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bluegreenearth
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:03 pm  Doctrine of Theological Diversity & Inclusion? Reply with quote

With the establishment of an official doctrine, a church congregation may only be exposed to a single theological perspective on any given issue to the exclusion of many equally plausible alternative theological perspectives. Consequently, the average Christian views pastoral guidance from their church leadership as prescribed law rather than a subjective interpretation of the law. In many instances, average Christians are unaware that diverse interpretations of contested scriptures are available for their consideration. Whether it is deliberate or unintentional, minimizing or restricting the availability of diverse theological interpretations in this way helps church leaders maintain control of the prevailing perspective held by the congregation.

It is easier to persuade Christians to adopt a single interpretation of scripture endorsed by the church when they believe it to be the only viable option. Obedience to doctrine is further reinforced by the church’s authority to assign punitive consequences for the heresy of developing unauthorized alternative theological interpretations. In most modern churches, the most extreme form of discipline is expulsion from the membership. Since the church is a primary source of community for its congregation, the threat of excommunication is a strong incentive to dogmatically accept only the authorized interpretations of scripture and remain in compliance with established doctrines.

At the same time, there are diverse perspectives on matters which are not essential for salvation that the church allows individual Christians to decide for themselves. In 1577 A.D., the Lutherans settled on the “Formula of Concord” that declared insignificant theological issues as “…neither commanded nor forbidden in the Word of God.” The Anglicans also developed a similar perspective during the 17th century when they determined that God really only cares about the moral state of a Christian’s soul and is indifferent to things like proper church governance. However, the problem of multiple plausible interpretations exists here as well and is exposed when theologians consult the scriptures to distinguish nonessential matters from matters essential to salvation. Different theologians arrive at different perspectives on what is and isn’t essential to salvation based on their diverse interpretations of Biblical texts. Meanwhile, none of them have an objective method for ruling-out competing interpretations or even their own interpretation.

Occasionally, an issue emerges that is divisive enough to cause a significant number of Christians to risk challenging established church doctrine. For these Christians, it is no longer a simple choice between obeying or disobeying God as the church might have them believe. Instead, many of these frustrated Christians find themselves having to contend with several choices; each choice claiming obedience to the true will of God. Of course, Christians on all sides of these debates will articulate logical arguments and point to Biblical support for why their particular interpretation of the scriptures should define church doctrine more than any alternative interpretation. What they all fail to understand, though, is that an ability to demonstrate a theological justification for one interpretation does nothing to disprove any of the competing theological interpretations.

When faced with various unfalsifiable interpretations of Biblical texts, theologians have no objective standard by which to mitigate for confirmation bias or other conscious and subconscious prejudices which may influence personal preference for one perspective over another. The historic consequence of this impasse has been the fragmentation of Christianity into thousands of competing denominations. Even within a single Christian denomination, unresolvable doctrinal disputes continue to divide the church’s congregation. In fact, some critics have argued that the Bible’s ability to justify almost any theological perspective has produced as many versions of Christianity as there are Christians.

A potential compromise could be achieved by adopting a “Doctrine of Theological Diversity and Inclusion” that reveals rather than conceals plausible alternative interpretations of contested scriptures. To imagine the functionality of this, consider how diversity and inclusion (D&I) awareness programs in the workplace contribute to increased employee satisfaction, improved productivity, and above average employee retention. For instance, if two diverse groups of employees each submit an equally viable proposal for achieving a shared goal, their creativity is rewarded when the leadership permits each proposal to proceed rather than arbitrarily demanding the implementation of just one of the proposals. In other words, the leadership assumes an agnostic position towards each viable proposal since they have no way to justify choosing one over the other. As a result, employees from both groups are willing to contribute more innovative ideas when their diversity of thought is not discouraged in the workplace. More importantly, inclusive workplaces that welcome diverse perspectives exceed their competition in recruiting the most qualified and talented employees which leads to even more innovation.

The Christian church would equally benefit from D&I awareness by soliciting various theological perspectives and openly disclosing where contested scriptures have multiple plausible interpretations. Adopting a doctrine of theological D&I will better position the church to facilitate compromise by remaining agnostic in situations where Biblical guidance is ambiguous rather than arbitrarily enforcing a single interpretation. Instead of feeling compelled to dictate which interpretations of scripture are authorized, the church leadership may simply encourage their congregation to seek direct revelatory guidance from the Holy Spirit. After all, if Christianity is true, the burden of directing people towards the proper interpretation of difficult scriptures should resides with the Holy Spirit and not with fallible theologians. As such, the Christian theologian’s responsibility should not necessarily be to speak for God but merely to facilitate someone’s introduction to the Holy Spirit as the mechanism by which God may speak for himself.

A doctrine of theological D&I compels theologians to have faith that God will guide each unique Christian towards an appropriate interpretation of a difficult scripture regardless of whether it aligns with church tradition or not. In this way, the existence of contradictory interpretations is rendered inconsequential because it may be the case that God does not intend for every Christian to live by the exact same interpretation of an ambiguous Biblical text. Rather than being an unfortunate byproduct from the utilization of fallible human authors to communicate his words, the debatable language which comprise select Bible passages may have been deliberately designed by God to be ambiguous in order to facilitate personalized plans for a diverse population of Christians.

It must be clarified that a doctrine of theological D&I does not restrict theologians from conveying their own personal interpretations of ambiguous scriptures even if the church as a whole assumes an agnostic perspective. To the contrary, a doctrine of theological D&I encourages theologians to communicate their individual perspectives. However, their pastoral obligation would also compel church leaders to disclose plausible alternative interpretations for consideration. Otherwise, a failure to reveal all the theological options could potentially deprive a valued Christian of a Biblical interpretation God intends for that individual.

Furthermore, the church must not abuse its authority by discouraging Christians from accepting an equally plausible interpretation of a contested scripture which does not conform to the majority perspective since there is no objective method for resolving such disputes. Therefore, theologians must resist the compulsion to impose their fallibly biased interpretations of imprecise Biblical texts on a diverse congregation for the sake of establishing or reinforcing arbitrary church doctrines. In fact, such authoritarian practices have been observably and unnecessarily destructive to the Christian community. Instituting a doctrine of theological D&I will help the Christian church to recover from the damages caused by fallible yet non-negotiable doctrines.

In closing, the establishment of a theological D&I doctrine would facilitate a compromise for almost any internal theological dispute regarding the interpretation of ambiguous scriptures. From arguments over the Theory of Evolution to decisions about Planned Parenthood, a doctrine of theological diversity offers church leaders an ability to satisfy their pastoral obligations in way that fosters compassion rather than division. As long as the core components of Christianity are maintained, there doesn’t appear to be any logical or theological reason to reject the application of D&I awareness to church doctrine. If Christianity is a relationship and not a religion as many Christians assert, then adopting a doctrine of theological D&I will serve to grow that relationship by encouraging congregants to seek direct revelatory guidance from God. Otherwise, this self-imposed obligation to support non-negotiable but fallible church doctrines will only continue to drive people farther away from a relationship with Jesus.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:11 pm
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Re: Doctrine of Theological Diversity & Inclusion?

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[Replying to bluegreenearth]

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I should hope so. Isn’t that the point of the Church? So, we can know we are getting it right?


How can we determine if the fallible theologians who lead the church are getting it right?


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Gosh, I hope so. The Church is entrusted to safeguard Sacred Scripture and correctly teach matters of faith and morals. Without a Church with authority and control, we could not have a unified message. This would be very confusing for Christ’s followers.


I'm confused. My review of church history doesn't seem to demonstrate that there has ever been a unified message or followers of Christ that haven't been confused by the "Sacred Scripture" in one way or another. How were you able to confirm that the Church has reliably and correctly taught matters of faith and morals?


The Catholic Church has one unified teaching. If you attend a Catholic Church in India, you will be taught the exact thing at a Catholic Church in Alabama. Not only will every church teach the same precepts of faith, they will have the same readings on the same day. The Church is unified under one leader, the Pope, unlike every other off shoot or splinter Christian denomination who teach whatever there particular pastor or community chooses to teach.

So, I question your review of Church history. History absolutely demonstrates a unified message within the Catholic Church, since the time Jesus established it. Scripture itself tells us if there were disagreements among the first Christians, they were to take their matters to the Church and the Church had the final say.


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Yes, less we have a bunch of incorrect teachings being taught.


How do fallible church leaders decide which teachings are correct or incorrect without an objective method for resolving such disputes? If there is an objective method, please describe it.


They recognize their authority as being established by Jesus Christ Himself and believe His promise that He will remain with His Church. The Holy Spirit prevents the Church from teaching errors on teachings regarding faith and morals. And think about. Only the Catholic Church has remained true to her teachings for over 2000 years, where almost every other Christian denomination has caved to the fashions of the day now allowing things like artificial contraception, same sex unions, divorce, pre marital sex, abortion, etc. The Catholic Church still teaches these things are grave sins. Why? Because the Holy Spirit has not permitted her to follow popular opinion because truth is truth and the Church is not simply some earthly institution rather it has a divine element.


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It is actually often rare, when the Church might have to step in and tell someone they have crossed the line and should not be teaching falsehoods.


Again, how do fallible church leaders determine when a line has been crossed when there is no objective method for resolving such disputes? If an objective method exists, please educate me.


It is clear to see who has crossed the line because the magisterium, exercising papal infallibility, guided by the Holy Spirit, determines so. Just like we believe Jesus is true God and true man, we the Church He established is objective truth. Scripture refers to the church as the pillar and foundation of truth. A layperson who wants to make sure he is not crossing the line need only refer to the catechism.


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The only objective method is to acknowledge that Christ established One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Only to her did He give authority (the keys to the kingdom). So, if you are listening to some church that came onto the scene later, then you can’t be sure they are getting it right, as they do not have the authority.


How is that an objective method? Isn't that just another subjective interpretation from some fallible church theologian with a bias and motivation to favor Catholicism? If not, please demonstrate how it is objective.


Well, history reveals only the Catholic Church can trace an Apostolic Succession back to Peter, the first Pope, and ultimately Christ Himself. “thou art Peter, and upon this rock I build my church” ‘I give to you the keys to the kingdom” I would say it doesn’t get any more objective than Christ Himself.


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What they fail to understand is they all do not have the authority to pick up the Bible and give their own personal interpretation, if it contradicts the Church’s teaching. Heck, at this point, they have already trusted Christ’s Church to give them the Bible in the first place, but then they think that same Church is not authorized to interpret it? That makes no sense.


How was it determined that the interpretation of a fallible theologian will always be more accurate than the interpretation of any other fallible human being? Isn't that a logically fallacious argument from authority? If it is not logically fallacious, please educate me.


Because they were the fallible human beings chosen by Jesus Himself, who Jesus gave the power and authority and told us to listen. We see throughout history God chose fallible, ordinary human beings as His leaders. He spoke through Moses to His people. His people were expected to obey and listen to Moses. Just any of them couldn’t have negotiated the Ten Commandments handed to them by Moses. They weren’t allowed to get together and decide which ones they liked and which ones they didn’t. Those were the rules. If they didn’t like it, they were free to leave – just like it works with the Church today.


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Yep, exactly what Christ hoped to avoid and which you don’t see in His Church, the Catholic Church. You always see this in other Christian denominations because they don’t even claim to have authority.


Anyone can make claims about anything. The key is to develop an objective method for determining whether a claim is true, false


Sure. And that is exactly what Jesus took care of in establishing His Church, right? His Church, the pillar and foundation of truth, was the objective standard.

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Have you mitigated for confirmation bias in your analysis? If so, how did you mitigate for it?


Sure. Jesus Himself did this in establishing His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and promising to remain with her and telling us to listen to her.

Confirmation bias is prevented because your not just allowed to start saying Jesus taught something that contradicts Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition (the Church).


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Sure, unless like I said, a person applies logic and reason and recognizes obedience to Christ’s established Church, which is what ironically you criticized at the beginning of this post.


Isn't willful obedience to church dogma an a-priori influence that will corrupt any a-posteriori conclusion regarding the reliability of the church thereby disqualifying it from being logical or reasonable? In fact, doesn't that make the entire exercise circular?


Without an authoritative Church, truth cannot be taught. There would simply be confusion and division. Jesus took care of us having to worry about whether these ordinary human beings He put in charge would teach error by promising to guide His Church and remain with her. She obviously would have to be incapable of teaching error in teachings on matters of faith and morals otherwise it makes Jesus a liar. He wouldn’t tell us to listen to falsehoods and yet He tells His Church, “He who hears you, hears me” He also being the way, the truth, and the light would not promise to remain with His Church if His Church was not the way to Him. He can’t contradict Himself.



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Your premise fails to understand the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, not innovative human ideas.


If the church is guided by the Holy Spirit and the church is staffed by human beings (theologians), then wouldn't the diversity of innovative theological perspectives be the product of that divine guidance? If not, how do we determine which theological perspectives are genuinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and which are not?


Sure, like I said the Church has had theologians discussing theological truths for over 2000 years. She encourages diversity and insight. For example, the Church takes no position on if a person wants to believe his dog, Rover will be with him in heaven. The Church allows for those theologians who say no, our pets will not be in heaven, but you will still be happy and fulfilled and for those theologians who say they see no reason that God could not reunite us with our pets in heaven. The Church admits there are things that have not been revealed to her, so until they are, she will not make any Church declarations on such matters. If an individual’s perspective does not contradict Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition, then the individual has certain liberties, especially those beliefs that will bring that person closer to God. That, my friend, is the Holy Spirit in action and it’s a beautiful thing.

That’s not the same to think it is wrong or bad to correct someone when he is believing or teaching something contrary to what has been revealed to God through the Bible and His Church.


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Congratulations! You just described the Catholic Church. But I have to tell you, God beat you to it.


It has been my understanding that the concept of receiving spiritual authority directly from the Bible to individual Christians through the Holy Spirit rather than church tradition was the foundation of the Protestant Reformation and not Catholicism. Is that incorrect?



Incorrect. The Church knows the Bible speaks directly to each individual and provides each person with what he needs to hear. The Church acknowledges our own unique personal relationship with Christ. However, she also recognizes the problem of an individual picking up the Bible and claiming it means something entirely different than what Christ’s Church teaches. We can’t claim we are getting something from the Bible that is contrary to Church teaching, because that is impossible. Sacred Scripture does not contradict Sacred Tradition (the Church) or vice versa. If you are getting some other message, I am afraid it is not of God.


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If it doesn’t align with Sacred Tradition, then it isn’t what Jesus wanted. He established His Church, gave her the Keys to the Kingdom and her, “He who hears you, hears me”. He promised to remain with His Church and that the Holy Spirit would guide her in all truth. He referred to the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth telling her, “Whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven” The first Christians were told to hold onto not only that which has been written down, but that which has been passed onto them via word of mouth, and via oral tradition.


How was it conclusively demonstrated that what we know as "Sacred Tradition" accurately reflects what Jesus actually said?


Again, the same faith required to believe Jesus is the son of God is the same faith required to believe His words to listen to the Church He established.

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How can we claim to know what the "first Christians" were told when the best and most complete manuscripts which claim to document the words of Jesus don't date any earlier than several decades to hundreds of years after the crucifixion and after the initial versions of Christianity had already been compiled and evolved into updated versions of the faith?


We do have early Church writings written by some of the same people who had lived during the time of Jesus. Also, we believe the writings of the Bible and the Bible as we know it today was not completed until after Jesus was gone. The first Christians did not have a Bible, as we know it today. They listened to the Church. It is this same Church who would choose what books were to make up the Bible that we all now refer to.

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If we accept this kind of manuscript and orally transmitted evidence in support of an extraordinary supernatural claim, are we then obligated to accept similar claims from other traditions supported by the same kinds of evidence?


I would look for as much earthly evidence as we can and use our reason to weed out a great deal. One should study texts/manuscripts/historical records and look for inconsistencies and contradictions.


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How is this line of reasoning any different from that of a cargo cult or people who believe in extra-terrestrial alien abductions?


Because after careful study and analysis, many red flags are typically raised regarding stories of alien abductions, which is probably why there are many more people who believe in God than believe in alien abductions. I don’t think the average human beings are idiots who will believe anything. Most of us are rational, sane, reasonable, and even healthily skeptical. We like our evidence and corroboration.


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As G.K. Chesterton once said, “I don’t want a church to be right when I am right. I want a church to be right when I am wrong.”

Who would want it any other way?


Again, how was it objectively verified that the fallible theologians who interpreted the scriptures were not mistaken or influenced by confirmation bias or personal prejudice? I don't understand why anyone should be satisfied with that arrangement.


Well, again, if you don’t believe in Jesus, don’t believe in Jesus. I have already said belief in God is a matter of faith. But we are also expected to use our reason and if we do, and if we start looking at the history, we find ourselves in the Catholic Church. As someone once said, to delve into history is to leave Protestantism. If we are using reason, we accept the words of Jesus and recognize the importance and reason why He would and could have only left One, Holy, Catholic, Authoritative, and Apostolic Church. Nothing else makes sense.


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God has always used fallible men to communicate with us. We are expected to have faith and listen to them because He has chosen then and given them this authority.


If it were the case that those fallible men were mistaken or had a sinister motivation for leading people to believe God was speaking only through them, how would anyone discover that if they are expected to have faith and listen to them rather than justifiably question their presumed authority? How is that obedient behavior intellectually honest or even sensible?


Because one acknowledges the Church was established by Christ Himself and therefore backed by Christ. Even in Jesus’ time when the people were often dealing with corrupt leaders, Jesus instructed His followers to do as they say and not as they do. Jesus was saying, they are still teaching truth. They are teaching what I want them to teach you, but yes, they themselves are hypocrites and acting contrary to my teachings, so do not be like them – but do what they say, because they are my chosen leaders who have the authority to speak on these matters.


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You seem to be equating diversity with division.


Diversity can be both unifying and divisive depending on whether people choose to embrace or reject it. I choose to embrace diversity.


Diversity is fine. It’s a bit of a buzz word these days. But diversity for diversity’s sake is silly. There is nothing about diversity itself that makes things better or more true. We don’t need differences of opinions if those opinions are false or bad. And it would be silly to think so.


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]there is an objective method of resolving disputes and Scripture even told us as much . . .

“If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then consider him a pagan and a tax collector” The first Christians took their matters to the Church, as directed. The Church is the objective standard – at least that is what Jesus said.


So, a Biblical passage is the objective and reliable method for determining if the Church's interpretation of the Bible is accurate and reliable? Please explain how this reasoning isn't circular.


It’s one of the ways. As Christians we are told to listen to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (the Church). But like I said all of this, like belief in God in the first place, requires faith. So, I guess if you want, you will always be able to call it circular. Like I said, human beings often have to operate at a certain circular level.


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You falsely assume their interpretations are fallible. The Catholic Church teaches papal infallibility. And you falsely assume Church doctrines are arbitrary. I have no idea why you would think any of the Church doctrines are arbitrary.


Your argument for the infallibility of the Church's Biblical interpretations is that the Church teaches papal infallibility? How convenient. Am I misunderstanding something or is there a logical fallacy here somewhere?


You’re missing the reasoning. Christ established His Church. If we believe God to be all knowing, all just, intelligent, wise, etc. than it is illogical to not believe He would have established a superfluous church. Why would He establish a Church, give her power and authority, tell us to listen to her, and then allow the Church to teach error? How could an all just God say to His Church, “Whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven” “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven him” if they could be binding and losing incorrectly? Knowing what we know about God, that is illogical. Of course, Christ’s Church is infallible, which is why Scripture refers to it as the pillar and foundation of truth. So, we either believe that or not. The logical fallacy would be to not believe it – because it just doesn’t logically follow.


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I’m not sure one can compromise truth.

Ha, ha, ha . . . I think Christ’s Church will take her chances and continue to do her job of safeguarding Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition by continuing to be non negotiable when it comes to truth.


This is also an issue with epistemology that I will explain in a separate response.


If it is the post I already read, I am afraid it didn’t really explain it.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 12: Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:47 am
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PinSeeker wrote:

I say just preach the Gospel. God will take care of the diversity in His time.


How does someone objectively determine if the interpretation of the Gospel being preached is in accordance with the author's original intention?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 13: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:30 pm
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bluegreenearth wrote:

How does someone objectively determine if the interpretation of the Gospel being preached is in accordance with the author's original intention?

God provides the growth. We do what we think is right. If God chooses to grow what we're doing, then that's a good sign. If not, well then that may not be...

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 14: Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:33 pm
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PinSeeker wrote:


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How does someone objectively determine if the interpretation of the Gospel being preached is in accordance with the author's original intention?

God provides the growth. We do what we think is right. If God chooses to grow what we're doing, then that's a good sign. If not, well then that may not be...


Could you please give a modern day example where God does not appear to be "growing" something Christians have traditionally thought was a correct interpretation?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 15: Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:16 pm
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bluegreenearth wrote:

Could you please give a modern day example where God does not appear to be "growing" something Christians have traditionally thought was a correct interpretation?

No. I can give a lot of examples of new stuff people have come up with that they thought was Biblical, and except for maybe a few "hangers on," it was forgotten in some range (short or long) of time. Other ideas have lasted and even grown, but we can't necessarily deduce anything from that, as God may be allowing it to run alongside what is true, at least for now. At the end of the day, we just trust in God's promises that are true and have their 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ... and know that one day, all will be set right again. And in that day, there will be multitudes and multitudes that will rejoice -- they will be like the stars of heaven; no man will be able to count them, and they will come from every tongue, tribe, and nation... there's your diversity -- at the wedding supper of the Lamb.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 16: Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:45 pm
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PinSeeker wrote:

bluegreenearth wrote:

Could you please give a modern day example where God does not appear to be "growing" something Christians have traditionally thought was a correct interpretation?

No. I can give a lot of examples of new stuff people have come up with that they thought was Biblical, and except for maybe a few "hangers on," it was forgotten in some range (short or long) of time. Other ideas have lasted and even grown, but we can't necessarily deduce anything from that, as God may be allowing it to run alongside what is true, at least for now. At the end of the day, we just trust in God's promises that are true and have their 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ... and know that one day, all will be set right again. And in that day, there will be multitudes and multitudes that will rejoice -- they will be like the stars of heaven; no man will be able to count them, and they will come from every tongue, tribe, and nation... there's your diversity -- at the wedding supper of the Lamb.


What about the interpretation of scripture that some Christians use justify their bigotry against the LGBTQ community? Since the prohibition against homosexuality has only ever resulted in negative impacts to the well-being of the Christian community and continues to causes unnecessary emotional and psychological harm where none would otherwise exist, would you say God is not growing that interpretation?

More measurable damage has occurred to societal health as a consequence of the prohibition against homosexual marriage than it would have experienced if marriage between consenting same-sex adults was permitted. The resulting negative impacts to Christians and Christianity from this seemingly arbitrary proclamation against homosexual marriage contradicts every theological claim about God’s omnibenevolent intentions for his precious human creations. Granted, this inconvenient truth does not invalidate the possibility that the traditional interpretation of homosexuality in the Bible may still be correct, but it does have sinister theological implications. Therefore, it warrants further investigation.

An examination of the more clearly understood moral laws described in the Old Testament such as the prohibition of murder, adultery, and perjury reveals that adherence to such codes of behavior produces tangible benefits to the well-being of everyone in the community. According to the New Testament, Jesus expanded the moral laws by commanding Christians to behave altruistically through unconditional love for their neighbors including those who might do them harm. Obviously, this insightful message has served Christians by encouraging cooperation over selfishness to produce thriving communities. It is logical, then, for Christians to abductively infer from this outcome that the reason an omnibenevolent God declares certain patterns of human behavior to be sinful is because submitting to such behavior consistently impedes human flourishing. Similarly, it shouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the prohibition of homosexual marriage to serve in the interest of maximizing well-being and minimizing unnecessary harm in the same way. However, rather than aligning with this Biblical trajectory towards human flourishing, the prohibition against homosexual marriage seems only to increase objective harm to the community.

While some Christians express loving intentions when they articulate their opposition to homosexuality, negative impacts to well-being from this fallible belief are nonetheless manifest in the form of emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse. Regardless, loyalty to a fallible religious conviction is apparently a sufficient enough reason for many Christians to justify their maladaptive behavior towards homosexuals despite the fact that the observed outcome contradicts their intended goal of maximizing well-being. If it were not for dogmatic belief in the traditional interpretation of imprecise Biblical texts, most Christians would acknowledge that permitting marriage between consenting same-sex adults does not detract from human flourishing. In fact, Christians can clearly observe that the objective consequence of exhibiting support for homosexual marriage where it is permitted to occur has been improved well-being for society as a whole. Without the self-imposed obligation to stubbornly support a fallible yet inflexible church doctrine, there would simply be no reason to classify loving monogamous homosexual relationships between consenting adults as sinful. The absolute failure of the prohibition against homosexual marriage to produce any kind of tangible benefit for humanity generates a fair amount of cognitive dissonance which is not easily resolved or ignored by Christians.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 17: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:08 pm
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LOL! I saw that coming... Very Happy

Sin is sin, BGE. Not because I or any other Christian said so, but because God does. All of us have our besetting sins. Denouncing sin, whatever it may be, is not denouncing the person who practices it, however clumsily it may be done... It's never really about the person, it's about the sin.

If you want to call a Christian "bigoted" for denouncing sin, well then you might as well call Christians bigoted against themselves (which is quite silly) because every Christian (if he is a Christian) hates his own sin. Christian or not, we're all in the same boat. We're all sinners -- this is the human condition -- and that sin manifests itself in each of us in different ways.

The irony is, the call to repentance from sin is really one of the greatest loves one person can have for another. Desiring others to repent and believe so that they might receive God's mercy, believe on Christ Jesus, take hold of God's great salvation, and have eternal life... There is no greater love, really.

It's a simple simile, but effective, nonetheless: Is a parent bigoted -- or unloving, anyway -- because he/she says to his child, "Don't run out and play in the middle of a busy street"? Of course not; that's silly, right? He/she is only concerned about the child's well-being because he/she loves the child. Even if it's said in a scolding or hurtful way, it's still done in love.

As I said from the beginning: Preach the Gospel; God will take care of the diversity.

Grace and peace to you.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 18: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:28 pm
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PinSeeker wrote:

Sin is sin, BGE. Not because I or any other Christian said so, but because God does. All of us have our besetting sins. Denouncing sin, whatever it may be, is not denouncing the person who practices it, however clumsily it may be done... It's never really about the person, it's about the sin.

If you want to call a Christian "bigoted" for denouncing sin, well then you might as well call Christians bigoted against themselves (which is quite silly) because every Christian (if he is a Christian) hates his own sin. Christian or not, we're all in the same boat. We're all sinners -- this is the human condition -- and that sin manifests itself in each of us in different ways.

The irony is, the call to repentance from sin is really one of the greatest loves one person can have for another. Desiring others to repent and believe so that they might receive God's mercy, believe on Christ Jesus, take hold of God's great salvation, and have eternal life... There is no greater love, really.

As I said from the beginning: Preach the Gospel; God will take care of the diversity.

Grace and peace to you.


How is it possible for you to have missed the entire point? Did you even read my comments all the way through, or did you just start typing your response after realizing I was defending the LGBTQ community? It is very frustrating to spend valuable time composing my thoughts on this highly nuanced issue using carefully selected language that almost anyone should have been able to accurately comprehend only to have my efforts completely ignored. You respond as though I hadn't posted anything at all.

This will be the last time I try to explain this point: We can't know if loving monogamous homosexual marriages are considered by God to be sinful because the scriptures which apparently allude to homosexual behavior are written in ambiguous and inconclusive language that could be interpreted in a variety of different ways. It could be the case that all forms of homosexuality are what the scriptures intend to condemn, or it could be the case that the scriptures intend for homosexuality to be condemned only in specified circumstances such as rape, premarital sex, and when performed by people who are biologically heterosexual instead of biologically homosexual. Sin is only sin if we can know what precisely qualifies as sin. Unfortunately, in the case of homosexuality, we have no objective method by which to determine if God considers gay marriage to be a sin or just an alternative form of Holy Matrimony.

If you still can't comprehend this point, ask for clarification instead of casually dismissing it. Thank you.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 19: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:35 am
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Re: Doctrine of Theological Diversity & Inclusion?

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bluegreenearth wrote:

How is it possible for you to have missed the entire point?

I didn't.

bluegreenearth wrote:

Did you even read my comments all the way through...?

Yes.

bluegreenearth wrote:

...only to have my efforts completely ignored.

They weren't ignored. But I've heard the whole social justice "gospel" many, many times, and in many, many ways. What you're saying here is not new to me in any sense.

bluegreenearth wrote:

You respond as though I hadn't posted anything at all.

No, just nothing that I haven't heard before. And beating around the bush is not only a waste of time for us both, but it would really be an insult to you on my part.

bluegreenearth wrote:

...the scriptures which apparently allude to homosexual behavior are written in ambiguous and inconclusive language that could be interpreted in a variety of different ways.

That's your opinion. What I hear in that is the question the serpent asked of Eve in Eden: "Did God really say...?" I disagree wholeheartedly. There is no ambiguity. I understand the reaction though. It's like a number of other things; some see beauty and react to it with awe and reverence, while others see offense and react to it with indignation. This is what God's Word does. It never returns to Him empty.

bluegreenearth wrote:

It could be the case that all forms of homosexuality are what the scriptures intend to condemn, or it could be the case that the scriptures intend for homosexuality to be condemned only in specified circumstances such as rape, premarital sex, and when performed by people who are biologically heterosexual instead of biologically homosexual.

Are you postulating that sin begotten by sin is cool in God's eyes? Surely not.

And then, I see in this also the "God made them that way" argument, which takes me back to my previous post and specifically concerning the human condition and the predisposition of us all to different types of sin that manifests itself in different ways in each of us.

bluegreenearth wrote:

Sin is only sin if we can know what precisely qualifies as sin.

Yeah, disagree. There is sin of commission and sin of omission. Both are equally sin. Metaphorically speaking, ignorance of the law is no excuse (I'm not speaking of God's Law, here), right?

bluegreenearth wrote:

Unfortunately, in the case of homosexuality, we have no objective method by which to determine if God considers gay marriage to be a sin or just an alternative form of Holy Matrimony.

You're mixing a couple of things here, BGE. Homosexuality is sinful behavior; God is very explicit about that in several parts of His Word. Marriage is an institution established by God for union between a man and a woman, who He made for man to be a helper and so that he would not be alone. You know both of these things, I'm sure. What I'm getting at is, one who supports gay marriage is advocating the sanctioning of sin -- which itself should be more than enough to explain why the Christian should be against homosexual marriage -- in the context of an institution that a holy God created for man as a reflection of His holiness and for man's benefit. Like I said, there is no ambiguity.

bluegreenearth wrote:

If you still can't comprehend this point, ask for clarification instead of casually dismissing it. Thank you.

I comprehend well, thanks. I will dismiss your insult to my intelligence as a mere misunderstanding.

At the same time, I think part of the problem is that you don't fully comprehend your own point. It's not fully thought through, anyway, at least from a biblical standpoint. Perhaps that's a product of not fully understanding what God says about these things. Perhaps it's dismissal of what God says about these things, at least to some extent, because accepting it seems in some way unloving, or even abhorrent (hearkening back to my point above about the two basic reactions to God and His Word). Perhaps it's some of both of these things.

Grace and peace to you.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 20: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:33 pm
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Re: Doctrine of Theological Diversity & Inclusion?

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PinSeeker wrote:

bluegreenearth wrote:

How is it possible for you to have missed the entire point?

I didn't.


To demonstrate my point about the impossibility of knowing whether an interpretation of an ancient author's language is accurate or not, consider the following thought experiment:

Imagine it is the future and American English has become a long dead and unfamiliar language to our descendants. A group of future historians are debating the meaning of a 2,000 year old anonymously written email stored in the internet archive. The email contains a variety of statements including one that claims, "Someone thought to be a lady killer was seen jerking off a man in the room with a telescope." The future experts did their best to translate the statement into their modern language, but the exact meaning and usage of some words and phrases have been lost to history and must be interpreted.

One group of historians insists the interpretation of the statement first supported by the founders of their Historical Society is the most accurate. This traditional interpretation suggests the statement means precisely what it says; a lady who kills people was observed jerking herself away from the body of a man she just murdered in a room where they stored a telescope. They suggest the language is not ambiguous at all and clearly describes what the author intended for the audience to understand.

Meanwhile, another group of historians suggest the term "lady killer" might refer to someone of any gender with a reputation for murdering women. They argue their interpretation is equally plausible in context of the entire statement because the author may be describing a situation where someone used a telescope to observe a suspect known for killing ladies jump off the body of murdered man in an unidentified room. They suggest the language is not precise enough to know with absolute certainty if their interpretation is correct but insist it cannot ruled-out as a possibility.

Of course, we know neither interpretation accurately conveys what the author intended.
When we substitute the language from the email in this thought experiment with the language from the scriptures that identify which behaviors are sinful, the parallel becomes obvious. You are no more justified in claiming to know that God intended for his scriptures to condemn all forms of homosexuality as a sin than the future historians are justified in their interpretation of "lady killer" and "jerking off" in a statement from a 2,000 year old email written in a dead language.

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