Category: Response

Selective Application of Scripture (Matthew chapter 7)

Selective Application of Scripture (Matthew chapter 7)

 

I was recently told:

g14231Some people believe, and some people don’t. Bad logic is picking and choosing which bible verses or “versions” of G-d (the spiteful god, the loving, compassionate god, etc.) you want to use to justify whatever subject is being discussed. That’s how modern Christianity can somehow condemn homosexuality and in the next breath, justify capital punishment.

The context of this comment was a discussion about the basis of morality. Within that discussion, one individual had played the “judge not” trump card,

  1. In the first place, the person citing “judge not” actually rejects the authority of Scripture. It is self-contradictory to cite the Bible if you don’t believe it matters.
  2. Also, consider the biased process of selecting a phrase from the Bible and fitting it to your opinion. This requires ignoring the other approximately 783,135 words in the Bible because they do not fit your personal agenda. If you are not willing to make an open-minded investigation of the teachings of Jesus Christ (and His agenda), then the rest of Scripture is irrelevant. To the mind without objectivity, only two words in the Bible are important: the two words, “judge not.”
  3. Furthermore, those two words have been stripped of any contextual meaning. This is particularly important in the “judge not” passage which is Matthew chapter 7.
    1. The immediate context commands you to “remove the plank from your own eye so that you can see clearly before you attempt to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
      Matthew 7 was never a prohibition against the use of sound judgment by Christians. Matthew 7 is a warning against clouded and obscured judgment, a condemnation against biased opinions, an indictment against narrow-mindedness.
    2. The sixth verse of Matthew 7 warns us against the emptiness of arguing with someone who does not value Scripture. “Do nor throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn around and attack you.”
    3. The greater context of Matthew 7 actually warns us to turn away from the popularity of sinful  living. “Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
    4. Matthew 7 tells us that false teachers can be identified by their behavior.
    5. Matthew 7 tells us that not everyone gets to go to heaven.
    6. Matthew 7 tells us that if we choose to build our lives upon a strong foundation of obedience to God’s Word that the storms of life won’t devastate us

I invite you to read it with an open mind.


Matthew Seven

 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured again for you.

 “And why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, ‘Let me pull the speck out of your eye,’ when a log is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn around and attack you.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.

“What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, everything you would like men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?’ But then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice evil.’

“Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded a rock. And every one who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell. And its fall was great.”

When Jesus finished these sayings, the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Can you explain to me why you feel it is wrong?

Can you explain to me why you feel it is wrong?

I recently took some bait. The bait was in the form of a question asking for discussion about the basis of morality. It is not possible to determine the tone of voice in a post. So, when I saw that my tone of voice was being misinterpreted, I dropped out of the thread… hoping to leave the door open for future friendly relationships.

takebait

This is one of my own observations. The Bible is referenced in a very selective “picking and choosing” manner by someone critical of the Christian position. Then, at the end, a new critic joins in to say that Christians are the ones “picking and choosing” scriptures to suit their own agenda! If the anti-Christian voices can pick and choose, why can’t the Christians do the same? It is their book after all.


Trudy: Can someone please explain to me why you feel that being gay/transgender/etc, is wrong? I don’t get it.
Oh, and you won’t convince me otherwise. It is none of my business who you are sleeping with, as long as they are consenting adults. Nothing else matters.
#AllLivesMatter

Candace: Couldn’t agree with you more! Usually it is a bible reference that people quote saying it’s wrong. But the bible also says judge not lest ye be judged!
 
Dana: Being transgender isn’t even an issue of who you’re sleeping with. I don’t get why everyone makes such a big deal out of what’s in someone’s pants when they don’t have a valid reason to know.
 
Trudy: You are right about that aspect of it. What part of NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS do these people not get?
 
Dana: Evidently, the “none of” part.
 
Selena: I love your reasoning Dana. Private things are private things and that’s that.
 
Hannah: I agree, Dana, I really dont care what is anyones pants – yuk! glad no one wants to see inside my pants! Seriously I find it unaccptable that anyone should be bothered – it’s about time everyone got on with thier lives and left the rest of us to get on with ours.
 
Selena: Thank you Trudy; I love this post and feel so touched. You are teaching society to be more accepting of LGBT people, which is definitely what we need in this world.
 
Me: I guess that depends on what you mean by “wrong.” If we only measured by human standards maybe nothing is “wrong”. On the other hand, if morality appeals to a higher standard, then maybe we should ask Him what is right and wrong.
 
Dana: While I don’t want to start an argument, especially since we haven’t communicated before and I do respect other people’s religious beliefs, I’d like to ask you something. Most people think that a god would consider things such as being LGBT, autistic, atheist, and so forth to be “wrong”. But people also say that a god would be loving, compassionate, and accepting. There’s a flaw in this logic; if a god is compassionate and accepting, why would that god pick out people who are different, label them as “wrong”, and then permit them to exist in the world anyway? Alternatively, if the god was cruel, disparaging, and probably not something most religious groups would want, who’s to say that what’s considered “wrong” by this god isn’t the fact that humans came to power in the first place, the fact that we have our own opinions?
Again, I do respect your own beliefs, but this is just how I see it, and I want to know your opinion: if a god thought something was “wrong”, why would they allow it to exist?
 
Me: I don’t know anything about that kind of small “g” god that forces himself on everyone and everything. The God that I have known is loving and holy. He asks me to choose “right” and provides a clear definition of what that means.
 
Dana: I was referring to all gods, not the Christian “God”. Now I have to ask, since you didn’t answer my original question: if your “God” asks you to choose what “right” is, then what do you define as “right”?
 
Trudy: And why is one religion’s ‘right’ more, or less, valid than another religion;s ‘right’. This is, by no means, not an attack on christianity. This applies to all people’s belief in what the ‘book’ says. For me, anyway.
 
Me: Dana , I cannot answer a question about “all gods” since only one true God exists. I don’t know anything about imaginary gods. I could answer with a question, if God exists, shouldn’t we choose to live His way?
 
Me: Trudy , I think that would make a great “comparative religions” study. I have been in several.
 
Dana: So riddle me this: I’m an atheist. I don’t think there’s any god. I’m transgender, bisexual, and autistic. There are many other people who believe in gods other than the one YOU do, or don’t believe in them at all. There are many other people who go against the rules of Christianity, of your “God”. So because I, as well as millions of other people, don’t believe in the exact same things that you do (whether it’s due to cultural belief, logical fallacies, or more), and don’t behave in the same way that you do (whether because of religion or because of other things, such as disability – cough cough autism cough cough – or gender or sexual orientation), what they do is “wrong”?
 
Me: I don’t know why you list “autism” and “disability” as something that is “wrong”. Where do you get that idea? I’ve never heard of it before.
 
Me: Trudy, I did not intend to hijack your thread. Sorry. You can stop me anytime.
 
Dana: You’re conveniently not answering my other questions. But in response to what you just asked: the anti-MMR vaccine movement is because of (discredited and fraudulent) beliefs that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine. People would rather not have autistic children than protect people from outbreaks of diseases that could easily be prevented. People would rather let other people die than supposedly have autism “develop” in their child. And Autism Speaks, a supposed advocate group – one of the women who runs the company (or ran it, not sure if she stepped down) said that when her daughter was diagnosed with autism, she wanted to drive herself and her daughter off a bridge. She would have rather killed herself and her daughter than loved an autistic daughter.
Another example: Downs syndrome. When someone who’s pregnant is told they’re going to have a child with Downs, they’re given the option, sometimes even pressured, to abort their child. (Don’t even get me started on the whole abortion debate.) Just because someone has Downs doesn’t mean that they’re less of a person or not worthy of being in the world.
Actually, disability in general. If a disability can’t be cured, the person who has said disability is often written off. People are always automatically assumed to be able-bodied, able to communicate verbally, and they’re expected to function in the “real world” without any help. It took decades for ramps to be installed on buildings or vehicles to allow those with wheelchairs, walkers, or even crutches to access them. We didn’t have IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) until pretty late in the game. Many autistic individuals are misdiagnosed because autism is forced away as “not real”, and autistic people who have trouble with executive dysfunction or certain environments are brushed off as childish and “having temper tantrums” and “picky eaters”. Learning disabilities? You don’t hear about those outside of elementary school. I could go on, and on, and on.
Long story short: disabled people are not treated well, and many parents would rather have had a healthy child than a disabled child.
 
Trudy: Zachary B. Rainey I am trying to start a dialog. Not just between you and I or anyone, but to help others that might be searching.
 
Me: Dana, Autism isn’t immoral. Down’s isn’t immoral. Therefore, I can’t answer questions based upon a premise that a disability makes a person right or wrong, moral or immoral.
 
Dana: But you still conveniently ignored the other questions I asked you. What do you think is immoral? And why do you think that everyone believes in your god?
 
Me: Dana, Nope. That isn’t what I believe.
 
Dana: Okay, I’m not even bothering anymore, because you’re still ignoring the other questions I ask you. My guess is that you have a problem with me, and just don’t have the courage to say it.
 
Me: Ask Trudy about me. I’m not like that. She has met me.
 
Trudy: Zachary is a great guy. I really like him. Nothing wrong with a belief system. This isn’t directed towards you, Dana. He is discussing various parts of a concept/question/belief.
 
Dana: But when I’m continuously asking questions, and they’re not being answered, I become inclined to believe that the reason they’re not being answered is because the person has some issue with me.
 
Trudy: Why is it morally wrong? Says who? A book? Written by people (with an agenda), translated by people (with an agenda), rewritten by people (with an agenda), read by people (with an agenda). Don’t get me wrong. I am not denigrating a belief system. Just people acting like the bible is made up of words directly from some’body’s’ mouth.
 
Candace: “Maybe we should ask him what is right and wrong.” Unless you have a direct pipeline (and I’ve never met anyone who did) you are relying on a book written by men with an agenda. Not for us to judge; in that same book we are told not to judge; and Jesus gave us many examples of loving our fellow people.
 
Me: No. I don’t agree.
Me: I don’t agree with the bad logic of dismissing the teachings of Jesus Christ so quickly. I personally have decided to keep an open mind as I study the person of Jesus and His teachings about life.
 
Trudy: I support your believing what you believe and admire you for it. But I don’t believe in the ‘one true god’ or religion, or whatever. That is my belief.
 
James: It’s not bad logic. It’s that some people believe, and some people don’t. Bad logic is picking and choosing which bible verses or “versions” of G-d (the spiteful god, the loving, compassionate god, etc.) you want to use to justify whatever subject is being discussed. That’s how modern Christianity can somehow condemn homosexuality and in the next breath, justify capital punishment.
 
Trudy: If people are happy with themselves and their life, and if that is with someone of the same gender, or not, means absolutely nothing. How in the world that is considered ‘immoral’ is simply insane. Why do religions have anything to say about it…any religion.

I changed the names except my own. At least one of these was a pre-teen, not a “consenting adult.”

I liked the part that goes something like, “I respect your beliefs, but I’m gonna de-capitalize God’s name and say mean things about Him.”

It’s sad to see the comments about autism, Down’s syndrome, and other disabilities. They do not belong in this discussion. Maybe it was a failed attempt to force the “born this way” argument? Not sure.

Don’t Say God is Real

Don’t Say God is Real

chesterton

“You are free in our time to say that God does not exist; you are free to say that He exists and is evil; you are free to say (like poor old Renan) that He would like to exist if He could. You may talk of God as a metaphor or mystification; you may water Him down with gallons of long words, or boil Him to the rags of metaphysics; and it is not merely that nobody punishes, but nobody protests. But if you speak of God as a fact, as a thing like a tiger, as a reason for changing one’s conduct, then the modern world will stop you somehow if it can. We are long past talking about whether an unbeliever should be punished for being irreverent. It is now thought irreverent to be a believer.”

Chesterton, Gilbert K. (1909). The Philosopher. George Bernard Shaw (p. 234). New York: John Lane Company.

The text of this book can be found at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19535/19535-h/19535-h.htm

Are You Sinning Because You Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

Are You Sinning Because You Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

This week, a fellow minister visited my church for a district ministers’ conference. He preached that:

When a person is born into a family where there are abnormalities, it is very easy to come into agreement with negative things.

He said that sickness is an abnormality and used the specific example of Alzheimer’s Disease. Furthermore, he indicated that Alzheimer’s is caused by a demonic spirit. The apparent cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is simply taking authority over it. Furthermore, you are sinning when you allow a family member to have Alzheimer’s disease because you are in agreement with a demonic spirit.

The preacher asked us to turn to Genesis chapter 3.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The passage does not say that Adam attempted to “take authority” over the serpent, Satan. Therefore, the original sin was not disobedience to God’s command, it was actually Adam’s agreement with Satan and his failure to take authority over his wife.

At this point, the minister encouraged the audience to shout and praise the Lord in acclamation of his new teaching. It was incredible.

Incredible.

Literally incredible.

 

How to Have Something Better Than Life

How to Have Something Better Than Life

 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
~Galatians 2:20

By faith, we identify with the death by crucifixion of Jesus. If we have faith in Christ, then we can consider that we have been crucified with Him. Consequently, we can also identify with his resurrection, that we walk in a new life. His death on the cross takes away our sins by way of substitution, that is, He died for my sins. Furthermore, His death gives power over sin.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 6:5-11

When we fully identify with Christ, we consider ourselves dead to carnal passions and sinful desires! If Jesus is your Lord, He should reign over your life. Sin should not control you.

 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
~Romans 6:12-14

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
~Galatians 5:24

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provide a new life for an old sinner. There is no new life for us without crucifixion and death to the old life.

 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
~Galatians 6:14,15

Dying is never much fun. Jesus did not call us to a life of comfort and pleasure. He called us to find something better.

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
~Matthew 10:38

An Atheist in Regard to All Gods Except One

An Atheist in Regard to All Gods Except One

A-theism.

The existence of the material universe and the existence of life on earth point toward a beginning. How did they begin?

The most plausible explanation would be the existence of an uncaused Creator.

An Alternative Explanation by a Former Christian

An ex-Christian once told me that she had figured out that primitive man needed answers for difficult questions about science, so they invented religion to fill in the things that they did not know yet. She implied that science now has all the answers, and there is no longer any need for religion or faith in gods.

What is an Atheist?

The Greek word for God in the Christian New Testament is “theos”. Therefore, a theist is one who believes in God. An atheist is one who denies a belief in any God or gods.

But which God… the gods of Mormonism, the gods of Hinduism, FSM, the gods of Baha’i, Allah, Jehovah, Christ?

Some people believe that early Christians were labeled atheists because they rejected the deity of the Roman emperors and other Roman gods.

I reject all other gods except the one true God. Therefore, I am predominantly an atheist. The same would be true for all good monotheists.

My Response

I first read this concept in an article on wikiHow. I rejected it entirely because it felt as if someone were trying to lump the one true God into the batch of man-made mythological deities, then make it appear as if Iredchair arbitrarily plucked one out of a hat, and placed my faith in that one.

I have many colors of paint. If I decide to paint a wooden chair only one color, red, it requires that I must not paint with blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, pink, gold, black or white. When the chair is finished, now a shiny red in place of the dull wood, it wouldn’t make much sense to say it was not painted because I used only one color. Yet, it is true that the chair is NOT painted… with pink. The chair is NOT painted with orange. There are many ways in which the chair is not painted.

cookingIf my wife cooks a large dinner, but I eat only one dish, you cannot say that I skipped dinner. I ate chicken and noodles. I did not eat spinach pie. I did not eat onions or cucumbers. You may say, “You did not eat,” but it would not be an accurate statement unless you specified what I did not eat. “You did not eat Brussels sprouts.”

As a monotheist, I do not believe in any and all gods. I reject all gods. I believe in one God and only one God.

If my rejection of false gods makes me an atheist, so be it.

There is only one true God. He is the Answer, the Source, the Author and Finisher.

How to Love Unconditional Calvinism

How to Love Unconditional Calvinism

love hands

God loves everyone. No exceptions.

This fits perfectly within mcalviny theological understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible.

However, I pulled up my copy of the Reformation Study Bible which pointed to an article “God Is Love: Divine Goodness and Faithfulness” that includes a CONDITION for 1 John 4:8-10*:

As always in the New Testament, “we” or “us” as the objects and beneficiaries of redeeming love means “us who believe.” “We” or “us” does not refer to every individual belonging to the human race.

arminiusThank Brother Arminius for arguing the unlimited atonement of Jesus Christ upon which we can find Scriptural grounds to say: God loves us all — believers and unbelievers — unconditionally!


*He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

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