A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Random thoughts

As I was watching tidbits from the most recent GOP presidential debate a thought came to mind. I wonder when Mary fled into Egypt, did she have papers? Or was she illegal? Did that make Jesus an illegal?

Dinesh D'Souza wonders where all the smart atheists have gone. But it made me think of a different question. Where did the Christian theologians go who did not see atheism as an enemy and was not interested in promoting Christianity against others.

Rather they sought to draw from the resources of that tradition to engage in the problems of human life in conversation with other traditions and disciplines. Names like Tillich and the Niebuhr brothers come to mind. That way of engaging faith is what's needed.

One author describes the religious right as "creepy..all scrunched brows and gnarled hands and so much repressed sexuality" This is a dehumanized caricature. Despite the authors professed views such talk is far from liberal. It's Jack Chick in reverse.

If you read Jack Chick tracts all the liberals and bad guys have "scrunched brows and gnarled hands" while all the good Christians looked positively Aryan. It would be nice if we could somehow get beyond that kind of discourse all together.

I couldn't help but take the accent quiz Bob Cornwall pointed me to. I scored "North Central" which "professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot." Growing up in eastern Montana and North Dakota this makes sense, eh?

Correction I am aware of a number of Christian theologians who currently are engaged with their and other traditions and disciplines in tackling the issues of life. Unlike Dawkins and D'Souza they don't get much media play or end up in the NY Times Bestseller's List.


At 3:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The One New Man

I don't know if you already heard about the one new man created in Christ Himself from two. Actually, I heard of it for the first time when I attended a Bible Exposition held in Cebu City by the Church of Christ (Filipino: Iglesia Ni Cristo). I never heard about it during my days in the Roman Catholic Church eventhough I actively performed my duties as the Sacristan Mayor of the Parish of San Agustin, Diocese of Surigao Del Sur. And this teaching is not just a teaching of the Ministers of the Church of Christ but it is the teaching of the Apostles as written on the Holy Bible.

However, in sharing this truth to you, I need to ask the Bible and let the Bible answer our questions because it is the Bible know this truth much.

To begin with, let us ask the Bible: Did the Apostle really teach that Christ created in Himself a one new man? Apostle Paul answer:

15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, (Ephesians 2:15, NKJV)

According to him, a one new man was created in Christ Himself from the two. What is this ONE NEW MAN and what are the two referred to by Apostle Paul which composed the one new man? In Colossians 1:18, Apostle Paul's answer is recorded:

18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18, ibid)

The answer is: The two which are created into one new man are Christ and His Church and the one new man is Christ as head and the Church as Christ's body.

So, it is already clear that Christ really created a one new man. But what is the purpose of Christ, why he created this? Apostle Paul answered it already on the first verse that we used.

15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, (Ephesians 2:15, NKJV)

According to him, it was done "to abolish the enmity, that is the law of commandment contained in ordinances and thus making peace".

What is the law that Apostle Paul referred to in which when the one new man was created peace does exist? The answer is recorded in Deuteronomy 25:16.

16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16, ibid)

The law states that anyone who committed sin will be put to death for their own sin. Is this the reason why Christ died for the sin of others? Absolutely Yes!

But wait! We already know that Christ died for the others but he never committed any sin, does it mean something contradiction?

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us,[a] leaving us[b] an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 Who committed no sin,

Nor was deceit found in His mouth;[c] (I Peter 2:21-22, ibid)

It is true that Christ committed no sin, as stated on the verse above and that all of us (men) are sinners.

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12, ibid)

And that the wages of sin is death.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23, ibid)

Since, all of us sinned, therefore each of us will be put to death because of our sin. In other words, no one will be saved on the day of judgment.

But God loved us, that is why He gave His Son to us to give us a chance to be saved on His wrath on the day of judgment.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, ibid)

And to save us, Christ created the one new man, as He the head and His Church as His body. In front of God, Christ and His Church is already one new man. For this reason Christ was made to be sin.

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:21, ibid)

And it is now righteous for Christ to die for His Church.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, (Ephesians 5:25, ibid)

Because His Church is already His body and that it is His obligation to be the savior of it.

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. (Ephesians 5:23, ibid)

If Christ died for all men inside His Church, then who will die for the sins of others who are outside His Church? Christ answered it.

24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24, ibid)

According to Him, they will die for their own sins.

Beside the truth that His Church is His body and He is the savior of it, why is it that Christ has no power to save those men outside His Church? Apostle Paul answered?

13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person." (I Corinthians 5:13, ibid)

According to Apostle Paul, outside God judges. And we already know from the truth revealed above what will be the judgment of God, that is, "each of them will die for their own sins".

Therefore, it is not true that Christ died for the sin of all men on earth because the truth is Christ died for the sin of all men in His Church only. It is also not true that Christ will save men who are not part or members of His Church, because the truth is, Christ will save only His Church.

We should not forget the one new man created by Christ in Himself, and we should strive to become part of that one new man. Take note: Only the ONE NEW MAN is the one who will be saved on the day of judgment

At 4:04 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

Wow, first time I've seen such a lengthy drivel bible-mangling (oops, I mean "bible quoting") comment here. I can see why "anonymous".

What a completely screwed-up mess. If you want to know what the "two" are in Ephesians 2:15, don't introduce irrelevant verses from Colossians, but look back a couple of verses and you'll find it quite plain that one is Gentiles, the other Israelites/Jews. Next?

At 12:26 PM , Blogger Pastor Bob Cornwall said...


I hadn't thought about Mary or Jesus being illegals. That is positively brilliant!!

And as for that first comment -- have no clue what's going on.

Thanks from the Midlands accent guy -- whatever that means,

At 7:18 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

Dwight: just to actually address your article not your commenter(!), idea: have you read Tony Windross' _Thoughtful Guide to Faith_? (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thoughtful-Guide-Faith/dp/1903816688)
He does a good job of picturing liberal theology as squashed between conservative on one hand and radical on the other. Easy reading, depth lurking behind the short chapters for you to find for yourself. Might keep you amused for a wee while. :)

At 12:21 PM , Blogger miranda said...

Great post! Very thought-provoking. We are so quick to point out the wrongs of others that sometimes we forget to look at ourselves.

At 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I thought you'd like this liberal thought I found.

My Presidential Candidate
(Could he be yours too?)
During the last Democratic debate broadcast by CNN the host asked all candidates to respond to their Christian faith. At the recent Republican debate a similar question was asked concerning their Biblical beliefs. Both the Democrats and the Republicans scrambled at the chance to show who was the better believing Christian.

How would you have reacted had at least one candidate shown the courage, and felt the moral obligation, to take that most opportune chance to express Constitutional values as given below?

Mr. Host, I find the question constitutionally inappropriate for a presidential debate. But it was asked and I will respond. Everyone who knows me privately knows who I am and what I believe. Those in the American audience who don’t, need only know this one thing. As president I would consider all peoples regardless of faith, or no faith for that matter, as equal. I consider this attitude an absolute requirement for any public servant. Furthermore, I say to the world, and especially to the Muslim world, during this perilous time, America embraces your faiths as it embraces our majority Christian faith. That idea is a very important concept, and I want to make it perfectly clear, our Founding Fathers did not create a Christian nation. They created a nation where all peoples have the right to live and practice their beliefs in anyway they want while pursuing their constitutional right to happiness. Of course there is an important constitutional restriction. No one has the right to violate another person’s similar guarantees especially the sacred right to life and property.

Bin Ladin violated those American concepts to the core! Of course America and the world will remain dedicated to bringing anyone inflicting those unacceptable kinds of religious terrorist acts to justice. As president I will emphatically invite the Muslim world to join with us confident, that with these kinds of new sincere American attitudes they will. The so called war on terrorism should never have been a war of violence or “Crusades” as President Bush believed and conducted. but rather, an American invitation to the Mid East to a sharing of human values and a joining together of all good peoples everywhere in the victory over extremist fundamentalist behavior be it Muslim or Christian. A safe home, food on the table, health care, children educated, etc. all of these are universal human goals. A continuance of this insane war with all its associated costs, human and otherwise, and wasted world resources makes those human goals ever more difficult to achieve.

If Americans are ever going to solve the Muslim terrorist problem they need to put their own house in order first. Today’s American house and the Mid East house are very similar. At this very moment the Mid East house is in conflict regarding who is the best Muslim the Sunni or the Shi’a while the American house is having presidential arguments being broadcast to the rest of the world as to who is the best Christian Evangelicals or Mormons. Certainly one difference is in the degree to which the conflicts are conducted. But I don’t like the direction America is going and the people of the Mid East can see the contradiction.

The American message should not be just about Democracy, which I have been hearing about forever, but rather about our great Constitution and its Bill of Human Rights and our Secular (not a dirty word) or neutral government that respects all beliefs and who’s duty is to act as moderator of religion (and never a participator) in cases where those beliefs become abusive, or out of hand, from time to time.

And so, I believe, with good people taking to the streets and showing their repugnance at every violent religiously motivated act, even if it comes from within their own culture, terrorism will cease because it will be seen as being counter productive.

As your President I promise these kinds of human to human communications, including many taken directly to the common Mid East peoples, will be a large part of the peace initiatives of my administration. May God bless this new direction, and bless all peoples everywhere.


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