Friday, June 23, 2006

Learn the Bible's real lessons

Um ... ok. Is there really anybody -- apart from very liberal Christians and the mainstream media -- who doubts that homosexuality is a sin? I'm really befuddled as to how the Bible could be clearer on this issue.

And yet ... articles like Learn the Bible's real lessons by Rosemary Hawkins keep encouraging us to, well, learn the Bible's real lessons as if standing up for the law of a Holy God is somehow against the Bible. No offense to Ms. Hawkins, but this article really exemplifies the standard (and simplistic) arguments against the Law of God. To be clear, I mean no disrespect to Ms. Hawkins, it is only her ideas I seek to demolish. My prayer for her is that she would return to the faith of her Savior.

In full, with my responses ...

I wish to compliment Stephen Williams on his well written commentary ("Gay rights erode nation's moral foundation," June 6) even though I take a completely different view.

Our moral foundation has eroded, all right, not because of homosexuals, but because easy access to recreational drugs, corruption, uncontrolled violence and sexual promiscuity (mostly heterosexual) have become rampant in our nation. One would think from Williams' essay that our country would be moral if not for the gay community.

There is some merit in this argument. Certainly there are many other sins in this nation (and all nations) than homosexuality. However, just because other sin exists doesn't make homosexuality righteous. My kids try a similar logic. When I talk to my son about something disobedient he has done he is almost always incredibly eager to inform me of some malicious act his sister has undertaken. It may be accurate (and usually is) but it doesn't make what he did right. This is fairly basic, right? Just because someone else is sinning doesn't make my sin ok? Why do I always see this childish logic in the arguments of atheists and agnostics?

His idea that every child needs a father is commendable, except it withers in the face of reality. Due to accidents, disease and wars, children have been raised without fathers for millennia. We are all the progeny of those conditions.

But I know where he's coming from, especially since he uses the Bible -- selectively, I might add -- to prove his thesis against same sex unions. I too, was once influenced by the same rigid intellectual impotency of the biblical literalist.

"Rigid intellectual impotency"? To paraphrase, "people who think the Bible is wihtout error are dumb and I used to be one of them until I wised up." You know, I remember when people who abandoned the faith were called apostates. I think we should return to that practice, if only for accuracy's sake.

Eventually, though, I noticed inconsistencies, not only in Scripture itself, but in the many interpretations of biblical verses and began to question their origin.

If the Bible is God's inerrant word, why would he have given conflicting messages?

Like what?

And why would he command, "Thou shalt not kill" and later tell the Israelites to smite every man, woman and child in the land of Canaan? Those are just a few of the discrepancies that bothered me.

"Just a few ..." Excuse me, that's only one "discrepency" and it is very easy to understand, should one choose to do so. Of course, even the most basic research reveals that the modern translations render the Sixth Commandment as "You shall not murder," that is, to take a life unlawfully. A post from addresses the case of the Israelites better than I could ...

Reformation Theology: Why Were the Israelites Ordered to Kill the Inhabitants of Canaan?

"Considering that God takes lives every day, since all human beings die, the command obviously does not apply to God Himself. Death, we must remember, is God's just judgment against sin and the penalty exacted for Adam's disobedience in the garden. We all must undergo death sooner or later, so whether the inhabitants of Canaan died "naturally" then or a few years later is one and the same and really makes little difference. Specifically God was judging the Canaanites at that time, the Scripture says, for their gross idolatry, divination, witchcraft, sorcery, and mediums, i.e. those who call up the dead. In fact God says these "detestable practices" are the very reason they were driven out, as the following text in Deuteronomy affirms:

"When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in [a] the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you . 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God." (Deut 18:9-13)" "

And so, God chose to render his judgement (death) through his chosen people (the Jews). He has every right to do that since it is He, and only He, who gave them that life to begin with. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not true. Again, we are all under this judgement and only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can redeem us from the punishment.

But I soon learned that the answers always favored the viewpoint of the particular teacher I was listening to. Simple reasoning, archeological and biological facts, and recorded history were ignored.

She's kidding right. She must be, because she gives no examples of how scripture differs with "simple reasoning, archeological and biological facts, and recorded history". Let's take these one by one.

"Simple reasoning" and, for that matter, complex reasoning demands that we believe in God. The very fact that Ms. Hawkins has a moral compass to be bruised by the so-called inconsistencies in Scripture prove that our Creator is a moral being. He gave us a conscience (which, by the way, also testifies internally to his nature). It is laughable to think that any moral code sprang from chaos and nothingness simply because it helped societies work, which is what unbelievers claim.

Next! "Archaelogical facts." The Bible is replete with archaelogical claims, many of which are proven by arcaelogical discoveries. Without specifics, it is difficult to know to what Ms. Hawkins is referring to, but archaelogogy is no fried of the atheist.

As for "biological facts", which of these mitigate against God? The complexity and beauty of all of creation, but especially those made in God's image, are loud and profound proofs for a loving Creator.

"Recorded history" is much like archaelogy. God is a God of history. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ... the God of Israel ... the God who delivered his people from the furnace of slavery in Egypt ... He's always making historical claims about Himself. Which of these has been proven untrue?

So, despite the Scriptures Williams quoted to prove his point, has he ever wondered why the Ten Commandants say nothing about homosexuality?

I don't know Mr. Williams, but I'm willing to bet that he's never wondered why the Ten Commandments don't mention homosexuality because it is entirely beside the point. First, Exodus 20:14 ("You shall not commit adultery.") pretty much covers all sexual immorality outside of a God-ordained marriage between a man and a woman. The Ten Commandments also don't mention pedophilia, necrophilia or bestiality, are these right because they are not called out by name? What about sex with lawn gnomes? Or beach balls? Or farm equipment? These must be ok because God neglected to mention them?!? Is this really the line of reasoning we're taking here?

And why even Jesus didn't seem to be bothered by it?

Huh?!? Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." The whole point of Jesus' ministry was to remove the curse of the Law from us.

Unless it was accidentally left out, there is no record of him admonishing his disciples to refrain from homosexual love.

Wha?!?! You mean other than when he said:

"For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."


"If you would enter life, keep the commandments."


"You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”

Also, the Lord Jesus Christ -- as part of the Holy Trinity -- INVENTED God's law and it's absurd to say He is somehow silent on any part of it.

Again, the Lord Jesus came to Earth, died and was resurrected because of sin. Sin is a want of conformity to God's law (which includes harsh admonitions against homosexuality). Failure to fulfill the whole law brings judgement. We will be judged with Christ or without Him. We are all in the same boat ... heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, asexuals, trisexuals (they'll try anything) ... we are all sinners in the hands of an angry God.

That seemed to be the New Testament writer Paul's idea, though he didn't even know Jesus.

Who knew such a short sentence could contain so much error? Bravo! First, the admonitions against homosexuality go all the way back to creation and are reitterated throughout the Old and New Testaments. You have to be blind (or purposely dense) to miss them. Second, Paul was called into the ministry by Christ on the road to Damascus. To say he didn't know Christ is incorrect.

And I wouldn't set too much store on the Old Testament's rules -- it approved of slavery, adultery, murder and incest whenever it served someone's purpose. The Bible, if taken literally, can be a dangerous instrument -- just as the Quran can.

Again, I'm struggling to be gentle here (it's hard to tell, I know), because what Ms. Hawkins is espousing is exactly what most unbelievers espouse, but this is a whopper! First, she says "I wouldn't set too much store on the Old Testament's rules." Well, that's her problem right there. She denies the law of God and seeks to establish her own. That is the core of our rebellious nature of man and the crux of our problem with God.

As for the Bible approving "slavery, adultery, murder and incest whenever it served someone's purpose." Pheh. Christianity blew up slavery from within. The entire notion that each person -- regardless of to what station they were born - has inherrant value is from God, after all we are made in His image. Paul -- who takes a lot of crap from everyone -- exhorted slaves and slave owners to remember to treat each other as Christ would. Masters have a master in heaven, and all that sort of thing. Pagan societies have no claim to this kind of morality. As for adultery, murder and incest, please show me where these are in any way approved by God in Scripture. This is an inane argument.

I sincerely hope that, in his home-school lessons, Williams will be taught the true history of Christianity -- how it grew from the backs of work-worn, illiterate people who desperately needed a redeemer. That some of them accepted a peaceful, compassionate teacher, called Jesus, as the one who would save them from the abuse of tyranny. And that, by the usual excited exaggerations and embellishments of word of mouth telling and their own superstitions, the new cult of Christianity was formed.

Yawn. Same old post-modern, atheistic whoo-ha. The Lord Jesus was divine -- God in human form. He came, not to delivery anyone from any Earth-bound tyrant but to deliver all who would believe in Him from death and Hell.

I hope he will read which of the various disciples' writings were decided to be authentic many years after Christ's death, and how they were gathered together to form the Bible, as we know it today, by the emerging Catholic Church. Read about Constantine.

Atheists are always telling us to go off and learn something. Like we're morons. Constantine? You mean the Keanu Reeves movie? Anywho ... this is a bigger load of caca than the previous sentence.

Most of all, and this is coming from a grandmother of home-schooled grandchildren, if Williams is sincere in his effort to morally improve our country, instead of interfering with the private lives of peaceful loving people, I hope he makes it his cause to eliminate hate and prejudice toward those who are different -- for any reason -- from the majority. The very essence of Jesus' teaching -- which is the basis for Christianity, isn't it? -- was love and compassion.

Ok, the Lord Jesus came to make nice people nicer. Certainly the Lord spoke of love and compassion, but he also spoke about humbling oneself before the law of God. They go together. What Ms. Hawkins, and really all unbelievers, would prefer is for God to rubber-stamp however we choose to live as long as we "love" each other. That's not the Gospel. Often, love must address sin in way the vexes the sinner. Christ didn't run from that, and neither should we.