Flesh sometimes means ritualism

Galatians 3:3 KJV “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

In this context “flesh” clearly means the ritualism of the ceremonial law in that the context is about the Galatians seeking to get circumcised and follow the festivals of the Hebrew calendar.

Strangely enough the NIV 2011 (despite changing its translation of sarx from “sinful nature” to the more accurate “flesh”) still has the following footnote in this verse:

In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.

Could they possibly be more oblivious to the meaning of the word in this context?

I would add that in Romans 8:3 I think “flesh” there also refers to “ritualism” rather than “sinfulness” in the first occurance:

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (Rom 8:3 KJV)

I think the meaning is that the law was weak because it combined ritualism in with morality thus weakening its moral credibility; not that the law was weak because of our sinfulness.

Notice how the thing he says the law failed to do was condemn sin; but Jesus came and did what the law failed to do, i.e. condemned sin.

THAT IS because the law soiled its own moral credibility to condemn actual sin (i.e. immorality) by throwing in all these silly FLESHLY ceremonial things like kosher and not mixing wool and linen; therefore we needed Jesus to come obliterate the ceremonial law and thus properly condemn sin, that is, real sin (i.e. immorality) with no admixture of any silly concept of ceremonial “sins.”

 

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Are humans basically good or basically bad?

This post is occasioned by PPT’s post Prager U Gets It Wrong: Man Is Basically Good in which PD argues that Denis Prager was wrong in saying that human beings are basically bad and he argues that rather humans beings are basically good.

Actually, however, Prager himself didn’t say humans are basically bad, but is more nuanced, i.e. humans are not basically bad but not basically good either, but rather have the potential to do good:

Ok, then, are people basically good? As I will show, given humanity’s history, the answer should be obvious. Of course, human nature isn’t basically good. Now, this doesn’t mean that people are basically bad. We are born with real potential to do good. But we are not basically good.

In other words, Prager is essentially arguing for humans being basically neutral. At least at birth: “We are born with real potential to do good.”

I think I agree with that essentially; we are not born basically good or basically bad, but basically neutral, with “real potential to do good” and yet also with real potential to do evil.

But once we get a ways beyond birth, people do become basically good or bad at some point, as Jesus clearly indicates:

Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

This should end the idiotic debate occasioned by Paul’s misuse of Psalm 14:1 or Psalm 53:1

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none [of them] that doeth good.

Paul quotes this ill-advisedly in Romans 3 but leaves off the extremely important opening “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” which shows it is about atheists, in Romans 3:10-12 with the typical expansions and misquotations one expects from Paul’s rip-a-verse-out-context-and-twist-it fests:

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Although Paul adds words to the verse that are not actually there (like the injection of the word “righteous”), he conveniently leaves out the most important words that are there: i.e. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

This grotesque misquotations of the Psalm has caused massive problems for Christianity, by spawning this idiotic doctrine that its impossible to be righteous, that literally nobody does any good, and so on, which all could have been easily avoided had Paul merely included the “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

But despite Paul’s errant theology, those who actually bother to read the gospels will know that Paul’s “There is none righteous, no, not one” is a lie from hell, because they will read Jesus saying not only what we quoted from Luke above, but also:

Luke 15:7I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just [i.e. righteous] persons, which need no repentance.”

And

Mark 2:17 “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

According to Jesus, there is such a thing as “99 righteous persons who need no repentance” and indeed righteous people he did not even come to call because he “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  And again, as we quoted earlier, a good men who bring forth good things from their hearts, as well as evil men who bring forth evil things from their hearts.

In other words, some are good, some are bad.  Everyone is not bad (or totally depraved).  Everyone is not good.  There are both good and bad people.  (Imagine that; what a shocking revelation; shocking in its practical common sense-ness.)  And about this Jesus tells the following parable as well:

Matthew 13:47-50

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

According to a Paulinist (especially one too lazy to read Romans 8 about how those who walk after the flesh rather than the Spirit will NOT be ultimately saved) its all about faith alone, but according to Jesus here, the good go to heaven and the bad to hell.  It couldn’t be simpler.

So in summary: we’re born neutral, but we become either good or bad, and that is what determines whether we go to heaven or hell; not faith alone.

 

Man-centered theology vs God-centered theology

We’ve all heard that Calvinist accusation that a theology that believes God wants people to obey his moral law and live morally is “man-centered” while a theology that says God just wants you believe in Jesus’ sacrifice and then “sin boldly” like a lunatic is God-centric.

Apparently, the concept of “centric” to them means only “who gets the glory.”  If man can do anything at all that in any way influences or causes his salvation in the slightest, somehow he takes all the glory (according to Calvinists) and that’s the only problem to be concerned with (according to Calvinists).

Whereas a sane person will see that how you behave is the bigger issue than who gets the glory, and that “centric” ought to be understood more as who gets to set the parameters for behavior: God or man.

In other words, being “man-centric” in a negative sense is to allow man to do whatever they want and still be saved;  whereas being “God-centric” means that man has to follow God’s moral law or forfeit any hope of ultimate salvation.

Meaning, Calvinists are trying to confuse people by defining “centric” with reference to “glory” rather than “obedience.”  In the Calvinistic system, God gets “all the glory” because God is depicted as obeying man; but in the non-Calvinistic system man gets some of the glory because man is obeying God.

 

All whose righteousness is filthy rags?

“Good deeds are worthless as a filthy rag in the sight of God not because the motive of the doer is necessarily wrong, but because the debt of sin owed is too great to be overlooked on account of such deeds.” (Leighton Flowers, according to this source)

Well, actually, remember that this statement is made in Isaiah. Sure its in one of the later chapters, 65 is it? (No, its actually 64). But still the opening in chapter 1 is part of the context. Isaiah’s generation sought righteousness purely by ceremonial means, i.e. sacrifices. They committed adultery, fornication, murder, whatever they wanted, and then said, “its ok, because I offer this goat.” And he tells them in chapter 1 to “cleanse your hands ye sinners and purify your hearts ye double minded; cease doing evil, learn to do well” i.e. to live morally and pursue a righteousness based on living morally not just on ceremonial stuff.

It is with that context (i.e. of the generation he is speaking to) in mind that he says: All OUR righteousness is as filthy rags.

OUR means his generation. All their righteousness was filthy rags because it was purely a ceremonial righteousness, purely based on sacrifice and not on living morally. Ironically, people who believe in OSAS also pursue a righteousness based on sacrifice alone and refuse to live morally. Just because that sacrifice is now Jesus’ sacrifice rather than a goat doesn’t change anything; Isaiah would still say to them “cleanse your hands ye sinners and purify your hearts ye double minded; cease doing evil, learn to do well” i.e. to live morally and pursue a righteousness based on living morally not just on a sacrifice.

Is anyone less scholarly than Calvinists?

I have for the next week or so at least stickied an old post from 2014, Calvinists have no anthropology, says Eastern Orthodox guy….and he’s right. (Actually I decided to unpin it, as linking it here is enough.)

I think its an interesting point to consider with regard to Calvinsism, how one-sided and unphilosophical their superstition and heresy which they refer to as anthropology is:

“Man is fallen and depraved and can’t do nuffin right.” What about when someone rescues a baby from a burning building?

“If they don’t have faith in Jesus, its a sin.” How can saving a baby from a burning building be a sin?

“Everything that is not of faith is sin.” That verse is talking about people who eat meat (that was possibly offered to idols) without being fully convinced its Ok to do, meaning the “faith” there is not “faith in Christ” but faith as in being completely persuaded what they are about to do is right.

“Heretics! [Some crap about the Westminster Confession.]” Is anyone less scholarly than Calvinists?

And then, do they even think? I mean, really, at all?  Any thinking person can see there is more to humanity than fallenness or brokeness or other stupidity Calvinists spout.  Jesus himself said that a good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil things. (Calvinists must run and hide from that saying!)  Clearly Jesus was way more balanced than Calvinism.  But anyone with a functioning brain is though.  Calvinists are not intellectuals; they’re just knuckledraggers.

Rey obliterates Calvinism

A collection of some comments of Rey on Calvinism, from 2009, found on a typical Calvinist PR post (here) where the Calvinist is arguing that only some Calvinists are hyper Calvinists, blah blah blah, and they need to “calm down” because they are making all Calvinists look bad.  Rey explains how not only are ALL Calvinists in reality that way, but that Classical Arminians are too and are merely hiding it better:

“I see less Christ-like character in many Calvinistic brethren than I do in just about any other tradition in Christianity.”

That’s obvious, since Calvinism isn’t at all about following the example of Christ, but is about claiming that people are saved primarily by inflexible predestination and secondarily by the death of Jesus. Even so, due to the P of TULIP, once saved always saved, Christ is merely seen as a divine whipping boy who died so we can go on in sin and still be saved by predestination.

Christ as teacher is totally missing, as is the obvious biblical teaching that a true inward change made by a man’s free choice is necessary to salvation. (of course these are missing since they are the opposite of Calvinism).

What’s more, whereas in Hebrews 11:6 the Bible says “without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him,” Calvinism denies that anyone even can seek God. How then can a Calvinistic faith ever please God? The Calvinist believes that God exists, but not that God rewards those who diligently seek him. Will God be pleased by this sort of half-faith? I think not.

“rey, your not helping calm down the Calvinists.”

What could possibly calm Calvinists down more than leaving their silly demon worship that makes them attack the gospel night and day and be unable to sleep unless they turned some poor Christian away from Christ to agnosticism?

You’ve got to admit he has a point. Calvinist spend their time harassing Christians and trying to make them miserable. That’s a fact.
But some dummy doesn’t get that and suggests to him that he’s mistaken Bart Ehrman for a Calvinist. LOL!

I am not referring to Bart Ehrman. What I am referring to is that Calvinists can’t stand it if anyone believes that God is merciful and just, or that God is a loving Father (as in the parable of the prodigal son) who allows his children to err but longs for them to return. The Calvinists, however, sees such goodness as weakness, and the only way for God to be strong in his view is for God to cause evil, to make the prodigal prodigal on purpose. Unless you believe that God is the absolute cause of evil, the Calvinist is not satisfied and will stop at nothing until he either makes you twice the child of hell that he is, or turns you away from God. And it is true of all of them, even those who play nice. Their act will only last long enough to set you up in their Satanic trap. An although Ehrman may not have been a Calvinist, I am sure that it was Calvinists that made him lose his faith, since he says he lost his faith due to the “problem of evil.” In other words, the Calvinists wouldn’t shut their Satan worshiping mouths and let him enjoy the joy of his salvation…oh no, they had to convince him that God is the cause of evil, and they eventually convinced him that there is no way for God to exist and not be the cause of evil, and therefore, he became an agnostic. It is not by being a Calvinist that one becomes an agnostic but by being assaulted by Calvinists. Calvinists certainly believe in a god, but their god is Satan.

Now poor Rey gets accused of being an Arminian. Oh no.

Calvinists and Arminians aren’t much different, really. In the end, they both believe God to be the author of evil. This is why they debate for fun rather than truth, for neither one is a Christian but only someone playing church and destroying many souls in the process. To them it is all about intellectualism and praise from men. That’s why the Arminian cannot really oppose Calvinism, for he craves the praise of the Calvinist. He gets as close to Calvinism as he can so the Calvinist will praise him as intellectual. But at the same time he makes God vomit.

 

“This entire situation [disagreement between Calvinists and Arminians] is ample proof of total depravity.” (theoparadox)

If that’s so, then it is proof that both Calvinists and Arminians are unregenerate.

“The last time I checked, both Calvinists and classical Arminians hold to it.” (theoparadox)

But that’s not all there is. Calvinists and classical Arminians are the same thing, except the classical Arminians are better at PR. Their beliefs really boil down to the same thing. And, as you noted, both are unregenerate.

“Let’s go for common ground, and let’s work together for the glory of God.” (theoparadox)

Lets reject both Calvinism and classical Arminianism (which are the same thing with a slightly different public face) because that’s the only way to glorify God.

He’s right; both must be rejected. Genesis doesn’t teach that Adam and Eve eating an apple disabled even their own freewill, much less ours.  There is no need to God to apply a patch one by one to people, nor to push a Windows Update to all at once.

 

And now comes his most ingenious point of all.  Nobody dares respond to him after this point!  He has won the debate and obliterated Calvinism:

Since Calvinists claim that “the world” in John 3:16 means “the elect” why don’t they try these on for size:

(2 Tim 4:10) “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present elect”

Col 2:20 “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the elect, why, as though living in the elect, are ye subject to” man-made-decrees

Col 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the elect, and not after Christ.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the elect-rulers of the darkness of this elect, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the elect worketh death.”

How true that is!!!! For the elect of Calvinism never repent, instead saying “I’m elect! I’m once saved always saved!”

That’s right folks; let the Calvinists redefine “the world” as “the elect”; because then Scripture literally describes “the elect” as pure evil.  Godly sorrow works repentance, but the sorrow of the elect works death.

 

We can add to Rey’s point there, 1st John 2:15-17

15 Love not the elect, neither the things that are in the elect. If any man love the elect, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the elect, (the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life), is not of the Father, but is of the elect.

17 And the elect passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Christianity without eschatology

So I googled the phrase “Christianity without eschatology and I was surprised that nobody has used this term in a positive way on the internet before.  Only 10 results. Every reference I found was negative.

Like in some book on google books Immense Unfathomed Unconfined: The Grace of God in Creation blah blah blah by Sean Winter (have no idea who that is) from 2013 “Yet, as the pivotal debates of twentieth-century theology showed, a Christianity without eschatology is itself likely to be a distorted Christianity.4” Really interested to find how that is so, I immediately looked down at footnote 4, only to find its a kind of “Karl Barth said so” fallacy.

Barth is quoted as saying “If Christianity be not altogether thoroughgoing eschatology, there remains in it no relationship with Christ.” Absurd.

Another book, by Carl E. Braaten, says “Christianity without eschatology and Marxism without transcendence are two heresies fighting each other.”

These people must think they’re really smart, but its clearly the opposite.

A Presbyterian website says “Christianity without eschatology is no good news for the world.”

A thesis on Scribd says “Is a Christianity without Eschatology still Christianity? Diving into Revelation immerses oneself in the grandiose tradition of mystical apocalyptic writings but also…”

So, let’s ask the simple question, Can there be Christianity without eschatology, and would it be a good thing, or a bad thing?

Well, of course there can be. Its pretty much what I grew up with. Yes, there was eschatology, the whole “Jesus could return at any moment thing” but nothing like the rapture and Left-Behind and all that nonsense. But in reality, despite the few sermons that attempted to scare the crap out of the kiddos that Jesus could return at any moment and catch you with your hand in the cookie jar, mostly, it was a Christianity without eschatology: Christianity is about going to heaven to be with Jesus when you die, not about some kingdom on this earth, not about waiting in the grave for the second coming and the resurrection. You die, and if you’re saved, you go to heaven, and if not, to hell. No waiting period. That’s Christianity without eschatology, and its the only Christianity I find worth beleiving in today.

Eschatology is fantasy. Its Jewish fables, like Titus tells us to avoid. Yes, eschatology is all over the New Testament, but I’m growing more and more to see it as interpolations by Judaizers. After all, when people get off on their eschatology kicks, they begin diminishing the gospel and pushing Judaism, Judaizing, Jew World Orders, Kingdoms on this earth for Jewish Supremecists, etc. The gospel gets lost.

Also, let me ask a simple question…should I be more scared that Jesus might come back tonight and catch me watching a dirty movie? Or that I might have a heart atack and die while watching the dirty movie and miss heaven? In other words, eschatology of the sort of “Jesus can return at any time” is used as a scare tactic, but one that is lame, and really doesn’t work for long. It works for kids…for a few years. It doesn’t work for adults. After 10, 20 years of him not coming, you begin to realize he ain’t coming back for another 100, 200, 300, 1000, 2000, etc. years, and you slack off. Better to build your faith on what is real; live the Christian life because of judgement after death, not because a second coming might sneak up on you while you’re sinning.

Eschatology is ruining Christianity everywhere you turn. I’ve decided to just tune it out. Christianity is about going to heaven to be with Jesus after death, not awaiting a physical resurrection (Jesus rose physically, but sorry Paul, that doesn’t prove we all will too), not waiting for a Jew World Order (we’ve already got one anyway), not waiting for any number of loony end time scenarios from Revelation. All of this clownish stuff just cheapens the reality of Christianity, that Jesus saves souls to take to be with him in heaven after death. I’m going to just focus on the latter and let the unbalanced focus on all the circus gimicks.

 

The aging of religious discussion forums online

When I was probably 16, I began going to religious discussion forums online.  Places like Baptist Boards, and Christians Forums.  Even had my own board on 11o’clock forums for a while before it got hacked, and they closed down.  It was the golden age of discussion forums, before blogs came, and went. (Yes, I think blogs are more or less dead now, since google shut down the Blogsearch, and since the idiotic invention of Patheos, very little discussion goes on in blog comboxes compared to before.)

But I want to talk about the aging of religious discussion forums online.  They’re still there. Baptist Boards is still online, as is Christian Forums.  But basically the only discussion going on there seems to be mickey mouse stuff, and morons arguing that homosexuality is ok with other morons actually bothering to argue with those heretics.  Its like these places are only for millenials, and not millenials anywhere close to my age (I’m in my mid 30s), but the much younger ones, 20s, teenagers. Losers and idiots.

So in trying to find an online outlet for discussing some theology, the only place I’ve found aside from the youtube combox, which is way too hard, is Carm Forums.  Yes, Carm, the Calvinist Nazi site that is all about calling everyone who doesn’t worship John Calvin a cultist and every group that doesn’t bow the knee and confess that John Calvin is Lord to the glory of Predestination is a cult.  That place.  The last discussion forum for any serious religious discussion seems to be their forum!

But why?  My guess, its the only place actual adults (i.e. over 30) still post.

And for those more than perhaps 4 years younger than me, they grew up with such a dumbed down Christianity, they don’t even have the slightest clue what Christianity is.

Lost wisdom on orthodoxy and heresy

Again, from the same defunct blog (of mine) as my last post:

I said in the last post (broken link) “And this is the only saving grace that Christianity has — its heretics.”

If it were only for the so-called “orthodox” like Augustine, Jerome, Luther, Calvin, Christianity would be dead.

Arius, Nestorius, Pelagius, Arminius, Socinus, and a whole bunch of so-called “heretics” whose names escape me; without them Christianity would be dead.

Rigid orthodoxy has a fossilizing nature.  It turns off the brain.  It outlaws thought.  The heretics are the intellectual vitality of the tradition.  They are the ones that raise the questions, and pose solutions to those question; and many times their solutions are good.  And if the heretics didn’t raise the questions, and provide their own solutions, the orthodox wouldn’t have ever touched those questions.  The orthodox can’t squash a question that was never asked.  The orthodox can’t hide from a truth that was never made plain.  Orthodoxy’s function is to hide the truth, but without heretics digging for the truth, how would the orthodox know what to hide?

Without Arius, Christianity would be dead.  If Trinitarianism were the only option, so many churches wouldn’t exist.  And if all Christians agreed its either believe in the Trinity or leave Christianity behind — if Arianism were not an option — at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.

Without Pelagius, Christianity would be dead.  If determinism were the only option, if it were accepted by everyone in Christianity that you must either be a determinist or leave Christianity behind, then at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.

Christianity’s very survival is dependent on the heretics.  The heretics give it an air of respectability that orthodox does not have, has never had, and never will have.

The orthodox like to think that there was this golden age of orthodoxy when everyone believed their nonsense, and then came the dreaded enlightenment and rained on their parade.  But the fact is it never worked that way — nobody ever believed in orthodoxy but murderers.  The reason it seemed that so many were orthodox was because the murderers in control of governments forced people on pains of death to pretend and play at orthodoxy.  But in their hearts, even the majority of the orthodox have always been heretics.

Even the staunchest of Trinitarian preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is an Arian.

Even the staunchest of Determinist preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Pelagian.

Even the staunchest of Penal Substitutionary Atonement preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Socinian.

If it were not so, he would have left Christianity already, for only “heresy” has any vitality to it.