Biblical Appropriation

If Oberlin College students may complain about inauthentic renditions of ethnic recipes, may not Christians complain about less than complete appeals to the Bible (fake proof texting)? For instance, here is Michael B. Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, on what obligates his communion to welcome LGBT ect. persons:

I’ve said it publicly in a variety of contexts, that as a church, as the Episcopal Church, we really have wrestled with how do we take seriously what Jesus was talking about. He was quoting the prophets, but when he said “my house will be called a house of prayer for all people,” and part of that quote is from Isaiah 56, it’s there in that vision of the temple where there are no outcasts in the temple. Remember that Jesus is pointing back to the eunuch, the foreigner, categories of people who, by part of the law, were excluded from worship in the temple, but are now included. My house should be called a house of prayer for all people.

And so how do we live that? How do we live that house of prayer for all people? Or to take it another step, how do we, as a community, take seriously when St. Paul in Galatians says all who have been baptized into Christ, and put on Christ, and there is no more Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, but all are one in Christ—how do we live into that? And so as I’ve said on other occasions, part of how we’ve lived into that is by recognizing in our community all who have been baptized, whether they’re gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat—you know, just roll out the list.

Do liberal Protestants really buy this? Do people who have gone to college, done a graduate degree, have professional jobs, and read the New York Times, all the while maintaining a church membership, really believe this argument is the slightest bit plausible? And they worry about fake news! This is like saying the United States is committed to equality for all people, extending to equal access to marriage, simply by invoking the Declaration of Independence and not paying a whiff of attention to the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. You simply look into revered documents to justify whatever you believe (or more likely want).

But what if the Bishop had to pay as much attention to other passages of Scripture?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, pyes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)

What if Bishop Curry wanted to create a church that encouraged hatred within families? Of course, that sounds kind of silly. But the Bible does have troubling bits (think the whole Old Testament). If you want to invoke the Bible and Jesus, you really do need to pay attention to everything. And if you find stuff there that you don’t like, then maybe you need to reject it all rather than just take the parts that are agreeable.

I mean, we have learned to dispense with the Confederacy. So when will those committed to social justice learn to abandon a book that in roughly 2 percent of its contents supports their convictions? Heck, even Russia has elections.

And mainliners are supposed to be the smart Christians in the room?

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30 thoughts on “Biblical Appropriation

  1. Two things:

    When did “living into that” become a thing. I haven’t even come to peace with “leaning in” yet. And in PCA circles we have to hear such tripe as “life on life” and “loving them well”.

    And what do you have against pyes?

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  2. And mainliners are supposed to be the smart Christians in the room?

    My experience has been that no one reads the Bible more shallowly than mainliners. Leftist theology isn’t only wrong, it’s lazy.

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  3. But if you have been watered in the name of the Trinity, and you are on your death bed, you can safely make your own ( appropriate, fake news or not) the promise —-“I have been baptized” (by the Romanists I resist)

    Luther– Baptism is not a work that we do. However, God would not have faith to be hidden in the heart, but would have it burst forth and manifest itself to the world. For this reason, God ordained such outward signs, by means of which everyone may show and confess his faith. If faith were to be kept as a secret, hidden in the heart, we would be pretty sure of not having to bear the cross or to follow Christ. If the world knew not that we believed, we would not be persecuted.

    Luther—We would never be the means of leading a soul to repentance and faith if we did not openly confess the Gospel and observe an external sign whereby men might know who and where the Christians are. Whosoever is a Christian and has received baptism, is in danger of his life among the heathen and unbelievers. I

    Luther–. Moreover, the sign of baptism is given us that we should be certain of his grace, and that everyone be able to say: Hereunto did God give me a sign, that I should be assured of my salvation, which he has promised ME in the Gospel. for baptism is not my work but God’S He that baptized me stands in God’s stead and does not the work of a man, but rather it is God’s hand .Therefore, I should say: God, my Lord, baptized me himself, by the hand of a man. On this I am to rely, and say: God, who will not and cannot lie, has given me this sign to assure ME that he is gracious to ME

    Romanists claim they are above the temporal law
    Romanists claim only they may interpret Scripture
    Romanists claim only the pope can call a council (to decide controversies)
    Romanists tax the Germans under the guise of raising money to defend against the Muslims but they spend it on themselves
    Romanists use their canon laws to steal from the German people as much as possible.
    German princes and cities should stop giving money to Romanists and resist them.

    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/129luther_c13.htm

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  4. “”Do liberal Protestants really buy this? Do people who have gone to college, done a graduate degree, have professional jobs, and read the New York Times, all the while maintaining a church membership, really believe this argument is the slightest bit plausible? ”

    Yes, they do, they really do. This or other semantical gymnastics and equivocation theology is par for their course. Cue Curt Day here please. …..bestow upon us how we have so much to learn from Mr. Curry’s perspective, remind us of the two men praying (IE..utterly misuse it) …… Lean in, live into it and let the circular discussions begin.

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  5. Richard– “Scruton’s is not a Christianity of radical practices of self-giving love that animated the early communities of the time of Acts of the Apostles. It is a Christianity from the top down. a bureaucratized belief system in which the value proposition lies not in the transformation of individual lives, but in providing some sort of ethical coherence to societies. …Starting the discussion where Scruton does, he makes Christian belief the servant of state and culture (whatever he may think he is saying) rather than a set of beliefs that precedes and is therefore independent of state and culture. The error of that highly compromised version of Christian belief was exposed for all to see in The Great War, when it failed to speak truth to power, when its chief utility was to provide an endless series of benedictions to soldiers who died in the mud of that war in service to various regimes claiming the banner of Christianity in order to wage destruction on their neighbors.

    Richard– “Scruton cherry picks fragments of Christian moral teaching to fashion a belief system with which he is comfortable, and because it provides a rationale for safeguarding works of prior centuries whose aesthetics he finds appealing. His Christianity amounts to little more than prayer books for bare, ruined choirs.”
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/lessons-from-europe-decline-roger-scruton/

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  6. First generation main liners buy it. Their kids by and large don’t. They’ve got excellent BS detectors.

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  7. “Do people who have gone to college, done a graduate degree, have professional jobs, and read the New York Times, all the while maintaining a church membership, really believe this argument is the slightest bit plausible?

    “Old Life @oldlife it’s almost criminal that most pastors…have no plan for discipling the women http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/may/six-ways-men-can-support-womens-discipleship.html … heard of Sunday services?”

    Discipleship is “ having gone to college, done a graduate degree, having a professional job, reading the New York Times, maintaining a church membership, and Sunday service”?

    Don’t think so, according to the Lord, but if we do think so, it might explain alot.

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  8. mcmark, why did you leave this out?

    Scruton neither explains, nor defends, nor advocates the Christian faith other than as an instrumentality to buttress a select group of nation states, or as an instrumentality to inform elements of a culture he would like to see preserved.

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  9. ” recognizing in our community all who have been baptized, whether they’re gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat—you know, just roll out the list.”
    Right… complementarians, fundamentalists, child molesters, serial killers, and racists are totally welcome. I’m sure he would be happy to have John Piper speak at his church. In the name of ecumenism natch.

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  10. 3 points here. First, the selective use of the Scriptures by liberals is governed by higher criticism and the rejection of the supernatural in Jesus’s ministry as well as in the Scriptures..

    Second, the argument for equal access to marriage for gays in the Obergefell case was based on the 4th Amendment alone though the 1st Amendment could also have been appealed to.

    Third, suppose the claim that only 2% of the Scriptures talk about social justice, to ignore that 2% of the Scripture by dissing social justice is, in principle, the same thing that D.G. complains that those in social justice do. The only difference is in the percentages. But there is no need to exclude the rest of the Bible when one is involved in social justice especially when 2% of the Scriptures back your concern. It’s not social justice that causes people to dismiss the rest of the Scriptures, it is whether one approaches social justice from a liberal theological position or one that acknowledges the supernatural as described in the Scriptures..

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  11. This appropriation – pretty much the perfect term for it today – reminds me of the liberal idea that all of the law is subsumed by L-O-V-E. So all we have to do is love each other and we are following Christ. Of course, “love” means being sweet, kind, and accepting of everyone no matter what, even if their actions are “abominations,” “wicked,” or incur the wrath of God. As long as we love them, all is well.

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  12. Curt,

    It’s not social justice that causes people to dismiss the rest of the Scriptures, it is whether one approaches social justice from a liberal theological position or one that acknowledges the supernatural as described in the Scriptures.

    But haven’t you noticed that almost nobody who acknowledges the supernatural in the Scriptures adopts a position on social justice such that people on the left typically embrace, and of course whenever anyone says “social justice,” that’s usually what they mean.

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  13. Some smart people, who mock the notion that a deity snapped his word-finger and created all the things, also believe people evolved from fish, even if it takes more faith to believe fish magically turned into humans than the divine finger snap. Smart people can also be gullible.

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  14. McMark, please answer DG’s question about the omission from the quote about Scruton. Was it deliberate or something else? Whatever his faults may be, Scruton deserves less scathing criticism and perhaps more recognition for his contributions to conservative thinking, a conservatism far removed from the Tea Party and theonomists definition. Here in the UK, a country of astonishing intellectual arrogance which is an economic and social wreck, Scruton has ploughed a furrow against the prevailing liberal, Fabian progressive tosh and should be valued for his books and erudite thinking.
    He is no theologian, that is obvious, but an heir to Burke and one of our few contemporary conservative philosophers. Finally, check out young Douglas Murray who is emerging as an equally thoughtful contributor to the conservative scene.

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  15. Robert,
    BTW, my position on social justice isn’t totally accepted by all on the Left. Why? Because I use the Scriptures to guide my views on social justice. However, what I found that is disappointing is that some nonChristians on the left are, in areas of social justice, at times more biblical in their views than some of the most educated Christians. And there are several explanations for that.

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  16. In my former life, I knew a couple of henchman/field guys for a white southern Democratic congressman, even took PR pictures for them. They bragged openly about paying off black preachers and buying votes, paying to run church vans full of instructed voters. The Religious Right pays their voters mostly with the illusory thrill of “taking the country back” and advancing some sort of kingdom.

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  17. cw – we’re talking about two different things here. I’m talking about those who subsume all sin under the category of “failure to love” as a means of justifying clearly sinful behavior such as homosexuality. In other words, homosexuality is not sinful as long as they have love for others; no one sins if they have love. That’s obviously nonsense. But that’s not what Keller says or even implies. He says homosexuality is a sin, but that we should still love homosexuals because we are commanded to love our neighbor. You disagree with this?

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  18. @cw the TGC piece is from January 2016. I don’t think most were taking Trump all that seriously yet were they?

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  19. cw – E. Burns and I discussed this in a different conversation – can’t remember which one off the top of my head. What seems like soft pedaling to you is not at all soft pedaling for secular, atheistic, Ivy League students, who were his target audience.

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  20. I don’t remember my motives and intents. All I can think of right now is reading the comment from Allan Jacobs.
    .
    “Scruton does sometimes talk as though the chief function of Christianity is to provide liturgical support for fox hunting.” http://blog.ayjay.org/what-christianity-is-and-is-not-for/

    To me, the difference between the one church for war and Christians from different churches for war….is not so different.
    At least you didn’t do it for Jesus? And Jesus died so you could kill, but not because your killing was sin?

    Martin Luther–“Although slaying and robbing do not seem to be a work of love, and therefore a simple man thinks it not a Christian thing to do, yet in truth even this is a work of love.”

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  21. Jeff and CW, it’s also interesting how many black Reformed pastors talk about politics (like race relations, law enforcement, and social justice).

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