Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Steve Chalke and the artful Evangelical Alliance defiance


A lot of words have been (and are still being) poured out on the 'schism' in Evangelicalism following the expulsion of the Oasis Trust from the Evangelical Alliance over Oasis founder Steve Chalke's stance on same-sex relationships, which the EA deem to be inconsistent with the 'traditional' Evangelical view. It seems that Evangelicals are only 'Better Together' (their mission slogan) when there is compliance and uniformity on the zeitgeist obsession of homosexuality. The EA do not expel members who support abortion; nor do they sever links with those who marry divorcees or accept pre-marital sexual relations as a forerunner of marriage. They do not even expel a member for repudiation of the foundational Evangelical doctrine of substitutionary atonement, which the Rev'd Steve Chalke terms "cosmic child abuse", as though God casually murdered His Son for the salvation of the world, and penal substitution is barbaric and utterly morally indefensible.

No, the Evangelical Alliance has excommunicated the Oasis Trust simply because its founder has stated (time and again) his support for committed monogamous same-sex relationships. He says that he has arrived at his view "not out of any disregard for the Bible's authority, but by way of grappling with it, and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously".

The thing is, the Director of the Evangelical Alliance Steve Clifford has also arrived at his view out of regard for the Bible's authority, after many years of grappling with it, and through an awful lot of prayerful reflection, not to say 2000 years of biblical interpretation. And he warns: "The danger we all face - and I fear Steve has succumbed to - is that we produce 'a god' in our own likeness, or in the likeness of the culture in which we find ourselves. Steve's approach to biblical interpretation allows for a god in the likeness of 21st-century Western European mind-sets."

And so the Evangelical Alliance has excommunicated the Oasis Trust "with sadness".

And the Oasis Trust responded in equal sorrow.

Reminding us that Copernicus and Galileo were similarly accused of a secularist, European mind-set, Steve Chalke explained: "My whole argument is based around dealing with the Bible, and the issue of exegesis and hermeneutics. We now have a much deeper understanding of the Bible itself, and of the cultural issues into which Paul and other New Testament writers were writing."

And he implores that his views on homosexuality should not put him beyond the pale of Evangelicalism, reasoning: "My point of view is that the law provides for civil partnership... For a couple who seek to live together in a lifelong committed relationship, I want to add my support and my blessing to that; and I believe that God adds his blessing."

And so we now have (another) schism - Conservative (or 'Traditional') Evangelicals, who welcome fornicators, adulterers and abortionists, and Liberal (or 'Accepting') Evangelicals, who welcome all of the above plus gays and lesbians.

It is important to observe that the Oasis Trust does not itself take a corporate position on the issue of homosexual relationships (or on any matter of human sexuality): the EA is responding to the words and actions of its founder and director, and was seemingly desirous that the Trust 'beef up' its website with a traditional Evangelical diet of sexual moral orthodoxy.

It is also important to observe that the Oasis Trust works on five continents and in 11 countries around the world, delivering housing, education, training, youthwork and healthcare. They are a very significant voluntary-sector provider in the UK, supplying crucial services for local authorities, as well as self-funded initiatives aimed at providing opportunities for the most underprivileged and dispossessed, of all faiths and none. The Trust employs in excess of 5,000 staff in dozens of schools, hospitals and homeless shelters. Children in these schools are not only Christian, but Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and those utterly indifferent to religion (not to mention homosexuality).

Steve Chalke was awarded the MBE in 2004 for his manifest good works, which bear witness to the whole world of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is also the founder and Chairman of Stop the Traffik, and a special adviser to the United Nations on human trafficking.  All of his immense entrepreneurial efforts are founded upon Christian values. Except that, for him, the barrier-breaking and humanity-levelling gospel of inclusion extends to an acceptance of homosexual monogamy as a form of covenant. And that is clearly not a traditional Evangelical value.

The thing is..

The Evangelical Alliance has a Council of Reference made up of more than 80 church leaders and people of influence from around the country. They meet twice a year. They include Labour's Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South.

Mr Shuker has voted in favour of equal gay rights and even for allowing marriage between two people of same sex. Most recently, he followed the Labour whip in the following divisions:

Commons5 Mar 2014Make Same Sex Marriage Available to Armed Forces Personnel Outside the United Kingdom Majorityaye Loyal
Commons5 Mar 2014Amendments to Acts of Parliament in Light of the Introduction of Same Sex Marriage in Parts of the UK Majorityaye Loyal
Commons5 Mar 2014Changes to Laws on Consular Marriage Following Introduction of Same Sex Marriages in Parts of the UK Majorityaye Loyal
Commons5 Mar 2014Registration of Armed Forces Chapels for Same Sex Marriages Majorityaye Loyal
Commons5 Mar 2014Proceedures for Consenting to Registration of Shared Places of Worship for Same Sex Marriage Majorityaye Loyal
Commons5 Mar 2014Same Sex Marriage — Enabling Courts to Deal with Divorce or Annulment Proceedings Majorityaye Loyal


No doubt a deeper analysis could be carried out to establish precisely where Mr Shuker deviates from 'traditional' Evangelical views on human sexuality. Certainly, he is manifestly not as traditional in those views as fellow Council member Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, who has consistently voted to uphold the traditional Evangelical view of human sexuality and heterosexual marriage.

Surely, if Steve Chalke's beliefs on homosexual relationships are so beyond the pale as to justify the severing of relationship and the termination of fruitful association, the EA ought not to tolerate a member on its guiding Council of Reference who causes the weak to stumble and leads them into sin?

285 Comments:

Blogger grumpyoldcl said...

YG, you wrote:

"And so we now have (another) schism - Conservative (or 'Traditional') Evangelicals, who welcome fornicators, adulterers and abortionists, and Liberal (or 'Accepting') Evangelicals, who welcome all of the above plus lesbians and homosexuals."

This somewhat overlooks the fact that nobody is asking for a service of blessing for an abortion, or anything else on your list .... except for SSM

14 May 2014 at 10:07  
Blogger AJ said...

It's very disappointing that the EA has done this, especially because the decision was based on the personal views of Steve Chalke and not on the corporate views of the Oasis Trust. It would have made much more sense for the EA just to re-affirm their position on SSM (as they have done on numerous occasions) and move on.

14 May 2014 at 10:14  
Blogger Len said...

This is certainly going to be a controversial issue and probably will go to a record number of posts (unlike the fate of Nigerian schoolchildren who no one seems particularly bothered about)

There is a certain amount of shaking going on in the Christian 'Church' for want of a better word)
Christians should let' the World' into the Church but not to being their' worldly values' in with them and to impose them on others.

The Church is desperately trying to' be relevant' in this modern age and appeal to a wider section of society and this seems to incorporate taking on attitudes that the world feels comfortable with.

The Church should perhaps try to reflect on the way that Jesus walked as he was IN the World but quite clearly was not OF the World. He did not' condemn' but he also did not' condone' the ways of the World.

Biblical Christianity cannot and never will' sit easy' with this corrupt world system and we should not try to force Biblical Christianity to conform with this present [corrupt] world system.

The Power of the Gospel will be lost if 'diluted' to suit this fallen world system.
This will split the Church into the bride of Christ and the Harlot Church ..The True Church will be hated by the Harlot also the True Church will be hated by the World system because it reveals its corruption.

14 May 2014 at 10:27  
Blogger Gerv said...

"EA do not expel members who support abortion"

[citation needed]. Do you have an example of an EA member church or organization which is in favour of, say, abortion law as it stands today?

14 May 2014 at 10:29  
Blogger Ben Thorp said...

"And so we now have (another) schism - Conservative (or 'Traditional') Evangelicals, who welcome fornicators, adulterers and abortionists, and Liberal (or 'Accepting') Evangelicals, who welcome all of the above plus gays and lesbians."

You're conflating 2 different forms of "welcome". I very much doubt any Conservative Evangelicals would go as far as to say that fornication or adultery are not sinful. This is the big difference - both sides should be "welcoming" to all, including gays and lesbians, but for the liberal side, "welcoming" includes saying that their actions are not sinful. Big difference.

Additionally, with reference to Gavin Shuker, it is possible to retain a conservative belief about homosexuality, whilst maintaining a political belief that allows non-Christians to retain equal rights, including gay marriage. (ref Tim Keller's comments at the beginning of last year, and, like him, I would say that it's not my personal belief, but I believe it is possible to believe it)

For me, ultimately, the Steve Chalke question is less about his beliefs on homosexuality, and more about his beliefs on the Bible. Having watched his debate with Andrew Wilson a couple of months ago, I would say that he has deviated from the standard evangelical position.

14 May 2014 at 10:43  
Blogger David Hussell said...

I don't know enough about the politics of the organisations to say anything definite about the decision to expel.

However looking at the effects of the SSM political campaign, grumpy old @ 10.07 has a most pertinent point - namely that accepting the SSM bandwagon leads to demands for a total acceptance and total revolution of everything that they espouse.

As usual, we can rely on Len to rehearse accurately and with direct honesty the tensions that will always exist between the True Church of God, whose boundaries do not align with particular denominations, and the administrative Churches which follow the world. One thing is sure, that striving for relevance, a code name for acceptance, will lead to extinction. The faithful will pass on the truth and the truth will never be extinguished.

14 May 2014 at 10:47  
Blogger Nick said...

Meanwhile, Welby is giving an interview to Pink News telling them he thinks gay marriage is "great". He also told them he wants to stamp out "homophobic bullying" in schools. Presumably that is worse than any other kind of bullying. Clearly, he is pandering to the gay lobby.

The EA may be inconsistent in whom allows to be a member, but it is not as far off the moral rails as Steve Chalk and, sadly, the ABC.

14 May 2014 at 10:50  
Blogger John Wrake said...

YG,

Your words on the latest schism in Evangelical ranks suggests that both "Traditional" and "Accepting" are guilty of hypocrisy.

In your recent post after the Eurovision Song Contest, you related that sin to the political field and I quote " In our political language, we rail against disciplinary structures and reject the established orders in favour alternative formulations and expressions. Nigel Farage may be a loathsome opportunist and hypocrite, but he is one of modernity's epoch-making political philosophers, railing against the entrenched natural order and traditional conceptions of the common good.

As I commented at the time, opportunism and hypocrisy is not confined to politicians, nor is it a special mark of Evangelicals or any other Christian group. These characteristics are common to all humanity living in a world in thrall to the father of lies.

For Christians, perhaps we should concentrate more on consistency in the matter of discipline. Failure in that area is the cause of many of our current problems.

Articles XIX to XXI among the 39 Articles of Religion are concerned with authority and all three specify that authority is subject to the Bible, which may not be expounded so that one place be repugnant to another.

Failure to rightly exercise authority by leaders in the Church inevitably leads to the confusion which now exists. It is not about welcoming sinners of every description, for without that welcome, there would be no Church.

When a leader makes statements contrary to Biblical truth, he should be repudiated, and the failure to do that will always lead to schism. Leaders bear that added burden of responsibility for what becomes acceptable among the led.

John Wrake.

14 May 2014 at 10:55  
Blogger Ian G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 May 2014 at 10:58  
Blogger Ian G said...

Firstly, Steve Chalke is the Oasis Trust's representative man. If they don't like it then they have to deal with it. Till then we are entitled to assume that they all agree.

Secondly, there is a lot of hypocrisy around but as 'grumpyoldcl' has pointed out, no one is asking anyone to bless it.

Thirdly, SSM strikes at the heart of the Biblical understanding of the mystery of marriage, our relationship with God, who we are as human beings etc. etc. You would have to rip out significant portions of scripture from Genesis to Revelation and at many, many points along they way.

Fourthly, Chalke embodies Romans 1 at its worst. He has exchanged the truth about God for a lie, it is hardly surprising that he sees nothing wrong with SSM and now he wants us all to approve such things.

His only hope is that like Saul in Act 8, he eventually repents of approving evil and gains a genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus. His good works, although great, will not save him.

The real surprise is that he was not thrown out sooner, but the Western Church is notoriously weak on discipline.

14 May 2014 at 11:02  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"We now have a much deeper understanding of the Bible ..." - Do we? Whenever I read this kind of thing - the "now" gives it away - I suspect possible replacement of authentically Christian ideas with purely-this-worldly ideas and values, acceptance of the zeitgeist if you will, or revisionism. "Comitted" same-sexrelationships is a thing we should also apply critical minds to (evidence suggests very few such relationships are totally "monogamous", even among same-sex clergy unions.
The EA's acceptance of pro-abotionists, however - I didn't know this - is saddening.

14 May 2014 at 11:08  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

A large array of great posts this a.m showing the important differentiations to be made here.

I find I am pondering the connections between that bizarre theological complete separation of the three persons of the Trinity with this acceptance of mushy thinking on marriage and great desire to be acceptable to worldly values. I think it may be a disinclination to step back and see the full picture and how it interconnects most beautifully, and an over-focus on primary identification with young men in the flesh, and an under-focus on the role and place of the female, or indeed the procreational- within the Divine Order.

Thought I would just throw that out there!

14 May 2014 at 11:18  
Blogger Drastic Plastic said...

Cranmer, do be a bit more tolerant. There's no reason why the Christians shouldn't kick out someone who has been turned.

14 May 2014 at 11:27  
Blogger David Hussell said...

John Wrake @ 10.55

Well said, in all paragraphs !

I grow more disillusioned by the A of C by the day. He attempts to curry favour with all, which is always disastrous. He is every inch a depressingly shallow establishment man.

The C of E will continue to shrink but in fifty years time the steadily expanding conservative sections will still be preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord. Long may the Thirty Nine Articles be read and taken seriously.

14 May 2014 at 11:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This dispute is about the authority of the Bible and how one reads and understands it.

Modernist 'theologians' consider the Biblical passages concerning human sexuality (and many other issues too) have been 'misunderstood' or 'mistranslated' for 2000 years.

Scripture is still inerrant but translators are not and its readers need to understand its nuances and the cultural context in which it was written.

Modernist revisionism, driven in our times by feminism and homosexualism, is the curse of the modern Church.

14 May 2014 at 11:35  
Blogger Guy Jones said...

Your Grace,

The future of the church hangs on marriage. If Chalke has fallen foul of the EA then that is good even if it creates inconsistencies. The way to resolve the hypocritical positions you identify is for the EA to firmly come back to marriage as the only vessel where sexual relations can occur. All else is sin.

If this is the start of a fightback by bible-believing Christians then we should welcome it.

14 May 2014 at 11:37  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

And another two points are that though in many ways he is a kind and good man, in terms of theological heavy hitters within the Anglican Evangelical strand he is not amongst the top 50, really he isn't!

Also whereas gongs of various sorts may show the world's approbation, they do not necessarily weigh heavy when St. Peter places them in the heavenly scales, as we see all too clearly from Sir Jimmy Saville, Sir Cyril Smith, SIR Peter Morrison, all of whom tortured little children, and showed a lack of chivalric qualities. And there are a number of other singing, dancing, witticising, moneymaking, property accumulating at low costs, pirouetting, and child abusing Knights and Lords in the investigative pipeline.

Perhaps we should seek rather to store up treasures in heaven, and quietly to esteem those who do, than to be dazzled by these worldly baubles and the holders thereof, who may be saintly and have done great things , but equally may have ruined and devastated the lives of many?

14 May 2014 at 11:39  
Blogger Preacher said...

There are many charities that work & accomplish much for society. But not all of them are Christian or claim to be so. Any of these trusts are therefore free to hold, follow & proclaim what for them is deemed acceptable.
However if a Charity wishes to be recognised & registered as Christian or as a Christian Church then it is imperative that it follows the dictates of God contained in the Bible.
The weakness in much of the Church in the West is due to it's efforts to 'please all of the people, all of the time' instead of preaching the gospel to the lost, it offers "A God without wrath drawing men without sin, into a Kingdom without judgement, through a Christ without a Cross!".
In today's P.C society it is no longer acceptable to preach the need for genuine repentance from sin & the desire for God's mercy on the part of the lost. Instead a weak imitation of Almighty God is wheeled out & proclaimed as a non judgemental, sweet old chap, who is much to nice to send those who reject Him to an eternity which they have earned & chosen by their lifelong actions. Namely - Hell - A place prepared for the Devil & all his angels.
Those responsible? the false prophets & shepherds who preach this error & false gospel from pulpits all over the Western hemisphere.
Is it any wonder that radical Muslims see the West as soft & ripe for the picking.
We need to jettison the milk & water gospel & those that proclaim it.
Pray that God will raise up Red Blooded men that fear Him, Love Him & love their fellow man enough to preach the true gospel no matter what the cost.
We don't need religion, we need a Heaven sent Revival.

14 May 2014 at 12:03  
Blogger Flossie said...

Preach it, brother!! (Preacher @12.03)

14 May 2014 at 12:29  
Blogger Albert said...

This seems a terrible muddle. How much teaching in moral theology does your average evangelical minister actually get? It looks like both sides are using criteria that are entirely unscriptural.

Reminding us that Copernicus and Galileo were similarly accused of a secularist, European mind-set, Steve Chalke explained: "My whole argument is based around dealing with the Bible, and the issue of exegesis and hermeneutics. We now have a much deeper understanding of the Bible itself, and of the cultural issues into which Paul and other New Testament writers were writing."

I don't think there is any comparison here with Galileo (still less Copernicus), but I do wonder what is meant (and entailed) by saying we have a deeper understanding of the Bible itself.

14 May 2014 at 12:30  
Blogger Owl said...

SSM is a cockup from start to finish.

The caste iron brain in action.

By their fruits..... etc. etc.

14 May 2014 at 12:39  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Who, exactly, is dragging Copernicus and Galileo into the argument? The Rev. Chalke or someone else speaking on his behalf? After all, there was nothing biblical on either side of the quarrel about the solar system. The geocentric theory came from Aristotle, not from the Bible, and it only became Catholic doctrine after Aquinas gave it his blessing.

14 May 2014 at 12:42  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Isn't it amazing how people are suddenly finding a deeper understanding of the Bible just when there happens to be so much cultural pressure to receive homosexuality as normal? I wonder why that is?

Is that your bottom line with this post, Archbishop Cranmer? Should the church give up the ghost and make its peace with modernity? Because that seems to be what you are saying with this post.

carl

14 May 2014 at 12:46  
Blogger Albert said...

The geocentric theory came from Aristotle, not from the Bible, and it only became Catholic doctrine after Aquinas gave it his blessing.

Do you have a source to say (a) it was Catholic doctrine and (b) because of Aquinas' blessing?

14 May 2014 at 12:48  
Blogger Nick said...

Albert

Chalke's analogy with Galileo and Copernicus shows a level of intellectual laziness on his part. These men were challenged on issues that were not really dealt with in the Bible; namely the structure of our Solar System. Chalke is being challenged on an issue that spelt out in unequivocal terms in the Scriptures as part of Man's sinful nature. He is seeing the issue through pink-tinted glasses and is therefore teaching falsehoods.

14 May 2014 at 12:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

sn't it amazing how people are suddenly finding a deeper understanding of the Bible just when there happens to be so much cultural pressure to receive homosexuality as normal? I wonder why that is?

Exactly! I wonder what else a "deeper understanding of the Bible" will discover. Jesus wasn't God? God isn't Trinity? Jesus didn't really die for our sins? Jesus only expected his followers to turn the other cheek when they are in a position of powerlessness, when they are powerful they can do what they like? "Love your neighbour" was just a temporary strategy to prevent the Romans killing Christians, it was never meant as an eternal injunction?

14 May 2014 at 12:53  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Albert

My source for (a) is Pope Urban VIII, who was prevailed upon (reportedly against his own better judgment) to order Galileo to recant, on pain of death.

My source for (b) is St Thomas Aquinas, but you'll need to give me some little time to hunt for the reference.

14 May 2014 at 13:04  
Blogger Philip said...

The EA are absolutely right to expel Oasis. Except they should have taken such action years ago when Steve Chalke rejected the foundational Christian truth of penal substitution. Steve Chalke can in no way claim to be “evangelical”.

And rightly welcoming homosexuals must never imply endorsement of homosexual behaviour and same sex 'marriage', things that God would never 'bless'. That's what surely happens with stances such as that taken by Steve Chalke, and also with acceptance of even civil partnerships and implicit agreement with the idea that the homosexual "orientation" is innate as is race and gender : the legitimisation of behaviour that Christianity defines as sinful. We don't, generally (yes some South African churches used the Bible to justify apartheid?), do that with other sins.

14 May 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

I'm not sure where you are going with the RCC and geocentrism on this thread. Unless there is something really defective in my education, the RCC taught that the Earth must be physically located at the center of the Universe because man was the pinnacle of Creation. It therefore refused to receive and condemned any heliocentric model of the solar system. The RCC even has its own lay apologist (Michael Sungenis) who defends geocentrism in this present age. He even wrote a book about it.

Are you saying the RCC didn't teach these things?

carl

14 May 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Philip said...

Having now read other comments, I think, I should have thought of that! e.g. Carl Jacobs' pointing out how some are "suddenly finding a deeper understanding of the Bible just when there happens to be so much cultural pressure to receive homosexuality as normal?" Is that your bottom line with this post, Archbishop Cranmer?" It does seem to be that of this blog: Parliament has changed the law to redefine marriage, so that's now the truth on the matter. Perhaps we need to give God time to catch up and change HIS view on sex and marriage to be in line with what Mr Cameron has decreed.

And Lucy Mullen saying that gongs showing the world's approbation are not exactly what the same as God's approval, which is what the Christian should be after. The world may indeed prefer certain good works to the true Gospel, which is offensive - 1 Cor 1:18-25, Jn 3:19-20.

As for pro-abortionists in the EA, and also the position of Gavin Shuker MP in the EA, yes these are matter of concern, but at least the EA have, at last, taken the right decision with regard to Steve Chalke - a step in the right direction.

14 May 2014 at 13:53  
Blogger Len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 May 2014 at 14:15  
Blogger Len said...



The RCC is right there in the middle of the apostate Church and sits there trying to draw others into the' black hole' that she has created for itself.
There is little comfort though for much of her Protestant 'little daughters' of the RCC if they continue doing the religious works that she has created for her own glory. .The Reformation is being pulled back by the gravitational pull of 'false religion' which acts as a substitute for God`s plan for the redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ.False religion has an appearance of godliness but with no power to transform lives as does the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
These are extremely dangerous times for Christians as the false shepherds promote their own worldviews opinions and traditions which contradict the Word of God.As the Word of God puts it "Deceiving and being deceived."

14 May 2014 at 14:20  
Blogger Albert said...

Uncle Brian,

My source for (a) is Pope Urban VIII, who was prevailed upon (reportedly against his own better judgment) to order Galileo to recant, on pain of death.

I'm not sure that that shows it was ever the doctrinal teaching of the Church. The actual condemnation (by the Inquisition, not the Pope) says Galileo was "vehemently suspected of heresy." That doesn't sound like a definition to me because (a) It doesn't make a clear definition, (b) it includes the word "suspected, (c) it isn't by an authority can actually "make" doctrine.

I'm asking because I don't know, not because I do. I do know however, that things "everybody knows" tend to turn out to be false. On which note, see my response to Carl, below.

14 May 2014 at 14:27  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

The idea of Christianizing same-sex “marriage” never had its source within the Church, it is driven by the massive cultural shift in society at large, where attitudes to homosexuality have gone from prohibition to tolerance, and now even to celebration.

The desire to be an inclusive welcoming community of believers, mixed with the fear that we shall be accused of profound institutionalised homophobia, has produced a misguided view of what it means to follow Jesus in the midst of an equal and diverse generation. A view that reshapes and repackages Christianity to make it fit cultural preferences and morals. A view that if you do not fully welcome Gay people into the life of your church family and facilitate their participation at whatever level they choose, then you are excluding them.


The Oasis Trust does a lot of good, but like other Christian Charities operating under the malevolent umbrella of atheistic statism they face a dilemma – do they compromise or curtail their activities. It is no good Steve Chalke trying to wriggle out by reading the Bible to determine what God ought to have said to ensure that His decrees comply with current legislation. LGBT theology just won't wash.

14 May 2014 at 14:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, can you provide a justification for this comment - in the context of the actual article and extant Catholic teachings on sexual sin and homosexuality:

"The RCC is right there in the middle of the apostate Church and sits there trying to draw others into the' black hole' that she has created for itself."

No? Didn't so.

It is not the Catholic Church that is 'reinterpreting' or 'modernising' scripture. That seems to be a protestant practice and is the reason there are so many denominations. Alone amongst the main Christian Churches it is doctrinally against contraception, abortion, divorce and remarriage, sex outside of marriage and homosexuality. There are dissenters within its ranks and those protesting and demanding change, but the authority of the Church holds on these issues.

At one time there was a 'The Oath Against Modernism', issued by Pius X in 1910. The swearing of the oath was compulsory for all Catholic bishops, priests and teachers, until it was abolition by Pope Paul VI in 1967 - although a very similar requirement was issued by St John Paul.

No Len, this was just an inaccurate, unnecessary and gratuitous swipe at Catholicism.

14 May 2014 at 14:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Unless there is something really defective in my education, the RCC taught that the Earth must be physically located at the center of the Universe because man was the pinnacle of Creation. It therefore refused to receive and condemned any heliocentric model of the solar system.

Sorry, but that is the reverse of the Medieval world-view. For the Medieval mind the basest things are to be found in the centre. Hence, things like rocks etc. fall to the centre (earth) while the heavenly bodies do not fall to the centre. In Dante, it is hell, not earth that is at the centre. Thus the view you have put here - common though it is, is the opposite of the reality: centre = grossness.

The idea that being at the centre is good was actually created by Copernicus (I think) as a rhetorical ploy to get his ideas accepted. He said putting the sun in the centre increased its dignity. Modern people have therefore read this idea back (anachronistically) into the earlier period. But I expect I have said enough to show that this is a serious misconception.

The actual reason for the condemnation of heliocentricism (Len please note), was because the Protestants had been complaining about Catholics not using literal interpretations of scripture. The Church obviously felt vulnerable on this, but felt confident of condemning Galileo because at the time, the science wasn't supporting Galileo (he was right, but for the wrong reasons, it turns out, whereas the Church was wrong but for the right reasons). Traditional Catholic teaching, as set out in Augustine and Aquinas was that you should never interpret scripture in such a way as contradicts observation.

14 May 2014 at 14:43  
Blogger Flossie said...

Lots of great comments on this thread, but I wonder if the point His Grace is trying to make here is not so much that Steve Chalke's organisation shouldn't have been excommunicated but that Gavin Shuker MP should be chucked off the EA's Panel of Reference?

14 May 2014 at 14:55  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Let me start off by apologising to His Grace for having triggered this regrettable diversion into seventeenth-century history, which has zero relevance to the point at issue. But now we’ve gone so far, I’d like, if I may, to quote something I’ve just come across, a quote from Eric Bentley’s preface to the Grove Press edition of Brecht’s play Galileo:

What actually happened to physics in the seventeenth century is that it became mathematical. That meant that it became, not more concrete, but just the opposite. After all, the evidence of one’s senses is that the sun goes round the earth. That the earth should go round the sun is directly contrary to that evidence. The average man today accepts the latter idea on pure faith. So far as he knows, it could be wholly untrue. For the demonstration lies in the realm of the abstract and the abstruse.

14 May 2014 at 15:46  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Church Fathers were reading passages like Joshua 10:12&13 geocentrically long before Aquinas, and they didn't need Aristotle to tell them the sun move across the sky. Before Copernicus and Galileo showed us it is really the earth moving that make the sun appear to cross the sky, people assumed what they saw happening really was what was going on.

Any Christians before Copernicus reading Joshua's miracle took the text at face value, the sun really stopped moving after Joshua commanded it to stop and hurried along to the place it sets after the miracle. Copernicus wasn't just challenging the plain meaning of the text, he was challenging the traditional interpretation.

Traditional plain meaning interpretations have been challenged before *cough*Genesis*cough* *cough*women ministers*cough*. If we are being challenged today about SSM, we need to discuss the issue and search the meaning of scripture together. As we have seen with Galileo, inquisitions and excommunications only bring the church into disrepute.

14 May 2014 at 15:50  
Blogger IanCad said...

Len @ 10:27

Well Said!!

Another man's sins will never save me.

We have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

14 May 2014 at 15:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

It was them nasty Protestants that made us do it. Nasty Protestants. Trixy Protestants. We Haaates them.

;-)

carl

14 May 2014 at 16:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 May 2014 at 16:08  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

The other possibility, Carl, is that both sides are being scripturally inconsistent and perhaps hypocritical. While there is no basis (other than trendiness, as you point out) to tolerate same sex "loving relationships," there is also no basis for condemning such without also condemning sex outside of marriage or...in the case of some Christians...divorce. Basically, both sides are obsessing about a trend and both sides are screwing tradition, scripture and logic along the way. This farce is not very different from the squabbles between the far-left modern Orthodox Judaism and its relatives to the right of it.

14 May 2014 at 16:08  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darach

It's all a matter of reference frames. They are all equally valid. Some simply aren't inertial frames. You could perfectly recreate Ptolemy's model and it would accurately describe the motion of the planets and Sun about the stationary Earth. Except we don't call it Ptolemy's model anymore. We call it the Earth Centered Inertial reference frame. Perhaps you have heard of it.

I have.

carl

14 May 2014 at 16:14  
Blogger Len said...

Anyone who makes a stand for biblical Truth is a heretic and deserves to be burnt or beheaded (I suppose it depends which side of the religious fence you happen to stand?.)
Times really don`t change they only get worse.It is entirely relevant to discuss 'the apostate church 'because that is where we are at, for those with eyes to see!.









14 May 2014 at 16:30  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

It's all a matter of reference frames. They are all equally valid...We call it the Earth Centered Inertial reference frame.

Except that you can't isolate just the Solar system in this model and relax, or just Our Galaxy, because the whole point of the Earth centrism would be lost and so, you'd have throw in the entire Universe. And if the Universe were to be spinning around the Earth to give us our night and day and the years, the outer bits would be hurling at the speed of light times a few million. Rather awkward and you'd think someone would have noticed that by now.

14 May 2014 at 16:35  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Avi

I've wondered a few times about the Religious Right in America, whether the focus on SSM has stemmed from a feeling (rightly or wrongly) that on issues such as divorce, they've already lost the battle. Obsess on the on point where the still think they might have a hope in hell of "winning" and throw the money in that direction. But that may just be my natural cynicism.

14 May 2014 at 16:36  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Carl
The Earth Centered Earth Fixed reference frame describes the apparent motion, not the physical reality. If Ptolemy was right describing the sun going round the earth, then Foucault's pendulum wouldn't have shown the earth rotating. There is a huge difference between the sun seeming to go around the earth, and the sun actually orbiting the earth. The earth would need a mass 365 times greater than the mass of the sun to pull the sun into a daily orbit around the earth. There is nothing in the text to suggest Joshua is only describing apparent motion rather the actual motion of the sun. The church father had the plain meaning of the text right.

14 May 2014 at 16:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Sister Tiberia,

That very well may be the case...a good hypothesis, although I think the reaction is more visceral than strategic. I happen to know a few Evangelical Christian couples, most of them have parents who are divorced and remarried, and some of the couples have cohabitated before marriage. All of them go ape over homosexuality, though. One would think they wouldn't need secular legislation to theologically legitimize their choices, so I guess once they "lose this battle," SSM will be ok by them. Must ask them about it.

Darach Conneely said, The earth would need a mass 365 times greater than the mass of the sun to pull the sun into a daily orbit around the earth.

O, and don't forget the rest of the solar system or the known Universe, for that matter. Good luck with the mass-math for that one. Perhaps the NOAA might be willing to lend you their shiny new Cray array...fo a couple of years.

14 May 2014 at 17:11  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

It was them nasty Protestants that made us do it. Nasty Protestants. Trixy Protestants. We Haaates them.

:-) But there is a serious historical point here...

14 May 2014 at 17:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS: There is nothing in the text to suggest Joshua is only describing apparent motion rather the actual motion of the sun. The church father had the plain meaning of the text right. (Darach)

There is also nothing in the text to suggest the opposite. In fact, since the Bible uses contemporaneous language and expressions, which is often allusive or allegorical, and addresses issues of the times within the range of perspectives of the times, it's far more reasonable to assume that apparent motion was being described. This would make sense, as the Bible is not a text on astronomy or physics (nor biology or physical anthropology for that matter) and so, it couldn't just casually toss out the prevalent geocentric universe model without a few words.

14 May 2014 at 17:23  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

Your first couple of paragraphs are spot on.@15.50.

I'm not sure about this:

Traditional plain meaning interpretations have been challenged before *cough*Genesis*cough* *cough*women ministers*cough*. If we are being challenged today about SSM, we need to discuss the issue and search the meaning of scripture together. As we have seen with Galileo, inquisitions and excommunications only bring the church into disrepute.

The principle I would raise in relation to "plain meanings" is this, from Augustine:

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.


Now, I can see how Augustine can be used to count against a "plain meaning" of Genesis, but not women's ordination or same-sex "marriage".

14 May 2014 at 17:27  
Blogger Integrity said...

Cranmer;
Your last paragraph leaves the reader in a quandary. Perhaps you intended that. You espoused the arguments from both sides and then seemed to put the blame on the EA. What IS your view. Are you suggesting that the EA should expel Mr Shuker or are you saying that because of the supposed inconsistences in the other organisations (and I have never heard of a church supporting abortion) that neither should have been expelled.
All of the other aberrations of the Christian doctrine will not (and I'm not condoning them) have the same social impact as SSM.
The ability to adopt by same sex couples was there before SSM but there is evidence from children raised by same sex couples of the devastating effects as they grew up.

Len rightly said;
The Church should perhaps try to reflect on the way that Jesus walked as he was IN the World but quite clearly was not OF the World. He did not' condemn' but he also did not' condone' the ways of the World.

My church is full of sinners. Everyone is welcome but their sin is not condoned. The teaching is to bring conviction to the individual so they may repent and go the other way.



14 May 2014 at 17:52  
Blogger Brent R. Orrell said...

So Steve Chalke no longer believes that homosexual conduct is unbiblical, about which he is wrong. If he is wrong on this subject, does that render all other contributions to the life of the church and the world null and void? Is he still a Christian? This issue, an important one, has become so distended that it is utterly warping our vision and mission. It would be the supreme irony that Satan would seek to destroy the works of Christ by a strategy of distraction and obsession.

14 May 2014 at 17:55  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack's has said it before and will say it again: In his opinion the 1930 Lambeth Conference is where it all started to go pear shaped in terms of a consistent Christian sexual morality. This was a significant departure from the traditional understanding of the bible. The modernists and progressives who promote homosexuality have been growing in strength ever since.

Avi, welcome back. Mrs Proudie has returned to the fold too so it wont be too long before Explorer returns.

14 May 2014 at 17:58  
Blogger Integrity said...

YG,
An interesting review of the arguments and some very good comments.

I do wish that some commentators could just stay away from bashing the RCC as it does no good. They are never going to change until the spirit shows them the error of their ecclesiastical ways and it does nothing for unbelievers to see the constant barracking amongst Christians.

I guess that this is why the EA does not lightly expel a member as they wish to maintain a sense of unity. After all, no one has all the truth and we see through a glass darkly. (This does not extend to SSM though which has been abhorred for thousands of years and not just by Christians or other religious groups).

14 May 2014 at 18:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darach

I didn't say the Earth was stationary in inertial space. I didn't say the Sun orbited the Earth in inertial space. I said all reference frames are equally valid. Every single one of us navigates every day in a local level reference frame that is always centered at our current location. That reference frame describes our physical reality. "But ... It doesn't account for Earth rate!" You are correct. No one cares. "But .. But ...it doesn't account for the Earth's translation through space." You are again correct. No one cares. Why? Because it adequately describes our physical reality. That's why we can reliably move from place to place. In fact, there is no better choice available for men.

Now since motion is objective (because it actually does occur on inertial space) the representation of that motion will be consistent in every reference frame. The observations will vary but they will all represent a different view of the same physics. It's correct to say the Sun rises in the East because that is a valid observation in or local level reference frame.

So what does the text say. "The Sun stopped in the Middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day." That is not an implied local level observation. That is an explicit local level observation. That is what is meant by "going down.". The sun only goes down in local level.

carl

14 May 2014 at 18:13  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

And where gave you been? On sabbatical deep in a personal study of French literature? Catching up on your Balzac and Proust? Or were you off conspiring to take over the world again on behalf of International Jewry, the Masons, and the Illuminati?

Inquiring minds want to know.

carl

14 May 2014 at 18:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Tibs: "I've wondered a few times about the Religious Right in America, whether the focus on SSM has stemmed from a feeling (rightly or wrongly) that on issues such as divorce, they've already lost the battle."

Or, gay people are easy, low-risk targets whereas attacking divorcees etc is likely to alienate potential converts and give religious organisations a bad name.

14 May 2014 at 19:07  
Blogger Len said...

This is not about 'bashing the RCC' it is a desire for God`s Truth to be known.
If one cannot differentiate that that one has already become part of the deception.
As I said dangerous times indeed!.

All true believers(I hesitate to use the word' Christian' because that name has been used and abused)will become enemies of the 'Global Apostate Church' in fact it is happening already ...


14 May 2014 at 19:11  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ah, greetings, Happy Jack and Carl.

...were you off conspiring to take over the world again on behalf of International Jewry, the Masons, and the Illuminati?


You're joking, right? My wife would kill me if I tried to take on that hopeless mess before cleaning up the garage and cutting up and dealing with all the dead branches from December's ice storm. Spring has sprung here and he backyard is an impassable obstacle course, a blight to the neighbourhood, a shame to the Tribe. Maybe in August...to have an excuse not to fly out and visit the in-laws with everyone.

14 May 2014 at 19:15  
Blogger Integrity said...

Len;
You are right about the truth but have you not heard, without wishing to be offensive, that casting your Pearls before..... is a waste of time, it only fires them up.

14 May 2014 at 19:16  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Avi: There is also nothing in the text to suggest the opposite.

It is a description of a miracle in the middle of historical narrative. The plain meaning of the text is that the sun actually stopped moving when Joshua commanded it to stand still. Are you sure you aren't trying to find these other meanings because you know from Copernicus and Galileo it is the earth that rotates? That is allowing science to inform you hermeneutic, not looking for the plain meaning of the text.

Albert: Now, I can see how Augustine can be used to count against a "plain meaning" of Genesis, but not women's ordination or same-sex "marriage".
Certainly Augustine shows us the danger of holding onto interpretation that science has shown us are wrong. But it also shows us that deeply held traditional interpretations can be wrong. Science hasn't shown us male only ministry is wrong, neither has it show us slavery is either. Yet the church has rejected slavery and if not all parts accept women's ministry they at least accept churches with women's ministry as fellow evangelicals. Egalitarianism has grown from scriptural roots, Paul's neither male nor female slave or free all are one in Christ. It hasn't only grown in the Church, it has taken root in society so that now society holds us up to biblical based standards we don't uphold ourselves. Of course society may have taken a biblical idea and run off in the wrong direction. But we really need to address the question. I can't help feeling that feeling that one kind of faithful marriage being clean and another loving and faithful marriage unclean is a more like a kosher law than the freedom and grace we have in Christ.

14 May 2014 at 19:20  
Blogger Len said...

I have already said the Protestant Church is in dire trouble easily as much as the RCC with false shepherds leading the flock astray and false teachers seem to be popping up all over the place with their money grabbing schemes and their false healings.
Of course the Church invisible the Body of Christ is still functioning and growing but the ' Circus' which parades on TV as 'christian' is presenting a truly appalling spectacle which can only completely 'turn people off 'from Biblical Christianity...
The World is in the Church and is making it into an image of itself.

14 May 2014 at 19:26  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

One drums his fingers patiently while Christian organisations slowly come to the conclusion that its time the 5% of the dog that is down at the tail area stops wagging the other 95%.

This damnable love affair with what is merely a social handicap like body odour has gone on long enough. We don’t demolish staircases just because the wheelchair bound can’t use them. So why are we rewriting the bloody rulebook to accommodate people whose domestic arrangements are their own business, and whose bedroom activities are best kept to themselves and certainly NOT to be recommended as hygienic, healthy, desirable or even sane. They CHOSE to live that way, nobody demanded it of them. They should come over to US, not the other way round, and if they can’t manage that then they should damn well stop whining as we’ve had enough of it !!!

{SEETHS}

14 May 2014 at 19:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...



A fellow is distraught to find that Welby has given a gushing interview on ‘equal’ marriage, presumes he means ‘gay’ there, to Pink News. How can fruitful matrimony with its hopes of producing the next generation and the New Order celebration of vile sodomy be considered equal. Welby can deceive himself, but he can’t alter God’s truth. Does he realise that by throwing himself firmly into their camp, he is betraying all who keep with Christian tradition, or perhaps this doesn’t bother him. Well, as the leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, it should !

And now that he’s pandering to organised buggery, what else are they going to demand of him. They will beckon unto him, and he will be expected to come a-running.

Amazing - the recently appointed AoC now kept in their unholy pocket ! What a dead loss he’s turned out to be…

Footnote. Since this post was constructed, a spokesman for Welby is on record as saying he does NOT endorse gay marriage. And no, the Inspector has no idea what his position is now. Does he ?





14 May 2014 at 19:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...



It’s not just ‘a deeper understanding’ of the bible and the resulting unhealthy promotion of homosexuality that’s around today. There is a similar ‘deeper understanding’ that the way forward for England is to pack in as many European immigrants as can make it here, to turn this green and pleasant land into the most densely populated country of worthwhile size in the world, a cheap labour work camp for the rich to make themselves even richer off, and due to an ever increasing number of arriving souls to house, the highest rents in the universe, with the possible exception of paying visitors to the space station.

Before that cosy trio in parliament eventually succeed, vote UKIP. Time is short…




14 May 2014 at 19:32  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Carl I didn't say the Earth was stationary in inertial space. I didn't say the Sun orbited the Earth in inertial space. I said all reference frames are equally valid.

All reference frames aren't equally valid. Some ignore irrelevant detail, but others contradict the physical reality. The sun does not go around the earth the gravity, that motion required immense acceleration of the sun and a gravity on earth that would leave us a thin smear.

It is true we all ignore the rotation of the earth, its orbit around the sun etc. when we describe when we describe going to the shops. But there is a difference between an insurance report explaining how your car swerved and hit the lamp post and a claim that says the lamp post came out of nowhere and hit the car. We think we see the sun moving in the sky it isn't the sun moving, it is the earth rotating that causes the apparent motion. We didn't was know that in Joshua's day, Joshua like everybody else assumed it was the sun travelling across the sky. That is why Joshua commanded the sun to stop and why the writer of Joshua described the events in geocentric terms. God of course knew better, but was more interested in Joshua's faith than teaching the Israelites heliocentric astronomy.

14 May 2014 at 19:38  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Darach: Are you sure you aren't trying to find these other meanings because you know from Copernicus and Galileo it is the earth that rotates?

Something like that, but not exactly. Copernicus and Galileo would have been insufficient evidence...quite logical perhaps, but not empirically strong enough to force a reinterpretation; modern astronomy and physics much more so. The principle is Maimonidean; the Almighty's physical Creation is incredible and holy, and is a testament in itself, thus evidence should guide our interpretation of Scriptures. The laws of the created Universe are part of the laws of the given Torah. A general tendency of miracles is for them to operate under what we call "ordinary" laws of nature...although we'd be foolish to see the miracle of existence and its orderly systems as "ordinary." But in this case, I'd say it's a fairly good assumption that the language is poetic. "The Sun stood still" is an apt description of subjective time when we're under stress.

14 May 2014 at 19:45  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Avi Copernicus and Galileo would have been insufficient evidence...quite logical perhaps, but not empirically strong enough to force a reinterpretation; modern astronomy and physics much more so.
Agreed, it wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that we had hard evidence from stellar parallax and Foucault's pendulum. But Newton's gravitation providing a mechanism for the beautiful mathematics was pretty powerful.

Avi But in this case, I'd say it's a fairly good assumption that the language is poetic. "The Sun stood still" is an apt description of subjective time when we're under stress.
No I don't think it was simply an adrenalin rush that made it feel like time stood still. Joshua 10:14 There has been no day like it before or since. The story is pretty plain something actually happened and it is described plainly in geocentric terms.

14 May 2014 at 20:03  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

But it also shows us that deeply held traditional interpretations can be wrong.

I'm just wondering which you are referring to.

Science hasn't shown us male only ministry is wrong, neither has it show us slavery is either.

Quite, so from my point of view, your prior comment about Genesis, women ministers and SSM was a conflation.

if not all parts accept women's ministry they at least accept churches with women's ministry as fellow evangelicals

I'm a Catholic - but yes, I agree, there are serious inconsistencies among evangelicals. Happy Jack has already alluded to the issue of the acceptance of contraception while opposing homosexual relationships, and there are the further inconsistencies you are referring to here. However, from my point of view as a Catholic, none of that weakens my own position.

the church has rejected slavery

Certainly, but exegetically, I don't see that as being like SSM. Homosexual acts are clearly condemned in scripture, but abolitionism isn't. On the contrary, most passages that deal with slavery are involved in trying to limit the harm of slavery. It's pretty obvious that scripture does not permit the kind of slavery that was carried out in the slave trade. Moreover, there is a clear model of marriage in scripture which is not interchangeable with a same-sex relationship.

This leaves you with the following:

Egalitarianism has grown from scriptural roots, Paul's neither male nor female slave or free all are one in Christ.

Now this is correct. However, it is false logic to move from "two homosexuals are equal to two heterosexuals" (which I hold absolutely) to "therefore a relationship between homosexuals is equal to and interchangeable with a heterosexual relationship. It just doesn't follow. Obviously, it is harder to resist that movement of thought when you have accepted (contrary to scripture), women's ordination (thereby making the sexes interchangeable, contrary to scripture) and contraception (thereby undermining that which distinguishes homosexuality from heterosexuality). But as I say, that is not an argument, per se against the Christian view that holds that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, it is only an argument against someone who accepts contraception, and women's ordination but opposes SSM.

14 May 2014 at 21:34  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Integrity
"I do wish that some commentators could just stay away from bashing the RCC as it does no good. They are never going to change until the spirit shows them the error of their ecclesiastical ways and it does nothing for unbelievers to see the constant barracking amongst Christians."

(How subtle)

Len
"This is not about 'bashing the RCC' it is a desire for God`s Truth to be known."

(Of course it isn't. What truth do you want known on homosexuality? As determined by whom and on what authority?)

Integrity
"You are right about the truth but have you not heard, without wishing to be offensive, that casting your Pearls before..... is a waste of time, it only fires them up."

(Even more subtle. Calling Catholics swine is better than saying we are followers of the Whore and minions of the anti-Christ)

Gentlemen, Happy Jack respectfully points out the dispute going here on is between Protestant Evangelicals over what is Biblical Truth about homosexuality. And the Anglican Communion is swithering on it too and having a conversation. Catholics have no part in this inter and intra protestant disagreement.

Perhaps you should put your own houses in order.

14 May 2014 at 21:35  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darach

Joshua's observations say nothing about geocentrism at all. They weren't made relative to the center of the Earth. They were made relative to a tangent plane at his location, and that location was not the center of the Earth. The fact that he describes the motion of the Sun relative his natural frame of reference does not imply that Scripture asserts a geocentric solar system. If what happened to Joshua happened to me today, I would describe the event in exactly the same terms. Because ... how else would I describe it? What would be my observable?

Now as for apparent motion and the validity of reference frames, answer me this. Does a GPS satellite trace an elliptical orbit around the Earth? Is that its true motion. Be careful how you answer.

The truth is that we choose reference frames for convenience. No one is interested in absolute true motion. If for no other reason, no one can identify the origin of a fixed inertial reference frame by which all motion can be measured.

carl

14 May 2014 at 21:35  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


For those commentators who care, our man Darach’s name is pronounced “Darra”

The man is a Mick, as indeed is your Inspector.

14 May 2014 at 21:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Perhaps I'm not following you, but I'm just wondering what you are saying happened. Clearly the sun didn't literally stop in the sky. Are you saying the earth stopped rotating?

14 May 2014 at 21:53  
Blogger Albert said...

Thanks Inspector @ 21.52.

14 May 2014 at 21:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

You are asking me how God effected a miracle. I haven't the first clue. All I know is the observable. My point is only this. Joshua's observation says nothing at all about geocentrism. His observation would have been the same regardless of his perception of the solar system. Joshua's observation does not demand geocentrism. He is simply observing a phenomenon in his natural reference frame.

It's pointless to look for the math behind miracles. Assume God stopped every object in the known universe for 24 hours so that they all held their relative positions. Are you going to start telling me about inertia and acceleration? Are you going to say God couldn't do this because He is limited by His own creation?

carl

14 May 2014 at 22:06  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Carl. You could always abandon the idea of the bible being the actual truth and consider it as a history of the Jewish people told in interesting story format. It doesn’t take anything away from the good book, but it does satisfy the requirements of rational thought...

14 May 2014 at 22:17  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

And, yes, I believe the Sun clearly stopped in the sky relative to Joshua's frame of reference. This is an important point. Motion is always defined relative to a frame of reference. The unanswerable question is "How?". I don't know. I don't know how water became wine. I don't know how crippled legs were healed. I don't know how the dead were raised. I just know they were.

carl

14 May 2014 at 22:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Good plan, Inspector. Then I could start on the New Testament as well. The whole Jesus thing ... Just a nice story after all. We need to rescue Christianity from all the metaphysical nonsense surrounding it and get to its core moral teachings.

Cue Friedrich Schleiermacher to enter stage left.

carl

14 May 2014 at 22:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Carl. But Jesus’ story stands supreme. However, one admits this. Jesus may have been a newly created Archangel in human form. It all fits. Oh the burden of a questioning mind. But if he was an Archangel, does it matter, he was still created directly by God. We still worship God through Christ...

14 May 2014 at 22:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Inspector

I will leave it to your fellow Catholics to identify all the heresies you just suggested in that post.

carl

14 May 2014 at 22:45  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Carl. One has yet to meet anybody who can explain the Trinity to satisfaction. Can YOU do that ?

14 May 2014 at 22:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Inspector

Of course not. Why do suppose that I should be able to? There are many things I can't explain. I can't explain the hypostatic union either. Or the connection between my brain and my mind. Or the limits of the Universe. That doesn't falsify what we do know.

carl

14 May 2014 at 23:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Darach: "No I don't think it was simply an adrenalin rush that made it feel like time stood still. Joshua 10:14 There has been no day like it before or since. The story is pretty plain something actually happened and it is described plainly in geocentric terms."

Hmm, yes, but you need to include the next sentence: for [God] is listening to the voice of a man; for [God] is fighting for Israel, or if you will, King James' translation, "And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.

It suggests to me that God fighting on behalf of Israel is the focus here. My angle, that the stilling of the Heavenly bodies is an allegorical, poetic or vernacular expression suggesting that the battle was intense and quick may be supported in 10:13, "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Yasher? [i.e., Book of Righteousness] It's not that I deny physical miracles, but that I think that in this case, the miracle is in God joining in battle on behalf of Israel at the request of a man. Even the rabbinic commentators focus on that, although I'm sure most of them would have agreed with you in one way or another by interpreting the stilling of the Sun and the Moon literally, as a physical miracle. It sounds too as if Carl has an interesting explanation here, but I'd have to take a course in quantum mechanics to understand it.

Anyhow, I don't believe we've chatted before so, hail and well met, pleased to make my acquaintance. Our Inspector is surely relieved, having been the lone Irishman here for a few months.

14 May 2014 at 23:10  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Inspector General in Ordinary: For those commentators who care, our man Darach’s name is pronounced “Darra”
:) There are variations pronounced Darra, but the ch in Darach is pronounced like the soft Scottish ch in loch.

14 May 2014 at 23:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS, Carl, yes, that's all very nice, that when you account for the Earth's orbit around our Sun, our Solar System's path along the arm of Our Galaxy and the differential speed of all Heavenly bodies in an ever-expanding Universe, you would have to model a spiraling and squiggling path in three dimensions to depict all that. Looks like mess, with frames of reference swooshing hither and yon. Still, you cannot avoid the fact that we are a satellite to the Sun, rather than the Universe being our satellite, and that while I can understand that perception matters, no matter how much it looks like the train station is moving away from me when I'm on a train, we all know that it ain't so.

14 May 2014 at 23:25  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Avi but you need to include the next sentence: for [God] is listening to the voice of a man; for [God] is fighting for Israel...
It is hardly the only battle in the OT where the Lord answered prayer. Do you think if you had been living before Copernicus and didn't know it was the earth rotating that makes the sun seem to move across the sky, you would have read this passage and though of course it must be be meant allegorically?

14 May 2014 at 23:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

Why do you think I am trying to avoid the conclusion that the Earth is a satellite of the sun? I'm simply explaining Joshua's observation in natural terms.

In a heliocentric inertial frame of reference, the Earth orbits the Sun. We follow a nice ellipse according to Keppler's three laws. I know this to be true. But that isn't relevant to anything I have said. What is relevant is this - nothing in Scripture demands a geocentric solar system.

carl

14 May 2014 at 23:32  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Carl: Does a GPS satellite trace an elliptical orbit around the Earth? Is that its true motion. Be careful how you answer.
However they may appear from a point on the rotating surface of the earth, the actual motion of a satellite is the result of their momentum and the gravitation pull of the earth, constantly falling to earth (free fall) and constantly overshooting because of their momentum. The resulting trajectory is an ellipse. Throw in the earth's orbit around the sun and the overall trajectory is a spiral.

But you haven't addressed the problem that the real motion is the earth rotation as it orbits the sun, that Joshua could not stop the sun moving across the sky because it wasn't the sun moving.

I realise you want to honour and defend scripture, but we can only really honour scripture looking at what the text really says, not by trying to make it fit what we think it should say.

14 May 2014 at 23:49  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack has been reading around, as is his wont.

He sees this literal or figurative significant. If the Bible is wrong - literally - about creation and the order of the solar system, then is it wrong to take the moral teachings in the Bible literally?

For example, the authors of the Bible did not know about universe and the solar system and this is reflected in some of their writings. God could have inspired the authors to say "the earth moved away from the sun" about the solar system and "an age passed" about creation.

If the words of the Bible are constrained by the scientific knowledge of their age were their moral writings too?

The authors of the Bible have been mistranslated and anyway they were conditioned by their times - even Jesus, it seems.

All this talk of fighting the devil is so primitive. The writers didn't understand human psychology or human sexuality or how genetics works. The Torah needed to go. Jesus wants us to be friends with everyone and to understand them. The devil and his followers, if they really exist at all, are just leading us towards truths and a deeper understanding. God’s love encompasses all and rejects nobody. He made us the way we are. God forgives everybody. Sin is simply a failure to live out our true human potential due to social conditioning, rules and family background. We are never really responsible for our actions.

Jack says there is a difference between moral teachings and Biblical insights in morality and they do not change with the times.

15 May 2014 at 00:01  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Darach

"before all thy people I will do miracles",
(Exodus 34:10)

Whatever way you look at it, there was an account of God's power to intervene in His creation.

True, the author of this passage could have been inspired to say: "and God stopped all movement in the heavens and on the earth."

The Truth being Divinely conveyed is not scientific. It is revealing God's personal involvement and intervention in human history to achieve His ends.

Now that is a powerful Truth.

15 May 2014 at 00:13  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Oh, and its also an affirmation of the power of prayer to move God.

15 May 2014 at 00:14  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Darach: It is hardly the only battle in the OT where the Lord answered prayer. Yes, in Egypt and during the Exodus, as well. Probably elsewhere too. But it was Isaiah, methinks, who asked God that the sun dial shadow be moved back. The difference is still in that Joshua asked God for help and God helped immediately.

Do you think if you had been living before Copernicus and didn't know it was the earth rotating that makes the sun seem to move across the sky, you would have read this passage and though of course it must be be meant allegorically? Probably. I would have referenced Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed wherein he teaches that when the Torah says that God did something, he did so by means of the laws of nature which He created. In any event, regardless of whether we take on a heliocentric or geocentric explanation, stopping the heavenly bodies, undoubtedly possible for God, is still more of a violation of natural laws on a much grander scale than speeding up and strengthening Joshua's armies. Of course, the majority at the time, the mystics opposed to Maimonides would have deemed my position heretical, although today it would merely be a minority one.

Carl: Why do you think I am trying to avoid the conclusion that the Earth is a satellite of the sun? Umm, because I thought you were engaging in modern geocentric apologetics? I guess I was wrong.

What is relevant is this - nothing in Scripture demands a geocentric solar system.
. True enough. Funny how few people realize this.



15 May 2014 at 00:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Happy Jack: If the words of the Bible are constrained by the scientific knowledge of their age were their moral writings too?

A good point there, Jack. Yes and no; the written Torah writes in the language of men and addresses specific issues of the times it covers; the Oral Torah passed on by God to Moses, through Joshua and the Sages, down to our Rabbis, and reflected in the authentically, halakhically Jewish system of justice and customs and traditions covers timeless legal and ethical issues. But you have to be Jewish to go along with all that.

15 May 2014 at 00:36  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

We are being engulfed in gayness from the media in order to normalise it. Why, the Telegraph is even running a story about gay penguins in a zoo making a nest, hatching and rearing an allegedly discarded egg. Trash like this feeds the machine to equalise homosexual relationships with heterosexual ones when they plainly are no such thing, equal or normal and Archbishop Welby should be preaching 'love the sinner hate the sin' to homosexuals about their sinful behaviour not condoning it with them. I thought he'd have more of a backbone.
Why do we have two different sexes if God/nature had intended two of the same sex to have offspring? They are perverting the course of nature and on this note the Shuker MP should be flung out too.

15 May 2014 at 00:58  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack says that was the very point he was making and agrees. It's not all Jewish you know. There is a Christian version too!

He agrees the moral laws were given to Moses and are timeless. Jack adds, of course, that Jesus showed us the true meaning of the Torah and through a perfect union with Him the yoke of the external law becomes increasingly easy and light.

While he's here Jack has to say he always chuckles when he reads modernist accounts of Sodom. It wasn't really homosexuality that was the sin. No, it was inhospitality. Well, Jack says demanding to rape and bugger two strangers, messengers of God, no less, was pretty inhospitable!

15 May 2014 at 01:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darach

But you haven't addressed the problem that the real motion is the earth rotation as it orbits the sun, that Joshua could not stop the sun moving across the sky because it wasn't the sun moving.

I have addressed it. Completely and unambiguously. Why do you insist that 'stop' must be relative to an inertial frame? Because that is what you are suggesting.

carl

15 May 2014 at 01:35  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carefull, HJ, you'll be accused of becoming a Judaizing Papist.

Well, Jack says demanding to rape and bugger two strangers, messengers of God, no less, was pretty inhospitable! Hold on there, perhaps we need to check and see our respective commentaries about whether they brought along a Bundt cake and a bouquet for the soirée.

Carl (to Darach): I have addressed it. Completely and unambiguously. Why do you insist that 'stop' must be relative to an inertial frame? Because that is what you are suggesting.

Can you try another angle for my sake, because I don't get it?

15 May 2014 at 02:03  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

*chuckle*

Jack is pleased you are back.

15 May 2014 at 02:21  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Avi is pleased to be back, Jack...it's been stupidly busy and hectic.

15 May 2014 at 02:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

What is Joshua's only indication that the Sun has stopped? It is that the Sun remains motionless in the sky at some constant azimuth and elevation. That observation occurs in a relative frame of reference. You perceive the Sun to move in Az and El because of the Earth's rotation. If the sun appears to stop moving it is because the velocity of the sun relative to your point of observation appears to be zero. That is all that is required. Say for example the rotation of the Earth was modified so that the same point on Earth always faced the sun.

Now if I understand Darach correctly, he is saying that the Scripture doesn't allow for this explanation. Since it is the Sun stops, it is the Sun that must have been moving. That means the Earth must be stationary relative to the Sun - hence geocentrism. In other words, he says the word 'stop' means the inertial velocity of the Sun must have become zero. I do not see this as a necessary condition at all. All that matters is that the sun remain motionless in Az and El. That would satisfy Joshua's observation.

carl

15 May 2014 at 04:44  
Blogger Len said...

It would seem that it was not just homosexuality that was 'the sin of Sodom(homosexuality is pretty universal even in the church)But; it was the blatant acceptance and the promotion of Homosexuality in Society that was the sin.

Isn`t that where we are at now?.

15 May 2014 at 08:50  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Len

They hear an emotive individual, and turn to jelly. The world is full of people who will emote on the benefits and wholesomeness of many kinds of disordered behaviour. A man can be eloquent and moving on how the new baby is coming between him and his wife without mentioning it is his new baby. A woman can be eloquent and moving on how her husband ignores her, and her male friend at work listens. But the solution is not divorce. Being pastoral is not the same as being wet and accommodating, and agreeing with the first easy solution that is a social norm.

It is unwholesome for the individual and deeply useless for society to have the quantity of revisionist accommodating clergy who sway with the wind and do not hold onto key principles and identify with post-operative mush, or others who are so identified with their own sinfulness that they feel unable to assist anyone else out of the mire, as they are no better really, a factor which is, even as and when true, useless and irrelevant.

With the agenda at issue I remember a doctor writing to "The Times" when it was still a good paper, so maybe 15 years or so ago, lamenting that only one side of the argument found ready publishers, and that some very important research work he knew of was being blocked. I suspect that that work is now available on the internet, but usually you have to be prepared to work harder to find it, as it is still neither feted nor advertised as much as the other side. And those who are on the side of worldly new values just assume that all the dinosaurs, in their eyes, will eventually follow.

15 May 2014 at 10:24  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Avoiding the chat about the phenomenology of miracles and the Inspector becoming a Jehovah's Witness, I'd like to return to His Grace's going off the deep end.

First of all, they did not expel the Oasis Trust because of the (blatantly) unbiblical views of its founder. They expelled it because it refused to comply with a request to balance the videos on its website defending the revisionist reading of homosexuality in the Bible with ones defending the traditional teaching, a request that it failed to comply with to the satisfaction of EA (clearly thinking they wouldn't do anything about it). EA on that basis decided that it couldn't have a member who would not comply with a reasonable request in this regard. Steve Chalke has not been evangelical for some time, and the EA should probably have expelled him sooner, but nevertheless it is good that the decision has been made.

Just to give some quotations from the EA's statement on the matter:

"However they were unwilling to fulfil the council’s request to adjust the content of their website/resources and social media output to equally profile the traditional Christian view." [emphasis mine]

"For the sake of clarity, the views of individual members of the Evangelical Alliance are a matter of personal conscience. Personal members are requested to affirm the Evangelical Alliance basis of faith and indicate their support for the work of the Alliance by making a financial contribution." [emphasis mine]

Evangelical unity has to be evangelical unity, i.e. unity around the gospel truth. Since Chalke's "hermeneutics" (and I hesitate to dignify them with that word) are inconsistent with classical evangelicalism, it is not in any way unreasonable to consider him beyond the bounds of such unity.

Your representation of the "schism" is breathtakingly dishonest. Conservative evangelicals welcome fornicators, adulterers and abortionists on the basis of repentance, and accept homosexuals on the same basis. You must be aware of this, and the statements of prominent evangelicals like Vaughan Roberts on the matter. Which makes me wonder why you choose to frame the debate in the terms of liberals?

The Oasis Trust's philanthropic work is totally irrelevant to its status as Evangelical. The Roman Catholic Church does a great deal of philanthropic work, it's also clearly not eligible to be a member of the Evangelical Alliance (not that it would want to be). This is just well-poisoning on your part.

Also, please give a citation for this statement:

"The EA do not expel members who support abortion; nor do they sever links with those who marry divorcees or accept pre-marital sexual relations as a forerunner of marriage."

I think if an EA church publicly advocated abortion they would find themselves out on their ear pretty quickly. I'm not aware of any members who accept fornication as legitimate, and the marriage of certain kinds of divorcees is Biblically warranted.

The only thing I agree with is that Shuker should be expelled.

15 May 2014 at 10:33  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Carl I have addressed it. Completely and unambiguously. Why do you insist that 'stop' must be relative to an inertial frame? Because that is what you are suggesting.
Because stop is very different from appear to stop. It involves deceleration from a force applied to the object to make it stop.

Galileo is credited with being the first to come up with the idea of relative motion. Do you really think that is what Bronze age warrior Joshua or the writer of Joshua were talking that way? Do you think your relativistic interpretation was the plain meaning of the text for church fathers writing long before Galileo's geocentrism or relativity?

15 May 2014 at 11:42  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Avi I would have referenced Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed wherein he teaches that when the Torah says that God did something, he did so by means of the laws of nature which He created.
That is true, Medieval rabbis had a very different take on Joshua's miracle, some suggested it was an eclipse made the Israelites think the sun stopped.
But that was certainly not the tradition in the church, which recognised God working through natural processes and through miracles when there wasn't a natural providential answer. The issue for the church in Galileo's time was that there were no church fathers with an interpretation that could fit the new science. They all took the (miraculous) plain meaning that the sun was moving geocentrically across the sky and stopped moving at Joshua's command.

15 May 2014 at 12:08  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas They expelled it because it refused to comply with a request to balance the videos on its website defending the revisionist reading of homosexuality in the Bible with ones defending the traditional teaching, a request that it failed to comply with to the satisfaction of EA
So on that basis, should churches and Christian organisations in the EA, whose websites that give the traditional teaching on homosexuality have to balance it with the biblical teaching on affirming same sex marriage? Should traditionalists who don't comply be kicked out of the EA?

Should webpages teaching about the traditional idea of hell be balanced with annihilationism and every mention of penal substitution be balanced with an exposition of Christus Victor? It would be fun seeing creationists having to teach accommodation and Theistic Evolution, but I would prefer them to be free to teach what they actually believe and allow debate among evangelicals without one side or both being shackled.

15 May 2014 at 12:35  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darach

What Joshua did or didn't know is entirely beside the point. Assume you are correct and that Joshua believed the sun orbited a stationary Earth. How does his lack of knowledge change the created order? The Earth is orbiting the sun no matter what Joshua thinks. God can bridge the gap between Joshua's lack of understanding and Joshua's expectation. God didn't need to insert a section on rotating reference frames so Joshua would understand. Joshua doesn't need to understand relative motion any more than a bronze age archer needed to understand escape velocity.

Joshua expects that the sun will stop and he sees the sun stop. What difference does it make to Joshua how that expectation is met so long as it is met? Galileo may have uncovered the idea of relative motion but it is God who established it from the beginning.

carl

15 May 2014 at 12:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

So at this point, Darach, you should tell us what you think an Evangelical is.

csrl

15 May 2014 at 13:00  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: So on that basis, should churches and Christian organisations in the EA, whose websites that give the traditional teaching on homosexuality have to balance it with the biblical teaching on affirming same sex marriage? Should traditionalists who don't comply be kicked out of the EA?

No, because the two options clearly do not have the same textual status. To say they do is like claiming that on one interpretation the Bible is monotheistic, but on another it's atheistic and we can't privilege one over the other. To be honest, I don't think organisations who teach the revisionist understanding on human sexuality should be allowed in the EA at all, but the EA was very generous and accommodating in permitting them to have both views on their website whilst remaining a member.

NB: It isn't just Protestant Evangelicals who think that Biblical texts like Romans and 1 Corinthians condemn homosexuality. Take liberal Catholics like Fitzmyer or Raymond Brown, for example, who agree that these texts do disapprove of homosexuality in toto. Many liberals grant that this is exactly what the texts teach, whilst denying that we should take their moral strictures as relevant for Christians today.

I would prefer them to be free to teach what they actually believe and allow debate among evangelicals without one side or both being shackled.

Do you actually have a point? Last time I checked EA didn't gag anyone, they simply stated that they did not think they belonged in their organisation. Evangelical is not a protected term, and liberals like Steve Chalke can create a group called "Evangelical Union" quite freely. But EA wants to remain Biblically faithful.

15 May 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger Hannah said...

Unlike Lucy, I think Steve Chalke has always come across as a devout thoughtful Christian thinker. Does anyone have a link to Steve's arguments about SSM? Also why excommunicate Oasis? I thought evangelicals believed in the 'priesthood of all believers' as opposed to the RCC 'Majesterium?'

BTW,I think what Cranmer is saying that the EA are being selective in what they deem to be heretical behaviour, predictably focusing on the 'dogwhistle' issue that equal marriage is- as has been noted the opposition is viscral, directed at one type of sexual 'sin'... I think if Jesus himself plopped from heaven and endorsed SSM,you'd still find some christians would be be against it.

Good to see Avi is back, btw.

15 May 2014 at 13:22  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: Because stop is very different from appear to stop. It involves deceleration from a force applied to the object to make it stop.

And you criticise Carl for retrojecting modernistic ideas back into the text?! Do you really think that's how Joshua would have understood "stop"?

15 May 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Hannah: He hasn't been excommunicated. That's Cranmer's rhetorical flourished. He has been expelled from an organisation of evangelicals. Let's not blow this out of all proportion.

15 May 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

flourish*

15 May 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thanks, Carl. I see what you mean. But it gets complicated with two orbital paths, as Scripture says that the Sun and the Moon stopped for a whole day.

You and Darach have a preference for literal, or plain (Heb., p'shat interpretation of the text...which is fine. But as a friend of mine wrote to me on this topic, the clue may be purely linguistic.

The two words for stand-still used in the passage, damam and amad have a number of meanings, as in to be dumb, astonished, to perish, rest, silenced, stilled, tarry and so on. Joshua's army performed an astounding military feat, where they marched through the night from the town of Gilgal, fought a battle at Gibeon and marched on to fight and win again at Makedah. Look at a modern map and the distance between Jericho and Bet Shemesh to get an idea of the distances involved. In this context, the reading that "the Sun and the Moon were struck dumb or silenced by the heroic actions of what must have been an incredibly conditioned, disciplined and trained army...to put our tough Golani and Givati brigades to shame... makes much more sense to me. So, what we are most likely looking at is traditional praise poetry of an impressive military feat, the kind that troubadours across the ages and cultures routinely engaged in.

Ok, it's not that I'm merely trying to rationalize an event to fit modern scientific understanding or that I don't accept miracles, but before we jump to the last resort...metaphysical explanations...we should look at more prosaic ones. To me, God's promise to humankind in Genesis 8:22 is revealing as it's straightforward: "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat and Summer and Winter, and day and night shall not cease," and then there is Maimonides' "rule of thumb" that God performs miracles according to his natural laws. And, we still have the miracles, but in the "prescribed" naturalistic context; the hail which decimated the enemy troops and the ability of an army to march through the night over a long distance, over rough military roads and several passes and then to fight through an entire day and win all engagements. A feat to astonish even the two "witnesses," to put it poetically; the Moon, which saw the night march, and the Sun, which witnessed the battles!

15 May 2014 at 13:29  
Blogger Hannah said...

HI Thomas

Yes, I did see that was rhetorical; I didn't think you good Proddies 'did' excommunication. For that matter, I don't think Anglicans do either or they'd expelled half of them a long time ago for agreeing with women vicars (:

15 May 2014 at 13:31  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Miss Hannah, good to see you too!

15 May 2014 at 13:32  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Carl God can bridge the gap between Joshua's lack of understanding and Joshua's expectation.
I agree that is what happened. It still remains that Joshua spoke in terms of of his geocentric understanding and the writer of Joshua described what happened as if geocentrism was true, that the sun really was moving across the sky and stopped moving when Joshua commanded it to stop. But if the text was written from this geocentric understanding then the plain meaning of the text is geocentric. The understanding that God was accommodating Joshua's primitive geocentrism is a hermeneutic that explains the geocentrism in the plain meaning of the text, it doesn't remove it.

15 May 2014 at 13:32  
Blogger Hannah said...

Anyways, don't tease me, as I'm trying to read through the Avi-Carl-Drach- Happy Jack- Inspector thread. It's quite a read!

15 May 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: How is geocentrism present or implicit in the text? When we talk about "sunrise" or "sunset" does that imply we are geocentrists? When I say the sun moves across the sky or that it's high in the sky I'm not committing myself to an astronomical theory, I'm giving a phenomenological description of how "the sun", as a small yellow disk in the sky, is behaving.

Moreover, you're not taking into account that an indeterminate amount of Joshua 10:12-15 is a quotation from the book of Jashar, which is thought to have been something like a poetic epic. For Joshua to quote it doesn't commit him to some poetic cosmology.

15 May 2014 at 13:38  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

What does it even mean to talk about primitive geocentrism? This is long prior to the advent of Ptolemaic cosmology- why assume that Joshua even had a cosmological model, let alone one with a centre?

15 May 2014 at 13:39  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Carl So at this point, Darach, you should tell us what you think an Evangelical is.
A born again Christian who believes scripture is inspired by God, who has been saved by faith in Christ's death and resurrection, not through any merit of their own.
It is all there in the EA basis of faith http://www.eauk.org/connect/about-us/basis-of-faith.cfm including a really good affirmation about diversity of views among evangelicals
We respect the diversity of culture, experience and doctrinal understanding that God grants to His people, and acknowledge that some differences over issues not essential to salvation may well remain until the end of time.

15 May 2014 at 13:46  
Blogger John Thomas said...

Any kind of revisionism, which might turn around a very-long-held doctrine (eg. homosexuality)requires belief that the Holy Spirit has been lying to us (the Church), and misleading us, for 2 millennia ... or, then, perhaps Colin Coward and chums have managed to Change God's Attitude to such matters ... might be ...

15 May 2014 at 13:56  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Unfortunately the question of homosexuality may well be essential to salvation, since Paul says that Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (ESV)

Now people might disagree over the translation of arsenokoites and malakoi, but there is no doubt that they are to be found in a passage relevant to who will inherit God's kingdom.

15 May 2014 at 13:57  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

By unfortunately, I mean unfortunately for Darach's argument.

15 May 2014 at 13:58  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Leading on from Thomas's comment, some interesting reading.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_homosexuality

Obviously this is Wikipedia and not in itself a bastion of scholarship (though I find its pages on veterinary biochemistry surprisingly accurate) - but several links for further reading for anyone who has the energy.

15 May 2014 at 14:13  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas No, because the two options clearly do not have the same textual status. To say they do is like claiming that on one interpretation the Bible is monotheistic, but on another it's atheistic and we can't privilege one over the other.
Wouldn't an atheistic interpretation of scripture go as against some of the more basic point in the EA's basis of faith, the Trinitarian nature of God the divine inspiration of scripture the incarnation of God's son...? Either you respect diversity of view with evangelicals or you hive off into smaller and smaller congregations condemning each other for every difference of opinion. Evangelicalism has changed and broadened radically over slavery, women's ministry, evolution and the age of the earth, remarrying divorcees, accepting the gifts of the spirit, how Christ's death atones for our sin, hell. When new ideas come along the majority view already has the privileged position of being taught by the majority. Should the new and minority view be shackled by having to add to the majority voice by giving both points of views while the majority just preaches their opinion. It hardly fits the EA's ...acknowledge our own failings and the possibility that we ourselves may be mistaken,

Last time I checked EA didn't gag anyone, they simply stated that they did not think they belonged in their organisation
Doesn't belong in the EA on the basis of questions Chalke shares with 27% of EA membership, an issue that isn't covered by their basis of faith. Kicking people out gags them, and silences all their other members who disagree or simply want to discuss the issue.

So has the EA changed from it's original commitment to be open to a diversity of views among evangelicals? Have we reached the limit of possible discussion: slavery, women's ministry, evolution, divorce, the gifts of the spirit, the atonement and hell are the only possible areas we can grow in or at least respect a diversity of views, there is now nothing more God can possibly teach us?

15 May 2014 at 14:22  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Sister Tiberia: My understanding of wikipedia is that its scientific and mathematical content is often quite good. This wikipedia page isn't bad (even it has to admit that most scholars still see the NT passages as condemnations of sodomy) but is still somewhat distorted. It doesn't even address that malakos has the meaning of catamite in roughly contemporary Greek literature, which makes sense given the context.

15 May 2014 at 14:23  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: The point is not whether or not they contradict the EA’s basis of faith but whether they are equally valid interpretations of scripture. If they aren’t, and we recognise that in principle some interpretations of scripture are simply not plausible, then you open the door to the possibility for condemning someone for negating Scripture even if the issue is not specficially spoken of in the statement of faith. So the point is, what level of diversity of opinion should be accepted? When someone pays lip service to Scripture but then defies it or interprets it out of existence then I don’t see why I should regard them as evangelical. What a load of rubbish that it gags them. Seriously, get some perspective. If they want to discuss the issue then they have a plethora of means for doing so. The question for you, Darach, is whether the borders of evangelicalism are so permeable that there is literally no impermissible view for them.

15 May 2014 at 14:32  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 May 2014 at 14:33  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thoams Any kind of revisionism, which might turn around a very-long-held doctrine (eg. homosexuality)requires belief that the Holy Spirit has been lying to us (the Church), and misleading us, for 2 millennia ... or, then, perhaps Colin Coward and chums have managed to Change God's Attitude to such matters ... might be ...
You mean revisionism like the church changing the traditional interpretation of Joshua? Or the reformation overturning ancient Catholic tradition? Either the Holy Spirit is continuing to teach us and challenge the traditions of men, or Evangelicals should repent of their novelties and go back to the Catholic Church and become geocentrists.

15 May 2014 at 14:33  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Thomas

The best book I ever read on the subject (and it was many years ago) was Dr James Barr's "Semantics of Biblical Language". I believe it's out of print but surely someone will manage a Kindle version sooner or later. I can't remember exactly what he said on the arsenokoites/malakoi translations though, would have to try to find quotes online and not sure I have the energy today.

15 May 2014 at 14:37  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas Unfortunately the question of homosexuality may well be essential to salvation, since Paul says that Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (ESV)
Now people might disagree over the translation of arsenokoites and malakoi, but there is no doubt that they are to be found in a passage relevant to who will inherit God's kingdom.


And if arsenokoites and malakoi do not include faithful same sex marriage, does that mean you are making up laws and adding a condition to salvation? What about drunkards in the same passage? Evangelicals use to preach total abstinence, now most churches teach responsible drinking and they are not thrown out of the evangelical alliance.

At very least we should be discussing the meaning of arsenokoites, a really obscure word. Should we even be excluding people from acceptance in church and adding rules to salvation based on obscure word whose meaning we only guess at?

15 May 2014 at 14:47  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

It gets complicated with two orbital paths, as Scripture says that the Sun and the Moon stopped for a whole day.

That makes sense since Genesis says that both the sun and the moon may be used to make the days and the seasons. But this is also why I said it is pointless to look for the science in a miracle. We are talking about an intervention that contravenes the laws by which things operate. We can think up mechanisms but we are inherently limited by our tendency to make the solution consistent with the law. God is not so bound.

carl

15 May 2014 at 14:57  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 May 2014 at 15:26  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas The point is not whether or not they contradict the EA’s basis of faith but whether they are equally valid interpretations of scripture. If they aren’t, and we recognise that in principle some interpretations of scripture are simply not plausible, then you open the door to the possibility for condemning someone for negating Scripture even if the issue is not specifically spoken of in the statement of faith. So the point is, what level of diversity of opinion should be accepted? When someone pays lip service to Scripture but then defies it or interprets it out of existence then I don’t see why I should regard them as evangelical.
If you want to honour the EA's principle of allowing a diversity of doctrinal understanding and acknowledging the possibility we ourselves may be mistaken, then you need to assume that the apparently committed believer who interprets scripture in way you cannot understand is actually sincere. Creationists find it really difficult to see how any Christian can read Genesis and not take it literally. They are convinced TEs simply don't respect the authority of scripture. As Paul said about sabbath observance Romans 14:5 Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. being convinced in our own mind does not mean the other person is being insincere and just paying lip service. If you disagree argue with them, show them from scripture you are right maybe even be open to the possibility you are wrong yourself. But don't shut down the discussion be kicking people out.

15 May 2014 at 15:29  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: First of all you have confused John Thomas for me. I didn't make the comment you impute to me, he did.

And if arsenokoites and malakoi do not include faithful same sex marriage, does that mean you are making up laws and adding a condition to salvation? What about drunkards in the same passage? Evangelicals use to preach total abstinence, now most churches teach responsible drinking and they are not thrown out of the evangelical alliance.

Which evangelicals used to preach total abstinence? Some still do, and always have, but I'm not aware of this teaching ever having been pervasive in the evangelical movement. Did Calvin? Luther? Luther certainly drank alcohol. You just make broad brush claims with no evidence to fit your narrative of a broadening out of evangelicalism, when such a thing is historically unfounded.

As for arsenokoites being obscure, it's not; here are some quotations from Fitzmyer's commentary on 1 Cor, from the Anchor Yale Commentaries:

"The meaning of the term is clear and denotes the active partner in same-sex (anal) intercourse with another male; hence it can be translated "sodomite"..."

"Considerable debate has surrounded the understanding of this term, the meaning of which is per se clear and is in no way limited to pederasty. No Pauline text expresses even a qualified approval of such same-sex activity."

"The compound noun is formed from arsen, "male," and koite, "bed" or "sexual relation"... and reflects the use of the two words in LXX Lev 20:13"

Your claim that we are guessing is false. We know with confidence what the word means. It's just people with an agenda to push who try to introduce doubt where reasonable doubt is not warranted. Even "faithful same-sex marriage" (a contradiction in terms) involves sodomy in the sense of homosexual intercourse between the partners, so the stricture would apply there as much as elsewhere.

15 May 2014 at 15:35  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Avi

For the last 24 hours or so I've been trying, unfortunately in vain, to remember the name of a U.S.(formerly Soviet, if I'm not mistaken) mathematician who wrote a book many years ago (in the fifties, I think) in which he makes a very strange claim about the sun standing still in Joshua. From memory, he claims that the direction of the earth's rotation suddenly changed, due to the attraction of a passing comet or asteroid. Previously to that moment, the sun had invariably been seen to rise in the west and set in the east. The rotation slowed down and stopped, he claims, on the day of the battle, and then started again, but in the opposite direction. Have you any idea who I'm talking about? He was a highly thought-of academic whose books were taken very seriously at the time.

15 May 2014 at 15:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Thomas K,

As for arsenokoites being obscure, it's not; here are some quotations from Fitzmyer's commentary on 1 Cor, from the Anchor Yale Commentaries

Well said. I raised my eyebrows at the contrary suggestion, as I was always under the impression that Paul was remarkably (shall we say) "technical" on the matter. I can't say I've ever found any exegesis that claims to show Paul isn't condemning same-sex sex at all convincing. Perhaps Darach would like to offer an interpretation of (say) Romans? Alternatively, one just says that one does not really regard scriptural authority as compelling. But such a person should probably not take the name "evangelical" to themselves.

15 May 2014 at 16:08  
Blogger Len said...

I haven`t the time [or the inclination]to plough through this lot but I take it we are discussing the creation rather than the Creator and His Plan for the redemption of Humanity?...forgive me if I am wrong ...But...
Basically the old fallen creation was judged at Calvary and unless we have been translated into the new creation (In Christ) we judge ourselves.
Homosexuality was not part of God`s plan so it remains part of the old [fallen ] Creation.

There would be no need for endless discussions if we could grasp this simple fact.

15 May 2014 at 16:09  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas First of all you have confused John Thomas for me. I didn't make the comment you impute to me, he did.
Sorry about that :(

"The meaning of the term is clear and denotes the active partner in same-sex (anal) intercourse with another male; hence it can be translated "sodomite"..."Arsenokoites is certainly connected with homosexuality, one of many words the Greeks had to describe different aspects of it, the question is whether arsenokoites is a general term that describes every form of homosexual behaviour or was used to describe one particular aspect. We simply don't know the context. Like I said the word obscure and we shouldn't be excluding people over it, whether gays couples unaccepted in church or Steve Chalke excluded from the EA.

Luther certainly did like a pint, and 19th cent early 20th cent German Americans found them selves at odd with the Total Abstinence and prohibitionist culture in the rest of the american church. Total abstinence was pretty powerful when the EA was set up. My point about drunkeness is that it was in the same will not enter the kingdom passage as arsenokoites. If you insist on the broadest meaning of arsenokoites, because it is a salvation issue, then why not also insist on the broadest interpretation of drunkenness.

But even if Steve Chalke is wrong, I don't think a faithful married gay couple in a church trusting in Christ for their salvation are going to lose their salvation because they misunderstood the passage and were sinning in ignorance. What we need is to find the best understanding of scripture not insist on the toughest interpretation in case we lose our salvation, that is just adding our own laws to the gospel, something Paul really didn't approve of.

15 May 2014 at 16:42  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: Arsenokoites is certainly connected with homosexuality, one of many words the Greeks had to describe different aspects of it, the question is whether arsenokoites is a general term that describes every form of homosexual behaviour or was used to describe one particular aspect. We simply don't know the context. Like I said the word obscure and we shouldn't be excluding people over it, whether gays couples unaccepted in church or Steve Chalke excluded from the EA.

And like I said, it is not connected with “homosexuality” insofar as that describes an orientation and activity, but with “sodomy”, as far as that describes homosexual intercourse. The term is not one that was from “the Greeks” as you say but was, as Fitzmyer notes, a coinage from Leviticus 20:13 in the LXX. The fact that it is paired with malakoi simply confirms this. We do know the context, since the context is Judaism and the LXX in particular. We should be “excluding people” for the same reason we exclude unrepentant drunkards from the church. And as Fitzmyer says, the word is not at all obscure. It refers to gay sex. That you don’t like that doesn’t make it any less true, and your assertions to the contrary are baseless.

Luther certainly did like a pint, and 19th cent early 20th cent German Americans found them selves at odd with the Total Abstinence and prohibitionist culture in the rest of the american church. Total abstinence was pretty powerful when the EA was set up. My point about drunkeness is that it was in the same will not enter the kingdom passage as arsenokoites. If you insist on the broadest meaning of arsenokoites, because it is a salvation issue, then why not also insist on the broadest interpretation of drunkenness.

This is absurd. The point is that evangelicalism has not broadened on the issue of drunkenness, there has always been a perspective in it (probably the mainstream) allowing alcohol consumption. This falsifies your narrative of a gradually expanding field of possible evangelical orthodoxy, which is historically illiterate. I don’t insist on the broadest meaning of arsenokoites, that is simply the meaning of the word, as scholars like Fitzmyer acknowledge and demonstrate. It derives from Paul’s Jewish context, which absolutely prohibited gay sex.

No one is adding laws, all that is being said is that Scripture very clearly prohibits homosexual intercourse, something it very definitely does in Romans, 1 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, Leviticus and Genesis, and that’s apart from the Biblical teaching on the complementarity of men and women in marriage. If you teach homosexuals otherwise you are deceiving them and leading them into sin- and we all know what Jesus said about people who cause others to sin.

15 May 2014 at 17:03  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Albert Perhaps Darach would like to offer an interpretation of (say) Romans?
The oddest thing in Romans 1 is Paul's use of the Greek philosophical term, phusuis, nature. How do you argue right and wrong from nature if with Calvin you think human nature is fallen? But if Paul is using a Greek concept here, we need to distinguish it from later medieval ideas of homosexuality as being against nature. Because the Greeks realised some people were homosexual by nature. So if Paul is using the Greek concept speaking to the Romans when he talks of people going against their nature, he is talking about heterosexuals engaging in pagan worship and having sex with male prostitutes, not people who were (by nature) homosexual to start with.

15 May 2014 at 17:03  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Thanks Albert. It's noteworthy that Fitzmyer isn't some conservative evangelical with an axe to grind. He's a liberal Catholic, and he's in good company with other liberals in affirming that this is what Paul meant when he wrote. The difference is, liberals acknowledge what the text says and deny the truthfulness of it. Whilst liberals like Chalke pretend to believe the Bible is their authority, but then negate its plain statements with obscurantist falsehoods like the ones Darach has been purveying.

15 May 2014 at 17:05  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

should read "liberals like Fitzmyer"

15 May 2014 at 17:06  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: Same crap always being regurgitated by pro-homosexual apologists. I’m sorry, but this is making something out of nothing. You argue right and wrong from nature if you understand there to be a good created order that has now been distorted by sin- thus nature is the pre-fall created order.

And you also run fast into the wall that he doesn’t talk about people going against their nature, but against nature. (He certainly uses the genitive to refer to “their error” in the same context, so he could have done so!) Then there’s the fact that these relations aren’t unnatural to these people in that they’re heterosexual, since God has given them over to “dishonourable passions”- they are homosexually attracted! Once again, the “natural use of women” is something that requires an objective use, not one natural to them, otherwise Paul would have so specified "their natural use of women".

15 May 2014 at 17:18  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

But if Paul is using a Greek concept here, we need to distinguish it from later medieval ideas of homosexuality as being against nature. Because the Greeks realised some people were homosexual by nature. So if Paul is using the Greek concept speaking to the Romans when he talks of people going against their nature, he is talking about heterosexuals engaging in pagan worship and having sex with male prostitutes, not people who were (by nature) homosexual to start with.

This seems highly dubious to me. The idea here seems to be that by nature Paul means what we might call inclination or orientation. However, Paul makes it clear that we are sinners by orientation, and thus we would be sinners by (in these terms) nature. But if our inclination makes something nature and therefore not sinful, there is no sin. This makes no sense of anything, not least the passage as a whole:

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.

The point seems to be that they are controlled by their passions ("the lusts of their hearts to impurity"). These are people who are committing homosexual acts because they want to. As Jesus says:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.

The fact that people want to murder or commit adultery or whatever does not make it natural to them. Thus Paul has in mind not people acting contrary to their inclinations, rather the sin is that they are acting in accordance with their inclinations, but against nature (in Paul's sense).

Thus I think throwing in a distinction between the Greeks and Medievals is mistaken. Most likely the Medievals are largely grasping what Paul means.

As for how a Calvinist responds to this question, I guess he would say that he does not learn what is natural from looking at nature (it's fallen) but by listening to scripture. As a Catholic, I wouldn't go that far (I think we can learn from nature), but I would say that I would far sooner trust the judgement of scripture as to what is natural than my own disordered inclinations - for I too am a sinner, and I with St Paul I find sin at work in my members (what would that mean on your interpretation?).

15 May 2014 at 17:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Ooops. Thomas has expressed much more succinctly my own thought!

15 May 2014 at 17:32  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas And like I said, it is not connected with “homosexuality” insofar as that describes an orientation and activity, but with “sodomy”, as far as that describes homosexual intercourse. The term is not one that was from “the Greeks” as you say but was, as Fitzmyer notes, a coinage from Leviticus 20:13 in the LXX. The fact that it is paired with malakoi simply confirms this. We do know the context, since the context is Judaism and the LXX in particular.
The Leviticus etymology is pure guesswork with no evidence to show that this is how the word was coined. The existence of similar Greek -koites compounds suggests it is of Greek derivation. Remember also etymology only tells you where a word came from, not the context it was used in or how the usage changed and developed. I would have thought pairing arsenokoites with malakoi showed that they refer to different aspects of homosexuality rather than arsenokoites covering everything.

We should be “excluding people” for the same reason we exclude unrepentant drunkards from the church. And as Fitzmyer says, the word is not at all obscure. It refers to gay sex. That you don’t like that doesn’t make it any less true, and your assertions to the contrary are baseless.
The Greeks had loads of different words for different forms of gay sex. We have no idea how the term arsenokoites was used, which makes it obscure.

If you are going to insist on the broadest interpretation of arsenokoites covering every form of homosexuality, I don't see why you shouldn't insist on the broadest interpretation of drunkenness that Tea Total evangelicals come up with.

If same sex marriage is not what Paul meant by arsenokoites, then making it a salvation issue is adding laws to the gospel, no different from the legalism of the good old days when people were thrown out of church for going to the cinema or having a drink.

15 May 2014 at 17:37  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

the Greeks realised some people were homosexual by nature

Can you provide a source for that, please? It is interesting because, when I was studying the biblical background to this, we were told, Paul did not have an understanding of homosexual orientation, and was therefore not actually addressing homosexual acts as they are actually committed. Your suggestion, when supported by the points Thomas and I have made, causes that liberal argument to fail.

15 May 2014 at 17:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

The Greeks had loads of different words for different forms of gay sex. We have no idea how the term arsenokoites was used, which makes it obscure.

Do you mean we have no idea how the word was used generally, or specifically in Paul?

15 May 2014 at 17:44  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl: But this is also why I said it is pointless to look for the science in a miracle.

Why? Miracles are timely interventions which change circumstances or the course of history. The goal is the result, not the mechanism. The science is in applying an orderly, logical methodology to a Universe clearly created to be orderly and logical. It makes much more sense to imbue Joshua's men with miraculous levels of strength and endurance, allowing them to do the unexpected, than to mess with planetary and celestial mechanics and crucial laws of physics for no apparent reason.

We are talking about an intervention that contravenes the laws by which things operate.

But the point of God's intervention in this case was not to stop the Sun and the Moon, but to assist Joshua's victory. This point will be totally lost if you ignore or gloss over the most vital piece of information; the long distances the army had to march, at night and at a punishing pace, and the hard battles the exhausted men had to fight without rest against numerically and technologically (e.g., chariots) superior armies. This isn't a minor point. Even if you were to do the hike today on the leveled, smooth-surfaced Hwy 1, from the bus stop by the intersection of the road connecting to Jericho (to make it shorter), past Jerusalem to the south and then shortly before turning north towards Canada park, to head south on Hwy 38 past Bet Shemesh, stopping somewhere around the north edge of Britannia Park. After such a hike I think even you would welcome a chilled Coors Lite in an air conditioned pub in Ramat Bet Shemesh, as opposed to a full day of Bronze Age warfare.

The point is that no inhabitant familiar with the region and the strategic importance of the battles would need to be told that such a feat would be undeniably miraculous. But commentators and theologians living elsewhere and with very little knowledge of the geography of the Land of Israel would, of course, miss such crucial facts and focus on the poetic expressions, converting them into the miracle which Joshua 10 tells us it was.

15 May 2014 at 17:50  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: The Leviticus etymology is pure guesswork with no evidence to show that this is how the word was coined. The existence of similar Greek -koites compounds suggests it is of Greek derivation. Remember also etymology only tells you where a word came from, not the context it was used in or how the usage changed and developed. I would have thought pairing arsenokoites with malakoi showed that they refer to different aspects of homosexuality rather than arsenokoites covering everything.

Pure guesswork? Really? So when we have an obvious etymology with the two words next to each other, we know Paul used the Septuagint and this word is not seen prior to Paul in Greek literature, to infer that that is the etymology is pure guesswork? Of course not, to say so is contemptible, and some pretty eminent scholars seem to think that is exactly what the etymology is and they don’t think they’re just guessing. Your claim about other “koites” words is pretty vague- care to substantiate? Also, why would that suggest it was of Greek derivation, rather than merely being a usage Paul imitated? And it certainly reflects the use of these words in Leviticus, of which Paul was certainly aware. Etymology is particularly important if the word is a recent coinage, as it certainly was, either coined by Paul or someone recent to him, otherwise the word would appear in previous literature.

.As for the pairing of malakoi and arsenokoites, do I really need to spell it out for you? Arsenokoites refers to the active, penetrating partner in homosexual intercourse. Malakoi refers to the passive, penetrated partner in homosexual intercourse (and that is how the word is previously used in Greek literature). When convergent etymology and context tell us one meaning for a word, that’s certainly its meaning. You insist on the Greek context of all of this, but Paul is speaking from a Jewish context, which, almost uniquely in the ancient world, prohibited homosexual relations.

If you are going to insist on the broadest interpretation of arsenokoites covering every form of homosexuality, I don't see why you shouldn't insist on the broadest interpretation of drunkenness that Tea Total evangelicals come up with.

Are you really so dense? I’m not insisting on the broadest interpretation. I’m insisting on what the meaning is, as most scholars recognise. If the meaning is broad, then it’s broad. If it isn’t, then it isn’t. The meaning of “drunkard” isn’t “someone who drinks”.

If same sex marriage is not what Paul meant by arsenokoites, then making it a salvation issue is adding laws to the gospel, no different from the legalism of the good old days when people were thrown out of church for going to the cinema or having a drink.

Paul is not referring to same sex marriage, but gay sex, which is necessarily involved therein. If he weren’t, then what you say would be true. But he is. So it isn’t.

15 May 2014 at 18:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Darach

What you seem to be doing is this:

1. Find a verse.
2. Impose uncertainty.
3. Use the uncertainty to create room for an expanded definition of orthodoxy.
4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

You haven't specified the essentials of the Christian faith, nor the authority by which you establish them, nor the means by which you will defend those essentials from the tactics you yourself are employing on this thread.

Along those lines, why do you keep referring to faithful relationships? What requires a relationship to be sexually monogamous? Surely there are Christians who disagree. Should not their disagreement be included in this concept of broad orthodoxy?

carl

15 May 2014 at 18:02  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Also, Albert, it is interesting isn't it? Sometimes you'll even find the same pro-homosexual apologist using both inconsistent arguments.

15 May 2014 at 18:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Uncle Brian, perhaps you mean Emanuel Velikovski? The Jewish version of Eric von Daniken?

Embarrassing, but the fellow was an utter crank who, unfortunately still strirs the imagination of scores of my science-challenged and credulous fellow Orthodox who look for flashy and shallow ways to "prove the Bible." Few looked into basic astronomy and physics to realize that the ideas Velikovski came up with are utterly impossible tosh, if we are talking about our physical universe. To begin with, we hurl down our orbital path at around 100,000 km per hour and given our hefty mass, a sudden attempt to reverse Earth's orbital direction would leave us as a radioactive gas cloud of some very angry plasma.

15 May 2014 at 18:07  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS: Carl, in any case, whatever the uncertainties about interpreting Joshua 10 may be, and now I finally clued-in as to why Darach brought the topic up and dropped it just as quickly, they do nothing to dent the unambiguous Jewish and Christian prohibition of homosexual acts.

15 May 2014 at 18:25  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

It makes much more sense to imbue Joshua's men with miraculous levels of strength and endurance, allowing them to do the unexpected, than to mess with planetary and celestial mechanics and crucial laws of physics for no apparent reason.

Except the former is not an unambiguous act of God. An observer could credit Joshua's men with the exploit. The reason for a miracle is to point unambiguously to God so that men might recognize Him for who He is. In this case, only God can stop the Sun. Therefore men might see and know and fear.

One of my favorite stories in the OT is the story of the Assyrian Army before Jerusalem. The Assyrians have fallen upon Israel like a raging flood and only Jerusalem remains above water. The Assyrian messenger says "Don't think your god can save you. All these others we conquered thought that. See where they are now." And thus he reveals without knowing the whole point. For now we will see the True God separated from the false idols. And God killed 172,000in one night. The flood is broken and everyone knows that no man could have done it. Only God. He deliberately shows men to be incapable so that only He may be seen at the end.

carl

15 May 2014 at 18:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

a radioactive gas cloud of some very angry plasma.

Exactly so.

carl

15 May 2014 at 18:56  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


Thank you for that Darach @ 23:17

One’s father is from Wexford, and I have a first cousin once removed eponymously named. But of course, you might have heard of the quare pronunciation that goes on in the South East tip. They’ve not long stopped speaking Yola down there, having abandoned it for English…





15 May 2014 at 18:59  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Thomas Keningley. The JWs say that Christ was the archangel Michael. This man proposes Jesus may have been a new creation. We must not forget we have limited knowledge of the facts, and importantly, it was man that thrust deity upon him, he did not demand it of us. He often spoke of his heavenly father. Perhaps if any of us are fortunate to come across an archangel, he too would say that the almighty is his father. A son of God then.

If a man as devout as Carl cannot explain the Trinity, then what hope the rest of us. Further, this man does not believe mankinds understanding is limited. We can understand the truth of the matter. We could do it with string theory, but the Trinity is too much of an enigma. It expects too much of the mind and ones senses.

And what of it if Christ is not deity. He is still divine. We would still commune with him as he commanded of us. Little would change for all intents and purposes. Perhaps it is that Jesus is the archangel attached to this world, and his fellows have other intelligence inhabited worlds as their domain. You see, it all comes down to hierarchy, with the almighty sitting on top. And thus the Trinity is relegated as confused thought from the third century.

From Wiki on the Trinity.

“The most influential of the New Testament texts seen as implying the teaching of the Trinity was Matthew 28:19, which mandated baptizing "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".

The Trinity is thus a somewhat complex design apparently based in the first on an interpretation of a single passage by just one of the four evangelists. Now you’d think he’d have added a bit more about Christ’s nature if he truly knew of it, would you not ? And why the other three not touching on it ?





15 May 2014 at 19:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi,
" ... now I finally clued-in as to why Darach brought the topic up and dropped it just as quickly."

Well Happy Jack did give you a tip-off last night. It was obvious what the 'game plan' was and where it was heading.

"If the words of the Bible are constrained by the scientific knowledge of their age were their moral writings too?

The authors of the Bible have been mistranslated and anyway they were conditioned by their times - even Jesus, it seems."


This was stated by Carl @ 18:02.

Good discussion though and it was interesting watching it unfold.

We'll have a discussion about miracles (again) at some point. Jack has already won this argument hands down before. Something about a prophet raising a person from the dead, if he recalls correctly, and other examples.

15 May 2014 at 19:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, oh dear! Do have a read of the Catechism.

15 May 2014 at 20:03  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Jesus did things that are only God's prerogative- he claimed to give life, to judge the living and the dead, to forgive sins. He claimed the angels were his angels. He claimed to be the Son of man. He used the phrase (in isolation) "ego eimi", the Greek version of YHWH. The Jews understood him to be making himself equal to God by calling himself God's Son. Then we have John, who says "The Word was with God and the Word was God". Paul thinks that Jesus was "in very nature God". Jesus claimed to be the Almighty in Revelation, to be the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End. These are titles reserved only to God. The author of Hebrews states that Jesus is exalted high above the angels by being God's Son. And then there are the numerous times (beyond just Matt 28) that the Father, the Son and the Spirit are spoken of together. E.g. 2 Cor 13, Ephesians 4. Then there's 1 Cor 8:6, where Paul reworks the Greek version of Shema (Deut 6:4) to incorporate God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Then there is the application of OT passages that are about YHWH to Christ Jesus in the NT.

To summarise, there is a wealth of Biblical evidence for the doctrine. As for plausible models, read (for example) Brian Leftow's Latin Trinitarian model, or William Lane Craig's version of "Trinity Monotheism". There are plenty of models.

In any case, there is no reason in principle why we should be able to understand the quiddity of God. We don't even understand what it means for light to be both a wave and a particle. It's questionable whether we know what's going on at a quantum level. We have ways of describing these things, but that doesn't mean we can fully comprehend them, let alone the very nature of God.

(Come on Catholics, where are you?!)

15 May 2014 at 20:04  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Avi

Velikovski, that's the one, thanks! And the book was called Worlds in Collision. I've just been looking at what it says in Wiki about both the man and the book, and I was obviously quite wrong about his academic credentials. I probably mixed him up with some other scientific writer whose books I read at about the same time. It must have been close to forty years ago.

So, yes, forget it!

Thanks
Brian

15 May 2014 at 20:05  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Ah, good, Jack has mucked in. I posted my comment before I saw your post. Also, Inspector, what's the supposed difference between deity and divinity?

15 May 2014 at 20:08  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Except the former is not an unambiguous act of God. An observer could credit Joshua's men with the exploit. The reason for a miracle is to point unambiguously to God so that men might recognize Him for who He is. In this case, only God can stop the Sun. Therefore men might see and know and fear.

Except that this is your criterion for a miracle. The Hebrew word and the way it has been used historically portrays a typical miracle as an unusually fortuitous event, an act of God, usually performed by natural means. The difficulty of the challenge...the distances covered, length of the battle and the size and sophistication of the enemy forces... would have been understood by most as a miraculous act of God by the contemporaries. God does not need to shake and rattle His powers over and over again to awe and cow us. We are supposed to use our intellects and senses. A certain level of ambiguity is built into all miraculous events...look at Korach's rebellion and Israel's panic over Moses not returning and how it led them to the worst possible sin in the Torah; the making and worship of idols. This is after they were liberated from the Egyptians with the aid of a slew of plagues, lead out across a sea, fed with manna and whatnot.

I think the idea that miracles might be ambiguous worries you for theological reasons. Christianity and the mystical spectrum of Judaism depend on supernatural miracles, whereas classical Judaism doesn't. This is why, for example, you need loaves and fishes or wine from water and the Jewish mystics need to find the miracle of Hanukkah in the consecrated oil that didn't run out, rather than in the incredible military victory over the Syriac Greeks or in a reversal of planetary mechanics. Another point is that if you accept such rationalist, "ambiguous" miracles as Joshua's trouncing of his Pagan enemies, the history of modern Israel becomes miraculous too. This is where Christians and the ultra-Orthodox converge on; Christianity cannot accept a reborn Israel as a possible act of God, and our ultra-Orthodox cannot accept that non-religious Zionist Jews effectively ended the Exile with a secular state! ;p

15 May 2014 at 20:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS Above was to Carl

Inspector, given the theological balloons you're floating among your coreligionists, methinks you'll need a lawyer. I can recommend one. His articling assistant is a she and she's is quite a looker too. That's unless a mob with pitchforks builds up and you have to make a run to the Mouse Wheel!

15 May 2014 at 21:01  
Blogger Albert said...

Thomas,

Sometimes you'll even find the same pro-homosexual apologist using both inconsistent arguments.

Now that is extraordinary. I first noticed this kind of inconsistency with the ordination of women. First we were told we should dismiss Paul because he was "a man of his times" and therefore sexist. Then someone pointed out that with a little imaginary and blurring of the rules of textual criticism, you could claim that the "sexist" Paul wasn't really Paul at all, but a later author. The real Paul was this wonderfully modern chap of Galatians 3.28. Suddenly Paul became the great authority. I suppose that's what happens if you begin with your conclusion and work backwards.

Come on Catholics, where are you?!

If the Inspector will not listen to the Church, I fail to see why he would listen to me! In any case, he's just attention seeking.

15 May 2014 at 21:55  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Thomas, Happy Jack says the Catholics on here have grown unaccustomed to the Inspectors 'leaps of imagination' when it comes to biblical interpretation.

Avi, just a few obvious examples of God's miraculous intervention and setting aside of the normal laws of nature:

Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath's widow;

Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman; and

A dead man comes back to life when he touched Elisha's bones.

Please don't contend they were not really dead and this was a poetic expression.

And didn't Elijah go up to Heaven in a whirlwind of chariots of fire, never to be seen again?

And its a bit difficult explaining the 'Angel of Death' claiming the first born males of Egypt but passing over the Israelites.

Jack could go on ..........

15 May 2014 at 21:56  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

That should have been .... "grown accustomed to the Inspectors 'leaps of imagination' ...

15 May 2014 at 21:57  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

Thomas seems to have given a very good response @1801, and certainly one that concurs with all the scholars I have ever looked at on this question. You seem to know different. Can you give us a steer on where your arguments are coming from?

15 May 2014 at 22:00  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Many thanks for your learned riposte Thomas. Plenty to occupy the mind there I can tell you. Articles of faith must stand up to inspection, and you have not disappointed.

You to for your advice Jack, basic as it was.

Just as well Dodo isn’t around, what ! There was a time when he’d have flown at yours truly and bombed him with the white stuff.

Deity is God. Divinity is of God. The angels are divine beings, we are not.

15 May 2014 at 22:11  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Greetings Avi. A pleasure to see you back. Some fellows on this blog are completely indispensable, you know !

15 May 2014 at 22:13  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Albert. Not attention seeking at all. Merely inspecting. Testing the worth of what is there, as one does...

15 May 2014 at 22:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Umm, Happy Jack, and I'll guess I'll have to repeat my arguments as well. I'm not saying these are not miraculous events. What I'm saying is that God performed them through the means or the mechanism of His natural laws. This is not the same as saying that they occurred by chance, which would be the atheist contention. You seem to feel that comprehensible natural laws somehow take away, cheapen the event or imply that "it just happened by chance." That's not at all what I'm saying.

You do also realize that physicians are still debating the definition of death and that resuscitation is a routine event among thousands of ERs across the world?

As for the Egyptians dying, I'm certain that a modern physician would have identified the disease that caused their death...it might even have been a fairly common epidemic. And he might have even identified the biological reason for the Israelites' immunity. This would not cancel the miracle which is, of course, in the timing and the "targeting"!

Why debase God's incredibly complex and infinitely miraculous natural laws and physical universe by insisting that it is insufficient and that we need bombastic and astounding magic? Isn't the ability to strive to understand and to operate within the parameters of His laws a superior religious attainment in contrast to the superstitious Pagan's quaking before every parlour trick he thinks he cannot comprehend? God has given us a brain which is capable of understanding profound theological and rational truths...and the ability to sift through the ambiguities which Carl mentioned, the ambiguities which will always create uncertainties and demand effort on our part.

15 May 2014 at 22:35  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Greetings, Inspector, it pleases me to see that you are steadily on duty, being your yourself. What would a blog be without a timber wolf lurking in the shadows of the forest, ready to cull any weak or ailing thought. Now, that's indispensable.

15 May 2014 at 22:38  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas Same crap always being regurgitated by pro-homosexual apologists. I’m sorry, but this is making something out of nothing. You argue right and wrong from nature if you understand there to be a good created order that has now been distorted by sin- thus nature is the pre-fall created order.
No that doesn’t work, Paul appeals to nature in his reasoning in 1Cor 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you it must be the nature people saw as evidence, not a lost unfallen nature. Paul speaks of people being Jews by nature in Gal 2:15 and by nature children of wrath in Eph 2:3. Nature refers our current nature the same as the Greeks used the term, not back to a nature before the fall.

And you also run fast into the wall that he doesn’t talk about people going against their nature, but against nature.
If the Greek term refers to people's nature there is no need to distinguish between 'their' nature and the later medieval concept of 'against nature'. Looking at Aristotle's discussion homosexuality in Nicomachean Ethics 1148b, he doesn't use 'their' nature either.

15 May 2014 at 22:46  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Albert This seems highly dubious to me. The idea here seems to be that by nature Paul means what we might call inclination or orientation. However, Paul makes it clear that we are sinners by orientation, and thus we would be sinners by (in these terms) nature. But if our inclination makes something nature and therefore not sinful, there is no sin.
Nature is simply who we are, it can be something neutral like being a Jew Gal 2:15, positive like Gentiles who do by nature the things of the law Rom 2:14, or negative like being by nature brute beasts 2Pet 2:12 or by nature children of wrath Eph 2:3. But there is no suggestion we are excused for our sin because it is our nature.

This makes no sense of anything, not least the passage as a whole:
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
The point seems to be that they are controlled by their passions ("the lusts of their hearts to impurity"). These are people who are committing homosexual acts because they want to.

These people were already worshipping idols and giving themselves over to temple prostitution the natural use of the female Rom 1:27. I agree it is talking about engaged in homosexual sex because they want to led into it through the passionate lust of temple prostitution. But we are still talking about people who are heterosexual by nature going against their natures to engage in homosexual acts, not people who were homosexual by nature.

The fact that people want to murder or commit adultery or whatever does not make it natural to them. Thus Paul has in mind not people acting contrary to their inclinations, rather the sin is that they are acting in accordance with their inclinations, but against nature (in Paul's sense).
Thus I think throwing in a distinction between the Greeks and Medievals is mistaken. Most likely the Medievals are largely grasping what Paul means.
As for how a Calvinist responds to this question, I guess he would say that he does not learn what is natural from looking at nature (it's fallen) but by listening to scripture. As a Catholic, I wouldn't go that far (I think we can learn from nature), but I would say that I would far sooner trust the judgement of scripture as to what is natural than my own disordered inclinations - for I too am a sinner, and I with St Paul I find sin at work in my members (what would that mean on your interpretation?).

Paul and Peter's use of nature certain fits the Greek usage, what our natures are now, good and bad, rather than what our nature should be or were originally. If you need to look to scripture to see what our nature should be, then nature, with the meaning of 'who we are now' so well established in Greek culture, is the wrong term. You certainly wouldn't say "doesn't nature teach us"? when you really mean "doesn't scripture".

15 May 2014 at 23:19  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Albert Can you provide a source for that, please? It is interesting because, when I was studying the biblical background to this, we were told, Paul did not have an understanding of homosexual orientation, and was therefore not actually addressing homosexual acts as they are actually committed. Your suggestion, when supported by the points Thomas and I have made, causes that liberal argument to fail.
Check out the review of God and the Gay Christian about 8 paragraphs down.
http://facultyblog.eternitybiblecollege.com/2014/04/review-of-matthew-vines-god-and-the-gay-christian-part-2/
Yes I agree it overturns the argument 'no concept of homosexual orientation back then'. But I think the argument that Paul knew about homosexual orientation or nature and wasn't talking about it, is even stronger.

Do you mean we have no idea how the word was used generally, or specifically in Paul?
No idea generally to show us how Paul was using it.

15 May 2014 at 23:37  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, if you don't mind my saying so those were very disappointing answers.

"Why debase God's incredibly complex and infinitely miraculous natural laws and physical universe by insisting that it is insufficient and that we need bombastic and astounding magic?"

Whoa there!

Happy Jack is most certainly not doing that. What Jack is saying is that the Torah demonstrates is that God did intervene directly in His "infinitely miraculous natural laws" to demonstrate to the pagans and His Chosen People, His power and also in response to prayers from the genuine heart of men of God.

Happy Jack included this one: "A dead man comes back to life when he touched Elisha's bones" as a reminder to Bible believing Christians (are there any other types?) there is a scriptural basis for relics.

Inspector, nah. Happy Jack says even Dodo would accept defeat in the face of your boyish intransigence. He would also find your gaffs amusing,

Honestly, the answer to most of your doubts is in the Catechism. Once you grasp the basics of your identified faith you'll either toddle off to Canterbury, become a conservative "born againer", or begin to reason like a Catholic.

15 May 2014 at 23:44  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Darach: No that doesn’t work, Paul appeals to nature in his reasoning in 1Cor 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you it must be the nature people saw as evidence, not a lost unfallen nature. Paul speaks of people being Jews by nature in Gal 2:15 and by nature children of wrath in Eph 2:3. Nature refers our current nature the same as the Greeks used the term, not back to a nature before the fall.

Where did I say that the entirety of the created order had been wiped out by the fall? Bent, damaged, but not altogether disappeared, so good elements of it remain, in the form of natural law. Of course, the word nature can have a broad semantic field. Nature can (with a genitive) refer to our nature, the nature of a being, or the created order in general (fallen though it now may be.

If the Greek term refers to people's nature there is no need to distinguish between 'their' nature and the later medieval concept of 'against nature'. Looking at Aristotle's discussion homosexuality in Nicomachean Ethics 1148b, he doesn't use 'their' nature either.

For a start, it seems like Aristotle may very well mean “the natural order” in the passage you mention. “Where nature is responsible” could very well mean “Where the natural order is responsible”, i.e. they were “made that way”.

The idea that “against nature” in the sense of “against natural law” is a medieval concept is simply false. The idea of a universally binding natural law is a Greek one. See, for example, Aristotle’s rhetoric:

http://rhetoric.eserver.org/aristotle/rhet1-13.html

And also the Wikipedia page for natural law summarises its existence in ancient Greek thought. Even though Aristotle’s position on the issue remains disputed, the idea of a natural law which could be contravened is very clearly present in ancient Greek thought, in stoicism not least.

And it remains irrelevant, since the individuals in Romans 1 do desire gay sex, and that is why they fulfil their desires. So it would be according to their natures in that respect.

16 May 2014 at 00:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Darach, Happy Jack wants to ask one simple question.

Do you believe there is a God given purpose to sexual relationships between people made in His image and likeness? If so, what is it?

Jack sees that is actually two questions. Never mind.

16 May 2014 at 00:12  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 May 2014 at 02:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

Christianity does not depend upon supernatural miracles. It depends upon the love of the Father, the work of the Son, and the calling if the Spirit.

The miracles that Jesus performed testified to whom He was. He said if men would not believe for the sake of the testimony of the prophets and the Scriptures, that if men would not receive the testimony of the Godhead, they should believe for the sake of the miracles that He performed. And yet they would not believe. Even if one rise from the dead, they would not believe. Jesus said that if men did not believe the testimony of Moses and the prophets about Him, they would not believe even if one would rise from the dead. Why? Because if they will not receive the greater testimony of God they certainly will not receive the lesser testimony of miracles. Thus it is written "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone."

If Jesus had never performed a miracle, nothing would be different. God would still call, and men would still hear. Miracles confirm the sheep and condemn the goats, for men do not fail to see and then disbelieve. They disbelieve and thus fail to see.

carl

16 May 2014 at 02:36  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Whoa indeed! A couple of overreactions?

Jack, I didn't say that's what you believe.

Carl, I'm strictly sticking to interpretations of miracles...rationalist vs. mystical approaches, not defining your religion or mine.

Neither of you addressed my main argument; that biblical miracles appears to operate under natural laws. And that opposition to that argument stems mostly from the confusion that natural law implies chance, rather than acts of God.

16 May 2014 at 02:54  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack did address your main argument. He repeats:

" ... the Torah demonstrates ... God did intervene directly in His "infinitely miraculous natural laws" to demonstrate to the pagans and His Chosen People, His power and also in response to prayers from the genuine heart of men of God."

He gave examples of prophets raising people from the dead and a prophet being taken to Heaven. And a forewarned, directed and targeted action by God at the first born males of the Egyptians.

These are not God acting within His natural laws! And Jack doesn't buy the idea people were not dead or that there was some illness that only affected Egyptian first born males.

16 May 2014 at 03:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ah, I see. Perhaps I'm explaining this badly, Jack. Let me try again.

As for Elijah's trip to Heaven, why can't it be an allegorical, poetic description just as anthropomorphic descriptions of God (e.g., the "hand" or "face" of God) are? Not that it has to be, but if you read the Nevi'im, the Prophets, you find that the language slips back and forth from the literal to the figurative.

People can be medically dead and be resuscitated and restored to life. This happens all the time, and it's "miraculous" to the victim and family, but not all revivals are miracles, of course, because for a miracle to be a miracle it has to be an intentional act of God.

And, there wasn't just "some illness that (by chance), only affected Egyptian first born males." You jumped to the conclusion that I meant that an illness somehow affecting Egyptian first-borns just naturally or randomly occurred which was then wrongly interpreted by the primitives as a miracle because it just happened to be fortuitous. No, the Torah specifically says that God caused the death of the first borns. However, it may have been through the mechanism of a common, identifiable illness, any of thousands out there, that God used to kill the first-borns. After all, the other miracles, like the plague of frogs (which occur cyclically in the Nile region) were "natural" in their manifestation...but miraculous in their timing and effect.

Are you saying that if the mechanism is comprehensible and within laws of nature, it can't be a miracle? Or that it's not good enough. Or that it implies random chance. Carl prefers his miracles unambiguous. Perhaps that's a theological requirement for you, but I doubt your scriptures demand it. The point I'm trying to make is that at least in traditional Jewish thought, a miracle is about the intended results, not the means by which God achieves it.

16 May 2014 at 04:19  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Inspector ,

At least you are thinking about faith, rather than abandoning your critical thinking at the door.

Hi Avi

15 May 2014 20:56

Wow! The last bit about Israel. Never thought about it like that. Also, in respect of the passover plagues, I did read in one of my magazines that there are algees that can turn water red.

Hi Carl,

Isn't the resurrection of Jesus, if you believe it happened, the biggest miracle Jesus or God ever did?

16 May 2014 at 07:34  
Blogger Hannah said...

In respect of geocentric thought, surely people can't believe that the earth is the centre of the universe, a stationary object and that it doesn't spin on its axis??

The earth does exert a gravitational pull on objects around it, but the sun dominates because it's mass is far greater than earth's. Ergo the phrase the earth revolves around the sun.

I think if the earth stopped rotating, at least the following would happen -

The speed at which the earth rotates is 1,000 MPH, so if the earth stopped spinning on its axis, EVERYTHING on the planet [UNLESS you were at the North or South Poles] would suddenly move forward at 1,000 MPH, including the oceans, so think mega global Tusamis (thankfully we wouldn't all be thrust into space as the velocity required to escape earth's surface is 24,800 MPH).

Also -

*A day would last a year (365 days)

*As earth would be tidally locked to the sun, half the planet would be soaked in it's heat, the other pitch dark and frozen.

*The planet would become a perfectly spherical ball

*Since our planet's tilt is defined by how it's rotating compared to the sun, so no rotation means on seasons.

16 May 2014 at 07:54  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

But there is no suggestion we are excused for our sin because it is our nature.

So, do I understand you correctly if I say that we sin if we go against our nature, but it does not follow from that that if we act in accordance with our nature we are not sinning? If so, the concept of nature does not seem terribly helpful here, and I wonder why Paul uses the word.

These people were already worshipping idols and giving themselves over to temple prostitution

That means that Paul is not really condemning homosexual acts but prostitution. If that's the case, why doesn't he say so? It seems to me that what you have done is go into huge detail to evacuate the term "nature" of any content, and then say that the controlling motif is a practice that isn't even mentioned.

If you need to look to scripture to see what our nature should be, then nature, with the meaning of 'who we are now' so well established in Greek culture, is the wrong term. You certainly wouldn't say "doesn't nature teach us"? when you really mean "doesn't scripture".

But then it depends on which concept of nature we are using. You seem to be using a highly subjective concept - the inclinations I feel. I, as a Catholic, would be using something wider than that, which would include the actual physical (there's the clue) make up of the whole person. We know from Paul that our inclinations are disordered, so they are not a guide, but that does not mean that nature is entirely opaque to us. Thus, it seems to me, that Paul cannot be using "nature" as you do (referring to something he thinks is disordered) but must be referring to something a little more objective and can be grasped by reason and evidence. Nature teaches us, because it is evident to us.

Yes I agree it overturns the argument 'no concept of homosexual orientation back then'.

Well then I think we're back where we were before: you've undermined the main pro-gay move, and replaced it with a misplaced confusion over the word "nature" and a controlling motif that isn't even mentioned in the text.

Is that really the best the pro-gay exegete can do?

16 May 2014 at 08:37  
Blogger Martin said...

Of course the EA should have expelled Steve Chalke long ago when he abandoned the authority of the Bible. He was clearly on a downward path & such an expulsion would have alerted others to their danger.

As for Gavin Shuker it is questionable whether he should be a member council member, his church should also have disciplined him for voting the way he did.

The problem is not with para church organisations but with churches failing to reign in those heading in the wrong direction and with the failure of ministers to guide when it comes to those supporting people who have clearly acted unbiblically.

The problem with Justin Welby is that he is seeking to unite a church of Christians and unbelievers when he should be weeding out the unbelievers from positions of authority.

16 May 2014 at 10:33  
Blogger Philip said...

Martin (1033 today) excellent comment.

The last part of your last sentence describes exactly what Justin Welby should be doing!

16 May 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger Albert said...

Martin,

he should be weeding out the unbelievers from positions of authority.

I don't expect he has the authority to do that. He isn't the Pope!

16 May 2014 at 13:48  
Blogger Len said...

I think that is the job for the angels Albert I take it the Pope hasn`t claimed that yet?.

16 May 2014 at 17:00  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

Thomas Pure guesswork? Really? So when we have an obvious etymology with the two words next to each other, we know Paul used the Septuagint and this word is not seen prior to Paul in Greek literature, to infer that that is the etymology is pure guesswork? Of course not, to say so is contemptible, and some pretty eminent scholars seem to think that is exactly what the etymology is and they don’t think they’re just guessing.
Look up false etymology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_etymology
There are loads of plausible sounding explanations of how words were formed that are simply wrong. Unless there is hard evidence showing it was formed that way, it is just wild speculation.
Your claim about other “koites” words is pretty vague- care to substantiate? Also, why would that suggest it was of Greek derivation, rather than merely being a usage Paul imitated? And it certainly reflects the use of these words in Leviticus, of which Paul was certainly aware. Etymology is particularly important if the word is a recent coinage, as it certainly was, either coined by Paul or someone recent to him, otherwise the word would appear in previous literature.
metrokoites, deuterokoites, borborokoites, anemokoites, enotokoites
So you are think Paul coined it from a biblical context which just by chance fitted the Greek usage that Paul cleverly copied. It is a nice story but completely made up. It is also speculation that because the word is rare Paul must have coined it. There are plenty of rare words that weren’t coined by the first person we have who wrote it down

As for the pairing of malakoi and arsenokoites, do I really need to spell it out for you? Arsenokoites refers to the active, penetrating partner in homosexual intercourse. Malakoi refers to the passive, penetrated partner in homosexual intercourse (and that is how the word is previously used in Greek literature). When convergent etymology and context tell us one meaning for a word, that’s certainly its meaning. You insist on the Greek context of all of this, but Paul is speaking from a Jewish context, which, almost uniquely in the ancient world, prohibited homosexual relations. There is nothing in the text to tell us arsenokoites and malakoi described active and passive partners, there is nothing in the text to suggest the two words even had a connection other than describing different forms of homosexuality. Are any of the other words in the list sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers supposed to be connected, or are they simply a list? Whatever the origin of arsenokoites, it’s context and meaning was understood by by Pauls readers and is lost to us today, guessing the etymology and making up connection between arsenokoites and malakoi doesn’t count.

Are you really so dense? I’m not insisting on the broadest interpretation. I’m insisting on what the meaning is, as most scholars recognise. If the meaning is broad, then it’s broad. If it isn’t, then it isn’t. The meaning of “drunkard” isn’t “someone who drinks”.
You’d never guess talking to some Tea Total evangelicals I agree we should go by the more restrictive definition of drunkard. Traditionally scholars have chosen the broadest the broadest definition of arsenokoites, the question is whether it is justified by the few examples of its usage.

16 May 2014 at 17:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

I think that is the job for the angels Albert I take it the Pope hasn`t claimed that yet?.

1 Cor.6.3!

16 May 2014 at 18:39  
Blogger Albert said...

Darach,

What do you think these words mean?

16 May 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger Darach Conneely said...

What you seem to be doing is this:

1. Find a verse.
2. Impose uncertainty.
3. Use the uncertainty to create room for an expanded definition of orthodoxy.
4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I agree, it is a question I ask myself too. All you can so is seek the Lord and his wisdom and try to search the scriptures with integrity.

But it is interesting that the two biggest issues for the church today, where tradition is accused of discrimination and excluding people, the traditions are based on seriously obscure words obscure, arsenokoites with homosexuality and authentein with women's ministries.

You haven't specified the essentials of the Christian faith, nor the authority by which you establish them, nor the means by which you will defend those essentials from the tactics you yourself are employing on this thread.I did refer to the EA basis of faith, all the points there can be. They are supported by multiple verses with well understood words.

Along those lines, why do you keep referring to faithful relationships? What requires a relationship to be sexually monogamous? Surely there are Christians who disagree. Should not their disagreement be included in this concept of broad orthodoxy?If you read the bible God is pretty big on faithfulness. Betrayal and infidelity hurt people and leaves them abandoned an alone. God is big on covenants and adultery breaks that.

16 May 2014 at 20:00  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older