Will the Spirit reveal something beyond what is written in the Bible?

October 13, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-11-43-15-am

My friend Brandon tagged me in this post. Rev. Guyton is an author and fellow United Methodist pastor—and one who identifies himself as a progressive evangelical.

In response, I wrote the following:

So our Lord is telling us that he will reveal something in the distant future (for example, that the meaning of marriage is up for grabs) that will directly contradict what he would reveal to us through Paul and the other apostles in the near future? And contradict what he himself already taught in Matthew 19/Mark 10? Is that what Morgan thinks “progressive revelation” is?

As to what Jesus meant, did the Holy Spirit not inspire the apostles and evangelists as they eventually wrote down what became the New Testament? Didn’t this represent new and additional information? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit guide all of us as we read and apply his word?

In his Eerdmans commentary on John, D.A. Carson addresses the possibility of continuing, definitive revelation head-on, emphasizing both the finality of God’s revelation in the Son, and the intended audience of Jesus’ words in John 16:12-15. Jesus is directing these words, Carson says, to the apostles in their lifetimes, not to future disciples. Moreover, this further revelatory work of the Spirit, which the apostles couldn’t bear at this particular moment, would help them understand the full meaning and implications of the revelation of God in Christ—which was (or would be after Christ’s ascension) a finished work of God.

Why was the Spirit’s guiding role in the lives of the apostles so important? Because they were the ones who transmitted and interpreted the events of the life of Jesus—writing, shaping, and influencing the books and letters that became the New Testament.

We who are the spiritual descendants of these first disciples already have the New Testament. There’s nothing more that needs to be said. As I said above, while the Holy Spirit plays a role in helping us apply the revelation of Christ to our circumstances today, this is different from saying that there’s further revelation.

It is important to recognize that the disciples who will directly benefit from these ministrations of the Spirit are primarily the apostles. In two of the the other Paraclete passages, explicit reference is made to reminding the disciples of what Jesus said during the days of his flesh (14:26) or to the fact that they had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry (15:27). Both references rule out later disciples. Here, too, the primary focus of the Spirit’s ministry is doubtless on those who  could not, when Jesus spoke, bear more than he was giving them (v. 12), but who would need to be guided in all the truth of the revelation of God in Christ Jesus that they had been privileged to witness. At least part of the consequences of that unfolding is this Gospel of John.

Derivatively, we may speak of the Spirit’s continued work in the disciples of Jesus today. But that is not the primary emphasis of these verses; and in any case it is impossible to think of such continuing ministry of the Spirit leading men and women to stances outside the enriching and explanatory ministry he exercised amongst the first witnesses, which is crystallized in this book. That the emphasis is so transparently on the first witnesses, on how they came to what we would call a fully Christian understanding of all that Jesus is and did, drives our attention to Jesus himself, and away from subsidiary themes like discipleship, the continuing work of the Spirit and the like.[†]

I know from reading Guyton’s blog and other online interactions that Guyton’s testimony of faith includes a rejection of the Christian fundamentalism so pervasive in the American South. By putting so much weight on one particular proof-text, however, how is Guyton not being just like a fundamentalist, albeit from the other direction?

While I’m sure he would disagree with Dr. Carson, I hope he would appreciate that Carson is interpreting these verses in the context of the entire Gospel.

D.A. Carson, The Gospel according to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 541-2.

39 Responses to “Will the Spirit reveal something beyond what is written in the Bible?”

  1. Grant Essex Says:

    But, don’t you see that by making scripture non specific, they allow themselves to render whatever interpretation suits the fashion of the day. Once authority is generalized, it is diminished; even rendered irrelevant.

  2. Tom Harkins Says:

    I unfortunately can’t recall the exact language, but doesn’t Jesus say to the effect that the Spirit will speak of the things Jesus has said, just as Jesus spoke of the things that the Father has said? In any event, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever–he is not going to contradict himself. And any suggestion that the Spirit would contradict the Son in any revelation by the Spirit is too ludicrous to require a response.

  3. Grant Essex Says:

    Well said, Mr. Harkins!

  4. Marshall Says:

    To say that Jesus spoke mainly towards the apostles is very close to relativism. I believe that God speaks from, into, and for Eternity. In particular, John 16:13 promises a guide to the truth available to all that receive it, and I personally rely on it. Scripture (rightly divided) is all very well for great principles, but I am grateful for guidance as to how to apply myself to my life as I find it. What do I do now, sort of thing. Pneumatology, sir!

    … if revelation were closed, what would be the status of the Nicene Creed, of developments in the doctrine of the Trinity, in the rites and institutions of the church? Our understanding develops if nothing else does, yes? I like the analogy: 88 keys, songs without number.

    • Tom Harkins Says:

      I don’t think I have any problem with the Holy Spirit’s “guidance” post-scripture–the question is, does God still “inspire” Christians to create “dogma” in the fashion that scripture writers did? (See Paul and Peter’s comments as to the “dogma” status of scripture.) And in all events, however the Spirit may “guide” us, he is not going to do so CONTRARY to scriptures, which is what the “liberals” are getting to with things such as whether homosexuality is a sin or not.

    • brentwhite Says:

      I don’t know what you mean by “relativism.” Please say more. Regardless, I don’t think anyone, as Tom says, is denying the guiding role that the Spirit plays in our lives. Moreover, the formulations of creeds, councils, rites, and institutions are valuable only inasmuch as they bear witness to the definitive revelation of God in scripture.

      The Church Fathers themselves believed that even the Trinity emerges from the best understanding of scripture. It is a product of scriptural exegesis, not theological innovation. My church history prof in seminary, Lewis Ayres, a conservative Catholic, taught us that.

      • Marshall Says:

        Thanks for your interest. It seems to me that we are more or less stuck interpreting Scripture in the terms under which it was written, which is to say 1st-2nd Jewish and Roman society for the NT, ANE Jewish culture for the OT. So are we stuck making all our moral judgements within that context? I don’t think so … for example chattel and debt slavery was an ordinary part of those worlds, whereas I for one don’t believe that that was ever part of God’s plan for the Kingdom. Being stuck in 2nd century Syrian culture looks a lot like being stuck in 21st century American culture, as the liberals say we must do. Whereas Scripture points to the Holy Spirit speaking from outside of history or any fixed cultural worldview. The Holy Spirit precedes even Scripture: as Jesus put it, “no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.” You could say that “holding humans in bondage is sinful” isn’t new doctrine, but the working out of doctrines which are implied although they are not explicit, which I think is correct.

        However there’s lots of stuff that is perhaps culturally useful in context but doesn’t reflect principles that are clear to me. The three “persons” appear in the NT (although it’s awful hard to say who is which in the OT), but people argue about the intra-familial relations as if they have been houseguests for the summer at God’s home in the country. It’s not this, it’s not that, it doesn’t have to make sense you just better say you faith it. Look at all the shouting about contraception, which is definitely not a Biblical issue; they mostly didn’t know how to do it. The office of Bishop is not Biblical, and Paul heavily deprecates denominationalism. It would seem you have to allow that God continues to elaborate doctrine by revelation to Athanasius, Wesley, Mohler, you and me, or consider all church forms and stances are merely relative and contingent: essentially secular. Or both.

      • brentwhite Says:

        Not that I’ve read him first hand (I went to Candler, after all), but I’ve read that Hooker, the great Anglican theologian, argued against the Puritans’ iconoclasm in a way that affirmed that tradition was more than relative and contingent, yet less than definitive revelation from God.

        To say the least, I believe that nothing Wesley wrote is as authoritative as holy scripture. Which isn’t to say that the Holy Spirit wasn’t guiding Wesley in his ministry.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        There is certainly a wide variety in the “faith and practice” in the overall “Christian community” today, I’ll grant. But what do we “judge” that by? In other words, what is our standard to decide who is right and who is wrong with respect to one issue or practice versus another? The Bible is the ultimate standard. The rest is our understanding of the scripture, which, as still fallible human beings, we are going to get wrong from time to time. Neither Wesley nor Mohler nor anyone else post-scripture decides Christian “dogma.” They study the scriptures and come to their own conclusions. Both Wesley and Mohler would say that you should judge their positions against the Bible–not take what they say as preemptive of scripture.

      • Marshall Says:

        Brent, I guess I don’t understand the distinction you want to draw between “guidance” and “revelation”?
        or “inspiration”? The point is that the authors were guided, isn’t it?

        Tom, it’s the secularists who insist that everything can be written down in a few words, in a book of Laws or a table of equations that explains everything for once and for all … Romans 12:2, the Bible contains the necessary things for salvation, but it still needs to be transformed, read by the light of the Holy Spirit to be a living companion by which we can test the things in our lives. Only the Kingdom completely and exhaustively explains the Kingdom.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        “Inspiration” is “infallible.” It constitutes the Spirit’s message to the church as a whole (or, for that matter, to the world at large), against which all other “leadings” we may get are to be judged. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” Paul says. “Now no scripture is of any private interpretation, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Spirit,” Peter says. This is more than some “personal guidance” that we get from the Spirit, which is much more indirect and frequently comes from the scriptures themselves. Also, we are not infallible in ascertaining “leadings,” or even in determining whether they are coming from the Holy Spirit. “Test the spirits, whether they be from God,” John warns. So, there is a definite difference between personal “guidance” and the scripture.

        You are correct that the Bible does not contain all the truth there is. John says the same at the close of his gospel. However, as noted, what the Bible does tell us is the truth, so any subsequent “guidance” or study or anything else that is taught is wrong if it is not consistent with scripture. We cannot “add to or take from” its teachings, as John indicates at the close of the Revelation. Hence the rub, for example, with those who would validate the LGBTQ movement as some sort of “further revelation” or understanding that people have come up with. So, as far as your suggestion that the scripture “still needs to be transformed, read by the light of the Holy Spirit to be a living companion by which we can test the things in our lives. Only the Kingdom completely and exhaustively explains the Kingdom,” I disagree that there is any need for or propriety in “transforming” scripture. Let scripture rather transform us!

      • brentwhite Says:

        Marshall, I couldn’t have said it better. Thanks, Tom.

    • Marshall Says:

      Hi Tom, thanks. It seems to me that over the years people have laid a lot of “personal interpretations” on Scripture, starting as soon as the canon was laid down and yes, it’s important to learn to reach past them and learn to study the actual words. Such as whether “great fear” “phobos megas” is a good thing to have covering your church.

      Nothing to do with the topic at hand really, except why is it always the first thing that comes up: alternative sex practices. On the one hand, Jesus said the thing to be doing is feed my sheep (3 times), also Luke 6:37 et all. On the other hand, we can worry about the mote in the eye of those Others when we show such concern among our own for divorce and those innocent children damaged by it, which Jesus did address directly. (Not to mention how can self-called Christians overlook the serial adultery and worse committed and bragged about by a pretender to moral leadership. Sexual immorality, I would call that.)

      • Grant Essex Says:

        I have been saying for years that you cannot just condemn “the sin you don’t like”, e.g. homosexual behavior. There are plenty of sins that the more liberal churches seem willing to go light on. Adultery, pre-marital sex, abortion, no fault divorce, pornography, drunken behavior, and so on.

        Let’s admit it; to be truly faithful, you have to be willing to be called a prude.

      • brentwhite Says:

        Marshall, I mostly agree with you here, except I would intensify the problem. In my history of officiating weddings (I’ve probably done three dozen, at least), all but a few of these “good Methodists” were cohabitating or having sex, and—as far as I know—_had_ sex with other partners prior to getting married. Do you see the problem with this based on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6 about Christians having sex with prostitutes? If they’ve had sex with anyone other than the person they end up with, how have they not also created the same kind of “one flesh” bond that Paul warns about there? Am I supposed to say to these couples, “You must go find the first partner you had sex with and marry that person”? Would Paul offer that counsel? I doubt it.

        What he would say, I think, is repent of your sin and seek to be faithful to the one you’re with now. Otherwise, I would imagine that most married Christians who are married now (yet who’ve had sex with someone other than their spouse) are “living in sin.”

        Do you see what I’m saying? This is why the Catholic Church’s strict teaching about divorce and remarriage isn’t completely consistent—because, by their own logic, the problem starts before a couple gets married (if they’ve had sexual partners prior to the person they first marry). They get a “pass” on their sexual activity prior to marriage, but they’re “on the clock” the moment they say “I do.”

        I would say only one thing: Thank God there’s grace! We all need it all the time.

        The reason why homosexual behavior is different is that it is sinful, per se, to have sex with someone of the same sex, regardless of the quality of the relationship (whether it’s “covenantal, monogamous, etc.). That isn’t true of married heterosexual sex.

  5. Marshall Says:

    See now how we started out talking about the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and here we are mucking about with porneia. Why go there ALL the time? Seems sometimes people are using attitude about sex to avoid having to work on the actual problems that Jesus said should be our concern.

    Our sexual nature is part of our untransformed animal nature … “when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage.” So really, whatever is just a temporary matter, just be feeding your sheepish self good food, and you don’t want to be a stumbling block to others by taking unfair advantage … pornes is literally about doing it for money.

    In the second place, Paul advises that since you can’t avoid associating with immoral people, you should just not church with them. In 7:11, that most emphatically (“not from me but from God”) includes twice-married people right alongside “malakoi oute arsenokoitai” (whatever decadent 1st century Greek lifestyle that describes) and men who sleep with their father’s wives. And who hasn’t committed adultery in their heart? Thank God for Grace indeed. I say we should go with an open table or we should go live in a cave. … also, I think maybe we should also remember that things had gotten very chaotic in Corinth, those folks needed a big dose of “orderly worship” and Paul was the one to give it to them with both barrels. To wit they needed to straighten out their interpersonal relationships. As do we, although we don’t have exactly the same problems.

    • brentwhite Says:

      “Work on the actual problems that Jesus said should be our concern”? I strongly disagree with you if you’re suggesting that sexual immorality wasn’t an important concern of Jesus—first, in his own teaching, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 19/Mark 10, and, by the inspiration of his Spirit, through the rest of the New Testament.

      • brentwhite Says:

        “… the rest of the Bible,” I mean.

      • Marshall Says:

        Paul and I were pointing to Mark 10, I thought. The main issue there seems to be oath-breaking and taking advantage of forgiveness. Whereas, in common parlance you can lie to your spouse, steal the food right out of their mouths, humiliate them in public and private and beat them with a stick, and that is a bad thing but that’s not what we mean when we point at someone as “unfaithful” to their marriage vows. I think sexual morality needs get its mind out of the gutter.

        Actual problem: how to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, release to the oppressed. Of which sexual morality is a part but not the whole. John 4.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        James says, “Pure religion and undefiled is this: to visit the widows and orphans in distress, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” In other words, both are needed–helping others, and being pure and holy oneself. You do say, “Of which sexual morality is a part,” so I guess you get that. Once again, people can go wrong in MANY ways (including marital and family relations), but that does not mean homosexuality is not one of those wrongs. I don’t think that is being “over-emphasized.” Nobody really doubts the “wrongness” of the other things you mention. What is “before the public (and the church)” at the moment is whether homosexuality is wrong, and whether the Bible gives the definitive answer on that question. Which it does.

  6. Tom Harkins Says:

    I think the reason homosexuality comes up with respect to “continuing inspiration” by the Holy Spirit is because a great number of the “progressive revelation” advocates seem motivated by trying to say it is “okay to be gay.” Clearly the Bible says the opposite. Simply to say, “Well, there are other areas that people also go astray on with respect to sex” can’t obviate that. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    • Marshall Says:

      So what do you personally do about 1 Cor 7:10 and Mark 10:11-12?

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        Sorry, I don’t follow what you mean by asking me about these two passages in this context. Regardless of what things may be “puzzling” in scripture, many things are not puzzling at all, and certainly the prohibition of homosexual behavior is one of those things that is not puzzling.

      • brentwhite Says:

        Marshall, did you read my comment about “intensifying” the problem? I agree that there’s much sin surrounding sex of which we’re guilty. That doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and say, “It’s no big deal.” It’s the biggest deal of all—since, apart from repentance and faith it risks separating us from God for eternity.

  7. Grant Essex Says:

    If Jesus said the only reason to allow divorce was “sexual immorality” (Matt 19:9), AND also said, that one “commits adultery” just by looking lustfully at another (Matt 5:28), then isn’t everyone an adulterer, and thus subject to lawful divorce by their spouse?

    Just being mischievous.

    • Tom Harkins Says:

      Mischievous is right! My thought is that Jesus said committed adultery “in his heart,” not “in actuality” (i.e., physically). It is certainly wrong to lust (Jesus was showing that heart conditions count as sinful too, not just actions), but the two are not “equivalent” to each other. Hatred is wrong, but you don’t go to prison for that like you do if you allow the hatred to bubble up into murder. So, no, lust alone is not sufficient to authorize divorce. (Like you said, everyone would be guilty, whereas Jesus was pointing out how “limited” the option of divorce was meant to be–indeed, not meant to be at all, just as a concession in the event of actual adultery.)

  8. Grant Essex Says:

    I know. Divorce is that “genie” that the Church will never get back into the bottle. “No fault” was the end of it. Of course, we’ve moved on to folks just not even bothering to get married in the first place….

  9. Marshall Says:

    Marshall, did you read my comment about “intensifying” the problem? I agree that there’s much sin surrounding sex of which we’re guilty. That doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and say, “It’s no big deal.” It’s the biggest deal of all—since, apart from repentance and faith it risks separating us from God for eternity.

    I did indeed Brent, I thought your remarks were well balanced. You’ve read the Pilgrim’s Progress … there are mortal dangers on every hand and everybody’s walk is different. A Pastor told me, when someone asks, is whatever sinful? he always says yes because if you have to ask if something is sinful, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. On the other hand, if the best way someone can find to manage their life is to be in a stable, committed, community-oriented relationship, I for one don’t want to quibble about their choice of partner. Grace will find that person when it does, same as the rest of us.

    then isn’t everyone an adulterer, and thus subject to lawful divorce by their spouse?

    Grant, that’s absolutely a serious point, well argued. When you’re living in a swamp, it’s pointless to say you shouldn’t get your feet wet. It’s true, but it’s pointless. And we have decided that being a stick about divorce is pointless (because of the hardness of our hearts), and we have let the water rise up over our ankles.

    Tom, when people start saying “Jesus didn’t really mean it”, I have to question their commitment to a straight reading of the Word. You should not equate going to prison with the risk to your soul that Brent is talking about.

    Have a look at the Bible shall we? The purity strictures in the OT don’t apply to us anymore since we are no longer expected to sacrifice in the Temple, same as the dietary laws were suspended by Peter’s vision in Acts 10 (… which would be an example of “progressive revelation”).

    We were discussing 1 Cor 6:9, “malakoi oute arsenokoitai” … the translation as “men who sleep with men” seems to me facile and begs the question. If Paul was pointing to people he encountered on the street in Corinth, maybe he meant specific types like hustlers and fancyboys, types you can find for yourself in any downtown in the world. Lost sheep. Paul’s concern was “orderly worship” and a committed community-oriented relationship seems orderly enough to me, all things considered. It’s that open table thing.

    Romans 1, the headline is people who do not see God in the world and are unwilling to trust the Spirit that leads into all truth, and consequently not only practice sexual perversion but also slander, strife, envy, deceit, etc etc. Who is he talking about? 2:1 “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.” Strikes to the heart, it does.

    • Tom Harkins Says:

      Marshal, you accuse me of saying, “Jesus did not really mean it,” because I differentiate between adultery “of the heart” with adultery “of the body” with respect to which gives rise to a right of divorce. I don’t think I am in error about that, but I must say you then turn around and say Paul did not mean what he said about homosexuality. The idea that Paul was only referencing a “certain type” of homosexuality (i.e., whatever is not in a “committed relationship”) finds no traction in the text whatsoever, nor in the overall scope of scriptural teaching on “matters of sex” (such as in Genesis, Leviticus, Judges, and Jude). If Paul had meant to say, “all homosexuality,” what language are you suggesting he should have used as opposed to what he did use? Also, how do you know that the homosexuality of Paul’s day and our day is so different as you suggest?

    • brentwhite Says:

      Marshall,

      You write:

      “if the best way someone can find to manage their life is to be in a stable, committed, community-oriented relationship, I for one don’t want to quibble about their choice of partner. Grace will find that person when it does, same as the rest of us.”

      So long as that relationship includes sexual behavior, I couldn’t disagree more. The behavior, per se, is the problem.

      Alongside most scholars (and, no, I’m not one), I don’t believe 1 Corinthians 6:9 is nearly so inscrutable, finding its cognates in Leviticus 18 and 20. The Christians living in that same Greco-Roman context as Paul certainly weren’t confused about its meaning. In fact, no one was confused about it until around 1980. (I wonder why? I wonder what was going on in our culture that made revisionist scholars start to see something that every other scholar had missed for almost two millennia?)

      But forget about v. 9 for a moment. What about Paul’s warning in vv. 15-16? “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.'”

      Paul is saying, among other things, that the “quality” of the sexual relationship doesn’t matter. The mere act of male and female uniting sexually is what creates this one-flesh bond—irrespective of the relationship being, as you say, “stable, committed, community-oriented” or whatever else.

      Is a one-flesh bond created when two men or two women have sex? If not, how can that be Christian marriage? Jesus’ own citations from Genesis 1 and 2, with its emphasis on sexual complementarity, rules out “any two consenting adults” coming together: what matters is specifically male and female.

      I’ve blogged about this many times. Search on “homosexuality” in the search field.

    • brentwhite Says:

      Your words about 1 Corinthians 6:9 also confuse me. So, if we could go back in a time machine and ask Paul, “So is it O.K. for two men or two women in a committed, monogamous, lifelong, covenantal relationship to have sex,” you think he would say, “Absolutely”? We know from ancient Jewish sources—Josephus and Philo, for instance—that Judaism was countercultural in its day for its condemnation of homosexual practice (under any circumstances). But somehow Paul (and Jesus, for that matter) would have arrived at some different conclusion, which, inconveniently, they failed to share with us (or the Spirit of Christ through them failed to share with us)?

      What about Acts 15? Notice in resolving the dispute about Gentile membership in the church, one of the Israelite laws that is retained by the church is its prohibition of porneia. There’s no question that the early church understood that to include homosexual practice—looking, as it does, back to the prohibitions in Lev 18 and 20. This isn’t a mystery.

      Which is why I appreciate the integrity of gay-affirming scholars such as Luke Timothy Johnson who nevertheless say that the Bible’s message against homosexual behavior is clear, and he has no patience for the small minority of scholars today who say otherwise.

    • brentwhite Says:

      Finally, Marshall, instead of “blessing” Tom—which feels patronizing to me—why not engage his argument? Where is he wrong?

      Sorry if I take this personally. But in my own experience of publicly identifying as a United Methodist pastor who believes in our Discipline’s language on sex, I get this brush-off a lot. Few revisionists want to argue the Bible on the issue of homosexuality. Yet, from my perspective, it’s the only thing we should be arguing, if we’re going to be true to our Wesleyan (not to mention Protestant, not to mention evangelical) tradition.

      Adam Hamilton at least tried to put forth an argument. It wasn’t a good one, but he tried. Do you think the revisionist position is so clear and obvious that it doesn’t require one?

      • Marshall Says:

        I do beg pardon. It has been a very stimulating conversation for me, but since we seem to have reached a point of talking past each other I hoped merely to exit graciously. I will be happy to continue, let me take a bit of time to put thoughts together.

      • brentwhite Says:

        In what ways are we “talking past each other”? Have I failed to understand what you’re saying? Enlighten me, then. Tell me what I’m missing.

  10. Grant Essex Says:

    Amen Brent.

    But, we’ve already conceded that the two sides on this issue are irreconcilably at odds. Nothing we can say is going to convince them that homosexuality is a sin, and nothing they can say is going to convince that it isn’t. Here’s one case where a “divorce” of sorts is probably inevitable. They go their way, and we go ours. To continue is pointless and it’s hurtful.

  11. Marshall Says:

    What about Paul’s warning in vv. 15-16? “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! …”

    In my college days I brushed up against the homosexual lifestyle at Berkeley, and I don’t have a problem saying there was much sin there. Promiscuity (homo, hetero, and other) and the other things mentioned in vv. 8-10. I think sexual depravity is hugely important and issues like trafficking, abuse, divorce and child abandonment should receive way more attention than they do. Why pick out the one thing, is all?

    So, if we could go back in a time machine and ask Paul, “So is it O.K. for two men or two women in a committed, monogamous, lifelong, covenantal relationship to have sex,” you think he would say, “Absolutely”?

    That isn’t what I said and btw I think Peter’s speech to the Council in Acts 15 is relevant here. … I am willing to believe that Paul’s personal opinion generally followed the cultural norms of his time (that relativist thing). But I confess that Scripture came to be through inspiration and it means what it says; personal opinions are largely irrelevant, then and now.

    Let’s be sure whatever we do, we frame it with the Prime Directive, Matthew 22:37-39. You need to regulate your own assembly, certainly; the church trying to dictate to the world has always been a disaster for the church without changing the world much. “Lean Puritan”, I said once, meaning we do have to separate ourselves to some extent, to seek a pure union with God. While not forgetting to evangelize.

    The OP issue, from which we have ventured far, was about whether the Holy Spirit is active in inspiration today in the same way he was during the time of Acts and the Epistles. I believe that the Bible itself is no more than a lump of paper unless read with the breath of the Spirit. I testify that the Good Counsellor is active in the world, that I experience guidance in my daily life, and that without such guidance I would be a dead duck many times over. I confess the Kingdom present and emergent. And I believe that it’s God’s world and it isn’t going to go according to what I say anyway.

    Tom said:
    Marshal, you accuse me of saying, “Jesus did not really mean it,” because I differentiate between adultery “of the heart” with adultery “of the body” …

    Tom, I apologize for unintended offense and not making a proper reply earlier. However I must insist that Matthew 5:28 has Jesus himself specifically and directly stating that adultery “of the heart” will be counted as adultery in the Judgement. As to homosexuality I have already said what I believe, that the more central concern in Scripture is “orderly worship”. I respect your right to believe otherwise (God-given) and to join in church with others of like mind.

    Sincerely, I pray God will bless and keep all you folks there, with oil for your lamps and grain for your barns as you do His will. Thank you again for engaging, as I also find I just get brushed off most places.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s