Monday, March 2, 2009

But such were some of you!


The California State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control brought charges against a popular gay club in San Francisco and is in the process of taking away their liqueur license.

I know that is a strange way to start a Christian blog posting. But the article where this information is found has something to say about community values and I have been searching for a way to do a posting without offending my Christian readers.

I will not link to the article because of some rather offensive advertisement, but will write about the information and do some quoting. The article is taken from the Bay Area Reporter a gay and lesbian paper in the Bay area.

The club has been charged, among other things, with 33 instances of nude dancing and nude serving of drinks, and either actual or pretended sex including sodomy and bestiality.

After reading about the charges, charges that the owners did not deny, it was their defense that amazed me.

The reporter after hearing by e-mail from the main owner wrote this:

“In an e-mail to the B.A.R., the club's main owner, Jamie Zawinski, insisted that the ABC has taken such a hard line against him because ‘we had the audacity to appeal their denial of the conversion of our license from 21+ to all ages, and win. It's very rare for a nightclub to convert from 21+ to all ages, and ABC apparently didn't like that at all. I believe their current actions are retaliatory.’

Zawinski also wrote that based on the testimony of the ABC employees during the hearing it was obvious they do not understand San Francisco's ‘community values,’ noting that one undercover officer stated he was unsure if a performer named ‘Lola’ was a man or a woman.

'It seems to me that the ABC investigators have no understanding of gay culture or what gay clubs are like," wrote Zawinski, who opened the club in 2001. ‘It sounded to me like the guy had never seen a drag queen before. ... That sounds like a Sacramento suburbanite cop. So I suspect that the severity of the punishment they are asking for has something to do with the fact that gay activity freaks them out.’ (Emphasis mine.)”


After reading about this community’s values and their supposed culture I could only think of some ancient biblical city such as Corinth. Also the whole of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 came to mind. Paul pointing to the sin of fornication, idolatry, homosexuality, thievery, covetous, drunkenness, reviling and swindling, reminds the Christian community of where they have been and where because of Jesus Christ they now are.

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (11)

I also thought of the last two minute speech I made at our Presbytery meeting. It was the last speech. Yes, I was the only person to be so foolish as to try a second time to explain my reasoning for voting against amendment B.

I had written something down several days before Presbytery but knew I needed to read it to get it just right. So I said something else the first time.

But between each amendment voted on, we did a responsive reading which always started with Micah 6:8. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

And I had used that verse in my written speech. So when I sat down the first time God just kept pushing me back to the line. So here is the end of it.

“I plead with you, do justice to those broken by sexual sin, leave a standard for them to be guided by. Love kindness, include those broken by sexual sin among those who may by repentance be enfolded into the life changing grace of God. Walk humbly with your God, be obedient to his word allowing room for repentance by those who are trapped in sexual sin. Acknowledge God’s wonderful provision of change through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Vote no on amendment 08-B"

May all be delivered from the so called "community values" of San Francisco.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Viola

What in the world were you doing on the Bay Area Reporter website in the first place? Were you just looking for something to be outraged about?

Reminds me of a story in the city live. A women’s group was holding a reception in a mansion on the grounds of a city-owned facility. They soon learned that an art group was holding a drawing class in another building on the grounds using a nude model. Not satisfied with hearing the story, they all trotted to the other building, peeked in the window to view the nude, and of course, returned expressing outrage at what they had seen. The city asked the art group to leave.

I wonder how many of your “Christian readers” have now visited the Bay Area Reporter website.

John McNeese
Ponca City, OK

Alan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Shuck said...

...and Tennessee.

Like the values of a couple in my church who just celebrated their 22nd anniversary.

They have been together in fidelity to their covenant longer than most heterosexual couples.

They serve Christ and the church.

Those are the people that the current G-6.0106b attempts to keep from serving.

John Shuck
Elizabethton, Tennessee

Viola Larson said...

John that’s a fair question; I came upon the Bay Area Reporter when I was writing my posting “Professor Erwin C. Barron's position on LGBT ordination and marriage" at http://naminghisgrace.blogspot.com/2008/11/professor-erwin-c-barrons-position-on.html.

Since I live in California where there is a big debate over proposition 8 and I am very concerned about the issue I have used that paper as a source of information by those in the gay community. I should also add that I am a woman, nosey and have always thought like a researcher.

I have heard that story before, and forgive me but I have always considered it rather dumb.
Viola Larson
Sacramento, Ca

Viola Larson said...

John, (Shuck)
It was the comment about the Community values of San Francisco that caught my attention. Not, Tennessee. However, I was hoping that some in the gay community would comment saying those are not values but sin. (I would say that on the same issues about a straight club.) Is the owner trying to appeal to the gay community in SF in order to save his club? Will they all agree with him or be angry that he said what he said.

Still, we are all sinners. And some are sexuality broken and need the redemption and transformation of Jesus Christ; as we all do. We as a church should not be setting aside a guidelines for those who in this day and age desperately need the guidelines and the offer of transformation.

timeforthetruth said...

Thank you Viola for your impassioned plea of true justice.


You'll have to excuse me Mr. Shuck, but what exactly is your point about a lesbian couple that have lived in an immoral long-term relationship? What is it about the length of the relationship that makes it more moral? I am sure that there are many men who have been in long-term sexual relationships with multiple wives (especially in Utah). Does it make it more moral that it is a longer-term relationship? Would you now be willing to fight the same fight for those who choose to be in a "marriage" relationship with more than one partner at the same time? How about an adult in a long-term relationship that began when the partner was 10 years old? Does the length of the relationship make it more moral?

No one is arguing that the length or brevity of the relationship makes it any more immoral, when the very foundation of that relationship is immoral.

For a guy who prides himself on scientific thinking, your illogic is profound.



Adel Thalos
Snellville, GA

Viola Larson said...

Adel,
I appreciate all that you are saying except that last poke at John. Please do not insult on this blog. But please do continue on with your clear thinking.
Viola Larson
Sacramento, Ca

John Shuck said...

I was following Alan's comment that has since been deleted. It is a bit of a challenge to make comments here because some get deleted and the context is lost.

The point of Viola's post passing amendment B would somehow turn the denomination toward the type of activities mentioned in Bay Area Reporter.

Viola is making a comparison between whatever she read in her San Francisco news and amendment B as if all gays are like that.

That is no different than watching a Girls Gone Wild video and saying that is how all straight people act.

I am pointing out a gay couple who are not promiscuous, but in fact monogamous, and have been for some time.

I understand you. You think all sex outside of heterosexual marriage is bad, sinful, wrong. I get it. So it doesn't matter to you what the quality of the relationship is. I get it.

Fine. Obviously, not everyone sees it like that. In fact, more and more people actually do find the quality of the relationship more important than the gender.

Lumping everyone together as if there is no distinction between pedophilia (as Adel alludes), non-committal sex with a large number of partners, and whatever else you can think up in the dark recesses of your mind with the relationship of the couple in my church, is becoming a failing tactic.

Fewer and fewer are listening to that.

The sad part is that we all agree on so many things regarding sexual ethics, yet we can't seem to work together.

timeforthetruth said...

Mr. Shuck,

You don't get it at all. There is no logical reason for restricting marriage or even committed loving relationships to 2 people, when you abandon biblical revelation on this issue. There is also no reason to make arbitrary age restrictions once biblical revelation is rejected. I am not speaking secular reasons, but biblical. Exactly the same arguments can be made for each of the above as those for pro-gays. It is often forgotten in all of these discussions for GLBT rights, that bisexuals are included in this, and by their very nature this would be arguing for polyamorous relationships of one sort or another.

And since when does popular opinion make something true as you seem to argue. Was it not popular opinion that slavery was an acceptable institution at one point? This did not make the institution a moral good.

I will let Viola speak for herself, but I nowhere got the impression that she was equating such behavior across the entirety of the gay community. But on the other hand, statistics are very clear that the gay community is vastly more promiscuous.

Adel Thalos
Snellville, GA

Viola Larson said...

John on the contrary.
Although I am sure some people are unaware of this The Second Helvetic Confession states that "We also confess that sins are not equal; although they arise from the same fountain of corruption and unbelief, some are more serious than others. As the Lord said, it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for the city that rejects the word of the Gospel (Matt. 10:14 f.; 11:20 ff.) the last part of 5.039 under Original Sin.

I have no doubt that there may be sparks of morality in those committed to long term relationships of the same gender. That is, the desire for a long term commitment with another human being, etc. Nonetheless it is sin and sin in any form if not repented of leads to other sins. For instance David's adultery led to his murder of a man. Ahab’s coveting another’s vineyard led to his and Jezebel’s slander and murder of Naboth. And even more than that, it leads to unhealed wounds and a broken relationship with God.

The Scripture in Romans states that “God gave them up to”---when one starts denying God’s word the road leads down hill all the way.

Viola Larson
Sacramento Ca

Pastor Bob said...

"Lumping everyone together as if here is no distinction between pedophilia (as Adel alludes), non-committal sex with a large number of partners, and whatever else you can think up in the dark recesses of your mind with the relationship of the couple in my church, is becoming a failing tactic."

"Fewer and fewer are listening to that."

John

Alas life is not that simple. There is a case coming to trial in Vancouver in which a polygamous man is arguing that since gays and lesbians can get married in Vancouver he should be able to have more than one wife.

Also at least one professor (at Bangor Theological Seminary) has argued that gays should not subject themselves to the morality (i.e. committing one's self to one partner) of heterosexuals.

I'm not suggesting that either of these are popular opinions but they are out there.

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, PA

Viola Larson said...

John,
I just noticed that you wrote this to Adel--"and whatever else you can think up in the dark recesses of your mind" I asked him not to insult and now I am insisting the same of you.

Kattie W. Coon said...

"I have no doubt that there may be sparks of morality in those committed to long term relationships of the same gender. That is, the desire for a long term commitment with another human being, etc. Nonetheless it is sin and sin in any form if not repented of leads to other sins."

Viola,

Do you think this is not an insult to John and what he was saying? I don't believe John's statement to Adel was any more insulting (if at all). As I see it, it is just as insulting to state to John or I or anyone that the behavior in question "is sin" particularly when there is such a large minority of devout Bible believing Christian folk who disagree with you.

The way I read the Westminster Confession, it is wrong to try to argue a particular view of God’s revelation in Scripture based upon “traditions of men”, but that is precisely what I believe you and many others do when they speak of the long history of traditional teaching on this particular issue. I fear that it is this kind of “traditional teaching” argument that tends to bolster the kind of absolute claims made by many here.

You've wondered why the discourse on this blog gets so discourteous, well; I submit to you that it is statements like your “is sin” statement that promote that kind of atmosphere. Why not try saying something like "I believe it is sin"? That would be so much less insulting, don’t you think?

BTW, I think the notion of sin leading to sin is something we all can agree upon.

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

Viola Larson said...

Kattie and others,

Before I even begin let me say I have fixed my blog so that comments will be moderated. I got to looking at past comments on past posts and I see that although it seems I am getting a lot of comments a huge amount of them are coming from those who simply want to argue with the Bible's position on homosexual sin. Or even on Jesus Christ as he is found in the Bible as God's final revelation.

I am sorry that so many want to harass on that subject, but since they and you do not seem to be interested in conversing on any other subject on my blog I have decided to moderate my comments. That means you may make some comments on the subject but may not go on forever nor will I allow you to be insulting.

Anonymous said...

Viola,

I don't understand this comment:

"I am getting a lot of comments a huge amount of them are coming from those who simply want to argue with the Bible's position on homosexual sin."

It seems to me that the Bible is not a person or an animate entity that can have "a position" to argue with. Rather it seems that people take positions about what is written in the Bible and what those writings mean, and what those meanings imply in terms of daily living, and then they argue with each other, some with better arguing skills than others.

Some people argue without committing logical fallacies. Some not. Some use circular reasoning, some linear. Some use precedent, a notion invented by the Byzantines, some try to overthrow precedent with new arguments or interpretations.

Take the US Constitution and the Supreme Court for example. Certain words are written in the Constitution, but it is the Supreme Court that develops "a position" on what those words mean. And they were written in recent historical times and in English. And the Court flip flops with time.

The folks that wrote the words that became the Bible wrote them long ago in letters and grammar that are quite foreign to you (and me). Words were lost, words were added, passages were cut and pasted and consolidated from fragments... Punctuation was invented and written back into the text by people trying to guess at where the original authors would have put it had they known about punctuation...

How does that process yield an entity that has an opinion or a position?

It seems to me that only the people that read it can venture an opinion or develop a position as to what the words on paper mean.

And obviously there is quite a bit of disagreement on what that is, if the contents of this blog are any indication.

I think the level of discourse would be much more civil and fruitful if you and others allowed for the fact that the positions they hold, however passionately, are their own, and not that of an inanimate object such as the Bible.

Just a suggestion.

(hope you don't find this comment offensive, insulting or lacking in decorum. It is just a random thought that was sparked by something you said)

Tom Evans
KC

Viola Larson said...

Tom, you write,
"It seems to me that the Bible is not a person or an animate entity that can have "a position" to argue with."

The Bible is the written word of God. God does take a position and he has given a fairly clear position on many things including homosexuality.

One can give good or bad arguments but that doesn't change the meaning of the text.

You write:
"The folks that wrote the words that became the Bible wrote them long ago in letters and grammar that are quite foreign to you (and me). Words were lost, words were added, passages were cut and pasted and consolidated from fragments... Punctuation was invented and written back into the text by people trying to guess at where the original authors would have put it had they known about punctuation..."

Nothing you have said here changes the inspiration of the scripture. And your case is somewhat over stated. There are scholars who quite clearly understand the language. And often the scholars write in English which I know I can understand. And please don't try to equate the constitution with the Bible. The constitution is not the word of God.

You write:

"I think the level of discourse would be much more civil and fruitful if you and others allowed for the fact that the positions they hold, however passionately, are their own, and not that of an inanimate object such as the Bible."

"All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (1 Tim 3:16-17)
"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that the through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Peter 1:20-21)

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph 6:17)

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as far as the divisions of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
This last verse draws the living Word, Christ, into his word. The two cannot be separated and so if one wants to deny the words of Scripture they must also deny Jesus Christ.
There are some things I must say are my opinion. But the very clear word on salvation, Jesus Christ, etc. and the sinfulness of homosexual sex is not my opinion but is God's word. If that is offensive it is not strange. Humans often do not want to hear God's opinion.
Viola Larson
Sacramento, CA

Anonymous said...

Viola,

You stated your key assumption very clearly here when you said from the start in your last comment:

"The Bible is the written word of God."

Why do you make this assumption?

Tom
KC

Kattie W. Coon said...

"There are scholars who quite clearly understand the language. And often the scholars write in English which I know I can understand. And please don't try to equate the constitution with the Bible. The constitution is not the word of God."

Why do you think it takes "scholars" to understand the language? Who gave the "scholars" authority? Have they been given a special revelation? Are they of one mind? Who decides who the righteous scholars are? Is it by majority rule, or does God tell us who they are?

It seems you are taking the Word (in English) based upon the opinion of men, men who are clearly not unanimous in their opinions. Whatever has happened to Sola Scriptura and letting the Bible interpret the Bible? It seems to me that you are relying on men (other than yourself) to interpret the Bible, and specifically, men who happen to write in English and agree with your personal bias.

It seemed pretty clear to me that Tom was not equating the constitution to the Bible, but only pointed out that men interpret both, and that >>we<< give authority to the supreme court to make interpretations of the language of the constitution for us the same way that >>we<< give authority to the men (scholars and/or theologians) who interpret the Bible for us.

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

Viola Larson said...

Kattie,
I am going to answer you before I answer Tom. The reason is because you have taken Tom's thoughts to me and my answers back to him and twisted them. My statements on scholars has nothing to do with reading the Bible its self I was simply answering Tom's question about languages.

I am not going to play a game of twisting thoughts around with you anymore. I think you need to come up with your on discussion plan. Otherwise I will not post your comments.

Viola Larson said...

Tom,
I believe we must begin with Jesus Christ who is revealed in Scripture. As I have said we cannot remove Jesus Christ from his word. Christ himself affirms the Scripture of the OT, when he states, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matt 5:17.) By referring to the law and prophets he is including the whole of the Jewish Scriptures of his day.
Also when Jesus was walking with the disciples to Emmaus he explained the promises of God concerning himself by referring to the whole OT. “And he said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets, he explained to them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:25-26) Also add to that, “Now he said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44)
Jesus also affirms the writings that would be the New Testament. He states, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative, but whatever he hears, he will speak; and he will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify me, for he will take of mine and disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore I said that he takes of mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:13-15)
There is more and you have the other verses I gave you before. You may say that arguing from the scriptures is a circular argument, however there are all kinds of arguments against this including the fact that the disciples died for what they held to be true. And also that the Bible is made up of many books and authors, so one cannot really say it is a circular argument. Books and books have been written on this subject, but the more important point is if you do not know the Savior, Jesus Christ, you will not believe the written word of God.
For that reason unless, and I have asked you this before, I know where you are coming from there is not a lot of use in discussing this before. So once again I will ask you what do you believe about Jesus Christ? Who is he to you?

Sacramento, Ca

Kattie W. Coon said...

Viola,

Maybe I've misunderstood the point you were trying to make to Tom, but in the past you have clearly pointed out (to me directly) that your understanding of Scripture comes not from the original languages, but from the work of translators, translators whom I would argue, according to our confessions, have no God given authority, particularly where there is controversy. So even if I did twist your thoughts around in this particular response to Tom, the point I was making would then, at least, be in response to your apparent thoughts in other statements you’ve made in the past. Do you deny that?

So Viola, who does decide who the righteous scholars are, and how do we find out about it?

You said to Tom:

“Jesus also affirms the writings that would be the New Testament.” You then go on to quote from John 16 (NIV) I guess as a proof text.

By what authority do you have it that Jesus was referring to those writings which we now hold to be the New Testament? In fact, according to every Bible translation I have ever seen of John 16, there is no mention at all of any writings or future record of any kind in the entire chapter. Once again, it looks like you are relying on the authority of men to make your point.

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

Viola Larson said...

Kattie,
I am not going to answer a question about something I don't remember stating. It is the Scriptures that are inspired.

As for John 16:13-15, and I was quoting from the NAS not the NIV, I have gone through three different commentaries including Calvin's.

All three understand that here Jesus is looking toward the Holy Spirit's guidance that would eventually be known in the N.T. Beyond this the Holy Spirit opens the truth of the Scripture to the Church in all the ages of the Church. But it is never different that which Jesus Christ gave to the apostles. It is always the word of God.

For instance on verse 13 Calvin wrote,
"The same Spirit led them into 'all truth' when they wrote down the substance of their teaching. Whoever, thinks that anything ought to be added to their teaching, as if it were imperfect and incomplete, not only accuses the apostles of dishonesty but blasphemes against the Spirit. If the teaching they committed to writing had come from mere learners or novices, it would have needed adding to; but as their writings may be regarded as permanent records of the revelation promised and given to them, nothing can be added to them without terrible injustice to the Spirit.”

I am leaving the door open for Tom to answer my question, but beyond that I am not posting anymore on this subject, because it is starting to travel a long way from the original posting.

Viola Larson
Sacramento, Ca

Anonymous said...

Viola,

I’ve read your reply several times to see if I missed something. I don’t think you really answered my question. You made an assumption. An assumption is a statement that you take for granted. I just want to know why you take it for granted.

I was expecting an answer of the form “I assume the bible is the written word of God because…”

Instead you began with “I believe we must begin with…” and then you introduced a second and third assumption:

“Jesus Christ who is revealed in Scripture” and

“we cannot remove Jesus Christ from his word”

I don’t think you need to introduce these next assumptions, as the first one is sufficient if you could only provide some justification for it. On the other hand, if you can’t justify the first one, then these next ones probably cannot be justified either.

Then you move on to quote several verses that only have meaning if you take as true the first assumption. Basically you say that the Bible is the word of God because the bible says that Jesus said that the bible is the word of God. Not just the bible that existed at the time he said it, but the rest of the bible that was still to be written.

The mental contortion one needs to make to accept such a proposition as proof or even evidence of the first assumption is appalling. But if one starts with the first assumption, they do nothing to add to it. The first assumption is still sufficient if you would only justify it.

“including the fact that the disciples died for what they held to be true”

Here the use of the word “fact” is a huge stretch. There is no real evidence the disciples even existed. No graves, no independent documents, and no real historical record of how they died. What we have are copies of copies of copies of papers written tens of decades after the time period they presumably lived declaring what the oral tradition carried.

And the Bible.

Then a strange comment: You said, “the Bible is made up of many books and authors, so one cannot really say it is a circular argument”. So it is not really the written word of God but the work of many authors. But if one author writes that what another wrote is the word of God, and the other wrote that what the one was going to write was the word of God, they therefore both wrote the word of God?

Surely you can see how horrible that kind of logic really is.

Then you ask me what I believe about Jesus. The answer to why you assume something, anything, can’t be subject to what I think about anything. So that is not a logical statement or a justification either. You should be able to tell me why you take something for granted regardless of whether I also take it for granted. Your answer should be the same in either case.

There is this one comment: “if you do not know the Savior, Jesus Christ, you will not believe the written word of God”

To be relevant you must have meant to say, “if you do not know the Savior, Jesus Christ, you will not believe [the Bible is] the written word of God”

This may be true. But it also allows for knowing the Savior, Jesus Christ and still not believing the Bible is the written word of God.

This leaves us, I think, with the simple fact that you assume the Bible is the written word of God because it is something you just simply believe. It is your belief, and you have a right to believe it, and nobody can tell you not to believe it. You don’t need to justify it and you don’t.

But it means that everything else that follows from your fundamental belief is subject to the same conditions of your belief. Namely, you. The statement “Homosexuality is a sin” is not a statement of objective fact; it is a statement of subjective belief, because it follows not from an objective demonstrable fact, but from your own subjective belief.

You must recognize this in order to be intellectually honest and to have civil discourse with people who believe differently than you. Not recognizing it is ineffective at bringing about change, and only serves to cause hostility.

Finally, to answer your question “who is Jesus Christ [to me]”: He is my Lord and Savior, and I trust him in life and in death. I believe what is said about him in the Apostle’s creed, and I believe his teachings are good news and true, even if reasonable people disagree about how best to implement them. Life in Jesus Christ follows the way of Love. It is free of fear, and full of grace, forgiveness, and mercy. People who follow Jesus are known for their love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Tom Evans
KC

Viola Larson said...

Tom.
You asked why I assumed the Bible is the written word of God. I told you why I assumed it was. I see that you really don’t want my reason but rather a formal philosophical reason for a formal philosophical assumption, that is a justification.

Perhaps we should start with Anselm’s ontological proof for God, and work backwards from that.

“that than which a greater cannot be imagined cannot be in the understanding alone. For if it is at least in the understanding alone, it can be imagined to be in reality too, which is greater. Therefore if that than which a greater cannot be imagined is in the understanding alone, that very thing than which a greater cannot be imagined is something than which a greater can be imagined. But certainly this cannot be. There exists, therefore, beyond doubt something than which a greater cannot be imagined, both in the understanding and in reality.”

There is only one real way that this can be refuted and that is by deciding that existence is not an attribute. But if one insists as I do that existence is an attribute then this is an excellent proof of God. So taking this understanding that there is a God we can work from that. Has this God communicated to humanity? Has he revealed himself?

Now of course there are many religions whose followers insist their religion is true but only those faiths that are monotheistic fit with Anselm’s proof. For instance pantheism and panentheism are not proven at all by this proof.

Now it is not possible to prove anything historically about Islam’s holy book except that it was written. But one cannot actually make any “formal” assumptions about its words. In fact it has little history within it. But both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are filled with history whether you choose to accept that history or not.

As modern archeological work goes on more and more history from the Hebrew Bible is proven but since that is something we will have to continue to wait on let us go to the New Testament.

You write this, “Here the use of the word “fact” is a huge stretch. There is no real evidence the disciples even existed. No graves, no independent documents, and no real historical record of how they died. What we have are copies of copies of copies of papers written tens of decades after the time period they presumably lived declaring what the oral tradition carried.”

I am very surprised that you wrote that. The truth is we have a continual history that stretches back to the author’s of the Bible. And we have that from the Church Fathers and from early Church historians such as Eusebius who writes of Papias who was both a church historian and a bishop. And Eusebius even writes of Papias’ historical method.

Eusebius also writes of the martyr Polycarp who was a student of the Apostle John. If we cannot trust this history we cannot trust any history.

The truth is there is enough fragments of ancient scripture and enough quotes by early Church Fathers to almost rewrite the whole New Testament. This of course does not prove the truth of the Bible but it does show that the New Testament is not a fiction written by unknown writers.

So let me take this back a bit farther and once again state that the authors of the New Testament died for what they wrote. Not only that but Paul wrote some of his letters so early that there would certainly have been eye witnesses about who would contradict what he wrote. And really that is true for much of the New Testament.

So now we return to Jesus Christ who I wanted to start with before. (But you didn’t like that so I have taken a rather long road back to him.)

It is he that the writers of the New Testament are writing about showing in many cases that he is not only human but also God. And it is he who affirms that the scriptures are the words of God. So that brings me to something else you wrote:

“You [me, Viola] said, “the Bible is made up of many books and authors, so one cannot really say it is a circular argument”. So it is not really the written word of God but the work of many authors. But if one author writes that what another wrote is the word of God, and the other wrote that what the one was going to write was the word of God, they therefore both wrote the word of God? Surely you can see how horrible that kind of logic really is.”

This tells me that you do not understand how the Bible is inspired or how it is the written word of God, and yet I quoted a verse to you that should have explained that.

"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Peter 1:20-21)

But God does use people to write, including their gifts and style, nonetheless it is his words. And this is different then when we say some one is an inspired writer. God allows them to write his words, and the words continue to have life in them.

So my justification is all of that and much more. But to top all of that is my relationship with Jesus Christ who is the living word of God and who is never different then how he is found in Scripture. This is all I am going to write on this subject.

Sacramento, Ca

Anonymous said...

Thank you Viola,

“But to top all of that is my relationship with Jesus Christ who is the living word of God and who is never different then how he is found in Scripture.”

I think this answers the question. When people ask you why you think homosexuality is a sin you could just cut to the chase and tell them “because Jesus told me so”.

It is hard to argue with divine revelation.

Be well.

Tom Evans
KC