Monday, July 12, 2010

Sticking to the Original Story

In reviewing the latest actions of our General Assembly, one might think that a revolution was about to take place. You could surmise that a silent minority was speaking out, grabbing the attention of everyone in attendance, and placing their agenda before the entire group. This small minority seems very powerful and successful and bringing issues before our governing body. I believe there are several sayings that go something like “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This minority group must be squeaking very loudly, and is demanding several quarts of oil. You would think that there would not be an issue at all, especially with God’s own language to guide us in any decision.

I will get a few things out in the open before I continue. First, I’m not discriminating against any group, and neither does the Bible. I’m not speaking out against any group of people regardless of their sexual preference, and neither does the Bible. I would welcome any group of people regardless of their sexual preference to join me in the pew on Sunday morning. But that’s just it, I would love for them to join me in the pew. I have had several gay friends in my lifetime. They were very admirable people who stood up for what they felt was right and honorable. I’m doing the same thing. I’m standing up for what I feel is the true meaning of God’s Word. I know that the Holy Spirit did not give the prophets the instruction to leave a little wiggle room in case things change in the future.

In a position of leadership in the church, the pastor has a great deal of influence over his or her congregation. This influence can be interpreted by any member of the congregation to mean vastly different things, especially if they are taking into consideration the sexual preference of the pastor involved. I, for one, would not want our young people being influenced by pastors who feel that the bond of marriage is not necessarily between a man and a woman, as it is written in God’s Holy Word.

God tells us in several places in His Word that a marriage is between a man and a woman. I have looked throughout the chapters and verses and cannot find any reference to a same sex partner. How can we ignore the fact that a practicing homosexual will not be open about their relationship or carry this way of life into their activities in the church? I do not believe that a person who is a practicing homosexual can keep this from being known, and may want it to be very well known among their congregation. Can we trust a practicing homosexual to never change the words in the Bible to be “inclusive?” I was a member of a large church in Baltimore Maryland where the pastors were open and accepting of this lifestyle. The words to chapters and verses in the bible were altered from their original language to reflect God’s being. The words to our favorite hymns were changed to be inclusive in order to keep peace in the congregation. This practice is not a true interpretation of the original text written by the prophets as told to them by the Holy Spirit. Are we questioning the truth of the Bible? I for one do not want to go down that road.

As Presbyterians, we need to take a hard look at this slippery slope we are putting ourselves at the top of. This slope, once we slip, is a bottomless cavern that will never allow us to see daylight, God’s light. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets and instructed them, guided them to put pen to paper and write down what they were told. There is no other explanation for the clarity and accuracy of prophets like Isaiah and others who predicted things 400 years ahead of time. This was definitely a higher power working amongst these people. The last time I checked, these men were instructed to write in a manner that reflected God in the masculine tense. I believe all the texts in the New Testament prove Jesus was a man. I apologize to anyone offended by this, but I believe I’m stating fact, and not my particular opinion or my version of biblical text changed to please all parties involved.

Can’t we all just get along !

15 comments:

Sarahlynn said...

If you mean agreeing on major social and theological hot button issues of the day? Nope.

paulboal said...

I believe that above all else, God wants us to love. Doing love is something explicit and something that requires action and change on our part. History, philosophy, and psychology all tell us that part of being human in struggling with change and the fact that change occurs at different rates within and between groups. Yet, I believe that our requirement from God is to increase in our capacity to love. The love that our societies were able to comprehend in the 1st centuries AD as the Bible was being penned is, in some ways, a shadow of the love that we generally accept today. If there was no room for more love to be found, where would we be? And all evidence is that there's still more room for love: there is still envy, and jealousy, and arrogance, and impatience, and mistrust. Love always trusts. "We know in part and we prophesy in part..."

Alan said...

You call sexual orientation "sexual preference" then try to defend this gaff by using the cliche excuse "Some of my best friends are gay." Then you state that LGBT people would not be good role models for youth (as if having a gay pastor is going to turn a kid gay. Well, since you think sexual orientation is just a preference you probably do believe such an outlandish thing.) Then you suggest you cannot trust a "practicing homosexual". Then you use a logical fallacy called an argument from silence to defend your particular opinion of the Bible. Finally you finish your post off with a call to a logical fallacy known as a slippery slope argument. And then you wrap the whole thing up with a laundry list of issues such as masculine language and hymn lyrics that have nothing whatsoever to do with ordination.

Can't we get along? Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I find it hard to get along with that kind of ignorance of the facts, faulty logic, and poor reasoning.

But, if by get along, you mean mutual forbearance, then maybe there's a chance. You are under no obligation to vote for anyone's nomination for elder, deacon, or minister. So, if you want to decide on the qualifications of individual candidates based solely on their sexual "preference", feel free. Then be kind enough to offer the rest of us the same courtesy. But as long as you're devoted to making blanket decisions on an entire group of people without regard to their individual qualifications and call, then no, honestly, we cannot get along.

John Edward Harris said...

I hope and pray that Presbyterian Bloggers is under a big tent with plenty of room for people who disagree.

For instance, you write "I know that the Holy Spirit did not give the prophets the instruction to leave a little wiggle room in case things change in the future." How do you know this! The beauty of Biblical prophecy and what makes the Bible a living book are its multivalent voices which speak in new ways to new times.

You also state "There is no other explanation for the clarity and accuracy of prophets like Isaiah and others who predicted things 400 years ahead of time." Biblical prophets did not predict the future. They interpreted the present in light of God's revelation. Are you familiar with Second and Third Isaiah the literary tool of foreshadowing?

You opine "I believe I’m stating fact, and not my particular opinion or my version of biblical text". I think you are indeed stating a belief, facts as you see them, and your opinion of the truth. My beliefs differ. I see facts differently. I have a different opinion of the truth.

The only truth is God, a mystery revealed to our imperfect minds, minds barely able to grasp this infinite and mysterious truth. The doctrine of original sin teaches that none of us can perfectly know the mind, or truth of God, as much as we try or think we can.

runnin 2 Him said...

I am just thankful that my blog has generated discussion, which I intended it to do. That's how issues are resolved. Thanks to all who voiced their "opinion."

Sarahlynn said...

"I hope and pray that Presbyterian Bloggers is under a big tent with plenty of room for people who disagree."

Me, too! And I believe this is a perfect place and time to have discussions like this one.

runnin 2 Him said...

I truly believe that in issues such as this that silence is the adversary, not the people who choose to voice their beliefs

NicodemusLegend said...

I have looked throughout the chapters and verses and cannot find any reference to a same sex partner.

I would submit that the absence of evidence is not to be confused with evidence against the possible viability of same-sex relationships.

That's not to say that I'm convinced that such are okay, but simply that this argument is not one I'd be using.

Rod said...

Well if you are a person that truly believes in the words of God then you cannot help to know that God did intend marriage to be between one man and one woman, that's it. There is no wiggle room in that precept at all.
In fact scripture tells us that those who practice outside of this precept are in danger of eternal damnation, again no wiggle room.

In my newly released book titled “The Sword and the Spear” I take readers through these kinds of events along with many others giving them opportunity to evaluate their life styles to see if it truly lines up with the word of God.
Check it out I think you will like it.

http://bit.ly/cfz9s2

http://www.amazon.com/Sword-Spear-Perfect-Defeating-ebook/dp/B003UV8M8S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1278526134&sr=1-2

Rod said...

Well if you are a person that truly believes in the words of God then you cannot help to know that God did intend marriage to be between one man and one woman, that's it. There is no wiggle room in that precept at all.
In fact scripture tells us that those who practice outside of this precept are in danger of eternal damnation, again no wiggle room.

In my newly released book titled “The Sword and the Spear” I take readers through these kinds of events along with many others giving them opportunity to evaluate their life styles to see if it truly lines up with the word of God.
Check it out I think you will like it.

http://bit.ly/cfz9s2

http://www.amazon.com/Sword-Spear-Perfect-Defeating-ebook/dp/B003UV8M8S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1278526134&sr=1-2

NicodemusLegend said...

Well if you are a person that truly believes in the words of God then you cannot help to know that God did intend marriage to be between one man and one woman, that's it. There is no wiggle room in that precept at all.

And this goes to show, for so many of us, at least, we simply can't "just get along." If I am a person that believes that there's "wiggle room" (and, frankly, I know too much about the "words of God" as they appear in the biblical texts to not believe in such wiggle room for opposing ideas), I'm told that I must therefore not be "a person that truly believes in the words of God."

That's not a position that one can actually engage with in civil dialogue. It's an offensive discussion-stopper.

Alan said...

"Well if you are a person that truly believes in the words of God then you cannot help to know that God did intend marriage to be between one man and one woman, that's it."

That's fine. That's your opinion. It's wrong, but you have every right to have it and express it, just as I have a right to believe that you are not God, nor is your opinion God's opinion. I don't honestly care about your opinion, nor can I see why you'd care about mine. Given that, I can't see any reason I'd have a problem "getting along" with you. I don't require everyone I know to agree with me about everything in order to be cordial.

However, if you require everyone you know to agree with you about everything in order to be cordial, then yes, I suppose you'd have a problem "getting along" with me. But that's your problem, not mine.

So again, "getting along" does come down to mutual forbearance and simple good manners. Some people can handle that, and some people may not be able to do so.

Doug Hagler said...

I think that the position that every word of the Bible was written essentially by the Holy Spirit and was intended to be taken literally cannot help but be hypocritical.

There are hundreds of things in the Bible that we ignore nowadays without a second thought, including how the Bible defines marriage. The Bible defines marriage as between a man and up to 700 women. It defines marriage as between a man and his rape victim, or the widow of a man he killed in battle, or his deceased brother's wife, or his slave, or a woman he captures in battle as booty.

These are all clearly-attested examples of "Biblical marriage" that we all ignore, all the time, and rightly so.

We also not only allow women to speak and uncover their hair (!) in worship, they have been ordained in the PCUSA for a while now. That is contrary to the "clear teachings of Scripture", isn't it? But we ignore those teachings - rightly so!

There is no reason whatsoever that sexual minorities cannot become yet another of the hundreds of things we disagree with the Bible about, from the structure and age of the universe to the nature of human heredity to what the sky is made of.

This is *not*, has never been, a conflict between Bible-followers and Bible-deniers. It is a conflict over what parts of the Bible we will choose to take more seriously than others. No one, anywhere, takes every part of the Bible with equal seriousness, with the temporary exception of the guy who wrote A Year of Living Biblically.

If the argument against ordaining sexual minorities boils down to "the Bible says", then we need to check and make sure we don't need to start punishing people for the "abomination" of eating shellfish.

NicodemusLegend said...

Doug,

While I can agree that one can indeed demonstrate that the Bible allows for a definition of marriage (for example) as including all of the non-1-man/1-woman definitions you cite, I think you go to far to say that we're ignoring the teachings of Scripture when we, say, ordain women. I think that most of the passages that anti-women's-ordination folks cite as "clear teachings" simply don't actually teach what they've been taken to teach.

In fact, I think that Scripture, rightly interpreted, not only allows for women in ordained office, but gives support for it!

I make an issue of this because, frankly, I don't want to give conservatives room to say that all those who disagree with them "ignore the teachings of Scripture." We may "ignore" certain passages because of what other passages tell us about how we should read those former ones, but that's not at all the same thing.

joe in oklahoma said...

you say "Well if you are a person that truly believes in the words of God then you cannot help to know that God did intend marriage to be between one man and one woman, that's it."

as a Reformed Christian I do not believe in "the words of God". I believe in "the word of God."
in the words of the Barmen declaration, "Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death."
there is a significant difference.

as French reformed scholar jacques Ellul has pointed out, the replacement of word with words is a negative bit of collateral damage from contact with certain kinds of Islam. Muslims believe in the words of God. Christians believe in the Word.