Oh Tony, you keep using that word…, or, in favor of St. James of the McGraths

I haven’t covered this for a while, but I see Tony Breeden is now attacking the Apostle Paul and Jesus by way of James McGrath.

On Tony’s FB page, he writes,
breeden shames himself

He is referring back to this post.

But what is the “basic doctrine of the Christian faith?” Is it really the resurrection?

If there is a litmus test for “true believers” it neither Young Earth Creationism nor the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is whether or not you can say “Jesus is Lord.” This is simply stated in 1 Co 12.3.

If we look at 1 Co 15, the resurrection is not the basic doctrine of the Christian faith, but becomes an ancillary doctrine as we continue our journey into salvation. See Paul’s note about “you are also being saved” in 1 Co. 15.2. Paul rarely uses a past tense word for salvation, but focuses rather on the future salvation, being saved and will be saved. It is a process.

No doubt my good friend McGrath understands well the Wesleyan notion of going on to perfection, or a progressive, if you will, Christianity. The “basic doctrine of the Christian” faith, then, is not the resurrection, but to first acknowledge Jesus as Lord. From there, it is all growth. And since it is all growth we are not to judge or ridicule brothers and sisters in Christ (plenty of bible verses for that one).

I would call the Resurrection a Mystery, like the Trinity, as exemplified as the first mystery of the Holy Rosary. I do believe in the Resurrection, for what it is worth. I do not, however, believe in the inquisition Breeden and his ilk regularly put on Christians as if they are the magisterium. I’ll stick with the Apostle Paul on this one.

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I don’t think you understand Creator ontologically

7 Lucky Gods of japan
7 Lucky Gods of japan (Photo credit: Steve-kun)

It bugs me when certain people pretend to know what they are talking about. For instance, Hambone suggests that the entirety of the Gospel is bound up in Augustine’s poor theology of original sin based on his bad translation. Further, he goes on to connect Christ as Creator to this terrible view, forgetting the whole of covenant theology found throughout Scripture.

This also goes back to the the deitistic view of Young Earth Creationists, where you have a trickster god creating only once. Therefore, God is no longer really a creator. He is more like a Creator-ed. Past tense. The Creeds affirm, however, God is still Creator. Science affirms God is still creating in a physical sense. Young Earth Creationism denies both the authority of the Creeds and Science, replacing it with their own magisterium and takes an unholy, unscriptural view of Creation.

This is where panentheists and those who read God’s co-equal book, Science, have a better appreciation, a fuller appreciation of what it means for God to be Creator in the physical sense. (I have to ignore Tony’s poor Trinitarian theology for the moment.) God is Creator first and always. Creator defines God’s existence as much as we can define an existence for God. Because God is Creator and still creating God is likewise Judge. Because God is Judge, God is likewise Savior. But all of this depends upon God still creating as Creator. Not as a past tense issue.

Tony’s notion that the entire Gospel is found in Genesis 3 is rather poor, as poor as his notion of Creation.. It betrays a proper understanding of Creation, Christ, and the Gospel, denying the full covenant that is Creation — each creation, every creation. That is what covenant is, after all, a creation. We have a new creation because of the new covenant with Christ. Christ has perfected the covenant with God. Because of the new covenant, there is a new creation.

In simple words, Scripture affirms a Covenant/Creation sense. The Creeds affirm God as Creator in the ontological sense. Science affirms ongoing creation in a physical sense. None of these things are affirmed by Young Earth Creationists.

So, I guess, in a very real way, those who understand covenant theology are the real Young Earth Creationists because, for us, Creation is only 2000 years old. Liberals, like Ken Ham and Tony B., are unscriptural old earth creationists. Tisk Tisk Tisk.

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I don’t often agree with T-Breeden (T-B, T-hamBone) but when I do…

No Bible-affirming Christian should EVER use the term “retard,” “retarded” or any other variant of the R-word, no matter how snarky and clever you think it might be. One would think we could be bothered to be literate enough to express ourselves in a more appropriate manner! It is grievously insensitive and hateful to use someone else’s disability as an insult. (here)

Beyond the holier-than-thou attitude, the myth of the “bible-affirming Christian,” is the idea that some concepts are just wrong to use as insults.

The r-word is not in my vocabulary any longer. I don’t like Young Earth Creationism, and feel pity for those who cherish such superstitious anti-biblical concepts, but they are no the r-word. They are wrong, but they are not the r-word.

Let’s do a little better and stop using others as a way to insult someone else, shall we?

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Is Tony Breeden Anti-Semitic?

whereunicornspeeIt certainly seems so. I mean, I’ve met him in person and he isn’t a dullard in the intelligence department… but then he writes this in response to Karl Giberson:

You see, when we ask, “Were you there?”, creationists are not claiming that we cannot determine the past unless we are eyewitnesses. Granted, we do point out that the further we go back in time, the less certainty we may have. Rather the point of “Were you there?” is to underscore the fact that we do have an Eyewitness account. This Eyewitness is God Himself who authored the Scriptures, which never came by the will of men (including the pre-scientific but nonetheless true history in Genesis). Unfortunately, this Creator (who never lies) testifies that the world did not come about by purely uniform, natural processes, a fact of the Text which Giberson chooses to ignore. He’s ignoring God’s testimony as irrelevant because modern scientists who’ve chained scientific inquiry to pure naturalism have concocted an all-natural Just-so story to replace the historical Creation account in Genesis.

The ‘Were you there’ is a stupid argument. Why? Because they are still assuming that unless the historical narrative of Genesis 1 matches up to modern Western ideas of history and other accounts, then it is wrong. Further, he is still assuming that Genesis 1 is about the physical creation. So to ask if someone was there is to dismiss the actual Scripture.  What Tony and others are doing is to take their account and their understanding, nay, their necessity of having Scripture read like they and not ancient Hebrews wrote it, and applying it to Scripture.

So, Tony, were you there? Are you an ancient Hebrew writing the hymn, sitting in Babylon, during exile, keeping the identity of your people alive? Were you there, in God’s mind, as he inspired Scripture so that you directed him was to what to inspired, and to the original authors as to tell them, which they would not have understood whatsoever, what to say? Were you there, Tony? What? No? They how about give the ancient authors there due and try not to tell them that what they wrote doesn’t mean anything unless it meets the high quality of the Western white guy.

Now, we can actually examine the passage in context because we have other writings by other authors who were actually there, but that might actually prove Tony and others wrong…

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Speaking of humility… How many mistruths can you spot?

Jason cites a ‘review‘ (polemical responses aren’t reviews; they are sad instances of someone defending their own presuppositions against anything that may cause them emotional and mental harm) by a Young Earth Creationist group on John Walton’s book, ]]. This one, by the way, is a great start to actually understanding Genesis 1 within context, but his second book on the subject, published by Eisenbrauns is a much more involved one.

I love the hypocritical presuppositionalist view point expressed in the review… First, they detest the fact that the Church may have in fact gotten more than a few things wrong. What’s wrong with this view point? First, they assume that the theologians of the Church are as inspired as Scripture. Second, their avenue of thought must undue all of the Reformation and place us all back into Rome. Third, they assume that humans aren’t fallible. Fourth, they also assume that the entire Church has always believed what they themselves believe now, when in fact, history stands against them. Another error is that they use the Creeds (honestly, a YEC’er using a Creed?) to suggest that the Church has always seen God as Creator but that Walton and others do not. This is a straw man, and in fact, a flat out lie. To this end, they suggest that ex nihilo was always the official Church stance, when in fact it was not. Indeed, it was a much needed doctrine to thwart the dualism of the age, but it is not actually found in Scripture. Not believing in ex nihilio nor in the YEC’er interpretation of Genesis 1 does not remove the central belief that God is the Creator, something Walton and others have affirmed time and time again. They also go into this “Scripture must interpret Scripture” which is the biggest pile of horse, well, you know, that I’ve seen used. Remember, not even Christ suggested that when he urged the Pharisees to look at him instead of searching the Scriptures. They go on to issue more cockamamie tripe all in the name of defending their non-existent faith.

Jason, on the other hand, suggests that what we need is humility. He then goes on to write,

Humility would lead us to go back to the Scriptures and the Early Church to see what they held concerning the matter.

I can assure you that no humble, open-minded person will come away with the understanding that folks such as Walton and Enns have presented to us.

Ironic that Jason uses the words ‘open-minded’ and ‘humble’ when he has by this very statement shown that he is against both things. Let’s turn back to the early Church Fathers like Origen and Augustine who didn’t believe in a YEC’er interpretation, nor many of the other fundamentalist doctrines. Further, Jason flat out lies when he writes,

The intellectual climate in Europe when “The Origins of The Species” was written was such that there was essentially a nominal belief in God and Christianity.

The problem with Jason, Ken Ham and Tony Breeden, among others, is that they are driven by an intense desire to guard their own faith, not realizing the often times hypocritical routes which they must take to condemn others. They fall back on Church Tradition, the Fathers, and the such, and yet roundly condemn those who do this everyday, such as the Catholics. They read everything anachronistically. Further, they don’t understand science and yet pretend that they can offer valuable insight into it. Not only that, but they make up history.

What Dr. Walton and Dr. Enns have done is to show that the actual Authority of Scripture is maintained without having to bend over backwards, become hypocritical, and condemn others who disagree as somehow denying Christ. I applauded them, and it is because of them and those like them that the Christian faith will continue to grow… and it because the apologetic YEC’ers that the Christian faith will stumble and harm others, causing the faith of many to be lost. May God forgive them

Psst… Jason… your permalinks needs to be changed to allow for the title of the post. Search Engines love this, much more so than the numbers style. 

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The Intellectual Dishonesty of “Believing it, Defending it, Proclaiming it” @AiG

That is the motto of Answers in Genesis:

 

aig motto

 

When you start with ‘believing it’ as the first principle, you encourage groupthink. What one person thinks is what everyone else must think. We follow this by defense. Not examination. Not reformation. Not reforming or renewal. Only defense. This is the root of fundamentalism wherein there is no examination of the belief, only the requirement to believe it and then to defend it. As Peter Enns suggest for believers like Albert Mohler, theology should never be examined, only defended.

This is a pitiful excuse for ‘apologetics’ and indeed, a pitiful method of actual exegesis.

God help us never to be that locked into our own doctrines and beliefs that we never hear the Spirit calling….

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Dr. James McGrath, Tony Breeden, Ken Ham….

I want to touch on this again… dead horse and all…

When you begin to read Scripture with presuppositions, you are essentially shaping Scripture to how you want to see it. Further, to deny the ancient authors their culture and social standing by accusing them of being just like you or else their work is somehow absurd, then you are living in a ethnocentric world. The idea that many today believe that their understanding is the exact same one as the original author’s is ludicrous. The fact is, is that our understanding of the text today is often deprived of the ancient mythos of the author, and we can thank the Enlightenment for that. Gone is superstition, legend, myth, sacred propaganda, and even shadows of interpretation and replaced is the cold, methodical technical manual produced by Western minds for the past few hundred years. It is anti-Semitic to deny the authors their socio-context. Further, it is anachronistic to suggest that our understanding of ethics and the such is the same as the ancient authors.

Later, as we get into Tony Breeden’s response, he notes that “liberal theology” postulates that the ancient Jews were plagiarists because they used the structure of, for the story of the Deluge, the Epic of Gilgamesh. This is like saying that the Gospels must be independent of one another because Matthew and Luke didn’t cite their use of Mark, and if you don’t cite, then you are plagiarizing. This anachronistic view unveils a certain arrogance of place found among those who simply do not understand that the world has existed before them and will continue to do so after them. Just as Genesis 1 made use of existing source materials to tell a story, so does Genesis 6-8. This is not plagiarism, but a common practice found among the ancients. We see this lauded when Virgil borrows Homer and when Lucan borrows Virgil, Homer, and Seneca. The use of source material, mimetics, helps us to understand the story better. But, then again, I don’t think that many YECers want us to understand the story better.

Jason postulates that the debate of evolution vs. young earth creationism is one of Scriptural authority. He writes,

The true issue with the whole creation vs. evolution discussion is one of authority. Who is the authority? God is. That is not something created by man, but belongs to God by virtue of being God. This is not something that is imposed upon the text of Scripture, but is inherent within Scripture by virtue of its being the Word ofGod. What we must do is approach the biblical text with reverence, humility, and awe, because it is God’s Word. We must then submit to what God is saying to us in Scripture. He is the final authority, and His Word is true.

The problem is, is that this is a straw man for one, and second, still removes Scripture from authority. Why? First, many scholars believe that Genesis 1 is not talking about physical creation. A better reading of Isaiah shows that Creation, through the lens of the New Creation, is not about physical life, but something else. To cast the current scientific debate into the idea that unless one accepts the bad theology of Young Earth Creationism then one is somehow questioning God is completely false and arrogant. (I’ve met Jason – this is not a word I would use to describe him. Neither would I use the word ignorant, my friend.) The fact is, is  that Young Earth Creationists have set perimeters for what is ‘true.’ It’s not surprising, then, that these perimeters confirm only what the YECer believes. Ham and others have regularly stated that if Genesis 1 is not followed according to their reading, then it breaks down into absurdity, or worse, that if Genesis 1 is not true according to their perimeters, then nothing in Scripture is true. Do you not see the arrogance in those statements?

Further, Scripture is not God’s Word. Nor is it God’s Revelation. Nothing in Scripture supports these two statements. Instead, Scripture is what it says it is. To infer upon it more than that is to require something of it that it doesn’t provide, as if it is lacking something. To then suggest that those who accept the theory of evolution as compatible with Christian theology is somehow not approaching Scripture with humility is to once again build an argument based only on the ad hom. principle. The fact is, is that those who take Scripture seriously have no need to prove that it is true, approaching it as if it is indeed true. Who decides what is Truth? Is it us? If not, then we cannot so easily give into the so-called “plain sense” reading of Scripture, because this style of reading moves the reader into the pivotal point of deciding what is Truth. Again, this is a problem which we inherited from the Enlightenment. We are taught that what we can discern with the senses is what is truth. We read Genesis 1 as if it is a science text, given in a technical vocabulary. Why? Because our senses, our reason and intellect, confirm it to be so. Yet, this is not how or why it was composed. When we strip Scripture of its majestic mythos, even of the so-called historical narrative, we undermine Scripture. I would go so far as to say that when we read Scripture through the lens of the Enlightenment, we prevent the Spirit guiding us. (I note, that if the author of Hebrews had written after the Enlightenment, that epistle wouldn’t have been written.)

Dr. McGrath, one of the most intelligent people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting wrote a post regarding the Answers in Racketeering in Kentucky. He, of course, didn’t have much to say positive about the money pit that it is and he is right to perceive the nature of the deity in Genesis 6. Of course, I would like to have had Dr. McGrath point out the fact that the Flood is itself another Creation story (also, get this book), but nevertheless, his short post has already engendered a torrent of responses, namely from my dear friend, Tony Breeden. He, of course, likes the deity who judges everyone based on 16th century Reformed Doctrine.

Besides not knowing the state of the ancient economy (um, no one could have been a millionaire until relatively recently), he doesn’t understand Scriptural theology. Besides the usual proof-texting (Really? That’s how you interpret John 3.12?), Tony goes on to make a mockery of himself but not getting the fullest extent of Dr. McGrath’s post. He tries to defend against the humorous take given by Dr. McGrath on the building of the ark and why it costs so much, and in a very real way, proves Dr. McGrath’s point. Further, Tony goes on, as Ham and others do, to add to Scripture, suggesting that the Noah could act differently than what God told him to do, in being ‘creative’ when building the Ark. Just like the fact that nowhere does Scripture actually say that water was created (or in trying to suggest that Scriptural writers were advanced biologists who had developed structural taxons of animals), but this doesn’t stop YECers from saying it does. He then goes on to, again, use outdated facts in suggesting that we have yet to be able to determine how the pyramids and Stonehenge were built given their respective times in history. This hasn’t actually been true for years. Of course, this doesn’t stop Tony from saying that Dr. McGrath has committed logical errors. Ironic, don’t you think?

He goes on to commit several logical fallacies. First, he argues from authority, namely his own, in treating the Scriptural text as if he wrote it. Simply because the Flood story was retold by later authors (narrative theology anyone?) doesn’t mean that they vouchsafed it’s historicity. He uses the Burden of Proof fallacy, suppressed correlative, fallacy of composition, fallacy of division, fallacy of dilemma, the historian’s fallacy, incomplete comparison, mind projection fallacy, and reification. I could go on, but you get the point. The fact remains is that Tony is reading the Text through his lens. He starts with the assumption of C, that the Flood actually happened the way he believes it happened. Then, he reads A, Genesis 6-8. This confirms his opinion. He reads B, that others confirms exactly what he thought they would, and then, appealing to a certain fallacy, makes the notion, himself, that if the flood didn’t happen exactly as he believes it did, then A and B are wrong and his entire worldview is gone. In other words, he reads Scripture only to confirm his notions.

Since that doesn’t work, he turns to insults and lies, which aren’t worthy to be answered. This is the very thing that YEC apologists do. When they run out of facts, they start fighting like little children! Further, they start to use ‘threats’ of ‘you’re going to hell’ to, I guess, scare people into believing that God would condemn a soul because they disagreed with Ken Ham. Further, because McGrath objects to the God necessary to complete the interpretation by the YEC group, he is depraved and obviously doesn’t know God. Like they do with Scripture, Tony and others see theology, God, Christ, and salvation only through a lens which is self-affirming. As I wrote earlier, the Evangelical Narrative is not the Gospel. Tony’s narrative isn’t either. That narrative, and Tony’s mischaracterizations of Dr. McGrath, aren’t honest. Further, the presuppositions which Tony uses aren’t filled with intellectual integrity and is blatantly anti-intellectual replete with false accusations, definitions and flat out falsehoods.

What he does to Job is worse than the cosmic bet that YHWH and Satan had on his life….

But, lastly, Tony needs the flood because of his own moral short comings. He has expressed in his own testimony that for him, humanity is a cesspool of depravity, contrary to Scripture. If the flood didn’t happen, then perhaps humanity is not as depraved as he thought. What a wretched view this is of God’s Creation…. and unscriptural.

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10 – 12 February 2012 — Evolution Weekend

I’ve never really been a supporter of this – and I’m not a pastor to make these decision – but maybe there is a way that Church could participate in a Graceful way.

Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. An ongoing goal has been to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic, and to show that religion and science are not adversaries. Rather, they look at the natural world from quite different perspectives and ask, and answer, different questions.

…..

Indeed, the world’s various faith traditions routinely find themselves in harmony with the tenets of modern science, including evolution. Many participants in Evolution Weekend 2012 have opted to discuss the ways in which these various faith traditions have similarly embraced evolution. One important facet of Evolution Weekend 2012, therefore, is to explore how science in general and evolution in particular can help draw diverse religions together. Finding a shared purpose while respecting difference will help promote broader understanding among religions.

The Clergy Letter Project.

Who knows…

But, what about discussing ways in which the Adam narrative may be Scripturally interpreted that is different from the usual “plain sense” reading? You know, discuss what Creation and Covenant actually means in Scripture by looking into context of Scripture… And putting to rest the flat-out lie that Scripture and Science cannot co-exist.

Thoughts?

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