A response to @ConfessingUMC and their excommunication of @icanhasgozpel and myself

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can find the snipping here. This is my response. It is unedited. I am not feeling well, having eaten what I suspect was either some outdated cream cheese or worse.
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You know, Page Admin, you’ve could’ve done us the honor of tagging us in this. I mean, if you wanted an honest dialogue.

The fact that you would suggest we leave is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Wesley. The fact you accused us of being liberals shows why The Communion is needed. I am a conservative. I believe Scripture is primary in our Church life, but as a Wesleyan I believe Scripture must be interpreted through Reason, Tradition, and the experience of Christian salvation. If I did not believe Scripture allowed for what I propose, then I would not do it.

We hope for a honest and intensely theological discussion on this subject, without (as you have done) accusations or charges to leave. As Wesley said, if our hearts, then our hands.

What is your heart here? Is it to dismiss and throw out that which you disagree with? Is this really Christian charity? This is really part of the Wesleyan Tradition?

I came from a sect that practiced Christian charity as you do — and I was kicked out because I believed child molestation was too evil of a crime not to report. And now, because I challenge your theological notions, you are telling me to leave? How godly you must feel.

The argument of ‘scripture never changes’ or ‘what the bible teaches’ is a serious breach of logic. Remember, before Christ, the ‘bible’ taught against Gentiles and was pro-circumcision. Paul likewise re-interpreted Scripture through Christ. We see this in Hebrews.

If the Church’s (or rather our denomination’s) teachings were always considered to be an accurate representation on what Scripture actually says, we should stop this nonsense, repudiate the entirety of the Protestant Reformation and go back to Rome. Even Wesley questioned his Tradition’s teachings about the marginalized among other things. And yet, because we seek to follow in the footsteps of Wesley, of Zwingli, of Wycliff, of Paul, of Jesus and question with serious conviction we may be wrong you would have us leave.

If every United Methodist left the UMC that disagreed with you, there would be about 100 left.

But, you have shown exactly why The Communion is needed — because thus far, too many sides are drawn. We need honest, sincere discussion reflective of the Wesleyan spirit of Christian charity to one another and to the marginalized.

By the way, I appreciate the jab of ‘a blogger.’ I am also an author with two published books and a third on the way. You can Amazon me at Joel L. Watts.

God bless.

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Is @TheIRD floating the idea of supporting #WestboroBaptistChurch?

IRD logo.

IRD logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m trying to make sense out of Barton Gingerich’s latest post at the IRD blog.

He opens with

But how much do we know about them? Yes, they make it above the centerfold on the front page, but what else? It seems our disgust at such revolting behavior keeps most of us from researching Westboro any further. However, I think it is incredibly important to know who and what Westboro actually represents since they have left thousands of Christians cowed in shame for believing in traditional marriage.

The Westboro Baptist Muzzle | Juicy Ecumenism – The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Blog.

He goes on to recount some of the history of the group and then, out of nowhere, lays a conspiracy theory out that even Glenn Beck would disown:

A more sensational conspiracy theory suggests that Phelps & Co. are backed by big time liberal donors.

Then suddenly, he talks about how WBC has cowered Christians from speaking out about upholding “traditional” marriage. I’m sorry, but what? Has Bart not seen what the IRD does on a daily basis? What the SBC and other conservative denominations do on a daily basis? Who has been cowered by WBC? And, besides the slight comments about their church government (vs. their theology), is there a difference between you and them?

My contention has long been that the only difference between WBC and groups like the IRD is that the WBC has the courage of their convictions to stand with little signs to protest. I don’t doubt for a minute groups like the AFA and IRD wouldn’t love to be out there with them.

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Drones

The title is fitting to both the subject matter — drone strikes — and the fact that the IRD would have us all be murderous drones in the name of God.

Christian has left a response already that needs not be repeated, just shared. On facebook, I left this one

It would seem that the only real dividing line in using violence is the time and place it is used and who uses it. Drone strikes do not fit well into any Scriptural teaching or any teaching of the Church. What makes drones strikes acceptable to American Christians — some American Christians — is that we are doing to people who look different than us and can bear the blame we place on them for 9/11. If these were drone strikes by, say, Iran on Israel, we would be decrying the brutality of them. This is intellectual cowardice and should, at some point before we are truly all God-forsaken, stop.

Mark Tool-ey is a detestable theologian and a horrible Wesleyan. I regret the stage given this man who would rather see Jesus crucified again than to make peace.

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And this, my friends is how “Christians” from @theird handle challenges

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The IRD has set its sights on Rachel Held Evans with several recent articles, namely this one. Oddly enough, a writer for the IRD is also a writer for the Gospel Coalition. Anyway, they aren’t taking too kindly to Evans’ take down of modern day Evangelicalism. Now that she has shown how a woman can do more than stay in the kitchen quietly, they are ramping up their minions to attack.

For example,

I posted a review of Honey BooBoo’s book on Amazon, and that provoked the Attack of the Killer Shrews. Wow, talk about LOYAL fans! If only people were that committed to Jesus of Nazareth! The comments all followed a pattern: “How dare you! Rachel loves Jesus! I love Jesus! Rachel is a woman of valor! You didn’t read the book! Rachel has opened up the Bible for millions of women!”

Never confuse “fame” with “greatness.”

In one post, her critics have all but accused her of promoting the destruction of a man’s property – his future’s wife virginity. I almost wrote vagina, but this is a family blog. The commenters on this post in particular show a complete ineptness of what Scripture says about sexuality. Of course, that won’t stop them, as they seem insist that a woman is less of a good thing if she has sex before marriage.

All of this is nothing more than a bunch of backward “evangelicals” missing the point, judging not on facts but only what they think they know, and generally doing a bang-up job of being the prime example of what it is not to be either a Christian or a real Evangelical.

The author of the most recent article on Evans concludes her statements with this,

Although Evans did not define “biblical womanhood” in any real sense, she showcased clearly her approach to scripture, which deviates dramatically from that of evangelical tradition….

Thank God it deviates… Of course, Evans has a habit of taking Scripture honestly and showing how the so-called “face value” or “plain sense” hermeneutic is quite funny in practice.

And…

It seems unlikely that most evangelicals, who have historically emphasized the authority of scripture, will follow her call to evolve into communities of questioning and doubt.

Authority is one thing – Evans engages the authority of Scripture like we all should. However, what the author really means is that Evans takes Scripture for what it is and where it came from and where it is today. She doesn’t rely upon the final interpretation motif common among Evangelicals today, but instead shows that if you stick Scripture on a pedestal, you are doing it wrong.

It is sad that Evangelicals will not take Evans’ advice and follow her at least partially out of the hindering mindset that is modern (American) Evangelicalism.

Christianity would be better served with more Evans and less Tool-ey clones.

HT to Rod for the pic.

The hypocrisy of @MarkDTooley @TheIRD

…the Bible does not give specific guidance on what U.S. immigration law should be in the year 2013.

This comes from an article from One News Now.

via Tooley Claims Bible Vague On Modern Issues – @MarkDTooley, @TheIRD | Notes from the Pastor’s Office.

You simply have to read Chris’s article.

So, the bible gives us absolute guidance on everything but immigration issues. Perhaps Tool-ey has never read Exodus of Matthew 1-3.

@theird – kill, kill, kill

The problem is that not everything about Manifest Destiny or American Exceptionalism is clearly unbiblical.  Take for example the command of God to be “fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” What that meant in 1840 and what it means now is very different.  In 1840, that scripture provided biblical backing to people longing to try their hand at “redeeming the earth.” Today, if that scripture is quoted at all, it is read apologetically and comes with an appeal for “Creation Care.” (I would argue that environmentalism is a major tenet of modern American civil religion.)

via Discussing Paleo-Evangelicals: A Friendly Challenge « Juicy Ecumenism.

So, let me get this straight… the current thought that to leave our children straddled with imaginary debt incurred in large part because of wars cheered by Christians who believed they were ushering in the End Times is not civil religion, but protecting the environment is civil religion.

Be fruitful and multiply is not and has never been equal to manifest destiny. This is another example of “biblical values.” Manifest Destiny included the genocide of other peoples. The death of hundres of thousands. Taking lands not ours. There is nothing Christian about this.

Further, civil religion is part and parcel of American Christianity, on the both the left and the right. The blogger suggests that it is difficult to tell civil religion and Christianity apart. If that is the case, then I would challenge the blogger as to his Christianity.

Ugh.

Oh yes, Mormon Mitt but not Methodist Adam

While misogyny is still a real force within America, and abortion is a complicated and terrible decision for the women faced with it, it is ultimately a black and white decision: either the fetus has moral weight, or it does not. If abortion is, though, as Hamilton suggests, merely a shade of gray, we Christians must consider which shade. To what extent can Christians be comfortable with the mass destruction of unborn human life?

via The 2012 Election and Adam Hamilton’s Shades of Gray « Juicy Ecumenism.

Sorry – this is not a slander against Mormonism; however, Mitt Romney is a Mormon, a religious group long held to be a cult by every Christian denomination and communion. Well, I mean, until we had a black President. The IRD loves to defend anyone on the so-called right, even accusing those who suggesting Mormonism is still unbiblical of being bigots. How ironic…

Anyway, so Adam Hamilton, a UMC pastor and author, preached a sermon about staying centered on Christ through the divisive election cycle. He purposely did not bring up abortion of gay marriage, but mentioned what he thought people could rally behind.

I am against elective abortion. No doubt. But abortion that saves the life of the mother, or abortions that are aimed at babies unable to live outside the womb, if they are living even then, is a gray area. Gay marriage is a gray area as well. If you believe homosexuality is wrong, but you live in a Republic of laws, including civil rights, then it becomes not a matter of Christian morality, but Republican morality.

Okay, so with that said, what Darling did was to put into Rev. Hamilton’s mouth words and concepts that were not there beforehand. Why is it the IRD suggests we “respect” others, but only if those “others” are registered as GOP? Had Darling listened — actually listened — I would hasten to believe that such a yellow post would not have been written. Perhaps Darling would have learned something about attempting to stay focused on Christ.

From the @theIRD: Why Christianity Is Inconsequential to Real World

My good friend, Keith Pavlischek, has a post at the @TheIRD’s site wherein he betrays his lack of knowledge regarding Christian pacifism.

He remarks, “that the use and application of lethal force is always wrong, wicked, evil and condemned by the life and teachings of Jesus who they claim to follow.” Odd. I thought we, both the pacifists and those who enjoy a strong military presence, are following the same Jesus; however, Keith does raise a point that must be addressed. Christian pacifism is not a suddenly seamless doctrine. I for one believe that at certain times, lethal force may need to be applied. Otherwise, we would need to argue against the death of Jesus, and that is impossible. However, lethal force is still evil and requires a repentance. Examine, if you will, some of the Hebraic laws regarding the needed purification after a war. If war was good whatsoever, then purification rights would not be needed; yet, even in a holy war, the people and land needed purification. So, war is evil; war is sometimes necessary. We find this example in Christ.

My brother in Christ argues, “Similarly, when pacifists call for a reduction in the size of the Department of Defense, everyone knows that this is because, as a matter of principle, they don’t believe there should be a Defense Department in the first place.” For the most part, this is a flat out lie. When I and many more pacifists call for a reduction, it is due to the imperialistic nature of the department. We have military bases in over 150 nations, financing militaries of other nations, and wasting billions of dollars on defense projects the military does not want. If I do not support the Department of Defense, it is because I would rather see it called the Department of War. Why? Because our Founders did not foresee the use of a standing military, especially one the size we have now and the placement of those troops. Yes, the times have changed, and I support keeping up someone with those changes; however, we must consider if the changes we made affected those times or the times our changes. I suspect it is the former. A Department of War marginalizes the the imperialistic nature of Defense. Yes, we are ready; no, it is not our main focus.

Now, he goes on to suggest that people have wrong ideas about pacifism. True enough, but he is one of them. What gets me, however, is his insistence that those who take seriously the “turn the other cheek” bit are less Christian than those who take literally “In the beginning…” Why is that? Keith does  not know his history, and he would like us to repeat it.

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Wait… the @theird supports the Value Voters Summit?

Citing such hostility and threats to religious freedom, likes Obamacare’s contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on religious groups, Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration foresaw the “next level” of threats. “People in this room may end up in prison in my lifetime, maybe sooner,” he speculated of Christians who “won’t render up to Caesar what belongs to God.”

via Young Evangelicals and Politics « Juicy Ecumenism.

English: Pagans kill Christians in Pliska.

English: Pagans kill Christians in Pliska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course they do because they aren’t United Methodists.

Anyway, Tooley has a post up about four young evangelicals who were panelists at the Value Voters Summit, the yearly meeting of Christian Talibanistas.

That above statement, however, strikes me because I’ve heard that all of my life. I have yet to see Christians who obeyed God thrown in jail. This is fear-mongering, by the way, on the first level. On the second level, it is a martyrdom complex. Not exactly the same thing as, say, flying buildings into airplanes (think about it), but close. Instead, this is a type of “I need to feel important, and the only way to feel important is if people hate me” mentality. On the last level, this is a need to believe they are a part of the underclass, the minority – the oppressed. Nothing like a bunch of well-off white kids feeling oppressed.

We could enumerate the many times Christians have in the past said the same thing about various different social movements or paradigms shifts, but widespread persecution of Christian zeal has not happened in the West since the Catholics on the continent tried to do away with the Protestants and the Protestants in England tried to do away with the Catholics. If you think that died out in the Middle Ages, you are wrong – after all, Catholic Princess Kate had to have the rules changed for her and William to marry.

I have to agree that Christians in the past have taken up social causes, but let’s stop with the anachronism and realize that those who did were the liberals – the tee-totalers, the abolitionists – who fought the entrenched and very Christian X (with X representing the entrenched power structure, say like slavery, long considering a biblical institution in the South). I would also agree  with the premise of Christians becoming involved in social concerns today, but not the extend of the shedding of the Gospel. No offense to anyone, but Welch and the tee-totalers totally ruined the Eucharist when they took out wine.

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@TheIRD recommends following The Nuremberg Laws of 1935

Evangelicals and other Christians may disagree about the right immigration policies of course. The Scriptures and church tradition offer no detailed guidance for modern civil states and immigration law. But Christians have nearly always affirmed obedience to civil law, except when egregiously evil, and absent lawful means for amending the law. The NAE’s chief spokesman has affirmed an Administration’s decision to disregard the law after Congress has declined several times to legalize younger illegal immigrants. - via Evangelicals, Immigration and the Law « Juicy Ecumenism.

I mean, that is the thing right? Sure, Scripture does speak about not putting the sins of the father upon the children, about entreating the Stranger, treating the least of these as Jesus and the like, but they choose to ignore that and say “Obey the Law!!!”

So I have to wonder if the IRD would want us to follow the Jim Crow laws, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and the Nuremberg Laws of 1935?

So, when all argument fails, it is trust Government and not Jesus? Oh wait, maybe making children suffer because of their parents aren’t egregiously evil… but many Germans didn’t think the Nuremberg Laws were, and many Southerners didn’t think slavery and all laws related to it were extremely evil either.