Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Eminent domain, imminent demise
Oklahoma is the first state to push for a state constitutional amendment to protect private property rights that were swept away by U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo decision in June.
Read all about it from Focus on the Family.
Focus on the ... Family?
Focus on the Family's PAC applauds it. Fine.
Somebody tell me what property rights have to do with "family" or Christianity or, specifically, the Lord Jesus himself.
Focus on the Family and its PAC continues to confuse secular politics and worldly government with the Gospel. James Dobson's worldly influence continues to grow. His spiritual influence is reduced accordingly.
His smart-ass reference to "the Supremes" is especially offensive to me. Dobson would set himself, and his flock, above the law and above the very institutions of American government.
Dobson's fall -- not from secular power, but from eternal influence -- is imminent.
Where a man's treasure lies, there his heart will lie also.
Robert Ardrey, a playwriter turned anthropologist, wrote about his phenomena in the 1970's in two of his books, "Territorial Imperative" and "The Social Contract". They are worth anyone's time to read.
Indeed buried in the very depths of our most primative part of the brain is the coding that territory is worth more than life, because as an animal (or plant for that matter) you must have territory in order to exist, eat, and reproduce. So it is not unexpected, nor is it wrong, that humans would innately feel this need and translate it into "property rights".
It is however facinating that Dobson apparently sees this instinctive reaction as a spiritual matter. What would Jesus say about property rights and the territorial imperative?
That is where we differ. Dobson is operating from a Christian world view... He has every right to speak on politics, and get involved in political discourse. Christianity is to change how we view every thing, not just our religious moments on Sunday morning.
Again, your hatred for the religious right is seen here more than your questioning of Dobson.
And I never said he didn't have the right!
I am saying that he is wrong. And that he, specifically, is wrong to borrow the name of Jesus for right-wing politics.
Oh, and Tim, this is one of a bozillion things we differ on! :-)
JESUS IS A LIBERAL.
"Aeeeiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -- as Howard Dean said.
That primeval "YAWP" makes more sense to me as time goes by.
Pator Tim, maybe for ER it is "Angst" and "Anguish" at seeing a brother on the wrong road at the wrong speed, instead of "hate". Why does that word seeminly cast so easily, for a man charged to spread God's love?
I'm engaged in an argument on another blog about the Iraqi Election, and I could really use Him...
I don't like to use anyone else's property unless I ask first...
You use Him to argue for the taking by force of property from one individual and giving to another.
I don't remember Him being in favor of that...
Maybe I read it wrong...
Tug, I will not let you pretend that our form of government, and taxation, is a form of robbery,. That's bull.
So, I do argue that Jesus would have us use all our resources in ways to help the poor and hungry and homeless. Our vote and politics are two important resources.
I don't buy the conservative argument that we should only teach people how to take care of themselves. Yes, we should. But we should feed the hungry and house the homeless -- that is, those who want to be fed and those who want to be housed -- too.
There is no way anyone can read the red letters in the dang Bible and not believe that that is a basic Christian duty. The question is whether we should vote our Christian conscience -- and I say we should.
We should both help people develop independence from others -- and we should feed, clothe and house them in the meantime.
That's the MAIN criteria upon which I base my political orientation -- and despite Pastor Timothy's extremely narrow view of it, THAT is a Christian world view. Not the only one. But it IS one, nonetheless.
And I thimk it would be pretty silly to argue that Jesus would ever be for war -- the real deal, not a rhetorical device like "War on Poverty" -- even to help poor people.
Do you think they are both evil?
But I certainly agree with Pastor Tim that Christianity should change "how we view everything," if he is referring to the poverty, disease and oppression in our own country and around world and our responsibility to reach out to others in love.
7 The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.
Jesus intended for us to help the poor ourselves, one on one, and to witness to them in the process, not to vote to turn that responsibility over to a third party (Government) to handle that responsibility for us, eliminating any oportunity for witnessing.
(Seperation of Church and State, and all...)
If that is your idea of what Jesus wanted us to do, then we will have to agree to disagree. I think that that is a misguided idea of what Jesus wanted us to do, but, oh well.
Programs which take money from my paycheck in this particular stage of my life, and give it directly to my grandparents and my wife's grandparents, who have already paid off their houses and saved up their nest-eggs, and to people who do not work when I get up and go work 60+ hours a week sure seem like robbery to me.
I do not believe that things like that are what Jesus would have wanted.
And as I have reminded you before, Jesus resorted to violence Himself.
He would have told you that some fights are Just and Nessecary.
I always liked things Tuggy said, particularly about me. But his BS here looks more like one of Mark's rants.
Disappointed in ya, Tug. I thought you were MUCH smarter than that.
I also seem to recall his very specific line on taxes was "Render unto Caesar those things are Caesar's," at at time when the Roman Empire was well into its bread and circuses phase. I'd say that sets a good precedent for good Christians paying for welfare programs - and public broadcasting.
ER, you confuse me. On the one hand you want God completely removed from government and public life. On the other hand, you expect the government to do "Jesus's Work". I don't get it. How do you expect to have it both ways?
This is what I'm opposed to. I saw enough of that in Arkansas when I was there to make me sick. Jesus says we are to help the poor, not enslaven them to the government system. They didn't want to get out of their situation, and actually discouraged others who were trying to get out of their situation, from doing so.
One black family that had been attending my church, quit because of the social pressure. Not from the whites in my church, but from the blacks that he lived with. They told him he was just trying to be better than the rest of them and made life harder on him while they were attending our church. I wanted them to go ahead and invite the entire family. The church might still be open had they done so. But the social pressures on the man were to much.
It's not just blacks either. The entire community had their hand out to the government in one way or another. I do believe it has theological implications... you turn to the government, you get the blessings of the government, you turn to God, you get the blessings of God. I don't believe the two are the same... but this is probably not the place for that.
As for the property rights issue, it is found in both the OT and the NT. Those who gave freely in Acts, were allowed freely to keep what they wanted. Acts is not advocating eminent domain, communism, or any other such line of thinking, but the freely giving of what we are led to give. The government should not take what belongs to someone else without a just cause... the hard part is getting the government to agree upon a "just cause" and not become frivolous in their use of that. When the government oversteps its bounds is the time to actually start voting for those who will correct the process.
33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
Doing right by the poor, unclothed and homeless is not JUST "Jesus' work." It's the right thing to do.
It also happens to be among the commands of the Saviour.
So, try again to show me a conflict between my belief that the church and the state in this country ought to be separate, and my other belief that Christians in this country are obligated to use their votes in a way that is more likely than not feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless.
Timothy, those are great arguments, those that worry about dependency caused by "handouts" and social pressure felt by people who, you say, are "kept down" by welfare. Great arguments. Great conservative arguments.
They are great traditional, conservative, American arguments.
But they are not Christian arguments. The only Christian argument I know of says: Feed, clothe, house.
I think Dobson is a powerful man of influence who has created a machine that his hired guns use to manipulate people into unwittingly giving voice to an extreme slice of American conservatism.
I personally know one of the hired guns, and he does, in fact, think in terms of manipulating people -- although he might not use that word. He has, however, used terms like "stirring up the base" in reference to some of the more outlandish statements and positions Dobson's machine takes. It is an extremely well-oiled machine, and it plays the politics game very well -- and for that, I applaud Dobson, et al.
But it's also very cynical, and it alsoi is not really very Christian, actually.
As for Bush, I'd probably enjoy eatin' barbecue and drinkin' iced tea with the Bushes out at Crawford.
What I disdain is the neocon world view and conservative social and economic policies in general.
In other ways, but the fifth year of any Republican presdidency, I'd probably be bitching.
Naw, no Bush's beer and Barby for me, not that there would ever be a snow balls chance in hell that such an invitation could ever come my way.
Cause even if I put up with all that other stuff, I just couldn't stand there and watch him smirk as he said it. I may not hate the man, but I do, I really do hate that shit-eaten-grin of his.
The thing is, Bush is such a "type," and I gladly drank beer and ate barbecue bought by such types in Texas for years, all the while thinking they were totally nuts.
I once survived a bus trip from Wichita Falls to Corpus Christi and back with some of 'em, during the election that brought Ann Richards, GOD LOVE HER, to the Texas governer's mansion.
It was the ugliest situation I was ever in -- right up until a girl racecar driver wrecked Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Texas Motor Speedway a few years ago; the things that were said in the men's bathroom afterward were much worse.
Anyway, as LBJ is said to have said, and I paraphrase, "If you can't drink their whiskey, smoke their cigars and XXX their women, and still vote against 'em, you don't have any business in Congress."
How sad that we can't only rely on the reported words of Jesus to reveal truth to us as Priest-Believers of God's word.
Paul/Saul was the ultimate True-Believer, before and after the Road to Damascus experience, it is through Paul that our main concepts of Christain theology have come. It took 300 years to cleanse the various books and concepts that weren't acceptable to the Church leadership from relm of Christian thought, and come up eventually with the inerrent and devine 66 books, known most generally by the non-protestant, anti-Catholic, Anglican King James version, written over a thousand years latter.
If the Catholic Church is run by Peter, then the modern day Neo-Evangelical Movement is run by Paul. Is Jesus, the subject of it all, is left only with his "degrading" red text-words?
Well maybe, maybe I am.
If you rant into the wind, is that like tossing defecation into the fan?
Timothy believes that every word or both the Old and New testaments must be accepted as if Jesus hissownself uttered every one of them. I think he bases that on John 1:1, which refers to "The Word" in an extremely and wonderfully profound, spiritual and philosophical sense that today's Fundamentalists wrongly (in my view) equate with the colloquial nickname for the Bible as we know it today, "The Word."
Everybody duck. I b'lieve Timothy is fixin' to wield his 97-pound Westminster-approved reference Bible at us!
And he should, actually, I guess. He has pointed to the Westminster Confession as the end-all, be-all before, and has suggested that it is the standard by which all Christians should self-judge their own Christianity.
Myself, I'll take the Bible first, seriously, but not always literally, and as for supplemental materials, I'll take the "Baptist Faith & Message," 1963 version.)
Where is your Christian call to repentance?
John is attempting to tell the Greeks who Jesus was and connect him to all creation. The Bible was not the subject.
If that doesn't prove John was referring to Jesus as the Word, I don't know what does.
No one has said that Jesus is not "The Word" John talks about.
But that is not the same thing as "The Word" used as a colloquial nickname for the Bible.
The writer of John is using a previously defined Greek idea to introduce Jesus to the non-Hebrew world. ER is correct that I ment it to say that John 1:1 is refering to Jesus and nothing else.
Sorry for the delete. But I get frustrated and my response was not as I thought it should be. I also feel like I'm spitting into the wind. (No metaphorical references to the Holy Spirit... please).
Yes, Jesus is the Word... But I get to the fact that all the Bible is His word from more than John 1:1.
2 Peter 1:19ff And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
First and foremost, this shows us that the words of God, in the Bible are from God. They are His words. We see that He allows for the personality of the prophet to still be a part of the process... in other words they do not become robots, but are part of the process of revelation. The Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are One. They cannot contradict one another, and when one speaks, they all speak.
That is why Jesus rebuked Philip for wanting to see the Father... "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not know Me, Philip?" Where Jesus speaks, the Father speaks. Where the Holy Spirit speaks, the Son speaks, etc.
Jesus even speaks of sending the Holy Spirit who will testify of Him. Jesus even speaks of more things He wishes to tell the disciples, but cannot because they are not ready for it. This is an indication that more instruction is to come, and that comes through Paul and the rest of the writers of the NT.
When Paul is made an apostle, that makes his words have the same weight and authority as the red letter words. Granted, Paul is a sinner, and is fallen. But God can still use sinful fallen men to convey His revelation. It is often said that in the gospels, acorns are planted, in the epistles, you have full grown fruit producing trees. But the point is that it is all God's word, all of Christ's word, all of the Spirit's word.
They are all three involved in revelation, salvation, creation, jugdment, etc. YOu cannot separate them.
The problem I have is when people like Bill O'Reilly keep hounding fellow believers on his show about just sticking to what Jesus says. You cannot do that with God's word, that is a recipe for heresy. BTW, I shout at BO at that point... actually because of that, I have quit watching his show. Just think ER, you and Bill walk almost hand in hand with your views of the Bible. :)
But there is more to answering the question than what I have presented... there is also the Angel of the Lord appearances in the Bible. Many, myself included, take this to be Jesus Himself. The preincarnate Christ. He is the One conveying the truth to many He appears to...He is also the One that does much of the speaking in the Old Testament. The Father does as well. So it is not cut and dry.
We also know that Christ was instrumental in creation from Colossians... "For by Him all things were created that are in heaen and that are on earth..." Because of this verse, I'm taking it that He was the One speaking in the creation act. This is similar to things we see in salvation: Father elects, Jesus atones, Holy Spirit converts... Father designs, Jesus speaks it, Holy Spirit moves...
Anyway, I think I might take this discussion to my sight...
All of them proport to be "The Word". Which of them is "Inerrant"?
When we find original text from the first century, as we have, that were supressed by the "church", as Christians what should we do with them?
If the gospel of Thomas was actually written by Jesus's follower and brother as some claim, and the text found buried in the desert at an ancient monestary, is only a third or forth generation copy from an original, then how can it be dismissed as not part of the Biblical Cannon?
Is the Bible the only revelation that we non-Catholics should recognize. If so then what value is the Priesthood of the Believer?
If the Bible is not inerrant, does it lose its authority?
It's not only illogical, it just seems ... I don't know, cheesy or something!
If that 2 Peter verse should be taken literally, then it referred, did it not, to all other epistles and manuscripts that were being used by the church at the time?
Pastor Timothy will say no, because of the magic that caused the Canon to come together 300 years later. Knowing what I know of the politics of the day, the cynicism of Constantine especially, of course I question the veracity of any claims that the yahoos at those early councils tidied everything up for us, so we should just shut up and accept it.
THAT's one of the reasons I say I take the Bible seriously, but not necessarily literally. Too many human agendas in there for me to believe God "breathed" it.
Inspired it? Yes. Directed it? Yes. DICTATED IT? No.
I never said "dictated." That would be Isalm. God breathed, means is where we get the word inspired, but the word inspired has been watered down.
As for the councils, they did come together and decide which books were authentic and not... but not with authority. The Gospel of Thomas was written by Gnostics, an error of the day that spoke of special knowledge, and was rejected early on as not breathed by God.
The truth of the Scripture comes from the Scripture itself. You speak of actual writings, no, we dont' have them. We freely admit that. But there is more authenticity of the Bible than any other ancient manuscript... And while there may be many manuscripts with variations, they all say basically the same things. Even if you take the most serious variations, of which there are only about 50, none of them change any major doctrine of Christianity.
As for the third century, the earliest manuscripts go back to the Second Century... we have several pieces of a manuscript of the Gospel of John from the second century, which closed down an entire school of thought in Germany, that was based upon John's Gospel being written in the Fifth Century. There is even interanl evidence from John's gospel that is was written before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The Bible is reliable, and trustworthy.
Pator Tim said:
"The Bible is reliable, and trustworthy."
That statement I believe in. Notice I said believe IN, not just believe.
But here is where I question the "magic":
"As for the councils, they did come together and decide which books were authentic and not... but not with authority. The Gospel of Thomas was written by Gnostics, an error of the day that spoke of special knowledge, and was rejected early on as not breathed by God."
"...but not with authority..."
If they didn't have authority what were they doing? Did you mean to say.... but not without authority..
In which case the questions become:
Whose authority? The Church? Which Church?
"...The Gospel of Thomas was written by Gnostics...." Written by Gnostics or adopted and copied and recopied and preserved by Gnostics?
"...Gnostics an error of the day....and was rejected early on as not breathed by God...."
Error? Rejected by whom, as not breathed by God.
The Anti-Baptist, now know as Baptist were a "error" and heritics of their day as well according to the established Church.
My own ancestors part of the Palitines were errors of their day and run out of Switzerland and Germany in the 1630's.
".....Even if you take the most serious variations, of which there are only about 50, none of them change any major doctrine of Christianity........"
True (for the European based Christian Bible), none of them changed any major doctrine of Christianity as defined by those men back in the third century.
Pastor Tim, you may not credit this statement, but you are stretching my mind. Thanks.
Defining what is in the canon and what is not in the canon of Scripture is a difficult task. What happened is the men in the earlier centuries came to Scripture and could tell that it was from God, and what was not from God. In other words, the recognition of God's word is based upon the Spirit's illumination to the church. It really depends upon God for us to realize: "hey, this is His word..." It's not a council, although councils do help us. We have to recognize God's providential hand in some of our understanding, not that God continues to give us revelation today, but He does continue to work in the hearts and minds of believers to help us determine that His word is trustworthy, authoritative and acceptable.
Therefore, when we come to writings like the Gospel of Thomas, we look at it and say: "sounds nice, but that doesn't sound like Christ." It's been years since I've read it, but if I recal there was one part where Jesus as a boy was making clay pigeons on the river bed, some other boys taunted him, so He used His divine powers and toasted them, and then turned the clay pigeons into real pigeons. While interesting, that doesn't sound like the Christ of Scripture. Therefore it is rejected by the church.
Had Jesus toasted those boys, then I think we would have had the Jesus that the Jews wanted and expected. Instead, we got the Jesus who is, not the one of our, or their own making. That is why, I believe, there was so much conflict between Christ and the Pharisees. He didn't fit their mold, he was different than what they wanted or expected. I find this to be true in much of the church today, both inside and outside of the church. People are still taking Jesus and making Him into their own image... see ER's Jesus is a liberal comments.
The other aspect of Christ that makes Him so difficult to understand why He did what He did, the way He did it is that He was acting and the beckoning of the Father's will, both of whom are without sin. Jesus was a sinless being swimming in a world of sinners and sin. So when He does things, to our fallen sinful minds, it seems strange and odd, and we have difficulty understanding it. He is the One who is perfect, and in our fallen estates, we have to try and understand what He was doing and why. That is why there is so much conflict surrounding the person of Christ. Sinful beings are tyring to understand that which was sinless.
Better get to my sermons
The original "Jesus is a liberal" post was in the form of a resolution to spark debate. Jesus is neither liberal nor conservative -- but his message can be so labeled. And there is NOTHING "conservative," by the current social and economic definitions, about ANYTHING he had to say.
Oh, and on revelation: Tell me why revelation is said to have stopped, and why. Has God developed laryngitis? Have we become deaf?
"God is still speaking."
You also said, "Therefore, when we come to writings like the Gospel of Thomas, we look at it and say: "sounds nice, but that doesn't sound like Christ."
Actually most of Thomas parallels exactly the sayings of Christ in Mathew, Mark, and Luke.
Heresy is not in these exiled gospels, no more than heresy is in the four canonical gospels. Heresy is in the act of finding in the scriptures only that which validates our own experience, when our own experience has nothing to do with God; thus the difference between the intellectual understanding and the inspired understanding. Which is which only God and the individual can know.
I look at our supreme court and our government, who have a two hundred year old document that is in perfect unchanged readable condition and they still can't agree on what it says. You say that Church leaders in the third century did not have the same problem becuse the spirit breath into the its desire as to which text should be canonized and which should not. I guess here is where we will part company on this subject.
Thanks Pastor Tim it has been interesting.
Thus we were talking about two different books. The first, the one above, was translated in 1924.
The second, referenced below, was not discovered until 1955.
Sorry about the mean streak, but you did use that in one of your posts recently... a response, not the post... that led me to believe that you were still advocating this point. Notice, I didn't counter with Jesus is a Republican/White/Southern/Truck Driving Jew, etc. Jesus is who He is, and it is because of your recent use of your phrase that I threw that in there. Please forgive me.
You also wrote:
Oh, and on revelation: Tell me why revelation is said to have stopped, and why. Has God developed laryngitis? Have we become deaf?
"God is still speaking."
Yes, I agree that God is still speaking, but revelation has ceased. Revelation is more about Himself, and is found in the word alone, the ultimate revelation being the Word, namely Christ (Hebrews 1:1ff). But the canon is closed. Anything else would be either unnecessary or contradictory to that which is already given. Therefore, if it agrees with what the Bible say, we don't need it. If it disagrees, we condemn. See Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddy, Joseph Smith, etc. The offer another gospel, as Galatians condemns.
But God does speak to us through His word. And we believe, through the faithful preaching of the word of God, so that when the word is preached, the Spirit moves and we actually hear from HIM. Does He speak in audible voices? I think it is possible, but I'm very cautious about accepting what people say in this regard because it is experiential, or based on their experience. It's hard to validate as really from God or not. Remember, there is another god who is trying to speak as well, and he deludes people all the time. So when someone claims to hear from God, we have to ask, is it scriptural? Does it contradict? And we have to admit tha sometimes it does neither. Sometimes He answers in ways that, well, are hard to prove or disprove so you leave those times alone, and trust God with the truth of the matter.
You say that Church leaders in the third century did not have the same problem becuse the spirit breath into the its desire as to which text should be canonized and which should not. I guess here is where we will part company on this subject.
No, I didn't say that the church leaders didn't have struggles and controversy and conflict and disagreement. Every council that met was confirmation of disagreement and false teaching. (In fact, all the episltes we have are the result of conflict in the church). It's not like there is ever any monolithic understanding or view point. What is amazing is when men of faith can come together and actually agree on the faith at all.
That is why I think they are so helpful to us, the councils, the teachers that have gone on before us, because God moved in them to help us understand that sinless Savior. And when we look at what they believed and wrote and compared it to scripture, we found it to be true. Does that mean it is scriptural? Not necessarily. When these doctrines are found to be out of alingnment with Scripture, we toss them. That is why the doctrines of the faith are what they are... they have stood the test of time. Back to the sermons...
Jesus is the Son of man. Jesus is the Son of God.
His Self if beyond secular politics.
His message, however, by today's secular, and religious, definitions, is liberal.