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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Rodney King Philosophy and Gay Revisionist Apologetics

I regularly perform link searches for my blog. It is one of those narcissistic things I like to do, because I want to know if anyone is talking about me and what it is they are saying. With one search I recently did, I discovered a blog entry by a fellow named Terry who has a blog entitled Children of Faith. Terry was particularly annoyed with an article I wrote way back in August of last year in which I interacted with the alleged Bible studies of Justin Cannon who is an apologist for a Christian gay lifestyle.

You can read my original article here, as well as a follow up article responding to the comments left by an anonymous commenter. But to provide a little background for my purposes now, Justin Cannon wrote out an article that is suppose to represent his extensive study into the subject of what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. What exactly would you think a gay apologist for a homosexual lifestyle would conclude after an extensive study of the scripture on the subject of homosexuality? You guessed it: the Bible says little or nothing about loving, monogamous same sex relationships and God looks favorably, if not neutrally, upon them.

I wrote my blog article as a response for the purpose of demonstrating the serious flaws in Justin's study. First, he begins with the presupposition that homosexuality is normal and God does not judge same sex relationships, so he starts with an agenda to make the Bible support homosexual lifestyles. Then he re-defines and re-writes the biblical terminology to support those presuppositions. His exegesis, if we even can call it that, is contorted and never does he interact with solid critics of his argumentation like James White, Jeff Niell and Greg Bahnsen for example. In short, Justin's arguments were really nothing new and he rehashed the same arguments from previous homosexual apologists who had come before him.

That leads us to Terry's comments. To say that Terry was annoyed with me is a bit of an understatement. Rather than interacting with the biblical texts I specifically raised, however, his comments are a visceral reaction to my overall worldview that says emphatically the Bible teaches that homosexuality, in whatever form it takes, is a perversion before the True God of Heaven and is a sin from which people needed to be saved. I gather from reading his comments that Terry is of the opinion we need to have a "live and let live" policy when it comes to biblical truth; a Rodney King philosophy which says, "Hey, we may disagree sharply about what the Bible teaches regarding homosexual behavior, but can't we all get along?" This is a typical response in our postmodern world today that believes truth is relatively defined by individual experience. Even though Terry's comments are purely emotional, and do not reflect upon what I actually wrote, I still wanted to address some of his comments to me:

I came across your Blog quite by accident and read with rapt interest. Since I am an evangelical, gay and Justin Cannon happens to also be a friend of mine, my attention was gained immediately.

(Fred) I appreciate the fact my blog stirred an intense reaction in your mind, Terry. Writers live for those reactions from their readers. Anyhow, I believe it is important to establish here at the beginning that the word evangelical is a completely worthless term in our modern day. It has been stripped of its original definition years ago and has been made to fit every spiritually deviant, pseudo-Christian group which dares to assert itself as a legitimate representation of New Testament Christianity. So, to label one's self as being evangelical does not lend credibility to what you argue as being genuinely Christian.

I begin saying I know Justin and I am evangelical because I don'’t think this debate is ever going to be won either by the so called liberal or conservative side with academic rigor or debating skill. It will never be won by logic alone, and it certainly won'’t be because the church suddenly awakens and says.. GEEZ we were wrong and homosexuals were right or vice versa.

(Fred) I would agree with you. The debate ends when God's spirit regenerates the hearts of sinful men and they are brought into submission to what God's Word really teaches. It is won when those who distort the text with agendas and re-interpret the Bible to make it teach something utterly foreign to what the biblical writers meant to write and what God certainly meant to reveal, turn from their editing sins and submit to the authority of the Bible as it is written.

Certainly there is room for debate and certainly everyone I know on both sides wants to understand truth. However when I see someone in the spirit of debate use words like "Justin Cannon is merely standing at the end of a long, twisting line running through Church History filled with a vast assortment of goofballs, kooks, and weirdoes who conveniently "revised" the Bible to fit their personal beliefs" I get angry, VERY ANGRY. Not because Justin is my friend, but because Justin is indeed a brother in Christ who, from all I can tell, is seeking God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Next, because Justin is the kind of man, from all I can tell, that genuinely looks to the word for answers to his life and the dilemmas of this age. And so do all the other gay Christians I know. We are not trying to JUSTIFY our lives any more than any evangelical is trying to justify theirs. We are simply on a journey like everyone else.. with many a fear and many a doubt. To take the opportunity to name call and to belittle is disgusting and is not Christian behavior.

(Fred) I am sorry that makes you angry, but frank language does that at times. I am sure Justin is a nice guy, probably sweet tempered and fun loving. However, just as much as he is a nice guy, he cannot be seeking God with all his heart, soul, mind or strength, because if he were, he would not seek to change the definitions of biblical terms to make the Bible teach strange doctrines, i.e., God looks favorably upon same sex relationships. I am sure we could say similar things about other men in Church History past. Joseph Smith, for example, was probably a nice guy who could be said to be seeking God. I am sure we could say the same about Marcion, Pelagius, Peter Abelard, Michel Servetus, Charles Russel, Ellen White, and David Koresh. Certainly, perhaps, some were more kooky, goofy and weirder than others, but the one thing all of them have in common, from the most noxious to the most lovable, is that all of these people revised the Bible to fit their personal beliefs. I am sorry you are angry of me saying so, Terry, but this is exactly what your friend Justin is doing. You think he is not trying to justify himself, but I can prove he has. In fact, I believe I have shown this very thing in my previous articles. Justin, like yourself, has a set of presupposed beliefs and he wants desperately for the Bible to support him. How does he accomplish this support? By making the Bible teach things contrary to what is true.

I'’m reminded of the command to be filled with the spirit. And then I'm reminded of the fruit of the spirit lest we forget they are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. Mr. Butler, may I suggest that you add to your bio cold and bitter towards those who disagree with you, because that is the way you have treated your brother in Christ.

(Fred) Cold and bitter are your terms. Jesus stated clearly to the woman at the well in John 4 that those who worship me will do so in spirit and truth. Those who are filled with the spirit submit to the truth, they don't alter it to fit their preconceived beliefs. I do not consider Justin a brother in Christ, because I haven't seen anything he has written to show me he is submitted to the truth.

The problem for me is I use to be on your side Mr. Butler. I use to believe that homosexuality and genuine Christian faith were incompatible. But then I began to meet committed, faithful gay Christians. Simultaneously I began to meet many committed faithful orthodox Jewish folk. Strangely, I could identify with both! But after months of watching their lives something significant began to emerge, an undeniable similarity between orthodox Jewish folk and evangelical Christians.. it was their righteousness. let me make sure I say this clearly.. IT WAS THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS.. How can that be? Both Jews and Christian were depending upon their behaviors to gain them approval/acceptance to God.

AND

Mr. Butler, even the bi-line of this Blog sets one up for the type of argument you wish to engage in "smiting the theological philistines" I think you would be better off to leave the smiting to God.. one can certainly debate, discuss and disagree, but last time I checked, the scriptures did not include your name alongside the Holy Spirit.

(Fred) Just a few questions for you Terry:

1) Do you believe there is a standard of orthodox truth?

2) Is orthodox truth fully knowable or is it merely left up to individual experience to interpret? Or debate, discuss and disagree?

3) Do you believe in the authority, infallibility and inerrancy of the Holy Bible?

4) Are you of the opinion those orthodox Jews will obtain eternal life with their good works?

So, how do we tell who is right? That very problem was presented in Acts 15. Unless you are circumcised, some men said, you can'’t enter the kingdom of heaven. Sounds familiar doesn't it? I hear it all the time.. you can'’t be a "practicing gay"” and enter the kingdom of heaven. Let'’s face it.. that'’s what evangelicals think. And here it is in Acts - we have a similar thing.. the law clearly says to be circumcised just as clearly as you think it forbids committed, monogamous gay sex. Paul and Barnabas engaged in a sharp dispute and a huge community debate began.. must the gentiles be circumcised? I think it's equivalent to the debate today.. must gay people be celibate? I love the answer in scripture.. God who knows the heart showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit JUST AS HE DID TO US. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their heart by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? NO! We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus we are saved, just as they are. The whole assembly became silent.

(Fred) I find it utterly amazing, Terry, that you totally misrepresent what happened in Acts 15 and apply it to the so-called current struggle for a gay lifestyle. I would hope you will return to my two posts I re-linked above and read my comments about why God forbids homosexual relationships. You need to deal directly with my argumentation in from Genesis, from Matthew 19 and Ephesians 5. Justin's scant comments on the creative narrative of Genesis 1 and 2 is lame. Not only does he address the actual text and what it is meant to convey specifically, but he never once addresses how the Genesis narrative is used by Jesus and other NT writers.

I am not OK if we disagree on this matter. I am commanded to contend for the faith, which you and Justin have warped with your apologetic revisionism. But moreover, I am fearful for your soul, as well as Justin's. You have been deceived that you can live in this sin and you will be fine before God in judgment. I will pray for you that you would turn from this lifestyle and embrace the true gospel of the God who able to redeem and deliver you.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Terry said...

The Pot Calls the Kettle Black

Well the debate continues! Surrrprise, surrrrprise, surrrrrprise as Gomer Pyle use to say. A seemingly affable fellow named Fred Butler and I have been engaged in debate regarding comments he made about my friend Justin Cannon. Mr. Butler responded to my ardent frustration over his unkind treatment of Justin, specifically his un-Christian behavior of name calling and belittling. To be specific he called Justin a goofball, kook, weirdo, one who conveniently revises the Bible to fit his own particular “brand”. Take a look at www.hipandthigh.blogspot.com

I wasn’t really trying to argue theology as much as I was trying to make the point that the kind of un-Christian debate Mr. Butler wishes to engage in is wrong and simply disqualifies him from the race. When we resort to name calling in kindergarten, the teacher pulls the student in and says “timeout, you’re in the hall for 30 minutes until you can learn to play well with others”. Mr. Butler, you need to learn to play well with others.

In his recent response, Mr. Butler continues his un-Christian behavior. He puts Justin (and now me) in the category of the likes of Marcion, Pelagu, Abelard, Servetus, Russel, White and the recently famous David Koresch! He digs himself deeper into his idolatry by saying “I am not OK if we disagree on this matter. I am commanded to contend for the faith, which you and Justin have warped with your apologetic revisionism. But moreover, I am fearful for your soul as well as Justin’s. You have been deceived that you can live in this sin and you will be fine before God in judgment.” At least his tone has gotten nicer, but Mr. Butler you have passed from prideful, no arrogant, name calling to judgment. And THAT is a serious error; one which you and I are expressively forbidden to engage in.

I’m happy to debate you Mr. Butler. Many gay Christian’s I know are happy to do that. And believe me I haven’t even begun to debate this scripturally! We all want to learn and I don’t think we OR YOU have some one up “ness” on wisdom. But what we all do (you and me) is read God’s word with the same desire to be faithful to it. We are pressing toward the same prize, the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. Our intent isn’t to revise God’s word. Our hearts desire is to understand it. I’m glad God understands that and is merciful in our weaknesses. The very problem with “theologians” like you is that you want to attempt to understand everything in light of scripture WITHOUT understanding people. And while I’ll completely agree with you that scripture is inerrant, man is not. And that means that man’s interpretation of it is filled with incorrect presuppositions, articulations, and meanderings. You too are guilty of what you accuse me and Justin of you. You simply ignore your own fallibility! You are the pot calling the kettle black! Your type of theology got a man excommunicated because he could prove the world round. Your type of theology approved slavery. And your type of theology still oppresses women.

You say that homosexuality is a perversion before the true God of heaven and is a sin from which people need to be saved. You also say the debate ends when God’s Spirit regenerates the hearts of sinful men and they are brought into submission to what God’s word really teaches. We half agree! You are getting closer to the full truth!

Mr. Butler, I’m assuming that you have never struggled with homosexuality. I’m assuming that you have the common sexual constitution most humans have. If you were gay then you would understand that this thing (homosexuality) doesn’t go away, it doesn’t change. I’ve been a sincere Christian since college because of the wonderful ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I have been a faithful man of God, one who has attempted to live my life according to a Christian worldview. I’ve raised my children in a Christian home, sent them to rigorous Christian school’s, heck I’ve even been a part of starting rigorous Christians academic institutions. And, Mr. Butler, I’ve prayed unceasingly for deliverance from this thing. I’ve also paid many a Christian counselor 1000’s. The only thing I’ve gotten is increasing loneliness, contorted self esteem, and a loveless life. One cannot say that I’ve not attempted with all my being to live the way you prescribe. The basic human fact is that one’s need to be loved, to express love, to share life (all God given things) simply never changes. We both believe that same truth, however you are correct I do now begin with a different presupposition than you because I have lived it… that is God doesn’t change it. And to continue to live under the law as you prescribe forces people to struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, grumpiness and castrated self esteem. You force folks to continually deny the very core of who they are and force them - no guilt them - into attempting to live half heartedly through meaningless “normal/straight” relationships. So, factor into your understanding of the scripture what really happens to people who are dealt the set of cards you call perverse. And let’s remember that they didn’t ask for this hand of cards. They didn’t go looking for a gay constitution. For whatever self serving, fearful reason most “evangelical” theologians simply can’t get outside of what they perceive as “normal” and in the process they commit murder! Yes, I mean they commit murder. Oh.. and before you begin to argue that we should pick up or cross daily and deny ourselves and follow Jesus let me say that we ARE doing that, just as much as you are.

Oh, if you do struggle with homosexuality, then you are only suppressing yourself. My dad use to say you can’t fool a fooler. If you’ve struggled with it, you still do - I know and so do many in my tribe, we’ve done it LONG ENOUGH!

I have a dear friend, his name is Chris (not his real name). Chris is a 33 year old man; A faithful Christian (who is straight). Chris has thought deeply about homosexuality. He simply couldn’t reconcile faith with it for many reasons. Tradition and his own sexuality were the primary ones. He had a friend (and I say had because the friend committed suicide) who struggled with his sexuality. His friend wanted more than anything to share a life with a committed partner. No one would help him reconcile the thing within him. He was told it was wrong. Chris’ friend once asked “If I ever get “married” would you come?” Chris had to answer “no”. Finally, in desperation, his friend hanged himself because he couldn’t take the pressure of a hopeless future, damned to condemnation of friends and family. That incident forever changed Chris. Suddenly he understood how deep this thing is, how it doesn’t change. And then he began to understand God’s word differently. He didn’t revise God’s word, he understood it for the first time!

Mr. Butler, I hope you never have a child or a dear friend deal with this. Because the box you live in will kill a person, it really will. You simply justify what you think the scriptures say because of your self. But homosexuality is not a mere doctrine. It’s much deeper than that. It goes to the very heart of who a person is. And if your doctrine doesn’t help people then it’s rubbish. God is into saving people. The thing you teach doesn’t heal people. Ask any ex-gay if they are healed. They will all tell you no. They learn to limp along, but they aren’t healed. And because their legs are weak, eventually they break. You’re doctrine doesn’t work. Those are the facts. Wake up!

Paul says it like this:

Colossians 2: 20
Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not touch! ? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Mr. Butler, so you won’t fear for my soul.. I pray daily about my life. With all my heart I want to please God and live for Christ. In everything I am and do I want to serve Him, teach others of Him and bless the world. I don’t feel the need to defend myself, nor do I stand in fear of judgment as the scripture teaches that I have passed out of judgment and into life. However, I will stand before God for my works in the flesh. But so will you Mr. Butler. And that will be a fearful thing because things will get burned up. And I must say that I think you have plenty of your own stuff that you should be worried about from what and how you’ve written. I’m not concerned that you are Christian - actually I’m quite certain that you are. I’m also quite certain that you and I are both wrong in many areas. However, I do believe that we both are seeking God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and that He is the one faithful to help us see, understand and know. I’ll see you in heaven, and so will Justin! Heck, maybe we’ll be neighbors! And don’t be troubled by that either.. no one will be gay or straight in heaven. There is no male or female there.

Enough!

Terry

9:04 AM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger Peter D. Nelson said...

So Terry when does the debate begin again? When do you start dealing with the questions asked of you by Fred? I sincerely hope that the emotional outburst you typed was cathartic but it did nothing to prove your point.

And by the way Terry it was the Lord Jesus himself who called the Pharisees children of hell (Matt 23:15) and Fred recognizes the same in those that twist scripture.

1:31 AM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Terry,

I guess I can say I appreciate the passion, but I believe it is going to be more profitable a discussion if we center our disagreement around the areas of thought I outlined in my private email to you. That being, how exactly do you understand the authority, sufficiency, and perspicuity (clarity) of the Holy Bible? Most important: Do you believe it is sufficient and clear? In other words, is the Bible alone sufficient to inform our understanding of how we as people are to engage in sexuality as God designed and intended it to be in His world, and can the Bible alone clearly explain to the reader how God has designed sex and sexuality? Moreover, does the Bible hold the authority to rebuke and correct those who abuse or deviate from God's intended design for sexuality?

You claim in your comments that you are concerned for seeking truth and you affirm that you, along with Justin and all the other "Christian" gays, are truth seekers. Well then, we must seek that truth in the only authority we know to be true, correct? I have yet to see that with any of your objections to my posts. Anecdotal stories filled with emotion about people not "fitting in" and "feeling guilty" do not determine truth. What do you do with those people who were active gays, but repented of their lifestyle and now live joyful lives as heterosexually married individuals? For every emotionally laden anecdote about closet Christian gays, I have one for converted gays.

Moreover, it is a bit disingenuous to be painting me as some Fred Phelps-Westboro Baptist crackpot. I equally condemn their behavior as I would yours. You write:

In his recent response, Mr. Butler continues his un-Christian behavior. He puts Justin (and now me) in the category of the likes of Marcion, Pelagu, Abelard, Servetus, Russel, White and the recently famous David Koresch! He digs himself deeper into his idolatry by saying “I am not OK if we disagree on this matter. I am commanded to contend for the faith, which you and Justin have warped with your apologetic revisionism.

You do understand my point, right Terry? I am not saying you are as infamous as David Koresh. Note what I was saying: My point is that every heretical person through Church History sincerely believes he is seeking the truth. In other words, Terry, sincerity in seeking the truth does not make you correct. Arius (I am only assuming you know who he is) was sincerely seeking truth when he denied the deity of Christ. Yet, he was still wrong and rightly condemned for his heresy.

Additionally, you seem to marginalize man's sin nature and need for redemption, as well as down play the necessity of daily sanctification. This is demonstrated when you write:

Mr. Butler, I’m assuming that you have never struggled with homosexuality. I’m assuming that you have the common sexual constitution most humans have. If you were gay then you would understand that this thing (homosexuality) doesn’t go away, it doesn’t change.

Yes, Terry, I have not struggled with homosexual thoughts; however, I have struggled, and still do struggle to this day, with heterosexual thoughts of lust, pornography and adultery. Would you not agree those are sinful thoughts potentially destructive to me physically and spiritually, as well as my family if I were to engage in them? All men are tempted with some degree of sexual sin. Homosexual lust is not unique at all, nor any more wicked as a man sleeping with multiple women or cheating on his wife. You seem to suggest there is something special about homosexuality that sets it apart as being almost sacred, and hence it is OK. Thus, you and Justin then change the definitions of biblical words to make it justify your desires. I battle sexual temptation daily, even though I am happily married. Yet, I refuse to alter the biblical testimony so as to allow me to justify polygamy because I think one woman is not enough to sexually satisfy me. I do what the Bible says and bring my mind into subjection to God's Word. I pray for God to strengthen me to battle these temptations. I do what Paul teaches in Colossians 3 and mortify the flesh. What he teaches in Romans 12:1,2 and renew my mind daily to replace the worldly thoughts with godly thoughts. Never has God taken away my desires for sexual sins, but through the Spirit's sanctifying grace, I have the ability to keep my thoughts pure. I believe Christian redemption and salvation can provide you this ability as well.

8:12 AM, May 01, 2006  

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