The question of what the Bible teaches regarding homosexuality is one of tremendous importance and heated dispute in the current era. An increasing number of professing Christians are questioning traditional teaching on this topic, and the culture at large has strongly rejected traditional Christian teaching on it. Nonetheless, it is my contention that this questioning is not based on the biblical text, but is based on cultural predispositions to reject any form of sexual constraint. Among professing Christians the key question must always be “What does the Bible teach?” We are not permitted to disregard Scripture on a cultural whim.

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A good theological library is something no Christian minister or leader should be without. In fact, I believe all Christians should have some form of theological library, though not all Christians will need a library to rival that of a seminary professor or scholar.

Even so, unless you are wealthy and can purchase books at will, you’re going to need to think seriously about what books you buy, and how you buy them. These are my tips for building a good theological library on a budget.

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One of the most vexing questions people ask me is “What is your argument against abortion?” This is vexing not because I don’t have an argument, but because I have several arguments against abortion. I don’t think we’re limited to just one here.

But one argument I’ve thought about is based on Kant’s categorical imperative, namely the formulation of it that states we should only act in a way that we could universally will to become a standard for all other people. That is, if we can’t will that others act in the same way we do in every single case, we should not act this way.

So consider this argument:
1. If we will for one woman to get an abortion, we should will for all women to get abortions.
2. If all women get abortions, we will go extinct.
3. We should not will for our own extinction.
4. Thus, we should not will for all women to get abortions.
5. Thus, we should not will for any woman to get an abortion.

This is really just an extended edition of modus tollens, and we could break the argument into two arguments:
1. If we will all women to get abortions, we will our own extinction.
2. We should not will for our own extinction.
3. Therefore, we should not will for all women to get abortions.

And argument two:
1. No person should be exempted from universal moral laws.
2. It is a universal moral law that abortion is wrong (see the argument above).
3. Therefore, no individual woman should be permitted to get an abortion.

Now some people might object and say “Perhaps abortion is only permissible under Circumstance X, Y, or Z; and we could universally will that any individual under those circumstances get an abortion.” Kant had little room for this type of reasoning, he did not tend to allow exceptions to moral laws based on circumstance.

I am not quite as intense as Kant in that regard. But that’s not the point. Suppose there are circumstances under which abortion should be permitted, there is a vast difference between permitting something and willing it. I may permit my football team to kick a field goal, but I will for them to score touchdowns. It is only in non-ideal circumstances that abortion should even be considered permissible (and I would argue these are relatively few in number). But I still don’t will it, and given any other choice I would likely opt for that.

In the United States, most abortions are not out performed out of medical necessity, and so the arguments presented here would at least eliminate vast numbers of abortions. Additionally, I’m not aware of too many people that want to argue for the extinction of the human race. Hence, they’ll have to attack Kant’s categorical imperative, and it’s a surprisingly defensible rule of thumb.

God bless,

Joey

One of the nice things about social media is everyone is able to communicate with everyone else. One of the bad things about social media is it gives people the impression that they have something valuable to say on every issue. It helps us forget our limits.

I feel fairly competent to address issues of theology and apologetics. But if its physics or chemistry you want, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. But Facebook often removes this natural inhibition to speaking about issues we don’t understand. Why? Because I read an article on it so I’ve become a 5-minute expert. I watched a 2 minute Youtube, so I obviously know what’s up.

This is a real tragedy in discussions via social media about matters of theology. People frequently misunderstand the point being made because, like it or not, you can’t master theology by reading blogs and watching short Youtube videos. But this is social media, so everyone is supposed to speak. What do you do when you don’t know what’s going on, but you feel the impulse to say something? You default to a cliche, and normally one that doesn’t directly speak to the issue at hand, but it’s so general as to seem applicable to everything. Like the great tonics of old, something that applies to everything normally doesn’t actually treat anything.

Permit me to use some examples. These are things that we should not say when discussing theology, because they are cliche and now meaningless. Also, they are conversation stoppers. They aren’t meant to address arguments, but to end discussions before things get “out of hand.”

In my heart I know…

No, you don’t. The heart pumps blood, it doesn’t know anything. Your mind knows things, and if you spent more time developing it you wouldn’t say things like this. This cliche is often used as a red herring, to distract attention away from serious arguments and turn the discussion into a subjective pomo experience fest.

It’s God’s job to judge.

The problem with this cliche is it has an element of truth to it. On the cosmic level, God is the judge. But when we’re talking about specific sins, this cosmic reality shouldn’t be used as a bludgeon to beat people into never saying anything whatsoever is a sin. As a matter of fact, it is because God is the judge, and He has already judged certain things to be sin, that we are free to apply His judgment without making ourselves out as the judge.

You’re just too religious. OR We’re under grace, not law.

This is the cry of the antinomian. They want everything to be permissible, or they at least want the issue under discussion to be permissible. So what do they do? Make your position out as impermissible. Oddly, this actually ends up turning the “grace” being discussed into a “law” not to be violated. The anti-religious antinomian religiously follows the pious ideals of rejecting the law or any type  external standard for behavior.

We need to walk in unity.

Exactly so! And to make sure this unity is not superficial, we need to have it out among ourselves and figure out the true position. Conflict over ideas is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. If we have enough trust to be vulnerable with our fellow Christians about topics we disagree on, we’re closer to true unity then if we’re so sensitive we can never bring up any disagreements.

God is love.

This is, once again, difficult because it is true. God is love. The person making this point typically is advocating accepting some sin or falsity. They want love to be a blanket protecting them from any criticism or evaluation. But God’s love is the type of love that doesn’t want you driving over a cliff. It’s because of love that the guardrails are there. Only an idiot would want to tear them down.

Our job is not to criticize. OR We’re not supposed to be theological police.

Actually, it is our job to criticize just in case the position under attack deserves criticism. No one gets mad if you criticize Nazis or tyrants. They get mad if you criticize a position that is not so obviously wrong. But it’s precisely because not all positions are obviously wrong that criticism is necessary. Criticism seeks to make obvious what might otherwise be hidden. And regarding being theological police, I’m sure Jesus and the apostles never corrected any errant theologies or false doctrines. Also, they never commanded us to do that, or to, for instance, earnestly contend for the faith. [Not sure how to make sense of that sentence in light of the examples and commands of Scripture, consider editing before publication.]

I just wish…

That’s nice, I’m not a genie. Moving on.

That statement is really offensive.

I don’t care if it’s offensive, as long as it’s true. If you don’t care about truth, don’t discuss theology. If you care more about personal feelings then about truth, you are free to discuss theology, but only among fellow theological liberals and compromisers. As Doug Wilson says, “sometimes people ought to take offense, and sometimes we ought to endeavor to give it.” (I think that’s a direct quote, but I don’t have the relevant book with me to check).

Jesus just loved people, He didn’t waste time with debates.

I would argue that it is because Jesus loved people that He debated them. Because Jesus loved people He corrected Pharisees and Sadducees. Because Paul (a follower of Jesus) loved people he debated at the Areopagus.

You should spend time doing real ministry, not arguing with people.

Sometimes arguing with people is the best way to minister to them. If someone believes a falsehood, you minister to them by arguing. Of course, you need to earn a right to a hearing with them, but arguing and ministry are not mutually exclusive. Why do I get the feeling that by “real ministry” you actually mean “things that make others feel warm and toasty inside?” Hmm…

That’s all for now, I’m sure I could think of other examples if I spent more time on it, but you get the idea. These are cliches, and they are meant to silence discussion, not discover truth. They are cop-outs for people who want to avoid thinking about anything challenging. They are great threats to truth and rationality, and we need to recognize them as such.

God bless,
Josiah

The term “biblical theology” creates a great deal of confusion among Evangelical Christians. After all, isn’t all theology biblical? Of course, the confusion comes from equivocation. Scholars and academics use the term to refer to the chronological examination of the major themes and teachings of the Bible. This is examining theology as it was revealed through redemptive history, beginning with those books of the Bible written first (Genesis and Job), and proceeding to those that follow.

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Hello friends,

I’m excited to announce a new website, which serves as a front for a movement dedicated to promoting the Gospel in West Virginia. While our primary concern is with our home state, I think many of you will find the articles and blogs we’re setting up very useful.

The web site is: www.wv4g.org

I hope this site brings much glory to the Triune God,

Josiah

As someone who has fought for years against recreational dating (As a side, notice how many of my friends have got engaged and married lately? The answer is a heck of a lot), let me say with all the gentle tenderness that I can muster that the author of this article knows nothing. The Greek word for men in his category is something like “dim wit” or “moron.” The Hebrew word might be translated like “fool.”

First, chivalry is not dead. Granted, it is in exile from the cultural mainstream, but it’s not dead.

Second, the author asks “What happened to paying for dinners and drinks? What happened to pulling out chairs and holding doors? What happened to walking on the outside, closest to the street and all that sh*t? Where did we lose the chivalrous touch? When did it become acceptable to just text a girl, inviting her to come bang? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about those instances, I’m just saying, why have we strayed away from what has been established as the norm?”

Any man with a brain functioning at about 10% of average capacity realizes the answer is in the question. What happened to all of those things is PRECISELY that it became “acceptable” in our culture’s eyes to “just text a girl, inviting her to come bang”. What happened is that little boys like John Picciuto stopped complaining about such evils. A culture centers around what it worships, and a materialistic and hedonistic culture is incapable of sustaining any true form of chivalry for any length of time. That, my friends, obviously takes a Christian culture, and the type that we have not had for at least the last 100 years or so.

Finally, “The real problem here is that women, for one reason or another, have become complacent and allowed men to get away with adhering to the bare minimum.”

No sir, the REAL problem here is that you’re a cotton headed ninny muggins. Men lead, and you don’t get men to lead the culture back into chivalry and courtship by denying one of the fundamental truths necessary for chivalry and courtship. You don’t get men to take responsibility by denying that men are actually responsible. You can’t clamor for chivalry and sacrificial responsibility by pinning males failures off on females (which is really irresponsible).