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Re: Atheism

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By Virgil - Posted on 03 September 2009

by iMonk
One of my letters this week stated that a 17 year old raised in an evangelical family was now an avid atheist, with many of the hijinks of evangelicalism as evidence of manipulation and control. He couldn’t mean take off your shoes and spin your socks over your head while singing “Jesus mess me up?” Why would that bother anyone?

Write this down: When the coming evangelical collapse happens, and especially when thousands of our young people bolt for non-believer status, a lot of it will be COMPLETELY DESERVED.Click to read the entire article

Parker's picture

The author makes some good points. The real good point he makes in a round-about manner is that evangelicalism is hopelessly reductionist. That is, it really doesn't offer much leadership or intellectual reflection on issues people face today. To the contrary, as the author notes, evangelicalism offers up " outrageous assumptions and promises about happiness, healing, everything working out, knowing God, answered prayer."

But I think the author errs by thinking that apologetics isn't important. Answering objections to faith is every bit as crucial as atheists believe it is to raise them. Every bit. Atheists make these attacks precisely because they believe the arguments *matter.* As a result, Christians need to engage them with full intent to dispel all lies, myths, and misrepresentations.

I think the real article that needed to be written is, "What can evangelicalism do to apply to more aspects of life, so that all ties back to God."

A person who views God as having good guidance for all of life (work, family, entertainment, government, service, etc) will NOT easily abandon God and faith. Rather, the person will feel inspired by God and connected to God and the divine information written into our very beings and universe.

Ed's picture

I can agree with Parker, but would say that Christianity is deficient if it is reduced down to an apology. Christianity is to be lived, not argued. When an atheist faces a "crisis of faith," and they look around and see Christians standing by them, praying for them, helping them - THAT is the apology, THAT is the argument.

Ayn Rand could never answer the fundamental question of why to help someone you don't know. Her philosophy of rational self-interest, while not totally an error, left one as "an island." Individuals, under the atheistic Objective philosophy, had no reason to even care for their own children except that "caring for children gave you sense of purpose." No mention of love. No mention of stewardship or building the kingdom of God.

Faith gives us meaning - Viktor Frankl said that one MUST have meaning in life, or there would be no reason for surviving. Those of us with meaning/faith know that suffering and trials serve a purpose. They strengthen us, prepare us for what God is doing in our lives.

Rather than shouting down atheists, condemning them to eternal hell-fire, boycotting corporations who try to give them basic humane treatment, banning them from public life; we should reach out in Christian love. Remind them gently, as Paul told Timothy, that we believe in a god, and that God loves all - including the atheist, His enemy.

Evangelicalism will fail IF it continues to only be about societal morality, or argument. Faith must be about loving our neighbors, as God loves us.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Parker's picture

Ed: Christianity is deficient if it is reduced down to an apology.

Parker. Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. But humans are intellectual beings, too, and require God for both head and heart. If Christianity doesn't address issues both of the head and heart, people will look elsewhere.

Ed: Christianity is to be lived, not argued. When an atheist faces a "crisis of faith," and they look around and see Christians standing by them, praying for them, helping them - THAT is the apology, THAT is the argument.

Parker: Again, I agree, but I would argue for a both/and situation and not an either/or. Human spirituality involves the heart and mind.

Ed: Ayn Rand could never answer the fundamental question of why to help someone you don't know. Her philosophy of rational self-interest, while not totally an error, left one as "an island." Individuals

Parker: I agree that Rand is very useful to a point. I'm no expert on Rand, but my understanding is that she proposed that self-responsible humans seeking their own advancement ends up producing the best progress for all humanity via robust industry, innovation, entrepreneurship, and scientific inquiry. As I read it, she simply thought that the way to attain good progress for all is for *individuals* to be responsible and seek to achieve.

Ed: Those of us with meaning/faith know that suffering and trials serve a purpose. They strengthen us, prepare us for what God is doing in our lives.

Parker: You are right.

Ed: Rather than shouting down atheists, condemning them to eternal hell-fire, boycotting corporations who try to give them basic humane treatment, banning them from public life...

Parker: Is someone proposing that course of engagement?

Ed: Evangelicalism will fail IF it continues to only be about societal morality, or argument. Faith must be about loving our neighbors, as God loves us.

Parker: Morality is the science of how we go about loving our neighbors as ourselves. Morality is indispensable to the concept of love, because love is tied to actions. Love becomes a meaningless word if not tied to real human actions and activities.

Ed's picture

Ed: Rather than shouting down atheists, condemning them to eternal hell-fire, boycotting corporations who try to give them basic humane treatment, banning them from public life...

Parker: Is someone proposing that course of engagement?

Parker, we are talking about evangelicals here. You know, the ones who boycott Walmart because they want to give partner benefits to gays; the ones who stand on street corners yelling at passers-by about hell and the end of the world; etc., etc. It isn't so much that anyone is "proposing that course of action," it's that it is the standard perception by non-believers of believers.

Ed: Evangelicalism will fail IF it continues to only be about societal morality, or argument. Faith must be about loving our neighbors, as God loves us.

Parker: Morality is the science of how we go about loving our neighbors as ourselves. Morality is indispensable to the concept of love, because love is tied to actions. Love becomes a meaningless word if not tied to real human actions and activities.

I don't disagree, but again, we are back to our earlier argument - chicken or egg - if morality is THE basis upon which one condemns others, then it is pharisaism; however, if LOVE is at the root of the morality, then it is edifying and uplifting. Brian Abshire, a well-known theonomist, called it "personal theonomy."

When Christianity becomes merely a "list of dos and don'ts" and a "list of arguments for or against;" it is deficient. When it is the demonstration of the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus (as the monks and nuns did and do through their hospice care, hospital care, orphanages, etc.), it is the full demonstration of the Kingdom of our God.

That's what I am arguing for. Demonstrating our Faith, rather than just talking about it. That's the antidote to the perceived hypocrisy.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Parker's picture

Ed: That's what I am arguing for. Demonstrating our Faith, rather than just talking about it. That's the antidote to the perceived hypocrisy.

Parker: Yes, indeed.

I would add my point that morality is the science of "how we demonstrate" love and faith. Morality is indispensable to the real world application of love. I also wonder how accurate "the standard perception" of evangelicals is when compared to reality.

Ed: When [christianity] is the demonstration of the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus (as the monks and nuns did and do through their hospice care, hospital care, orphanages, etc.), it is the full demonstration of the Kingdom of our God.

Parker: Right. But making such distinctions about what constitutes a valid expression of love and respect (as you just did here) is the science of morality. Some actions do express love and the Kingdom, and some actions do just the opposite. Understanding what actions express love and why (and which actions do not, and why) is the science of morality.

Ed's picture

Parker, you're preaching to the choir and talking past me because you are missing my point.

What the nuns and monks did and do for orphans is to care for them, and YES, it does involve defining morality (or what is good). HOWEVER, if those same nuns and monks started from the standpoint that these people to whom they minister don't deserve it because they didn't measure up to a certain moral standard, that's where it is no longer love, but instead it is what the Pharisees taught and Jesus deplored.

All deserve a certain level of respect simply because all are made in God's Image.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Parker's picture

Ed: if those same nuns and monks started from the standpoint that these people to whom they minister don't deserve it because they didn't measure up to a certain moral standard, that's where it is no longer love, but instead it is what the Pharisees taught and Jesus deplored.

Parker: I agree 100%

Jesus preached high morality with compassion, mercy, and a desire to rehabilitate sinners. In contrast, the Pharisees were elitists who MIS-used the Law of Moses as a club to mercilessly beat down the people and the poor while transforming the Temple into a money racket. Jesus walked in full compliance with the Law as it was intended to be lived. As we see by watching Jesus, He grasped the spirit of the law and did not use the letter of the law as a way to trip people up---though he always upheld the moral rightness of the Law, even when applying mercy to those who were violators. ("Go and sin no more.")

Ed: All deserve a certain level of respect simply because all are made in God's Image.

Parker: Absolutely right.

Ed's picture

("Go and sin no more.")

Notice what Jesus said to the woman right before he said this - "then neither do I condemn you..."

That's the crux: Jesus restores, and the behavior follows. That's why love and compassion through SERVICE is what is needed, NOT condemnation and judgment.

Glad we agree on this Parker. I still think that we probably agree most of the time, but can't seem to get the back-and-forth right via this medium.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Parker's picture

Ed, you and I do agree.

My point is that Jesus does not excuse nor deny the offense of sin. He upholds that she has sinned. Jesus always upholds the right standard of proper action and justice. Adultery is a gravely damaging sin to families. It's a wrecking ball from which few families and children recover.

But Jesus seeks her restoration *to holiness* ("sin no more") and opts to grant mercy, which was permissible. Sadly, the the Pharisees would not even have thought to consider restoration to holiness as an outcome for this woman.

I'm in no way accusing you of this, but I think there is a tendency for some people to confuse a grant of mercy with the wholesale reversing of morality and ethics, so that adulteries/murders/thefts/abortions are no longer unjust offenses against men and God.

For sure, all such acts are deeply offensive and odious to God and men, and are worthy of condemnation. But salvation is all about God seeking the reformation of men from their sinful ways and restoration to real holiness.

tom-g's picture

DID SHE? Where in the scripture do we read that she gave up her way of life and sinned no more?

Maybe HE didn't condemn her because God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.

It is just possible that the social gospel both of you are expressing is not even what the scripture and Christ is all about.

Tom

Parker's picture

Tom: Where in the scripture do we read that she gave up her way of life and sinned no more?

Parker: We only know Christ's demand that she sin no more. We don't know how she ultimately responded.

Tom: Maybe HE didn't condemn her because God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.

Parker: He was trying to save her from sin: "Sin no more," said our Lord.

tom-g's picture

Sorry Parker, an impossibility, sin no more, not possible before the cross. Unless you have some other way that it is possible to sin no more. Maybe it is all of those social actions you were discussing that was and still is the way.

I understood it was those who do the will of the father who were his mother, his friends and his brothers. Is it your contention that pagan unbelievers were the brothers, widows and orphans he was advocating that believers should feed?

Was it only believers and their widows and orphans that we are to abandon and let starve who were worse than infidels and the only ones that should not eat if they didn't work and provide for their families?

Tom

Parker's picture

Tom: Sorry Parker, an impossibility, sin no more, not possible

Parker: Jesus Christ demanded that she leave her adulteries. She could leave her adulteries. Many others (Zaccheus, Mary Magdalene, etc.) left behind their sinful ways at Christ's urging. We, too, are leave behind our sinful ways. That is what it means to be saved from sin.

Barry's picture

"Go and sin no more" in John is equal to "go in peace" in the synoptic Gospels.
It is an expression, like "you are free".
JMO
Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry: "Go and sin no more" in John is equal to "go in peace" in the synoptic Gospels

Parker: It is not. The woman was trapped in the sin of adultery, and Jesus, on his mission to save the world from sin, calls her to repentance. The gospel is about repenting of one's sinful ways and turning to a new life of just, holy, ethical living.

Barry's picture

Hey Parker,

Jhn 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Jhn 5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep [market] a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
Jhn 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
Jhn 5:4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
Jhn 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
Jhn 5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time [in that case], he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
Jhn 5:7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
Jhn 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
Jhn 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
Jhn 5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry [thy] bed.
Jhn 5:11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
Jhn 5:12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
Jhn 5:13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in [that] place.
Jhn 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

What was this man's "sin"?
Why say "SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee"?
Why give such a statement and have no reference of "sin" in the context?
I do not think for a moment that we are supposed to imagine some sin or sins and place it in the context ourselves to make it make sense.

If the context means, "don't sin again" or "don't do that again" or "change your behavior" then some reference for such a change is called for. But I do not see anything of that nature there.

However if what Jesus is alluding to is "your sins are forgiven" and so "believe in me" and in this way then "go in peace" then this makes sense and we have links in Mark and Luke that correspond.

What is not a common point between the "sin no more" in John 5:14 and 8:14 is a reference of sinning behavior. What IS the common point between John 5 and 8 is the accusation of unlawfulness by others.

Jhn 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
Jhn 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Jhn 1:17 For the LAW was given by Moses, [but] GRACE AND TRUTH came by Jesus Christ.

The following IMO does illustrate this common point in both contexts:
Jhn 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
Jhn 5:9 And immediately THE MAN WAS MADE WHOLE, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
Jhn 5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: IT IS NOT LAWFUL for thee to carry [thy] bed.
Jhn 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, THOU ART MADE WHOLE: SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Jhn 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Jhn 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
Jhn 8:9 And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Jhn 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, WHERE ARE THOSE THINE ACCUSERS? hath no man condemned thee?
Jhn 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, NEITHER DO I CONDEMN THEE: go, and SIN NO MORE.
Jhn 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Now "made whole" and "forgiveness of sins" are parallel throughout the Gospels. And we see this in Mark and Luke quite clearly. Hence the connection with "go in peace" which means "believe and stay in me".

Lest a worse thing happen to you is in reference to the coming "wrath". "Sin no more" means "believe and stay in me" lest a worse thing happen to you. He is warning concerning the "wrath to come" in the end of the age.

1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1Jo 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1Jo 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin TRANSGRESSETH ALSO THE LAW: for sin IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.
1Jo 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
1Jo 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
IMHO then it touches on what you are saying Parker but from a very very different angle. Repentance was FROM being under the jurisdiction of the law TO the truth and grace of God.
FROM SIN TO FREEDOM.

Jhn 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: FOR IF YE BELIEVE NOT that I am [he], YE SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS. {IE the end of the age}

Jhn 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Jhn 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jhn 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, WHSOEVER COMMITTETH SIN IS THE SERVANT OF SIN.
Jhn 8:35 And the servant ABIDETH NOT IN THE HOUSE FOR EVER: {IE the end of the age} [but] the Son abideth ever.
Jhn 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry: What was this man's "sin"? Why say "SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee"? Why give such a statement and have no reference of "sin" in the context?

Parker: Why do I need to know the *specific* sin in every case? I don't. We are given lists of sins all throughout the Old and New testaments. Jesus gives a general list when he says: "Out of the heart of men proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." (Mark 7)

And Paul's general listing typically goes like this: : "Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."

And even the St. John Passage you listed in 1 John 3 makes the connection that actual transformation from sinful ways is the essence of salvation. The gospel call is a call to real justice, love, and holiness.

Barry's picture

IMHO that misses the point through and through.
1) A context that emphasises a "stop sinning" should indicate a referance to what is problematic.

2) What the context does reference is a freedom from the accusers and from the law. That is what both contexts have in common and that point matches a continued reference that John gives in his writings.

3) The change of conduct was not through the law. It was through freedom from it.

The point was to take the aspect of the "independent human potential" out of the equation which aspect the law embodies. The move was toward relationship and conduct based upon that promise of Unity.

Blessing Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Obviously, her adultery is problematic. To save her, Jesus says "sin no more." That is, leave your adulterous ways and cling to love and honest living.

Transformational change of character is the hallmark of Christ and the New Covenant, contra the Old Covenant. Under both, the goal was the same---restoration to holy and just living---but only Christ delivered a covenant system under which men can be saved from their sins.

Barry's picture

Hey Parker,
We may have to simply disagree here but that is fine. Am enjoying the exchange none the less. It is an interesting passage of scripture for sure.
Another shot at it: :)

Quote:
Obviously, her adultery is problematic. To save her, Jesus says "sin no more." That is, leave your adulterous ways and cling to love and honest living.
End quote.

Embracing transformation and change was clearly part of the firstfruits calling. That in and of itself is not an issue for me. However I do not think that "sin no more" can be "defined" by the terms and meaning that you have put forward.

If it is so obvious that that is exactly what Jesus meant by definition of "sin no more" then, as I have mentioned we should have had an indication of just that very thing in John 5 with the same term.

IMO anyone reading John 5 should be asking this very question. "WHAT SIN?"
Since in the greater scope of the "law" EVERYONE was a "sinner" and NO ONE ever did stop sin altogether we really should be looking for something that that person was clearly overtaken in. Something "obvious" and clearly problematic that the "stop doing such" would fit into. The very type of "stop doing such" that you have pulled out of John 8.

But it is not there!
The problem that the guy had was that there was no one to bring him to the pool in time to get "healed". But the guy is NOT doing anything unbecomingly. There is NO mention of any problem in his life other than, he can't help himself and had no one to help him get "healed".

This is like that Good Samaritan. The Priest and the Levite are like the folks that got angry when he carried his bed on the Sabbath. They are not there to help, they are walking on the other side of the road. The Good Samaritan, that being Jesus was the one to help.

Luk 10:34 And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (the first Advent)
Luk 10:35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, WHEN I COME AGAIN, I will repay thee. (the second advent)

But the law did nothing toward his healing:
Luk 10:31 And by chance there came down a certain PRIEST that way: and when he saw him, he PASSED BY ON THE OTHER SIDE.
Luk 10:32 And likewise a LEVITE, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and PASSED BY ON THE OTHER SIDE.

Hbr 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Jhn 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

And this is the point that Jesus is making in both contexts.
"sin no more" means come out of sin not stop sinning.

Now either "stop sinning" or "come out of sin" both would have implied a change or transformation. But one is quite different from the other. One is to attempt to change through the law and one is to change because of relationship.

The old covenant man could not just "love" and then keep the whole law. At least not in my opinion.
Are you implying that the old covenant man could keep the whole law if only he loved?

Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry: However I do not think that "sin no more" can be "defined" by the terms and meaning that you have put forward.

Parker: You're making this complicated when it is simple. Jesus came to call people to a life of holiness. This woman, caught up in the horrors of her sinful ways, desperately needs to be rescued. Jesus saves her by calling her to a life of holiness and providing the inspiration and grace necessary to do so. "Sin no more" is the woman's salvation.

Barry: IMO anyone reading John 5 should be asking this very question. "WHAT SIN?"

Parker: But why? We all know what sins are, and I showed you the ones commonly cited by Jesus and St. Paul. Jesus came to take away men's sinfulness, and here he is doing precisely that with this woman. Remember, sins are a cancer that eats at humanity's peace and tranquility. Therefore, the solution is get humans to stop wronging each other and instead live a life of righteousness. Problem solved. Salvation achieved.

Barry: "Sin no more" means come out of sin not stop sinning.

Parker: That doesn't even make sense. Rather, her life and the life of many others are being wrecked by her adulteries, and Jesus is going to heal her life concretely by rescuing her (and the victims of her actions) by bringing her to a full reformation of her ways. Thus, by no longer being trapped in life-crushing sins, she is saved.

My clear point of agreement would be that the Old Covenant system was not capable of being "the means" by which her transformation to holiness could be expected. But Jesus and the New Covenant are the correct, effectual means. Jesus meant what he said: Sin no more. Quit your adulterous ways. Live free of those life-crushing life-destroying ways.

Barry's picture

I appreciate the response Parker. I know that it comes from you heart and that this has played and important part in your walk with your Lord. I am not one to undermine the journey of another. This might work very well for you. Who am I....

I do feel that we are approaching this subject from two different angles and that we will most probably agree to disagree.

I have no doubt that this adulterous women would as a firstfruit be transformed to do her part in the larger scheme of things.

What I am pointing out from my own position is that "sin no more" cannot mean "stop sinning".
Unless one can show that any bible character actually stopped sinning, then for me at least, it is a given that, such is not what Christ is saying.

A parallel topic to this is what it means to "take away" sin.

If I have understood you correctly your view is that, such a thing means that followers are to stop sinning.

However Hebrews speaks of this, and it seems to indicate that to "take away" sin is to take away "sin conscience". Thus to "come out" of sin.

Hbr 9:28 So Christ was once offered to BEAR the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Hbr 10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had NO MORE CONSCIENCE OF SINS.

Hbr 10:3 But in those [sacrifices there is] a REMEMBRANCE AGAIN [made] of SINS every year.

Hbr 10:4 For [it is] NOT possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should TAKE AWAY SINS. {Take away sins in Hebrews is to take away sin consience IMO}

In taking "away" the remembrance of sins, there was NO MORE conscience of sins.

If a sacrifice of old were as effective as that of Christ, then no consience of sins would be forthgoing.

Here is every reference of sin in John:
Jhn 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.
Jhn 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee. {no sin is recorded here}
Jhn 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Jhn 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Jhn 8:21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
Jhn 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.
Jhn 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Jhn 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Jhn 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jhn 9:34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Jhn 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Jhn 15:22 IF I HAD NOT COME AND SPOKEN UNTO THEM, THE HAN NO HAD SIN: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
{Jesus brought a consience of sin for those under the law, in an independent human potential}
Jhn 15:24 IF I HAD NOT DONE ANOUNG THEM the works which none other man did, THEY HAD NOT SIN: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
Jhn 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Jhn 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Jhn 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power [at all] against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
Jhn 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.

It seems to me that the subject of sin in John is more "complicated" than that your "stop sinning" would indicate.
After all Jesus clearly indicated HIM SELF that those that believed in him would have no sin.

IMHO we are on two very different approaches.
That's OK, we can agree to disagree.
I may need to edit this LOL!
Blessings to you
Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry: What I am pointing out from my own position is that "sin no more" cannot mean "stop sinning".

Parker: It can and it does, though the NT is clear that the transformation is a process, a progression. (Though I know some people who have received powerful graces that caused them to immediately leave lives of theft, drugs, adulteries, and more. So, some transformation does happen rapidly, while other attachments to sins take more time to eradicate.)

Barry: Unless one can show that any bible character actually stopped sinning...

Parker: Read of the radical conversions of Zacchaeus, St. Paul, Mary Magdalene, etc. Hear the words of St. Paul, saying,

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you ... But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes... for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light --- Ephesians 5

And really, Barry, these exhortations to live lives of virtue are everywhere in the New Testament (cf. 2 Pet 1:3-9; Matt 19:16-19; Lk 6:44-46). They are impossible to miss, unless one has been trained to overlook them or consider them peripheral instead of *central* to the concept of salvation from sin.

Barry: the subject of sin in John is more "complicated" than that your "stop sinning" would indicate

Parker: St. John specifically says that actual sinning is meant: "He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" -- (1 John 3)

I suspect that a possible confusion here is that you think I mean no wrongdoing ever, not ever, never for one's whole life. Rather, the bible describes transformation from a life characterized by evil acts to a life NOT characterized by evil acts (including some ongoing confession of wrongs and reasonable reparations in the times which we fail and wrong others).

It's common sense, really. A life lived free of life-destroying sinfulness is a life of joy and peace and good conscience, both for self and for those around us with whom we come in contact. Sins destroy the good life and progress God intends for humanity. Just think of all the damage and ruin we cause by murders, thefts, adulteries, lies, cheating, etc. etc. Salvation is therefore a concrete, incarnational removal of those cancers from individuals and even whole communities, which are comprised of individuals.

Barry's picture

Barry: What I am pointing out from my own position is that "sin no more" cannot mean "stop sinning".

Parker: It can and it does, though the NT is clear that the transformation is a process, a progression. (Though I know some people who have received powerful graces that caused them to immediately leave lives of theft, drugs, adulteries, and more. So, some transformation does happen rapidly, while other attachments to sins take more time to eradicate.)

Barry: So if I were tell you, "sin no more lest a worse thing happen to you" would you not try and figure out what the heck I was referring to (John 5). It's logical IMO.
Apparently it is very obvious to you in John 8 but when you get to John 5 it seems to be a little ambiguous as it simply must be referring to "something" he was doing that we know nothing about. Not any hint whatsoever in the context. Strange how it goes from obvious (John 8 to "surly something" (John 5).

Barry: Unless one can show that any bible character actually stopped sinning...

Parker: Read of the radical conversions of Zacchaeus, St. Paul, Mary Magdalene, etc. Hear the words of St. Paul, saying,

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you ... But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes... for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light --- Ephesians 5

And really, Barry, these exhortations to live lives of virtue are everywhere in the New Testament (cf. 2 Pet 1:3-9; Matt 19:16-19; Lk 6:44-46). They are impossible to miss, unless one has been trained to overlook them or consider them peripheral instead of *central* to the concept of salvation from sin.

Barry: I did not say that there was no transformation in the firstfruits. This is "because" of forgiveness sins.

The context of the above quote was in connection with the "Gentiles" not living as the "other Gentiles" lived because they were now in relationship and not in the ignorance of darkness.

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

He is not saying "get sin out of your life" as so many Christians have interpreted such to mean. He is saying don't be a "sinner" like the "other Gentiles" who walk in darkness because you are not in darkness.

I see a difference between what this is saying and what you seem to be saying. If you see it differently that's fine. As long as you do not indicate that I am saying that they had no need of an applied sanctification.

Luk 19:2 And, behold, [there was] a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
Luk 19:3 AND HE SOUGHT TO SEE JESUS WHO HE WAS; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
Luk 19:4 And he ran before, AND CLIMBED UP INTO A SYCOMORE TREE TO SEE HIM: for he was to pass that [way].
Luk 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; FOR TO DAY I MUST ABIDE AT THY HOUSE.
Luk 19:6 And he made haste, and came down, AND RECIVED HIM JOYFULLY.
Luk 19:7 And when they saw [it], they all murmured, saying, That HE WAS GONE TO BE GUEST WITH A MAN THAT IS A SINNER.
Luk 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold.
Luk 19:9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
Luk 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Zacchaeus changed because of the relationship not to get sin out of his life. The one's who saw him as a "sinner" were the one's claiming to get sin out of their lives.

Paul was the "chef" sinner because he persecuted the church. Not because he stole and went with temple prostitutes.

Phl 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Phl 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Phl 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Confidence in the flesh to get sin out of one's life was the pinnacle of sin. Exasperation and hopelessness of not being able to get sin out of one's life led to giving over to sin (thus sin consience). Forgiveness of sins and so then relationship brought light to life and transformed through love relationship and illumination of purpose and identity and mission.
The ultimate goal being the end of sin consience. This Hebrews is quite clear on. This ultimate goal was the definition of the taking away of sin (consience).

Barry: the subject of sin in John is more "complicated" than that your "stop sinning" would indicate

Parker: St. John specifically says that actual sinning is meant: "He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" -- (1 John 3)

I suspect that a possible confusion here is that you think I mean no wrongdoing ever, not ever, never for one's whole life. Rather, the bible describes transformation from a life characterized by evil acts to a life NOT characterized by evil acts (including some ongoing confession of wrongs and reasonable reparations in the times which we fail and wrong others).

It's common sense, really. A life lived free of life-destroying sinfulness is a life of joy and peace and good conscience, both for self and for those around us with whom we come in contact. Sins destroy the good life and progress God intends for humanity. Just think of all the damage and ruin we cause by murders, thefts, adulteries, lies, cheating, etc. etc. Salvation is therefore a concrete, incarnational removal of those cancers from individuals and even whole communities, which are comprised of individuals.

Barry: IMHO you have missed the underlining point of 1 John.
Those who were then claiming to have been able to get sin out of their lives were the focus of the problem. They were the ones "committing sin" and not "abiding" in Christ. They were the ones that did not love the brethren. They were the antichrists. The ones sinning unto death.

They were the ones still under the liability of the law. Sin is the transgression of the law. They were still fully in sin consience and sinners did not have a inheritance (as sinners).

Gal 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Gal 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
Gal 5:8 This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you.
Gal 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Gal 5:10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
Gal 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Gal 5:12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Gal 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
Gal 5:16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The works of sin consience was sin.
The works of relationship was Unity.

I think that we are reading this very differently Parker. That's OK. I have no problem with our agreeing to disagree.
Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry: Barry: IMHO you have missed the underlining point of 1 John. Those who were then claiming to have been able to get sin out of their lives were the focus of the problem.

Parker: This doesn't make any sense, Barry. Rather, St. John preaches that living righteously (by loving and not sinning against others) is the proper definition of righteousness. So, a person whose life is characterized by honesty and charity is "righteous," while a person whose life is characterized by theft and murders and adulteries is "UN-righteous." This is common sense and practically self-evident. In contrast, your explanation sounds incomprehensible and possibly esoteric. It just doesn't make sense at any level.

In the Galatians 5 passage you listed, St. Paul clearly says that we are to turn away from the sins of "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, etc." Paul is saying *plainly* that we are to stop doing those sins (with God's help of course). I can't understand how anyone could interpret that otherwise.

Barry's picture

Parker, if I interpreted Romans 7 and 8 that way I would have to conclude that Paul was either double minded for bipolar.

Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good.
Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but SIN THAT DWELLETH IN ME.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

But Paul is addressing to different mind sets. Two different levels of consciousness.
Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 FOR TO BE CARNALLY MINDEDF [is] DEATH; BUT TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED [is] LIFE AND PEACE.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Getting sin out of one's life was the goal of the law.
Deu 6:25 And it shall be OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, if we observe to do ALL THESE COMMANDMENTS BEFORE THE LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.

It is not what Paul preached.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Rom 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Rom 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Rom 4:7 [Saying], Blessed [are] they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

This relationship was set over-against that of "sin consience". This relationship produced transformation. Away from that of "sin consience" which was attached to an independent human potential. People were not getting sin out of their lives. They were following the relationship which illuminated a life of proactive love.

Galatians 5
Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the LIBERTY {FROM SIN} wherewith Christ hath made us free {FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN}, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage {WHICH IS SIN}.
Gal 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised {TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD}, Christ shall profit you nothing {AS A FRISTFRUIT}.
Gal 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law {THUS A DEBTOR TO SIN}.
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified {MADE RIGHTOUS} by the law; ye are fallen from {THE STANDARD OF} grace.
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of RIGHEOUSNESS BY FAITH.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith WHICH WORKETH BY LOVE. {WHICH IS NOT DEFINED AS GETTING SIN OUT OF ONE'S LIFE BUT RATHER BY THE RELATIONSHIP ITSELF}
Gal 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not OBEY THE TRUTH?
Gal 5:8 This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you.
Gal 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Gal 5:10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise MINDED: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, {IN HIS CONSIENCE} whosoever he be.
Gal 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Gal 5:12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you. {Play on words from cut off from them, and cut off as a full physical circumcision}
Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto LIBERTY; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to {RETURN TO A CONFIDENCE IN} the flesh, but by LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER.
Gal 5:14 For ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another {BECAUSE OF A RETURN TO SIN CONSIENCE which brings for a confidence in the flesh}, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
Gal 5:16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh {TO PROVE YOURSELF WORTHY THROUGH THE LAW}.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh {TO PROVE YOURSELF WORTHY THROUGH THE LAW} lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would {TO PROVE YOURSELF WORTHY THROUGH THE LAW}.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW {AND FREE FROM SIN}.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh {TO PROVE YOURSELF WORTHY THROUGH THE LAW} are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: {WHICH IS WHAT HAS ALWAYS HAPPENED WHEN ONE TRIES TO PROVE ONE'S SELF WORTHY THROUGH THE LAW} of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things {ARE SINNERS IN SIN} shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Note: The argument has never been about the things themselves but has always been attached to the two different mind sets of law and grace. This text MUST be understood from within Paul's points about COMING UNDER THE LAW.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit {RELATIONSHIP AS ONES FREED FROM SIN} is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
NOTE: Again the subject is clearly one of law verses grace and must be framed in that clearly defined perspective. Grace is freedom from sin. Thus relationship. Law is Sin and getting sin out of ones life. Thus self righteousness.

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh {confidence therein} with the affections and lusts {of proving one's self therein}.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 Let us not be desirous of VAIN GLORY, provoking one another, envying one another.

NOTE: Vain glory must but understood from within the structure of the context. That being a return to confidence in the flesh. Vain glory is not being used "randomly" as a "sin" but as a LAW mindset. One of "sin consience".

"Go and sin no more", means "NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU, therefore go in relationship, go in peace". Accept the gift, accept the relationship.

The difference is clear from the very beginning. Do not eat that fruit or you will die. Adam sought an "independent human potential" through the knowledge of good and evil. Thus through the knowledge of sin. This is what Israel also chose in "the law" "this will be our righteousness". Thus He is not far from you but your SINS have separated you.
So Christ came to bear this in his own body and so change the relationship.

Like I said, we are reading this somewhat differently Parker. I have no problem agreeing to disagree.
Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry: if I interpreted Romans 7 and 8 that way I would have to conclude that Paul was either double minded for bipolar.

Parker: Galatians 5:18-25, which you yourself quoted, says that Christians are to stop committing the sins of "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, etc." There is no other way to read it. And in Ephesians 5 Paul says that Christians are not to be engaged in willful sinning of any sort.

Here's where I maintain you are confused: you wrongly suppose that the Old Covenant wanted people to live righteous lives while the New Covenant does not. The correct view is, rather, that BOTH covenants aimed for the transformation of men, but ONLY THE NEW COVENANT can deliver the actual transformation God desires. As a result, salvation through the Old Covenant system is impossible, futile and against Christ while salvation through the New Covenant system is proper. That is St. Paul's teaching.

You mention Romans, and Paul clearly says in Romans that it is by the New Covenant's Holy Spirit and power of grace that men can and do escape wicked hearts and lives. And escaping wicked lives is the goal. Romans 2:6-9 said that men must live reformed lives to be saved. Romans 8:12-13 says that with the Holy Spirit we can kill off our sinful ways. In 13:8-15, Paul teaches that we owe men love, meaning we shall not murder, steal, bear false witness, covet, and instead keep the moral commands.

The New Covenant and the Holy Spirit delivered with it enable people to live upright lives in keeping with God's moral commands.

My point of agreement would be that it is only via the New Covenant and Holy Spirit by which such transformation is attained. One could not attain an acceptable righteousness under the Mosaic system, as Paul says over and over again.

But there can be no question that Jesus and the apostles command transformation of men to holy living. God most certainly wants men to get sins out of their lives, and every book of the New Testament preaches such. It is truly impossible to miss.

Father Abraham is the premier example for us because Abraham lived this righteous life in God's sight prior to and apart from the Law Covenant of Moses (for Abraham predated that covenantal system by hundreds of years). Abraham preached against the wicked ways of Sodom and even interceded for its salvation; he abandoned his family's polytheism and worshiped the One True God; he honored Melchizedek, gave of his substance, and offered sacrifices -- and he did all this prior to and apart from the Law Covenant of Moses. Thus he is the example of "righteousness apart from the Law of Moses."

Finally, grace is not "freedom from doing right" but rather is the means by which we can be transformed into people whose lives exhibit godly justice and virtue.

Barry's picture

Hey Parker,
I don't think you understand my view very well. But that is just my opinion.
On the other hand I did have, maintain, and support your basic view for many years.

That does not make my approach correct. It does mean that I am not totally ignorant of the "proof texts" that you use, nor do I ignore the contexts of those alleged proof texts.

The old covenant never attempted to make anyone righteous. Very much on the contrary the law is not for a righteous man, it is for sinners in sin.
The "old man" that was being put off was the "old covenant man".

Rev 22:10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND.
Rev 22:11 He that is UNJUST, LET HIM BE UNJUST STILL: and he which is FILTHY, LET HIM BE FILTHY STILL: and he that IS RIGHTEOUS, LET HIM BE RIGHTEOUS STILL: and he that is HOLY, LET HIM BE HOLY STILL.
Rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

The unjust and the filthy were those of the old covenant who would not leave it in the appropriate due time.
Now unless he was speaking of the end of humanity and it was the end of humanity that was at hand, I think we are going to have to see things a little differently to understand the true nature of this setting. What was at hand was the end of the old covenant.

Grace is freedom from the "independent human potential" to thus love and be loved. It is freedom from needing a ego-driven identity which is founded in an independent human potential which then seeks after self righteousness in one form or another. Even in self justification for unloving behavior. "Seeking to justify himself, he said, Who is my neighbor".

Abide in Him, in Him there is no sin.

Blessings, Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry, I don't really think you believe it's okay to murder and steal and rape and lie so long as it's done "in Christ," but you're darn close to arguing such.

You seem to view "salvation from sin" as something abstract and esoteric, instead of actual rescue from *the wrong acts we do that violate others*, such as "sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly" to use Christ's list (Mark 7:21-22).

I just can't understand how you came to your views, which are difficult to comprehend, much less apply.

Well, may God bless you anyway, and I hope you consider the simple and commonsense view I am proposing for your consideration.

mazuur's picture

Parker,

"You seem to view "salvation from sin" as something abstract and esoteric, instead of actual rescue from *the wrong acts we do that violate others*, such as "sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly" to use Christ's list (Mark 7:21-22)."

This is where you are wrong! Salvation is being brought back into covenant relationship with God through Christ. It is a position/relational status! Doing good things does not bring one into that position!

Like I tried to tell you before. Turning from evil ways is a call from God, yes, to those who love him, and, yes, we are "saved" from the many bad repercussions sin may bring upon us (and others), but that is not the "salvation" the Bible speaks to and for that which Christ came to fix. The Bible speaks to being restore relationally back unto God. Being brought back into His presence. Avoiding the repercussions that sinful acts may have on us is a "side" benefit so to speak.

What gets me is your example in your other post.

"Father Abraham is the premier example for us because Abraham lived this righteous life in God's sight prior to and apart from the Law Covenant of Moses (for Abraham predated that covenantal system by hundreds of years). Abraham preached against the wicked ways of Sodom and even interceded for its salvation; he abandoned his family's polytheism and worshiped the One True God; he honored Melchizedek, gave of his substance, and offered sacrifices -- and he did all this prior to and apart from the Law Covenant of Moses. Thus he is the example of "righteousness apart from the Law of Moses."

A "premier example" of us????? So we didn't need Christ after all? Listen to yourself Parker.

Your summation, "Thus he is the example of "righteousness apart from the Law of Moses", is amazing.

So, in other words, Abraham provided is own self righteousness so he was acceptable unto God?

hmmm...and, yet he could not enter into God's presence until after Christ completed His work in AD 70!

And yet, Paul states very clearly in Romans 4

Rom. 4:1 "What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Can you not hear the Scriptures? He "believed" God was credited with "righteousness"! Belief is an act of faith, not living a moral life! And that is not something "abstract and esoteric".

Parker, your system is seriously in error. You completely confuse the type of life God calls man to live verses the very act of Salvation. Any person can chose to strive to live a "moral" life, and yet be as lost as lost gets. There are many "moral" atheist, many who are probably better at living a "sin free" life than you. Does that mean they are "righteous"? No! Because a man's self righteousness will get him nowhere. What a man needs is God's righteousness.

Listen to Paul in Rom. 3:21   "But now the righteousness of God APART from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe".

-Rich

-Rich

Parker's picture

Rich: Salvation is being brought back into covenant relationship with God through Christ. It is a position/relational status! Doing good things does not bring one into that position!

Parker: I am arguing that salvation is all about transforming people to stop sinning and instead live godly lives: "The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly" (Titus 2:11-12). AND: "Christ Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."

Rich: The Bible speaks to being restore relationally back unto God.

Parker: Yes, because sins break our relationship and broke it in the first place with Adam. God hates sinfulness, as sins destroy us and those we willingly violate. Wickedness offends God.

Rich: Abraham is a "premier example" for us????? So we didn't need Christ after all? Listen to yourself Parker.

Parker: Both Paul and James highlight that Father Abraham lived righteously before God. Not only, but both Paul and James emphasize that he did so *prior to* The Law of Moses, and thus independently of the Law of Moses (but not independently of God). The Judaizers wrongly claimed that approval with God was only possible via the Law Covenant of Moses, but Paul proves that to be wrong by showing that Abraham was approved *prior to and thus independent of the Mosaic Covenant.*

Rich: So, in other words, Abraham provided is own self righteousness so he was acceptable unto God?

Parker: Abraham did not attain righteousness apart from God, but rather *apart from the works of the Law Covenant of Moses.* Abraham preceded the Covenant of Moses by hundreds of years.

Rich: Belief is an act of faith, not living a moral life!

Parker: If godly human action is not part of true biblical faith, then why does every book of the New Testament exhort men to live a moral life and refuse sinfulness? This call to actual holiness is not peripheral but rather central in the New Testament. The call to holiness is pervasive and everywhere. Restoration to godly living is the essence of what it means to "be saved from sins." Sins are ungodly acts. Christ died to save men from their ungodly ways (various sins).

Abraham was an example of someone who had the righteousness of God apart from (independently of) the Law of Moses ---though not independently of God.

Barry's picture

Hey Parker,
Here are some of my thoughts on the subject:

Right and wrong only have importance through people having importance. Rightness and wrongness however one defines such is not important in a vacuum.
Right and wrong is not more important that people. This Adam abandoned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And this Christ came to fix and called it "truth and grace" setting this over-against "the law".

The old covenant validated within the precedence of types and figures the hyper importance of right and wrong within the independent human potential. Such was the epitome of an ego-driven identity.

It was this this identity, this "soul", this "life" that Jesus was that referring to when he said "deny yourself take up your cross and follow me". "Lose your soul and you will find it".

Those who followed Jesus immediately saw the "truth and grace" which he bestowed. He valued people over right and wrong. This was salvation because it was their "sins" that had separated them from the relationship.

Because of the "value" of people, behavior then becomes important through that inherent importance and not because of an artificial shell of "righteousness" that spends all of its time and effort trying to get "sin" out of one's life so that they can attain to an importance in the independent human potential.

Such was the framework of the battle between the old covenant and new covenant followers in the fist century.
The destruction of the temple which embodied the ego reflection of the old covenant followers, did show and prove that people are more important than "sin".

JMO
Barry

we are all in this together

Parker's picture

Barry: Right and wrong only have importance through people having importance.

Parker: I couldn't agree more. Sins matter because *sins are harmful malicious acts against people* prohibited by God. Our Lord wants people to live in peace and love, and sins are grave violations against this---specifically, against the God-given rights and property of people.

And, since evil human action is the central cancer that wreaks havoc on humankind and offends God, Christ came to save us from it. If sins (murders, adulteries, thefts, slanders, lies etc.) are a cancer that eats away at humankind, getting people to stop sinning is the cure. And that's what salvation is--a true restoration, a true cure. The New Covenant is able to accomplish in us what the Old Law was incapable of achieving: a transformed heart oriented to a new ethic of charity.

Barry: He valued people over right and wrong.

Parker: God loves people so much that he had to rescue us from deeply harming one another through murders, adulteries, cheating, lies, slander, and all the other grave sins that destroy us and our society. Salvation is transformation/conversion of the human heart from the love of evil to love of justice, charity, and virtue shared among men.

Barry: Because of the "value" of people, behavior then becomes important through that inherent importance

Parker: Beautifully stated.

Barry's picture

We are not agreeing Parker. But that's fine. :)

Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

tom-g's picture

Parker,

If you were correct then no one would need a savior they could just choose to go and sin no more and the last time they had shed the blood of bulls and goats would have been sufficient to cover their past sins and they would have no further need of a sacrifice since they were not sinning anymore.

Tom

Parker's picture

Jesus IS the savior. He's in action, saving her from her evil ways. He grants mercy while calling her to a new life transformed away from evil.

This is the message of the gospel: Repent, turn away from your sinful ways. Be free from bondage to sinfulness and turn to a life of goodness and love.

tom-g's picture

Parker,

Where is that the gospel message?

Tom

Parker's picture

Jesus is clear that he came into the world to call men to repent of their sinful ways:

"Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5)

Parker's picture

And John the Baptist also knew the gospel message:

"The crowds were questioning [John the Baptist], saying, "Then what shall we do?" And he would answer and say to them, "The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise." And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Collect no more than what you have been ordered to." Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages." ....[Messiah's] winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.

There we see John preaching the good news to the people: turn from evil ways, be charitable, and live an ethical life in the sight of God.

Since sinfulness is the No.1 cancer that destroys the peaceful state of men and society, the cure is to get men to repent of sinful ways and turn to a life of virtue and love. Salvation is a call to actual transformation of character.

mazuur's picture

Parker,

While no one disagrees that God calls man to repentance, after all, like you said it is sin that "destroys the peaceful state of men and society", but, that has nothing to do with receiving "salvation". That is an act of faith in Christ, period. As Ephesians 2:8-10 states,

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

It just doesn't get any clearer than that. Salvation is a "gift"! Not of "works". That is as clear as clear gets!

Paul continues, "For we are His workmanship", those who are saved are a "work" of God. The work of God, not the work (doing good deeds) of man.

"created in Christ Jesus". You were created in Christ Jesus. Again, a work accomplished by God and God alone. You can not create!

"for good works". Ah, the reason you were created. To do good works. The "works" are a result of a work God already accomplished in you.

If you think your works get you anywhere, maybe you should learn the lesson from Romans 4:1-5

Rom. 4:1 "What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Rom. 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”

-Rich

-Rich

Parker's picture

Rich: While no one disagrees that God calls man to repentance, after all, like you said it is sin that "destroys the peaceful state of men and society", but, that has nothing to do with receiving "salvation".

Parker: Transformation out of sinful living is the essence of our salvation. Christ came to save us from our sins. The wrecking ball of humanity is sinfulness. Thus, the repair is to turn men from a love of sinful living to justice, charity, and honesty. Jesus and His New Covenant call men to this way of actual transformation and holiness. And most devout Christians I know bear the marks of this transforming process. That is, Christ and the New Covenant are effective at achieving the goal of reformation.

tom-g's picture

Parker,

It is quite edifying to read your comments. It is my understanding you are a professing Catholic, a system with an elaborate sin structure including purgatory.

How would you justify your current comments about sinlessness with your Catholic faith and the need for constant confession and absolution for your sins? If you, 2000 years after the cross are a constant and continuing sinner, how have you been transformed, and how can you claim it is possible to impose on the adulteress woman before the cross and transformation what no transformed Catholic today can live up to?

Tom

Parker's picture

Tom: It is quite edifying to read your comments.

Parker: Thanks.

Tom: It is my understanding you are a professing Catholic, a system with an elaborate sin structure including purgatory.

Parker: Sure. But Catholics aren't alone in preaching that actual holiness/reformation is central to what "salvation from sin" means.

Tom: How would you justify your current comments about sinlessness with your Catholic faith and the need for constant confession and absolution for your sins?

Parker: God calls all humans to a life of just living made possible through Christ and the New Covenant. That means we are called to turn away from lives characterized by adulteries, thefts, greed, hate, murders, lies, etc. and turn to a life of virtue and charity toward others. Christ provides the inspiration and grace for real reformation/transformation, and in the times we do fail, we are to confess the wrongness of those actions and receive God's forgiveness. It's a process, but you see it at work in the lives of most devout Christians. (At least I see it in the lives of most devout Christians.)

How am I being transformed? I am being transformed in that I am a disciple learning what is truly right and just and good and am more and more clinging to those things and resisting old evil ways. A life lived in pursuit of justice, righteousness, and charity is the good life God intends for all of us. It results in concrete transformation of both individuals and then whole societies, which are made up of lots of individuals.

I don't see how Jesus was being unrealistic in asking that woman to stop her whoring and turn to a life of chastity or marriage. Rather, that was the precise thing her life needed to be rescued and brought to a life of peace and happiness. She needed someone to seek her real rescue, and Jesus did just that, and he provided the love and grace to inspire her life transformation. He really wanted her to discover a better life, and she knew it and was inspired towards that positive change.

Mick's picture

Ed and Parker,

Thank you for a fascinating discussion. This may be splitting hairs but I would submit that God, as defined by His revealed words in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, is the precondition for intelligibility. This is not my thought but the thought from reading and listening to Greg Bahnsen, a disciple of VanTil, recently. The common thread which unites all of your statements is the God of the Bible. We do not know what love, morality or anything else is without the words revealed in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. We cannot reason without the assumption of the God of the Bible. I submit that is what the two of you find so much to agree about.

You both presuppose the God of the Bible who is love and moral; who sets the example for us to act in a loving and moral way. He acts alone, as an individual, and corporately, as the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, to improve the status of all of His creation. We learn from Him to act as individuals, families and the church to improve the status of all creation.

I submit if we train our children to think and reason, based upon what God has revealed about Himself, then the church of the future will continue as Jesus said it would, an ever expanding mustard tree.

Mickey E. Denen

Parker's picture

Spot on, Mick.

Also, many aspects of God's Word are written in the Natural Law, so that even those without access to scripture and Christian teaching can reasonably know and interact with *basic* right and wrong as God has defined such. Many acts which are permissible for animals are absolute offenses when men do them. This "self-evident" code of natural law is divinely written into human nature, so that all men can recognize via reason that "men ought to do such and such" and "ought not do such and such."

And that code, to be absolute, requires/presupposes that there is a God. If there was no God, all creatures are logically free to kill and steal and rape and do whatever their evolved animal instincts compel.

judge's picture

From the article: We never stopped to notice that if you are a 17 year old with serious questions about evil, miracles, prayer and the Bible you’ve got small chances of getting any help from most of evangelicalism.

Judge:This is IMHO is a crucial point. Christian theology, in its interpretation of Jesus and God gives not just bad but woeful, at times, answers and explanations to the problems of evil and suffering.
But its bad form to admit this. It is bad form to diagree too much with traditions which became formalised and concrete long long after Jesus lived and the NT was written.
There is absolutely no question that Christianity presents a confused and at times trully monstrous caricature of God.
But it is bad form to admit this. It is "disloyal."
Calvinism is probably the most extreme example (although any theology with eternal conscious torment will do).
Here we have a God who knowingly consciously creates people in order to make them suffer eternally.
But it is bad form to point that out.
I have found that one needs to step outside so called orthodox ideas to make sense of just more than eschatology.
But of course it is bad form to suggest such a thing.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I've been reading an excellent anthology of personal stories by the above title, compiled by G. Elijah Dann. Many of the anecdotes in this book parallel my own life experience quite closely, and I am personally familiar with some of the colleges and ministries mentioned therein.

The point established in various ways in this cross-section of life experiences is that evangelicalism and fundy religionism in general (both Protestant and Catholic) is rife with redundancy and self-contradictory, legalistic nonsense. Parker is right in his comment, above, concerning the importance of apologetics. But our apologetics, historically, has been based on hokey hermeneutics sourced in the false foundational beliefs of futurism and the validity of a post-First Century "church" of some kind. Those apologetics, as a result, aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

I think Michael Spencer would find significant satisfaction in some of the answers we are arriving at here at Planet Preterist and within Preterism in general. We may not have all the answers, but those we have discovered together sure look alot better than the hodge-podge of gobbledy-gook Christian Fundamentalism has to offer.

JM

cinper's picture

We may not have all the answers, but those we have discovered together sure look alot better than the hodge-podge of gobbledy-gook Christian Fundamentalism has to offer.

Here, here! It is this attitude of mutual discovery that keeps me coming back, and proud of my association here. As a public school teacher, I value education done this way as it is driven by the individual's quest for knowledge, and refined by different points of view - just as education should be pursued.

Perry

Ed's picture

Exactly Perry. Those that have tried to take God's place in the church, the schools and the society in general all want their subjects to just digest whatever tripe is necessary for "the common good." Rather than encouraging people to think for themselves, they can control the masses through disinformation and lies.

While I am not a fan of the public schools, I do have to work with them in my day-to-day work-a-day world, and it is good when I run into teachers like you. At least I know some of the kids are getting some truth told to them.

Keep up your subversive work, my friend.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Amen, Perry! I agree completely. And that IS the true value of this site and forum. We permit each other exactly that sort of liberty and freedom of dialogue in the pursuit of further knowledge and insight.

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