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The Gods of Liberalism Revisited


The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever.  But how can we escape the snare?



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pope Benedict On Marriage

In line with at least 6000 years of human history, Pope Benedict confirms God’s plan for men and women, vis-à-vis sex and marriage.

VATICAN CITY [Reuters]: Pope Benedict said Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

The Church "should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration.

"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound."

The pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman. He compared behavior beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work."



Bob Ellis said...

Indeed. "Listen to the language of creation."

Isn't it interesting how we work so hard to deny the obvious conclusion right in front of our face?

This tendency speaks volumes as to the darkness of the human heart...and our need for God's light of truth to fix it.

cinemaphile85 said...

May I ask what denomination you are?

Dr. Theo said...


Bob Ellis said...

I don't know if you're asking me or Dr. Theo, but as for me, no you may not.

I'm not ashamed of the denomination I belong to, but because some folks are so touchy about denomination, I decline to name it. It is really of secondary or tertiary importance.

I have friends in pretty much every major or semi-major denomination you could think of, and we often work together to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ on projects in our area an in our state, and also on projects to defend God's principles in the public square.

We sometimes disagree on some relatively minor and less-than-100% clear doctrinal issues, but we agree on the major tenets of the faith (such as are found in the Apostles Creed), that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, that God values human life, and has a design for all aspects of human existence.

I believe several denominations are represented here in both the exclusive and syndicated content at Dakota Voice.

cinemaphile85 said...

Sorry, that question was for both of you. I should have made that more specific.

Dr. Theo,

I'm a little confused by your answer, because "Christian" can encompass probably more than you want it to. For instance, some Christians don't believe that Christ was literally born of a virgin. Others believe you can genuinely be a gay Christian, and that you don't have to belong to a church or attend regularly to sufficiently serve God. Catholics, like Pope Benedict, believe that evolution does not contradict the Bible. Many (too many for comfort, in my opinion) believe that each and every word of the Bible is literally from God himself and that despite centuries of man-made and therefore fallible editions, translations, mistranslations, and intentional alterations, that the Bible has not lost a single iota of its original message or substance. Are you sure you don't want to be more specific? I'd hate for someone to make false assumptions about you.


You're obviously entitled not to answer, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a cop-out. Looking at your blog, it seems that you write ONLY about topics that make people uncomfortable, both within and without the Christian community, and you make sure to leave little doubt as to where you stand on each issue. I'd venture to say that Christians are far more touchy about abortion and homosexuality than they are with denomination, which, as you said, is of secondary importance. So I'm having a hard time understanding why that particular subject is off-limits.

Is it because you know how divided the Christian community already is, and you don't want to add fuel to the fire?

Bob Ellis said...

There are liberals within almost every if not every denomination who flatly reject what God says plainly on issues such as innocent human life and homosexuality. This un-Biblical liberalism is much more prevalent in some denominations than in others, but after many years of observation, study and reflection, I'm convinced that--as in almost any segment or grouping of society--in every Christian denomination there are some people who are interested in learning and following the truth, and there are some who'd like to keep doing what they're doing while fooling themselves with a superficial veil of Christiology.

Denomination is therefore unimportant, and since I'd rather anyone of any denomination who comes here be able to be helped by the information without the potential of getting stuck on denominational lines.

Dr. Theo said...

You make a legitimate point, Cinemaphile. It is unfortunate that "Christian" does not always mean Christian.

Jesus, the apostles and the early church fathers made it quite clear what it means to follow Christ. I believe the Bible to be the Word of God and literally true in its original writing. Translations can be tricky because they always involve some subjectivity. That is why I read at least three different versions if there is any question about the meaning of a passage.

Before the time of Jesus Jews had little understanding of verses in Isaiah 53, in which His torture and death are described in detail (600 years before the events!). It was only after the events came to pass that the meaning became clear. Likewise, there are things in the Bible that I do not fully understand, but I have faith that they are accurate and true.

The Apostles' Creed, or Nicene Creed, was written in 325 AD to answer the heresy of Gnostics who had infiltrated the church. These heretics claimed to be Christians but they denied foundational precepts such as the virgin birth and the humanity of Jesus, His death and resurrection. The Church fathers denounced them as "sons of Satan" and advised Christians to avoid any contact with them (Eusebius).

Little has changed in the intervening years except that, in an attempt to be more ecumenical, we have become less discerning and more tolerant of heresy, to the detriment of Christians that truly seek Truth in Jesus Christ. That is why I attend a church that is based exclusively on the Scripture, and on the rare occasions that something is said that I believe is extra-Biblical, I question immediately.

I do not claim a denomination. I have been called a “fundy” and a “christer” and a “religious bigot” by some, but I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.

cinemaphile85 said...

If I may venture a guess...are you a Catholic? You don't seem like the type of believer who would let a fallible German monk come along and change the immortal rules of Christianity according to his mortal interpretation.

Or maybe you're non-denominational? After all, the Catholic Church may have been the first and at one time ONLY avenue through which people could experience God, but that doesn't mean it's the correct way.

cinemaphile85 said...

Bob, my post at 10:47 is addressed to you. It appeared as I was writing the one below.


Thanks for the thoughtful answer, Dr. Theo. I really like learning about how the Bible has evolved, and it's important to remember that every time it's translated or revised, we take it further and further away from its original form and therefore its meaning.

It's good that you read at least three different interpretations if you ever question something. It tells me you're committed to understanding what you believe, and I like that. But it worries me for three reasons:

1) Unless those versions are written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, you are not getting the genuine content. We often forget that a text's original language is an essential, inseparable component to the text itself. The "truth" you read today is NOT the same as what the first Christians read.

2) Even before you question something in the Bible, you have already concluded that it should be accepted as true and that it makes perfect sense, so there really is no point in questioning. Despite appearances to the contrary, there is no such thing as academic theological pursuit, because you already know what conclusion you want to reach and make the evidence fit accordingly. Would it be ethical to encourage your students to take the same approach in a laboratory?

3) The Bible may very well have been written by God, but it was certainly edited by man. And that makes all the difference in the world. The bound book you hold in your hands did not fall from heaven that way. Men decided which parts they would keep and which they would leave out. Do you trust that they made the right editorial decisions?

You know that highly secured library in the Vatican that only a few select people can access? I often wonder what they have locked away in there. It's obviously something they don't want us to hear. Knowledge is power, as the old saying goes. And boy does the Vatican have power!

Bob Ellis said...

As I said, I don't discuss my denominational affiliation here. You also seem to make unfounded assumptions about German monks.

Dr. Theo said...

The Bible books that are extant today are virtually identical to the word with the earliest codices, some dating well before the time of Christ. Same for the New Testament. There is no evidence that any parts or verses of the Bible have been substantially changed (unless, of course you believe the likes of Dan Brown).

cinemaphile85 said...

Hey hey, you calling me a Dan Brown disciple?! That was below the belt! :-P

Even if what you say is true, I'll reiterate what I said above in point 3: man, not God, ultimately determined which books would make it into the Bible. So it doesn't matter if today's translations are virtually identical to the original text unless the entire Bible is in fact present.

And the fact that the Vatican Secret Archives holds thousands of items that aren't allowed to be made public means the Catholic Church knows more than it's telling us. If that doesn't disturb you, it should.

She Blinded Me With Scientology said...

This is a sensitive issue, but the Bible does not treat homosexual relationships any differently to heterosexual relationships. The Bible clearly states that any sexual relationships outside marriage are sins against God. Thus the only sexual relationships which are endorsed by the Bible are those that take place between a husband and wife in marriage.

Dr. Theo said...

Cinemaphile you should read a little church history written by some of the people who were there. Eusebius, Origen and Justin Martyr would be a good start.

The canon that is accepted today did not come about by the vote of Catholic leaders or by restricting access to competing gospels. By the middle of the second century 21of the 27 books that today comprise the canon were already accepted by the churches throughout the Christian world. The criteria for acceptance were apostolicity, orthodoxy and catholicity. Was a book written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle (apostolicity)? Did it conform to the teachings of other books known to be written by apostles (orthodoxy)? Did a majority of churches accept it (catholicity)? Only if a book met these criteria was it worthy of being considered part of the canon.

The Muratorian Canon (late 2nd century) was accepted by all the churches of the time, although some books remained in dispute. James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 John and 3 John were not included until
367 A.D. when Athanasius provided the first list that included all the 27 books of the New Testament. This canon was accepted first in the eastern churches but in 393 A.D. Augustine endorsed the same list in the West, and Jerome included these in his latin translation of the Vulgate.

Dan Browns claim that the canon was imposed by Constantine is pure fiction. The presentt 27 book canon was not recognized until three decades after Constantine's death. He could not have closed the canon, as Brown claims.

As William Barclay, the famous Scot theologian said, "The New Testament books became canonical because no one could stop them doing so."

The myth of the Vatican library is one that will never die because there will always be the gullible, eager to accept great conspiracy theories because these fit their world-view. The Vatican library is used by thousands of scholars every year and no one alleges a secret archive. There are some very valuable ancient texts that are available only to scholars with specific credentials, but there is no evidence that the Vatican holds an archive of early gospels rejected by Contanatine or anyone else.

For the record, I am not Roman Catholic, but I lecture occasionally on church history.

She Blinded Me With Scientology said...

It is always difficult to select verses from the Bible and hold them up as the true word of God if you are going to ignore other opinions which are now considered old fashioned or incorrect. Slavery is justified in the Bible, yet the modern world sees this as unacceptable. Surely the point is whether you are a good Christian, not who you choose to sleep with.

Bob Ellis said...

Slavery as we understand it today is not justified in the Bible; it is regulated. The Bible records many things in historical fashion that God never approved of (e.g. the adultery of King David), and God occasionally regulates things he does not approve of in order to mitigate the consequences of what Jesus called the "hard hearts" we humans sometimes have.

One cannot sleep with someone outside of what God has made clear he approves of (i.e. your own husband or wife) and be a Christian in good standing with God.

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