Friday, February 24, 2006

The twice-dead


And while you're exegeting my statement, try properly exegeting these verses:

12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge. 13 For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, 14 or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. 16 As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. 17 Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor. [I Peter 1:12-17]

9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For “Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; 11 let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. [I Peter 3:9-16]

I don't have to follow this advice, but with only a few exceptions I think I do much better than they do at following it, and I don't claim to have the Holy Spirit helping me either.

posted by exbeliever


Although this question was directed at Evan, I’ll add my two cents’ worth.

In context, the passages from Peter refer to the way in which 1C Christians should treat their 1C pagan neighbors who have no prior background in the Christian faith.

As such, they have no bearing on the present kerfuffle. So that, Exbeliever, is the proper exegesis of these verses.

There are, however, quite a few verses which do have a direct bearing on the current kerfuffle—those dealing with apostates and false teachers. Just to give you a little flavor of the tone taken towards this category of individuals:

Acts 8 (New International Version)

20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

1 Timothy 1 (New International Version)

8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Hebrews 10 (New International Version)

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

2 Peter 2 (New International Version)

1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.

Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

Jude 1 (New International Version)

3Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.



  2. Willis,

    There are so many omissions and equivocations, not to mention a few lies, in that video, it's hard to know where to start. But I figure I'll start with a philosophical objection: it assumes the historical unreliability of the Gospel of Mark in order to prove its historical unreliability, i.e., it claims that Mark had to have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem since it contains prophecy thereof. Not very convincing unless you have already presupposed a naturalistic framework.

  3. The funny thing here is the Ex-believer has gone out of his way to say he is acting in a detached fashion, yet he keeps writing these jeremiads. He also says he's going to stop responding...but he keeps responding. He would want us to believe he has no agenda, but to "refute" Evan, he picks up on a passage of Scripture dealing with 1st century Christians who were also being persecuted by the pagans around them and suffering for their faith. One wonders, is Ex-believer now admitting he does have an agenda and that it includes causing sufffering for the faith on the part of Christians? If we assume his use of v. 9, for example, is correct, then it would also mean that he has himself abused and done evil and believes that we at Tblogue are repaying him in kind.

    No, Ex-believer. You are an admitted apostate. Under the Old Covenant, we would be stoning you. In the New Covenant, we simply put you out of the church and treat you as an unbeliever. More than that, we have every license to treat you in the manner in which you are being treated, because you are a traitor to the covenant who seeks to directly undermine the faith you once claimed. You are no mere ignorant pagan. Don't flatter yourself. You said you were Reformed. You should, then, understand that we affirm continuity, not radical discontinuity between the covenants.

    There are so many omissions and equivocations, not to mention a few lies, in that video, it's hard to know where to start. But I figure I'll start with a philosophical objection: it assumes the historical unreliability of the Gospel of Mark in order to prove its historical unreliability, i.e., it claims that Mark had to have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem since it contains prophecy thereof. Not very convincing unless you have already presupposed a naturalistic framework.

    Yes, and in dating Mark in such a fashion and assuming the standard liberal scheme does the skeptic no favors.

    The typical scheme starts with Mark and ends with John. Okay, so far, so good, this is a scheme some conservatives use too. However, the scheme the skeptic assumes to maintain a thesis to contradict the veracity of the text also asserts that "mythological elements" accrete over time and stories grow in content.

    If the skeptic would apply some critical thinking here, he would realize the problem...but then given that most of them don't take the text seriously anyway, what can we expect. Of all the gospels, Mark, which is supposedly first, contains the most "mythological elements." John, the last one, contains the least such elements, which runs exactly contrary to the theory. Mark also contains small details the supposedly later gospels do not include, which is also contrary to the theory of accretion. One would expect, if this scheme was valid to see the opposite. I believe Guthrie has stated that most if not all the problems associated with the synoptic problem are solved by positing Matthean priority. Of course, this is fairly typical critics don't interact with conservative scholarship very much. Take a look at any liberal commentary; they quote each other. Compare the index to a conservative commentary. They interact at length with the contrary position frequently.

  4. Okay, this is definitely the LAST time I am dealing with you guys.

    So, I'm supposed to trust your exegesis of passages, when you miss the biggest freakin' red letters on the planet that say, "The following is added by John..." [That's John Loftus, not exbeliever] and then go on to attribute the whole thing to me? You address all of your comments to me when I didn't write anything that you quoted.

    It's called reading, my friends. I'm afraid that this is typical of your intellectual abilities.

    So, am I going to get an admission of a mistake?! Are you going to admit that you can't read for crap and that you missed those huge red letters that I saw at 3:00 pm this afternoon that explicitly state that I wrote NOTHING that you quoted.

    I won't hold my breath.

  5. You could consider yourself lucky, exbeliever. In a previous era they would have tortured you and burned you alive. Atheists don't deserve apologies because they are less than human. And once you demonize your opponent you can do anything you want to them.

  6. And look how they can sidestep what the Bible says. Isn't that interesting when it doesn't suit them. I suppose someone could also say that only those who have never heard of the gospel need to hear it too. Since we've heard it, they don't need to tell us about it. Or, the command to love others only applies to those who know nothing about the gospel too.

    Gerrymandering. That's what I've seen so often from Christians who want to justify most anything they want to. And as we look down through the history of the church they have indeed done just that.

    But to think that the NT contains different and even contradictory approaches to handling unbelievers is something they would never think of accepting.

  7. John and exbeliever, you're coming across as hysterical atheist neophytes. Like the crowd at "The Raving Atheist" or Atrio's site at about three in the morning. (One of the Atrios crowd explained to me that Christianity didn't begin in America until the 19th century. Before that people believed in God, not Christ.) I tend to take a simple approach with atheists, just stating my faith, my experience and how it all works; but Hays and Manata and Bridges and the others here will play with you on your own territory using your own language. To make the debate more interesting just approach them as if everybody's been vetted already as a real fighter with a history of victories, and take it from there. When you freak out and dismiss them as you've been doing you come across around these parts as the most intellectually weak Roman Catholic apologists come across...

  8. Question for the Triabloguers: do you think any of the Catholic Supreme Court Justices are serious about Christian doctrine? If so, that would make an interesting debate... (They'd lose, but, you know, at least it would be interesting, most likely...)

  9. Im an evangelical protestant medical missionary/academic, and may not technically have a dog in this narrow fight, but what the hey.."why would they automatically lose?" Why would jurists who have a basic core judeo-christian underpinning behind their analysis, necessarily "lose" any more so than jurists who had an atheistic Mao-ist communist, or atheistic Stalinist, or very liberal leftist juristic secular humanistic ideological underpinning? atheists conveniently like to forget their abysmal history of political and juridical rule!