Two Dudes on a Wedding Cake

The situation described in the following letters is entirely fictitious, including persons, names, crimes, sins, relationships, circumstances and all particulars. The kind of situation that is described, however, is all too common and my hope is that biblical principles applied to this fictitious scenario may be of some help to individuals tangled up in a real one.

Dear Tomas,

If I understand you rightly, you are asking for an overview of the scriptural case against homosexual practices. This is not because you need to be informed that Scripture is hostile to such things. Rather, as you put it, “so much ingenuity” is expended on making the Bible say things it doesn’t really say, it is sometimes difficult to know what to say in response.

This question needs to be addressed on many levels. First, as I am sure you know, the world of homosexual practice is as hostile to the Scriptures as the Scriptures are to them. Everybody with sense knows where everybody stands. The reason for all the exegetical ingenuity is that it is a tactical move, designed to soften Christian opposition to the sexual revolution. The sexual revolutionaries don’t give a rip about the exegesis, but there are many advantages to be found in saying to the new Eve, to the Christian church, something like “did God really say?” They are not so much trying to justify their own rebellion as they are trying to entice low-wattage Christians to join them in that rebellion by means of a slow drift. Being low-wattage, they won’t of course understand what has happened until after sulfurous hailstones start to fall out of the sky. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).

But for whatever reason, when it comes to sexual matters, as the Westminster Confession says about special pleading with regard to divorce, men are prone to “study arguments.” And because we care about souls, the arguments must be answered somehow—either by refuting the lies or by stating plainly what the texts plainly say. We do this, not because these arguments are valuable in themselves but because the souls deceived by them are valuable.

So I want to divide this into two categories. The first has to do with what Scripture says about the created order and nature, and what nature says. The second will be what certain particular texts say (think Leviticus). I may have to get to this second category in a follow-up letter.

So this, in summary, is the Christian case against homosexual desire and practice. The Lord Jesus, in teaching on divorce, appeals directly to the creation order. He says “from the beginning it was not so” (Matt. 19:8). He points to what God did in the Garden as the basis for His instruction on sexual ethics.

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matt. 19:4–5).

Jesus looks at this and sees “one man, one woman, one time.” Divorce is not in view, and only comes into the picture later on because of sin, because of hardness of heart. On the same basis, for the same reason, we may exclude any number of other distortions and perversions. As with all distortions, they exhibit varying degrees of seriousness. Bestiality is out because there was no helper suitable for Adam among the beasts (Gen. 2:20). Polygamy is out because God took one rib from Adam’s side, not three ribs (Gen. 2:22). It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve, and Suzy, and Mary. The fruitlessness of solo sex is out because it was “not good” for Adam to be alone (Gen. 2:18). And homosexuality is excluded because it was Adam and Eve and not, as the joke goes, Adam and Steve (Gen. 1:27).

And that last text contains worlds.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27).

God is a divine draftsman, and He has given us an image of Himself. How has He drawn His image for us? He has drawn this image quite carefully, and He did it by creating us as male and female. The attempts to rearrange all this, and substitute in male/male or female/female are one kind of impudence. And the more recent attempt to create buckets full of alternative genders is even worse.

Now when faithful Christians recoil from the glorification of homosexual sex, they are usually recoiling on this level. They are not (usually) reacting to a detailed knowledge of what homosexuals might be doing in bed, because they usually don’t know much about that. What they are pulling away from is the image of two dudes in tuxes on a wedding cake, or a photo of a reception where the groom and the groom are kissing. This recoil is not a phobia—it is more like the reaction the art world would have if some vandal painted a Groucho nose and glasses on the Mona Lisa. The resultant cartoon is grotesque, a caricature. The reaction is “why would someone do that?”

The sexual consummation of a marriage is private—not because it is something to be ashamed of, but rather because it belongs to the couple alone. But the fact of that sexual relationship is public, which is why people are invited to weddings. And when we look at any given bride and groom in the front of the church, we are looking upon the image of God. Moreover, given the fact that our world has fallen into sin and is in desperate need of redemption, we also see in every wedding the restoration of the image of God in and through Christ and the church.

So to put two men there, or two women, is to deface God’s creational intent and, on top of that, it is to deface His gospel that is in the process of restoring our wreckage of that original creational intent. In short, the glorification of homosexual unions is an attempt to murder God, burn His image in effigy, and overthrow His gospel. It is no trivial thing.

The world’s attempt to cover up this reality—hatred of God conveyed through hatred of His image—has been two-fold. On the question of the public image, their response has been unrelenting propaganda—coupled with severe discipline for anyone who challenges the authority of that propaganda. This is where all the court cases for evangelical bakers, florists, and wedding photographers are coming from. They are in the process of outlawing our refusal to glorify that which must never be glorified.

Their second response—and I am sorry to have to bring this up—is to normalize, as far as possible, homosexual practices in heterosexual relationships. They have not been entirely successful in this, but they have been far more successful than I would like.

Birth control has been abused by many married couples in a way as to make them almost as fruitless as a homosexual couple would be. Detached from fruitfulness, detached from procreation, the teleology of sex has become Pleasure. Now God is the one who made the sexual act pleasant, and nobody in their right mind should revolt against that. But He also made eating pleasant—and the biological purpose of eating remains providing nourishment for the body. So when someone pursues the pleasures of eating alone, and has a vomitorium installed at their house, we are not hesitant to call that kind of thing an eating disorder. So I am not talking about enjoyment of sex as a problem. I am talking about the enjoyment of sex detached from the creational design.

The problem is that when married couples fall into the trap of thinking that the side benefits are the whole point, this opens the door for a homosexual catechism. Anal intercourse is a parody of intercourse because there is a vast difference between the anus and the vagina. But what about fellatio? Is there a vast difference between a man’s mouth and a woman’s? Not really. Catechized in this way, some heterosexual couples can start to think that homosexual sex “isn’t all that different,” and depending on the way they are living, it might not be.

But I would not be mistaken here. No one can read the Song of Songs carefully without seeing an exultant approach to heterosexual lovemaking, one that includes all kinds of creativity in the foreplay. I am not talking about exuberance in foreplay. I am talking about the simple substitution of alternate sexual acts for old school intercourse. When the heterosexual sex gets to be a certain kind of weird, this is not scriptural creativity. It is heterosexual kink aping homosexual kink. And that is a set up.

One more thing, and I will get to the particular texts in my next letter.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Rom. 1:26–27).

We are told in Genesis that male and female together constitute the image of God. We are taught here in Romans that abandonment of the woman by the man is unnatural, and that abandonment of the man by the woman is unnatural. It follows from this that natural sex is theologically rich. In Paul’s sense here, nature is a good theologian. The converse is also true—homosexual sex is theological distortion because it mars the image of God. It should therefore not be surprising that abandonment of the natural use of the woman is a straight road into theological impoverishment—which is what every form of idolatry is.

I have probably generated even more questions, which I will try to get to after my next letter. Thanks again.

Cordially,

Douglas

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

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Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

Since you’re being so helpfully graphic:

I’m hearing that, logically, anal or fellatio etc is not NECESSARILY “heterosexual kink that may be aping homosexual kink.”
So you’ve left open a possible argument that such could be elements of “creativity”, inside a good hetero marriage, falling under the category of foreplay.
Take-away so far = context of godliness, with all the sense of fruitfulness & His image which godliness implies.

bethyada
Member

Yes to variety—perhaps as per Doug’ comments. But anal-sex is out.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Eric, I read somewhere that in terms of specific sex acts, the only difference between gay couples and straight couples is that gay couples do one thing less, which is have penile-vaginal intercourse. But other than that, straight couples do everything gay couples do: Oral sex, anal sex, fetishes, etc.

JohnM
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JohnM

K2, ” ..straight couples do everything…” Only the ones who do.

Of course those sorts of things are only things two men or two women *can* do. What they cannot do is have sex. That is the difference.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

JohnM, I suppose that depends on your definition of sex. Bill Clinton said he hadn’t had sex with Monica Lewinsky because he didn’t consider oral sex to be sex. I didn’t buy that argument coming from him in that context, and I’m not sure I’m any more inclined to buy it within the context of claiming gay people don’t have sex either. Of course it’s sex.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

If by “have sex” we mean sexual intercourse, and by intercourse we mean coitus, and we do mean that, then Bill Clinton did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky. However, Clinton knew what was being investigated and *in context* I’m not inclined to buy his claim of innocence either, or that he himself really believed it.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

I doubt most people would give “having sex” that narrow a definition.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I know the wouldn’t K2, that’s the problem.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

JohnM, respectfully, I think you are attempting to define things — in this case, “having sex” — in such a way that your world view is the only possible conclusion. It’s really the same issue as when Katecho shows up with the Bahnsen stick to argue there’s no basis for my world view, all the while using definitions for terms that are deliberately calculated to lead to only one conclusion — that nobody other than those who subscribe to his worldview accept as reasonable definitions. It’s as if I were to define “government” as “that entity whose job is to… Read more »

Vva70
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Vva70

JohnM, respectfully, I think you are attempting to define things — in this case, “having sex” — in such a way that your world view is the only possible conclusion.

Krychek, the context of the discussion here is that God defines the nature and boundaries of sex, and we must discern His definition and conform our behavior to it. And I have little doubt that you already knew that this was the context before you jumped in. Why should Christian intra-faith discussion be constrained to definitions that you agree with?

Krychek_2
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Krychek_2

Vva70, the purpose of language is to communicate. If you’re using definitions that nobody outside your faith group accepts (which may well be the case here), then there’s an immediate language barrier as soon as anyone outside your faith group is a party to the conversation. At that point, you need to either acknowledge that you are using your own internal definition that has no meaning outside your faith group, or speak in language that everyone else understands. But in neither case do you get to win the debate by simply redefining the terms so that you win. “Hey, I… Read more »

Vva70
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Vva70

If you’re using definitions that nobody outside your faith group accepts (which may well be the case here), then there’s an immediate language barrier as soon as anyone outside your faith group is a party to the conversation. Given that the definitions were being discussed openly, not only in the article, but also in the very post of Eric’s that you first responded to, I don’t see where the confusion comes in. But in neither case do you get to win the debate by simply redefining the terms so that you win…Once a question is being debated, definitions have to… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

But you’re ignoring the context in which the conversation is taking place, which is Doug’s view that there’s a huge cultural problem with gay marriage, caused in part by straight couples doing the same things gay couples do. That’s the conversation that’s being had. And if all you’re doing is having an internal gripe-fest about what a terrible thing that is, then fine, use whatever definitions you want, and I’ll stop bothering you. But if you want to actually change the culture, that happens in only one of three ways. First, if your religious views turn out to be true… Read more »

lndighost
Member

The culture change I am hoping and praying for is 4: The Holy Spirit transforms hearts and lives by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God might use your 2. to bring this about, but alone it would not be sufficient to produce lasting change.

Vva70
Guest
Vva70

But you’re ignoring the context in which the conversation is taking place, which is Doug’s view that there’s a huge cultural problem with gay marriage, caused in part by straight couples doing the same things gay couples do. That’s the conversation that’s being had. And if all you’re doing is having an internal gripe-fest about what a terrible thing that is, then fine, use whatever definitions you want, and I’ll stop bothering you. But if you want to actually change the culture, that happens in only one of three ways. First, if your religious views turn out to be true… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Though until fairly recently most people would have defined “having sex” as I do. Those other things they would have called sodomy, or lewd and indecent acts. But they had enough common sense to distinguish actual sexual intercourse from anything else.

Jane
Member

The laws concerning the consummation of marriage were certainly predicated on that assumption.

bdash
Guest
bdash

straight couples behave like gay couples as well…

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

“In Paul’s sense here, nature is a good theologian. ” = and it’s lessons did not REQUIRE his helpful elucidation.

Sola Scriptura for where to find definitive inspired commentary, NOT for where to get definitive revelation.

(hobby horse = reformed fathers were mistaken saying natural revelation = an insufficient tool for the Spirit because of its shallow capacity for carrying enough theological information)

My Portion Forever
Member

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
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Kilgore T. Durden

You don’t want to take Eric Stampher’s stabs at Sola Scriptural too seriously. He once told me that a man could be saved by watching a seed fall from a tree, see it die, and then produce a new tree. He claimed it would lead them to see Jesus’ death and resurrection in it, without any knowledge of Jesus or the Bible, mind you, and the Holy Spirit would save them without the Scriptures. I am not sure what makes him so fired up against the Bible being necessary for salvation, but he has been pretty insistent that salvation can… Read more »

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

It does get me hackles up, to be sure.
But no — I’d never claim that seed philosophizing, though nice, puts sufficient gas in the tank for the HS to start the engine.
No gas required, actually.
No Scripture needed, nor nature.
But nature is an excellent theologian, someone here has said.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

Then I will ask you again. Confessing Christ as Lord is essential for salvation.

How can anyone confess him as Lord without being taught the words of Scripture? Can you point to anyone who was saved without being taught the words of Scripture?

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

I’ll answer — but hear this proviso: The words of Scripture are first the words of God before they landed on parchment, which means having the words of God prior to … let me think — Ok, you’ll probably, now to the anyones saved sans Scripture: (1) Adam & Eve — okay you’ll nix them ’cause they got to hear God first hand, and I think your point is that without that hearing, no way the Spirit can get in their hearts to repair the fruit poisoning. (2) Abel — okay you’ll nix him too SUPPOSING (no evidence, only presumption)… Read more »

Eric Stampher
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Eric Stampher

sorry about the gobelations on that first bit:
meant:
The words of Scripture are first the words of God before they landed on parchment, which means having the words of God exist & have a life prior to & apart from Scripture qua written-down records of His words.
More importantly, THE WORD is not what is said but WHO = Jesus, biblically speaking and reality-speaking.
One needs / requires THE WORD = Jesus.
One does not need a record of what has been said about Him, however accurate.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

In all of these cases, we have either a public profession of faith or we only have a few lines about these people, and therefore are can not be determinative.

I agree that the words don’t have to be read to be understood, they can be preached by another person, but an explicit confession of the Triune God in Christ is necessary, you would agree?

Without the propositional knowledge of God, one can only be damned, not saved. My question still stands. Find me a person who has declared faith in Christ without the Scriptures.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

“an explicit confession of the Triune God in Christ is necessary you would agree?” — NOT! Confessions come from believers, they don’t make them! You don’t think any of the folks I mentioned were saved then? None of them gave such a confession as you’ve arbitrarily required — YET. In heaven, all one happy family will give such confession, I agree. You demand a confession of faith — = not a biblical criteria, sorry. Example — Let me lay on one John the Baptist, in utero. He does gymnastics for joy. Does your Bible give you indication that he, there… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
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Kilgore T. Durden

If you deny that a confession of Christ is necessary, then you aren’t following the Orthodox faith. Of course the Spirit regenerates, but He uses ordained means to do so. Nature alone is insufficient. The Words of Scripture are necessary.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Ordained means? >> sounds like job security for those in the god business.

John the Baptist in the womb in joyful, jumping jubilation — and no preacher required.
No propositions.
Just Spirit into his natural heart & soul.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

It sounds like your hostility towards pastors is what is driving this position.

Yes, ordained means.

So do you believe that there are people who have never heard the gospel or had access to Scripture who break out in confession of Christ, repenting of their sins, and begin practicing the sacraments?

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Folks who have never heard the gospel as such, who have never been told how to conduct a rite or sacrament, can and have instituted one that is acceptable to God, IF God has aforehand given His Spirit into their heart.
See Abel’s sacrifice.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

You consistently point to cases of people where we have like three verses to establish a principal for everyone. If it is a principal that the Words of Scripture are optional for salvation, then surely you could present more than a smattering of opaque or questionable examples.

Where is the Christ honoring church worshipping the Triune God in the jungle absent Scripture? Where is the Christian community that sprouted from nature minus a missionary?

We simply don’t get to make up rituals and claim they honor God. That is called idolatry in Scripture.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Kil, On your side, what is it about propositional ideas – the accurate ones – that make them suitable as necessary means for God to change a heart?

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

It is that God choose to save through them. Propositional knowledge in and of itself is nothing, just like crosses, bread, water, and wine. God used them, and we don’t get to reject that by finding salvation any where else.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Kil — May I follow this just one more bit? Your position is: God produced a record of certain logical propositions, the existence of which have emanated from Him since creation — they are bedrock truths that have always been true. He later wrote down a reliable record of those. Without reading this record, men are incapable of knowing such truths. Even reading them, and accepting their veracity, men aren’t thereby saved (witness Satan). The Spirit must take the head-knowledge of these propositions, and thereby work that truth down into men’s hearts? Analogy — the information medicine now lodged up… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

You are intentionally trying to twist and reframe my words.

I have made my position clear a dozen times on here. No sense rehashing again.

Answer me this: Does your animosity towards pastors have anything to do with your unwillingness to accept historical orthodoxy? You seem pretty opposed to pastors having any real authority. Is your disconnecting of Scripture and salvation part and parcel of that same sentiment?

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Wow, Kil, Buddy! >> I genuinely thought you’d say on that last: “Eric, FINALLY you’ve got my position exactly!” Is there ANYTHING I wrote there that distorts or changes the sense of your position? I mean, how else could it possibly work, given your premise & what you said before? Or did you even read it? As to animosity toward pastoral authority — hmm, I don’t think I feel any ‘tall — in fact, I love love love it when pastors reach out and do, you know, pastoring! When they parade in front with preaching prowess, I go more with… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

Yes, I read it. No, it isn’t correct.

You didn’t answer my question. Is your opposition to Scriptural necessity connected to you view of pastors?

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

I have made my position clear on here several times before. I’m not going to rehash this again, especially since you just twist and reframe my words.

Answer me this: Does your hostility towards pastors have anything to do with your refusal to connect Scripture to salvation? You seem to have a problem with pastoral authority. Is this weird position about salvation an attempt to de-fang, so to speak, pastors?

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

Sorry for the duplicate post.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Bummer about you not wanting to clarify further. I was really hoping to understand your position very well. I think many folks hold what you do.

I don’t think my pastor thing is directly related to my salvation observations.
Maybe.
My salvation thing is more a function of an anti dispensational take on scripture.
I had been taught that the church did not begin until the AD years.
So recently when I began to cogitate on that I realize that the gospel has been seamless since Eve and therefore the church is one all the way back.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

Fair enough.

I would keep trying, but you aren’t looking to clarify. You reframe everything I say. That is a debate tactic to try to make me say something other than what I am actually saying.

If you take the plain reading of Scripture, you simply cannot conclude that they teach anything besides the necessity of declaring an explicit confession of Christ. Not some vague made up ritual.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Would you, sincerely please, help me understand how the thing works vis-a-vis the acquisition of proposition? I thought I understand that it is arbitrary from our vantage — God didn’t NEED to use this method — but there it is, it’s what He does. But I’m trying to get a better bead on that thing that He does IS — in your understanding. Does use that info as (again, analogy here, sorry) a surgical instrument whereby he THEN, with that info in our brain and manipulated by his hand, then go down into the heart & will and with that… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

Read Ezekiel 36. We have profaned God’s name through sin. We know that sin through conscience and nature. We know God’s existence through the same. He removed our heart of stone, and places in us the heart of flesh, and puts His Spirit within us. From there He causes us to keep His commandments. He doesn’t do this in a vacuum, or arbitrarily. He could have, but He didn’t. Instead, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Kilgore — you’ve stated well your position THAT God does save through or by means of preaching. You haven’t — maybe can’t — maybe no one can (according to your understanding) — stated HOW God uses those propositional bits distributed by the preaching to get from the ears & brain cells down to the heart. Maybe we should leave it at that — that you find acquiring propositional statements to for some reason be necessary (albeit arbitrary — you said earlier that God could have chosen not to use this methodology), according to how God has set things up. Fair… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

It’s not my scheme. God wrote Scripture, and I am taking it at face value. Also, I just detailed the HOW of this process from Ezekiel 36. You insistently reframe everything from the way in which Scripture states it, heart of stone, etc., to propositional bits. Perhaps your travails, which I mistakenly thought was connected to your pastoral views, stem from the fact that you simply aren’t thinking about this process in Scriptural terms, but in Enlightenment terms. I’m perfectly comfortable seeing God’s Spirit ordaining the use of the gospel in Scripture and preaching to save souls. Why is that… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“I am not sure what makes him so fired up against the Bible being necessary for salvation, but he has been pretty insistent that salvation can happen without it for a while now.”

I happen to agree with him.

Also, sola scriptura is not about salvation by bible. It does not declare all secondary forms of authority null and void.

john k
Guest
john k

Actually, sola scriptura is about “salvation by Bible.” (However, that’s an idiosyncratic way to label the necessity of the Bible. Do I detect a note of derision?) Declarations by secondary forms of authority that make anything necessary for salvation beyond what the Bible requires are to be considered null and void. The 39 Articles have a great statement to this effect: VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation. Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Agreed: What the Bible says is required for salvation is, indeed, an accurate and true description of what is really necessary.

And the Bible doesn’t say that Bible is required!

In fact, the Bible portrays so many characters saved, SANS Bible!

john k
Guest
john k

The Bible says the gospel is required. And because, in our time, the divine revelation of the gospel is found only in the Bible, the Bible shows itself to be now required. Certainly people were saved before the Bible was completed. But the Bible portrays none saved without a revelation from God, in words, of some form of the gospel. We are responsible to magnify the ordinary means God gives for salvation and life. It does no good to focus on unusual and odd situations–infants who die; those with severe mental disabilities; or even the heathen who have never heard… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

john k, could you tighten that up a bit? —

Why do you hold that revelation of the gospel is to be found only in Bible?
Does the Bible say this?
And how much of the Bible is sufficient gas for the Spirit to get the engine going?
Will Gen 1:1 do?
Or does He require higher octane propositional content?

How much of nature is His doing?
How much of it is revelatory?

john k
Guest
john k

You seem to know the Scriptures. I dare say you know which passages I might cite to show that the gospel is found only in the Bible. Why ask me to rehearse them? Salvation is “of the Jews,” and Christ is abundantly revealed in their Scriptures, not in the Bhagavad Gita, Plato, or Amerindian myths. If a medicine had negative side effects we probably would want to prescribe the least minimum effective dose. However, there’s no benefit to finding the least minimum necessary gospel or Bible knowledge! In addition, not knowing “how much of the Bible is sufficient gas” is… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

john k — the only revelation necessary, according to Bible & nature (both agree) = the Spirit taking what’s there and injecting (revealing) Himself.

Anything else = Bibliolatry &/or Naturalolatry.

Of course Christ is revealed in other scriptures!
Did you not hear Paul on the hill?
The problem with those others are they are nowhere near as clear, and have been soaked in misinformation & lies.

john k
Guest
john k

the only revelation necessary, according to Bible & nature (both agree) = the Spirit taking what’s there and injecting (revealing) Himself.

Why are “misinformation and lies” a problem? After all, no one has perfect knowledge. If the Spirit can take “what’s there” and “inject” Himself, why can’t I be an Arian, a Buddhist, or an atheist and be saved?

At Mars Hill did Paul mean that the altar to the unknown god, and the Greek writings showed that Christ had been savingly revealed to the Greeks?

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

jk — misinformation is a barrier to better living.
“All Scripture = USEFUL for teaching, rebuking, etc”
You can think you yourself an athiest and still have the changed heart of faith — sometimes it takes awhile for things to catch up.
Conversely, confessing all the right things does not a Christian make.

CHer
Guest
CHer

“No Scripture needed, nor nature.” – E.S.

“I happen to agree with him.” – MeMe

Wow.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Kilgore, but isn’t Eric’s position fully in harmony with Romans 1:19-20, in which Paul says that those who never heard the Gospel explicitly are nevertheless without excuse because nature bears witness? If someone in the jungle who never heard the Gospel is accountable because of creation, then it isn’t much of a reach to say that nature could be sufficient to bring someone to salvation, I would think.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

except neither nature NOR bible is sufficient to bring anyone in.
gotta have Spirit mixing faith into the soup.

insanitybytes22
Member

“gotta have Spirit mixing faith into the soup.”

Amen.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Eric then why, according to Romans 1:19-20, are people accountable based just on nature if nature is insufficient to bring anyone in?

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Hi Krychek_2 — Nature is in your bones; in your head. Heck — you ARE nature.
God made nature, made you.
Why are people accountable to their own nature, their own God?

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

I think the point is not accountability so much as having the necessary knowledge to come in. Even if I accept the premise that nature itself is enough to make your average person realize that there is something out there greater than himself, that doesn’t even begin to provide him with the necessary instruction to understand that moral law exists or what its content is. It doesn’t even tell him that this thing that is greater than himself even takes notice of his existence or has any expectations of him. I can take a look at the Hadron supercollider and… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Kry2 — if the point were accountability (as I’m suggesting it should be), do folks have a responsibility to live rightly according to what they do know?

God said to Cain — “Mate, just do what you know is right, then “no worries”.
(I think God was into the Aussie thing back then)
But Cain — No, I’ll do what I feel like

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Eric, did you ever read Mein Kampf? Hitler was absolutely convinced, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that what he was doing was right. He believed with the faith of a child that the Jews were responsible for German’s problems and that eliminating them was a just and righteous thing to do. The problem is that nobody can always *know* what is right; we mostly do the best we can with the light that we have. So I don’t see that “do what you know is right” is all that useful.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

“… we mostly do the best we can with the light that we have”

I pray that grows more & more true for your life.

insanitybytes22
Member

“I think the point is not accountability so much as having the necessary knowledge to come in” I came in first as a small child, having fully experienced God and yet completely lacking knowledge. Truthfully, my faith was better, my understanding of who God is, purer back then, wiser, more moral. I sometimes say I am so grateful not to have been raised in the church, not to have been contaminated by all this alleged “knowledge,” because half this so called “knowledge” is utter rubbish and makes me want to scream. There is natural law and God revealed in nature,and… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

true enough, all these god businesses were some of the first co-opters of true religion — or any religion, I’m guessing. Christianity no exception.

Goes all the way back.
Historically speaking, it was probably the Tower of Babel where we find it first operating — and that was more pagan-oriented; so good on our team I guess.

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

Sorry I missed this.

Scripture is fairly clear that nature and conscience are proof enough to establish God’s existence, and thereby establish moral culpability, but as they are merely reflections of God’s greater reality, insufficient to regenerate souls.

Admittedly, it does disrupt the balance you noted.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Kil — Moral culpability = not living in a godly way?
So you’re saying what folks learn from nature is enough to direct them to godliness?
But godliness would be insufficient to get them into heaven!?

Kilgore T. Durden
Guest
Kilgore T. Durden

I don’t understand your insistence on rearranging someone’s words for their position. You have totally twisted my response to Krycheck.

No moral culpability is not, not living in a godly way. It simply means one is responsible for the moral aspects of their thoughts and deeds. We have enough knowledge to be held responsible.

Sin has marred our ability to keep God’s Law, and until that sin is erased, we are damned. The gospel is what removed that barrier, not nature or conscience.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Thanks for your patience with me Kil!
And I’m thankful for the engagement.

Jill Smith
Member

Eric is right in that some primitive cultures have based their theologies on the death and rebirth of the gods as reflected in agriculture. The corn god dies as a seed, is buried, and comes back to life. But these theologies haven’t seen their gods as deities who care about justice and morality. Some have had an unpleasant tendency to demand human sacrifice. I am not sure that the religion we might devise from watching seeds has very much to do with the gospel we have been given.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Actually — and I’m not making this one up: Imagine a primitive guy who feels, I mean he just KNOWS there’s a God out there — well not just OUT there but right here paying attention & involved. Anyway, he observes his cutey little sheeps being born, and he feels so grateful for his future (temporary) well-being. I say “temporary” because he also sees things (even some of his sheep) die, and not just from old age — sometimes savage attacks from wolves & such. In his feeling of gratefulness tinged with fear or the temporariness of it all, and… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit,… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

Hi MPF,

I’m happy to show you how Paul here in no way supposes that not acquiring some specific quantity of propositional data puts one in any peril.
(sorry for all the negatives!)

But to do you justice, you’d have to pick through this passage and maybe lay out your argument.
Maybe start with defining the Word?!

Matt Bell
Member

Eric, I haven’t read all your arguments here, but we Primitive Baptists also believe in “immediate Holy Spirit regeneration” (as opposed to “Gospel regeneration”). (Unfortunately, we also believe in local church membership. ;) We are commanded to spread the Gospel and right knowledge of God is important, however salvation is not a function of knowledge. When I invited a Jehovah’s Witness into my home to talk it was clear that she equated salvation with “accurate knowledge” (accurate = JW doctrine). It made me thankful that such is not the case. To me Holy Spirit regeneration seems very consistent with TULIP… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

This post appears rather flawless to me, truthful, kind. I can find nothing to object to, nothing that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s kind of perfect.

bethyada
Member

Their second response—and I am sorry to have to bring this up—is to normalize, as far as possible, homosexual practices in heterosexual relationships. They have not been entirely successful in this, but they have been far more successful than I would like. From what I hear they have been more successful that you currently know. But I would like to join this comment with the Romans passage you quote later on. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Bethyada,
As I’ve said before, the problem with that position is, the likewise the men did was not to abandon the natural use of women for unnatural use of women, but to abandon women for other men. Also, you would have women abandoning normal intercourse for anal penetration (not sex), as if it were an action women want and take. At most, women might acquiesce, but as the receptive party they wouldn’t be the ones changing and doing.

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

JohnM — while your position accurately illuminates the bones of the text here, perhaps a good paster might extend the application to even within hetero activities?:

thusly:
When folks get into this, they mimicking the lust-for-lust-sake that (un)-naturally results in homo behavior.
More often than not, they turn godly clean lovely play into glutinous other-demeaning psycho-porn.

Danger, danger, Will Robinson.

It’s like all these tattoos.
There’s a good chance it’s actually a form of self-mutilation, only now with a willing participant.

bethyada
Member

JohnM, this is my position in more detail. I am open to being corrected, but I need to be convinced. Because this is pasted, read the lined statements as numbered. The prelude to the vice list in Romans is to describe the depths of depravity of the Gentiles. Paul discusses serious pagan sin and argues his case indirectly from Genesis. His discussion concerns the pagan rejection of the Creator and throughout Paul repeatedly alludes to creation. God’s invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world (Gen 1:1), in the things… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Note though, that what the men do because of their burning unnatural passion for other men is “commit shameless acts”, which probably was meant to include, but was not necessarily limited to, sodomy. Again, another problem is Paul describes women as exchanging natural for unnatural, but in an act of sodomy it is not really the woman who is doing the exchanging, perpetrating the act. Overall it just takes a long explanation to arrive at your conclusion, when there is already one that has long been generally understood to be the case, and seems a more natural reading of the… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I don’t think it is complex, I have explained in detail to show why I think this. If one lived in a society where anal sex with women was commonly practiced (including for contraceptive purposes) and this is known then Paul would be understood clearly. Especially as it seems Paul was avoiding being explicit here. So a couple of questions.

If my interpretation is correct, how do you think he should have written it?

If he meant lesbianism, why did he not say women with women?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I need to say first, it is not up to me to say how Paul *should* have written anything and I’m never going to put it that way. However, if anal penetration (we need to stop confusing it with what it is meant to simulate) was specifically what Paul had in mind – as I said, I don’t think he was limiting the point to particularly and only that – he might have mentioned men committing degrading acts with women as well burning with passion for other men, and left out women doing anything altogether. Asking why he did not… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Yes, but Paul explains that the women are exchanging a sexual act. It is the sexual act they are exchanging; it is only by implication you think that they are exchanging to involve a woman, but the exchange is the [sexual] relations that they are exchanging. It seems that you may have a problem with my interpretation because you do not think women would do this voluntary but have to be coerced to by a man. Although that kind of coercion goes on, Paul is talking to a depraved society and women can become depraved just like men can. Plenty… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

The implication being given by the wording. It is by implication we think that the indecent act between men was sodomy. Like I said, overall Paul is pointing out sexual depravity generally as a consequence of rejecting God, I don’t think his couple of examples was meant to be an exhaustive list. “But plenty of women are willing to go along.” More or less what I said. Go along with the thing is all they can do, even in the uncommon event that it is their idea. When it comes to the doing it would necessarily be an action taken… Read more »

Nathan Smith
Member

“And when we look at any given bride and groom in the front of the church, we are looking upon the image of God.”

This just rings.

bdash
Guest
bdash

I never understand Christians who basically all have gay marriages ( encourage men to be house husbands – no gender differences etc) are against gay marriage….
Christian men are basically told that unless they are excellent homemakers they are unloving….
if one told any man of the bible that they would condemn you for asking men to be effeminate….
Hilarious, Christians act and behave like male and female does not matter anymore yet insist on banning 2 men from marrying…

insanitybytes22
Member

“It follows from this that natural sex is theologically rich. In Paul’s sense here, nature is a good theologian.” I liked this. It occurs to me that rather than simply closing our eyes and feeling the music, God’s music, we always insist on resorting back to a list of laws, specifically what is permissible and what is not, complete with diagrams and flow charts. We do this with our theology too, and it is just as tragic. Galatians 5:16 comes to mind, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”… Read more »

James Bradshaw
Member

Some corrections seem to be in order. “Polygamy is out because God took one rib from Adam’s side, not three ribs” Tell that to Kings David and Solomon, both of whom had multiple wives. Solomon not only had multiple wives, he had multiple concubines. Despite that, God saw use Solomon as both an infallible and inerrant instrument in relaying His voice, yes? Further, while polygamy not be an ideal (only implied in Scripture), nowhere is it declared a sin. “[N]ature is a good theologian” Is it? What do mosquitoes, the Ebola virus, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes tell us about their… Read more »