Monday, May 22, 2006

1 corinthians chapter five


jON said...

well, well. a little over a week now, and where does it find each one of us? strengthened in our walk? a little more encouraged to engage the world? a little more open to those who are different from us? a little closer to opening our hearts to everyone and sharing what we have with the world around us? i hope so. i know it is that way for me.

i'm in the mood for something sugary and chewy so i've brought a whole mess of Dots. and toothbrushes for afterwards....

this is some of the stuff i wanted to examine. i haven't read 1 corinthians in a while, but i knew it was more of an opposite letter than many that paul wrote. in a lot of them i get the sense paul is trying to get people to loosen up and enjoy what has been made theirs without fear.

1 corinthians, as i recall, has some of the opposite. the corinthians had no problem embracing and using their freedom. to the point where paul has to try and say, "hey! calm the fuck down! get ahold of yourself!" which is the balance i feel would be useful to me at this juncture in my life.

so let's look at the guy he calls out. had sex with his (assumedly) step-mother. now the phrase "sexual immorality" conjures up all sorts of different ideas for each one of us as they were taught to us by whatever leadership and church culture we found ourselves in. interestingly enough, in leviticus chapter 18, god himself defines sexual immorality through moses and many of the things we have been taught about what is sexual immorality are strangely absent.

but the example and the man paul calls out DOES fall into that god given list. interesting.

and i also find it very interesting that he calls us to abstain from associating with an immoral person who claims to be a follower of christ. and then says that he DOESN'T mean those who are in the world. otherwise we would have to leave the world. very perspective changing and challenging as modern church wisdom generally tells me to avoid immoral people outside the church like the plague. hmmm....

"For what have I to do with judging outsiders?"

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. FOR IN THE WAY YOU JUDGE, YOU WILL BE JUDGED; and by YOUR standard of measure, it will be measured to YOU."

Herschel said...

9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges[b] those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

This is a hard scripture for us today. Paul saying to purge the evil people from among us.

we do not take this seriously in the majority of our churches today i dont think. we are wishy-washy and say things like "well i am a sinner too" which is true. but paul is talking abot those people who are destroying the church from within and you know they are there. if you think right now,you can probably name some people in your church who are like this.

this is a hard issue because i dont want to cut off fellowship with them. To me, that seems like the opposite thing to do-that if we cut off fellowship, we cant help them. but that is not what paul says.

what do yall think?

jON said...

honestly, i think our concepts of immorality and sinfulness are so warped by doctrines and traditions that it would be hard for us to "stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgement." because far too often, when we makes judgements within the church, we make them according to the "moral code" that has been set up by man and not according to the bare word of god.

but that's just been my experience.

if we who are the true church of christ were to rise up and reject the authority of those who have brought us the man made code and required us to worship it, and hand THEM over to satan, that would be another story.

but how could such a thing be done without war breaking out? because if this were to be done, i could not see, with my human mind, any other way. not that it would be the way i would choose, but i would doubt such people, who actually hold many of the leadership positions, would go without a fight.

Herschel said...

of course it would be war..that is why it would be so hard to do what Paul is saying here...

we are so passive here in america that we wish to avoid conflict at any costs, and maybe this is costing us the spread of the Gospel because we are allowing our churches to get so screwed be led by people unfit for leading---to not step up oursleves and lead when we feel God has spoken to us about things...

just a quick update on heather and she is ok...her hands are bruised and she is shaken up but she is ok. she doesnt know about the guy and she asked that we pray for him...thanks guys

jON said...

so are you saying you're now ready to get it on no matter the cost?

because when we first talked about this on whizzle dizzle? in december, you weren't so sure about it.

Herschel said...

im still not so sure about it....thats what i am trying to say and i guess havent been clear...

i myself am passive and have seen some people really do some damage to churches and have not said or done antyhing to help the situations or to deal with said people...

though i do feel myself getting less passive everyday that i learn more about the Word...

and pray...
and serve others...

truly though, im not ready yet, but I think God is bringing me around

jON said...

yeah, i think we're in the same boat. i know god is preparing me for war, but right now it is more of a cave type subterfuge going on. fighting not with physical weapons, but words which break chains. and the more chains and systems of control that are rendered powerless, soon enough the "powers that be" are going to try to put a stop to it.

i just pray for the strength to stand when that day comes. here's praying for you, too. we need to lay it all down and be willing to give it all up. not just in romantic sentimentality, but in truth. be willing to resist even to the point of shedding blood. i know he's preparing me for this, but i would be lying if i said it was easy. or that "fear" wasn't doing everything in "his" power to hold me back.

jON said...

yet, even though i am preparing for death as an eventuality, i have to be honest. war is not what i want.

is it really inevitable?

does it HAVE to be that way? is there honestly no posibility of non-violent resolution? because that is truly what i would desire.

does it come to war because we can envision no other means of resolution?

i admit myself guilty of this.

so is it completely outside the realm of the possible?

Susan said...

It seems to me we are discussing two problems here. Firstly there is the problem in 1 Corinthians 5 of the man presumably sleeping with his step-mother and perhaps the problem is more than that because Paul says v.2 "and you are proud!" and v.6 "your boasting is not good". So to remedy the situation of the man (and also their pride) Paul tells them to expel the man. But this action is supposed to be redemptive v.5. 2 Corinthians 2:4-9 and 7:8-13 are also interesting in this regard if we take "my letter" to be 1 Corinthians.

The second problem is a more general issue. That the attitude of the Pharisees seems to be taking over the church. Interestingly Jesus didn't solve this problem when He was here on earth. He certainly delivered some very critical dialogue aim at them but He never put them out of the synagogue and in the end He allows them to arrest Him. He allows the wheat and the weeds to "grow together until the harvest" (Matthew 13:30).

Tessa said...

Susan, i thought Matthew 13:30 was an insightful answer to that question. Certainly there is always going to be a spiritual war within our own hearts... but a physical one with others? I think that is God's score to settle and his alone, for we can never truly know the hearts of others, and therefore never be justified in our judgement of them.

I have a story about this. A time when a spiritual leader actually expelled a sexually imoral couple from the congregation. I used to attend a smaller non-conventional church on Saturday nights. Most of the members were people who had had bad experiences with other churches, or were just 'unconventional' themselves. There was an unmarried couple who had been living together for a few years that had recently had a child together. The pastor visited their home and told them he believed they were living in sin...
The couple stopped attendign the church. Was this correct procedure? I've always wondered.

jON said...

thank you, susan, for your insight once again.

the more i contemplate where we have come with this conversation, the more i wonder if it is worth trying to "reset" the church. and what i mean is this...

paul is talking about expelling an immoral brother. one who meets the BIBLICALLY GIVEN CRITERIA, as given in leviticus 18, for immorality. there is wisdom in this. but how do we go about judging today? honestly. so much of what we would "discipline" or expel a person for these days has more to do with them not meeting up to the "moral code" that has been invented rather than anything found in scripture. (which i believe to be the case in the example you have given us, tessa.)

and i also wonder how it is we can truly go around looking at passages like this and say that they are things we should start incorporating into church once again when our way of doing church is almost completely removed from the way the early church "did" church. if we really wanted to start practicing this sort of thing, i think we would have to change everything instead of latching onto this one passage about how to "do church" and use it to our own ends to boot anyone who we don't agree with or who makes us uncomfortable.

not saying that that is what you are suggesting, hersch. but that is the outcome that i have seen in people trying to start "discipline" without employing the rest of the bible's directions on what a gathering and community should be like.

which brings me to a place where i think i can tie these two things together and ask again, "is it worth it?" is it worth the pain and struggle of trying to get people "on board" who may NEVER get on board? and are only seeking to destroy you and your faith?

i don't think so. let's look at some more paul... "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."

and that's what i want. as far as depends on me, to live at peace with everyone. to not go seeking war. it may come to me. it may even find me and corner me. but that doesn't mean that i can't turn the other cheek and refuse to engage. and who knows... the more chains and systems of control that you break... it definitely doesn't sit well with people who have the control if you take a look at history.

but while seeking for peace, i want to speak and share god's grace with everyone i come into contact with. which brings more war...

but yet, this world is not my home. it's ALL temporary. eternity is yet to come. the kingdom is yet to come. but yet is. now. among us.

kingdom people celebrate this day. celebrate the grace. celebrate the freedom that grace brings. celebrate the love that grace sends out through us to everyone. celebrate the spirit placed in our hearts as a seal. celebrate the truth the spirit leads us to. celebrate the chains that break and the gates that cannot stand in the face of this truth. celebrate the hearts that become thankful at the loosing of their chains and add their voice to the celebration.

open up to adventure today and see where the spirit would bring you.

be willing.

Trent said...

Hey Jon,couldn't help noticing your emphasis on Lev. 18 as the definitive passage as to what does or does not constitute sexual immorality in God's eyes. Perhaps the absence of "casual sex" between unmarried persons as a punishable offense is part of the attraction. If so, consider Deut. 22 where a young women is considered worthy of death for having been promiscuous prior to marriage, and where both man and woman are liable for death in cases of sleeping together without benefit of marriage. Please note, while the girl is pledged to be married, she is, in fact, a virgin. Her intended marriage has not been consummated and she is not an adultress in any modern contextual understanding. Note that in vs. 28-29, cases of sex outside of marriage or engagement were to result in marriage. While the consequences for this not happening are not spelled out, and I certainly would not suggest they were an unequivocal death penalty, nevertheless, the divine attitude toward "casual" or "recreational" sex between unmarried persons becomes rather clear, don't you think?

jON said...

thank you for the passages. always good to take the whole into consideration. my main concerns have to do with definitions in our modern world. for some people, who have not become a legally married couple, yet are in the truth of the commitment "married", i have a hard time seeing how this type of a relationship is condemned. we who have seen positive examples of marriage and come from that background it can be easy for us to ask, "what's the big deal? get married already!" yet, for many who have experienced nothing but pain from marriage, they have trouble with the label and it actually causes them great damage.

yet, they are committed to their relationship and continue to be faithful to the person they are with for years on end. it is hard for me to not see this as marriage even though, in a legal sense, it is not. yet from a heart sense, it is.

that is what i was getting at. i have never thought that boundry-less promiscuity is advisable.

yet, i also wonder why god, when telling the israelites what sexual immorality is in detail, didn't include more of the things we call immorality today?

and if god didn't explicitly teach them, should we teach them as though he did? i'm not saying that we don't interpret scripture or use it to guide us and set boundries, but when the boundry being advocated is something not explicit, shouldn't we at least be honest about that fact when advocating the boundry?

Trent said...

I'd be curious as to what specifically you have in mind when you speak of the things taught today as being sexually immoral that God didn't specifically teach about.

If God specifically teaching about it is the issue, great day in the morning, we just got a whole lot freer to do a whole shitload (literally) of stuff the Church says is wrong. Abortion isn't mentioned in the Bible. There's not even a faint allusion. Yet the Church categorizing it as murder. Still, is it? God didn't teach about it. Could it be just another issue manufactured by the conservative elements of the Catholic and Evangelical church establishments? And what about so much of the entertainment media? I don't see God addressing it. And yet I see a lot of Christian really bent out of shape about it, and not just the conservative, establishment types, either. What's the big deal? Who cares if I watch a never ending stream of sitcoms and soaps? It certainly doesn't appear God does. If he did, I'm sure he would have said something specifically about it.

So what are those specific examples of supposed sexual immorality that really aren't so immoral because God never said anything about them?

Paul said...

Jon said - "i think we would have to change everything..."

I think you're right. I think we need to STOP the merry-go-round, check out the foundation, see that it is not a Biblical one in most regards, and start over.

RE: the man who sinned - the point that Susan brings up about his pride is significant. This man didn't want to stop what he was doing.

On the other side of the coin, there are people who are caught in sin that are truly repentant (unlike THIS man). We are to GENTLY (and carefully) restore those people. [Galatians 6:1-5]

But we don't do THAT either. Which, is why, we need to change everything.

Paul said...

Additionally, there is some guidance in Paul's words. This MAN has characteristics, if you will, that we can identify:

" this letter I tell you not to associate with any professing Christian who is known to be an impure man..." [Phillips]

"...I am saying that you shouldn't act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can't just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior." [Message]

There are people who profess to be Christians that deliberately sin and even use God's grace as a license to do so.

"...some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license..." [Jude 1:4 - Message]

"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left..." [Hebrews 10:26 - NIV]

Regarding THIS man, Paul says it is our BUSINESS to judge those who are inside the church. [I Cor 5:12 - Phillips]

On the other hand, there are people IN the church that struggle with sin and temptation, often silently - hating their struggle. When these people are confronted their response is usually quite different from the PROUD, arrogant person. THIS person is dealt differently WITHIN the church:

"If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself." [Galatians 6:1 - Message]

jON said...

trent and paul, thanks for stopping back. sorry i'm late. work called again.

and by the way, trent is my brother in law. trent this is everyone. everyone, this is trent.

"If God specifically teaching about it is the issue, great day in the morning, we just got a whole lot freer to do a whole shitload (literally) of stuff the Church says is wrong."

i was floored. you were able to sum up so much in one sentance. and i loved it. i couldn't have said it any better myself. thank you.

for one example, we'll talk about the one that affected me the earliest in my life with church culture. masturbation. i'm not going to go into the arguement over it because we all know the official position. i just have a hard time understanding how we are going to classify something that every male indulges in at one time or another in their life as a sin. to me that almost makes it seem unfair. like making a person feel guilty for breathing. of course i know breathing is something essential for sustaining your physical life. i was just thinking of something that might have to do with similar frequency in a young man's life.

i think it is dangerous to proclaim something that does not have a specific scripture prohibiting said action as a sin. (far worse and far more life destroying than young men enjoying themselves) and then tell people "this is how god feels about it." because without the explicit... we just don't know. we don't. and we should be honest about it. we can let people know what we think and why we are convinced that this is how god feels about it, but BE HONEST AND TELL PEOPLE WE JUST DON'T KNOW AND THEY NEED TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS THROUGH MEDITATING ON THE WORD AND PRAYER! actually give them the option to make up their own mind instead of demanding that they go along with public opinion. instead we tell them that they are "upsetting god" when they are in truth engaging in something that god never spoke directly about. they could be upsetting him, but they might not be. no one truly knows but that person's conscience and god.

i just find it strange that if god was going to actually take the time to lay down his law about sexual immorality, he would leave out so many things that we had to find and figure out for him. is god just lazy? were people really not masturbating then? i don't know. i find it hard to believe that they weren't, but, taking my own advice, i will admit that i don't know for sure one way or the other.

but we tell young men as if we know and then proclaim to them condemnation and guilt for indulgence in this "sin". so much so that it can be difficult and almost impossible for a young man to then be able to embrace his sexual being and his wife's (later) as well.

i think masturbation is a GOOD and helathy thing. i think it helps a person to be more in tune with their own body and pleasures and be better equipped to share those things with their partner. (if they have one) and if not, then why in the world would we ever try to make them feel guilty about masturbating?

i know we use the jesus "lust...heart...adultery" verse for this one, but i am not quite clear on how an unmarried young person is going to committ adultery against someone they're not even married to.

just my thoughts on having lived in bondage for almost 15 years and coming into freedom from the bondage wondering just what the bondage was and where it came from.

turns out it was all the guilt that created the cycle of addiction and darkness. and the source of the guilt was an UNBIBLICAL COMMANDMENT MASQUERADING AS THE WORD OF GOD. that was the source of my bondage. and the source for many others i am sure.

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.
it just seems wrong to me for a few people to be able to decide for the many what is and is not "profitable" for other people's lives based off of their personal walks with god. i think that is supposed to be part of the journey and the building of the relationship with god. to hear him and know how he feels about our life firsthand. not through a mediator. no matter how well meaning that mediator. i think it does more harm than good.

Wendy ftfs said...

" For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."

:-) It always comes down or UP to Jesus doesn't it?

I think Jon is talking about controllers of the body...(NOT shepherds ...they are lovers and protectors) but those who add to the word of God or take from the word of God for their own purposes ... imposing their own values on everyone instead of sticking to the bread of sincerity and truth. And let's add love and compassion to that.
I hear you, Jon and I agree with you mostly that we are humans and need not run around feeling guilty about who we are...and how we are made... We need to keep all things in balance and love one another deeply. Put away the pointing of the finger ... and what happens then? Here is one of the MANY things listed in Isaiah 58
vs 11, "And the LORD will continually guide you."
It is not surprising that our enemy would set himself up inside the church's walls is it? Not at all ... it is where the devil wants to be most of all, like a trojan horse. Or yeast as the apostle Paul says. And it is where we need to keep him out.
1 Cor 5 is about out and out blatant, against the Word of God sin. Not about the maturing of the human body. :-)
Those other grey areas or areas that the Lord doesn't talk about?
I'm thinking that they didn't have the tools to safely abort babies in biblical days ... it would have been out and out murder to ...probably only happened during awful war stuff killing both mum and babe....thus no specific teaching in the law? Except thou shalt not kill... but I do know that the Lord teaches us still today... he speaks to us about the things that break His heart ... and if you look closer at the ten commandments and just about any "rule" that is written in the OT there is ALWAYS His love behind it. Like a loving parent He is saying, "Don't do this ... it will hurt you." We are led under the auspices of love ... it is His message everywhere in every book of the Bible. Aren't we lucky that He has simplified it for our feeble minds. Matthew 22:35

"One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'"This is the great and foremost commandment.


"On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

Trent said...

Howdy, folks.

Just a quick response to Wendy, then Jon, and maybe even Paul.

Wendy, abortion was no less a reality in the days of Moses than it is today. Sheer numbers were certainly less, but since the advent of prostitution (I'm thinking pretty close to the advent of people), there have been ways to induce the premature delivery of unwanted children, and they have been practiced with vigor. Further, the significantly more dangerous climate in which such things would have occurred in Moses' day should make us wonder all the more why God didn't specifically prohibit the practice. But here's a thought. Could it be when God said, "You shall not kill.", it was enough? Could it be when Phil. 4:8 reveals the sorts of things with which we should fill our minds, that's enough, God doesn't need to specifically address a steady diet of Springer or the WB or whatever crap on a stick we're inclined to fill our minds with? Could it be that God's specific Word carries with it inherent principles by which we can extrapolate the "wrongness" or "rightness" of other, non-specified behaviors? For the record, I have no problem calling abortion sin. Is that a blanket condemnation of everyone who's had an abortion, or turning a blind eye to the realities that can drive a woman, young or old, to make this choice? Of course not. Calling something sin, or even calling someone a sinner is something the NT, and NT followers of Jesus, had no problem doing. I'm certainly not going to surrender that for the sake of fleeting cultural sensitivities. But in naming sin, and sinners, the NT, and NT followers of Jesus loved the person in question and ubiquitously sought to bring about a redemptive outcome. Yes, and amen. Our role isn't condemnation, it is, however, at times, to serve as the Holy Spirit's voice in bringing conviction of sin. Because without conviction, there isn't any repentance, and without repentance, there isn't any forgiveness, and...well, you get the picture...Ultimately, my point here is that it's likely every person on this blog considers something to be sin - and in most cases, it's in the life of someone else - that isn't specifically spelled out in scripture. We do so, at times, for all the wrong reasons. However, we do so at other times and places, because we know enough of scripture, and we're sufficiently sensitive to the Holy Spirit, to realize this thing is wrong within the context of a Biblical framework of values.

Jon, I'm sorry you feel the Church has crammed "masturbation is a sin" down your throat, but I'm not sure that's a universal experience. Charlie Shedd, a noted evangelical writer/speaker specializing in family-related issues, was telling the evangelical church 30 years ago not to sweat the issue. James Dobson, I'm sure a poster-boy for much of what you detest about evangelicals, says this in Preparing for Adolescence: "I can't speak directly for God on this subject [masturbation], since His Holy Word, the Bible, is silent at this point...It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God...It does not cause disease, it does not produce babies, and Jesus did not mention it...I'm not telling you to masturbate,...but if you do, it is my opinion that you should not struggle with guilt over it." This from arguably the singly most influential evangelical in American in regards to such matters. It wouldn't surprise me if the message above isn't exactly the message you received from your parents, especially your mother. I could, of course, be dead wrong. But I'm not altogether convinced the only message you've heard from the church is "masturbation bad".

I remember visiting Tom Peterson, the youth pastor at the Covenant Church in TRF where you spent some time. I was a teen and struggling with the guilt of masturbation. He gave me the above message. It helped.

I'm not naive. There are those in the church, big names and no names, who like to turn up the guilt on masturbation, but that is not the uniform, or even the prevailing message of the evangelical church, and it should not be suggested it is.

The real issue with masturbation, as I think we all know, is where your mind goes when you're doing it. Lusting after a woman or man in the heart and mind is sin by Jesus' definition. And when masturbation steps out of the realm of pure, unadulterated physical pleasure, into the realm of "let's imagine what this would be like with that woman, or with that man", there's a problem. I'd love to believe that whenever you all masturbate, you do so with thoughts of praise and thanksgiving to God for this wonderful body he's given you, but like I said before, I'm not naive...

Finally, Jon, as to characterizing something every male does in his life at one time or another as sin, does this mean I'm off the hook for hating my neighbor? I don't know any guy, or any gal, for that matter, who doesn't do that, and yet God characterizes it as sin. In fact, isn't that the whole problem with sin when you get right down to it? It's something everyone of us does at one time or another in our life on a pretty regular basis without any ability in and of ourselves to stop.

Paul, I really appreciated your comments about pride vs. repentence. I've spent the better part of the last 20 years dealing on an almost weekly basis with men and women who struggle with issues of sin that go deep, hold on tight, that serve to kill, steal, and destroy. Excuse the oversimplification, the overgeneralization, but I can say with some sense of long-term perspective these people fall into two broad categories. The largest is those sincere, struggling, good fight of faith, God help me get past this thing sort of people. They work out their salvation with fear and trembling, and, yes, with the counsel, support, love, encouragement, grace, etc. of leaders and peers in their churches. In some cases, the struggle goes on seemingly forever without any hope of victory. Nevertheless, my observation is that these people make it. They fight through to a genuine place of wholeness, strength, purity, holiness, healthy relationship with God. They're not perfect and they're certainly not Polly Anna's, but they look a whole lot more like Jesus and a whole lot less like a hunk of flesh on the end of a demonic puppet string. I appreciate that in your experience you may not be seeing the church doing this sort of thing, but, if it helps, I do see it on an almost daily basis. It's going on all the time in the trenches of what can only be characterized as a spiritual war.

I mentioned two types of people. The second is a much smaller group, but they absolutely break my heart. They make me weep. They make me loose sleep at night. They are those who, for whatever reason, decide they know best. They don't need the guidance of a human shepherd. They don't need the counsel, the iron sharpening iron, of someone having any sort of authoritative voice in their lives. Assuming sole authority (usually posited in terms of some variation of "me and God, we'll work this out") of their lives, it's usually not too long before they've invented some sort of loop hole for their behavior. It's pride. It's the Corinthian brother parading around in his sin as if it were a merit badge instead of something for which to be broken and repentant.
To the humble, God shows himself humble and responsive. To the proud, that's another story. I'll walk a million miles with a broken, repentant brother or sister, be they alcoholic, drug addict, rapist, murderer, child molester or wife beater (and have done so). The guy or gal who spends all his or her time telling me why there's no problem, or why they've been granted some newfound exemption, or why they just want to do whatever the hell they want to do without anyone getting in their face...well, there's reasons Paul turned people like this over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Not a pretty picture, but a HEB. 12 type of disciplinary love, nonetheless.

What!?!?! There's a 500 word max on blog posts!?!? Shit, someone's always trying to steal away my freedoms...

Herschel said...

wow i leave for a couple days and have a book to read...

I love it...

Susan said...

On the subject of things not mentioned in the Bible some months ago there was a debate raging here about stem cell research. According to the media the "church" was against it. (In reality a couple of prominent church leaders were against it.) From my small understanding of the debate I gather the "church" was against it because the research involves using fertilized human eggs which they considered to be "human life". I seriously wonder about this. Biblical references to the unborn are things like, "you knit me together in my mother's womb" and "before I formed you in the womb I knew you". In my opinion and I'm certainly not inflicting this on anyone else (as Jon and others have said people need to make up their own minds and have peace with their own conscience). I think life starts when the fertilized egg embeds itself in the womb and not at the point of fertilization. This means I don't have a problem with stem cell research or IVF but I do have a problem with abortion.

Just thought I'd throw this thought into the mix.

Wendy ftfs said...


btw it's nice to meet one of Jon's family members :-)
If you read what I wrote more carefully, you will see that I didn't say that abortion wasn't a reality... I said this ..."they didn't have the tools to safely abort babies in biblical days ... it would have been out and out murder ... (my opinion... it IS murder still just that it's safer for the woman now.) the POINT was that there was no reason to address it as any issue but murder ... as Susan states the Bible adresses the unborn on several occasions. It even addresses the punishment handed out for the forcing of labour before its time ... Exodus 21:22-25 I can find no mention of purposeful abortion in the Word... anyone else?

So I'll accept your apology now for not reading me carefully or sensitively enough. A serious crime in blog land, actually it is a serious crime in any communication. LOL

Here's hoping that you can take some ribbing,Trent... :-)

jON said...

well gang, my work week is done and i have opportunity to get up to duluth for the weekend and holiday, so i won't be able to take time to continue.

i'll unlock chapter 6, but that in no way signifies an end to the current discussion for me. i always try to let them just go where they will.

enjoy your weekend to the fullest! even in the great white north and the land down under!

Trent said...

Hi, Wendy, you certainly do have my apologies. My experience has been that e-com is a constant dance of trying to understand and be understood. Without the nuance of facial expression, intonation, real time give and take, it can be a crap shoot, but nonetheless, you certainly have my apologies for misreading your remarks...and yeah, I can take a little good natured abuse...This is so short, is it even worth posting?

Paul said...

Trent - I appreciate your insight - it is rich...

Wendy ftfs said...


Oh yea ! ... an apology is never too short to post ... and I thank you from the bottom of my heart ...
Some people find it difficult to apologize ... even to those they care about ... :-)

Thanks again :-)

Much love to you and yours in Christ...

I sincerely hope your weekend has been refreshing and restful ...

jON said...

"I'm sorry you feel the Church has crammed 'masturbation is a sin' down your throat, but I'm not sure that's a universal experience." "But I'm not altogether convinced the only message you've heard from the church is 'masturbation bad'".

i'm not trying to claim universality. i'm simply relaying what my own personal experience has been and its effects on me. for some reason, whatever that reason is, my experience of the church culture which surrounds the truth that we are keepers of has lead me to a very dark and worthless, useless, depressing, and desolate place in my life. and i need to be honest about that. i need to be honest and say that by following "christianity" that my life did not look at all the way i believe it is supposed to.

it was not characterized by love. nor giving. nor hospitality. nor honesty. nor several other things. so, in an effort to enter into life maimed instead of missing it whole, i am gouging out church culture. i am cutting it off. and since i have, i have grown by leaps and bounds and become far more the man god wants me to be than ever before.

as a result of that, i am never going to go backwards at the urging of men. if god himself by his spirit urges me, i will. but no other. for any other seek to bring me back to a place where i am living dishonestly and disobeying god. and i simply cannot obey that, no matter how well meaning it may be.

because, in TRUTH in my experience, christianity never made me desire to stop smoking. something else... has. erin and i are quitting tomorrow, june 1st. christianity never was able to help me get my lust rightly directed or help me feel comfortable with my sexual self. i was chained up in darkness and hiding. something else... has helped me go for more than a week at a time, currently, without pornography or masturbation being turned away from my wife. christianity never helped my wife express a desire to truly get her chemical dependancies under control. something else... has.

so if you want to know what i choose as an expression of my faith in the invisible god revealed in the scriptures and most importantly through the person of jesus, i reject "christianity" and i choose something else...

and i don't feel ashamed of that choice. because i know whom i have believed and am persuaded that HE is able to keep that which i have committed to him against that day. as a matter of fact, once the chains are all off and the destructive voices stop, i am finally free to live and enjoy the life that has been given to me by god. to have life abundant. in truth and love and joy and peace.

and i don't understand why people are so eager to try and kill that. as i said, i'm not claiming universality here. i am only sharing my experience and what has been beneficial to me in my life. if it is not beneficial for you, that's fine. don't go with it. but i think it is ridiculous for people to try to claim that what is ACTUALLY BENEFICIAL for me is not. because that is a lie. and i am tired of having to live lies in order to keep peace with people. so i'd rather live in truth and honesty and light somewhere else doing something else...

Trent said...

Ok, Jon, so you are now hereby exempt from vs. such as Heb. 13:17? I realize vs. such as this have been used and abused, but it does remain the word of God, no? You have no problem hearing God's voice in Trent Rezner and Eddie Vedder. Why is it you are so vehemently disposed against hearing God's voice from those within the Church? And please dont' suggest everything you've heard has been a lie or ministered death. You wouldn't be where you are today, in the positive sense, without the Church, it's people, it's prayers and support, it's teaching, fellowship and encouragement. I'm not convinced it's the Church alone, or even in a primary sense, that has ministered death to you.

In your post, you come very close to the implication you're not ever going to listen to anyone who says anything you don't want to hear. Clearly submission to authority is a dangerous and vulnerable place to be. But outside of Jesus, I don't see any of God's New Testament people who were free to function in libertarian freedom from human sources of authority. In light of 1 Cor. 5, one can wonder if the immoral brother didn't perhaps feel like not listening to Paul because the apostle was trampling on his new found, and apparently very exhilerating, sense of freedom.

jON said...

so when your "leaders" are counseling you to disobey god, whom do you obey?

jON said...

and what about acts 4:19-20? what keeps the apostles from obeying their leaders? is it the fact that since they are no longer traditional jews or members of the synagogue in any sort of traditional way (or perhaps at all) that these men no longer have any authority over them? although these leaders, in the best of their understanding, are trying to produce a godly, peaceful fellowship in line with the scriptures and traditions and in keeping with their authority and using means to exercise their authority, they just did not understand the apostles. for some reason, the truth of what was being said by the apostles was closed to them.

the two groups could go round and round all day. but at the end of that day, the teachers of the law weren't really interested in hearing what the apostles had to say or thinking they could learn anything from them. they just wanted the apostles to get back in line and stop teaching things that were contrary to their traditions, which was just as good as the word of god.

thank goodness the apostles did not obey their leaders.

beyond that, i have to say i am confused. i don't know what authority i am rejecting. i have done what was asked of me. i stopped talking on myspace and am leaving everything in your congregation well enough alone. what problem still remains? what is it that you and bob want, exactly? why are you chasing me down here? what do you want from me?

Trent said...

Whoah, Jon, lighten up! No one's chasing you down or seeking to persecute you. Your statements raise questions in my mind, I ask them. I'm just seeking to clarify and understand. You declare a new freedom, a new peace, a new understanding, pretty much a new everything in regards to your spiritual experience. I'm just trying to get a sense of what it looks like and how it fits with scripture.

I haven't accused you of disobeying anyone, a spiritual authority or otherwise. I've simply asked about your statements regarding how it is you hear from God and whether they jibe with a pretty clear message in the NT that other people, and yes, often times people in authority over us, are a primary means God uses to speak to us.

I'm sorry, my experience is that I don't always hear so well from God when left to my own devices. The wisdom and experience of others is often a filter by which God helps me to discern when what I'm hearing is legit, when it's just me being me, and when it's the deceptive voice of the enemy. Perhaps you've achieved a maturity where that is no longer necessary.

As to the Acts 4 reference. In what sense was the Sanhedrin a spiritual (as opposed to political) authority in the life of the early church? The Sanhedrin were not followers of Jesus, were not filled with the Holy Spirit, were not recognized as such by the apostles or Church, They were respected by the apostles and Church as authority figures in the national life of the Jewish people (The Romans were respected by the apostles and the Church in the same way.), but they were in not recognized as spiritual authorities. If you're suggesting that all Church leadership today is not following Jesus, is not filled with the Holy Spirit, is not, in reality, the Church, than by all means disregard anything and everything any Church leader says to you. But if that's your contention - that all Church leadership today is the equivalent of the non-believing Sanhedrin - well, the logic and perspectives that provide the foundation for that contention are worthy of further consideration, to say the least.

Traditional Church leadership is criticized for being defensive and unwilling to respond to questions, in many cases, with good reason. But maybe those traits are not confined merely to traditional Church leaders, but to all of us when forced to confront the implications of our beliefs and practices.

I love you, Jon, think the world of you, hope and pray the best for you, and am sorry to have offended you so.

Wendy ftfs said...

erin and i are quitting tomorrow, june 1st.

Awesome !!!!

I'm praying that you will be successful, dudes.

Hugs and Kisses !! :-)

jON said...

it's not you in particular. it's just the religion of christianity in general. i don't have time to get into it right now, but i will be back later tonight with more. my main problem is that the religion of christianity at large has become what the religion of judaism was when jesus was around. both were founded on truth, but had(have) become removed from the original spirit. humans built up traditions around the truth to protect it, and over time, those traditions became taught as if they were the truth itself. when they are not.

Trent said...

I appreciate what you're saying Jon, I really do, but I don't think the analogy is valid. In God's plan, Judaism was never intended to be more than a pre-cursor - a temporary covenant designed to teach the hopelessness of ever being "good enough" in ourselves - to the ultimate covenant of grace accomplished in Christ's death and resurrection and worked out in practical reality through the Body of Christ, the Church. You can name it "Christianity", but it's pretty difficult to separate "Christianity" from the Church, unless you're going to begin defining "Christianity" solely in terms of those aspects and elements of the Church you deem "un" or "anti" or "extra" Biblical. Everybody's free to define things however they want, I guess, but that's not a definition most are going to relate to. If you were living in S. Korea, or W. Africa, or Argentina, I think you're definition of Christianity would be significantly, and more positively different. I think you'd have a very difficult time separating it from being synonymous with the Church, and with God's people.

You may not like the word, but I continue to equate "Christianity", the good and the bad, because they're inseparable in many ways, with the Church - "the Church" as defined by Scripture. I love the Church, Jon. How can I not? EPH. 5:22-32 says Christ loves the Church, dearly, tenderly, sacrificially. Does that mean he doesn't abhore it's abuses and shortcomings and failures, etc. ad nauseum? Of course not! But Christ loves the Church with all her spots and wrinkles just the way he loves you and me individually with all ours (And yes, he wants to change the Church corporately every bit as much as he wants to change us personally). You, as much or more than anyone I know, would emphasize Christ's love for everyone and our personal responsibility to feel and do the same. Yet, while I could be wrong, it seems to me you find it hard to recognize Christ's love for the Church and to feel and do the same in your own attitude and response to it. You might not like the v., but 1 Tim. 3:15 calls the Church God's household, the pillar and foundation of "the truth" (Notice the article in the original text, not just "a" truth in some abstract, general sense, but THE TRUTH!) I'm not aware that v. has been revoked. Jesus is returning to present to himself a bride, radiant, without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. This bride is the Church (Eph. 5:25-27), nobody else. And that she will be all those incredible things is testimony to Jesus' incredible grace and mercy, just as the fact you and I will,in all our individual crap, somehow be glorified and perfected at his return is also a testimony to those things. Why we are willing to be so accepting of the individual, with all his or her crap, but so condemning and rejection-oriented to the corporate entity (which Jesus loves), whose crap is nothing more than the accumulation of individual crap, is beyond me.

Does modern Christianity have Pharisaical elements? Sure it does. The Jerusalem Church less than 25 years after Jesus' resurrection had Pharisaical, legalistic elements, why would it be any different today? I don't see Paul telling the Jerusalem Church to fuck off because it was the source of all sort of confusion, hindrance and resistance to his message of grace. I see him taking up a love offering on its behalf, recognizing it, for all its problems, as a mother and a brother and a sister. Consider praying about the possibility God might want you to have a more loving, charitable attitude toward your less than perfect brothers and sisters, "Christians", practicioners of "Christianity", the Church, God's people - God knows it how you want them to view you.

"Christianity"/the Church for all its imperfections, is not the equivalent of 1st century Judaism, not in terms of what scripture says, not in terms of God's overarching plan in history, not in terms of his plan and purpose for it today, not in terms of what it's doing to usher in the kingdom of God. Please, offer to the Church, its leaders and its people, some of the grace you're so anxious to receive from it and them.

jON said...

i think we have simply come to a splitting of hairs over words. i love god's people as much as you do. i love the way they shuck the world in favor of his voice and run after him into the depths of wherever he would call them.

i simply have problems with a system which has been set up for discipline (and rightly so) that sometimes also doubles (unintentionally) as a way to try to keep someone from believing that they themselves can hear god's voice and follow. (when it disagrees with the leadership and their interpretations of scripture. and we can even argue over this...but i'm not really interested in doing so.)

at the end of the day, your relationship and experiences with the church have been what they have been and you are where you are because god has called you to be there. be thankful for that.

i am where i am because i am also called of god. and i believe god has showed me some things in my own life and the life of the "religion of the tares" (does this clarify?) that is so intimately tied to the real church that many, MANY young people are leaving the church in droves because they have not been able to experience the true "wheat experience" as much as they have suffered much mental and emotional abuse at the hands of the "tares".
i find myself as one of the latter. that does not mean that i have never been blessed by the church or that i have not received good things. or even the instruction and tools that i employ even now to read and understand god's word.

but i have been shown how, in too many ways, our human interpretations of scripture, our doctrines, can become a muzzle over the mouth of god and his Word. keeping people from having faith that they are hearing from god, or that they themselves can even hear from god. in too many ways and in too many places people have their church leadership as mediators between them and god telling them what it is that god is saying to them. but how can a leader honestly know what god would want to say to or ask of another individual? short answer is that they can not.

my desire is not to be rebellious, but to finally obey god and only him. to stop being a "nice guy" ever accomodating those humans around me. that does not mean that i am not a servant... far from it. but rather, i am not going to let other people dictate for me what it is that god would have me do with my life. following that has lead me to much death in my life. and i would rather have life.

in the christian church at large in our culture (not saying anything personal here to you or Hope) "we" have layed down new commandments for ourselves. we have created new law. and we tell people to obey these commands is to obey god. and inversely, to disobey them is to disobey god. keeping people in a box of fear for the purpose of manipulating them into a place of uselessness as pertains the kingdom.

now, this is not being done by any one person knowingly, but rather it is the enemy who has infiltrated and is orchestrating it all. for in stealing our freedom to make choices for ourselves on an even playing field with god, we are returned to a "works salvation" based on law. and law brings death. (see rom.7:6-13)

freedom in the spirit brings life and life abundantly. if someone tells me not to bang my head against a wall, for some reason, it springs to life something inside of me (sin) that desires that thing more than any other thing. and it begins a cycle of self destruction. take away the commandment so that i am now free to do whatever i wish and banging my head against a brick wall doesn't even sound like a good option. or if it does and i indulge, it becomes clear VERY quickly why this is not beneficial.

we must remove the commandment. we must remove the law. that was the reason for the cross. grace for freedom. no condemnation. and people need to know. they need to know it's already been done.

i live now how i do for the purpose of cleansing my heart out of all of the long held death and rebellion. and quickly, things that are not healthy and beneficial are being found out. and without commandment to produce the rebellion, in light of wisdom and the word and the spirit, quickly dry up and fade away.

if i have something in my heart and do not act on it because someone else told me not to, but i still desire that thing with all of my being, it is no different whether i act out on it or not. (save natural consequences) that thing still rules in my heart and holds my affections. it is only in acting out these things that i can finally learn what is honestly in my heart and holds my affections. as well as learning FOR MYSELF what is and is not beneficial for who it is god is calling me to be.

believe me. if you love god and listen to his spirit and read his word, he will guide you to be the person you are called to be. not only by accepting you now as you are, and accepting whatever you have to offer in service of the kingdom; but also in listening and leading you on in obedience to become more like christ as you grow in small steps of obedience, wherever you are able to start.

and as far as being able to hear god... i am firmly convinced that right now, ALL people to whom i am close and have had trusted relationship with in my physical world (i.e. my family and the members of my "own house"), have their ears closed to me to test me to see if i will follow god or if i will follow man. even close, godly, trusted leaders. will i obey what i am CERTAIN god is asking of me? or am i going to allow those who do not know what god is asking of me to lead me away?

and that is why, for now, the traditional is death to me. for i believe in my heart that the man made doctrines and traditions have become an idol that people worship in the holy place. and i can no longer bow before it in good conscience knowing my god to be a jealous god.

so any counsel to the contrary, no matter how well meaning, is going to, at its end, be counsel for me to worship an idol.

if you fear for me, pray for me. that the spirit would lead me into all truth. because now, i am at a place where if i listen to another voice, i am being an adulterer.

that's just how it is. i can't explain it any better. when i follow this voice, my light grows brighter and my fruit grows in abundance and the spirit inside of me spills out all over into the lives of those around me who desperately need it.

when i listen to men and begin to think maybe i shouldn't be doing things like this, maybe i should tone it down, maybe they do know better than me because they are older and wiser and more trained and i am only a uneducated pizza guy, the light grows dimmer and my abundance of fruit rots instantly on the vine.

i MUST follow the light. i MUST follow the voice of the shepherd. i have no choice. this is my eternal destiny on the line! and on The Day when he looks me in the eye knowing that i KNEW that i heard him, i don't want to have to look away ashamed knowing i did not obey because my pastor or my elder or my family told me i was being mislead. YOU will be guiltless because you are doing what you are supposed to do. i will not be because i have heard him speak. whom will i obey?

i know where you stand and what you concerns are for me. please let them go at that for awhile. allow me to continue to listen to god's voice and grow. give me some "gamaliel leeway", please?
for when you speak to give counter balance, for now, as i said, it simply kils this new young faith that god is birthing in me and tempts me to follow you instead of him. so instead, as i said before, please pray rather than speak.

“Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Trent said...

Jon, that all sounds great. It does leave me wondering what the heck Paul and a host of others were doing, having won converts and discipled them in the basics of faith, but then proceeding to continue teaching, discipling, disciplining. Why didn't they just leave all those poor people alone to study and listen to the Holy Spirit themselves? Were they controlling? Trying to ensure that everyone's faith looked the same? Or could it be something else at work? Perhaps the wisdom of elders being imparted to "youngers", the accountability and mutuality of community in action. I don't see much of a NT pattern for your "go it alone" approach to faith. That is has produced several theological "semi-convictions" that are questionable to say the least, only confirms the dangers of the approach. But I love you anyway, and always will...