Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

To Boldly Go

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Genesis 6:1-4) transports me to the well-traveled lands of inter-species romance, a favorite trope of television and film. Some of my favorite mis-matched love connections include Mork and Mindy, Roger and Jessica Rabbit, Kermit and Miss Piggy, Shrek and Fiona, Jake Scully and Neytiri (although Avatar was a stinker of a movie in my humble opinion). But the series that must be in the Guiness Book for most inter-species romance has to be Star Trek and all its spin-offs. Captain Kirk always had an eye for other-worldy women, no matter what shade of green their skin happened to be. While Gene Roddenberry originally envisioned the show as a space western, an intergalactic Bonanza, it turned out to be much more like a stellar soap opera, with relationship dramas heightened by the cross-cultural difficulties of inter-species conflict. How the biology would work was a question rarely addressed. It seems to have worked for Spock’s parents, and Spock himself had a fling of his own with Uhura. Warf never seemed satisfied with Klingon women. Deana Troi’s Betazoid gift of reading emotions made her a good ship’s counselor, but she never seemed to be able to put the gift to good use in her various affairs of the heart across the great divide. Perhaps the most far-fetched of all these bold journeys into lands of unlikely liaisons where no one had gone before was Tasha Yar’s one night stand with the android, Commander Data.

Gene Roddenberry was certainly not the first to dramatize the difficulties of other-worldly relationships. The pre-history narratives of the beginning of creation give us the first script for the soap opera of mixed marriages, between the sons of God and the daughters of men. Some commentators have tried to explain away this fantastic drama, arguing that the sons of God refer to Seth’s offspring and the daughters of men refer to Cain’s offspring. I don’t buy that, because the biblical writers are fairly consistent in describing offspring of particular people by their names, and the phrase sons of God is consistently used to describe angelic beings. That other biblical traditions argued that angels are sex-less beings does not seem to have bothered these early story-tellers. Perhaps they were answering the age-old question, how did the first family of humans answer the call to be fruitful and multiply? Their answer is fascinating. The first family multiplied by going outside the family, outside the human family, and as a result giants were found tromping through the land (the offspring of the other-worldly mating). Also as a result, a flood came to destroy the earth. God was not pleased that the humans looked for love outside their world, that they were fruitful and multiplied with non-humans. It brought wickedness to the community, and God lost patience trying to strive with these less-than-human creatures. Enter Noah and the ark. Maybe it was named Enterprise B.

I think there’s a lesson in this tried and true trope of a story for us today, as we argue and fight over who should be able to marry. We seem content to allow any man and any woman to marry, no matter what “worlds”, that is, what world systems, what core values, they adhere to. When a man and a woman meet in Vegas, get sloppy drunk and take a taxi over to the Chapel of Love to get hitched by an ordained Elvis impersonator, there are no questions asked about how much they share world views, core values, or beliefs. They are yoked together by the power vested by the State, no matter how unequal the yoking might prove, all because they have the “right” plumbing. But if two sober human beings of the same gender, who happen to share the same core values of love, mutuality, respect, dignity, fidelity, and monogamy, who are ready to make a life-long commitment to one another before God, approach the courthouse in our state to get their license, they are treated as aliens, as if they have no human rights. Church leaders are right in saying the institution of marriage is at risk, but I think they have identified the wrong risk, the wrong threat. It’s a threat of competing core values, not a biological threat. It is a harsh reality that the divorce rate and the rate of domestic violence is the same among Christian families as in non-Christian families. Regarding Christian marriage, we ought to be thinking a lot more about the threats occurring when we allow our culture’s values of violence and greed to be wed with Jesus’ values of radical love and contentment. In terms of civil marriage, our society would do well to put its stamp of approval on any and all who share core values of commitment, fidelity, love, compassion, mutuality, and respect. If we have hearts large enough to be able to sit back and laugh and say nanoo nanoo with Mork and Mindy, it seems the least we can do is stand up and say God bless you to Kathryn and Elizabeth.

How about you? Where does this Promise Passage take you on your journey of faith? Feel free to comment, and share with friends on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.

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Comments

  • May 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Stan will you explain why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah..
    Thanks

    Comment by Bill

  • May 29, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Good question, Bill. Here’s what the Bible says, in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 16:

    49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” (NIV) Here’s how the King James tells answers your question:

    49 “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”

    What does this teach us, Bill?

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    That we should read Leviticus 20:13 to see what abomination God was talking about.

    Comment by Daryl D

  • May 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Ezekiel, chapter 16 speaks of all kinds of sexual sins and that they are an abomination..

    Comment by Bill

  • May 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    No Daryl, Ezekiel is pretty clear about what Sodom’s sin was. Sorry the Bible is not always written in your handwriting. If you go back and read the Genesis 19 story, you’ll find that the men of the city were attempting rape, which is an abomination to all decent people, whether they are gay or straight. What do you think about what Ezekiel actually named as the sin of Sodom, though, Daryl? What does it teach you about our culture’s current attitudes toward the poor?

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Bill, chapter 16 is actually an allegory, with God as husband to an unfaithful wife, Jerusalem. All the language of whoredom is similar to the allegory of Hosea and Gomer, used to describe God’s wrath at the unfaithfulness of Israel to the covenant. It is not, in fact, a chapter about sexual sins and abominations. It is a chapter about covenant infidelity. In the context of Ezekiel, the infidelity involved trusting in world power and neighboring alliances, supporting the wars of neighboring empires, rather than trusting in God alone. God responds by telling then that he is going to round up all those neighboring lovers and use them to destroy Jerusalem. What do you think Ezekiel’s stiff warning says about modern day Israel and its reliance on worldly power and foreign alliances?

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    And Bill, you didn’t answer my question when I responded to you earlier. What do you think Ezekiel’s direct and clear naming of the sin of Sodom in vs 49 and 50 teach you about our attitudes toward the poor?

    Comment by admin

  • May 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    moral degradation was the issue here and the last straw was homosexuality according to Jude 1:7 and I know you will twist I mean reinterpret sorry freudian slip that passage. Sodom’s sins were many and great just like America’s and it culminated in the downward spiral of their vain imaginations and lusts that God said was wrong. See Leviticus 18. America is on the same course going further into wickedness and calling it good. Calling all manner of sin, alternate lifestyles, and many other sins tolerating or accepting them. We the Church need to call on God as in 2 Chronicles 7:14 or we too will face the same judgment as sodom and gomorrah

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Stan its easy to understand what those verses are talking about welcoming the stranger feeding the poor and last but not least,men not laying with men for that is the abomination that is spoken of in this chapter. I also know the Bible is not written in my handwriting,It also is not all written in the king stan version.

    Comment by Daryl D

  • May 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I think Jim answered the question you ask better than I could and I agree. Israel is Gods love, but he will allow them to go through the great tribulation..and they will come to accept Jesus as there messiah.. Israel will never be destroyed..

    Comment by Bill

  • May 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Amen Bill!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Stan,

    As always your insight is inspiring to me! Thank you for your wisdom.

    Kelly

    Comment by Kelly Dotson

  • May 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Stan, you have such knowledge of the Bible and of the human condition. I admire your courage in speaking the truth about marriage equality. Again the sin is being judgmental about others who fall in love with persons of the same sex and wish to have all the rights that opposite sexual unions have. All marriages, same sex or heterosexual, need to have equal civil rights. The state needs to get out of religion. Pastors of churches which are progressive should have the freedom to marry ALL couples NO MATTER WHAT THERE ORIENTATION IS without the state intervening. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!!
    I once belonged to the First Baptist Church in America founded by Roger Williams and he would uphold these views. I suggest folks read about Roger Williams who I believe had it right and was a true believer and follower of the teachings of Jesus.

    Comment by Janet Davies

  • May 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    No matter what their orientation is…..Sorry for the error above. It’s been a long day.

    Comment by Janet Davies

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Jim and Daryl and Bill, maybe we could set aside the disagreement over the status of faithful followers of Jesus who are in same-sex relationships, and concentrate on areas where we can agree. Can we agree that Ezekiel was telling the truth, a truth we need to apply to our lives and our society, when he said that Sodom’s sin was in being “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty.” (Daryl, this is a direct quote from the NIV, not my version, as you like to say). I’d love to hear you guys direct some of your good energies toward railing against this kind of Sodomy. As for the abominations, the detestable things mentioned in the rest of v. 50, I’d like for each of you to go and talk with some of your gay acquaintances from your neighborhood, church, family, or workplace, and ask them if they find gang rape and molestation to be detestable, to be an abomination. I think you’ll find that the behavior described in Genesis is equally detestable and abominable to gay people as it is straight people. If you’ve ever read about or talked with therapists or social workers who deal with women and children who have been raped or molested, you’ll find that one of the core issues for the sex offender is control, it is a way to exercise control over the victim. I suspect this is why the prophet linked Sodom’s abomination of gang rape with the sin of exploiting the poor – both involve issues of power and control. It should be jarring to our culture to understand that neglecting the poor and concentrating wealth is in the same boat as gang rape and molestation, in the eyes of God.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Kelly and Janet – thanks for the good words.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Stan, I live in a town of about 7,000 people and a county of about 45,000 people. My sister is on the stewardship committee at a conservative baptist church so I asked her how much is given to benevolence fund on a monthly basis. The answer was about 15-20% of their total monthly offering, this does not include cooperative program or annie armstrong. This totals about 15,000-20,000 a month to help the poor, pay utility bills, christmas baskets for the needy and other types of issues. The state of Tennessee has a medicaid program of 8 BILLION DOLLARS per year to help the poor and needy. So there are 2 examples, one church, that doesn’t count what the other 20 or so churches are doing to alleviate suffering. The state is doing their part, that is somewhere around 25-30% of their budget. So your argument doesn’t hold water to me. Sure, more could be done but sometimes people don’t know where to start or to help but its not for the most part people don’t care.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 7:04 am

    the first part of your statement is an oxymoron.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I certainly agree with the many issues with marriage in the world today (even among Christians). However I don’t see that as reason for “our society to put its stamp of approval on any and all” relationships no matter the core values. God does not bless all relationships. His restraint in judgement should never be confused with acceptance or blessing of sin.

    We must take care of the poor. We can always do better job of attending to the needy. It is not about “concentration of wealth”. That is a socialism comment. Our country was built on rewarding hard work and entrepreneurship. These are the folks that provide jobs. The answer is not force them to give it all away. That would signal the demise of productivity, the job market, and the country. Let’s keep working our jobs and give to God’s church and the poor. God bless.

    Comment by Joey

  • May 30, 2012 at 11:28 am

    God expects us Christians to give 10% of our first fruits…At our church the membership attendance is an average of 550 per Sunday..our giving to the poor and widows far exceeds 10%..We have food pantry..clothes closet..we don’t give money any longer due to fraud..some people were taking the money to use for things they should not..we sent 2000 pair of shoes this past Christmas to support poor in Atlanta..We have a group of young people in Hattie this week and next..we support missions and missionaries..started churches in Mexico..We are Christian Church in a Small town..
    There are many other local Churches doing some of the same things… So I think I know what giving to the down and out is all about…We need to be working on how do we get jobs for them…our socialist environment has given so long that a large group of people wont work,,they live off the tax payers…I have a friend running a small business and cant find people to work for $10.00 hr…The bible says if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat..If we followed that many people would some way find work..

    Comment by Bill

  • May 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Jim and Bill, I hope you’ll forgive me that when I read your testimonials about how much your churches are contributing, that my mind went to the story of the widow’s mite, when the rich folks were putting plenty into the plate, but Jesus wasn’t pleased. As for tithing, I think you’ll find that’s an Old Testament scale for distribution, enacted in the context of the year of Jubilee, a regularly scheduled time when taxation reached 100%, when 100% of the wealth/property was redistributed back to original owners. In the New Testament, a different set of expectations is in place. Remember Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler, go and sell all you have and give to the poor. Remember the early church, where people shared all things in common, and when Ananias and Saphirra tried to scam the system, they were struck dead. Paul gives us a clue about what we should think about redistribution of our wealth when he says, “God loves a cheerful giver”, translated literally, “God loves a hilarious giver.” Our attitudes about our money going to the poor should be that of hilarious joy, not begrudging or judging the recipients. I don’t remember Jesus a single time passing any judgment on the worthiness of the recipients of his ministry; he didn’t question why they weren’t working, or why they couldn’t fend for themselves. He reserved his judgment for the rich and powerful. For the poor and the suffering, he responded with simple compassion, with joy. That’s the Jesus attitude. Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus. Forget your worries about getting scammed. Jesus didn’t worry about that. Let go, and let God.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Joey – we agree, God doesn’t bless all relationships. That was part of my point. God blesses those relationships that embody life-giving values, values that you and I share – compassion, respect, dignity, fidelity, mutuality, commitment, loyalty. Those are the relationships God blesses, not the fly by night relationships or the abusive relationships. Unfortunately, we as a society, and as a church, create a clear path for these relationships, but block the path for the ones which share our values.

    As far as concentration of wealth, i’d encourage you to take out your concordance and see what all the New Testament says about riches (which is another word for concentrated wealth). There are positive passages about spiritual riches, but read what James and Timothy and Jesus had to say about material riches. Call them socialist if you want, but they didn’t have much good to say, in fact, there are clear danger warnings about it. I, like you, believe in the value of work, the satisfactions of a job well done, the craftmanship of good labor. I simply don’t believe in the profit motive. It creates jobs alright, only they are overseas, as the profit motive leads corporate boards to chase the cheapest labor possible. Go back and watch the movie “Wall Street” or “Pretty Woman” and see what the profit motive does. Or just look around our country. Yes, let’s be entrepreneurial, as my father was, as my grandfathers were, but let it be for the satisfactions of good work, not to get rich. Today, we can see that the profit motive has made our nation a nation of gamblers, with the financiers and bankers like JP Morgan gambling with our money on derivative trading, not producing a single thing of value, just creating one big pyramid scheme. Yes, Joey, let’s get to work. I believe in work. I worked for 12 years in a program called LifeWorks helping young people figure out and discover the value of work and where their calling was. It’s great to see people find the flow of work that means something, that produces something. Corporate, large scale capitalism is no better at creating this kind of work than socialism, though. It produces gamblers. A mixture of socialism (fire, police protection, health care, education) and penny capitalism, like we see in socially responsible investment organizations, seem to me to be the best recipe for creating meaningful work and a meaningful life.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Everytime I think you couldn’t be anymore ridiculous in your answers, you prove me wrong AGAIN AND AGAIN. You my friend are good at this. Let me briefly summarize your beliefs the way you have stated them.

    1) abortion ok
    2) homosexuality ok
    3)hell not real figment of imagination
    4) Universalist view of salvation
    5) Jesus a way, not the way
    6) 100% redistribution of wealth
    7) sin is only if you work and make money, ok to stay home and live off the system.
    In the words of mastercard–PRICELESS!!!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Jim, could you show me a reference where these are my beliefs “as I have stated them.” I understand that this is how you filter and interpret my comments, but please have more regard for the truth than to blatantly say this is the way I have stated my beliefs. Your little abbreviated sayings are not, in fact, my “beliefs.” The way I have stated my beliefs is to take scripture seriously, and make every prayerful attempt with the power of the Holy Spirit to rightly divide the word of truth. I could take every one of your interpretations here and give you a fuller understanding of what the Biblical texts teach us, but given that I have done that before, and this is what you come up with, I believe this would be an exercise in futility. Some of your mischaracterizations here are what truly merit the term “ridiculous.” I can only surmise that you are too troubled to actually deal with the texts and the understandings I actually gain from them, so you have to stoop to silly caricatures. I trust you can rise to the occasion and do better.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Bill, keep up the good work your church is doing. It is a testimony to the love and goodness of God. That is an encouragement to me. Thanks for pointing out the whole counsel of God about work and you, Daryl and others who have a desire to see people come to Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:58

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Bill, I, too, want to commend the work you and your church are doing. As I said, forgive me for my mind going to the widow’s mite story. I have just seen too many postings of people disparaging the poor, judging and condemning them, and I feel that having meaningful relationships with the poor, and attitudes of grace and compassion, are equally important to the material gifts we bestow our of our abundance. I do know all the poor people who have shoes because of your church, who have clothes because of your church, who have food because of your church, who have opportunities to work and earn money because of your church, are blessed because of all these charitable gifts. And while we’re on the subject of charitable giving, I’d love for you and your church to invest in our upcoming mission trip to Cuba, where people there make the equivalent of $20 a month. We are leaving in less than three weeks, so if you’d like to send a contribution, I can promise you it will go to people who are hard workers and who are fervent in their desire to reach others for Christ, there in a communist country. Please send checks to Ecclesia Baptist, PO Box 2365, Fairview, NC 28730. Thanks, Bill.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Jim, I did pose a question to you above, I hope you saw it.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    whats the question

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Stan I would like to invest in your mission but I am supporting missions thru our local church..I think thats the way Jesus would have me do! Bill

    Comment by Bill

  • May 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Jim, sorry I didn’t use a question mark in my response to you above. Here’s the question, properly punctuated: “Jim, could you show me a reference where these are my beliefs “as I have stated them”? Feel free to respond to the rest of my comment there as well, as you prayerfully deem appropriate.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Bill, pray it about, cousin! I know how much you love and support family causes, and I think I told you there are three Dotsons going on this mission trip, me, Jerry, and his grandson Tommy. See if the Lord doesn’t lead you to give hilariously (cheerfully) outside the bounds of your local church’s mission causes.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Stan, unfortunately we do not agree. God does not bless relationships that are forbid in His word. Every mention is in a negative, sinful context. If God had intended that any form of these relationships be considered acceptable He would have declared so. Especially given the way that homosexual offenders are referred to in the bible. You are not rightly dividing the word but trying to mesh it with the culture of the day. No discernment. Without discernment there can be no church discipline. Are we also to write off and explain away the teachings of church discipline? This is dangerous and false teaching. It breaks my heart.

    I know that you are aware that Jesus wasn’t teaching that everyone should sell all that they have. He saw this man’s heart and called him out on it. Jesus knew the man’s treasure. Annanias and Saphira was a lesson to the church. The sharing of all things and fellowship of the church in Acts was the family of believers and should hold true today. It is not the country sadly enough. Jesus said “Narrow is the way…few find it. We don’t sell our belongings but we should be there to provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ when they are in need. The church should reach out to the poor as mentioned by others. This glorifies God. As we are aware, Christ neither condemned the rich or riches. He cautioned against love and dependence upon material things.

    Comment by Joey

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    ok here goes one at a time. do you see homosexuality as right or wrong? yes or no

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    dont need a 2 page report just yes or no

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    yes means homosexuality is ok, no means homosexuality is wrong

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Joey, as you know from history, the church was very clear in its reading of the Bible that inter-racial marriage was forbidden as well, and had clear proof texts to back up their beliefs. Cultural norms change over time, but the timeless truths and enduring values remain. It was culturally acceptable for the patriarchs to marry their sisters and cousins and have multiple wives. This practice changed over time and became taboo. Nowhere does the Bible say it is ok for divorced people, save those who are divorced on grounds of adultery, to remarry. Which means that the Bible does not permit women who have left abusive husbands to remarry, but we bless that today in the church. We have the grace to give these women a second chance, and men as well. I do believe that there are still many churches who would find clear biblical prohibitions against divorced persons being ordained as pastors as well, but I’m thankful that some in the church have understood a wider grace and mercy. As far as riches are concerned, how do you read the teachings of Jesus in the sermon on the mount, Paul’s letter to Timothy, and the book of James if it is not a condemnation of concentrated wealth and a dire warning of its dangers? It’s pretty clear to me, simple, clear language. It’s only through the thick filters of unbridled capitalism that we can read these texts and ignore their core message.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Jim, I’ll answer your question, but I’m also still waiting for you to answer mine. I reject your attempts at trapping me into a one word answer, though, so without writing a dissertation, I will say it as briefly as possible: God blesses any committed relationship, straight or homosexual, that is undergirded by core values of love, compassion, dignity, respect, fidelity, mutuality, compassion, and life-long loyalty. How’s that? got it down to 25 words. By the way, this is not the same thing as saying “homosexuality is right”, no more than “heterosexuality is right.” It all depends on whether the relationships embody the enduring truths of Jesus, the core values of God, whether they are “right” or not. Abusive relationships, be they heterosexual or homosexual, are not ok, are not “right.” Do you understand now? I’ll be waiting on your response to my earlier question. Thanks

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    next question. did you cite romans 11 as your belief in universalism yes or no

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Jim, you have easy access to the blog post I wrote about Romans 11. If there’s a particular quote there you’d like to reference and ask me about, please do. And I’m still waiting on you to answer my question. By the way, it seems like the scriptures didn’t take too kindly to the scribes and Pharisees who were always asking leading questions in attempts to trap the good Lord. So if you don’t mind, ditch the “answer yes or no” loaded questions. I’m glad to have a conversation with you, but it needs to be genuine, and not an attempt at a “gotcha.” You can rise above that, cousin.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    The bible does have a provision for divorce although that is not the subject. It is mentioned as acceptable in the case of adultery. It was made as the only provision to address men discarding their wives for no reason at all. I believe even in those cases both then and today when a child of God gets on their knees and asks for forgiveness, our God is faithful to forgive. In the case of homosexuality it is without repentance. Big difference.

    If you read the passages that you mention concerning riches more closely you will notice the warning is about “desire” to gain riches. The love of money. Just like so many other teachings, motive comes into play. We are to be thankful for what God is doing in our lives and that includes the blessings that he pours out upon us. “I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want.”

    Comment by Joey

  • May 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    you used romans 11 to support universalism according to your remarks. I reject that interpretation and it is not true. The way I read it and others it shows a strong leaning towad universalism in your blog. Maybe I misunderstood you

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 31, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Joey, the subject is what kinds of families and marriages are blessed by God, right? In terms of divorce and remarriage, the old school thinking, of people like my Aunt who for many long years believed such remarriages should be prohibited, was based directly from clear scripture. The Bible teaches that the only grounds for divorce is adultery, and that if anyone else divorces, and then remarries, their second marriage constitutes adultery (Matthew 5:32), ongoing sin without repentance. As an example of ongoing sin, getting on one’s knees and praying for forgiveness is not enough, unless the man leaves that second wife and family and goes back to the first. And since the Bible teaches there will be no adulterers in heaven (I Corinthians 6:9), my Aunt and others like her believed that people in second marriages, whose first marriages might have ended for something like domestic abuse, would not go to heaven. I’m happy to report that she eventually changed her thinking, though, when her son got divorced and remarried. Grace abounds. Cultural norms shift. The timeless truths endure. That second marriage, like many I know, are blessed, because they are undergirded by love and compassion and fidelity and respect and loyalty. If you can have the kind of grace my Aunt eventually found and re-interpret the Bible’s clear message that people in second marriages are adulterers destined for hell, then there’s hope you’ll eventually find the grace to offer the same blessing for faithful followers of Jesus who are in same-sex relationships, marked by all those enduring values we share.

    As for riches and desire, I totally agree. This is the fatal flaw of capitalism as we experience it, don’t you see? It is built on the profit motive and the need to create insatiable desire. We enjoy a standard of living exponentially greater than our great-grandparents, and yet we grumble and complain about taxes and the like. Why, because we desire more. We’re not satisfied. We have to have the latest car, the latest gadget, the latest phone, the latest clothes. We have to have satellite tv, or IPod TV. It’s incredible how discontent our society is, with more material ease than any generation before has ever dreamed of. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like we are. But we begrudge any of our money going to improve schools, or provide health care for poor children, or feed the hungry. We disparage the poor and moan and groan about the government taking our money. While we sit and watch our reality shows. You’re exactly right, Joey, it’s the love of riches, the desire, that’s the problem. We just haven’t seemed to have figured out how to have riches without having the desire and love for it built in.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 31, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Jim, give me a particular remark, an exact quote from the blog post that troubles you, and we’ll talk about it.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Stan, unlike yourself I think many of those who are extremely blessed have figured out how to have riches without the love and desire built in. I know many people in just such a situation. Although not as blessed by the world’s standards as some, I consider myself to have it figured out as well. I am rich! I can’t begin to understand how a Holy God can love and bless a being like me! I am amazed at His spiritual and material blessings lavished on me and my family.
    You approve of sinful same sex relationships based on divorce. You have painted that picture repeatedly. How many other sins shall we approve of based on others? I don’t believe that is a teaching of the Holy Spirit. It may be “progressive”, I’ll give you that. But it is not of God. I have taken it to prayer repeatedly and with others. Truth never changes with the times, heresy always does. It is the very height of disobedience for Christians to decide that in the name of “love” we sweep away gospel truths and become accepting of sin. We must love people and help them with biblical discernment, not false teaching. You and I obviously disagree on many things but I love you still. God bless.

    Comment by Joey

  • May 31, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Malachi 3:10
    Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

    This is God’s promise: Because of this many Christians are rich:

    1 Timothy 3:1-13

    Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons

    3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

    8 In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

    11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

    12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

    Wondering how you feel about this scripture:

    Comment by Bill

  • May 31, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Joey, I am glad to hear you have figured out how to escape the clutches of capitalism’s profit motive and its fundamental need to create discontent, so that people are forever fooled into thinking they need to trade in perfectly good vehicles and get flat screens to watch American Idol and Dancing With the Stars and the like. I am certain that you are right, there are people like you who are free from desires, I simply believe that they are few and far between in our culture. Look in any church parking lot, and you’re unlikely to find the cheapest cars available. Look in the home of any cottage prayer meeting, and you’re likely to find the latest of gadgets and technology. I can’t claim, as you do, to have fully escaped this snare, after, all, I’m typing this on a computer, the money of which could have gone to support a missionary to reach a lost soul, or fed a hungry village.

    As for the issue of same-sex relationships, no, I don’t “approve” of them based on divorce. You miss my point there. I “approve” of relationships (as if they need my approval, blessing would be a better word) grounded in enduring values and timeless truths, ie, commitment, loyalty, fidelity, compassion, love, dignity, respect, etc. I lift up the divorce issue, and the biblical passages that literally say remarried couples are engaged in ongoing adultery (save for that one exception clause), and that adulterers won’t make it to heaven, simply to demonstrate to you that you are engaging in exactly the same kind of interpretation that I am, an interpretation that I believe, by the way, the Spirit has led you to, an interpretation in which your belief in God’s wide mercy and grace trumps those passages that, if read and believed on face value, would condemn twice-married folks to hell. I affirm your capacity to overcome a false biblical literalism and apply a deeper truth, one that trumps the culturally bound passages. I hope you understand now that I am not using the divorce passages to justify same-sex relationships; I am lifting them up to show how we both interpret scripture and some of its culturally bound prohibitions through lenses of grace, in ways that some in earlier generations, like that of my Aunt, had great difficulty doing, until the issues hit home with them.

    I appreciate your being part of this conversation, and love you as a friend and brother in faith. And while I look forward to our face to face lunch conversation some day soon, I’m grateful that we can have this dialogue publicly, because I hear from so many people how helpful it is for them to sort out some of these issues. Thanks.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 31, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Bill, thanks for sharing your scripture passages. You seem to be interpreting Malachi to be saying that if we are faithful in tithing, God promises to make us rich. There are many reasons not to fall for that kind of prosperity theology. For one thing. the storehouses of heaven hold a different kind of riches than the storehouses of the world. The prophet did not say, if you tithe I will open up the bank vaults and load you down with gold. No, the storehouse of heaven brings up spiritual riches, blessings of love and grace and hope and mercy and the gifts of the Spirit, until our cups are overflowing, as the Psalmist said (or do you think David was talking about money there in Psalm 23, too). Secondly, were that promise to be taken as material gain, I can assure you that there are multitudes of faithful Christians in places like Sudan who tithe their grain and their first fruits, but continue to suffer in poverty. I would bet that Mother Teresa was a faithful and cheerful giver, but I don’t think God made her rich, materially. No, I think if you read through all that Jesus and the rest of the New Testament writers said about riches, you would not hold to this kind of false prosperity theology. I’ll hold to the truth of the old gospel song instead, “rich, in love, I’m rich, but not from Satan’s wages, I’m standing on the solid rock.” And I’ll continue praying that God might lay it on your heart to invest a portion of your personal prosperity in the kingdom work that will take place when Jerry and Tommy and I and a group from our church go to share the gospel and fellowship with our sister church in Cuba. Blessings on you!

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    The scripture says “and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” not just money..one of your blessings is the ability to do mission work in Cuba..My prayer is that you will continue to receive blessings..

    Comment by Bill

  • May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Yes, Bill, our hearts are indeed overflowing with the blessings we receive from our Cuba partnership. You are exactly right, and it truly is one of the greatest blessings of our lives that we have developed these relationships with brothers and sisters in the faith there. That is why we choose to invest so much of the resources that do come our way toward this partnership. Right now, their focus in the churches in Cuba is on sustainability. They want to move away from old mission models of dependency and are looking for projects we can invest in that will create a sustainable future for them. They are incredibly hard workers with a lot of ingenuity, and it is great to see them dream and develop projects for their churches and for their members to engage in – patio gardens, sewing circles, etc. I am so grateful that you are praying for us to be able to continue this blessed ministry. I trust God will impress on people with resources to make investments and help make it happen. Keep praying!

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I saw the pharisee and good Lord remark and to loosely use the phrase that Loyd Bentsen used to Dan Quayle I believe it was is this. I know the good Lord and you are not him. I’ll stick to the Nkjv and you can use the ksv perversion,I mean version. sorry! lol

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Jim, I’m delighted that you are quoting a good Democrat! That was a wonderful moment in that debate, I remember it well. As to your application of the quip, I hope you will understand that the reference was not to my being in the Lord’s shoes, but it was a challenge to the kinds of loaded questions you were composing. They don’t generate good dialogue, Jim, and neither do your snide attempts at ill humor (ksv perversion). I would rather you simply answer my question, and give me an example of a direct quote from my blog post that bothers you, so that we can talk about it. But I suppose since you are thus far unable to do that, you can only revert to these kinds of childish comments. I trust you have it in your heart to rise above that, cousin. You can do better.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • May 31, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Ok here is just one of MANY of your destortions of scripture. Regarding your post to me and Bill on May 30 12:16 you completely obliterated those passages of scripture on so many levels its not even funny. Rich young ruler story is completely distorted. He made money his god, that was what Jesus was saying to him, not just go and sell and give to the poor. secondly, Ananias and Sapphira were killed not for giving enough, there was no demand from scripture to give the money from the sale of the land, it was they lied about it to make themselves look good. That is what killed them, not sharing the sale of the land. I could go on and on about your interpretations but I usually just let them slide.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • May 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Your view on “loving relationships” when God calls a man with a man an abomination and you say it is ok as long as it is a committed loving relationship that is bologna. I will believe what God says. Read Leviticus 20:13. The ONLY progressive view of scripture is the progressive nature of God revealing himself in the person of Jesus Christ in the N.T. and then the person of the Holy Spirit and his work. This doesnt mean the O.T. is wrong is ALL GODS WORD just we see His revelation over time.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Jim, I wish I could trust that you know what the word “quote” means. It is a direct reference, and it has quotation marks around it. That’s what I was asking you to do, and I’ll continue asking you to do that. When you say “rich young ruler story is completely distorted,” I go back and look at what I said, and as it turns out, what I said, directly about this story, was this: “Remember Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler, go and sell all you have and give to the poor.” This was in the context of saying that the Old Testament scale of tithing is not the norm in the New Testament, and I was giving several examples of how Jesus and the church dealt with giving, and it wasn’t a call to tithe. Jesus call to the rich young ruler was not tithing, correct? As for Ananias and Saphira, let me give you a direct quote from the NKJV as a backdrop for this story, and as another example to you of how to cite a direct quotation, which is what I’m asking you to do: In Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church, it says beginning in v 44: “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” And so, as the church began meeting together, one of the demonstrations of belief, of having the Spirit, was this practice of sharing. It wasn’t required, it was an outgrowth of the Spirit, evidence of the Spirit and belief. It says, “ALL who believed were together, and had all things in common.” Along came Annanias and Saphira, who lied to the community, holding back their property. Was the equal sharing required? No, they were not under the law, they were under grace. And let me now give you yet another example of how to cite a quotation; what I said in my comment to you and Bill was this: “when Ananias and Saphirra tried to scam the system, they were struck dead.” Notice here in this quote that I did not say any of the things you thought I said. I didn’t say they were “killed for not giving enough.” Let me give you one final quote from your preferred NKJV, to demonstrate how it’s done, and to show you how the New Testament writers interpreted Jesus’ teaching on wealth: In I Timothy chapter 6, the famous phrase of the love of money being the root of evil is preceded by these verses: “8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” I will refrain from any commentary on that, it speaks for itself. See, Jim, it’s not so hard to quote someone directly. I trust you can do it, and take off those thick filters that are distorting your vision. Quit mischaracterizing, and deal with what I actually say, not what you perceive I am saying.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Jim, to your next comment: you put “loving relationships” in quotes, and call it bologna, but I don’t see which of my statements you are actually quoting. You do seem to be drawn to the Levitical code and it’s prohibited abominations, and want to use that to justify your prejudices against same-sex relationships. I counted seven of these practices the Levitical writer labeled as an abomination to God. I wonder, do you treat them all with such weight and authority? Do you eat shrimp, crab, lobster, or clams? Funny how some things God found abominable in one era became ok in another era. It happens. Bubba Gump is safe. And for the bologna of loving relationships, I’ll continue to base my ethics on Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who wanted to know what the greatest commandment was. Love God and neighbor, everything else hangs on this. Love is the key, to life and to interpretation of Biblical ethics. No bologna.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 7:42 am

    1 John 3

    3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

    4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

    7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

    Comment by Bill

  • June 1, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Thanks Bill, I love 1 John, it’s a great book on the love of God. Let me speak to the verses you quoted about those who “keep on sinning.” One the one hand, in terms of biblical economics and the mandate for contentment, I think it applies very much to our culture of discontent today, where people who have plenty of clothes and plenty to eat are nonetheless discontent, incessantly complaining and griping about the government taxing the rich, and begrudging money given to education and health care and welfare. That’s a good example of “keep on sinning.” In terms of sexuality and marriage, here’s a good example of how the concept of “keep on sinning” has changed, due to the grace of God enlightening our eyes. Remember the logic of those like my Aunt who was so adamant that remarried couples couldn’t get to heaven? Her reasoning was straight from 1 John. They were not born of God, because they were continuing in sin. Where did she get that? From Jesus’ teaching that anyone who remarries after divorce (with one exception- for the cause of infidelity), is committing adultery. To stay in that second marriage, by the logic of a literal reading of Scripture, is tantamount to adultery. Continuing in sin. Today, through the mercies, of God, we are able to fully bless those who are in second marriages. An even better analogy involves inter-racial marriages, which our culture was so sure was a sinful abomination, citing biblical proof, until a generation ago. If we are able to allow the mercies of God to melt our stony hearts around remarriage and inter-racial marriage, I hold out hope the same mercies can be at work around same-sex marriages.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

    once again you misinterpret scripture, there is no need to keep going back and forth. scamming system is NOT THE SAME as lying to the Holy Ghost and they were struck dead. N.T. God demonstrated His holiness!!! The rich young ruler was asking how to have eternal life,but he had a god already it was his money THAT WAS THE REASON Jesus said go sell and give to the poor. Lastly, in Peters vision God called all things clean in the N.T. GOD DID AWAY WITH DIETARY LAW ONCE AND FOR ALL. Quit distorting texts. Homosexuality is NEVER CONDONED IN EITHER O.T. OR N.T.

    Comment by JIM

  • June 1, 2012 at 10:50 am

    btw, I know of no aunt on the Harris side that believed what you are talking about.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 10:53 am

    to your issue of inter racial marriages, the bible teaches there is no jew or gentile only one in Christ. there again the bible does not or did not restrict interracial marriage as long as both are believers.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Jim, once again you fail to do something so simple as give a direct quote. I’m sorry you’re quibbling with the word “scam”. The dictionary definition of scam is a dishonest scheme. That’s clearly what Annanias and Saphira were conspiring to do, engage in a dishonest scheme. If simply lying to your community or to God were grounds for being struck dead, I suspect people would be dropping dead left and right. As for the rich young ruler, it’s interesting that Jesus did not interpret it the way you do. After the young man went away sorrowful, Jesus said this to his disciples, (quoting directly from the NKJV in Matthew 19): “23 Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” So, Jim, what do you make of this? Is Jesus twisting things around as you accuse me of? Listen to him – “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Impossible, no, all things are possible with God. But don’t you think it’s tempting God and fate to continue touting the glories of being rich, when Jesus said it made entry into the kingdom about as unlikely as a camel going through the eye of a needle? And finally, yes, God changed what was abominable and made eating shrimp acceptable. Thank God! God didn’t stop there, though. God is still working, Jim. God has made inter-racial marriage acceptable (never condoned in the NT). God has made re-marriage after the tragic failure and sin of divorce acceptable (never condoned in the NT). And God has made the loving relationship of two people committed to Jesus, who share our core values of fidelity and compassion and life-long loyalty, acceptable. Paul had an inkling of this when he had his version of Peter’s rooftop vision, and told the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28, NKJV). Gender is irrelevant to those who are in Christ. Remember, Jesus promised us that God’s work was not finished when the New Testament closed. He said in John 14:12 (NKJV): Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do. The greater works of grace and freedom are occurring before your eyes, Jim, as the Church begins the work of blessing same-sex marriages. The Spirit is still at work!

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

    you can manipulate it however it works out for you. galatians has nothing to do with your misinterpretation, but whats new!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Jim, the Aunt on the Harris side wasn’t your Aunt. She and my mom had many long conversations on this subject; I remember them well. I know the ground they covered. And I love that you can interpret Galatians 3 to support inter-racial marriage, but not same sex marriage, even though both issues are covered in that one verse. Interpret how you like, but is says what it says. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Doesn’t get any clearer than that. I can understand how difficult that unity is for you, as you struggle to hold on to the notions of sexuality you learned as a child. But your ability to accept Galatians in its application to the Church’s historic racism gives me hope the Holy Spirit will open your heart to its application to homophobia. Now, how about Jesus’ warning about rich people and the kingdom, have you figured out a way to manipulate that yet?

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 11:50 am

    No WAY stan, not when there are other passages that say homosexuality is wrong!!!!!!!!!!You interpret in light of the whole text, NOT ONE VERSE WHICH YOU ARE GOOD AT!! RYR trusted in his riches not God. that is what he is teaching. David was rich, Abraham was rich, Job was rich that each had riches but the difference was that the riches didn’t have them!!!!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 11:57 am

    WAY Jim! David and Abraham also had multiple wives, doesn’t make it right for us. Take Jesus at his word there in Matthew, and tell me what he was trying to teach his disciples (and us) after the rich young man left the scene.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    who do you think puts missionaries on the field, who do you think pays for private christian colleges, who do you think builds homeless shelters, its not people with no resources. Its people who give to help and bless others, then you chastise me and Bill with the widow’s mite. which once again was a distortion of the passage, but who cares as long as supports your hobby horse agendas. homosexuality, helping poor, socialistic govt. maybe i’ve never seen it, but never read an article that calls people to trust in Christ and repent of their sins which is what the early church preached but that doesn’t fit in your trojan horse or hobby horse whichever it may be.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Jim, the patronage system for educators and artists and missionaries has long been in place, and anyone who has been a recipient of it for long knows that self-sufficiency and sustainability are far better systems than being beholden to the whims of the rich. I can tell you many first hand stories of how the wealthy use their gifts not only to put their names on the buildings of these private Christian colleges, but to wield power and control over what is taught in the classroom and what happens on campus. Those who pay the piper call the tunes. I also know that in the case of mission partnerships in Cuba, the Fraternity of Baptists there are looking for a different model than the patronage model. They are interested in investments in micro-enterprise for their churches that will lead to sustainable development and self-sufficiency, values I would suspect you hold dear as a good conservative. So when I give people with means opportunities to invest in missions in Cuba, it is not to re-establish a colonial model of dependency, but a model of sustainability. And please, refrain from your rants about hobby horses and trojan horses, and stick to the topics. As I’ve asked you on several occasions now, please reference direct quotes from me that trouble you, and I’ll talk about them. As for the widow’s mite, I believe if you read my comments you’ll see that I made apology to Bill for that, and commended his church’s generosity. Don’t mischaracterize and distory my supposed “agenda.” My agenda is to faithfully read scripture and follow Jesus. I’ll give you another chance, though; you still haven’t answered the question about Jesus’ teaching to the disciples after the rich man left. What was he saying there?

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    What did Jesus come to do?

    To reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27)
    “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
    To be a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28)
    “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
    To serve (Matt. 20:28)
    “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
    To save the world (John 3:17; Luke 19:10)
    “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
    To preach the good news of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43)
    “But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
    To bring division (Luke 12:51)
    “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
    To do the will of the Father (John 6:38)
    “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
    To give the Father’s words (John 17:8)
    “For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.”
    To testify to the truth (John 18:37)
    “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
    To die and destroy Satan’s power (Heb. 2:14)
    “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil.”
    To destroy the devil’s works (1 John 3:8)
    “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
    To fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17)
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
    To give life (John 10:10,28)
    “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full… I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
    To taste death for everyone (Heb. 2:9)
    “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
    To become a high priest (Heb. 2:17)
    “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
    To atone for sin (Heb. 2:17)
    “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
    To proclaim freedom for believers (Luke 4:18)
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.”
    To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:19)
    “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
    To bring judgment (John 9:39)
    “Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
    To take away sin (1 John 3:5)
    “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.”
    To preach (Mark 1:38)
    “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else — to the nearby villages — so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’”
    To call sinners (Mark 2:17)
    “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
    To know who is true (1 John 5:20)
    “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true — even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

    Comment by Bill

  • June 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I dont know how many ways to say it to you but every passage you read, is misinterpreted to fit your supposed theology!!!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    My biggest problem with the whole gay marriage issue is that we as a society condemn all other sins. We aren’t out there trying to vote for special privileges for theives,false witnesses,& murders. But fornication, is clearly a sin. Homosexuality is clearly a sin. Why do you think we should ignore this because the gays are in a committed relationship together? It doesn’t say anywhere that sodomy is OK if the two committing the act happen to love each other. It just says its wrong.

    Comment by Daryl D

  • June 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Hey Jim, I’m sure you can be creative and find many ways to keep saying the same thing. What you haven’t been able to do, which is what I’ve asked you to do repeatedly, is cite a direct quotation from any of my blog posts that trouble you, that demonstrate what you are talking about. Perhaps you take issue with my pointing out that King David and Father Abraham had multiple wives, a common practice then that you and I do not put our stamp of approval on today. Was that a misinterpretation? Or perhaps you are troubled that I simply quoted Jesus, in his teaching of the disciples the meaning of his encounter with the rich man, and I asked you to give me your thoughts on that passage. Was that question in itself troubling to you? I hope you’ll take me up on the offer to engage in real dialogue, and cite a quotation that you question, rather than sloppily mischaracterizing what I write. If you were as sloppy at dispensing drugs as you are at putting words in my mouth, I’m sure you would have lost your license long ago.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Daryl, thanks for your thoughtful and honest comment. It is refreshing. I understand the difference between the acts of murder/thievery/lying, etc and the acts of two loving people being in a committed relationships to be obvious – the former actions are destructive to humanity, the latter are not. If my neighbors are stealing from me, lying to me, threatening me with violence, those actions violate my personhood and violate the ethic of love. If my gay neighbors are in love with each other and are doing what married people do, being a family, they not only are not harming me, but I have found that they are contributing good things to life. They are modeling the good values we share – fidelity, mutuality, respect, compassion, loyalty, love, dignity. Our world needs more of that, not less. I do not believe these kind of relationships are what the Bible was condemning as sinful and abominable. I believe the practices the Biblical writers were familiar with involved abusive and exploitive relationships, and acts of violence such as those described in the attempted gang rape in Sodom. I’ll ask you again to talk with any of your gay or lesbian acquaintances and see if they don’t agree with you that the actions described in Genesis 19′s Sodom story of attempted gang rape and molestation are abominations. And by the way, granting basic civil rights to gay people is not special privileges, it’s affording them the exact same rights you and I and our wives share. The Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law, which means churches shouldn’t be able to enact special prejudices against classes of people and deprive them of civil rights. Any church can decide who it wants to marry, but it has no business telling the government to deprive people of the right to marry.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    amen bro. Daryl and bro. Bill and sister shannon.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Stan how do you define fornication?

    Comment by Daryl D

  • June 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Daryl, are you asking because you don’t know? The commonly held definition is sex outside the bounds of a life-long committed relationship, aka marriage. From my knowledge, I don’t think that relationship has to necessarily have the stamp of approval of the state. But I am curious to know, would you be in favor of the government legislating against fornication, Daryl? Do you think pharmacists like Jim should be allowed to sell birth control pills or Viagra or Trojans without a proof of a marriage license? What about children born outside of wedlock- should the state take them into custody, since they are products of fornication? Just some questions to see where you stand.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe I just read that entire thread. Wow! I’m generally in complete agreement with Stan on the core questions. I’ll just observe, without the benefit of non-verbal cues, that it seems like you folks have been “talking” past one another for over two days now without making much of a sincere effort to truly understand each other.

    Comment by Tim

  • June 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    HOW DO YOU COMMENT ON THIS PASSAGE:

    Rom. 1:26-28,
    “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

    Comment by Bill

  • June 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Tim, I appreciate your keen observation. On a side, note, part of my journey has been and continues to be an effort to come to an appreciative understanding of the role of fundamentalism in our world. Over the course of time, blog exchanges such as these have helped me reflect on that effort, and I have made some good breakthroughs. Some day when we get a chance I’ll tell you some of that journey, or perhaps I’ll write about it some day. While I don’t think there’s a lot of productivity in these particular back and forths, it does serve to remind me of the function of fundamentalism, in a good way, even though I generally disagree with the ideological stances. I’m also grateful for a lot of people who have shared with me that these exchanges have helped them sort through these issues in their own minds, even if they aren’t always particularly edifying for those of us in the middle of them. Always glad to hear from you.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Well I am thankful for bible believers who take the whole counsel of God not the parts they like and use those as their talking points. If the aunt you are referring to is my mom, please leave her out of this. One thing I am assured of is when she left this world she met her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, she loved Him, followed Him, was married to the same man for 60 years and lead her children to Christ and I am and will be eternally grateful to her for her life. AMEN AND AMEN.
    I dont know Tim but most likely from his take, he too probably studied in a seminary somewhere or is an agnostic. Which makes me even more thankful that our baptist seminaries were taken back over in the late 80′s by men of God who would not tolerate the poison that was spewed for about 10-15 years and misled so many in the ministry.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Bill, the key words there in that passage are “natural” and “unnatural”. For gay or lesbian people to engage in straight sex would be unnatural, abandoning their natural affections for unnatural. And secondly, remember not to stop at verse 28. When you continue in the passage, you’ll see that Paul paints a very clear picture of the shameful people who act unnaturally – “29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.” Can you understand, Bill, that professing Christians, faithful followers of Jesus who love the Lord and are ministering to the least of these with love and compassion, who are good neighbors, who exhibit the very opposite of the traits described here, and who happen to have same-sex attractions and are in committed relationships, are not the people Paul was condemning? You can’t just cherry pick your verses out of context like that. I would encourage you to get to know some of your gay neighbors or church members or acquaintances a little better, and see how many of them exhibit any of the traits Paul listed. Perhaps you’ll find that they do not resemble Paul’s shameful people at all; they simply find their most intimate needs met by a person of the same gender.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Jim, yes, I was talking about your mom, and I’m sorry that it bothers you to know that in her journey of faith she had her heart and mind opened in a very gracious way on the subject of divorce and remarriage. It does give me hope, though, because I know how much you love her, and I believe you do have her heart. And I count myself among those Bible believers you are thankful for. I hope you’ll have enough good graces to grant that someone who disagrees with you on Biblical interpretation can love the Bible and take discipleship as seriously as you. And no, Tim did not attend seminary. He grew up in a Southern Baptist church, steeped in good Bible study through Sunday School and youth group meetings. And no, there was no poison spewed by the Godly professors who were railroaded out when the self-righteous Judge made good on his threat to “go for the jugular.” There’s some spewing of poison for you.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    And Jim, lest we get side-tracked re-hashing the history of the SBC, I’ll re-state my invitation to you to stay on topic here, and if there’s a particular quote of mine you’d like to cite and question me about, feel free. The quotation marks, by the way, are two places over from the L. Cutting and pasting directly from my comments will help you resist the temptation to re-word and distort what I have said. Maybe one of your children can help teach you where the cut and paste shortcuts are on your computer.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Stan, my question was a Biblical one, not secular. Do you or do you not consider fornication a sin? Do you or do you not believe that sex outside the bonds of Marriage sin? Aside from my question, you delete any comments you don’t like. Well I’m here to tell you I do not like a few of your snide comments to Jim or Bill, I think you are smart enough to figure out which ones, maybe you should edit yourself, or just delete the rude things you say, as you delete the things we write that you think are rude. Also, you rewrote Romans.

    Comment by Daryl D

  • June 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Daryl, I answered the question you asked me, and I will await your answers to my questions before answering more of yours. And yes, I will continue deleting comments that are outside the bounds of civility. Feel free to cite a particular quote of mine that troubles you in this regard, and I’ll make an appropriate response. If, for example, you are referring to my comment to Jim about quotation marks, I think if you read through the thread that this is an appropriate use of sarcasm. I’ve asked him repeatedly not to mischaracterize and distort my beliefs, and to give me the particular quotes that bother him. He seems unable to muster up the wherewithal to do that simple act of courtesy. And I’ll ask you to do the same, with your comment that I “rewrote Romans.” Spell it out, and we’ll talk about it.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    The word natural means Adam and Eve,(man and woman) not man and man(Adam and Steve).

    Comment by Daryl D

  • June 2, 2012 at 6:06 am

    God certainly ordained man and woman as natural. Populating the earth was the natural result of His ordained relationships. Now obviously we can ask about the elderly or those not able to conceive, it doesn’t matter. God gave us the example of natural as man and wife. No mention is made of marriage between the same sex. The reason is because it is a sinful act in the eyes of God. Sure, it is becoming more acceptable in culture. It is regularly touted on television amongst the other garbage poisoning people today. People of God should desire to love all that God loves and hate that which he hates. I love people and want them to come to the wonderful light of our Savior. I detest sins of the flesh. Homosexuality is a desire (among many)that should fled from. I pray for those with “hardened hearts” who are entrapped. I pray for enlightenment and forgiveness for those who teach any falsehoods. We must be diligent discerners. God bless.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 2, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Daryl, according to the dictionary, the word “natural” means existing in nature, not made or caused by humankind. The evidence is clear that homosexuality exists throughout nature, it is part of God’s created order throughout the human and the animal world. It crosses every culture, including conservative Southern Baptist culture. We don’t know why God made 10% or so of the created order to have same-sex preference. We do know that it is not a “choice” by humans. It is silly to think that young people would “choose” to face harsh discrimination, to be bullied and outcast. Joey is right that a big concern for humanity at the outset of creation was procreation, populating the earth. That concern has long since left us, as the earth is overpopulated. And Joey is correct in noting that procreation is not a part of every marriage – many people past the child-bearing age get married every day, and we bless that. And Joey is right that there is no mention of same-sex marriage in the Bible. There is no mention of a lot of things in the Bible. There is no mention of a Hispanic person marrying a black person, or a white person marrying and Asian person. There is no mention of a left-handed person marrying a right handed person (and left-handedness is a good analogy to same-sex attraction; God has created a small minority of people this way. Our society has structured itself to privilege right-handedness, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with swinging left-handed). There is also no mention of a woman who has suffered constant abuse by a husband leaving him and finding happiness in a second marriage, but that happens. We don’t call her second marriage sinful, or adultery, as many in the past did. And Joey is right that we should love what God loves – relationships marked by compassion, fidelity, monogamy, respect, mutuality, loyalty – God loves these values. And God loves people who bear the fruits of the Spirit, and since I have seen many gay and lesbian couples bearing fruits of the Spirit of Christ, I love them, and hope that one day all God’s children will love them as He does and give them full welcome and blessing. God does not want us detesting or hating something that brings joy and life and goodness to people and our world.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 2, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I would just add that God’s children do love these folks; if not they should be in prayer asking for help in loving ALL people. Loving them and accepting their continuance in sin are two different things in the eyes of God and also the eyes of His people. The loving characterstics of these couples mentioned by Stan show that there is hope to free them from this sin. It is not easy for many however. We are to flee sin or risk that our hearts become hard. We all have particular desires and sins that are more of a challenge than others. It’s not about 10% struggling with this sin or 20% struggling with another. We just have to fall on our knees before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and His strength create change within us.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Joey, thanks for your thoughtful comment and the spirit in which you write. I affirm your loving heart, and your desire for all people to be free from sin. I share that, and pray for God’s love to flow through me more as I relate to people bound by the addictions of wealth and material gain. I do pray that they will be free and will flee that practice of sin, as they heed the warnings of Jesus, Paul, and James in their respective teachings. In terms of the loving characteristics of the same-sex couples I know, their qualities are more a demonstration of the fruits of the Spirit than a sign they are able to be free from their sexual preference. These folks that I know are perfectly content and experience the blessings of God and their churches for who they are, and are living out their faith in marvelous ways, reaching the world for Christ through missions and ministering to the hidden Christ among the least of these in our communities. You are certainly right that we all have our sins that we struggle with, and according to James, there is no hierarchy of sins, they are all the same in God’s eyes according to him. Like you, I am in a daily practice of repentance and pray that, as the song says, day by day I am able to see Christ more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day. Blessings on you, Joey.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 3, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I would just like to say thanks to Bill, Daryl, Shannon, and Joey for upholding the word of truth and rightly dividing the truth. You all encourage me as we can see we are in the last days, let us encourage one another. Thanks for not compromising the word of God and always being ready to give an answer for the hope that lies with us. Keep up the good work my brothers and sister.

    Comment by jim

  • June 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Galatians 5:22-23

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    Stan is it possible for non Christians to exhibit the above fruit?

    Comment by Bill

  • June 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Bill, I certainly think that there are people who do not adhere to the creeds of the Christian religion who exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. But, I believe that anyone who truly exhibit the fruits of the Spirit does have a relationship, a connection, to the True Vine and has the Spirit of Christ in their heart of hearts, irregardless of what creed they happen to profess or what religion they happen to practice, Christian or not. That’s what Jesus teaches, that you will know people by their fruits, right?

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 4, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Let me ask it another way: A person has never accepted Jesus Christ and repented for there sins but are good, loving,caring ,joyful, gentle, are there name written in the book of life?

    Comment by Bill

  • June 4, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Bill, are you fishing for a particular answer, or are you genuinely interested in learning something new and growing in your understanding of matters of faith and scriptural interpretation?

    Let me answer your question in another way: I believe, from my understanding of scripture, that a person who is genuinely loving, caring, joyful, and gentle is demonstrating signs of repentance and acceptance of the Way and the Spirit of Christ, no matter what creeds or religious practices they adhere to. As I said earlier, I find Jesus’ words quite authoritative: “You shall know them by their fruits.” Does that help clarify?

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 4, 2012 at 6:44 am

    not fishing at all..

    Comment by Bill

  • June 4, 2012 at 6:53 am

    That’s good, Bill. I appreciate so much having a diverse readership for the blog, liberal and conservative, moderate and progressive, fundamentalists and seekers. I occasionally get the message that some of the readers are not so much interested in being a part of the conversation, as they are hammering away to prove something I’ve said wrong. Anyway, thanks for your questions. Keep asking!

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Going back to your comment about the natural use passage in the Bible, I grew up on a farm, with lots of different animals, and yes I did see many examples of same gender attempts to mate. One thing I NEVER saw was an animal that would exclusively mate with the same gender. How does this fit with your theory?

    Comment by shannon

  • June 4, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Btw, Joey, your comments are spot on and well said!

    Comment by shannon

  • June 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Shannon, I’d say, for one, I wouldn’t call my interpretation a “theory” any more than I call your interpretation a “theory,” and second, I wouldn’t base my understanding of biblical ethics and sexuality on what I observed on a farm I grew up on. If you expand your horizons a bit, you’ll discover that monogamous, life-long same-sex relationships do in fact occur throughout the animal kingdom, among many species. Hence, it’s part of “nature”, it’s “natural”, as Paul used the word “natural” there in Romans. It’s part of God’s good created order. I have looked, by the way, and I have found no English dictionary or Bible dictionary that defines “natural” as “Adam and Eve.” That seems to be Daryl’s personal definition.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 4, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Shannon, one more word about humans and the animal kingdom. Of the 5000 or so species of animals, only 5% have been documented to be “naturally” monogamous, forming life-long relationships with a single mate. Mostly it’s the beavers, bats, and some birds. It is a matter of faith, then, to believe as you and I do that this is God’s intended state for humans. The biblical patriarchs of old did not adhere to this belief. It is a relatively late idea to the human culture. Sexual ethics, as we can see in the Bible, do change.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I have witnessed people with what you call fruit of the spirit trates.. They talk the talk and walk the walk but they have not accepted Jesus as savior or prayed to receive him into there heart…they love people they help people and all the other…Are they saved?

    ?

    Comment by Bill

  • June 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Actually my horizons as you put it range far outside my farm girl raising. My major in college was biology, animals have been a lifelong interest of mine and I have studied the subject quite a bit. Now I’m not claiming to be an expert on the subject, but not once have I seen so much as a documentary on a lifelong monogamous same sex animal relationship. Aside from the fact that few animals are monogmous, we are NOT the same as the animals. To use them as an example for ourselves is sheer folly. Also the absence of a same sex relationship from scriptures makes it pretty clear what the natural use would be.

    Comment by shannon

  • June 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Or any mention ever of an animal even if it wasn’t monogamous, only mating same sex.

    Comment by shannon

  • June 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Bill, yes, I believe that people who walk the walk, who are bearing the fruits that Paul listed, are in a saving relationship with Jesus, no matter what prayer language or faith creed they use. People who in their heart of hearts have accepted the Spirit of Christ and are following the Way of Jesus are saved. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “You shall know them by their fruits.” He didn’t say “You shall know them by their theology or by their belief system or by their credal statements.”

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Shannon, as a science major I’m sure you learned enough to know that just because you haven’t personally seen something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I will resist the temptation to do your homework for you and point out the references where you could find such evidence. You have access to the world wide web, a simple Google search will get you started. I agree with you that we are not the same as animals. But the animals have a lot to teach us, including a look at what is part of God’s natural created order. That’s where all this started, remember, a look at the definition of “natural?” I’ll repeat, nowhere have I found that the definition is “Adam and Eve.” The definition is, “occurring in nature.” Homosexuality occurs in nature. How humans respond to it is the ethical question, same as heterosexuality. The biblical principles of good and just relationships, marked by fidelity, monogamy, respect, dignity, compassion, loyalty, these are the marks of a godly relationship, no matter the sexual preference.

    I’ll also point out that there is a wide range of behavior and issues that humans deal with today that are not mentioned in the Bible. Use of birth control pills, for example. No mention in the Bible. Fertility clinics and Viagra. No mention in the Bible. Surrogate mothers. No mention in the Bible. People getting married after child-bearing age. No mention in the Bible. Loving, faithful Christians in a same-sex relationship. No mention in the Bible. So we derive our ethics from Jesus’ primary ethic of love of God and neighbor, and along with the fruits of the Spirit.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Your condecending tone aside, I have done my homework, God created a man, he called him Adam. Then God said to Adam it is not good for a man to be alone. He then took a rib from Adams side and Adam said this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man, there for shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave into his wife and they shall be one flesh. Now God could have taken his bone and made another man, he did not. Seems pretty simple to me that if God meant for same sex relationships to be the same as male\female relationships he would have chosen this moment ( or many others) to have enlightened us to this fact. As important as marriage was to GodI really don’t believe he would have left this unsaid. As a matter of fact, he didn’t leave it unsaid, he called it an abomination, pretty strong word. Jesus himself spelled it out very simply, 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. These are not difficult passages to understand. Now that being as simple as it is the only thing left for us to comprehend is that this is NOT the only sin. We are all guilty of something. When I do something wrong I would want to be called on it, either by theHoly spirit, or my brothers and sisters in Christ. Then I know and can repent and try to do better. I would not thank them in the end if they told me my siwasnt a sin.

    Comment by shannon

  • June 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Please excuse auto correct.

    Comment by shannon

  • June 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Stan,as a person I think you do a lot of good works,but on this topic I think you are leading people astray,the Bible is very clear on what a marriage is supposed to be,and that is a man and his wife. Male and female,from Genesis in the old testament,to the words of Jesus in the new testament it doesn’t change. Jesus even spelled it out for us so we could all understand male and female. On the subject of animals some of them eat their young does that make it OK. Now I will wait to see how the spin-doctor will answer.

    Comment by Daryl D

  • June 5, 2012 at 3:16 am

    No Shannon, it’s very easy to understand – God created Adam and Eve as heterosexual people, to procreate. It’s also easy for me to understand that God blesses more than the marriages of young heterosexual, fertile couples who procreate. God blesses the marriages of old people who marry for love and companionship, even though it’s not in the Bible. God blesses the marriages of women who leave their abusive first husbands to have a second chance at happiness through remarriage, even though it’s expressly forbidden in the Bible, and is called adultery. We don’t call it that today, and I don’t think you would call that being a spin doctor of Jesus’ teaching. As far as God leaving things unsaid or undone, Jesus himself said that God was not through speaking – he told the disciples that God would continue doing greater things through them. Overcoming homophobia is one of the greater works, just as overcoming racism was a greater work, just as overcoming legalism and biblical literalism that would prohibit abused women from remarriage was a greater work. God seems to have chosen this moment in history to enlighten us to the facts of the core values of a strong marriage, core values share by heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. I appreciate your belief in the goodness of marriage. I’d ask you to do the same thing I ask several others in an earlier thread to do – write down your top ten things that you appreciate about being married. What makes marriage good for you? After you get your list down, see how many of those ten things could be also be experienced by old people who get married, or an infertile couple who gets married and adopts a child, or a gay couple who adopt children. It’s an interesting exercise. In other words, let’s focus on some of the positives of what we hold in common. I’d love to hear your list and celebrate what makes your and Daryl’s relationship special, as you too have such a wonderful marriage. Blessings on you for that.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 5, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Daryl, I understand that we disagree on this issue. I think you can understand that I was not saying that humans should do everything animals do. I was simply responding to your definition of “natural” which is not in any dictionary. That God has created a minority of human beings with same-sex attraction doesn’t bother me like it does you. I am grateful for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life that helped me overcome homophobia and understand what the Bible teaches about core values of marriage, empowering me to bless those same sex couples God has placed in my path. I’ll leave you with the same question I asked Shannon – what are your top ten things you most appreciate about being married? I’d love to hear your list, describing what makes this relationship special to you. Blessings on you both.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    stanley, your writings unfortunately are complete heresy. On so many issues, you have distorted scripture, its not even funny. It really is sad to see your take on scripture. And no I get no joy or gotcha to write that especially to my cousin.

    Comment by jim

  • June 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Jim, your broad brush indictment doesn’t cut it, cuz. You can do better. I’ve asked you plenty of times and I’ll ask you again, give me a direct quote of this supposed heresy you’re so worried about, a direct quote of this supposed distortion, and we can talk about it. You’re a smart man – if you can do precision work as a pharmacist, I think you can speak a bit more clearly and precisely in your comments to me.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    your post on june 4th is a perfect example of misinterpretation of scripture. You say that no matter what their creed or religious background i.e. muslim,buddhist etc. they are ok if they have certain traits according to your answer. You call that the way of christ or spirit of christ no matter the religion.
    LETS SEE IF SCRIPTURE VALIDATES THAT! Romans 10:9-13 does NOT SUPPORT YOUR VIEW. Lets look elsewhere to build sound doctrine Phillipians 3:7-11 Paul is EXPLICITLY SAYING TO KNOW CHRIST, AND HIS RESURRECTION. HE IS EXPRESSLY REFERRING TO RELATIONSHIP HERE NOT GOOD WORKS. HE RENOUNCES HIS GOOD WORKS AND HE CALLS HIS GOOD WORKS DUNG OR MANURE.Lets look elsewhere Luke 9:26 Jesus says if you are ashamed of Me and My words, Jesus will be ashamed of them before the Father. Lets keep looking John 6 again referencing RELATIONSHIP NOT WORKS SAYS, in John 6:55-69. You have taken one verse and made an erroneus assumption that their fruit is proof, but you can’t have fruit without root and the root is Jesus. Lets look again John 15:1-8 again RELATIONSHIP IS IN VIEW HERE NOT WORKS. Matthew 7 talks about works outside of relationship, and He said depart from me you workers of iniquity I never knew you. I am getting tired, but I could go on and on. Your view of salvation is at least faulty if not worse, so if you miss this then all other doctrine is really immaterial.

    Comment by jim

  • June 7, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Jim, again, if you would only deal directly with what I say, and not paraphrase, we’d be in a lot better dialogue. What I actually said, in response to Bill’s question, was that “people who are bearing the fruits [of the Spirit] are in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. People who in their heart of hearts have accepted the Spirit of Christ and are following the Way of Jesus are saved.” That’s so different from how you characterized my statement, as being “they are ok if they have certain traits.” It’s not about having traits, Jim, it’s about having a heart relationship with Jesus Christ. I simply have enough faith in the efficacy of the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit that I believe the Spirit can speak to people in a heart language that transcends all human-made religions and creeds, including the human made creeds and orthodoxies of the Christian religion. You can poo poo my language about the Way of Christ all you want, and call me a heretic for it, but I’ll remind you of Paul’s words in Acts 24:14-15 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect [Greek word "hairesis", ie, heresy], I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” Paul’s heresy, according to the Pharisees, is the same as mine. You see, I am distinguishing between the external practices, the religion of humanity, and the internal relationship that a person can have with the Holy Spirit, a relationship that bears fruits. That’s also very different from works righteousness, which is an attitutde of trying to earn or merit salvation. When I say people are bearing fruits of the Spirit, I’m talking about people living a life of grace, being rooted in the True Vine, not working to earn God’s favor. The latter is the attitude, works righteousness, that Paul calls a pile of dung, and I totally agree. We are on the same page, Jim, that it’s all about relationships. I simply trust the power of the Spirit and the work of the cross far more than I do religious creeds. I’m not basing this on one verse, either, I could spend time quoting many verses to you to back this up. I happen to believe Jesus when he said “If I be lifted up I will draw ALL people unto myself.” I happen to believe Paul when he said that through the cross God was working to “reconcile ALL things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” I happen to believe what he said in Romans that ALL Israel would be saved, despite their rejection of the Christian religion, and that ALL people would receive mercy. I don’t know how you define ALL, but it seems apparent to me that ALL has to include people outside the boundaries of your orthodox creedal statements and religious rituals. That’s not to say everyone here and now is participating in the abundant life of the kingdom, which Christ said was among us. I happen to believe Jesus when he said that it’s exceedingly difficult, as difficult as a camel going through the eye of a needle, for people with concentrated wealth to enter the life of the kingdom. I do think some of these folk are the people he’s referring to, who are claiming to be Christians and doing good works in his name, but he never knew them, is ashamed of them, and they are not part of the ongoing work of the kingdom. That’s why I believe the second chapter of Acts model of Christian socialism is the best model to base our economics on. It gives more people a far better chance to participate in the Kingdom work, and frees people from spending so much time and energy trying to squeeze through the eye of a needle.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 7, 2012 at 6:57 am

    read the first 4 verses of romans 10,THEN APPLY YOUR ALL RULE TO THAT PASSAGE.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 7, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Jim, it’s not MY “ALL RULE”, it’s Paul’s. I’m simply quoting Paul. Perhaps when we all get to heaven, we can ask Paul how he lived within that tension that is evident in his letters, between ultimate universal salvation and selective participation in the Kingdom. Actually, I think the answer is right there, in the question. Eventually, perhaps via some kind of hellish experience that frees people from whatever idol they are captive to, “EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord” (Paul’s words, not mine). In the meantime, as the Lord’s prayer of “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is answered, as communities of faith following the Way of Jesus participate in that Kingdom’s work, it won’t include everybody. Kingdom participation is not universal, like salvation is. People of the Way will be those following the narrow Way of peace, of welcome for the stranger and radical love for the enemy, of contentment and having all things in common, while many will follow the broad way that leads to destruction, the way of prejudice against people who are different, violence toward enemies, and hoarding wealth. I understand Paul in Romans 10, when he talks about righteousness, to be describing the Jesus Way, the life of the kingdom, the “right-wising” work of creating good and right relationships between us and God and between us and our neighbors. We can either have God’s right-wising work in our hearts, or we can try to accomplish this on our own. Thanks be to God we don’t have to work it out on our own and earn our way, either through humanitarian works or through the belabored work of maintaining religious orthodoxy. It is a gift of the Spirit, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 7, 2012 at 7:44 am

    The keyword is “All who believe” God gave man a free will some will accept Christ and Some will reject.
    For those who accept Christ they will be raised at the rapture . For those who reject Christ will be raised at the second coming of Christ and will be judged and if there name is not found in the book of live, they will be cast into hell…..

    Comment by Bill

  • June 7, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Bill, that phrase may be a keyword for you, but it doesn’t seem to be for Paul. Re-read Romans 11, he speaks of ALL Israel being saved despite their DISBELIEF, and he goes on to extend this saving mercy to all people. He doesn’t mention “belief” as being essential in that passage, nor in the passage in Colossians, nor in the passage in Philippians. Belief, that is, placing your trust in the Way of Jesus, is essential, though, to entering and participating in the Kingdom. It’s a great Way, Bill, it’s the abundant life. I’d love to see everyone be free from the idols of materialism and violence and fear, and participate. Whatever hell people eventually have to experience before they fully accept that grace gift, I’ll not worry too much about. All I know is that Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7, that however loving human parents are, God is infinitely more loving, precludes belief in a God who would send children to an eternal torture chamber. Even you, Bill, as a flawed human, would not subject your children to cigarette burns on their skin if they rebel against you. If you have enough decency and sense not to lower yourself to the status of torturer to your children, then perhaps you will come to realize God need not be lowered to that despicable status, either. In fact, God’s love is superior to ours, not inferior. It’s simple logic – if God is love, as the Bible teaches, then God could never toss a child into a fiery pit to be tortured for eternity. That’s religious sadism masking itself as holiness. The concept of hell need not be interpreted literally in order for people to have faith and accept Christ as savior.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Stan you keep bring up “the way of prejudice against people who are different” I have stated many times I am against the “sin” not the person..I am a sinner and you may be one also But praise be to God I am saved by the cross and Blood of Jesus Christ..
    You seem to be hung up on “hoarding wealth”. In your opinion what is the amount of wealth one can have without Hoarding (your word)…Do you think I hoard, do you think David hoards ?

    Comment by Bill

  • June 7, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Bill, I did not accuse you of being prejudiced, I simply said that prejudice and fear of the stranger is part of the broad way that leads to destruction. An example of such prejudice is withholding certain human rights from one group of people because of their difference. That has happened throughout our country’s history, and unfortunately many times church people have been supportive of those prejudicial policies. As you rightly said, we are all sinners.

    I am not hung up on “hoarding wealth.” If I am “hung up” on anything, it is the teaching of Jesus. It’s interesting to see how often the prophets, from whom Jesus drew so much of his teaching, and his own preaching, and the pastoral epistles, warn of the dangers of wealth. Well over thirty times (7 times more than issues of sexuality, by the way, which many people are hung up on). So you can’t really be faithful to a reading of scripture without giving attention to this. As far as my opinion, I don’t have an amount or a formula in mind. I don’t know you well enough to make any kind of discerning evaluation of whether or not your hoard. I do think that when people have more material goods than Solomon in all his glory could have ever dreamed of, and are still discontent, complaining incessantly about the rich being taxed too much, there’s an attitude problem. Again, I’m not accusing you, I’m just saying there’s a prevalent attitude in our culture that is far from the model of the New Testament of sharing all things in common and being content. As far as David, I can attest to his practice. He is as free with whatever material goods have come his way as anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve never met anyone less attached to their stuff, or more generous with it. I think he would have made a great second chapter of Acts church member, had he lived back in the day.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I tell you the truth I am a not a Solomon….

    1 Kings 10:21-23

    21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. 22 The king had a fleet of trading ships[a] at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

    23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.

    It does not surprise me about David and I am sure Jerry is the same…I know they have worked and I bet when they retire they will not depend on tax payers to pay there way…I trust you are the same as they… I don’t that is hording ..I think we all agree we must take care of our family and widows and poor at the same time trying to reach the lost!

    Comment by Bill

  • June 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Amen Bill! you gotta remember there are no lost according to stanley. So just ignore go into ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL BECAUSE JESUS DIDN’T REALLY MEAN THAT. stan, children are SAFE NOT SAVED. GOD will not send innocent children to hell but there will come a time and place and ONLY GOD KNOWS WHEN SOMEONE REACHES THE AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY. Bill also forget all the scriptures that refer to repentance,relationship, or faith in Christ cause stan has already figured out Paul meant in that ONE PASSAGE that everybody is going to heaven so forget the other 65 books and the other chapters in romans, he has figured out that God wouldn’t send muslims or buddhists or anybody to hell. forget that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. forget that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life THROUGH CHRIST JESUS NOT MOHAMMED, BUDDHA, KRISHNA, OR WHATEVER. stan has received esoteric revelation to the contrary and that is the way he sees it.

    Comment by jim

  • June 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    you said to me its about having a heart relationship with Christ but Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. so I couldn’t worship another God and praise him if I had been converted to Christianity. I would praise Jesus because in revelation 4 thats what it will be about, not about ANYONE OR ANYTHING ELSE.

    Comment by jim

  • June 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Yes, Bill, and King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Try basing your family values on that! Jim, did you not read my earlier post about how there are many who are lost and take the broad way to destruction? They are lost insofar as they are not part of the kingdom and its work. I believe in evangelism – remember, I’m headed to Cuba in 10 days to spread the good word and share in the kingdom work there. I appreciate your support of that mission, by the way. Jim, does your church baptize children? Doesn’t that imply that they have reached the age of accountability? Or are you with those who believe all children are free to do as they please until they turn 20? And Jim, haven’t you read any of my posts about repentance, from the way of the world, the broad way of violence and greed and prejudice, toward the Way of Christ, the Way of radical love, contentment, and welcome? And Jim, what do you mean by ONE PASSAGE? Didn’t you count all the other passages I quoted, including words of Jesus? And yes, I believe that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus, I just happen to have a higher view of Christology than you seem to, and a higher view of the efficacy of the cross than you seem to, and higher view of the work of the Holy Spirit than you seem to. I don’t think God needs our creeds or any religious rituals to make the work of the cross effective. Jesus paid it all. It’s about a heart relationship, Jim, a relationship that welcomes and invites all people into the abundant life of the Kingdom. That’s the call. And I’m happy to meet people from a wide range of cultures and religious traditions who have grafted their spirits to the True Vine and are participating in the work of the Kingdom. I know them by their fruit. And as the old gospel hymn says, “My God, I love thee, not because I hope for heaven thereby, nor yet because, if I love not, I must forever die. Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ, should I not love thee well? Not for the sake of winning heaven, nor of escaping hell. Not with the hope of gaining aught, not seeking a reward, but as thyself hast loved me, O everlasting Lord.” That’s what my mouth speaks.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 8, 2012 at 4:48 am

    the problem is your supposed higher view of christology is not supported in the bible to include all other religions.

    Comment by jim

  • June 8, 2012 at 5:29 am

    The word “all” is all-inclusive, Jim, and when it shows up all those times in the Bible, it doesn’t come with exceptions. Jesus didn’t say, “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw ALL people to myself, EXCEPT for Buddhists.” Paul didn’t say, “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile ALL things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, EXCEPT for the Muslims.” Nor did he say, “God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, EXCEPT for the Hindus.” No, there are no exception clauses in those Biblical texts. Remember, it’s about relationship, not religion. As another old gospel hymn put it, “My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed. I trust the Ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead. I need no other argument, I need no other plea; It is enough that Jesus died, And that He died for me.” Thanks for staying in the conversation, cousin, and for continuing to be a faithful reader of the blog site. I am finding it to be a very fruitful dialogue.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 8, 2012 at 5:37 am

    there is exclusivity to the gospel, yes He died for all but with any gift, you MUST BE WILLING TO ACCEPT IT. That is the difference and you have to read the whole counsel not select verses.

    Comment by jim

  • June 8, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Yes, Jim, the invitation to follow Christ and participate in the Kingdom, in the abundant life, is a grace gift, and we all have a choice to accept it or not. The invitation to a life of transforming love, contentment, and welcome is a grace gift, and we all have a choice to accept it or not. Many refuse, including many who profess the orthodox creeds of the Christian religion, and follow the broad, destructive way. Others, from all cultures and religious traditions, including the Christian religion of which I am a member, choose to accept the gift and bear the fruits of the Spirit. “You shall know them by their fruits,” as Christ said, not by their religious rituals and creeds.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Wrong! read John 3:36 and 1 John 5:10-12

    Comment by jim

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:05 am

    keywords- believe in the son, not some way or by their good deeds, or the “spirit”

    Comment by jim

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Jim, I believe those passages, and don’t see how they contradict the other passages as you seem to think they do. John is right, life outside the Kingdom is destructive, filled with wrath. And I John is right, whoever has the Son has life – therefore, whoever you see bearing the fruits of life, has the Son, ie, is in relationship with the Son, no matter what ritual or creed or culture their accident of birth happened to place them in. That people have a choice in this life whether or not to participate in the Kingdom of love and contentment and welcome, or to reject that and participate in the broad way of destruction and greed and fear, does not diminish the truth of Jesus’ words about the ultimate efficacy of his work on the cross, or Paul’s words about the ultimate universal inclusion of all being reconciled to God.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Jim, I understand you want to poo poo some of the words of Scripture, but “the Way” is a term Jesus used, and I don’t think the Bible discounts the word “Spirit” as you seem to want to.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:29 am

    ok houdini

    Comment by jim

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:40 am

    bible is clear, you intentionally choose Christ and follow him exclusively, not cause you do good then you have his spirit. you have it backwards.

    Comment by jim

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:58 am

    No, Jim, I don’t have it backwards. The relationship with the Spirit of Jesus is primary, the assent to the gift of grace and trusting in that Way, and then the fruits of the Spirit are simply evidence of that relationship, that assent, that trust. You seem to be working awfully hard, cousin, and not catching any fish. Perhaps you should cast your net on the other side. Have you tried going and leading Bible study in the local jail? Or feeding homeless veterans? Or helping undocumented immigrants find the resources they need to survive? Take Christ’s yoke upon you – his burden is easy, and his yoke is light. You seem to be burdened with the yoke of religious orthodoxy, and that’s a heavy load to bear. Let go, and let God.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Unfortunately the bible teaches that anyone who denies Jesus as the son of God is outside the Kingdom. That means separation from God. It doesn’t matter how good that person may seem. Jesus will deny them them to the Father. It is pure silliness and false teaching to imagine they are only outside the kingdom now. No basis for that. There is no doubt that “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”. The problem is many won’t do that in this life. They are destined for hell. It will be a sad day for them when they realize the Christ they denied in this life now stands in judgement over them. It doesn’t matter how good they think they were, there will be no arguement, there will be no defense. This is the only true gospel.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Joey, thanks for your comment, and while I respect your opinion and your right to interpret scripture as you see through your lenses, I don’t think it’s silliness at all to focus on the kingdom here and now in Jesus’ teaching. He’s the one who said, “The Kingdom of God is among you.” As far as those who refuse to participate in the Kingdom of radical love and contentment and welcome, who refuse to follow that Way of the abundant life, I’m sure they will have hell to pay. The good news for them is found in the Psalmist’s prayer, “Whither shall I go from your Spirit? . . .If I make my bed in Hell, behold, thou art there.” This was confirmed in I Peter, when he speaks of Jesus descending into hell to preach to the spirits in prison, naming especially those who had been disobedient in Noah’s day. As the early church theologian Origin of Alexandria taught, these passages teach us that hell is not an eternal separation from God, but a necessary stopping off point for people who refuse the grace gift, to prepare them to ultimate entrance into eternal life. As Paul taught, the cross ultimately reconciles everyone to God. I take his word for it.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 9, 2012 at 5:26 am

    I find it really interesting that most pastors and disciples have been so badly fooled by these scriptures and so few of you have been able to “rightly interpret them.” I definitely agree with you (and Jesus) that the Kindom is among us. It is here and now. We become a part of it (those who are being saved) the moment of salvation. Not only is God loving (1 John 4:8-10), He is good (1 Pet. 2:3), and merciful (James 5:11), but He is also holy,holy,holy (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8), just (2 Thess. 1:6), and hates sin (Psalm 5:5-6). According to Jesus in Mathew 25:46 some will go away to eternal punishment while the righteous to eternal life. Same message in 2 Thess. 1:9. The Bible teaches that there is a fiery hell, a place that Jesus warned people about. “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away, it is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into eternal fire,” (Matt. 18:8). Eternal fire is real. Jesus said it was. In fact, Jesus spoke a great deal about hell. It is what He came here to save us from. It seems such a stretch to try and interpret otherwise.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 9, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Didn’t know anything about “early church theologian Origin of Alexandria ”
    Found the following for whatever its worth!

    Origen ( /ˈɒrɪdʒən/; Greek: Ὠριγένης Ōrigénēs), or Origen Adamantius (184/185 – 253/254),[1] was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, largely because he believed in the pre-existence and apokatastasis, or universal reconciliation, ideas acknowledged to be beyond the pale of Christianity.[2] Today he is generally regarded as one of the Church Fathers.[3][4]
    Origen excelled in multiple branches of theological scholarship, including textual criticism, biblical interpretation, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality. Some of his teachings, however, quickly became controversial. Notably, he frequently referred to his hypothesis of the pre-existence of souls. As in the beginning all intelligent beings were united to God, Origen also held out the possibility, though he did not assert so definitively, that in the end all beings, perhaps even the arch-fiend Satan,[5] would be reconciled to God in what is called the apokatastasis (“restitution”). Origen’s views on the Trinity, in which he saw the Son of God as subordinate to God the Father, became controversial during the Arian controversy of the fourth century, though a subordinationist view was common among the ante-Nicene Fathers. A group who came to be known as Origenists, and who firmly believed in the preexistence of souls and the apokatastasis, were declared anathema in the 6th century. This condemnation is attributed to the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, though it does not appear in the council’s official minutes.[6] Few scholars today believe that Origen should be blamed, as he commonly was in the past, for tentatively putting forward hypotheses, later judged heretical, on certain philosophical problems during a time when Christian doctrine was somewhat unclear on said problems.

    Comment by Bill

  • June 9, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Thanks Joey for your comments..You are right on target with my views….very refreshing!

    Comment by Bill

  • June 9, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Yes, Joey, Jesus did talk about hell. The interpretive question is whether he was speaking literally, or metaphorically, like he did in so much of his teaching. In order to answer that question, we have to come to an understanding of what the Bible means when it says, “God is love.” We have to decide whether the definition of “love” can include torture. I don’t feel like I’ve been badly fooled to take Jesus’ words seriously, when he defined the character of God as being analogous to a loving Father, Abba. And he made the comparison in his teaching to how much more loving God is than any human parent. He rhetorically asked, what parent would give a child a serpent in place of fish, or a stone in place of bread? He asked, if human parents have basic compassion, how much more compassionate is God? So, I’ll raise the same question for you that I’ve asked Jim. Can you imagine, Joey, one of your daughters suddenly rejecting your love, abandoning their faith for a different lifestyle, and you responding by locking them up in a basement torture chamber and burning their skin with cigarettes as a punishment? I use this example because there are actual human parents who do this, who abuse and torture rebellious children. When we learn of this, we lock those parents up. We don’t allow them to strain the definition of love and try to defend their actions on the basis of their holiness or their love. No, we condemn their actions as completely unacceptable. Therefore, if we are to believe that God is love in a far greater way than we can ever love, it is unacceptable to assign God actions that are vastly inferior to our love. Such an assignment not only defies logic, but it contradicts the very nature of God. So, until we are ready to picture ourselves locking children up in a basement torture chamber and putting lit cigarettes out on their skin day in and day out for their rebellion, I don’t think we should be so comfortable picturing God in that role. Whatever hellish consequence does come from the choice of the broad way, I’m grateful again for the truth of the Psalmist, “even if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou art there.” And I’m grateful to have Peter’s picture of Jesus descending into hell to preach to those poor souls in Noah’s day who chose the broad way.

    One more thought, yes, as you rightly say, God hates sin. We can agree on that. It’s interesting to note that in Jesus’ teaching on hell, he specifically used the imagery to condemn particular sins: the rich man who horded his wealth while the needy surrounded him (Luke 16), the Pharisees who were so concerned with orthodoxy that they missed the whole point of God’s grace (Matthew 23), and those at the judgment of the nations who had neglected to minister to the hidden Christ in their midst by feeding the hungry, visiting the prisoners, ministering to the sick, welcoming the strangers (Matthew 25). Yes, I agree with you Joey, Jesus spelled out pretty clearly how much God hates these particular sins, for he used the hyperbolic threat of hell to drive his point home. I’d say we should be spending more time avoiding these sins, and participating in the good work of the Kingdom, the abundant life, and less time engaging in these arguments over the existence of a literal and eternal torture chamber.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 9, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Bill, I’m glad you have started checking out Origen, a fascinating and brilliant figure for sure! You should read some of his actual writing, not simply those who write about him. It is interesting to note that he was not condemned as a heretic until the church became an Empire, that is when Constantine baptized the entire Roman Empire as Christian. Then, and only then, did the Roman Church find his views on hell and on universalism unorthodox, because the Emperor discovered that a literal threat of hell was an incredibly powerful instrument of social control. I think I’ll give more credence to this early church Father who did his work in the time when the church was a persecuted minority, who was respected by these early martyrs, than I will a Holy Roman Emperor who was neither holy nor Roman. Origen’s ideas were not beyond the pale of Christianity among those who lived closest in time to Christ. They were beyond the pale of imperial Christianity. You choose who you find more authoritative. I’ll take the early Christians over the emperors who used Christianity to wield worldly power any day.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 9, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I take my Authoritative view from the inerrant word of God the Bible.

    Rev. 20
    10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

    12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Comment by Bill

  • June 9, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Amen Bill, thanks for the authoritative word of God! and the history or Origen

    Comment by jim

  • June 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Thanks Bill. Most of us agree that no one comes to the Father except by Christ alone. That means coming into the Kingdom now and forevermore. We must first believe in our hearts that he is the son of God and confess it with our mouths in order to be saved. God’s word declares these truths. Universalism beliefs and teachings will unfortunately lead many to this place called hell(in which they may not even believe exists). God is Holy. Man is sinful. God gave the gift of his Son. True love is not forced. True love allows us to either choose to be clothed in His righteousness or stand on our own merits before the King. Having what surely seems to be fruits of the Spirit while having no relationship will not turn the key. The same word was used for the permanence of hell as was used for eternal life. Too many cases for it to fit only a metaphor. God bless.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Bill, I, too, take the Bible as authoritative; I was simply addressing your use of Constantine’s repudiation of Origen as some kind of authority, which I don’t. Your Revelation reference also exemplifies how we all have to take multiple perspectives of scripture relative to salvation and eternal life, and decide which perspective to give more weight, to give primary authority by which to interpret other perspectives. You see, in Revelation, it says, “another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.” Whereas Paul clearly contradicts that, saying that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast.” This tension is an ongoing dialogue among the early church writers, Paul, James, John. Likewise, there is a tension between God’s love and God’s holiness. I happen to give greatest weight on God’s love and grace, and see the call to holiness, such as loving enemies, being content and distributing our wealth, and welcoming strangers, as defining our life in the Kingdom here and now, the Kingdom among us, the abundant life which we enter when we give assent in our hearts to the grace gift of Christ and enter into a relationship with him. Others want to give primary weight to the holiness of God, to the extreme that they can somehow include torture within the definition of love. I’ll ask you what I’ve asked Joey and Jim – can you imagine yourself locking your daughter or grandchildren in a basement torture chamber, burning them daily with cigarettes or a blow torch or a soldering iron, as punishment for their rebellion against your way of life? Of course not, because you are a loving father and grandfather. If you have enough basic human decency not to punish your children with torture when they rebel, how much more decent and good is our heavenly Father? It defies logic (remember, Jesus was called the “Logos”) and contradicts the nature of a loving God to imagine him stooping to despicable acts for which we would lock people up over, either in a prison or a psych ward.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Joey, one clarification. You wrote: “Having what surely seems to be fruits of the Spirit while having no relationship will not turn the key.” Remember, I do believe that a relationship is primary, and the fruits of the Spirit are evidence of that acceptance of the grace gift. I simply have more trust in the Spirit than to worry about the orthodoxy of creeds and religious rituals. It’s about relationship, not religion.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    You may meet someone that you felt was showing this evidence of fruits of the Spirit. Then you find out they deny even the existence of God. There are many such people in the world. What you initially saw as fruit from the Spirit of God, do you still see as proof of relationship with the God they don’t even believe in? I know that we recognize by fruit, but it works along with believing and confessing. Not by itself to the discerning.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Joey, thanks for your good, honest question. I do not put boundaries on how the Holy Spirit can create genuine heart relationships with people. I think about those in matthew 25, when Jesus welcomed them into the eternal Kingdom, how they replied that they had not even been aware they were in a relationship with Him. “Lord, when did we see you. . .” In the same manner, I expect there are many people, agnostics and atheists included, who are not even cognizant that they are in a relationship with Christ, following His way, and have given assent and placed trust in his grace. In the same manner, I believe the Holy Spirit can create those relationships with people who have been so wounded by representatives of the Church who have done unimaginably horrible things in the name of Jesus, that they could never give credence to the language of faith and the rituals of the Christian religion. But they can still have that heart relationship with the Holy Spirit, even while denying the creeds and refusing the rituals, as God continues to work in mysterious ways. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gifts!

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts Stan. I see them as flawed, however. Those that Jesus was speaking to in the passage that you mentioned (Matthew 25) had a relationship with him. They were blessed and considered righteous the way the NIV reads. I don’t expect that there are those who deny Christ but are yet in a saving relationship with him at the same time. This will just be another point on which we disagree. God bless.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Yes, Joey, we can agree to disagree, with civility and respect. I respect your walk of faith, and hope that in spite of our differing theological perspectives and interpretations of scripture, you can respect my walk of faith and understand that I treat the Bible as authoritative and love the Lord and love you as a brother in Christ.

    In terms of those deemed blessed and righteous in Matthew 25, we are in agreement on one thing: that these folks had a relationship with Jesus. What I read there is that their blessing and their righteousness was demonstrated in how they treated the least of these. In other words, they were judged by their fruits. Jesus said nothing there about their theological creeds or religious rituals. Blessings on you and your family.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Romans 10: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

    It is very hard for me to write off the importance of this passage (not that I want to). God made it part of the recipe. So it seems to me that “confessing with our mouth” is part of our salvation and it involves sharing our faith with the lost. It is declaring to the lost that our hope and salvation is in Christ alone and not some false God OR religion.

    Blessings to you. We continue to pray for the Sluder family.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 10, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Yes, Joey, I can understand how you would take this one verse and make it authoritative for what is essential to salvation. Other people quote different verses. For example, when the rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’ answer was “Sell all you have and give to the poor.” People could take that one verse and come up with an essential for salvation, and it would not involve confessing with the mouth. Others quote Peter from Acts2:38: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” and they conclude that baptism is essential for salvation. I doubt you agree with this. When I take the New testament teaching in totality, I understand Jesus to be emphasizing a heart relationship that bears fruit of the Spirit. A relationship. Creeds and confessions have their place; finding language to express that relationship enriches one’s life, but it is not essential to salvation, any more than being baptized is essential, any more than selling all you have and giving to the poor is essential. The essential is a relationship. Evidence of that relationships is essentially participation in the Kingdom. The religious trappings are secondary, and unfortunately, have created much conflict and strife and divisiveness in the Body of Christ, damaging the witness to the world. People argue incessantly over the meaning of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the orthodox words required for the creeds. I don’t think that’s what Christ or Paul had in mind. Blessings on you, brother.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Stan, we should all try to use God’s complete word as a guide. I hope that you agree with me that it is not a work of contradiction. Believing and confessing fit in with the commands of Jesus to go and tell. I also believe in repenting and being baptized because Jesus said we should. I am not sure what others conclude about baptism, but I read it for what it says. I use discernment and prayer, however, to see that Jesus wasn’t making a requirement for us to sell all that we have in order to enter the Kingdom. He saw the rich young rulers heart and cut straight to the point of his love for possessions. He was serving riches as his God. It was the first matter to settle.

    We can agree it is about relationship. I don’t agree that “evidence IS participation” in the Kingdom. Relationship is participation. Sadly there are many ways that the “Church” has contributed to the needless arguements and divisions that you mention. I think they will continue until Christ returns for several reasons. Most Christians feel the call to protect the truth (see the book of Jude)against heresy. Many now teach extreme views of “I am ok, you are ok, no matter what we each believe or do and it is good in the sight of God.” Most will discern that not every teaching is of God. And so it will continue.

    Comment by Joey

  • June 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Joey, while the Bible is not a “work of contradiction” as you rightly say, there are many contradictory perspectives embodied in the Bible, as the people of faith sought to give language to their experience of salvation and the “unspeakable gift” of God’s love and grace. I can appreciate your need to discern that some statements do not directly apply to your salvation, such as Christ’s words when he was asked how to be saved and inherit eternal life. I would assume that you would not apply Paul’s words to the women in your life – “women will be saved through child-bearing. I can also appreciate your need to harmonize the contradictory statements and form a theology that holds together for you. I presume from your answer above that you believe baptism necessary for salvation and eternal life, since Jesus said in Mark’s gospel, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved”. That is clear. But Paul said in I Corinthians: “Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel” and for Paul the gospel was the power of God unto salvation. I am grateful not to have a belief that a religious ritual such as baptism is a requisite for salvation. I will soon have the honor of preaching the funeral of a dear friend and brother in the faith, and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about his salvation because he never was baptized. I firmly believe that his relationship with Christ was sufficient.

    I personally have never met anyone who has the philosophy you described – “I am ok, you are ok, no matter what we believe or do and it is good in the sight of God.” As for me, I hope I have made it very clear that the ethics of Jesus are central to life in the Kingdom, that the Way he embodied as God incarnate, the Way of radical love, material contentment and sharing with the least of these, and welcome for the strangers, is the narrow Way he calls us to follow. The broad of destruction is not “ok”. I am grateful for opportunities to call people to this abundant life and narrow way. And I’m grateful I don’t have to expend any energy worrying about getting the creeds and rituals right.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    read John 3:16 and tell me what that says, no need to go on a tangent about the stranger, and all that stuff, just deal with that verse. So there is no way atheists and agnostics could be a part of the faith.

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks Joey,Bill,Jim and Shannon for standing For the true Gospel of Jesus Christ,and Jim you are right John 3:16 says it all!!!!!!!

    Comment by Daryl D

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Jim, I’m sorry that you want to treat Jesus’ core teaching of welcoming the stranger as a “tangent.” As for John 3:16, it says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I believe that, as well as the verse that says, “It is not God’s will that any should perish.” As well as the verse that says, “Thy will be done.” As well as the verse that says “God was in Christ RECONCILING THE WORLD to himself.” As well as the verse that says, “If I be lifted up I will draw ALL PEOPLE TO MYSELF.” As well as the verse that says, “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father.” The “whoseover” of John 3:16 appears to be pretty inclusive in those verses, wouldn’t you say. As for participation in the abundant life and the Kingdom here, I also believe Jesus words about the dangers of wealth, the calling to love our enemies, and the reality that the way we treat those who are different from us (your tangential “stranger”) represents how we treat Christ. Thanks, Jim, for raising the question. It’s good to have the Word to guide us, and not simply rely on the human-made theologies and orthodoxies that we sometimes confuse with the Word.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    lets stick to the verse at hand, who will have eternal life ACCORDING TO THAT VERSE

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I know that in your theology you would prefer that the Bible be limited to two verses, John 3:16 and Romans 10:9. Unfortunately for that theological perspective, the Word of God actually comprises more than the ones you want to limit it to. Sorry, I know it must be hard to harmonize all of God’s Word into your orthodoxy.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    what does the verse say

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    no I have no problem harmonizing the word of God, you’re the one who goes off on tangents and won’t stay on track

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    As they say in the courtroom, Jim, that question has been asked and answered. You can read it above. I put it in quotation marks. Or you can look it up in your Bible.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    so “whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. Amen! So they won’t perish, the word perish means to be lost, it does not mean to cease to exist

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Again, I’m sorry that you keep characterizing Jesus’ teaching, his very words, as a “tangent.” For a Bible-believer, you seem to be building your house on the sand by trying to limit God’s word to one or two verses. As for me, on Christ the solid rock I stand. If that solid rock tells me that entrance into the Kingdom is dependent on my welcoming the stranger, I’ll do my best to welcome the stranger, knowing that he is there among the least of these. I won’t try and discredit or water down his teaching by calling it a tangent. If he says that it’s easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom, I’m going to take the distribution of wealth pretty seriously. If he says love your enemies, I’m going to critique and question any call to do violence to our enemies.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Jim, don’t know what dictionary you’re using. Here’s a standard dictionary definition: perish |ˈperi sh |verb [ intrans. ] suffer death, typically in a violent, sudden, or untimely way.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    lets go to John 3:36, he BELIEVES ON THE SON has eternal life(present possession),but he that BELIEVES NOT THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE, BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM.

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    perish in the greek is apollumi which means marred or lost

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Yes, Jim, and if you look up the word “believe” in the Greek, you’ll find that it means place your trust in. I certainly believe that all those who are following the Way of Jesus, who have given assent in their heart of hearts to the grace gift he has offered, who are in a relationship with the Spirit of Jesus, have the abundant life, and it isn’t dependent on religious creeds or rituals. On the other hand, those who reject that beautiful Way, the narrow Way that involves loving enemies, material contentment and liberal sharing, and welcoming the strangers have the wrath of God abiding in them. That wrath is evident in the anger and discontent that so often manifests itself among those who are outside the abundant life and aren’t participating in the Kingdom.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I would change the focus too if I had to do those kinds of literary gymnastics to make it fit into your doctrine.

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    How can the give assent when above you said they were atheists and agnostics that are in the kingdom. Surely your mind would know what your heart of hearts believes

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    btw, that all sounded good, but its not found in the bible.

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I don’t think I’m the one doing the gymnastics, cousin. Harmonizing all these disparate verses and maintaining your orthodoxy and policing everyone who falls outside your credal boundaries and explaining away the ethical teachings of Jesus must be hard work, and I’m glad not to have that yoke on my neck. The abundant life of love is far simpler, and the life of contentment is far more satisfying and rewarding.

    As for the heart and mind – I refer you to a great quote from Blaise Paschal: “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.”

    Good night.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    your problem isnt with me its with John 3:16 and John 3:36 i would try to change the subject too. good night

    Comment by jim

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I have no problem with those verses, and what were you referring to of mine that “all sounded good but is not in the Bible”? Did you not see all those quotation marks, all referencing words straight out of the Bible? Good night again, this time for real. Talk to you later, and thanks again for your support of our Cuba mission trip.

    Comment by Stan Dotson

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I like it when you say goodnight but then keep writing, my reference is to your post at 9:12 that says liberal sharing and material contentment.

    Comment by jim

  • June 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I am just a Old sinner saved by the grace of God..think Jesus..The bible tells me so..yes Jesus loves me..for the bible tells me so….

    Comment by Bill

  • June 11, 2012 at 10:31 am

    My take on this subject is you have to accept Christ as your personal savior,when you do that truly you will walk in the way of Jesus. How I read the Bible if you choose to walk after anyone else you are lost. Stan I know you love the stranger,cry for the stranger,and welcome the stranger but remember they are only the stranger til you meet them. Are we ever the stranger? One last thing Jim I am so glad you came into my life as a Brother in Christ,because if we had of never meet,when we would have died we would have just been strangers in paridise!!!!

    Comment by Daryl D

  • June 11, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Amen Bro. Daryl!

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    yeah, me and Daryl were strangers and then we got to talking and before you know it, we had alot in common and he and his wife welcomed me offered me food and drink and we are no longer strangers but now brothers.

    Comment by jim munsey

  • June 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Stan, I want to clarify a belief that I may have confused you with. I believe that salvation is through faith in Christ Jesus. It occurs prior to baptism which is an outward act or rite declaring what has happened in your heart. It is an act of obedience for the child of God.

    I also believe that God has told us much about the realities of hell in his word. It glorifies God for us to carefully receive what is written in so many passages, rather than trying to amend it and make it say something else, under the guise of compassion, love, or consideration. Many call this humanism, or doing what is right in our own eyes rather than accepting the right counsel of God.

    Think about the necessities of prisons in our society. Some will even spend the rest of their lives there. They are just and necessary punishment for many. When we don’t understand how loving and Holy our God is, we fail to see that he allows us to make our own decisions. He even allows us to trample the gift of his Son by not believing. We then receive our just punishment. It is His desire that all might be saved, but his love doesn’t force us. It would then not be called love at all. He is Holy, Holy, Holy. God bless.

    Comment by Joey


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