Friday, May 31, 2013

Consider the Birds of the Air...

Redwing Blackbirds by paynehollow
Redwing Blackbirds, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

I was reading a blogmentary and the resulting comments today and thought I'd correct someone on the internets who was wrong.

The blogger said...

Have you heard of "red letter Christians"? That's a cute way of indicating those people who classify themselves as Christians by taking those red-letter texts -- you know, the ones that Jesus said -- as absolutely true and setting the rest aside as questionable at best...

...who would not be fine with it? Well, Paul, for starters. He's the one who wrote that all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16-17). So if Jesus is God Incarnate (John 1:1-3), then all Scripture is, technically, the words of Jesus. (Remember, John refers to Him as "the Logos", the Word, the actual expression of God.) Even Paul's. Peter held that Paul's writings were Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). So if all Scripture is God-breathed, then what Paul wrote is just as much Jesus's words as what the red letter versions put up as Jesus's words. And, of course, Jesus held the Old Testament as Scripture, so that would be just as much Jesus's words as anything in the New Testament.

What do I do when Jesus and Paul disagree? Nothing, really. Because, well, they don't. So the problem isn't them. The problem is me. That's when I back up and figure out where I made the wrong turn. And, as it turns out, I usually find it pretty easily. But pitting Scripture against Scripture -- even Jesus against Paul or Peter or anyone else -- is a bad option if you're going to take Scripture seriously. Countering a Scripture with a Scripture is all well and good as long as you plan to make them agree...


And a commenter added the little jab...

The "red letter Christians" really tip their hands by implying that those words are inspired and that others are not. But why would they trust one Apostle's account of Jesus (any Gospel) and another Apostle's account (from Paul)? They implicitly deny the inspiration of scripture, and, not surprisingly, a lot of mischief follows.

The problems with this criticism (and ensuing false charges and attacks)...

1. We who are followers of Jesus, the Christ, really OUGHT to consider closely and take seriously Jesus' actual and direct teachings.

2. It demonstrates a bad, irrational, unbiblical approach to Bible study.

2a. The Bible makes THIS claim about "all Scripture..." That it is God-breathed/inspired and thus, useful for teaching and correction.

2b. The Bible does NOT make this claim about the Bible:

* That the 66 books of the Bible = "all Scripture.";

* That it is a magic rule book and if you only can read all the rules pretty (but not exactly... sort of, but not always, but kind of literally) and rightly apply them all in your (and you, in everyone else's) life, then you will find salvation and the Right Way to behave (and the Right Way to tell everyone else how they should behave);

* That it never contradicts itself in any manner;

* That each line of text in the Bible is equally valid as all other lines;

* That if an OT rule and a direct NT teaching of Jesus conflict, that we MUST find a way to make them not contradict one another...

3. Indeed, it is abundantly obvious that the Bible DOES contradict itself, at least as far as moral teachings go. The OT quite clearly teaches that God's people should NOT eat shrimp, for instance, that doing so is an "abomination." AND YET, Jesus and other NT writers directly contradict this teaching. "It's NOT what goes in to a person that makes them unclean or a sinner, but what comes OUT of them..." Eating shrimp is specifically NOT a sin or an abomination in the NT. That is a contradiction.

4. So, the problem here is treating the Bible as if it claimed that it was a rule book (magic or otherwise). The idea - "IF there is a rule in the OT, THEN Jesus' teachings can NOT contradict it, we must make Jesus' teachings mesh with OT teachings." - is simply sloppy reasoning and Bible study. Additionally, this is a way (perhaps unintentionally) of undermining the teachings of Jesus, making them subordinate to OT Jewish rules and teachings. I would call that sloppy Bible study and disrespectful to the actual teachings of Jesus.

5. And as soon as I say that, someone will sputter, "but, but, but... Jesus SAID 'I did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it...'" and indeed, he did. But "fulfilling it" does not mean accepting each OT teaching and rule as a universally moral teaching. That is another way (perhaps unintentional) of undermining Jesus' teachings, making them captive to ancient rules and understandings and mores.

6. The use of "red letter" by some folk (such as the ones cited) is a way of disrespecting/mocking those who hold fast to Jesus' teachings and seems odd to me. Why would followers of Jesus (and his teachings) NOT be especially concerned about the "red letters..."? We in the Baptist/anabaptist tradition (and others) approach Bible study with this attitude: That we understand all of scripture through the lens of Jesus' teachings. Why wouldn't we? We're followers of Jesus!

7. We who do strive to hold fast to Jesus' teachings are not saying that some Bible teachings are inspired and some are not (well, some "red letter Christians" might, but it's not a given or a universal trait at all). Rather, we understand ALL of Scripture to be inspired and useful for teaching (what the Bible actually claims) but don't conflate that to mean that each line in the Bible holds equal weight and are equally valid moral teachings. Clearly, according to Jesus, this is not true (well, unless you try to make Jesus' captive and overruled by OT interpretations and rules).

Indeed, we strive to use Jesus' teachings as a lens to biblical interpretation BECAUSE we value all biblical teachings. Biblical teachings are only useful IF they are rightly understood. Jesus' Gospel teachings help us to rightly understand.

Again, why would followers of Jesus NOT pay particular attention to his teachings?

I know I've said much of this sort of thing before, but I had a little time and thought I'd do that silliest of things: Correct someone who was wrong on the internet. Call me sick.

25 comments:

FUMC West Dundee IL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Trabue said...

Someone asked why I didn't name those quoted. Simple: I'm speaking about ideas, not people.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Except, Dan, ideas don't exist without the people who think them. In this case, readers will know who you are referencing, and it seems a little disingenuous to pretend you are just talking about "ideas" and not making clear the person who presents these ideas are wrong.

In this case I happen to agree with you although not for the reasons you give. The larger point, though, is that it would be nice to make clear whose ideas you are referencing.

Dan Trabue said...

I disagree, Geoffrey. I don't see what possible difference it makes who said it (you guessed at least mostly wrong, by the way...). I could do a search and find 20 or 100 people who'd say similar things. I'm disagreeing with the idea of treating the bible as a proof text/rule book and with the notion of denigrating those who try to interpret the whole through the lens of Jesus' teachings. The personalities involved don't really matter to the ideas being discussed.

And I see nothing disingenuous in discussing these ideas. It's the IDEA that I think is mistaken, not the person.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Again, Dan, ideas do not exist apart from the people who have them. I'm not even sure how that can't be clear. You cannot treat ideas apart from the people who express them, and the circumstances that bring individuals to express them. Whether my guess was correct or not isn't the issue; that the ideas have been expressed by a person is.

Otherwise you're not talking about anything at all.

Craig said...

Dan,

Could you define what you consider "scripture"?

Could you provide some sense of how you rank scripture in order of worth.

For example
1. The recorded words of the Incarnate Jesus.
2. The recorded words of the preincarnate Jesus.
3. The recorded words of the apostles.

Etc.

I'm just curious how you prioritize.

Thanks.

Dan Trabue said...

Well, we Christians tend to think of "scripture" as the 66 books of the Bible (or however many books there are in the Catholic bible, for Catholics). I'm fine with that. The Bible doesn't call those 66 (+/-) books "scripture," but I'm fine with what Christians have traditionally accepted as Scripture.

To me, though, the point is not "what is Scripture?" but "What is God's Word? What is Truth?" and that is much more than simply the 66 books of the Protestant Bible.

So, when we find a line in the NT text that says "All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching and correction...," I think that the point being made is that God's Word - which is not contained in a simple book of books - is God-breathed and useful for teaching and correction.

Out of time, more later...

Marshall Art said...

The main problem with not citing the source (Stan), is that it inhibits the ability of readers to compare your comments with the entire context you reference in pieces.

Even more so, you don't really see any of your points in the excerpts you presented (unless, perhaps, if you connect point 1 and point 2a), which makes access to the entire post more essential.

I would also once more admonish your poor understanding as reflected in point 3. As has often been reiterated, the eating of shellfish was to be regarded as an abomination. This is different from something actually being an abomination, like, you know, certain specific behaviors. This distinction is important and often (purposely?) overlooked. In other words, there's nothing inherently wrong with eating shellfish, but you Hebrews are to consider it in that way. They are told to be holy because God is holy. This is what concerned Christ when He did away with the idea of food making one unclean. The OT laws were meant to do more than be mere ritual, but by His time, that's all they were for the most part. One was either clean or unclean because of what kind of person one was, regardless of how closely that person followed the law. This, then, doesn't amount to a contradiction. As with other OT laws, Jesus was merely clarifying the intention of the law. In this case, it rendered the purity laws superfluous, as those external things weren't causing anyone to be impure in the first place.

This goes to a point Stan was making in regards to what appear to be contradictions. It is far more likely that the reader needs to study more and is currently lacking understanding. Thus...

"..."IF there is a rule in the OT, THEN Jesus' teachings can NOT contradict it, we must make Jesus' teachings mesh with OT teachings.""

...is an incredibly inaccurate representation of anything that Stan was saying. It's not that we must make it "mesh", but that there is a resolution that is reasonable, rational and factual and further study will uncover it. Indeed, trying to make Scripture say something is a contradiction of Stan's position. It would be like trying to assert that Scripture provides a way to make...never mind.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

Could you provide some sense of how you rank scripture in order of worth.

I don't think I do "rank scripture."

However, I DO try to understand Truth and what is Right. So, in trying to understand Truth and what is Right and, if I read a biblical text that says, "Adam beget Cain and Cain beget Ralph and Ralph beget Chuck and Chuck beget Gilgamesh..." (sorry, going from memory there), I don't find nearly the depth of Truth or Right-living advice as I do in "For it is by grace that you are saved, through faith in Jesus..." or "Blessed are the poor, for they shall see God, blessed are those who hunger, for the shall be fed..." or "What you do for the least of these, you do for me..."

Now, I don't actively, specifically rank the one set "higher" and the other "lower," but I do find the latter set of verses much more profound and meaningful and with more potential impact upon my life than I do the former.

Do you disagree?

Now, having said that, what many faith traditions have long believed and advocated, as with regards to bible study, is the reasonable notion that if you have an OT passage that seems to say (or does say) "Do X," and Jesus (who came to fulfill Scripture) says, "Don't do X, do Z," then Jesus has helped explain/clarify the meaning of the text or, in some cases, has contradicted the older command to give a clarified command that may be just the opposite of the original command.

And so, we interpret the whole through the specific teachings of Christ.

Tell me: If you have an OT text that says, "Don't eat certain foods. DO NOT do that..." and Jesus contradicts it and says, "No, ALL foods are okay to eat..." do you not see that as a contradiction?

Is Jesus not teaching that the OT literal commandment is not the right commandment to adhere to? Is he not teaching an opposite and contradictory command? Do you not think it makes great sense to allow the NT teachings to shed light upon and clarify the OT teachings?

Do you think that, because God told Israel that sometimes it's okay to try to destroy an entire enemy when at war - right down to their women, children and babies - that this is a valid moral teaching?

Do you think that because God allowed polygamy and outright "gave King David" his many wives, that it polygamy is a good thing to support?

Do you think that it's still appropriate to shun women during their menstrual period and consider them "unclean..."? How about lepers? Treat them as Unclean? Those who touch the dead or pigs?

Or do you think that the purpose is not "Here is a set of rules, follow them all literally..." but rather, "Seek Truth, do Good, hold to the Right..." and we are to use our God-given reasoning to strive to do that, wherever we find Truth, Good and Right?

I think one of the clear teachings of the Bible is the point is not "Follow these rules," but seek first the kingdom of God and all God's righteousness... to keep in mind that humanity was not made for the Sabbath, but that Sabbath was made for Humanity.

Do you disagree?

Marshall Art said...

As to point #4, I don't believe the Bible needs to describe itself as a rule book, magic or otherwise, in order for it to present us with rules for living. Indeed, you absolutely treat certain aspects you personally find appealing as rules. Mocking the belief of some as "magic rule book" implies a disregard for clear teachings that should be taken as "rules for proving one's faith and devotion to God".

Naturally, this leads to charges of a works based salvation belief. But it's really more of an abdication toward whatever God wants. The alternative reeks of a self-worship in that without "rules", one is deciding for one's self what God can expect as regards our behaviors.

We can look back at the two "rules" Jesus said were most important. The first cannot truly be abode when one pretends there is no distinct manner in which to demonstrate that devotion to Him. Here are a few commentaries that illustrate the meaning of fulfilling the law:

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

"Let none suppose that Christ allows his people to trifle with any commands of God's holy law. No sinner partakes of Christ's justifying righteousness, till he repents of his evil deeds...The law is the Christian's rule of duty, and he delights therein. If a man, pretending to be Christ's disciple, encourages himself in any allowed disobedience to the holy law of God, or teaches others to do the same, whatever his station or reputation among men may be, he can be no true disciple."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:

"I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. By "the law" is meant the moral law, as appears from the whole discourse following: this he came not to "destroy", or loose men's obligations to, as a rule of walk and conversation, but "to fulfil" it; which he did doctrinally, by setting it forth fully, and giving the true sense and meaning of it; and practically, by yielding perfect obedience to all its commands, whereby he became "the end", the fulfilling end of it."

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

"I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil—Not to subvert, abrogate, or annul, but to establish the law and the prophets—to unfold them, to embody them in living form, and to enshrine them in the reverence, affection, and character of men, am I come."

Clearly, Jesus saw Scripture as, among other things, a "rule book" for how to live as God desires.

Marshall Art said...

Thus, point #6 is a poor representation of what is meant by those who speak of "red letter" Christians. The point is that many who devote themselves totally to red letters are providing for themselves license to "subvert, abrogate, or annul" any part of Scripture that holds no personal appeal.

#7, then, is in error, for if one truly cares about what Jesus is saying and teaching, one cannot then pretend "black letter" teachings or "magic rules" have less weight than His red-lettered words, since those red-lettered words elevate and articulate everything the Scripture of the time was supposed to have been teaching. There is no disconnect between OT rules and teachings and what Jesus taught. Indeed, His "fulfilling" was drawing a sharper connection for us. Those who pay particular attention to his teachings know this.

So I won't call you "sick" (not this time), but instead simply state the obvious, that you are incorrect with your corrections.

Alan said...

Why would you care what some random person on the Internet writes, Dan, unless you're trolling for an argument?

Various groups of Christians have been arguing about this red letter notion since before the Bible was printed. What new insight do you bring that hasn't already been said a zillion times already?

Unless you are just trolling for an argument because it has been too quiet on your blog for the last week or so -- in which case, mission accomplished. Carry on. :)

Dan Trabue said...

Just a topic of discussion, Alan. I'm discussing ideas, in this case, an approach to seeking Truth and understanding the Bible which I find problematic. And so, I bring it up for discussion, for my sake mostly, to think these things through out loud, in print.

Like this, from Marshall, for instance...

The point is that many who devote themselves totally to red letters are providing for themselves license to "subvert, abrogate, or annul" any part of Scripture that holds no personal appeal.

Which gives me a chance to think this related suggestion through out loud.

"Many..." Marshall? Do you really think there are "many" people out there who consider themselves followers of God, followers of Christ whose purpose it to subvert and annul parts of the bible "they don't like..."?

Name someone who seriously thinks this.

As for me and all those I know, we seek truth because Truth is Good and worth seeking. We do not limit ourselves to a literal interpretation of various passages of the Bible because the Bible never suggests we should take it that way and sound reasoning would suggest it's a bad idea.

If you know someone who actually prefers the words of Jesus because they wish to undermine truth, well, feel free to talk to that person, Marshall. But you won't find them here.

Alan said...

Well, you know...I guess whatever gets you through. But it would be helpful to this reader if you'd just post a summary of whatever new and real thing you learned from these "debates". It would cut down the wasted time scrolling through arguments about topics none of you agree with. (I mean, no one commenting here is a "red letter Christian", after all.

Alan said...

BTW, I prefer the pictures on these posts to the comments.

For example, we have redwinged blackbirds here, but they don't look quite the same (no tiny yellow patch under the red) nor do they have the same trilling call that Midwestern redwinged blackbirds have. We have something called a bluejay here, which an ornithologist friend assures me is the same as the Midwestern bluejay, but this small, timid, crest-less blue bird is nothing like the huge aggressive, bawdy bluejays in the Midwest. It's weird.

On the upside, there were peonies at the store today, which are uncommon around here. So even though I missed the lilacs, it still feels like spring.

Alan said...

And with that, I'm guessing you learned more about anything from my post on the birds and flowers on the west coast than you're likely to learn in the hundreds of comments on the topic of this post.

Which might make you think. Or not.

Dan Trabue said...

I had the opportunity to practice writing, if nothing else, Alan. And that's something I like to do.

It's a topic of discussion, for me to process my thoughts and put them down. And who knows, maybe I'll learn something from some of the comments, maybe not. But that's not really the point.

But I DID learn that someone else had wondered about why birds with the same name (and presumably the same bird??) don't look the same. What's up with that?

Craig said...

Dan,

I’ll start by clarifying. Am I correct in understanding that you believe that the 66 books of the bible are scripture? Are you suggesting that you would be comfortable with some additional writings be considered scripture? If so what writings and why?

I’ll try to answer your multitude of questions, but I may come in pieces.

“Now, I don't actively, specifically rank the one set "higher" and the other "lower," but I do find the latter set of verses much more profound and meaningful and with more potential impact upon my life than I do the former. Do you disagree?”

I agree that in your opinion you find some sections of the bible more profound and meaningful than others. I am thrilled that you have this opinion. However, I find pretty much the entire bible meaningful and profound in different ways. However, the question I asked had more to do with the process you use in deciding your opinion of meaningfulness and profundity, and how you would apply that process in making your determinations.

“And so, we interpret the whole through the specific teachings of Christ.”
I can see where this might apply in an apples to apples comparison. It just doesn’t seem like there are that many direct x to x comparisons. It also seems to be problematic if one tries to extrapolate from what is addressed to what is not specifically addressed.
“Tell me: If you have an OT text that says, "Don't eat certain foods. DO NOT do that..." and Jesus contradicts it and says, "No, ALL foods are okay to eat..." do you not see that as a contradiction?”
No.
“Is Jesus not teaching that the OT literal commandment is not the right commandment to adhere to?”
He’s teaching that that specific commandment was for a certain people in a certain circumstance, in a certain time. Therefore, since we’re not those people, in that circumstance, in that time, those commandments no longer apply. He’s not suggesting that those commandments were wrong in the original context.


More Later.

Craig said...

“Is he not teaching an opposite and contradictory command?”
No.

“Do you not think it makes great sense to allow the NT teachings to shed light upon and clarify the OT teachings?”
Sure. As long the intent is to clarify the different contexts, and not attempt to impose a NT context on OT texts.

“Do you think that, because God told Israel that sometimes it's okay to try to destroy an entire enemy when at war - right down to their women, children and babies - that this is a valid moral teaching?”

Despite having answered this question numerous times and with the stipulation the no one is suggesting what your question implies, I’ll once again answer you. I think that in the context of the original command, it was a completely valid command for Israel. (Presuming, of course, that it was actually God doing the commanding, and that he was able to accurately communicate His command to His chosen people) As to its morality at the time I’m perfectly comfortable with thinking that God has a much better understanding of morality than any of us here, and that I’m in no position to pass judgment on the morality of God’s commands. However to try to use that command as an excuse to kill people today would be to violently wrench that command from its original context. To be specific “is” this a valid moral teaching. No. Was this a valid command from God to Israel at a particular point in time, yes.
“Do you think that because God allowed polygamy and outright "gave King David" his many wives, that it polygamy is a good thing to support?”
No. That doesn’t preclude it being appropriate in the context of the time and place of the OT. If you are correct that God “gave King David “many wives, then by what standard to you hold that God was wrong? Also, while I don’t there are folks on your side who are taking seriously exactly this position as a justification to expand “marriage equity to all” (or at least more).
“Do you think that it's still appropriate to shun women during their menstrual period and consider them "unclean..."? How about lepers? Treat them as Unclean? Those who touch the dead or pigs?”
I’m not sure where what I think has any bearing o the discussion. The question addressed as what did Jesus think or what did Paul think. So my opinions really have little or no meaning in this discussion.
With that disclaimer, this remains a matter of context. The fact that these commandments might or might not apply in the NT context, does not mean that they were wrong, immoral, or inappropriate at

Craig said...

With that disclaimer, this remains a matter of context. The fact that these commandments might or might not apply in the NT context, does not mean that they were wrong, immoral, or inappropriate at the time they were given. It is not a contradiction for the person in authority to establish different sets of rules for different times, people, and circumstances.
“Or do you think that the purpose is not "Here is a set of rules, follow them all literally..."”
It seems pretty clear that Jesus expected His followers to abide by a set of commandments, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”. It also seems clear that Jesus in His preincarnate form, gave specific sets of commandments that He expected His people to follow. Given that, it seems reasonable to suspect that there are certain rules that God believes it is important to follow. Now, does that mean that anyone is suggesting a wooden literal all commandments for all time with no exceptions approach; no that would be silly. That does not mitigate the fact that the Bible is full of commands that we are to follow. I cannot see how anyone could deny what is clearly a teaching of Jesus both pre and post incarnation. Yes, when God says “Thou shalt not murder.”, I think He expects us to literally not murder people. I see no support for following commands outside of the context in which they were given, or trying to misapply a command to a situation for which it was not intended.

“…but rather, "Seek Truth, do Good, hold to the Right..."
It seems to me that if we love Him, and keep His commandments, then that will put us on track to seek truth, doo good and hold to the right.
“…and we are to use our God-given reasoning to strive to do that, wherever we find Truth, Good and Right?
As long as our God given reasoning doesn’t contradict what our God given scripture teaches.
“I think one of the clear teachings of the Bible is the point is not "Follow these rules,"”

“If you love me, keep my commandments.” V. “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
I’d suggest that “Seek first the Kingdom of God” is a rule. It’s a rule that Jesus thinks we should follow. What did Jesus say was the first rule? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” What did Jesus say was the second greatest rule? “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Again, these look and sound like rules, that Jesus gave us and expects us to follow.
I think it’s pretty clear that one of the clear teachings of the bible is that there are rules that should be followed if one is to love Jesus and follow him. It’s not the only clear teaching, but it’s clearly a clear teaching.
“Do you disagree?”
Yes and no

Marshall Art said...

""Many..." Marshall? Do you really think there are "many" people out there who consider themselves followers of God, followers of Christ whose purpose it to subvert and annul parts of the bible "they don't like..."?"

Yes. But none of them will admit it because they don't admit it to themselves. Name some? You and your cohorts here.

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, Marshall, we all appreciate your god-like wisdom in knowing our hearts and motives better than we mere mortals and sinners do.

And this is the reason that the Pharisee-wing of the conservative movement is viewed as being as arrogant as hell. Literally.

fyi.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

Am I correct in understanding that you believe that the 66 books of the bible are scripture?

Craig, we human protestants decided long ago that the 66 books of the Protestant Bible are as Scripture to us (as did human Catholics did with their version of the Bible). I have no desire to add any new texts to that human compilation.

My point is that "scripture" is only as good as our human interpretation. If someone reads the text of the Jewish, Catholic or Protestant Bibles/Scriptures and comes away with the conclusion, "You know, sometimes, killing the infant children of the enemy is a good and moral thing," then they have come away with an Idea that is NOT Truth, NOT God's Way.

So, perhaps deal with what I'm specifically saying, if you have any questions.

1. I believe that ALL True and Good things are from and of God (indeed, the Bible would teach us this). Do you disagree?

2. Thus, I believe that a teaching to Love our neighbors or to not pollute our neighbor's groundwater or to not harm our neighbor's children... that these are ALL Good and True teachings, and thus, from and of God. Do you disagree?

3. I'm less concerned about your version of holy text/Scripture/Bible and more concerned about Truth and Good. Do you think this is unreasonable?

I can't imagine that we seriously would disagree on any of these points.

Craig said...

"So, perhaps deal with what I'm specifically saying, if you have any questions."

OK I'm stumped. I wasn't sure what you were actually saying, so I asked a question to clarify what you were actually saying, and you respond with a snarky comment like this. I'm not sure what the deal is when I do as you suggest, yet still get snark for it.

As for your three points, I guess I should get on my Dan high horse and say that I'm not answering them until you answer the questions that have been asked.

But, as a sign of graciousness, I'll go ahead.

1. Sure. I guess it would depend on how you would define what is True and good, but in general OK.

2. Again, sure, as far as that goes.

3. Again, sure. Since I've never suggested that I am in possession of the ONE TRUE AND PERFECT text of the Bible, I'm led to wonder what is your point. However, my question was about what YOU consider to be scripture, not what you think I consider to be scripture. You see I found your initial response to not be specific, so I asked a question so I could understand what you actually meant. How in the world could you possibly disagree with that?

" If someone reads the text of the Jewish, Catholic or Protestant Bibles/Scriptures and comes away with the conclusion, "You know, sometimes, killing the infant children of the enemy is a good and moral thing," then they have come away with an Idea that is NOT Truth, NOT God's Way."

You see, had you read my lengthy answers to your multitude of questions, you would have noted that for you to continue to use this example (without some source to demonstrate otherwise) is an example of un Truth. Since no one is actually reaching the conclusion in your example, for you to continue o act as if someone is is not good and True, it is the opposite. If you have an example of someone who has come to this erroneous conclusion, I'd be grateful for a link. In an earlier post you claimed that "no one" held a certain position on whatever the topic was. I then proceeded to provide you with quotes and links to demonstrate that you were in error. You are certainly welcome to do likewise.

Now, I'm done until you you demonstrate that you can play by the rules you expect others to play by. I've answered your questions, I'm waiting for the courtesy of answers to mine.

Marshall Art said...

"Yes, Marshall, we all appreciate your god-like wisdom in knowing our hearts and motives better than we mere mortals and sinners do."

No great powers of discernment necessary here, Dan. "Ye shall know them by their fruits." Whether you truly believe what you say, or only tell yourself you do, the results are the same and no different than "red letter" Christians.