Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Who is Lord?

I frequently wonder how the GLBT agenda has gotten such a hold on mainline denominations. Recent scientific studies reveal that the “GL” portion of this group represents, at most, only 1.4% of the population. I would guess that the proportion is somewhat smaller in the church population, if only because traditional religion has proclaimed such lifestyles as wrong.

There is no way of proving this, but my best guess is that the GLBT forces in the church are more about obtaining official moral approbation than practicing deeply committed faith. It is quite a coup for GLBT forces to have convinced the progressive leadership of such denominations to turn traditional religious teaching on its head in the span of one generation.

Gay organizations have been very successful in redirecting the culture regarding their lifestyle. Using the progressive definition of "tolerance" they have effectively silenced disagreement by labeling any opposition as bigoted. Mainline churches once were good stewards of Biblical morality. Now, in the name of tolerance, the tables have turned with mainline denominations serving as important support in favor of sinful lifestyles.

One example of this cynical agenda was revealed in the comment of San Francisco Theological Seminary (PCUSA) student Doug Hagler. Hagler is opposed to the carefully thought out, Scriptural arguments that professor Robert Gagnon (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) has made for traditional teaching.
"[N]o matter how good [theologian Dr. Robert Gagnon's] arguments are, the conclusions he comes to are patently bigoted, so I reject them regardless of what apparent veracity they may have. Frankly, if Jesus Christ pried open the skies and leaned down into my living room right now and said 'Doug, it is a sin to be homosexual,' I'd say 'Okay Jesus, that makes things simple—I'm not Christian anymore. Now go away.'"
Hagler puts Scripture third in terms of authority, right after reason and experience. The problem here--notwithstanding its departure from Reformed belief--is that human reason and experience are utterly subjective. If God is not objectively revealed then God becomes an imaginary construct with a strange resemblance to the thinking of the one making up the construct.

The truth doesn't matter, if you feel that a particular sin is right, then it is fine to lead a Christian denomination to destruction. PCUSA seminaries are preparing people whose ordination has been made possible through the passage of the PUP recommendations last June. Your own presbytery may not endorse or ordain them, but if just one presbytery does, such a view has been officially welcomed into the denomination.

Such an ordination will be a de facto denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The sovereignty of sinful human beings is worshiped above all else. It is no wonder that the PCUSA and its sister mainline denominations are so unhealthy and so confused.

Keep praying--keep the faith,
Tom

34 comments:

Jon said...

At least Mr. Hagler is honest. He's saying, "Don't bother me with facts and reason; my mind's made up."

Mark said...

Dear Tom,

Thanks for the link to Doug Hagler's fantastic blog! I'm surprised you didn't quote him further when he responded to a post questioning his comment about Jesus prying open heaven. Here it is:

"First I need to say that Jesus prying open the skies is hyperbole on my part - I don't expect Jesus to pry open the skies at all. If I actually saw Jesus pry open the skies, I would panic and think 'Oh no, I'm schizophrenic!'

"Taking it at face value, however, I would say that for God to be God, God needs to be much more than simply powerful. In fact, it is more important to me that God is good than that God is powerful. In one sense, isn't God verily God in powerlessness, that is, in the cross?

"I also don't doubt for a moment that there are powers that are stronger than me and are also oriented toward evil. So, I can stand in the face of a power far greater than I am (the world is chock full of them), and still not think that it is God.

"In the event that Jesus pried open the skies, I would definitely want Jesus to tell me why homosexuality is sinful and evil when there seems to be no evidence that it is any moreso than heterosexuality which can also be misused. For me, it is not enough that God dictates something. Part of what I love about Christianity is that God speaks through stories and parables and poems and through fallible human beings. God places the most wonderful power in earthen vessels, in fragile things - rather than prying open the skies.

"Certainly, if something pried open the sky, I would consider its point of view - but the greater trick by far is being genuinely good, and while no ethic is perfect this side of Heaven, I still think we can make very important decisions about right and wrong in this world."

If one quotes a person in order to pick apart their thinking, perhaps it is best to quote them in full. It seems more fair that way.

Yours in Christ,
Mark

Toby Brown said...

Tom,

That blog you cited was so sad to hear, but I am afraid that too many people in the oldline mainlines would fit into Hagler's worldview. Whether it is worldly respectability, power, money or sexual preference, whatever we put ahead of following Christ and his Word makes that thing our god.

As John Piper so eloquently points out in his works, anyone who does not make Jesus Christ the treasure of their lives and the center of their living is not a Christian.

The selection from the blog you showed us makes it pretty clear that this is so.

For far too long our churches have winked at this kind of fallen and sinful worldview and now we are inhertiting the judgement that must inevitably come from such idolatry.

May the Lord grant each of us true repentance and the ability to find our highest pleasure in His will and His Word in the Easter season!

Doug Hagler said...

Hi Tom! I thought that I should probably take a moment to comment on your use of a quote from my blog.

Rather than cynical, I see my view as hopeful. I am hopeful that we can move beyond Biblical literalism. I think that the biases of the 5th Century BCE aren't necessarily the best ones to adopt whole-cloth now, especially when they are contradicted by a huge amount of evidence as well as ethical considerations. There are *vast* amounts of material in the Bible that are basically ignored, but no one tends to bring those up.

I disagree that Scripture, or any text, is objective. Its impossible to read Scripture without interpreting it. Therefore, how we interpret it is crucial. I choose to interpret Scripture with a strong dose of reason and with my experience in mind. In doing this, I am solidly rooted in Church traditions going back hundreds of years - I didn't invent any of this, but have rather found it in my own tradition, and been converted to the views I hold now - by the tradition itself. Not even Augustine sees Scripture as literally true, and his ideas have been around for a very long time, obviously.

When you talk about the "homosexual agenda", I wonder what you mean. If you mean that homosexuals see no justifiable reason that they should be denigrated by society, then I guess 'they' do have an agenda. They'd like to be respected as human beings, and I am very willing to support them in that.

Obviously, I take issue with your assumption that your view is the objective truth, and that mine is in support of sin and rejection of Jesus Christ. I imagine I'll never convince you otherwise, but let me be clear that I do not in any way agree with you. In fact, I am led by my commitment to Jesus Christ to seek justice and inclusion for homosexuals. I say these things because of my faith in God, *not* in spite of it, as you again assume.

If you're interested in why, read my most recent post, "Unpacking", a response to someone else who disagrees with me and wanted a conversation rather than to quote me and then use me as a 'straw man'. If you aren't interested in why, that's fine. I don't expect you to be - I simply thought that I should clarify, since I felt you misrepresented my position on your blog (unintentionally I think, since we don't know each other).

Peace in Christ,

Doug Hagler

Aric Clark said...

Jon,

On the contrary, Doug values fact and reason highly and ethics even more highly. Reading this quotation in context would have revealed that. Furthermore, there is nothing "factual" or "reasonable" about Jesus prying open the skies. The Jesus that would do that is an idol, which would deserve to be cast down as Doug does. The one God, the only God of Israel revealed in Jesus Christ is beyond facile explanations. To simply accept without subjecting it to reason any tenet of faith, even the objectivity of scripture, is to succumb to idolatry.

And so, Toby Brown, Doug isn't rejecting Christ at all, certainly not for something like respectability or power or money. Doug is rejecting a false Christ. An idolatrous Christ who acts in ways that are unethical and therefore NOT of God.

My respects to Rev. Gray. I honor your commitment to the faith as you see it, though I disagree that you are in fact on the right path.

Doug Hagler said...

Yes, I certainly want to make this clear. The reason I hold the position that I do is *because* of my commitment to Christ, *not* in spite of it as is often claimed. I don't think that I have to choose either Christ or morality and ethics, or either Christ or my reason and experience.

In faith, I claim that God created a moral universe where ethics are meaningful, or at least, to paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr, "The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice." As we say sometimes in church - God is good - all the time! All the time - God is good! Part of my worship of God and my discipleship to God is discernment of what is good and trying to work for that good in whatever insignificant ways I can. I believe that scripture, the holy spirit, and the tradition of the church moves me in this direction and I just try to stumble along as well as I can.

Pamela said...

The book of 1 John deals with several topics: (1) sin, (2) walking in love and (3) false doctrine.

When we sin God's love is not fully manifested in us. In other passages in the gospels Jesus said that if you love Him you keep His commandments. At the time those words were spoken He had not died and resurrected NOR fulfilled the law.

Sin is clearly defined in God's word. All one needs to do is look at the law in the OT, which no one can obey without the new nature/inner man/born again spirit. Jesus came to fulfill the law. Through Him and His sacrifice we can walk free from sin. Only through Him. Check out the entire book of Romans. In context most places where it says Spirit is NOT the Holy Spirit but our born again nature. Ephesians 4 says to put off the old man. Galatians also speaks I believe in chapter 5 about walking free from sin. Anything that the law says is wrong, which includes homosexuality, we have the capability to walk free from. It is a process where we mature our inner man where it is stronger than our flesh, which will NEVER want to do right.

The reason that homosexual sin is discussed so much in the body of Christ right now is the fact that they are the only group of sinners trying to cram it down the church's throat AND force the church to accept their sin and make them ministers of the gospel. They are justifying their own sin and trying to force the body of Christ to accept another gospel, which brings judgment. I'm sure that Pastor Tom would be screaming the same thing about adulterers and fornicators if they attempting to do the same. However I would not want to put words in his mouth of course.

1 John 2:20-27 deals with anti-Christs and false doctrine. It clearly says that we have an anointing/unction from the Holy One. In context this is saying that anointing will teach you all things, not our reason nor the current direction of society. Learning from that anointing will show you right teaching from wrong. We do NOT choose how to interpret the word of God. The anointing from the Lord interprets the word of God for us.

Jon said...

Tom, I wish you and your congregation well. I think you made the right decision to leave the PCUSA. It sounds like the PCUSA seminaries are teaching students to subordinate Scripture to their own experiences and in the process they are constructing a strawman Christ, i.e. a messiah of their own making. But as St. Jerome wrote, "ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ". Instead of a high regard for reason, I see a selfish dismissal of 2000 years of Christian reason obtained by hard struggles and intellegent, tightly reasoned debate. The supreme religious deception is a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

Jodie said...

Tom,

You said "God becomes an imaginary construct with a strange resemblance to the thinking of the one making up the construct."

One of the differences between liberals and fundamentalists is that liberals recognize this in *themselves* but fundamentalists apparently do not.

Just wondering... How do you account for that?

Jodie

Anonymous said...

As a long time Federal GM employee in Personnel work, now retired, there are some issues we all must face regardless of how we feel about this issue from a moral or theological standpoint. First, sexual orientation is a protected category just as age, sex, race etc. It is obvious that Jesus looked down the road almost 2000 years and found this to be a protected category as far as approaching those who were "different" ie; samaritans, at least one prostitute, a tax collector, and probably others. Now what do we do with these examples and what did he do with them? Well, in each instance, he loved them, took them in, asked that they believe in the one true God, asked that they believe in him as the Messiah, perhaps that they be Baptised, and that they repent and change. It is at this crucial point that we diverge in our thinking. Did repent and change mean attempting to leave a sinful lifestyle. I believe it did. Many others believe for whatever reason it did not. If we believe change meant change, then we have the obligation to provide change processes. I have only seen one Church in my entire 67 years that made much of an effort in that process, a Church that offers professional help and a major support group. If we are going to take the stance that most of us reading this blog probably take, we have an absolute obligation to Love Those Who Are Different, welcome them to our midst, and provide help for change. I see little discussion in this arena. Unfortunately I see less real work. I would invite readers to look at the website for First Family Church in Overland park Ks. at FFC.org. FFC is by the way a mainline denomination Church although you have to hunt for the affiliation, they are I believe a Southern Baptist Church. I don't go there because we live too far away, but we have attended and this Church is an example of a welcoming, forgiving group that offers real help for change which all of us need to do. John West

Bill said...

Tom,

Just because a group may be small in proportion to the whole does not mean they should succomb to denigration, isolation, and discrimination. I do not for a minute buy the argument that those numbers are accurate, but even if they are, so what? The full inclusion of GLBT is an issue for the whole church to grapple with as a corporate body.

Injustice for anyone is injustice for everyone.

Bill

Mark said...

Dear Pamela,

You said, "We do NOT choose how to interpret the word of God. The anointing from the Lord interprets the word of God for us."

Though we liberals do not often use the phrase "anointing from the Lord" we understand that God guides us in our interpretations of scripture. Indeed, we pray for God's guidance. We desire God's guidance. We seek God's guidance.

Yet because some of our interpretations differ from yours, YOU say that we are not anointed. When you speak up for your interpretation, YOU claim that you are anointed. When others speak up for their interpretations, and those interpretations differ from yours, YOU claim that they are cramming their interpretations down your throat. That strikes me as a bit egotistical.

I was not aware that God granted you sole authority to speak on God's behalf. I was not aware that God appointed you solely to determine who is and who is not anointed. I don't claim that authority for myself. Very few liberals I know claim that authority.

Extremist conservatives claim loudly that liberals are leading the Church down the road to perdition. I have yet to hear one liberal make the same claim about conservatives. Perhaps I am wrong, and some liberals have made that claim, but I have yet to hear it. That doesn't mean that liberals are better than conservatives. It simply means that we tend to see the value of diversity among God's people, and we don't tend to look for the devil behind every fence post.

Liberals and conservatives: we study the same scripture. We are equally dedicated to understand it. We seek to serve the same Triune God. It seems that we have a difference of opinion. I pray that we may yet find our unity in Christ.

Yours in Christ,
Mark

Aric Clark said...

Pamela,

You are right that homosexuals are the only group of fallen human beings that are receiving major attention for wanting to be treated equally with the rest of fallen humanity. Adulterers and fornicators already have official approval to be ministers in the church of God and far from crying out against it, most of the church (presbyterian and otherwise) is doing a horrible job of even acknowledging the rampant abuse of authority and sexual misconduct that characterizes the ministry. Exclusion of homosexuals from ordained ministry is a sham meant to disguise our own inadequacy for holy service to our savior.

TomGray said...

Jodie,
My "construct" of God comes through the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, and the Bible. Most conservatives such as I are aware that we construct an understanding of God. Since we believe Scripture is the revealed Word of God, we depend on it instead of our own invented ideas. Progressives who reject Scripture have no place to start but on their own.
Tom

TomGray said...

Doug,
As you discern the good of God, how do you handle the times when God provides/allows painful discipline?
Tom

Pamela said...

Mark,

I just quoted the Bible. It says that we have an anointing or unction from the Holy One and He teaches us all things. When you have a teacher of any kind they teach what they want to. He (the Holy One) will only speak what He wants said. He is not confused. I just quoted 1 John 2. No interpretation from me.

Aric,

There are probably groups that do not deal with heterosexual sin in the same manner they do homosexual sin. In some circles there is a looking down on homosexual sin like it is any different in the sight of God. I believe that is changing. If church leadership does not deal correctly with sin in leadership God will take care of it Himself. This happened in 1 Cor 5 where (1) a man was judged for sexual sin with his father's wife AND (2) the congregation rebuked for rejoicing at this man's sin.

The Bible also says in Proverbs that one of the things God hates is a proud look. I see your point:)

Anonymous said...

Aric -
Just to clarify, in your response to Pamela...were you saying that becasue the church is doing a poor job of policing adulterous/heterosexual sinners in leadership that it should therefore allow homosexuals to be ordained?

I would prefer we stepped up and asked all who are living in blatant repentant sin to step down from leadership...isnt that what Christ calls us to do?

I don't expect anyone to be perfect or sinless just repentant and trying to live as the Lord asks us to and those in leadership ARE called to a higher standard...

Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:2-7

2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

Nan Clark

Aric Clark said...

Pamela,

There is no way to get away from our own agency in interpreting scripture. Even by simply quoting you are interpreting, because you are making a judgment that a particular text applies to a particular situation whereas other texts do not. We must take responsibility for our role in reading scripture or we run the serious danger of mistaking our own ideas for the Word of God.

Nan & Pamela,

IF we as a church actually developed a consistent stance vis a vis which sins were serious enough to merit exclusion from ordained ministry and there could be any assurance that fairness and honesty were the guiding principles rather than personal bias and bigotry, then I would accept your stance as principled even though I disagree. Jesus' harshest words are for hypocrites and religious leaders who pick on the sins of others while failing to lead righteous lives themselves. Homosexuality has become for the church like ritual impurity was for the pharisees of Jesus' day - we are so focused on it, to the exclusion of everything else that it masks our own failings and complicity in injustice. Jesus response to this situation was to violate the sensibilities of the religious elite of his day in order to draw their attention to the far more important issues of the suffering around them.

I do not hold homosexuality to be a sin in the slightest. However, my personal theological judgments are only my own and I could set aside my will for the wisdom of the church IF the church weren't so obviously hypocritical.

liberty4u said...

I look at God as a parent. That means I am a child. If a parent gives a child a gift, and the child rejects that gift, it grieves the parent.

If God is not just a philosophical or abstract idea, then it would make sense that He would communicate with us. As Christians, we believe He did with the ultimate communication being to send His son to die for our sins. We get our knowledge about this event from the Bible. It has been accepted as a reliable source for information about God and His nature. If we believe that God did all this, it makes sense that God would preserve His communication through the Bible as His Word, not mans.

But, as man, we rejected His son, rejected His Word, and rejected His gifts to us. To reject the Bible, in my opinion, is to reject Christ. To reject a spouse of the opposite sex, rejects the Bible, which says that this was the plan. If the Bible is correct, homosexuality is a rejection of a gift from a loving parent, and as such, grieves this parent.

Mark said...

Dear Pamela,

Quoting 1 John 2:20-27 doesn't change the fact that you come across as taking the authority upon yourself to determine who has and who has not received the anointing of the Lord.

The reality still stands: when you experience what you believe to be an anointing from the Lord to understand scripture, you claim it. When anyone else experiennces what they believe to be an anointing from the Lord to understand scripture, and that understanding differs from your own, you call them false.

I say again, it seems that we have a difference of opinions. May the anointing of the Lord unite us in Christ even in the midst of our differences.

To the glory of God our Creator, Jesus Christ our crucified and risen Sovereign, and the Holy Spirit our Paraclete.

Yours in Christ,
Mark

TomGray said...

Aric,
You sound like a deconstructionist. Deal with what the verse says, rather than dismissing it under the mantra "that's just an interpretation."

Also, the homosexual issue was not raised by conservatives but progressives trying to change the historic interpretation of Scripture. The hypocrisy lies in those who raise an issue and then protest the fact that others respond.
Tom

Mark said...

Dear Tom,

You said, "the homosexual issue was not raised by conservatives but progressives trying to change the historic interpretation of Scripture. The hypocrisy lies in those who raise an issue and then protest the fact that others respond."

By the time I was old enough to weigh in on the matter, the Authoritative Interpretation of 1978 had come and was long gone. At the time of the AI, I had been taught -- and believed -- that homosexuality was a sin. It was only after studying scripture that my view changed. Or put differently, scripture changed my view on homosexuality. I now believe that homosexuality, per se, is not a sin.

Tom, I don't think anyone who supports LGBT ordination is protesting that those who don't favor it are responding to us. We simply disagree with your interpretation of scripture.

May you know the blessings of our risen Sovereign and Savior Jesus Christ this Pascha.

Yours in Christ,
Mark

Jim Jordan said...

Tom
You are a great pastor for leading your flock out of P(olitically)C(orrect) USA. You are to be commended for standing up to the wisdom of this age. I hope your congregation knows how lucky they are. God bless you and have a great Easter!

Aric Clark said...

Tom,

You caught me. I am a deconstructionist. One almost has to be if they acknowledge the influence of anyone working in any academic discipline since 1950.

"deal with what the verse says" is a misleadingly simplistic statement. The verse doesn't "say" anything, it is text on a page. It has no agency. It has not inherent meaning. All of its meaning is given to it in the process of interpretation. This does not mean that interpretation is random or arbitrary because it always happens in a community, with a history and in view of personal experience. No one can escape the fact that before we open our mouths to articulate our understanding of anything it must first be processed through the filters of our own bias.

Furthermore, to say "that's an interpretation" in my view, is not dismissive at all. It is simply the truth. All statements of meaning are interpretive. The task is to attempt and distinguish between good interpretations and bad ones, something which can only be done in community and not by appealing to an arbitrary standard.

At this point I think I've said enough on this issue. I thank you for being hospitable and I warmly invite you and any others reading this blog to continue conversing with me on my own blog or elsewhere in the blogosphere.

TomGray said...

Mark,
The authoritative interpretation of 1978 was the first official reaction to the GLBT movement. I've lost count of how many times the issue has been re-raised and responded to, since the GLBT agenda, logically, is to win.

I'm amazed that you find scripture to support the idea that homosexual acts are not sinful. I've found most who say so to use a very narrow application of a hermeneutic of "love." Is your viewpoint different?
Tom

liberty4u said...

I have not heard the term deconstructionist so I am trying to understand it. My understanding is that statements may not be what they appear because of assumptions.

For example:

Statement 1: 3+3=6
Statement 2: 3+3=10

On the face of it, Statement 1 is true and Statement 2 is false.

But, you could say that Statement 1 is nonsense and Statement 2 is true, if... you use base 6 (ET with only 6 digits would do this).

So our cultural bias as humans makes what seems obvious as something different in meaning.

My reaction to this, is that when you make the statements above, the assumption that you are using base 10 is so obvious that it does not need to be explicitly stated.

Does deconstruction work in the real world? What if a deconstructionist asked for his tax refund in binary instead of decimal? A $1,000 refund would become $1,111,101,000. LOL!

Unless a deconstuctionist has a well reasoned explanation for their interpreting something different than "what it says", they should be prepared for the type of reaction the IRS would give to $1 billion refund.

TomGray said...

Aric,
I take it you would accept (vis-a-vis deconstructionism) that your response means that my community is technically right in declaring your views wrong?
Tom

Aric Clark said...

Tom,

Only because I was directly addressed, I'll respond in brief.

Your community absolutely has the ability and right to consider my views wrong. However, our communities are not hermetically sealed. They overlap. So your community's view is open to critique from those who are in relationship with it to varying degrees.

There is no trouble with disagreement. I can disagree with you and still be in community with you. The trouble comes when that disagreement is absolutized into fundamental principles which close down all dialogue and therefore all possibility of community.

It is through the renunciation of coercive power over our fellow human beings that we can begin to live out the gospel in a kingdom of all God's people where only God is judge and we are all sinners in need of grace. Thus, I can accept your view as the honest attempt of a faithful man and experienced pastor to understand God, while rejecting your right to assert that view over others.

Jodie said...

Tom,

I think what you meant to ask is whether Aric's views are technically wrong within the context of your community. The community can only be right or wrong within the context of an ever greater community.

(Complements of Peter Berger's "Social construction of Reality")

Jodie

Anonymous said...

Jodie, et al

Thanks for bring the discussion back to the main point of all this... and nicely pointing back the title of Tom's post: "Who is Lord?".

Who is Lord, Who is 'right' as you say)? Can a community 'only be right or wrong in the context of an ever greater community' OR is it in the context of the will of a Living and Supreme God.

Who is Lord? The 'largest community', or a Living and Loving God.

I guess it depends if there actually IS a Living and Supreme God. As Paul said, if Christ didn't actually die and rise per the scriptures then our hope truly is in vain. Praise God, it actually did happened and He actually is seeking to save His children.

The Kirk has chosen to follow the Lord, call Him Lord and seek His will for our lives thru his Word. Imagine that, acting as if the Bible were True. We call that 'right'.... no mater how much larger any other community may be.

Of course, it is possible there is room for reasonable to people to disagree on the meaning of words, etc. But the fundamental question is the 'Lord' the biggest community or the Living God?

Ford

Mark said...

Dear Tom,

I've articulated my hermeneutic before on this site. I've laid out my reasoning and quoted supporting scriptures. You've disagreed at every turn. There is no point in articulating it again.

If you're really interested in understanding my perspective simply go back and reread what I've posted since last summer. Do the same with other liberals and their posts, if you're really interested.

But if all you want to do is construct straw men in order to knock them down, don't waste your time.

Yours in Christ,
Mark

Mark said...

Do you believe in God?

Do you believe God created the universe?

Do you believe this universe is your reality?

Do you believe in God construction of reality?

Mark P.

Doug Hagler said...

"Doug,
As you discern the good of God, how do you handle the times when God provides/allows painful discipline?"

Tom: sorry I took so long to respond to your question. In my understanding at the moment, the experiences of painful discipline from God arise from two factors. One is that God created us with free will - at least enough free will for our lives to be meaningful. We will sometimes (often?) use this free will wrongly, injuring those around around us, destroying relationships, essentially sinfully.

In these times when we do wrong, God allows the consequences to come. If God did not, if God insulated us from everything, we would never learn and grow.

Because the world is not a just place, sometimes these lessons are too heavy to ever seem fair or proportionate. A poor person can make a lot fewer mistakes than a wealthy one. The powerful have a greater margin of error. These things are just reminders that while God is good, we are not, and also reminders that we are called to serve the least in all things and never to use our power for our own glorification.

Melva said...

Good for people to know.