeable shadows, even things that did not previously have a shadow. I am very sure I am not misremembering that. I thought that sounded odd even as a seven year-old. And he was very clearly speaking literally, not metaphorically.

  8. @ Vega Magnus:

    That sounds about like something I heard an end-times “evangelist” say on the radio once, that the references to “creation groaning” were being fulfilled BEFORE OUR VERY EYES EARS because strange sounds were being heard emanating from the earth at various places that, well, they couldn’t tell you where, and they didn’t have any recordings, but by golly the end times were happening RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT!

  9. He’s so obsessed with the End Times subject that he’ll make anything up without proof and cheat his way of getting his books known. He’s as bad as any young earth creationist who does the same thing– make believe scenarios that never happened.

  10. dee wrote:

    @ molly245:
    Please feel free to let me know of your concerns for DTS.

    Oh no real concerns—just kinda thought of them as Mr. Jeremiah’s alma mater and thinking how you can’t disavow a graduate post graduation…

  11. “Driving to the hotel, he explained to Robert that oil deposits result from the decomposition of plant and animal life now buried by eons of time.”

    My father is a retired geophysicist from the oil industry. “Eons of time” does not correlate with “Young Earth.” All of my father’s geophysicist friends believed in an Old Earth. Does this make David Jeremiah a nonentity in the eyes of some Christians? Just wondering. 🙂

  12. I used to like David Jeremiah and it isn’t just over the tithe controversy. Mr. Jeremiah has moved far away from his GARBC roots. Some of my fundamental Baptist brethren would agree with me on this. I realize many are probably going to say that this is a good thing, because there are plenty of issues with and within the GARBC, especially secondary separation issue, but I would submit this isn’t all a good thing. I don’t believe GARBC pastors would associate with name it claim it charismatic Christians because they feel it would mean they are approving of name it claim it beliefs. Chuck Swindoll is a dispensationalist. I haven’t heard him talk about such a wacky view towards Satan and End Times. I may be a minority view here, but could some of the wackiness be residual to Tim LaHaye, the pastor he followed at Shadow Mountain? Very enlightening blog entry.

  13. “Oil is the new gold in the world economy and holds the key to the prophetic events of the future.”

    I came out of a community that was into “preparedness” for the end times, and, at the time we left, Peak Oil was the looming threat they were scaring us all with. Even with a father who is knowledgeable enough about the subject to address my fears, I STILL feel the anxiety rise when this topic comes up. It’s a fear that’s very effective for manipulating people.

  14. numo wrote:

    Holy smokes! This syuff is like the xtian X Files.

    That would be an incredible show. John MacArthur as Mulder and Beth Moore as Scully.

  15. @ Corbin:

    Random off-topic question, but is X-Files worth watching? I’ve never seen it, but I am a fan of SF in general.

  16. Corbin wrote:

    numo wrote:
    Holy smokes! This syuff is like the xtian X Files.
    That would be an incredible show. John MacArthur as Mulder and Beth Moore as Scully.

    Wouldn’t it be John MacArthur as Mulder and Mary Kassian as Scully. I think Beth Moore and John MacArthur would be like a couple we wished would divorce. It would become War of the Roses. Beth Moore would preach too much, lol! One better would be John MacArthur and Joyce Meyers.

  17. @ Mark:

    If we’re going to have a Christian version of the X Files than I nominate CJ Mahaney to be Cancer Man! :-p

  18. @ Mark:

    And instead of that UFO poster in Moulder’s office we need to have a picture of John Piper arms flailing toward the sky with the caption, I want to believe! :-p

  19. The first Christian X Files episode can be of the Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church who disappears in a sermon and pops up at Capital Hill Baptist Church! Instead of “Trust No One” the title can be “Trust Mark Dever Alone” 😉

  20. Just another greedy narcissistic crackpot using the name of God to make themselves rich without producing anything good – the Kardashians of Kristianity.

    The more I read and hear of this dark side of Christianity the more I think of that saying “Jesus is coming…and is he pissed!”

  21. Eagle wrote:

    The first Christian X Files episode can be of the Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church who disappears in a sermon and pops up at Capital Hill Baptist Church! Instead of “Trust No One” the title can be “Trust Mark Dever Alone”

    @Eagle,

    I finally got around, yesterday, to writing a negative review on amazon about Mark Dever’s book The 9 Marks of a [un] Healthy Church. I said going to a 9 Marks church is akin to living through the Salem Witch Trials! I described some of the spiritual abuses of my 9 Marks church that I was a member of and the spiritual abuse of members at Dever’s church (not permitting members to leave for other churches, placing them under ‘church discipline’, shunning and excommunication). Plus his giving refuge to Mahaney.

  22. Vega Magnus wrote:

    Random off-topic question, but is X-Files worth watching? I’ve never seen it, but I am a fan of SF in general.

    I remember really enjoying it when it was on, although later seasons weren’t as good. Ditto w/the movies – especially the 2nd one. I don’t remember if I thought it was great or great* where the asterisk indicates the “grading on a curve” you often need to do for sci-fi tv shows. (Plus I had a huge crush on Gillian Anderson…)

    I encourage you to check it out and see for yourself.

  23. Corbin wrote:

    Wait a second……does this mean that somebody has or will have the trees of life and knowledge of good and evil in their car’s gas tank? Wowzers.

    Oh, we can speculate beyond that… What if someone got the remains of the cherubim (Genesis 3:24) in their gas tanks. Holy rocket fuel Batman!

  24. Mark wrote:

    Wouldn’t it be John MacArthur as Mulder and Mary Kassian as Scully. I think Beth Moore and John MacArthur would be like a couple we wished would divorce. It would become War of the Roses. Beth Moore would preach too much, lol! One better would be John MacArthur and Joyce Meyers.

    True, I only picked Moore because I really couldn’t think of another female “speaker” related to MacArthur right then. He has the glumness and stoicism needed to be Mulder. Oooo!! How about Grace Driscoll?

  25. Vega Magnus wrote:

    Random off-topic question, but is X-Files worth watching? I’ve never seen it, but I am a fan of SF in general.

    I’d say yes, check it out. Granted, I haven’t watched it in awhile and part of the reason I like it is childhood nostalgia. It has a very dreamlike, surreal feel, great to watch at night.

  26. srs wrote:

    Oh, we can speculate beyond that… What if someone got the remains of the cherubim (Genesis 3:24) in their gas tanks. Holy rocket fuel Batman!

    But how would the Flood or whatever kill an angel? Wouldn’t he just say “Oh, cool!! Guess my shift is over!” and float away?

  27. @ numo:
    I have a strange crush on creepyness. Not gruesome and explicit horror, but eerie, unsettling stuff. Especially in music (probably 80% of the stuff I listen to is completely instrumental).

  28. numo wrote:

    @ Vega Magnus:
    Holy smokes! This syuff is like the xtian X Files.

    X-Files is tame compared to some of “this stuff”.

  29. Corbin wrote:

    Wait a second……does this mean that somebody has or will have the trees of life and knowledge of good and evil in their car’s gas tank? Wowzers.

    Hmmmmmm……….If I have the Original Coconut Tree in the Taurus, which no doubt explains why I have developed an allergy to the stuff. 🙂

  30. “Pray for Mandy and her family who may be evicted from their home this weekend. They have had some financial hard times.”

    I can relate me and my neighbors live under that possibility as the selling of our park continues to be potentially developed. Some irrelevant facts, most of the people who live here are in their seventies up to the late 90’s a move would kill some of them. Agreed that is utterly irrelevant and in some ways rather convenient and yes that is the hope of some developers. I would do great if they sold it would help me personally a great deal, but being the piece of human trash that I am, I cant abandon my neighbors so I have taken on a bit of a role to help out. Shame on me, trust me I get that. I buried my sister and mother here and this is home, I agree that is utterly pathetic even disgusting but it is what I feel.

    I have also seen a severely disabled adult who was given the boot from his group home of 17 years because the director is a stupid blank. She has the system on her side, and far more important she has money, that makes what she does holy and well these elderly parents are just broken. To my shame, and I think I should go to hell for this, I did not have the money to open a new group home for him. I will pay for that, and I should. I failed there. God forgive me. This type of stuff is my day to day, which is why I just want to retire, after 32 years I am spent, I know that is spiritual whoredom on my part but I am just tired. I have come to understand, you cant win unless you have money, I agree with that, money is a consistent measure.

    I use to include human compassion etc but have come to understand such events are utterly useless. And they are. I am tired, if I had one prayer, God let me out of this cage, let me retire by a beach and just fade away, but I cant deny my hope for those I work with, goes to show what a total degenerate I am. I envy Driscoll and his ilk, they can slaughter and move on, I have never been able to do that, to my eternal shame, if there was a reason to show why God hates my eternal soul, there is none. From the cheap seats, I dont want your good news, it just cost to much, let Jesus die for someone else’s sin, I cant pay the freight.

  31. When I was still doing the radio show, we had a minister on discussing the ” End of Times.”
    His take was this…..why you? Why after all this time would Jesus return for you? You’re living a life that the ancients couldn’t even dream existed? You thinking Jesus is returning for you is a product of your ego.

  32. Mark wrote:

    I may be a minority view here, but could some of the wackiness be residual to Tim LaHaye, the pastor he followed at Shadow Mountain?

    Probably. Also there is the lure of quite a fortune to be made in end times stuff. About 15 years ago I attended a weekend LaHaye seminar in one the the churches here and heard him mention what their target audience is and why and what they did not meet some of the expectations of that audience. It was just a few passing comments but very telling. If I had seen myself as part of the target audience he mentioned I would have been insulted, for what that is worth. What is being said here about Jeremiah seems over the line in the charismatic-oid area, but the apparent philosophy behind it seems similar to what I heard that weekend.

  33. @ Nancy:

    I tell my children that I can look back and see so many trends/fads in Christendom that were really more about gaining followers (which brings recognition and money) through some sort of sensationalism or doctrinal dogma. The trick is to recognize it for what it is and not get sucked in. Very tough for young people, I know well! So we look at what Jeus was most focused on WHILE HERE. None of the fads/trends fit into that. He was all about helping actual people.

  34. srs wrote:

    Oh, we can speculate beyond that… What if someone got the remains of the cherubim (Genesis 3:24) in their gas tanks.

    That’s the wrong sort of spirit …

  35. Vega Magnus wrote:

    everything will begin to cast very noticeable shadows, even things that did not previously have a shadow.

    Aren’t vampires supposed to be shadowless?

    Seriously, no shadows? So the laws of physics will be suspended? Weird…You were one smart 7 year old.

  36. Josh wrote:

    e strange sounds were being heard emanating from the earth at various places that, well, they couldn’t tell you where, and they didn’t have any recordings,

    But it happened because he was told it by a cab driver who knew a Satanist.

  37. @ Mark:
    I am not here to bash the pre millennial, pretribulational point of view even though I no longer subscribe to it. In the end, Jesus is coming to judge the “quick and the dead” as it says in the Nicene Creed. I think it might look very different than many of us think. Look at how the Jews were surprised in the way the Messiah came the first time.

  38. Vega Magnus wrote:

    X-Files worth watching?

    I loved the X Files. It is definitely a bit creepy at times but it is well worth the watch if you don’t mind a bit scary. In fact, I recently told my husband I plan to watch through the series again. He doesn’t like creepy shows so he told me to watch it when he’s not around.

    The X Files comes up a lot when i am reading so it definitely struck a chord.. My favorite shows were the ones revolving around the aliens. Also, the acting was definitely above average

  39. JeffT wrote:

    the Kardashians of Kristianity.

    I highly recommend the Twitter feed of Kim Kierkegaardashian. It is hysterical and starting to get a lot of play.

    https://twitter.com/KimKierkegaard

    Here is a sample.

    “Back in NYC for just a few hours. I persist in trying to find myself by plunging further into the world.”

  40. srs wrote:

    Oh, we can speculate beyond that… What if someone got the remains of the cherubim (Genesis 3:24) in their gas tanks. Holy rocket fuel Batman!

    This does read like a really bad sci fi movie.

  41. Corbin wrote:

    I have a strange crush on creepyness. Not gruesome and explicit horror, but eerie, unsettling stuff.

    I like creepy but not explicit/gruesome as well. With some shows I can guess at the ending. My family gets annoyed with me. With creepy or other worldly, I often cannot tell what is coming and it throws me off balance. I enjoy that.

  42. @ brian:

    You sound like such a wonderful person. You care and you can’t move on. Jesus spent his time with those who were on the edges of society-not important, barely getting by, lonely and let down. Jesus’ heart broke for the downtrodden and he promised them much in the life to come

    He said about children”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Children have no power in this world.

    The truly wounded ones in this world are the ones who can move on. I wonder about the hearts of Christian leaders who have covered up child sex abuse or are best buddies with those that do. There is something missing in their hearts. It is not missing in yours.

    That inability to move on is a gift from God to you.You see through his eyes when you hurt for others.

  43. dee wrote:

    I like creepy but not explicit/gruesome as well…

    I may or may not be running off on a tangent to your point, but I am quite a fan of horror/suspense cinema. But likewise, I don’t particularly need to see a lot of gore; in fact, more is nearly always less when it comes to gruesome imagery in a movie. I particularly dislike what BBC’s Mark Kermode describes as “cattle-prod cinema” where it goes quiet_quiet_quiet_quiet_BAAAAANG!!!!. Quite apart from being cheap, lazy and over-used, sudden scares immediately defuse any and all tension so that you leave the cinema totally unmoved by it all.

  44. dee wrote:

    “Back in NYC for just a few hours. I persist in trying to find myself by plunging further into the world.”

    Make sure you actually HAVE a self to find.

    Spend all your time Finding Yourself and you won’t have the time to HAVE one.

  45. Corbin wrote:

    srs wrote:

    Oh, we can speculate beyond that… What if someone got the remains of the cherubim (Genesis 3:24) in their gas tanks. Holy rocket fuel Batman!

    But how would the Flood or whatever kill an angel? Wouldn’t he just say “Oh, cool!! Guess my shift is over!” and float away?

    You haven’t seen the recent “Noah” movie, have you?

  46. On the subject of this thread, the marketing approaches outlined by the,selves seem to me entirely reasonable. The only thing lamentable is the poor quality of the content, but no serious intellectual buus books solely because they are bestsellers. At the very least, the popularity of such books, like the existence of the Creation Museum and so forth, demonstrates that there remains a large segment of the American population committed to religious piety. What we need to do is to ensure their pastors are genuinely fueling that piety and preaching the Gospel truthfully and with love, and not disseminating false doctrine or promoting religious intolerance and abuse.

    As far as the authors view on oil and the garden of Eden, if we believe such a place existed (I do, but many of my coreligionists interpret it allegorically) and if we believe it was never removed from the world, but simply had its human residents ejected and was then allowed to die, it stands to reason that it is oil or coal or minerals decomposing into oil and coal. And I see nothing wrong with the claim that oil is the new gold; oil has become a vital resource and the harm its scarcity can do was made all too clear in the last few years with $100+ oill. Remember how there used to be six major US airlines? The fact that they merged into three, with each one except Continental experiencing bankruptcy at one time or another since 2001 (when TWA also was absorbed into AA) is largely due to oil; the high price of oil made the highly competitive environment impossible and forced consolidation, which has hurt the consumer by reducing choice and service to regional airports. I could cite many smaller airlines that folded altogether. And look at the impact the years of high oil costs had on car production.

    Lastly, while I reject the preternatural idea that Satan is using oil to pay for a future Armageddon, I do believe he, through those who have given themselves over to him, thinking him to be God, namely, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and their financiers, is using oil to pay for the war in Syria and Iraq, including the genocidal attacks on Christians, Kurds (including the Yazidis but including other groups as well) and ethnic Turkmen. The links between Qatari financiers and ISIL caused a major diplomatic incident last summer. Even if someone doesn’t believe in the devil, what is going on in Iraq and Syria is diabolical, and apocalyptic. Imagine the terror of those trapped in Mount Simjar or St. Matthews monastery, having lost their homes and livelihoods and living in horrid conditions. So the author is right from a certain point of view.

  47. @ dee:

    I loved the X Files. Watched it religiously in college. I think it was one of the better TV dramas. I don’t like TV drama but X Files seemed to be in a class by itself. I miss it.

  48. dee wrote:

    I recently told my husband I plan to watch through the series again. He doesn’t like creepy shows so he told me to watch it when he’s not around.

    “Hi, honey! This episode should be safe – it’s called ‘Home’.”

  49. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I particularly dislike what BBC’s Mark Kermode describes as “cattle-prod cinema” where it goes quiet_quiet_quiet_quiet_BAAAAANG!!!!. Quite apart from being cheap, lazy and over-used, sudden scares immediately defuse any and all tension so that you leave the cinema totally unmoved by it all.

    It is overused, but I think it pertains to the type of movie they are. Horror movies, to me at least, seem to be mainly social cinema. People watch them with their friends to get scared and joke about it afterwards. Besides that they don’t seem to be used for much.

    I tend to prefer an overall dark and mysterious aesthetic. It keeps the film in my mind and makes it effect me more.

  50. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Make sure you actually HAVE a self to find.

    Spend all your time Finding Yourself and you won’t have the time to HAVE one.

    XD XD

    *YOU* should have your own Twitter, HUG.

  51. “I used to espouse his eschatological view but now consider myself to be an amillenial, partial preterits with an emphasis on the word “partial” for any reader who might think I have jumped the shark.”

    Just another reason I love you!

  52. Eagle said:

    @ dee:

    “I loved the X Files. Watched it religiously in college. I think it was one of the better TV dramas. I don’t like TV drama but X Files seemed to be in a class by itself. I miss it.”

    I can relate. Some of us used to watch the X-Files in the upstairs dorm lounge while students at Cedarville in the mid-nineties. We thought it was great. On the other hand, I couldn’t take more than several episodes of Millennium. The violence included some weird and gruesome twists that just made it too disturbing for a series without greater redeeming elements.

    Corbin said:

    “I tend to prefer an overall dark and mysterious aesthetic. It keeps the film in my mind and makes it effect me more.”

    This is why I’d rather be watching original Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, or perhaps Night Gallery episodes. Plus any movie by Hitchcock. I should probably add Thriller with Boris Karloff.

  53. So the other day I get an oil change, and my truck turns to me and says, “You really should wear your seatbelt.”
    And I’m like, “Probab – what the frank, a talking truck?”
    And the truck goes, “Yeah, that oil was made from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and I ain’t going nowhere until you buckle up.”
    So the next day my truck won’t start, and I’m like, “Darn! Why couldn’t the oil have been form the tree of life!”

  54. Eagle wrote:

    @ dee:
    I loved the X Files. Watched it religiously in college. I think it was one of the better TV dramas. I don’t like TV drama but X Files seemed to be in a class by itself. I miss it.

    I liked quite a lot of it, but every now & then they’d throw up an episode that just seemed unnecessarily grim – thinking here of those like the one with the family with all the inbred kids & limbless Mama kept under the bed, or the guy with the vestigial twin that could detach…just didn’t see the need for those episodes.

  55. @ dee:
    Wait until Dark is my favorite suspense movie. Very well written, acted, directed, edited, etc. Also a great display of a truly evil, psychotic mind.

  56. @ Beakerj:
    And those episodes are one of the main reasons that the show has no appeal for me. The rebooted Battlestar Galactica – that’s more like it!

  57. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    There *were*?talking cars back in the 80s, and man, were they annoying! My mom had a Chrysler thst would intone “Don’t forget your keys” and “A door is ajar” in a robotic male voice that had all the charm of a Kindle’s text-to-speech function. Yeesh!!!

  58. TW wrote:

    Just another reason I love you!

    @ Tim:

    Wow-between the three of us, we can start our own denomination. Our theme song could be “We’ll Not Fly Away, oh glory, We’ll not fly away!”

  59. NJ wrote:

    This is why I’d rather be watching original Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, or perhaps Night Gallery episodes. Plus any movie by Hitchcock. I should probably add Thriller with Boris Karloff.

    Love all of these.

  60. Beakerj wrote:

    I liked quite a lot of it, but every now & then they’d throw up an episode that just seemed unnecessarily grim – thinking here of those like the one with the family with all the inbred kids & limbless Mama kept under the bed, or the guy with the vestigial twin that could detach…just didn’t see the need for those episodes.

    🙂

  61. Arce wrote:

    Wait until Dark is my favorite suspense movie.

    Did you jump in the refrigerator scene after you though he was dead? I did!

  62. @ dee:
    It is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in quite a while – absolutely perfect use of Twitter, which is tailor-made for this kind of parody.

  63. @ dee:
    I wish it hadn’t ended quite so soon.

    Also like The Twilight Zone etc., but some of Hitchcock’s movies don’t sit well with me. Have never seen Psycho (and don’t plan to), and knowing how he tormented Tippi Hedren during the filming of The Birds leaves a vety bad taste in my mouth. But i fo love his suspense thtillers, and got a kick out of The Trouble with Harry.

  64. K.D. wrote:

    When I was still doing the radio show, we had a minister on discussing the ” End of Times.”
    His take was this…..why you? Why after all this time would Jesus return for you? You’re living a life that the ancients couldn’t even dream existed? You thinking Jesus is returning for you is a product of your ego.

    Didn’t He promise to return?

  65. Vega Magnus wrote:

    Random off-topic question, but is X-Files worth watching? I’ve never seen it, but I am a fan of SF in general.

    Yes and no. In the sense that comic books can be an amusing way to pass some time. I watched it for a while when it was new but to keep the story lines going the story lines had to keep getting more and more nuts to the point where it was, well, just plain nuts.

  66. numo wrote:

    There *were*?talking cars back in the 80s

    They talked back in the 60s too. At least that’s what Jerry van Dyke discovered in My Mother the Car. (You’ll see what I mean at the 1:30 mark in the video.) Fun stuff!

  67. Tim wrote:

    At least that’s what Jerry van Dyke discovered in My Mother the Car.

    That was quite a show. It would make a great trivia question. Then there was Mr Ed-the talking horse. I can still sing the theme song.

    “A horse is a horse of course, of course
    And no one can talk to a horse of course
    That is of course unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.”

    I think I am losing it.

  68. On the subject of the X Files, alive always thought that the best SF is that which incorporates religious theming, and the X Files certainly did that. They may have overdone it a bit though; later seasons lack the nuance and creepiness of earlier episodes, especially when the production moved out of British Columbia, which looks almost but not quite the New England locales where many of the stories were set. Is that subtle difference, the slight alien aspect of the Canadian landscape posing as America, that, although done for reasons of production costs, adds a subconscious sense of wrongness which is very effective.

  69. Vega Magnus wrote:

    Vega Magnus

    I would suggest the early seasons for sure. They reflect 1990s paranoia in an almost classic way. Since that time sadly Chris Carter hasn’t been able to breakthrough with anything really dramatic; the X Files film from 2008 was disappointing.

    By the way, congrats on using SF to refer to science fiction. I myself am a fan of SF but not sci fi ;). As recently as 2000 “sci fi” was looked down upon by fandom; true fans identified themselves by referring to the genre as SF, thus it was a sort of password making you a part of the snobbish elite of sophisticated SF readers who follow the literary theory of critics like Gardner Dozois, John Clute and Peter Norman, and offer metaphorical incense before the altars of Hugo Gernsback, John W. Campbell, Heinlein, Asimov. Clarke, Aldiss, Poul Anderson and other luminaries from the Golden Age. Of course one can’t be a Slan (remember, fans are slans!) without appreciating New Wave, Cyberpunk and so on.

    The X Files is definitely what you might call Skiffy, but as television SF goes it was brilliant for it’s time, and perhaps the rightful heir to the Twilight Zone. It wasn’t Firefly or nBSG, but we can’t deny it had a huge impact on other franchises ranging from Lost to the new Doctor Who (which can be a bit like the X files with a time machine, at its best).

  70. Well, you know, there is a lot of bad stuff going on. End times or not. TEOTWAWKI or even just SHTF or not. Prophecy or not. It does not have to be end times for bits of the sky to fall.

    We just got the word that a good friend, a programmer for the largest employer in town (a medical center) has just lost his job when they outsourced his entire department. He just lost his wife to divorce not long ago. Preacher’s kid who thought that if you just did the right thing then life had a chance of working out. Who feeds church kids this nonsense? And why do they still think that at any time past puberty? It is hard enough to lose your wife, and hard enough to lose your job, but what happens when you lose your ideas about God and life? Maybe some of the residents over here at Miss Nancy’s Rescue Mission Annex can help with that, or maybe not.

    As a sweet little old lady (?) and a believer just let me say “@#$%^&*” anyhow. I know. I know. Just never mind, okay? They say you got to cuss, cry or pray. I have never found crying to be worth the energy it takes to do it.

  71. @ William G.:
    Then you should check out Babylon 5. Graphics are dated but a brilliant show. I remember one episode from the first season. The space station they’re on is a meeting place for various intergalactic powers, the humans being the hosts. So all the aliens show off their various beliefs and at the end the humans are going to show their religious beliefs. I think the way they showed it was brilliant, here’s the clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvmtHGwRSuQ

    The whole show deals with faith, hope and self determination in a lot of interesting ways. I think you’d enjoy the imagery and iconic storytelling.

  72. Referring to yourself as “Doctor” when your only doctorate is honorary is untrue and unethical. There are those who have slaved years to earn that qualification (I am surrounded by them) and it indicated the low character of the man that he would think it acceptable to add a dishonest and unearned distinction to his name. I don’t even call myself “doctor”, though technically, I have earned one (juris doctor) and I operate in an environment in which the title is generally appropriate. But I distinguish between a PhD (or D.D., Ed.D, Th.D, etc.) and my “doctorate”, which while earned, not bestowed, is not really the same thing as those true academic doctorates.

  73. Nancy wrote:

    As a sweet little old lady (?) and a believer just let me say “@#$%^&*” anyhow. I know. I know. Just never mind, okay? They say you got to cuss, cry or pray. I have never found crying to be worth the energy it takes to do it.

    I can commiserate and stand with you in solidarity. You know the old saying too:
    “It’s enough to make a preacher cuss…”

  74. TW wrote:

    “I used to espouse his eschatological view but now consider myself to be an amillenial, partial preterits with an emphasis on the word “partial” for any reader who might think I have jumped the shark.”

    Just another reason I love you!

    @Todd,

    Just an off-topic update (which I left a post for you on one of the other articles):

    1. In your honor, I took all of my Mahaney books (a stack) and put them in the paper recycling; and

    2. I finally got around to writing a very negative review on amazon about Mark Dever’s 9 Marks. I compare it to the Salem Witch Trials.

    Best regards from Northern California.

  75. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    You haven’t seen the recent “Noah” movie, have you?

    Lol no. I’m very suspicious of the current “Bible” craze in Hollywood, I’ll be very surprised if they have any worthwhile qualities besides run of the mill special effects. My favorite “Bible” movie is The Prince of Egypt, mainly because of the score, it’s beautiful.

  76. @ Corbin:
    I have yet to see a “Bible” movie really woth watching. But then, i don’t go out of my way to look for them, either.

  77. Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    Then you should check out Babylon 5. Graphics are dated but a brilliant show. I remember one episode from the first season. The space station they’re on is a meeting place for various intergalactic powers, the humans being the hosts. So all the aliens show off their various beliefs and at the end the humans are going to show their religious beliefs.

    Background on that attached clip: in B5, most of the alien powers are older than the humans, old enough for their belief systems to have shaken down to where they have ONE major religion. The humans, a younger race, haven’t shaken down yet.

    But my fave in that episode are the Centauri, the classic decadent empire: “Gods for This! Gods for That! Gods for Every Occasion!” To which local response was “RO-MANS!”

  78. Law Prof wrote:

    Referring to yourself as “Doctor” when your only doctorate is honorary is untrue and unethical. There are those who have slaved years to earn that qualification (I am surrounded by them) and it indicated the low character of the man that he would think it acceptable to add a dishonest and unearned distinction to his name.

    Reverend Larry awards Reverend Moe an Honorary Doctorate.
    Reverend Moe awards Reverend Curly an Honorary Doctorate.
    Reverend Curly awards Reverend Larry an Honorary Doctorate.
    But nobody’s laughing.

    MenaGAWD sure like those Honorary Doctorates. To the point that when a preacher uses “Dr” in front of his name, I assume it’s a Larry-Moe-Curly Honorary Doctorate until proven otherwise. And you can tell the Honorary Doctorates; according to comments in prior TWW threads, when they INSIST on being called “Doctor” and stress it to the sheeple, it’s an Honorary (Larry-Moe-Curly or cash-up-front diploma mill).

  79. Law Prof wrote:

    Referring to yourself as “Doctor” when your only doctorate is honorary is untrue and unethical. There are those who have slaved years to earn that qualification (I am surrounded by them) and it indicated the low character of the man that he would think it acceptable to add a dishonest and unearned distinction to his name. I don’t even call myself “doctor”, though technically, I have earned one (juris doctor) and I operate in an environment in which the title is generally appropriate. But I distinguish between a PhD (or D.D., Ed.D, Th.D, etc.) and my “doctorate”, which while earned, not bestowed, is not really the same thing as those true academic doctorates.

    Agreed. I would never call myself Doctor. My friends who have Ph.Ds don’t even call themselves Doctor. To them, the only doctors are MD types.

    That said, which is worse–getting a Doctor of Divinity from a legit institution and calling yourself Doctor or getting a Ph.D from a degree mill? Imprisoned tax evader and creationist Kent Hovind claims to have earned another doctorate, but it appears to be from the same degree mill (“Patriot Bible University”) which gave him the first one. You know, the one that starts out with “Hello, my name is Kent Hovind.” The second “doctorate” is published as a book “What On Earth Is About To Happen…For Heaven’s Sake?”

    -=-=-=-=-
    What about Twin Peaks? 🙂

  80. dee wrote:

    @ Mark:
    I am not here to bash the pre millennial, pretribulational point of view even though I no longer subscribe to it. In the end, Jesus is coming to judge the “quick and the dead” as it says in the Nicene Creed. I think it might look very different than many of us think. Look at how the Jews were surprised in the way the Messiah came the first time.

    Noone know how when or where the Second Coming will take place. I had a friend who believed that Christians would go through the tribulation just like everyone else. This would be pretty controversial In some sects of Christianity. There are so many views and speculations about the Second Coming. Is it that important to have an airtight theory or be open it will happen when it happens and leave the how’s and the where’s to God? It’s fine some people might believe have the answers. Will these people reject the Messiah if he doesn’t follow the theories they believe are Biblical truth? Just wondering because the first time He came, the believers in the Apocalypse believed the Messiah would be a literal conquerer who would break the yoke of Rome.

  81. Michaela wrote:

    @Todd,
    Just an off-topic update (which I left a post for you on one of the other articles):
    1. In your honor, I took all of my Mahaney books (a stack) and put them in the paper recycling; and
    2. I finally got around to writing a very negative review on amazon about Mark Dever’s 9 Marks. I compare it to the Salem Witch Trials.

    Good for you Michaela. I wish a whole lot of “pastors” would take their cue from you and dump Mahaney’s books. I don’t see any evidence of it happening. To remain in good standing in the gospel glitterati club it appears that no matter the offense you never speak negatively of a fellow club member.

    We happen to have two prominent members of the good old boys gospel glitterati club in Dubai this week. I am writing a blog about it now.

    I will check out your review on Amazon. Writing a review on there is a good idea.

  82. @ dee:
    I was just rethinking about my studies many years ago trying to figure out which rapture theory I most believed in. I couldn’t make a decision. But last night as I flipped through the TV channels, John Hagee had a video of what the world would look like the day the church was removed. Basically Left Behind stuff. It just didn’t seem right. How are we supposed to be happy disappearing while the people left here are experiencing catastrophe. I mean, really? A Christian pilot disappearing is responsible for the death of his passengers plummeting to the earth. Huh.

  83. @ Mark:
    I was interested to study it for myself as I grew up in a GARB school but a Christisn Reformed church. On Sunday’s I would hear about how Christians would be going through the tribulation and then on Friday school chapels the escape from the great tribulation was an emotional appeal to us kids to get saved.

  84. @ Mark:
    The whole issue of the end times “chronology” is based on an assumption that Revelation is presented in future chronological order, which is generally a much later approach. John writes “and then I saw . . .” But there is no necessity that that means that the event that he then saw would be after the event he previously “saw”.

    One could walk through a museum of history and write a report, but be walking from the most recent part to the oldest part!!!, Or randomly wandering in and out of the rooms without regard to the order.

  85. @ Arce:

    Good thoughts there.

    I want to recommend a short (not quite five minutes) you tube of Al Mohler discussing the subject. One does not have to agree with him totally in order to find a lot of good in what he says on this subject. He does not think that the bible has a time line or that there is enough information for a chronology, for example. Now he, himself, thinks in terms of historic premillennialism (disclaimer: so do I) but that is not why I am recommending the video. What he says against some of the end times nonsense is well said and worth hearing.

    BTW: I think that amillinnialism can be defended as well as historic premillinnialism. Would not surprise me either way.

    NT Wright has an good chapter in his book “Surprised by Scripture” which is titled “Jesus is Coming: Plant a Tree” in which he says (among other things) that we have misunderstood what a parousia was in that day and what the bible is saying by using that word for imagery. Also worth reading.

    I want to say: nobody should get too complacent about anything (so also says Dr. Mohler) because we are told to keep oil in our lamps.

  86. @ Nancy:

    Oops: Just ask you tube for “eschatology; al mohler”. It lasts 4.44 and is a discussion at some baptist church in 2009 I think. He is responding to a question from the audience about end times chronology.

  87. Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    The whole show deals with faith, hope and self determination in a lot of interesting ways. I think you’d enjoy the imagery and iconic storytelling.

    That was absolutely beautiful.

  88. numo wrote:

    @ Corbin:
    I have yet to see a “Bible” movie really worth watching. But then, I don’t go out of my way to look for them, either.

    You might want to check out “The Bible” – 1966 version by Dino De Laurentiis & John Huston. It is very good, imo. Worth watching.

  89. Just to make things interesting, I was sitting with a group of pastors, discussing eschatology (I really do need to get some new hobbies), when one of the guys leans over and whispers, “I wonder what they would think if they found out I was post-trib?”. Which made me wonder how they would react to my non-trib view. I might need to find out some day.

    I do need to catch up with the X-Files. I enjoyed the more recent series Fringe, which actually talked about their investigations as a continuation of the X-Files project. Gory at times, though.

  90. Mark wrote:

    Is it that important to have an airtight theory or be open it will happen when it happens and leave the how’s and the where’s to God? I

    Great comment. Did you know there are some pastors and theologians believe that if you don’t accept a Rapture, you are not a Christian? Good night! Like they really know what is going to happen.

  91. TW wrote:

    We happen to have two prominent members of the good old boys gospel glitterati club in Dubai this week. I am writing a blog about it now.

    We should do a reprint on that over here!

  92. GSD wrote:

    Just to make things interesting, I was sitting with a group of pastors, discussing eschatology (I really do need to get some new hobbies), when one of the guys leans over and whispers, “I wonder what they would think if they found out I was post-trib?”. Which made me wonder how they would react to my non-trib view. I might need to find out some day.

    So…is this what happens when people unhitch themselves from a plain reading of the Bible? The tribulation is mentioned in the Bible by Jesus and in Revelation. Isn’t that an indisputable fact?

    I can understand people having different theories about how the events will unfold, and the timing, but the fact of the event occurring (the rapture and the tribulation) really shouldn’t be a question, should they?

    If they don’t happen, then Jesus Himself is a liar isn’t He?

  93. GSD wrote:

    I enjoyed the more recent series Fringe

    I liked Fringe as well. I think you will like the X Files if you liked Fringe.

    I love to drop bombs into conversations on theology.Here’s a good one. “So, what do you think was outside the Garden of Eden since God formed Adam outside the Garden and then placed him in it?”

  94. Doug wrote:

    So…is this what happens when people unhitch themselves from a plain reading of the Bible? The tribulation is mentioned in the Bible by Jesus and in Revelation. Isn’t that an indisputable fact?

    Let me give you a different perspective. Jesus did talk about the tribulation and he also said that this generation would not pass until they saw destruction. The Temple was destroyed in 70AD which was probably one of the most significant events in the lives of both Christians and Jews of that day.

    Also, starting with Nero, there were horrible persecutions of the early Christians. They were tarred and used as torches for Nero’s garden parties, there was the Coliseum, etc. Read about the persecutions that continued in the Roman Empire for a long time. The early Christians believed that they were in the Tribulation and for good reason.To say that we are under the same sort of persecution today because people won’t say “Merry Christmas” is laughable.

    There are some that believe that their is the spirit of the Antichrist in all ages, starting with Nero. You might find this short article interesting.

    http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/what-is-the-meaning-of-666/

    Just because one does not adhere to the Tribulation and Rapture as presented by LaHaye does not mean one does not believe in the Second Coming. However, that Coming may appear very different than what was presented in the Left Behind series.

    The Nicene Creed states that Jesus will come again to judge the quick and the dead. It does not say we are going to be raptured before a Tribulation. Why? because there are some differing opinions on the matter.

    Plain reading of the Scripture has not resulted in unity because there is little that is plain in the Bible.

  95. dee wrote:

    I love to drop bombs into conversations on theology. Here’s a good one. “So, what do you think was outside the Garden of Eden since God formed Adam outside the Garden and then placed him in it?”

    My Answer: We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t tell us with specificity, but whatever it was it was “good” and unspoiled by sin.

  96. Doug wrote:

    The tribulation is mentioned in the Bible by Jesus and in Revelation. Isn’t that an indisputable fact?

    This is a massive topic, but this is my quick answer. Yes, the great tribulation is mentioned, and I believe that it was fulfilled very literally, within a generation of Jesus’ statement on the Mount of Olives, when Jerusalem was seiged, starved and destroyed by the Romans. And I understand Revelation as a foretelling of the same event. Mostly. And that gets into a bunch of teaching that would explain this view infinitely better than I can.

    Personally, it has made a big difference in my life to live with hope, without this giant cloud of the tribulation looming in the future. And it has altered my view of the Church, as an entity that isn’t destined to fail in her mission to the degree that an emergency evac is the only option. Jesus is coming back to judge the quick and the dead, not merely to rescue a remnant of His wayward, lukewarm, defeated Church.

    My view. Sorry if this hijacks the post, but it does tie back to Jeremiah’s apocalyptic scenarios, which are rooted in dispensationaist premillennialism, which is not the only option in orthodox Christianity, despite what you see on TBN.

  97. dee wrote:

    Plain reading of the Scripture has not resulted in unity because there is little that is plain in the Bible.

    Well, Matthew 24:21 is pretty clear: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

    That’s not LaHaye talking, that is Jesus. He says right there that the tribulation would not be equaled by any other event(s) in the history of the world. Bigger than the flood, any event that happened up to His time, and not equaled by any event to follow. Whatever else anyone believes about it, this “great tribulation” has not yet occurred, and will be a historical fact one day.

    As far as the “rapture” is concerned, how can you get any clearer than 1 Thess. 4:17: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

    Whatever else you want to believe, someone is going up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and from that point forward will be with that same Lord. If that doesn’t happen, then it casts doubt on Paul’s teaching at the very least. Has it happened yet? No. Will it happen? As prophecy it must happen. If it does not, then according to the rest of Scripture God has not spoken through Paul and we might as well throw our Bible in the trash and go watch TV.

    I believe that the perceived “lack of unity” is due to both the ignorance and the ignoring of God’s Word. There is plenty that is very plain in the bible that people simply choose to ignore because they don’t like what God says.

    Personally, I don’t give much credence to “church” creeds, so they don’t inform my theology anymore than the Left behind series does. And talk about bad movies, yikes!

    I find great comfort in the plain reading of Scripture. Maybe others do too?

  98. Law Prof wrote:

    I don’t even call myself “doctor”, though technically, I have earned one (juris doctor) and I operate in an environment in which the title is generally appropriate.

    mirele wrote:

    Agreed. I would never call myself Doctor. My friends who have Ph.Ds don’t even call themselves Doctor.

    The MDs I know usually eschew the title except at work, much like I avoid my title except at the courthouse.

  99. I must have been writing at the same time as Dee… Her writing was so much better than mine! I did want to comment on the “plain reading of Scripture.”. As I understand it, we have to read the Bible in its cultural and historical context. It was primarily written for the original recipients, and we are reading their mail. Inspiration is amazing thing, and the Scriptures are so amazingly relevant to us, and God speaks to us so clearly, even now, thousands of years later, on the other side of the planet, in a completely different culture and language. A child can undedstand, ” For God so loved…”. And scholars give their lives to understand Greek and Hebrew and history, so they can better understand Scripture. The “plain reading of Scripture” can be a way to overlook the historical and cultural context that is so necessary to understand these bits of the Bible.

    My boss wants me to get back to work…

  100. GSD wrote:

    Personally, it has made a big difference in my life to live with hope, without this giant cloud of the tribulation looming in the future.

    So why would that be?

    If you are born again, then there shouldn’t be any dread regarding the tribulation and certainly not any lack of hope. The church, being rescued from the coming judgement of and on the world due to their willful rejection of Jesus, should have a sense of urgency regarding the rescue of as many people as possible. And the sealing of the believer by the Holy Spirit is a great source of comfort. He is the comforter after all.

    Of course, we mourn the rejection of Jesus by our loved ones, and the world around us, but they are without excuse. God has provided the Way, and they refuse to believe. They do not have to perish, or go through the Tribulation, but the choose to do so. Why? Because they love darkness more than the Light.

    Jesus made some very clear and specific statements regarding the coming judgement on the world. So did Paul. I think the way to come to grips with them is to embrace them as being true prophecy that will be fulfilled in their entirety, and take comfort in God’s faithfulness in being able to protect and provide for His children.

    “Dr.” Jeremiah is part of the xian publishing machinery who will stand in judgement for how they have peddled God’s Word for profit. But the true prophets of God have spoken, and so has Jesus. Clearly. If only people would ditch their religious baggage, maybe they could see it that way.

  101. Speaking of David Jeremiah, this just in from Warren Throckmorton (1/14/15): “Former Chief Financial Officer at Turning Point Claims David Jeremiah Used Questionable Methods to Secure a Spot on Best Seller Lists”.

    You can find the complete article here:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/01/14

    PS–Not being an Sci Fi fan—could you maybe put the lengthy rifs about Xfiles, etc in your general topics thread? I like to read comments but am not patient enough to wade through all the off-topic stuff….Thank you for considering this.

  102. Doug wrote:

    My Answer: We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t tell us with specificity, but whatever it was it was “good” and unspoiled by sin.

    That’s that!

  103. dee wrote:

    Doug wrote:
    My Answer: We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t tell us with specificity, but whatever it was it was “good” and unspoiled by sin.
    That’s that!

    Well, we could speculate, but what would be the point? Besides, it was 6214 years ago and none of us were there.

  104. @ dee:
    Good common sense comments about the end times. Actually the rapture theory as taught today is a relatively new theory supposedly received buy a young lady in the early 18 hundreds in a so called vision she says she received.

  105. Doug wrote:

    As far as the “rapture” is concerned, how can you get any clearer than 1 Thess. 4:17: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

    What exactly does the mean? It is picturing something in the future. Is it the “pre tribulation rapture?” or merely a descriptor of an event that will happen at the Second Coming? Could it be allegorical, describing the ingathering of all the Christians at that time?

    Secondly, on the greatest tribulation, could it be that this is the coming of the new heaven and the new earth? The destruction of Satan and his demons being cast into the lake of fire is pretty dramatic as well. Can you imagine what the destruction might be surrounding that scenario?

    There are many theologians who take the Bible seriously who do not buy that view of the perturb rapture. Here is one explanation.

    http://www.reformedonline.com/uploads/1/5/0/3/15030584/is_the_pretribulation_rapture_biblical.pdf

    I am pleased that you find great comfort in your plain reading of Scripture. I knew a woman who believes that there will be an actual gate with an actual pearl on it in heaven. I think it means so much more than that (pearl of great price, etc.) but it brings her comfort to read the Scripture plainly.

    I disagree with your assumptions and do not think it is as plain as you present it. However, after the whole shooting match is finished, we can discuss it further in eternity. I think both of us might be surprised.

  106. Doug wrote:

    So why would that be?

    If you are born again, then there shouldn’t be any dread regarding the tribulation and certainly not any lack of hope.

    From my time in-country:
    1) “But How Do You KNOW You’re REALLY Born-Again????????”
    2) “IT’S ALL GONNA BURN!!!!!”
    3) After months to years of constant drumbeat/beatdowm on the Horrors of The Tribulation (in lip-smacking detail) and The Great White Throne and The Lake Of Fire and ANTICHRIST! ANTICHRIST! ANTICHRIST! you will become unable to ever feel hope ever again.
    4) Put all the above together in a Good Cop/Bad Cop situation, shake well, and you have achieved a Christianese version of Nihilism — It’s All Gonna Burn (especially YOU!), so Why Bother? Like the Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War trope of the Cold War, It’s All Over But The Screaming.

    All Hal Lindsay did was take Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War/It’s All Over But The Screaming, give it a Christianese coat of paint, and add a magical escape route where Jesus beams us up before anything bad can personally happen to us. (Any Minute Now… Any Minute Now… Any Minute Now…) And you can only take a straight diet of that for so long before you kill yourself, go crazy, or ditch it all and go for something that isn’t GrimDark. (That explains the success of Star Trek, Star Wars, and MLP:FIM — they were the only lights of hope in times of Grinning Nihilism and It’s All Over But The Screaming. With the Church on the bandwagon going “ME, TOO!”)

  107. Doug wrote:

    If only people would ditch their religious baggage, maybe they could see it that way.

    Doug, I believed as have many others just as you. I studied end times and thought I had it all figured out. Then I listened to a sermon about the church who was lukewarm that gave me much to think on.
    I would encourage you to listen to the Daniel series and the Revelation series taught by Wade .
    http://www.emmanuelenid.org/media-overview/sermon-archive

  108. dee wrote:

    I am pleased that you find great comfort in your plain reading of Scripture.

    Does that include the Plague of Demon Locusts in Revelation actually being helicopter gunships armed with chemical weapons and piloted by long-haired bearded hippies?

    Because THAT was “The Plain Reading Of SCRIPTURE(TM)”.

    As was ALL the Plagues of Revelation being mass-use-of-nuclear-weapons effects in the Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War (shown as a supernatural movie to John of Patmos and written down as best he could make sense of it).

    Because THAT was also “The Plain Reading of SCRIPTURE(TM)”.

  109. @ Bill:

    Then Stephen Darby picked it up and ran with it.

    Someone once said that God describing who he is to us is like us describing who we are to a mollusk. He gives us types and shadows but they are shrouded in mystery. I look at the Old Testament and what we now see as prophecies of the coming of Jesus. But those alive at the time of Jesus did not see it clearly. Even Mary, at one point, though Jesus was mad. After His Resurrection, they got it.

    I think it will be the same way at the Second Coming. We will get it all after we have experienced it. Just like the promise of a Messiah was found in the OT, so the promise of the Second Coming was promised by Jesus. But, I think we all will be a bit startled in how it happens.

  110. Doug wrote:

    Besides, it was 6214 years ago and none of us were there.

    Now that is a road that we have travelled down before. As you must know, I am most decidedly NOT a young earther.

    Do me a favor and lets not go there in this thread. I will open up “open discussion” and try it again. Please feel free to see if any will engage you there.

  111. Open Discussion Open For Business.

    Keep comments pithy-no treatises. Play nice. I reserve the right to limit the lengths of comments. I will no longer discuss why I moderated a comment in this section. I don’t have time. Please try hard.

  112. Doug wrote:

    I find great comfort in the plain reading of Scripture. Maybe others do too?

    Sure, but the plain reading isn’t the only criteria that needs to be taken into consideration. Others are the intended meaning (what the author intended the original reader to know), historical, grammatical, and contextual. Then there’s the matter of hyperbole, metaphors, similes, and near/far prophetic fulfillments. That makes interpretation a bit more complicated.

  113. @ dee:
    I came out of a reformed perspective and am familiar with the various views. From my perspective, and I am sure I am not the only one here, I see no reason to read anything I quoted as allegorical. Why can’t Jesus just have meant exactly what He said? Why can’t Paul be taken literally?

    Why can’t those who are alive when the Lord returns, whenever that is, be elevated off of the earth and meet Him in the clouds? He describes some very specific mechanical actions there that have nothing what so ever to do with any theological interpretation. They don’t need to be interpreted. Why can’t air Just be air and clouds just be clouds? What is so unbelievable about a catching away of believers at the Lord’s return?

    It’s like the blood being up to the horses bridles in Revelation. Ok, so humor John. What would that mean? Is the blood literal blood? Why not? Say it is. Is the horse a literal horse? Why not? What in the text would reveal that it is not a literal horse? Is the bridle a literal bridle? Why not?

    It is a fundamental way of looking at Scripture that takes the guru out of the equation. At least I think it does.

    I understand there are differences and that I may be completely wrong. But what have I lost for just taking God at His Word? Maybe doing so has implication that we just don’t like to face. But yeah, we can talk about it in eternity.

    Surely I can’t be the only one who sees it that way.

  114. dee wrote:

    Doug wrote:
    Besides, it was 6214 years ago and none of us were there.
    Now that is a road that we have travelled down before. As you must know, I am most decidedly NOT a young earther.
    Do me a favor and lets not go there in this thread. I will open up “open discussion” and try it again. Please feel free to see if any will engage you there.

    Ok. I will take your advice. Thank you.

  115. dee wrote:

    @ Bill:

    Then Stephen Darby picked it up and ran with it.

    One of my writing partners (the burned-out preacher) credits Darby & Linsday with “destroying Protestant Christianity in America”.

    Because when The World Ends Tomorrow and It’s All Gonna Burn, don’t expect anyone to dare great things or plan for the future, only Sell That Fire Insurance. When you have no future, the Future has a way of happening anyway without you, and you will end up Left Behind.

  116. Kind of like the works vs the faith only theories we find in scripture. Simple truth of the matter is as I personally see it is that a good lawyer could probably successfully argue both sides and be convincing. The bible is simply not that clear to me as to which belief we are to follow. There are good arguments for both sides in scripture as far as I can tell. Like Doug says,the scriptures are just not as clear or understandable as we think they are.

  117. Bill wrote:

    Actually the rapture theory as taught today is a relatively new theory supposedly received buy a young lady in the early 18 hundreds in a so called vision she says she received.

    When I once pointed out the parallels between said young lady’s vision (start of the whole Rapture idea) and Trance Channeling a la Shirley MacLaine, I got turned into a pile of rocks.

  118. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:
    I am pleased that you find great comfort in your plain reading of Scripture.
    Does that include the Plague of Demon Locusts in Revelation actually being helicopter gunships armed with chemical weapons and piloted by long-haired bearded hippies?
    Because THAT was “The Plain Reading Of SCRIPTURE(TM)”.
    As was ALL the Plagues of Revelation being mass-use-of-nuclear-weapons effects in the Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War (shown as a supernatural movie to John of Patmos and written down as best he could make sense of it).
    Because THAT was also “The Plain Reading of SCRIPTURE(TM)”.

    No. That was Hal. He should be unplugged.

  119. dee wrote:

    Let me give you a different perspective. Jesus did talk about the tribulation and he also said that this generation would not pass until they saw destruction. The Temple was destroyed in 70AD which was probably one of the most significant events in the lives of both Christians and Jews of that day.

    That sounds like a storytelling trope I call “echoes & parallels”, where you add depth to a narrative by having events echo & parallel one another; don’t know the actual name of the trope, but it sounds related to use of archetypes.

    Also, in Classical Hebrew, echo & parallel in the form of going over the same scene again and again with different imagery each time was a way of showing emphasis.

    Rob Bell (who got piled on by Team Hell a year or two ago) had two descriptive terms for it: “Poem Truth” and “Math Truth”. The Bible was written primarily in Poem Truth (Math Truth hadn’t been invented at the time of the Tanakh), and we keep trying to read it as Math Truth (axioms of Fact, Fact, Fact in linear order).

    Ken Ham & Hal Lindsay (and their followers) are THE poster children for reading the Poem Truth of early Genesis and all Revelation as Math Truth. (Axiom, Axiom, Axiom, Fact, Fact, Fact, A = A.)

  120. Bill wrote:

    Like Doug says,the scriptures are just not as clear or understandable as we think they are.

    That was Dee.

    I am in the clear and understandable camp.

  121. Doug wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Doug wrote:
    My Answer: We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t tell us with specificity, but whatever it was it was “good” and unspoiled by sin.
    That’s that!
    Well, we could speculate, but what would be the point? Besides, it was 6214 years ago and none of us were there.

    Wow, got it right down to the year, 6214. I think somehow you’re not getting that from a plain reading of the Bible, that you’re getting it from traditions of men and theories of cranks, but that’s just me.

  122. Law Prof wrote:

    Wow, got it right down to the year, 6214. I think somehow you’re not getting that from a plain reading of the Bible, that you’re getting it from traditions of men and theories of cranks, but that’s just me.

    Obviously, I am not serious about the number. I pulled that out of an article I read last night in a journal, where the author put the date of creation at 4199 BC. But hey, it’s just as plausible as any other date.

  123. dee wrote:

    NJ wrote:
    This is why I’d rather be watching original Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, or perhaps Night Gallery episodes. Plus any movie by Hitchcock. I should probably add Thriller with Boris Karloff.
    Love all of these.

    I’m listening to some old Inner Sanctum radio episodes. Some of them are pretty creepy!

  124. Doug wrote:

    I am in the clear and understandable camp.

    I reacted a bit to Dee’s comment as well. I do think the bible is clear and understandable in the basic essentials of the faith. What God is like, the provision of salvation and man’s need of it etc.

    She does have a point though when you get to subjects such as the second advent (or foreknowledge and predestination, genealogies …). That this will occur is crystal clear. The events, and in particular the order of events leading up to this are less clear, if this were not the case there would be more ‘millenial’ agreement. Christians who have faithfully studied the bible reach different conclusions about this, which to me can only mean God has not intended us to have detailed chart of ‘how it will all happen’ pinned to our bedroom walls.

    Regarding the timing of the rapture and tribulation, many Christians in the world are already going through tribulation. It’s clear that God does not always spare his people from suffering along with the world around, he sometimes even allows the saints to be overcome. Isn’t it typical of comfortable Western Christians (like me) to want their ears tickled with a doctrine that means they will be conveniently whisked away from the Big Trouble at the end of the age.

    Finally, brethren, I think the bible will not yield its treasures to those who are not prepared to put time and effort into studying it. Simply reading it, yes, but also listening to gifted teachers and reading around the background, culture and even languages or the original recipients to get a greater feel for the book. What you put in will be what you get out! 🙂

  125. @ Doug:
    Paul cannot be taken literally because he was often writing in a manner used today by attorneys and debaters: Present the other side of the argument, shoot it down, and then present your side. Romans can be analyzed in that way, and when that is done, some of the otherwise apparent tension (contradictions??) between portions of the book make sense. It is why I do not agree with any proof texting out of the Pauline scriptures — one may be citing something that Paul would not agree to be truth. Paul also seems to have had a rather sarcastic sense of humor, and some of the things he wrote about, like head covering, make no sense to a man who also said that circumcision was irrelevant, when it was commanded in the OT.

  126. Doug

    You talk about the “Plain Reading” of scripture.
    And, I kinda wish that concept was true and simple.

    But, my “Plain Reading” of scripture has changed over the years. 😉

    Today – What would you say is “your” “Plain Reading” of this verse?

    Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  127. Doug

    Seems, in the Bible, there is a challenge…
    With our natural mind and our understanding.

    Pro 3:5-7 KJV
    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
    and **lean NOT unto thine own understanding.**
    … Be not wise in thine own eyes…

    John 6:63 KJV
    It is **the spirit that quickeneth;** the flesh profiteth nothing:
    the words that I speak unto you, **they are spirit,** and they are life.

    Rom 8:5-6 KJV
    For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
    but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
    For to be carnally minded is death;
    but **to be spiritually minded** is life and peace.

  128. @ Arce:

    Really liked that understanding of Paul’s writings.

    Then…

    “some of the otherwise apparent tension (contradictions??) between portions of the book make sense.”

    there are some of Pau’s teachings i have struggled with.

    Thanks

  129. More Plagiarism By Christian Authors

    Did anyone notice the Ben Carson admission that came out last week? His
    _America the Beautiful_ book published by Zondervan has lengthy plagiarized passages.

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/religion/article/65223-zondervan-issues-statement-about-carson-plagiarism.html

    We Christians can dish it out, but our lives aren’t looking so good.

    Oh, and the Federer book mentioned in the article is about the same level of “scholarship” as David Barton history and quotes.

  130. Doug wrote:

    @ dee:
    If you want to move some of my comments there, feel free. You are the boss of me.

    Well, no. She isn’t. You are the boss of you. She is the boss of her blog. I’m sure she has no interest in being your boss, but she can speak for herself. I have heard her mention, though) that she has enough trouble keeping track of herself (paraphrased). 🙂

  131. A. Amos Love wrote:

    Doug
    You talk about the “Plain Reading” of scripture.
    And, I kinda wish that concept was true and simple.
    But, my “Plain Reading” of scripture has changed over the years.
    Today – What would you say is “your” “Plain Reading” of this verse?
    Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    That in the beginning (the very start of everything we see, day zero)
    God (needs no explanation)
    created (brought into being)
    the heavens (all of them)
    and the earth (terra firma)

    That is what He said.

  132. A. Amos Love wrote:

    Doug
    Seems, in the Bible, there is a challenge…
    With our natural mind and our understanding.
    Pro 3:5-7 KJV
    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
    and **lean NOT unto thine own understanding.**
    … Be not wise in thine own eyes…
    John 6:63 KJV
    It is **the spirit that quickeneth;** the flesh profiteth nothing:
    the words that I speak unto you, **they are spirit,** and they are life.
    Rom 8:5-6 KJV
    For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
    but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
    For to be carnally minded is death;
    but **to be spiritually minded** is life and peace.

    I have no problem with that.

  133. Doug wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    Wow, got it right down to the year, 6214. I think somehow you’re not getting that from a plain reading of the Bible, that you’re getting it from traditions of men and theories of cranks, but that’s just me.
    Obviously, I am not serious about the number. I pulled that out of an article I read last night in a journal, where the author put the date of creation at 4199 BC. But hey, it’s just as plausible as any other date.

    Or a few billion years is also pretty plausible. But for a God for whom there is no time, He standing outside of time, not bound as are we, a thousand years is a day and a day a thousand years. I did get that one from a plain reading of the Bible.

  134. Arce wrote:

    @ Doug:
    Paul cannot be taken literally because he was often writing in a manner used today by attorneys and debaters: Present the other side of the argument, shoot it down, and then present your side. Romans can be analyzed in that way, and when that is done, some of the otherwise apparent tension (contradictions??) between portions of the book make sense. It is why I do not agree with any proof texting out of the Pauline scriptures — one may be citing something that Paul would not agree to be truth. Paul also seems to have had a rather sarcastic sense of humor, and some of the things he wrote about, like head covering, make no sense to a man who also said that circumcision was irrelevant, when it was commanded in the OT.

    Sorry, but I disagree. When he is writing prophecy, and describing mechanical actions of people like elevating off of the earth and meeting the Lord in the air, there is no reason not to take that literally. If it does not happen, then he is not who he says he is and he is not speaking for God.

  135. Doug

    You write…
    “That in the beginning (the very start of everything we see, day zero)”

    In the Bible? Is the word “Beginning” always referring to time?

    Gen 1:1 In “The Beginning” God created the heaven and the earth.

    What if the question becomes – Who is “The Beginning?”

  136. Arce wrote:

    @ Doug:
    Paul cannot be taken literally because he was often writing in a manner used today by attorneys and debaters: Present the other side of the argument, shoot it down, and then present your side. Romans can be analyzed in that way, and when that is done, some of the otherwise apparent tension (contradictions??) between portions of the book make sense. It is why I do not agree with any proof texting out of the Pauline scriptures — one may be citing something that Paul would not agree to be truth. Paul also seems to have had a rather sarcastic sense of humor, and some of the things he wrote about, like head covering, make no sense to a man who also said that circumcision was irrelevant, when it was commanded in the OT.

    I don’t know if our resident true legal scholar (not me, Tim) would agree, but when I read some of the Pauline letters and his reasoning and the way he sets up arguments, I just know he was trained as a legal scholar, because much of what he writes reads like high level legal reasoning put together by a brilliant mind, the likes of which I’d put up there with jurists like Hand, Marshall, Cardozo, with a little bit of Scalia’s spice thrown in there.

    I think it’s fascinating that the Lord inspired His word through men, using their understandings (Peter’s Greek grammar, so I am told by higher authorities, was pretty shaky vis-a-vis the much-better-educated Paul’s) and personalities, and yet, it’s still God breathed.

  137. Doug wrote:

    Arce wrote:
    @ Doug:
    Paul cannot be taken literally because he was often writing in a manner used today by attorneys and debaters: Present the other side of the argument, shoot it down, and then present your side. Romans can be analyzed in that way, and when that is done, some of the otherwise apparent tension (contradictions??) between portions of the book make sense. It is why I do not agree with any proof texting out of the Pauline scriptures — one may be citing something that Paul would not agree to be truth. Paul also seems to have had a rather sarcastic sense of humor, and some of the things he wrote about, like head covering, make no sense to a man who also said that circumcision was irrelevant, when it was commanded in the OT.
    Sorry, but I disagree. When he is writing prophecy, and describing mechanical actions of people like elevating off of the earth and meeting the Lord in the air, there is no reason not to take that literally. If it does not happen, then he is not who he says he is and he is not speaking for God.

    God can’t speak metaphorically? Better take that up with Jesus, Who used metaphor repeatedly. So every prophecy must be interpreted with a precise mechanical literal style? You are not getting that from a plain reading of the Bible.

    I think perhaps you’re edging a little bit into the realm of making the Bible the fourth member of the Trinity and those from whom you’ve learned it little gods.

  138. Ken wrote:

    and reading around the background, culture and even languages or the original recipients to get a greater feel for the book. What you put in will be what you get out!

    Just wondering if you would apply this principle to the gender texts as well. The historical and cultural background of Ephesus and Corinth, for example. Or just the historical and cultural background of the Hellenized areas during Bible times. Because if you do that, you will no longer be taking the “plain reading” as being the plain meaning. Those are not the same thing.

    That said, I have great sympathy for Doug’s POV because allegorical interpretations can be very imaginative. One problem is we don’t know what idioms might have been employed. So, “up to the horses’ bridles” may plainly mean “an unimaginable amount of bloodshed over a wide area” though that is not what the plain reading of the words is. OTOH, it does mean something pretty dire indeed will happen. Actually, the plain of Megiddo has historically been a battle zone for armies.

    Ken, when you do the historical and cultural background study of Ephesus and Corinth, will you let me know what you discovered about the plain reading vs. the plain meaning? You will be the first complementarian I have engaged on this topic who will. The others say it doesn’t matter in the case of 1 Timothy or Ephesians. Because women being actually viewed as equals by men will precipitate a cultural Armageddon or something. 😉

  139. Law Prof wrote:

    I just know he was trained as a legal scholar, because much of what he writes reads like high level legal reasoning put together by a brilliant mind

    We know he was trained by Gamaliel, IIRC, so that means he was well-versed in rabbinical law as well as the Hebrew scriptures. I totally agree that his reasoning is very tight and also dense. It is a pity that more people do not appreciate that about him.

    However, Paul was a Hebrew with a Hebrew POV as well as his Greek-influenced training in logic and rhetoric which is apparent to me, at least. So we have to take into account Hebrew word pictures and story-telling and elements of that like types and anti-types. His training and background in both worldviews made him perfect to bridge the two worldviews and to resolve clashes between them in favor of a new worldview of Christ’s Kingdom.

    In my authoritative opinion which is backed up by a Doctor of Divinity degree I printed this morning, in the rapture language Paul is echoing the scene at Christ’s ascension–rising into the clouds to heaven. I don’t see any reason to take “clouds” figuratively, though an argument could be made for that from the OT appearances of God as a cloud. I believe that Christ’s ascension happened as it is recorded in Acts, and I believe Paul is referring back to that. How those two things are connected and what that means for the last generation is something we will just have to wait and see.

  140. Law Prof wrote:

    Or a few billion years is also pretty plausible. But for a God for whom there is no time, He standing outside of time, not bound as are we, a thousand years is a day and a day a thousand years. I did get that one from a plain reading of the Bible.

    Right. Both are plausible explanations for how old the earth is. And to those of us who are bound by time, a day is normally a 24 hour period of evening and morning and (thankfully) lunch. I think God meant that. Your mileage may vary.

    Once a person accepts the concept of speculation anything is plausible.

    I find it interesting tho that Jeremiah (and guys like him) is blasted for holding a pre-trib / pre-millennial view by people who generally hold to an allegorical interpretation of Scripture. Why does anyone care? It’s just his version of what most consider allegory, so live and let live.

    The fact that he is a shill for TBN, and part of the xian/industrial complex is reason to hold him up for scrutiny. But he does get some things right and I doubt he is as bad as he seems. Not everyone’s cup of tea I am sure, but not the anti-christ, probably. If he turns out to be, well ok. He is not even my cup of tea.

    My point is that some of the words used in Scripture, and I think there are a LOT of them, don’t really require any interpretation – unless one starts from the premise that I am reading an allegory. Then a “day” must be something else. A “tribulation” must be something other than a period of time unlike any other ever in the history of the universe, regardless of the qualifiers that Jesus put on it.

    See the problem? Now I need a guru to tell me what it means. I am too stupid to understand that this time period called the “great tribulation” will be a period that is worse than any time period in the history of the universe, because Jesus didn’t “really” mean what He said there.

    This was my problem with Reformed theology. “World” doesn’t mean world. So many words don’t mean what they say. Now I need to know Greek and Hebrew. Now I need to know the cultural significance behind the words. Now I need to know this and that and the next thing, because I can’t possible possess enough God given intellect to understand what He said in a book. In fact, what kind of God says that little children can believe Him but can’t figure out how to write a book that ordinary people can understand? May as well just chuck it all and wait for it all to pan out. Who cares?

    But, on the other hand, if God actually gave us real words that have real, ordinary meaning, that can be translated into thousands of languages so that we can have peace with Him and enjoy our relationship with Him, then the words He used are life!

    Imo, most of the confusion and disunity comes from religious baggage we refuse to jettison, and from an unwillingness to be honest enough with ourselves to take God at His Word and let Him have His way with us. We don’t like what we read in the plain parts and use the difficult and not so clear parts as an excuse for disobedience. Allegory is often more comfortable because I can bend the Scriptures to my will and create my own religious system to my liking.

    Sorry. End of rant.

  141. Curiously enough, one of my roommates in college, who was an atheist, said that the only permissible way to interpret the Bible was hyper-literally (because it’s far easier to shoot down the Bible with the rock-solid evidence that proves the earth to be far older than 6,000 years if that’s the only valid interpretation of Genesis). And – who’d have thought? – discussions with him were about as fruitful as I’ve found discussions with hyper-literalist Christians to be.

  142. Doug wrote:

    Sorry, but I disagree. When he is writing prophecy, and describing mechanical actions of people like elevating off of the earth and meeting the Lord in the air, there is no reason not to take that literally. If it does not happen, then he is not who he says he is and he is not speaking for God.

    Then I take it you are greeting your brothers with a Holy Kiss? :o)

  143. Doug wrote:

    So why would that be?
    If you are born again, then there shouldn’t be any dread regarding the tribulation and certainly not any lack of hope.

    Hi Doug, I’m taking your question seriously.  Even though I should be working.

    I was converted in 1980, and as a young believer, i worked for a very mainstream evangelical ministry.  The premil-dispy view was taught as fact, and I didn’t know there were any options.  And maybe there was a high level of dysfunction, but I picked up a lot from how my coworkers applied “biblical truth.”  I recall one guy joking about how he was packing on extra weight, so he could survive the tribulation, and how we was racking up debt on his Visa card, and the AntiChrist could pay it off.  OK, he was a bit goofy.

    But the real teachers would talk about the establishment of Israel in 1948, and how that generation would see the rapture, and how a generation in the Bible is 40 years, so do the math.  And then the whole idea that with the Lord, 1000 years is as a day, and a day is 1000 years, so there were 2000 years [2 days] from Adam to Abraham, 2000 [2 days] to Christ, 2000 [2 days] to the second coming in 2000 A.D. but the Gregorian calendar is 4 years off, then there is a 7 year tribulation, so the tribulation starts in… 1989.  This was taught with great authority and conviction, by otherwise godly people.

    I apologize if this is giving anyone flashbacks.

    I also remember a conversation at dinner about whether there would be people in Seminary when Jesus returned.  Would He lead someone to start an education that they couldn’t finish?

    I left there with a firm conviction that the end was very near, and I really didn’t have time to develop a career or get married and have kids, or grow old with someone.  In retrospect, it was a lot like having a terminal disease.  In my mind, I had no future.  And I was depressed.

    Thankfully, God did lead me to a secular university, where I found some really good fellowship and teaching, but I went out of obedience, without any vision for a life I would never lead.  So I ended up with a useless degree, and the frustration that goes with that.

    Then I ended up in a church with a very smart pastor, who introduced us to a variety of views on the end times, at a time when that was very unusual [1987].  I worked out enough to believe that I might actually have enough time on earth to actually have a life, and God might have something to say about that.  Over time I developed a career, met my wife and had a couple of kids.  I even started investing for retirement, later than I should have.  Because I had hope. 

    And we made it past 1988, and the 88 Reasons Jesus would come back in 1988.

    I don’t know if my teenagers know that the main reason they exist is because my eschatology shifted.

    Maybe someone will say that I overreacted, that I took things too seriously, that I didn’t stay balanced.  Maybe.  But to me, I was simply being consistent.  Living out what I had been taught.  Unaware that there have been different understandings of the “end times” throughout church history.  (Luther thought he was living in the end times, and that the sale of indulgences was a sign of the end foretold in Matthew 24.)

    We can argue interpretations, and theologies.  And to be honest, I think I’m right.  But more importantly, I’ve had a life with hope.  Hope that living in the “end times” nearly kept me from. 

    That’s why.

  144. Law Prof wrote:

    God can’t speak metaphorically? Better take that up with Jesus, Who used metaphor repeatedly. So every prophecy must be interpreted with a precise mechanical literal style? You are not getting that from a plain reading of the Bible.

    I think perhaps you’re edging a little bit into the realm of making the Bible the fourth member of the Trinity and those from whom you’ve learned it little gods.

    Come on now….
    My point is simply that there has to be something in the text to change the meaning away from a normal understanding. Otherwise, being caught up to the clouds could mean getting on a plane or taking a spaceship for a ride. Thanks for talking down to me.

  145. Doug wrote:

    This was my problem with Reformed theology. “World” doesn’t mean world. So many words don’t mean what they say. Now I need to know Greek and Hebrew.

    I so understand where you are coming from. Sadly, the Bible has been made into a literal life Manual so things can get sort of off track fast.

    When I discovered the earlier translation of Teshuqa in Gen 3, I was stunned. Stunned, I tell you! As much as scholars wanted to convince me that the newer translation (by a Monk in the 1300’s called Pagnino) did not change the understanding, I said they were nuts. It changed everything about how I understood it. It made MORE SENSE. It sounded more like God, to be honest.

    I had the same revelation with Autheteo after years of digging on that one in 1 Tim. Only used once in the NT in that passage. Changed everything about how I viewed that passage.

    So for those who tell me that scripture is clear and we can understand it’s plain meaning….my foray into ancient Hebrew and 1st Century Koine Greek tells me different. But then, I have changed how I view scripture. I see it as inspired but not inerrant. I see it as a grand narrative whose collection of books was chosen by humans. There is much to glean from it, I totally agree.

  146. @ GSD:
    I can see why. Thanks for taking my question seriously. Now I understand you better, and get why you approach it from that perspective. Truthfully I don’t recognize any of that. It’s foreign to me. Thanks for sharing it.

  147. Lydia wrote:

    Then I take it you are greeting your brothers with a Holy Kiss? :o)

    Only the one’s without facial hair… Actually, in my tribe it’s more like a “holy chest bump”…

  148. A. Amos Love wrote:

    Doug
    You write…
    “That in the beginning (the very start of everything we see, day zero)”
    In the Bible? Is the word “Beginning” always referring to time?
    Gen 1:1 In “The Beginning” God created the heaven and the earth.
    What if the question becomes – Who is “The Beginning?”

    In reality, it is the first mention of Baseball in the Bible.

  149. @ Doug:

    Enjoyed your rant. 😉

    “But, on the other hand, if God actually gave us real words that have real, ordinary meaning, that can be translated into thousands of languages so that we can have peace with Him and enjoy our relationship with Him, then the words He used are life!”

  150. @ Doug: You originally gave a definition of "The Beginning" *assuming* it is referring to time – ""When" is "The Beginning" – (the very start of everything we see, day zero)”

    But – Now the question is – Who is “The Beginning?”

  151. Lydia wrote:

    I so understand where you are coming from. Sadly, the Bible has been made into a literal life Manual so things can get sort of off track fast.

    Again, reading Poem Truth as Math Truth.

    Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk theorized that the Age of Reason + Industrial Revolution led to a belief in Bible as Spiritual Engineering Handbook of “Math Truth” FACT, FACT, FACT.

  152. A. Amos Love wrote:

    @ Doug: You originally gave a definition of “The Beginning” *assuming* it is referring to time – “”When” is “The Beginning” – (the very start of everything we see, day zero)”

    But – Now the question is – Who is “The Beginning?”

    The God who reveals Himself in the rest of the Scriptures that follow. That’s who.

  153. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Excellent point. I am glad he added in the industrial revelation. the age of reason can get a bad rap all alone. when it seems to me … how we communicated concepts and ideas changed. Interesting to think about. I need to think more on it.

  154. lydia wrote:

    @ Doug:
    Oh yeah…now there is plain and clear meaning! Nope, you gotta do lips. :o)

    If it becomes culturally relevant to do so, I will create my own sect of non-kissing brothers who don’t wash feet either. And we won’t do windows. Either kind.

    And in actuality, it is consistent with the plain meaning since the letter was written to a specific group of people, and the admonition to greet each other with a holy kiss is not a command to all believers in all time periods. so…

  155. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    “Because when The World Ends Tomorrow and It’s All Gonna Burn, don’t expect anyone to dare great things or plan for the future, only Sell That Fire Insurance. When you have no future, the Future has a way of happening anyway without you, and you will end up Left Behind.”

    Thank you! I think this is actually happening, sorry to say. Some people don’t care about the present and this world because they are enraptured with “end times.”

  156. Doug wrote:

    lydia wrote:
    @ Doug:
    Oh yeah…now there is plain and clear meaning! Nope, you gotta do lips. :o)
    If it becomes culturally relevant to do so, I will create my own sect of non-kissing brothers who don’t wash feet either. And we won’t do windows. Either kind.
    And in actuality, it is consistent with the plain meaning since the letter was written to a specific group of people, and the admonition to greet each other with a holy kiss is not a command to all believers in all time periods. so…

    Why do the French do it? I believe Arabs and Iranians also do it.

  157. Mark wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    “Because when The World Ends Tomorrow and It’s All Gonna Burn, don’t expect anyone to dare great things or plan for the future, only Sell That Fire Insurance. When you have no future, the Future has a way of happening anyway without you, and you will end up Left Behind.”
    Thank you! I think this is actually happening, sorry to say. Some people don’t care about the present and this world because they are enraptured with “end times.”

    If you say that it does, then I am sure that it does. But not everywhere and with everyone who holds that view.

  158. GSD wrote:

    And we made it past 1988, and the 88 Reasons Jesus would come back in 1988.

    We can look at that era in much the same way we can look at the stuff we discuss regarding the YRR/Gospel Glitterati today. There was a buck to be made if one has all the answers that people are itching to hear. I think it is an intellectual mistake, however, to put the 88/1988 characters into the same category as the academic dispensationalists who are mainly progressives. That doesn’t mean they are right, only that we need to keep from arguing with straw men.

    For many young people, there is no memory of how enormously improbable the founding of the state of Israel was in 1947/48 as well as the outcome of the 6 Day War was when Jerusalem was again controlled by Jews. Heck, many don’t have any recollection of the Iron Curtain. There is no memory of how crazy some went over the first man in space being the one who was “mounting up to the stars.” I’ve lost track of how many anti-Christs there have been. There have been lots of overreactions and over-interpretations of events. How many people don’t want to know what God is up to, even if only in their personal lives? Someone who is obsessed with what something means is not any crazier than someone who is obsessed with what something does *not* mean. Remember Messiah was expected to be *merely* human, though in retrospect is seems “clear” to orthodox Christians that he would be the God-Man.

    If you study any one position from the viewpoint of the other positions’ presuppositions, you can find holes in all of the views. That’s why we shouldn’t get too wound up or tangled up with any POV and should, IMO, focus on eagerly desiring to see the Lord, however he works that out, and on studying and following his words.

    Dispensationalism as a system rose in popularity in the wake of the failure of postmillennialism’s optimism given the events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Postmillennialism gained in popularity with the advances of the 19th century. In the 20th century many were dissatisfied with the top-down clergy-dispensed theology and were eager to read and interpret the Bible for themselves. So they did!

    Augustine was a newspaper exegete of sorts who was trying to make sense of how things were unfolding in the Roman empire and its meaning for the church which had become conflated with the empire. So he used an allegorical hermeneutic which he learned from the Alexandrian school and the church became a spiritual empire. From that we get something like amillennialism. I assume the same kind of thing happened for a lot of Jews in 70 AD and 135 AD as well who were trying to figure out what was going on. Some Christians interpreted those events as God rejecting the Jews. That interpretation by Christians, of course, has had tragic consequences throughout history.

    A big dose of humility should be taken when thinking we start thinking our currently preferred system is the one, especially since within each system there is a multitude of variations on that theme. Humans are, by nature, interpreters of people and events. We need help from one another to do that well.

  159. Mark wrote:

    Why do the French do it? I believe Arabs and Iranians also do it.

    If your asking me, I have no idea. I think it’s gross. There is no way I am kissing the guys I know, no matter how holy they are.

  160. Law Prof wrote:

    God can’t speak metaphorically? Better take that up with Jesus, Who used metaphor repeatedly. So every prophecy must be interpreted with a precise mechanical literal style? You are not getting that from a plain reading of the Bible.

    That’s why I read the Bible literarily rather than literally.

  161. Doug wrote:

    But, on the other hand, if God actually gave us real words that have real, ordinary meaning, that can be translated into thousands of languages so that we can have peace with Him and enjoy our relationship with Him, then the words He used are life!

    I have a problem with what you seem to be saying. Are you saying that if God did thus and such then one can assume that everything that God did/does fits the same pattern? If He speaks plainly sometimes does that mean he speaks plainly all the time? How so? Did not Jesus speak plainly in some things and also speak in parables is other things?

    Now, I did not grow up from youth with some of the teachings and suppositions some of you all did, so naturally some of what I say and how I say it may sound rather odd. But it seems to me that there are in scripture lots (that would be lots) of things which do not fit into the “literal” category. Prophecies, dreams, proverbs, visions, much (most?) of the language in the psalms for example; not to forget some of Jesus’ own terminology, as in the kingdom is like—something to do with a pearl of great price? Oh, I get it, the kingdom is mostly spherical and white or grey and relatively small. Or faith the size of a mustard seed. Size? Would that be in metric or is there some spiritual dimension into which metric can be converted?

    I have to tell you that I come from a “tribe” that is so literal and math-fact driven that we give the lawyers ulcers every time they have to deal with us, but even I agree with LawProf all the way on this. And frankly this position that not everything is literal or plain or obvious in scripture is so self-evident to me that I cannot follow the thinking pattern of people who think otherwise.

  162. @ Doug:
    Doug wrote:

    Mark wrote:
    Why do the French do it? I believe Arabs and Iranians also do it.
    If your asking me, I have no idea. I think it’s gross. There is no way I am kissing the guys I know, no matter how holy they are.

    But it actually may be Biblical and isn’t a full mouth kiss. I have seen it — it isn’t gross in my opinion. We can pick and choose what we take literally. I have friends who are conservative Pentecostal Christians. In their sect, women never cut their hair. I don’t apply the verse literally that a woman’s hair must not be shorn because a verse indicates it is their crown of glory. They have chosen this interpretation. I believe much isn’t plain spoken and literal.

  163. A. Amos Love wrote:

    But – Now the question is – Who is “The Beginning?”

    I would say that the Triune God is the Beginning. He is the Head of all things, if we take “Bereshit” which is the Hebrew for “Genesis” literally. “Rosh” means “head” or “beginning” as in Rosh Hashanah. Of course, that literal and plain reading of “head” will get me in all manner of trouble with Complementarians who are hung up on “head” meaning “boss” because Wayne Grudem said so. In a sense, the rosh or beginning of our Bible is Bereshit, or Genesis.

    We know from John that the Logos was in the Beginning with God and that he was God and that by him everything was made. That messes with a lot of people’s ideas about the Trinity and “roles” within the Trinity. But that is what the text plainly says. 😉

  164. @ Doug:

    Doug

    I like your answer…
    “The God who reveals Himself in the rest of the Scriptures that follow. That’s who.”

    Yup – Jesus, in Re 1:8, Re 21:6, Re 22:13, calls himself, “The Beginning.”
    “I am Alpha and Omega, “The Beginning” and the end…”

    And, God, created ALL things by Jesus Christ. “The Beginning.”

    Eph 3:9
    And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery,
    which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God,
    who created ALL things by Jesus Christ:

    Heb 1:2
    Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
    whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
    by whom also he made the worlds;

    Col 1:14-17
    In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
    Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (Jesus)
    For by him (Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,
    visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,
    or powers: all things were created by him, (Jesus) and for him: (Jesus)
    And he (Jesus) is before all things, and by him (Jesus) all things consist.

    So, What if Gen 1:1, is NOT referring to time…
    But, referring to “the Alpha and Omega, “The Beginning” and the end…”???

    Couls Gen1:1, Be written this way and still be understood in it’s “Plain Reading?”

    Gen 1:1, In “The Beginning,” God created the heaven and the earth.
    Gen 1:1, In Jesus Christ, God created the heaven and the earth.

  165. Comment to Amos in moderation, presumably because I quoted the Hebrew word for “Genesis” which contains a naughty word in English. I get in moderation trouble when I quote Sproul or when I quote Moses… 😉

  166. Doug

    Seems Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables.

    Mt 13:34
    All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables;
    and without a parable spake he not unto them:

    Knowing they many would NOT understand.
    NO matter how “Plain” His speech.

    Mat 13:13-14
    Therefore speak I to them in parables:
    because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
    And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith,
    By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand;
    and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

    But – When Jesus was alone with His Disciples He would explain the parable.

    Mark 4:34
    But without a parable spake he not unto them:
    and when they were alone, he expounded ALL things to his disciples.
    ———–

    I’ve come to understand there are many things in scripture that is NOT “Plain.”
    And definitely subject to change…

    It’s the things I’ve learned after I knew it ALL…
    That really counts… 😉

  167. A. Amos Love wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    How long will it take for you to “moderate” your comment?
    it must have been a doozy…

    Nope, not at all. Just quoted Genesis in Hebrew which is “Beresh**”. And pointed out that Beresh** is closely related to “rosh” meaning “head” or “beginning” which makes Wayne Grudem’s kephale spin, probably literally.

  168. Nancy wrote:

    I have a problem with what you seem to be saying. Are you saying that if God did thus and such then one can assume that everything that God did/does fits the same pattern? If He speaks plainly sometimes does that mean he speaks plainly all the time? How so? Did not Jesus speak plainly in some things and also speak in parables is other things?

    No. Plain meaning means that words are to be understood as not having an alternative or hidden meaning regardless of the genre of the literature employed.

    So a parable that uses mustard seeds as an example is referring to literal mustard seeds. Jesus said “I am the door” does not mean that he is a literal wooden door, but that he is the entrance way to something. Nuance in language is recognized. Culture too.

    Like in future prophecy for instance, ancient warfare is depicted. There is nothing modern about it. So the implication is that all of the modern technology we currently enjoy goes away.

    As a general rule, a horse is a horse unless of course there is something in the context that changes the horse to something else, and then the something else has to be obvious and not subject to the whim of the interpreter.

    So when Jesus said that there was going to be a great tribulation that was greater than any previous tribulation and that would not be repeated, we should understand that to mean that the tribulation would not have been experienced before that time, and would never be repeated. We can argue about the meaning of the word “tribulation”, but not about the scale of it. Does that make sense?

  169. “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. So now let us make a covenant with our God to send away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Take action, for it is your duty, and we are with you; be strong, and do it.”

    For many years, the plain meaning of these verses was that God prohibits interracial marriage. Offer any arguments to the contrary, and you’d be branded a “liberal compromiser.” Of course now, with the benefit of hindsight and the peer pressure of popular opinion to the contrary, anyone who advocates for a “plain reading of scripture” will somehow magically decide that this doesn’t apply to us any more for some reason. But for many years, their intellectual ancestors believed that it did indeed apply.

  170. Gram3 wrote:

    Of course, that literal and plain reading of “head” will get me in all manner of trouble with Complementarians who are hung up on “head” meaning “boss” because Wayne Grudem said so.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

    From: Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass

  171. Lydia wrote:

    I so understand where you are coming from. Sadly, the Bible has been made into a literal life Manual so things can get sort of off track fast.

    I agree, Lydia. Those who have turned the NT into a book of laws have changed the intent of the “good news” entirely. Most often it was done with the sole purpose of promoting an agenda never intended. Jesus came for a very different purpose than creating/enforcing/promoting bondage to anyone for any purpose. Liberty, abundant life, joy, and peace were His message.

  172. Josh wrote:

    “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. So now let us make a covenant with our God to send away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Take action, for it is your duty, and we are with you; be strong, and do it.”
    For many years, the plain meaning of these verses was that God prohibits interracial marriage. Offer any arguments to the contrary, and you’d be branded a “liberal compromiser.” Of course now, with the benefit of hindsight and the peer pressure of popular opinion to the contrary, anyone who advocates for a “plain reading of scripture” will somehow magically decide that this doesn’t apply to us any more for some reason. But for many years, their intellectual ancestors believed that it did indeed apply.

    Not the intellectual ancestors who knew that we are not under the law, but under grace. The view against inter-racial marriage was not hermeneutically driven. it crossed denominational and theological boundaries.

  173. Doug wrote:

    Like in future prophecy for instance, ancient warfare is depicted. There is nothing modern about it. So the implication is that all of the modern technology we currently enjoy goes away.

    But that is not a necessary implication, even for us who tend toward the objective (a term which I prefer rather than “literal.”) I tend not to care for allegory, at least on the first pass, simply because it can become open-ended and endlessly subjective. Nevertheless, I think that insisting that “horse” must mean “4-legged animal” in every context is a mistake. Another possible “plain meaning” of “horse” is “means of war” or something like that. IOW, “horse” meant literally the 4-legged swift animal *and* also represented the means to make war effectively *at the time the text was written.* But the trans-cultural and trans-historical meaning would be *means of warfare* which would have different *applications* in different cultural and historical settings. For example, it might mean tank or armored personnel vehicle or fighter jet in our historical context. In this way, the Bible is truly a living text and not dead letters which don’t make sense.

    God commanded the kings of Israel not to acquire great numbers of horses not because there was anything wrong with horses but with what the horses represented–the ability to wage war and the temptation to rely on those means rather than relying on God.

    I think a transcultural meaning of “horses” in Revelation makes more sense than limiting the meaning strictly to the animal. I believe that a great battle will take place between the Lord and his enemies. That war may be fought by men on horseback, but I think it is more likely that it will be fought using the weapons available when the Lord returns. I think the imagery of the Lord sitting on a horse with a sword fits into this interpretive methodology as well. That’s how kings fought battles, and people across cultures understand this.

    I certainly belabored the point…

  174. Gram3 wrote:

    Doug wrote:
    Like in future prophecy for instance, ancient warfare is depicted. There is nothing modern about it. So the implication is that all of the modern technology we currently enjoy goes away.
    But that is not a necessary implication, even for us who tend toward the objective (a term which I prefer rather than “literal.”) I tend not to care for allegory, at least on the first pass, simply because it can become open-ended and endlessly subjective. Nevertheless, I think that insisting that “horse” must mean “4-legged animal” in every context is a mistake. Another possible “plain meaning” of “horse” is “means of war” or something like that. IOW, “horse” meant literally the 4-legged swift animal *and* also represented the means to make war effectively *at the time the text was written.* But the trans-cultural and trans-historical meaning would be *means of warfare* which would have different *applications* in different cultural and historical settings. For example, it might mean tank or armored personnel vehicle or fighter jet in our historical context. In this way, the Bible is truly a living text and not dead letters which don’t make sense.
    God commanded the kings of Israel not to acquire great numbers of horses not because there was anything wrong with horses but with what the horses represented–the ability to wage war and the temptation to rely on those means rather than relying on God.
    I think a transcultural meaning of “horses” in Revelation makes more sense than limiting the meaning strictly to the animal. I believe that a great battle will take place between the Lord and his enemies. That war may be fought by men on horseback, but I think it is more likely that it will be fought using the weapons available when the Lord returns. I think the imagery of the Lord sitting on a horse with a sword fits into this interpretive methodology as well. That’s how kings fought battles, and people across cultures understand this.
    I certainly belabored the point…

    I have heard that theory, and I appreciate that perspective a lot. However, I think that the levels of destruction (portrayed in Revelation) lean toward a shrinking population, small habitable land mass, and rolling back of technology.

    Didn’t Einstein say: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” We have the ability right now to send the world back into the stone age. I firmly believe that it is just a matter of time.

    And I believe it is in Ezekiel 39 that the weapons of war are burned for fuel for 7 years. Did that ever happen? I don’t believe so. It’s not a hill I would die on, but that’s where the “plain reading” come into view and makes sense to me. You can’t burn tanks or jets for fuel to cook over. But you can burn wooden spears, shields, and bucklers.

    I have a hard time seeing helicopter gunships and jets. Or the U.S.A. for that matter.

  175. @ Victorious:

    Agreed, with this addition. Jesus abolished the written letter which kills. But that does not mean he brought license, since he embodied the greater Law in his person. So, if we are Christ-followers, we must be followers of Christ’s law which is the Law of Love for God and Neighbor. In another paradox of the Kingdom, the Law of Christ is both more freeing *and* more constraining than the law of letters. The demands are greater, but so is the power provided to observe it.

  176.   __

    “Doctor, My Eyes?”

    hmmm…

    LORD, I humbly ask, together with the prayers of all sincere lovers of truth, that we may have much of that Spirit which Christ promised at Pentecost, which guides into all truth; and that the blessed and powerful influences of this Spirit would make truth ‘victorious’ in the world…

    Thanks Bunches!

    “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for ‘Thy’ testimonies are my daily meditations…”

    (sweet!)

    Dr. Sopy    🙂
    ___
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGMnSimO2xMa

  177. Doug wrote:

    Didn’t Einstein say: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” We have the ability right now to send the world back into the stone age. I firmly believe that it is just a matter of time.

    Certainly, given the brittleness of modern society, that is quite possible. We don’t know what the intervening history might look like. Einstein’s quote probably referred to thermonuclear war, but I am inclined to think it might be a really big–and I mean fratboy big–solar burp which would knock out communications and the electrical grid, etc. Mannkind will find a way to wage war regardless of means.

    I’m not saying that “horses” will absolutely not be actual horses. I don’t know. I was making a broader point about how to assign the plain meaning to a text that has a meaning created in one culture but in another sense has meaning which transcends a particular culture. If we make the same application in our context that the original audience would have made in their context, then we may make a big mistake.

    The stinging locusts of may be insects or they may be teen-inesy flying drones. I don’t know what that language means specifically. It doesn’t seem to fit either helicopters or insects–that hair of a woman thing. Or maybe it will be some genetically-engineered weird creature. At the time, locusts would have been symbolic of armies which literally, in the Biden sense, devoured the land. Of course the people of the first century would also have been familiar with the insect swarms. So there’s that.

    The Holy Land today bears witness to the repeated armies of “locusts” which have devoured it. But, there is also the imagery of the plagues in Egypt. In any case, what I think I know is that, when they “sting” people, those people will want to die but will not be able to do so. At least that’s what I think John is communicating, and I may well be confusing locusts and scorpions here since I don’t have Revelation memorized!

    He may be saying “things are going to be way worse than can be imagined” in various ways. Considering how bad things have been at various times and places, that means things are going to be really, really bad–so bad that people will know that they are experiencing the Great Tribulation.

    And that doesn’t even take into account the date Revelation was composed and what that might mean. Was John referring obliquely to the events of 70 AD? If so, in retrospect from a later date or prophetically from an earlier date? Or both, considering near events and later events in 135 AD and at the return of Christ?

  178. Doug wrote:

    And in actuality, it is consistent with the plain meaning since the letter was written to a specific group of people, and the admonition to greet each other with a holy kiss is not a command to all believers in all time periods. so…

    When in Rome? :o)

  179. Doug wrote:

    Like in future prophecy for instance, ancient warfare is depicted. There is nothing modern about it. So the implication is that all of the modern technology we currently enjoy goes away.

    Wouldn’t the audience they are writing to be a factor?

    Did I not read somewhere that there exists a seed smaller than a mustard seed? My point is that the texts were written for a 1st century audience and their understanding. Sort of like how “braided” hair might be perceived in the 1st Century and so on.

  180. TW wrote:

    Michaela wrote:

    @Todd,
    Just an off-topic update (which I left a post for you on one of the other articles):
    1. In your honor, I took all of my Mahaney books (a stack) and put them in the paper recycling; and
    2. I finally got around to writing a very negative review on amazon about Mark Dever’s 9 Marks. I compare it to the Salem Witch Trials.

    Good for you Michaela. I wish a whole lot of “pastors” would take their cue from you and dump Mahaney’s books. I don’t see any evidence of it happening. To remain in good standing in the gospel glitterati club it appears that no matter the offense you never speak negatively of a fellow club member.

    We happen to have two prominent members of the good old boys gospel glitterati club in Dubai this week. I am writing a blog about it now.

    I will check out your review on Amazon. Writing a review on there is a good idea.

    @Todd,

    Great about your upcoming blog article. Yes we need to write about these guys’ books on amazon…and I’m glad I finally posted something negative about 9 Marks.

  181. Lydia wrote:

    Did I not read somewhere that there exists a seed smaller than a mustard seed? My point is that the texts were written for a 1st century audience and their understanding. Sort of like how “braided” hair might be perceived in the 1st Century and so on.

    Yep. Here’s a discussion of the matter by someone who seems to be slightly more liberal than I (not that that’s a problem, by any means!):

    https://diogenesii.wordpress.com/2007/06/22/what-is-the-smallest-seed-in-the-world/

    For what it’s worth, I’ve even heard about the existence of seeds smaller than the mustard seed from fundamentalist-leaning ministers, who dismissively hand wave it away as “not a real contradiction” before blowing the raspberries and saying that my mother was a hamster and my father smelt of elderberries. Ok, maybe not that last bit, but it does grind my gears when pastors of the conservative evangelical persuasion make light of serious questions like that.

  182. @ Doug:

    Actually the cheek kiss is cultural in romance cultures and Midfle Eastern cultures and Eastern European cultures. I would feel slightly culturally uncomfortable with this. It helped spread the flu epidemic in France in 2009. I was slightly messing with you. I am with you on the kiss. But if it wasn’t s cultural and doesn’t have the same cultural implication it does here, I can’t be offended.

  183. Lydia wrote:

    Wouldn’t the audience they are writing to be a factor?

    Did I not read somewhere that there exists a seed smaller than a mustard seed?

    Your point about the audience is an important one. We cannot know what part of the Bible means to us if we don’t first determine what the meaning is to the original audience.

    WRT the mustard seed, I wonder if that was possibly the smallest seed that the general audience would have known about. I don’t think Jesus was making a point about sizes of seeds but about the extent of faith. So, if the mustard seed was the smallest seed, as generally known, then Jesus’ statement makes sense and is not a contradiction. The intent of the speaker as well as the understanding and pre-understanding of the audience contribute to the meaning in a particular context and the appropriate application in other contexts.

    WRT the cheek/air kiss, it is universal among my friends an acquaintances from the Middle East, and AFAIK it is merely a cordial form of greeting without other meanings. The plain meaning would be to greet one another warmly, ISTM. Yet another place where comps make exception to their “what it plainly says” hermeneutic.

  184. @ Gram3:
    You are right about hugs/kisses in most non-Western European cultures. Same in South American, countries on the Mediterranean, etc. It is absolutely normal and has no sexual implications. I am not sure why N. American men are so skeeved out by it! Makes no sense to me.

  185. @ numo:
    I think North American men are so put off by kissing because the second worst thing, after being gay, is being perceived to be gay (or maybe it’s the other way around). A Google image search for “men kissing” will confirm that (unless it won’t, if Google’s just showing me what it thinks I want to see…).

  186. @ Josh:
    I think it is all cultural. I come from a non demonstrative family. My grandfather on one side was a conservative Lutheran who frowned at physical affection and other things. The other grandfather was even more non demonstrative. Friends have accused me of showing my aversion to hugging because I place about 6 inches between myself and the person hugging me. The chest must not touch. My brother jokingly calls it a Methodist hug and we aren’t Methodist. I am better than I used to be and I probably wouldn’t be offended by a kiss or hug from a person from the cultures you describe. I think Doug accurately expressed a North American view that described it as “gross.” Also with the flu epidemic?

  187. @ Mark:
    It’s been an adjustment for me. My family isn’t quite that non-demonstrative, and my parents are definitely into familial hugging, but as I’ve made friends with some avowed huggers, I’ve tried to stretch my comfort zone a bit to accommodate them. It’s been a challenge. Like this: “Ok, we’ve been hugging awkwardly in the airport for what feels like half a minute now, can we go? I’m going to let go now. Oh, you’re not letting go yet? Wow, this is getting even more awkward. Now I’m thinking that I shouldn’t have obliged you in the first place and just pretended that I’m completely allergic to hugging.”

  188. @ Doug:
    Doug, you are going far, far away from the literal meaning of that passage, the plain meaning. So, you have abandoned your position that all that is in the Bible can be understood literally, in English, (btw, by selected, biased translators!!!!) and to be obeyed to the letter. What part of the OT law do you CHOOSE not to observe?

  189. @ Doug:
    You again wander away from the “plain” meaning to some other interpretation. Do you wear cotton/polyester blend clothing?

  190. @ Josh:
    Yeah, i get that, but there’s something a bit (imo) pathological about it. I mean, the guys who do hug and kiss are mainly from societies that a pretty (often very) macho, so…??? There is an unspoken assumption among Anglos that men should suppress their emotions, which (again, imo) is not only unhealthy but a foolish attempt at squelching or denying actual humanity. I’m not saying that everyone has to be super-demonstrative, but the perception that showing affection (and other emotions) is for women and/or gay men is absurd, and says plenty about the innate difficulties of strict gender roles.

    In Brazil, men commonly greet friends with a hug and cheek kisses – am a fan of much Brazilian music and have sern the title “Um abraco no Bonfa” (a hug for – literally, to – the composer Luis Bonfa” deliberately mistranslated in US album covers as “Hello to Bonfa.” Just.so.unnecessary.

  191. Doug wrote:

    Like in future prophecy for instance, ancient warfare is depicted. There is nothing modern about it. So the implication is that all of the modern technology we currently enjoy goes away.

    Ah, yes.
    Armageddon WILL be entirely fought on horseback with swords.
    Heard that in The Age of Hal Lindsay and Christians For Nuclear War; then the explanation (“plain reading of SCRIPTURE”?) was that “This WILL be because of The Energy Crisis”.

  192. Arce wrote:

    @ Doug:
    You again wander away from the “plain” meaning to some other interpretation. Do you wear cotton/polyester blend clothing?

    Have you ever heard of a 40s/50s-vintage Seventh Day Adventist book titled “What Jesus Said”? It’s largely about the SDA End Times checklist, “a plain reading of SCRIPTURE” which is vastly different than the usual Darbyite Secret Rapture checklist. Proven and Justified with the exact same chapter-and-verse Proof Texts.

    That book was one of the two which broke the hold of Darby and Hal Lindsay on my brain. (The other was a couple End Time Prophecy tracts from 30-40 years ago claiming THIS IS IT!!!!!! from “current events” that were now forgotten.)

  193. Doug wrote:

    Not the intellectual ancestors who knew that we are not under the law, but under grace.

    As in No True Scotsman?

  194. Doug wrote:

    I have a hard time seeing helicopter gunships and jets. Or the U.S.A. for that matter.

    Heretic! The Puritans said America would be New Jerusalem! Oh, wait, they were just being allegorical.

    I agree with your reluctance to give allegory free reign. These are difficult questions when we get down to the level of “what does this phrase mean” in Revelation or even places in the Psalms. Maybe we aren’t meant to know precisely what some of the text means in its details. It is easier for me to obsess on the the details, which is one reason I have trouble with allegories like Pilgrim’s Progress and some others because I lose the plot in the details of “what does this mean?” Forget Tolkien for me. If it can’t be outlined, it’s not happening. When it comes to Revelation, I need to try to focus on the Big Picture which is that Jesus is coming again, visibly, and he will utterly defeat his enemies, and those of us who are in him will live in the Father’s house forever. On the New Earth in the New Creation. I think there will be an intervening Millennium of at least 1,000 years, but I’m happy to skip it, too, if the Lord wants to do things that way. Steve Brown used to say he was Amil, but grab him on the way up if he turns out to be wrong about it.

    I very much appreciate your interaction on this, along with the others who have commented. Some good thoughts.

  195. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Doug wrote:
    Not the intellectual ancestors who knew that we are not under the law, but under grace.
    As in No True Scotsman?

    Not sure what you mean, HUG. I was a member of a church which split because the pastor decided he would conduct the marriage of a black man and a white woman. AFAIK, the belief regarding God’s supposed displeasure with race mixing was cultural and not limited to a particular denomination or eschatological POV. The current Genderite obsession with God’s supposed displeasure with females teaching males will follow a similar trajectory, I think, and future generations will wonder who spiked the punch at the gospelly conference.

    However, I frequently miss your references due to my lack of knowledge about many things…

  196. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    Except that the Puritans weren’t being allegorical (as i bet you know already).

    It’s late…Going to bed before I get in more trouble.

  197. Gram3 wrote:

    Not sure what you mean, HUG. I was a member of a church which split because the pastor decided he would conduct the marriage of a black man and a white woman. AFAIK, the belief regarding God’s supposed displeasure with race mixing was cultural and not limited to a particular denomination or eschatological POV. The current Genderite obsession with God’s supposed displeasure with females teaching males will follow a similar trajectory, I think, and future generations will wonder who spiked the punch at the gospelly conference.
    However, I frequently miss your references due to my lack of knowledge about many things…

    I think it’s a slightly oblique reference to the fallacy invoked by Doug’s implication that “No true literalist would be a racist” when confronted with the fact that in the 1800’s, many literalists supported slavery, and later in the 1900’s, racism. Hence, the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    As if there wasn’t enough controversy to go around already, I’ll throw some more gas on the fire and say that I predict the question of the inclusion of LGBT people in the church will follow that trajectory as well, in a short – at least in geologic terms – amount of time.

  198. @ Josh:

    I think Jesus was communicating to his audience in a way they would have recognized. The mustard seed would probably have been more familiar than the tiniest strain of Orchid seed. :o)

  199. @ Gram3:

    Great points I missed before I commented. I hope Doug knows I was funning him a bit about the Holy Kiss. He is asking some good questions. I once bought a book that outlined the different interpretations of Revelation. Sheesh! That is about all I have to say on it but I might steal Steve Browns line. :o)

  200. @ Lydia:
    Doug was a good sport. Hope he comes back. He did have some good questions and I appreciated reading his viewpoint.

  201. Gram3 wrote:

    It is easier for me to obsess on the the details, which is one reason I have trouble with allegories like Pilgrim’s Progress and some others because I lose the plot in the details of “what does this mean?”

    Me too! I could not finish “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard, either.

  202. numo wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Is this book based on Ellen White’s “visions”?

    Not sure; it hinted against “flesh foods” but never mentioned Flood Geology.

    Funny that the YECs quote Ellen White chapter-and-verse about Genesis Flood Geology (with the labels painted over) while denouncing her as a CULT CULT CULT leader. When the lasting impression I had of SDA literature was Standard Fundagelicalism differing in some minor details here and there.

  203. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    Except that the Puritans weren’t being allegorical (as i bet you know already). 😉

    Not only were THEY the New Jerusalem, but the Chosen People in the Exodus (from those Anglo-Papist Pharoahs), they were settling the Promised Land (Massachusetts) just like in the Book of Joshua — including cleansing it of the Canaanites already living in The Land.

  204. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    She had all kinds of visions and prophecies. Hardcore SDA folks believe in them. Once saw a poster re. the pope as antichrist, per White, in the vestibule of an SDA church. So it serms that at least some of her prophecies were, shall we say, derivative at best.

  205. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Yeah. Any standard work on the Puritans outlines it in painful detsil. Otoh, i can’t blame the English for being paranoid about Catholic monarchs, given what Mary Tudor did. Am not trying to justify prejufice, but if you keep going through Chas. I, the political motivation becomes obvious – fears of being annexed by France, which had some basis in reality, and other things as well.

  206. Vega Magnus wrote:

    I vividly recall Jeremiah saying in a radio broadcast that as the end of the world approaches, everything will begin to cast very noticeable shadows, even things that did not previously have a shadow

    numo wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Good gravy, that sounds like those goofy Warrens who used to go around, exorcising supposedly haunted houses. Does anyone remember them? I don’t remember any talk about the end times, but they were really big on demons.
    Yeah. Any standard work on the Puritans outlines it in painful detsil. Otoh, i can’t blame the English for being paranoid about Catholic monarchs, given what Mary Tudor did. Am not trying to justify prejufice, but if you keep going through Chas. I, the political motivation becomes obvious – fears of being annexed by France, which had some basis in reality, and other things as well.

  207. Bill wrote:

    @ dee:
    Good common sense comments about the end times. Actually the rapture theory as taught today is a relatively new theory supposedly received buy a young lady in the early 18 hundreds in a so called vision she says she received.

    Precisely right. She apparently inspired the founders of the 19th C Adventist movement.
    It has never been at all clear to me why people listened to her. I suppose we must all be grateful that she had her supposed “revelation” when she did; 50 years earlier, she would have burnt at the stake for that kind of thing.

  208. OK, in my 1st comment in this thread, above, the gremlins of the internet inserted the words from “numo wrote @ headless unicorn guy” and cast the rest, which I wrote myslef, into italics.
    Just in case anyone was trying (with no conspicuous success) to figure out what was what. (I had trouble, & I knew, starting out, what words were mine. I hate, loathe, & despise gremlins. Just saying…).

  209. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Doug wrote:
    Like in future prophecy for instance, ancient warfare is depicted. There is nothing modern about it. So the implication is that all of the modern technology we currently enjoy goes away.
    Ah, yes.
    Armageddon WILL be entirely fought on horseback with swords.
    Heard that in The Age of Hal Lindsay and Christians For Nuclear War; then the explanation (“plain reading of SCRIPTURE”?) was that “This WILL be because of The Energy Crisis”.

    Actually, I think it will be because of the reduced population and the destruction of the infrastructure. If you just do a body count, by then there just aren’t that many people left on the planet. Technology needs a supply infrastructure and people to keep it running.
    I have never read Hal.

  210. Mark wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    Doug was a good sport. Hope he comes back. He did have some good questions and I appreciated reading his viewpoint.

    As do I appreciate all viewpoints expressed here.

    RE: Kissing men Biblical Style.
    I could probably get into that if it were a thing here (as long as we are talking air kisses), but it has been replaced by the manly hand-grab-chest/shoulder-bump.

    Considering my past history with abusive men, struggles with R.A.D, and a Lutheran upbringing I think I am doing pretty good in the hugs department. You have been cyber-hugged.

    Besides, you really need to see these guys. There are some I wouldn’t touch if I was a ten foot pole.

    RE: End Times discussion
    I really have enjoyed it. Hope I didn’t offend anyone. We are just about to start our study of Daniel & Revelation in our men’s group, so it will be interesting to see how many black helicopters and drones appear.

    Lots of my questions are unanswered and probably always will be. And the views I hold now are subject / open to correction. And I will continue to ask why can’t it just mean what it says?

    Personally, I still think the clock will be rolled back on technology and that the world will look very different at that time, whenever it is.
    Being a literal “toothless fundamentalist” (meaning: I am a classic fundamentalist and I am missing real, literal teeth…) is the best place for my level of understanding. So hopefully my brand is welcome at the table. I suspect it is.
    Peace, and Maranatha!

  211. Doug

    Yes – Enjoyed the conversation…

    And, we are in agreement when you write…
    “Lots of my questions are unanswered and probably always will be.
    And the views I hold now are subject / open to correction.”

    And it seems your “Plain Reading” of Gen 1:1…
    Is different from my “Plain Reading” of Gen 1:1… 😉

    “In Jesus Christ God created the heaven and the earth”

    And I really love the “Plain Reading” of Daniel…

  212. Arce wrote:

    No True Scotsman fallacy

    The “plain meaning” has more in common with the literary meaning than literalism, which I have never advocated entirely.

    It simply is shorthand for the idea that words used to do have hidden, spiritual meanings. Obviously there is more to it.

    And yes, since I am not under the Mosaic Law in any respect, and am a gentile believer in the church age, I mix clothing all of the time. I even use Thinsulate!
    You might be happy to know that I consider Spandex anathema…!

  213. @ Gram3:

    Yes – “But that is what the text plainly says. ;)”

    “I would say that the Triune God is the Beginning. He is the Head of all things…”

  214. Gram3 wrote:

    That messes with a lot of people’s ideas about the Trinity and “roles” within the Trinity. But that is what the text plainly says. 😉

    Is it true that the trinity is an invention of the RCC circa 800 with the introduction of the Athanasian creed?

  215. Doug

    And as you go through Daniel slowly…
    I Pray… that the Father of Glory would Reveal himself to you…
    And – Reveal His Mysteries…
    And – Give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation…

    Eph 1:17
    That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
    may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

    Col 1:26
    Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages
    and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

  216. Doug wrote:

    Is it true that the trinity is an invention of the RCC circa 800 with the introduction of the Athanasian creed?

    William G. is better equipped to provide the historical details of the debate. The idea that there are static and unchanging eternal roles of authority and submission between the otherwise equally divine Persons of the Trinity–specifically the Father and Son–is a new invention which was contrived to explain why women can be consigned to an eternal role of submission to the male’s eternal role of ruling while maintaining that males and females are still equal in dignity, value, and worth.

    No one disputes that the Son submitted to the Father’s will while the Son was incarnated here. That, of course, demonstrates nothing about the eternal relationship between Father and Son. But such is the tortured logic of the “complementarians.” George Knight III had to come up with something to keep women from taking over the pulpits and bringing down the wrath of God because we would be violating the role boundaries which God did not see fit to actually mention in the Bible. Or something. Maybe you can make some sense of it.

  217. Gram3 wrote:

    No one disputes that the Son submitted to the Father’s will while the Son was incarnated here. That, of course, demonstrates nothing about the eternal relationship between Father and Son

    I believe scripture qualifies the timeframe for Jesus’ subordination in His humanity.

    Heb 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

    In addition, lest the comps overlook Jesus’ authority, He said that He had “all” authority in heaven and earth. Matt. 28:18

    So… how should they equate a wife’s submission to Jesus?

  218. Victorious wrote:

    @ Victorious:
    clarification
    So… how should they equate a wife’s submission to that of Jesus’ submission?

    I don’t think they should if they are saying that *only* women are called to imitate Christ in his submission. I think that all who are in Christ should look like him, and that attitude is what Paul is getting at in Ephesians when he described what life in Christ should look like for both males and females. The one-way submission advocated by the “complementarians” is not supported by the Bible read in context.

    Whenever someone constructs an ad hoc argument, it tends to look ad hoc and tends to be unpersuasive to people who are able and ready to think. The argument for female submission to males by appealing to an undemonstrated-but-merely-asserted eternal subordination of the Son to the Father appears contrived because it is contrived. But just try pointing that out to someone who believes it. I have been accused mainly of capitulating to cultural pressure or rebelling against authority. Which is just an ad hom because they have no real refutation of the points made against their position.

  219. @ Victorious:

    The “complementarians” rely on the good will of people. People trust the leaders and don’t examine what they are saying like Bereans should. If you look at the Danvers Statment, for example, the authors begin the statement with poisoning the well with all the scarystuff without ever demonstrating that the scarystuff is caused by women achieving civil equality. Because scarystuff happened after or in tandem with (post hoc) women being recognized as equals, people believe equality *caused* scarystuff. Therefore, we need to re-work the concept of equality so that scarystuff will be banished from the earth. This is another form of blame-the-woman. As I have said before, if the platform shoe were on the other foot, females would be oppressing males as they did in Ephesus.

    Now, curiously when keeping in mind the comp argument, male superiority was unquestioned in ancient Greek culture, and women were subordinate. Yet there was all kinds of scarystuff was rampant in ancient Greece. This simple observation eludes the comps.

    A good example of an ad hoc argument is the famous ten or so reasons for male authority before the fall. I think Ware and Grudem have a version, but it is standard fare on the comp menu. Owen (not John) probably has an annotated version available at CBMW. None of the “reasons” are supported by scripture unless it is eisegeted, and many of the “reasons” for God ordaining male authority are broken by God himself. How odd of God to do that. Yet somehow multiplying points of non-evidence amounts to proving an assertion.

  220. Gram3 wrote:

    Ken, when you do the historical and cultural background study of Ephesus and Corinth, will you let me know what you discovered about the plain reading vs. the plain meaning?

    My thinking on Our Discussion has been based on the following influences:

    From your side of the Pond, James Hurley wrote a book which went into great detail about male/female customs in both the OT and NT, and dealt extensively with the usual texts on this. J Adams as well a bit, but I’ve parted company with him for example on divorce and remarriage.

    From my side of the Pond:

    Dick Lucas (Anglican) whose sermons I have listened to extensively. Very thoughtful verse by verse. Thinks we should always be prepared to re-visit these texts to make sure we are neither allowing nor forbidding something we shouldn’t. He’s done Eph 5, for example, but being single was very modest in teaching how this should be lived out. Similar to John Stott in theology.

    Roger Price, charismatic bible teacher. Was very good at giving background and making the bible come alive. I remember him doing a series on 1 Cor 11 going into great detail over head-covering customs in the contemporary culture. Strongly in favour of women ministering.

    David Pawson. Did an excellent introduction to each book of the bible. His talk on the pastorals gives excellent background, looking at the text to see just what problems Paul was seeking to correct. Very strong on the OT and Jewish influence/way of thinking that occurs in the NT. Pawson has spent a considerable amount of time ministering to men to try to get them to take responsibility in church life again, this having largely been abandonned to the women, who actually don’t like it. (I think this is tied in with trends in UK and European culture over the last 100 years.)

    May have been influenced a bit by John Stott and Dr Lloyd-Jones, and of course my own reading of the text and discussion with numerous others over the years with a variety of views. I was for a while in New Frontiers with Terry Virgo as ‘apostle’ and they were quite hot on this stuff – though not overboard.

    I suppose all of the above would be more or less in the moderate complementarian camp (if we have to have camps). However, I doubt if any of them would be very welcome at an American Patriarchs’ Convention. At the time I used to give such issues lots of thought, to get a strictly egalitarian view would have meant going to theological liberals or dodgy charismatics. To some extent this holds true, I’ve dabbled on Rachel Evans’ blog, and in Germany the local church is influenced by Willow Creek and seeker sensitivity – and imo an indifference to what the bible says on the matter.

    There is the very real danger of reading the NT in the light of our modern culture and prejudices. Both egal and comp can become an agenda or even an idol.

    I agree with you (my preferrerd mode) that background reading is very useful, perhaps sometimes essential, but I would still maintain that it is as a rule possible to understand the text without doing this providing you are careful. An extensive knowledge of the OT is more than helpful, and this takes time to acquire.

    I would estimate about 95% of my Christian life has been spent dealing with subjects other than this one! 🙂

  221. Gram3 wrote:

    The “complementarians” rely on the good will of people. People trust the leaders and don’t examine what they are saying like Bereans should.

    True, but even a new believer can’t overlook the numerous warnings by Jesus and Paul about being deceived. That’s imo a game-changer from good will to intentional ignorance and/or laziness.

    I’ve shared a dream I had some 38 yrs. ago with Dee and Deb about women and their freedom. It’s a bit lengthy so I won’t share it here, but the bottom line is women are free, they just don’t KNOW it. It’s imperative that they become Bereans to claim the freedom from feeling marginalized, insignificant and/or oppressed.

    Jesus, after all, came for that purpose:

    Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and new sight to the blind, to set at liberty those having been crushed…

  222. I worked at Cedarville for 14 years and Jeremiah is on the BOT there and I never knew he didn’t have an earned Doctorate! Wow, how did that one slip by me. I agree, one should only publicly/professionally use the term “Doctor” if one has actually EARNED a doctorate and it has been conferred by an accredited institution which is authorized to confer PhDs and other legit doctorates (ie, DMA, EdD, etc). @ Law Prof:

  223. Doug wrote:

    Being a literal “toothless fundamentalist” (meaning: I am a classic fundamentalist and I am missing real, literal teeth…) is the best place for my level of understanding. So hopefully my brand is welcome at the table. I suspect it is.

    Believe it or not Doug I am bane to both liberal and conservative theologies alike. I pick and choose what I take literally from Scripture and what I don’t. Some of my liberal colleagues will bristle when I reject the theistic branch of the evolutionary paradigm in favor of intelligent design, and some of my fundamentalist brethren will show signs of Jihad when they find out that I no longer sign on to the Western view of sin and redemption and have adopted a Jewish view instead.
    I’ve said this before but it deserves saying again, TWW is like Al Andalus of old before the inquisition took over.

  224. Muff Potter wrote:

    I’ve said this before but it deserves saying again, TWW is like Al Andalus of old before the inquisition took over.

    Yeah, I think we are all pretty eclectic in the theology department. I can appreciate where you are coming from. As for me, I have hidden books I read under covers because I don’t want to deal with the flack of someone seeing them. I appreciate freedom of thought and expression, and try not to go all medieval on anyone. Sometimes my training gets in the way, but I hope for not too long.

    And I always learn something from the people here. I was thinking about this at lunch; there is a “something” that attracts us all here. Maybe that “something” is a fundamental (pardon the word) recognition that the modern expression of the church is hopelessly broken, especially in the West, and a desire to do something about it because we have all been touched by God in some way.

    My journey of faith has never been a straight line. I doubt that many of us would follow (or take) a traditional pattern of faith, whatever that is. I sense that many of us are on the road less traveled because we have been down the other road and retraced our steps to find the fork. A lot of the time, I just want to see if I am really crazy or not.

    Thanks for the encouraging words. Now I am off to read about Al Andalus!

  225. Ken wrote:

    At the time I used to give such issues lots of thought, to get a strictly egalitarian view would have meant going to theological liberals or dodgy charismatics.

    That isn’t necessary, actually. I certainly wouldn’t go to a source that denies the authority of the Bible or who deny the fundamentals–in the original sense of the term–of the faith.

    How about taking a look at conservative evangelicals who have examined the texts in dispute and have changed their minds because they, like me, saw that the Bible does not say what the self-styled champions of Biblical authority say that it says. I and others have pointed out where the ESV has actually changed the text to fit their agenda. That is not what conservatives who are really concerned to maintain the authority of the Bible do. It is, however, the pose adopted by those who wish to use that appeal to further their agenda.

    Have you read Discovering Biblical Equality? Also, Ron Pierce has lectures on UToob that are quite interesting. Talbot Seminary is hardly liberal, and there are both “comp” and “egal” professors on staff. Pierce used to be “complementarian” but changed after examining the texts without those presuppositions. I, like you, was not particularly interested in the issue until some comps said things which I *knew* were not in the actual texts. That’s when I started looking at things a little more closely and asking myself why someone would tout their valor in defending the authority of the Bible while at the same time adding to what it said or taking away from what it actually says. I realized I had been had.

    The problem is that the “comps” have so effectively poisoned the well of discussion and obscured the texts with their smoke and the sheer volume of their words. I know that is ironic coming from me. When you blow away all of their smoke, things become a little clearer. But first you have to recognize they *could be* blowing smoke. When I investigated, I found that they are indeed blowing nothing but smoke.

    May I humbly suggest that your interest might be a little greater if the issue hit a little closer to home? It feels OK to you because men are called into the hero and ruler role. But for women, that is not the case. We are called to be submissive and obedient servants. For men, claiming authority means re-claiming authority they have abdicated. For women, claiming authority which God has granted to them means they are usurping male authority. It’s a double-bind for women who only desire what Christ has given us and which certain men wish to reserve for themselves.

  226. Gram3 wrote:

    William G. is better equipped to provide the historical details of the debate.

    I hope he gets in on this discussion. In the meantime I would like for somebody to discuss why, if we think that there is one god in three persons we always emphasize the concept of three persons but do not deal with the one-ness of god, limiting it to some sort of working agreement between the persons. Maybe it is more than that. Maybe since we do not understand the concept of the trinity (and it is a derived concept) we have wandered off the path philosophically/ theologically in understanding what is meant by God is one.

  227. Ken wrote:

    There is the very real danger of reading the NT in the light of our modern culture and prejudices. Both egal and comp can become an agenda or even an idol.

    Agreed. Where have I appealed in any way to modern culture? It is the comps who appeal to the fear of cultural change and blame those changes on women having equality. They charge those of us who believe in mutuality of being capitulators to culture, but are the comps not also capitulators to the culture where the only difference is that comps want to preserve the traditional culture of male priority from Genesis 3? Why does it always seem to go one way?

  228. Victorious wrote:

    True, but even a new believer can’t overlook the numerous warnings by Jesus and Paul about being deceived. That’s imo a game-changer from good will to intentional ignorance and/or laziness.

    Agree totally, and I would add also that fear is a de-motivator as well. Fear can be easily exploited, and I think it is primarily an appeal to fear that the “comps” make.

  229. Gram3 wrote:

    It’s a double-bind for women who only desire what Christ has given us and which certain men wish to reserve for themselves.

    Herein lies the frustration that many women find themselves in.

  230. @ Gram3:
    Well, we are talking about the Hellenistic era, yes? By the time of Christ, Jewish communities around the Mediterranean had become thoroughly Hellenized. They translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek (the Septuagint), and the efucated folks – like Paul – were throughly conversant in Greek culture, including literature and philosophy. I do not believe that Paul was anything more nor less than Hellenized, though at the same time, devout. I do not at all think the two are mutually exclusive, and am puzzled by the dichotomy that some say exists with resurrevtion of the body vs. having an eternal soul. Paul certainly believed in the resurrection, yet he also spoke of “departing” to be with the Lord. He serms to have believed that he would be in God’s presence after his death, rather than being “asleep” (not conscious) until the resurrevtion of the dead.

    As a young person growing up Lutheran, i was taught this view, and have held to it throughout my life. Also, i am genuinely puzzled by the view of all Grerk cultural/social influence being bad or corrupting. The ancient wotld wss hughly cosmopolitan; the temple in Jerusalem wouldn’t have had its large Court of the Gentiles if there had bern no Grerk-ified gentiles coming there to eorship the One God. Granted, Peter and the other original apostles were likely uneducatef, but LOTS of the people who came to hear Jesus were, and their efucation would have bern Hellenistic.

    I dunno, maybe my art history studies (which are, by default, also a study of religion and culture) have colored my views, but istm that there wasn’t a separate compartment for “Hebrew” thought/view of the world vs. Hellenism for seversl centuries prior to the time of Christ, let alone during his lifetime. The Jewish people of the era who wrre observant practiced their fsith in a Hellenized worlf.

    Ok, /rant/OT discussion.

  231. Nancy wrote:

    if we think that there is one god in three persons we always emphasize the concept of three persons but do not deal with the one-ness of god,

    I think we can go off track into modalism, and we can be like some social trinitarians who wander in the direction of tri-theism. There are the Oneness Pentecostals, but I have no idea what they think. You might like Fred Sanders who seems to me to be reasonable. Bottom line is we are two-year-olds trying to be OldJohnJ if we think our formulations of God’s nature or his actions reflect anything much like the reality. He has given us what we need to know and not all we may want to know or are capable of understanding.

  232. Doug wrote:

    Imo, most of the confusion and disunity comes from religious baggage we refuse to jettison, and from an unwillingness to be honest enough with ourselves to take God at His Word and let Him have His way with us. We don’t like what we read in the plain parts and use the difficult and not so clear parts as an excuse for disobedience. Allegory is often more comfortable because I can bend the Scriptures to my will and create my own religious system to my liking.

    _____________________________________________________

    You are absolutely correct in saying that we can easily fall prey to the tendency to make everything a pious allegory to the point where nothing is really true or false and we all get to make up whatever god we care to imagine. At least, I think that’s what you’re getting at, and I agree. But realize on the other side of that slippery slope is the rigid literalist slippery slope, one that is also “comfortable” and allows one to
    “bend the Scriptures to (their) will and create (a) religious system to (their) liking.”

    In fact, my personal experience has been more with the rigid literalists as the ones who tend to create gods to their own liking. For example, if we divorce the Scriptures from all context and refuse to allow anything to be metaphorical unless there is some clear cue (based on our 20th and 21st century western notions of clear cues) to tip off that this is indeed a metaphor.

    E.g., “The Lord sayeth, bretheren, that He created the world in exactly 6 days, that’s precisely 144 hours, and Brother Jimmy in the front row recently asked me if it was possible that it might have been 143 or 145. We all know what to do when we have a heretic in our midst, the Lorth sayeth to cast out the evil one from among you, let us all now show the Lord’s love by throwing Bro Jimmy into the street.” What of Benjamin’s portion at the feast that Joseph/Zaphenath-Paneah gave? Was is exactly, to the tenth of an ounce, five times the size of his brothers’ portions? Does it have to be or the Bible is a lie and we are all free to run roughshod over everything else the Bible says and do as we will?

    I once spoke with a friend very much of your perspective who insisted that the story of the rich man and Lazarus was an account of an actual, literal event, because Jesus had not announced it as a parable, and therefore Hell was a place in which you had to be capable of yelling across the chasm between Heaven and Hell (which must be directly across a canyon from Heaven, because that’s the way Jesus told it) and speaking to people like Abraham and Lazarus, requesting that they dip fingers into water to soothe their torment. I love the man very much, he and his family have stuck by my family after we were both in a cultic church and went through the agony and the aftermath. A true friend. But still, he gets some downright goofy ideas.

    There is a slippery slope on both sides: rigid literalism and fuzzy metaphor. Either will lead you to perfectly asinine conclusions.

  233. @ numo:

    I don’t think I know enough to say where we disagree if we do disagree. The Hebrew scriptures do not look anything like Romans, for example, but they were written well before the Greeks reworked things to their liking. I assume that the Septuagint faithfully reflects the Hebrew texts, but that even raises some questions. When it comes to art history, I’ve got nothing. My brain is not wired to produce art or really understand it beyond mere admiration, so I appreciate your perspective, and especially on the topics of culture and history.

  234. Here was one of his central claims: Satan is (ironically) using the oil-money produced from the destroyed foliage of the Garden of Eden both to create dissension in the world and to finance his global diabolical plans.

    Yes, you read that right. Dr. Jeremiah believes that the lush foliage of the Garden of Eden, which the Bible places in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, having been destroyed and buried by Noah’s flood, is now the oil that the Middle East pumps out of the ground today. When Americans fill up their cars with gasoline, they are filling them with the detritus of the Garden of Eden. I swear that’s a fair and true summary of what he said. I’m not writing an Onion article.

    Wow.

    What’s going on under North Dakota then?

  235. @ numo:

    I see that you were replying to the scarystuff happening in ancient Greece. I did not mean to imply that ancient Greece was utterly corrupt, and I appreciate the legacy which we enjoy today. The point was that there was homosexual activity and immorality in the Greco-Roman world, from what little I have read, *and* women were also subjugated. Contra the “complementarians” implication of linkage, the scarystuff that happened in ancient Greek culture did not happen because females had been liberated. Any linkage which *may* exist between those two things is definitely not causal. That, of course, does not mean that I am not misinformed about the immorality of Greco-Roman culture.

  236. @ Law Prof:

    There is a third way to look at the Abraham and Lazarus thing. One way of course is the literal understanding that you mentioned. Another way is to say that it is all a story and not related to real people or events. The third way would be to say that it may be a real story about real people but we have no adequate understanding of what in the world Jesus was talking about in the details of the story.

    I have heard people argue for the first idea and for the second idea. I am saying that the third possibility cannot be ruled out without evidence, and the fact that part of the story is difficult at best does not seem to me to be sufficient evidence. I am not arguing for the correctness of the third position but only that I do not think it can be ruled out at this stage of the game.

    I mention this because this same reasoning set shows up again and again in looking at scripture. To my mind not having enough evidence to establish something is not the same thing as having enough evidence to disallow something. Of course, that sounds like medical diagnosis–we frequently talk about something being ‘consistent with’ which does not mean necessarily a confirmed diagnosis but it does mean a step up from ‘cannot be ruled out at this time.’

    Most of my tense interactions with people about theology or scripture or for that matter lots of things hinge precisely on this issue.

  237. @ Nancy:

    It could be #1, #2 or #3. One day as I stand before the Lord I suppose I’ll know and understand, but I’m not sure that whether it’s one or the other matters as far as one’s faith goes.

    I’ve heard people say the Bible contains metaphorical non-historical parables that are not clearly identified as such. For example, could Jonah be a fictional story intended to teach larger points about forgiveness and obedience? One must wonder if it’s possible considering the story, unlike, for example, the Gospel miracles, is not really associated with anything else in the Bible and is pretty much free-standing. My problem is not with someone who proposes the possibility that the Lord would have inspired a book that contains historical accounts, legal codes, prophecy, songs, poetry, philosophy AND literature that is not true in the historical sense. That is certainly possible. My problem is with one who proposes the pious metaphor theory because, like Thomas Jefferson, they have such a puny notion of God that they can’t imagine Him capable of pulling off the miracle described in Jonah. That would be about as difficult for the Creator of the Universe as you or me bending a little finger.

  238. @ Law Prof:
    I concur. Well put. I think a lot of people confuse “literal” with “plain”. They can be the same, but not most of the time because literal cannot take context, culture, genre, etc into consideration. I understand that the Scriptures use metaphor frequently, but often that morphs into the mystical unknown.

    I believe that the words used in the Bible had to have meaning to the original hearer first, and they have authorial intent, if that is the right term.

    In your example, which I do not believe to be a newspaper account of a literal event, the language used had meaning to the audience. I think Jesus told a story using their understanding of the afterlife to illustrate why they would not qualify. That reason was that they would not listen to Moses and the Prophets, who spoke about Jesus. They destroyed the language and hid the truth from the people through their perversion of God’s Word. Something that is still being done today.

    But even in that story, the water is water. The dogs are just dogs, they are not symbolic of something else. I think that it’s good to consider the “what if” scenario: What if this word is just exactly what it says?

    I think that is where a lot of folks go off the rails in the end times scenarios. I am glad that I wasn’t born into fundamentalism. What I was born into was bad enough.

  239. @ Gram3:
    There has always been homosexual activity, because there have always been gay/lesbian/bi people, but the contemporary understanding of sexual identity is pretty recent. I’m not saying that there were no ideas about this prior to the 19th c., but our views today have bern shaped by thinking that became predominant from the late 19th c. forward. Even today, in many societies, the dominant male partner is not viewed as being either effeminate or gay. This is certajnly true in much of central & S. America, where the dominant partner is sern as being ultra-macho. That doesn’t mean that a lot of men who take thst role *aren’t* gay, only that views vary acvording to culture.

    I don’t think the Grerks ever set out to cknquer the culture of the Mediterranean, but they established colonies all over the Mefiterranean basin, and too their fulture with them. Paul was from Tarsus, a Grerk colony in what is now Tukey, and his home town was ver cosmopolitan. No surprise, then, that he was a Roman citizen with a Hellenistic Greek education as well as extensive study of

  240. Part II of comment that’s currently on the back burner

    …as well as the Tanakh, what is now sometimes called “the oral Torah,” etc. He was uniquely qualified to be an apostle to many gentiles, since (as i seenit, and i may well be wrong), he was familiar with the wider wirld beyond Galilee and the rest of Judea. He was apparently the only apostle with that kind of efucation and credentials, and i can see how that slone would acvount for his clashes with Peter and others. Yes, he wss every bit as Jewish as they were, but it’s almost like they grew up in the ptovinces while Paul grew up in… hmm. Not Paris, but maybe Marseilles? A city with ties to many parts of the Roman wotld, with traders from that empire and likely Central and East Asia as well. Rural Judeans likely encountered a few such folks when they went to Jerusalem for major festivald, but in Paul’s home city, they would have bern the norm, not the exception.

    The readon i mentioned my academic background is more to do with art history envompasding religious, sovial and cultural history (in order to make badic sense of what we see) than to do with art per se. Economic, military and political history also play a big part in it, since art comes from within cultures, and is often intricately tied to religion, politics and much more.

  241. @ numo:
    Part III – Anyone who studies Western art history has to become familiar not only with the OT and NT, but with religious movements and changes. Which in practice means that you look at 16th c. *and* have to learn about the Reformation, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Spain’s colonization of the western hemisphere, and mufh more.

  242. @ Gram3:
    Well, apart from anything else, Romans is a letter, and there is no epistolatory writing in the OT. I honestly don’t think the genre had bern invented during the time of the writing and editing of the books of the OT. for that matter, i find it hwrd to believe thwt the same group of people produced both Ecclesiadtes and Ezekiel, or the Song of Songs and Habbakuk. There are so many different literary genres in the Tanakh! Ezekiel gets my vote as “weirdest,” not least for his street theater.

  243. @ numo:

    Still not seeing any disagreement between our POV. Your point about Tarsus as a cosmopolitan port city compared to Galilee is a good one. When the Greeks conquered territory and spread their culture they were reworking things to their liking. If you could be more specific about the mistake I made, I would appreciate it. Maybe I didn’t communicate very well, which happens. Basically I see Paul as a man uniquely suited due to his cultural background and education for God’s purposes at that time and place.

  244. Doug wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    I think that it’s good to consider the “what if” scenario: What if this word is just exactly what it says?

    I consider that very much, and if one day I stand before the Lord and he tells me: “You know, little ignorant one, I really meant it literally when I inspired Moses to write six days in Gen 1, and in fact the earth was far newer than you ever imagined and science’s understanding of carbon 14 dating was fatally flawed, but why would you put such reliance in fallible people?” I will not at all be surprised and will apologize to my Lord. I mean that without irony, and I appreciate your decent tone here.

  245. I know it is past thanksgiving but I want to say something I am thankful for. I am thankful that the final judgment is not a multiple choice question on doctrine with optional essay question for extra points. If it were, I would fail right off, but some poor folks would spend all eternity itself on the essay question.

  246. Nancy wrote:

    I know it is past thanksgiving but I want to say something I am thankful for. I am thankful that the final judgment is not a multiple choice question on doctrine with optional essay question for extra points. If it were, I would fail right off, but some poor folks would spend all eternity itself on the essay question.

    Ouch. 🙂

  247. @ Gram3:
    I thought (mistakenly) that you were referring to a view of Greek thought as a corrupting influence on the early church. My apologies for any/all misunderstandings. Am more confused than I’d realized! 😉

  248. Nancy wrote:

    Well, you know, there is a lot of bad stuff going on. End times or not. TEOTWAWKI or even just SHTF or not. Prophecy or not. It does not have to be end times for bits of the sky to fall.

    TEOTWAWKI!! It has a feel to it…..I think I should have named my black cat TEOTWAWKI. Because she makes it look like the world ended, everywhere she passes.

  249. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    One of my writing partners (the burned-out preacher) credits Darby & Linsday with “destroying Protestant Christianity in America”.

    And he’s right. I can remember back when nobody much talked about the end of the world. Certainly, we didn’t have it all laid out for us in a series of best-selling books (if you can call them books).
    When Hal Lindsay came on the scene, my mother groaned, “Oh great. I thought we had finally got past all that when Hitler blew his brains out. At least, I HOPED we were past it”.

  250. Muff Potter wrote:

    some of my fundamentalist brethren will show signs of Jihad when they find out that I no longer sign on to the Western view of sin and redemption and have adopted a Jewish view instead.

    Me too, Muff.

  251. Law Prof wrote:

    I will not at all be surprised and will apologize to my Lord. I mean that without irony, and I appreciate your decent tone here.

    Yeah, I think I am going to have a lot of apologizing to do. I appreciate your tone as well. As long as we all realize that we are just gaming scenarios here, until things actually unfold we are still looking through the fog.

    My tribe does not make a big deal about eschatology. Not like it is a litmus test or shibboleth.

    I also had a thought about that “No true Scotsman” thing on the way home last night, and wondered if we don’t sometimes think of God that way. That might be a good discussion sometime.

  252. Doug wrote:

    That reason was that they would not listen to Moses and the Prophets, who spoke about Jesus.

    I am not so sure that any of us would have been able to understand the coming of Jesus from Moses. Even his disciples didn’t get it until the Resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. I think it is far easier to look back than it is to look forward. That is why we have these disagreements about what will happen as opposed to what did happen.

    Also, I subscribe to the theory that the Bible plainly tells us the story of man’s creation and his fallen nature and the need for a Redeemer, along the story of Jesus and the Cross and Resurrection and that one day it will all be mad well.

    There is much that is not clear and that is the problem if those issues are raised to primary importance. That is why I prefer to major on the majors and have some fun discussing the minors. But when our faith and tempers become tied up in the earth having to be 6000 years or that there must be a pre tribulation rapture, then i think we go off the rails.

    We are saved through faith in Jesus alone. I think God is far more interested in how we deal with the terrible sins in the church such as hiding pedophilia and abuse than he is on how perfectly we understand the age of the earth. Somehow, I think the theology wonks will take second place to those who cared about the lost and let down.

  253. Gram3 wrote:

    You might like Fred Sanders who seems to me to be reasonable.

    Fred is great on the Trinity. He wrote Dr. Doctrine’s Christian Comix on the Trinity, probably the best comic book ever written on the concept of the Trinity. And he has written other books, which are mostly over my level.;-)

  254. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I thought (mistakenly) that you were referring to a view of Greek thought as a corrupting influence on the early church. My apologies for any/all misunderstandings. Am more confused than I’d realized!

    No need for an apology, because misunderstandings happen all the time in this medium. It worked out well for me because I learned a lot from your comments in response. I appreciate the foundation laid for Western reasoning by the Greeks, among other things, and I think it has been beneficial when blended with the Kingdom thought of Jesus. If only more people in the church would incorporate some of Paul’s obvious (to me) training in logic, they might understand some of his writing better. I’m one of those wimmin who uses lojjick, contra the stereotype. That works well in the real world, but not so much in the church.

  255. lydia wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    some of my fundamentalist brethren will show signs of Jihad when they find out that I no longer sign on to the Western view of sin and redemption and have adopted a Jewish view instead.
    Me too, Muff.

    This sounds interesting. Could you explain more about what you mean by Western and Jewish views? Or maybe that topic should go on the ODP.

  256. @ Gram3:
    Gotcha! I think you and Law Prof are right about his training, too. It is clear that throughout, say, Romans, he is making a series of arguments and using hyperbole, irony, etc. in order to make his points. He also goes for a lot of “gotcha!” moments in that book – gets everyone agreeing right along with him (as at the end of Romans 1 – those terrible, terrible gentiles!) and then BL AM! “Such were some of you, after that carefully constructed series of evils he cites, and all the adjectives at the end that make these people sound like the worst specimens of humanity EVAR.

  257. @ Gram3:
    Probably right. It tends to cause some contention with some. And I am just not up to going there. It is one of those topics that needs to stay in the big picture or it becomes impossible. History is very nuanced.

  258. @ lydia:

    Without starting contention, could you refer me to a discussion of this? I truly do not know what the issue even is. Is it the one-dimensional obsession with *only* the penal substitutionary theory of the atonement and disregarding Christus Victor or Ransom or whatever? If you or maybe Numo could point me to some discussion of this, I would appreciate it. William G. did that for me so that I could understand the EO view of original sin, and that was helpful to me. I suspect many may be bound up in certain schools of thinking without investigating where those originated and why.

  259. @ Gram3:
    Well, the concept of “Original Sin” does not exist in either Judaism or Islam. I personally have a tough time with the notion of “Original Sin” (though not with sin per se), and I don’t believe in it as taught by many in the Western church. The Orthodox deal with this very differently than most in the Western church, and I think they have a better grasp of it than we do.

    That said, I am increasingly inclined to default to the view of sin existing but “Original Sin,” as the doctrine developed early in church history and elaborated upon as time passed – not so much.

  260. @ Gram3:
    Neither do I believe that Satan approached Eve in the form of a talking reptile. Or even that the Garden of Eden existed as a literal, physical place – but that view is actually something that was normal in the early centuries of the church. Even the names Adam and Eve carry a lot of symbolic weight, and I think this is what Chaplain Mike over at internetmonk.com refers to as a “wisdom story.” He wrote some very good posts on that a few months back, and I would refer you to them, rather than my trying to write a synopsis here and getting it wrong. The series of posts + discussions in comments are well worth your time, I think.

  261. Gram3 wrote:

    I’m one of those wimmin who uses lojjick, contra the stereotype. That works well in the real world, but not so much in the church.

    So am I.
    And my husband is more of the emotional poet/musician.
    This really created a cognitive dissonance within my son. When he asked why men should be leaders and women shouldn’t, the answer revolved around men being more logical, level-headed and less emotional.
    This is one of the first lies the church told him.
    These lies are why my son has turned his back on the church.

  262. numo wrote:

    Well, the concept of “Original Sin” does not exist in either Judaism or Islam.

    And, if I understand it, the RCC does not believe in ‘original guilt’ while understanding original sin and its consequences quite differently from calvinism. Which means (drum roll) that the majority of thinking any way you slice it in the major monotheisms is nowhere near total depravity. Regardless of the genesis story. Imagine that.

    Calvinism is so easy to disbelieve. I don’t see what the attraction is.

  263. @ dee:
    Yeah, I don’t know. I think his point was that they didn’t believe God, and wouldn’t, even if someone were to rise from the dead that they knew. Kind of like Scrooge not listening to Marley.

    I know you are not a young earth person and I have heard you on eschatology. And I appreciate that some of these discussions seem pointless, when compared to the suffering & abuse that is going on in the name of God.

    One of the things that bothers me (more like puzzling bothered than angry bothered) is how often in my reading of Scripture God’s chosen people are chastised for simply not listening to Him. That leads me to the conclusion that His way is not all that difficult, and that perhaps we (meaning the church at large) are over complicating things. I really liked when I heard that someone decided to translate the bible into English so that the boy and the plowman could read it for themselves without having to rely on the priest. That resonated with me.

    I think that some of the abuses come from not listening to God. And I think that the source of some of the abuse we see is that people have made what God has to say to His children way too complicated and mysterious. We can twist the scriptures to hide from both man and God, and to do violence to both. Sometimes just words are enough, and sometimes people take it to the next level.

    As Christians we need to major on the majors, as you say. I am all for that. Hopefully we are open enough (loving?) to include voices that are increasingly being silenced. Like I have said b4, thanks for doing what you do. I learn a lot, and will continue to learn, despite being a toothless fundy id10T. Hopefully I can contribute a little too along the way. Peace.

  264. __

    “…hath God really, really, really, said?”

    hmmm…

    “I think that the source of some of the abuse we see is that people have made what God has to say to His children way too complicated and mysterious.” 
    ~Doug 

    God said our ‘work’ is to ‘believe’ on JESUS (His Son) who He sent.

    (bump)

    —> God made it ‘simple’ enough a child could understand it.

    What?

    (…and they do!)

    n’ eternal life is just around the corner.

    -glee-

    Come unto Jesus, all ye that are heavy laden and filled with the crummy doctrines of men, and you shall find rest for your soul.

    (grin)

    ATB

    Sopy

  265. @ Nancy:
    I don’t think the Genesis story has anything to with so-called total depravity. But in this view, i am diverging from my roots, though others are diverging right along with me.

    I know some will say this will lead to not needing Christ (as savior), but i don’t think that is the case.

  266. Nancy wrote:

    Calvinism is so easy to disbelieve. I don’t see what the attraction is.

    It’s that “I have everything All Figured Out here in this Book.”

  267. Gram3 wrote:

    @ numo:

    Perhaps we have been over-shaped by Augustine?

    Or the baggage Auggie brought into his conversion experience.

  268. numo wrote:

    Even today, in many societies, the dominant male partner is not viewed as being either effeminate or gay. This is certajnly true in much of central & S. America, where the dominant partner is seen as being ultra-macho.

    Penetrator and Penetrated.

    In the words of prison gang rape, Even More of a Man because “He Made a Woman Out of Him.”

  269. Nancy wrote:

    if I understand it, the RCC does not believe in ‘original guilt’ while understanding original sin and its consequences quite differently from calvinism. Which means (drum roll) that the majority of thinking any way you slice it in the major monotheisms is nowhere near total depravity.

    The way Catholic friendds have explained it to me, is what I all ready believed–but they gave me the language to wrap the idea up in.
    They say that the sin of our First Parents (CC for=Adam & Eve) has left all of humanity deeply wounded, but still alive. Because the image of our Creator is still a part of us, we are able to respond to God’s grace.
    And I said, “Oh!! You mean prevenient grace!”, & after we referred to some of my mom’s Latin books, they said, that now they understood why I was “different” from many of the nonCatholics they have known who insist on total depravity.

  270. zooey111 wrote:

    many of the nonCatholics they have known who insist on total depravity.

    I think that the total depravity preachers have made such a public noise about it that it would be easy for non-protestants to come to the conclusion that all protestants believe in total depravity. Something about having the loudest mouth on the block. The rest of us have kind of let that slip by, I am thinking, and let the totally depraved among us shout everybody else down.

  271. Lydia wrote:

    Wouldn’t the audience they are writing to be a factor?
    Did I not read somewhere that there exists a seed smaller than a mustard seed? My point is that the texts were written for a 1st century audience and their understanding. Sort of like how “braided” hair might be perceived in the 1st Century and so on.

    I can see how a verse like that can be misused by people who have a hyper-literalist reading of the text. On the one hand, a New Atheist would say that since there are seeds smaller than mustard seeds, it proves that the Bible is unreliable and Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about. To counter that argument, some literalist Christian would try to “prove” that a mustard seed really is the smallest seed. Seeds that seem smaller really aren’t smaller – it’s an optical illusion somehow. Here the literalist would make a “scientific” theory about the “apparent sizes” of seeds, or he would try to “scientifically” prove that seeds smaller than mustard seeds aren’t really seeds at all, so the Bible is literally true.

    Both would completely miss the point that Christ was trying to make.

  272. @ numo:
    @ Lydia:
    @ Jacob C:

    About mustard seeds and theories.

    In the mustard seed issue there is the issue that we know that somebody said that Jesus said that but we do not know that he said that–only that this was the way it was reported. So enter one theory or another concerning the accuracy of the gospels.

    It seems strange to me, for example, if people knew about mustard seeds why he would have to explain to them that mustard seeds are small. We keep saying that Jesus talked in terms that his hearers understood, but here he seems to have to explain about mustard seeds. On the other hand somebody writing it down later and from memory (Mark) might think about what the readers of what he was writing might know or not know about the size of mustard seeds and might have added some explanation. And then Matthew would repeat it using Mark as a source and so on.

    Now of course I know about current theories of inspiration, but the theories don’t stop me, so I just thought to mention this.

  273. Law Prof wrote:

    I really meant it literally when I inspired Moses to write six days in Gen

    What I would like to know is, when we get there, who out of all those who post here is going to be the one to have the courage to ask. Any volunteers? …
    🙂

  274. Ken wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    I really meant it literally when I inspired Moses to write six days in Gen
    What I would like to know is, when we get there, who out of all those who post here is going to be the one to have the courage to ask. Any volunteers? …

    I don’t think we will care . . . when wra are in His presence 😉

  275. Ken wrote:

    who out of all those who post here is going to be the one to have the courage to ask.

    Those of us who are itching to ask exactly that will have to shout to be heard over everyone else asking that. And much more. I doubt very much whether it will take any courage at all to ask how God did it all, nor should it.

    A similar question might be: are any YEC hardliners (specifically, NOT those who simply hold to YEC, but those who BOTH hold to YEC themselves AND make it a fundamental salvation issue for others) going to have the courage to tell God how much the OEC Christians always despised him, and that he shouldn’t be associating with us?

  276. numo wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I was trying to avoid that terminology, but yes. It’s about humiliation and power in your example, though, rather than about consensual sex – true of rape, period.

    I tend to go for the example or imagery with the strongest IMPACT.

  277. I just wanted to say, I have found my people… I was raised on Hal Lindsey and no women pastors and biblical literalism. Even now I come up against YEC evangelists and the Ken Ham worshippers who make *everything* a salvation issue.

    While still looking to the eternal God, I am rethinking everything about faith. Thanks for a great discussion… hope to chime in on future ones!! 🙂