Tuesday, 30 April 2002

Here are more posts to Stephen Bennett Ministries discussion board.

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bgirff & croaker,
Thank you both for not viewing me as the dreaded conservative Christian...I am proud that I serve Jesus. Ever since I ran across this forum, I have been struggling with these different views. The one thing that keeps coming back to me is that above all our Savior preached love. Love for our Father and our fellow man. I pray that God will grant me Jesus' love for my fellow man every day. Because if you have nothing but love in your heart, there won't be any room for hate. And I've read a lot of hate-filled messages on this board. I now am having to pray that God will grant me His guidance on these issues. I keep remembering that the 1st century Christians had no Bible, they had letters from Paul and others that carried the message of Christ, but no canonnised(sp?) Bible.

bgriff, you were so right when you stated that this was what is so perplexing to Christians. I certainly don't want to be lead astray by the devil and I certainly don't want to have any views that aren't God's views (by the way, both are you are Christians, do you believe the devil is at work today in a real sense, i.e. do you think the devil tempts and tries to turn us away?). I look forward to the day when none of this will matter, when we will be glorified in heaven and we will have all the answers :)

Flee

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Flee -
Yes, I do believe the Devil is active and deceptive. The one thing I consider more then anything is whether I may be lead astray, but all that I know to do is study, pray, seek guidance from people who know more then I, and use the intelligence God gave me to discern His truth. All I can do is come before God and lay down everything that I might know Truth, regardless of what I want. I have the faith that if we seek after God’s truth sincerely and with a humble heart that He will protect us from the Devil’s attempts at deception.

It is a serious task to seek God’s truth. It is counter to everything this world has to offer, including most of what passes for Christianity in America today. How many of us are really willing to put aside everything we know in order for God to inform us? How many of us are really willing to put aside everything that we may love our enemies – not just God, not just or neighbors, but our enemies, too?

Bob

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Will (Croaker) said in a previous post under “Homosexual Lifesyle,” "So how do we live peacefully when conservative Christians see being nice to homosexuals as bringing on the end of civilization as we know it? " This problem is a biggie! Both sides often act out in similar ways that hinder our ability to live peacefully together.

I would venture three reasons why it is so difficult to “live peacefully:” 1. Immaturity; 2.Dualistic Thinking; 3. Militancy trumping love. These are just thoughts – I would appreciate reactions and opinions concerning this! Please!

Immaturity in the sense that we don’t want to consider what others are saying or give any validity to opposing opinions. We are immature by our inability to “come out of ourselves” and recognize that, “Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am known.” (1 Cor. 13:12) It is easier to think “we” have the right, more perfect, and Godly answers. And, of course, we need, out of love, to make sure everyone agrees with our answers. By force, if necessary – for their own good, of course.

Dualistic thinking (in the sense of seeing everything in terms of black and white, no gray) is a far easier way dealing with the complex issues of the world. It is not an effective way, however. There are too many people on both sides who are simply dualistic in their thinking. Again, it is far easier to think this way -- no messy discernment issues, no messy dealing with opinions we don't like, not much effort in formulating ethics or morals, and don’t have to deal with complexities. Some of us are just not emotionally mature enough to handle gray areas. It is easier to stay with milk then move on to meat.

Militancy – all we have to do is look around and recognize that both sides have reverted to angry, militaristic, demeaning language and actions. The ends justify the means. And, when your/my side is losing, it is easy to thrash around and lash out in violent ways (violent in words and deeds). I would expect that of many non-Christians, but it is sad when Christians revert to the “weapons of this world.” It is also sad when non-Christians act in more Christly ways then those who claim Christ. And they do/have. They have because for some the ideology of “gay = God’s destructive judgment” causes panic and dread.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8) I know many of the ex-gay leaders are acting out of a since concern for the welfare of gay people, but the way much of the religious right/prohibitionist anti-gay Christians act out is not “love.”

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bgriff,
Do you believe in absolute moral truth? Did God leave any gray areas? I'm sincerely asking a question.
Flee

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Flee -
Yes, I do believe in absolute truth, whether in moral truth, scientific truth, etc.
The problem is discerning God's truth. The history of the Church is full of examples of that not happening very well, often with violent and destructive results. God's truth never changes, but we do. I believe all we need for our salvation is in scripture. But again, history is full of examples of us doing the work poorly as we try to understand His word and will.
I do think there are a lot of gray areas. One reason is because God deals with us individually -- it is the glory of His diverse creation. I think another reason is because since He created us in His image, we are to use the brains He gave us to discern His truth. These two things make things messy at times. Some people just don’t like to step outside for fear of getting dirty.
Bob

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Next_step: “I believe that the main reason for this scandal is homosexuality. It's not celibacy.”

This simply isn’t true, despite what you or any of us *want* to believe. The preponderance of pedophilia cases are married heterosexual men towards girls. In the Catholic scandal the vast majority of the cases are between boys and men, this is true and tragic. The Bishops Conference’s own study confirmed that a big percentage priests are very immature emotionally and sexually when they finish seminary because they don’t deal with a lot of this stuff. Regardless of whether one is homosexual or heterosexual, if one maintains his vows, none of this would happen.

Next_step: “Homosexuality is an addiction that can only lead to the kind of tragic events that are making headlines today.”

The addiction is to sex, which afflicts both homosexual and heterosexual people. Are there more homosexuals that are addicted to sex then heterosexuals? I would have said yes, but the longer I work on a college campus the more I realize that the sexualization of our culture has caused a growing number of young heterosexuals to be as sex-obsessed and addicted as many young gay men. It is a male thing, not an exclusively homosexual male thing.

Next_step: “Does anyone in their right mind think having adult homosexuals involved in the Boy Scouts would be any different than having homosexual priests exposed to young boys and men?”

Yes, because the issue is with pedophilia, not orientation. Homosexual orientation does not equal pedophilia. The facts just aren’t there. Those who are prone to engage in pedophilia should not be allowed to be around young people, whether heterosexual or homosexual, whether men or women or boys or girls.

Next_step: “Homosexual men have always been attracted to young men and boys.”

Well, I’m not, nor are any that I know. I suppose all those middle-age and older men who divorce their middle-age wives for those “young things” have some different dynamic going on inside of them then those homosexual men who go after those “young things.” Going after young men/women or boys/girls is not the exclusive domain of homosexuals or heterosexuals. Pedophilia is tragic, whether committed by gay or straight men or women. Those who seek after men or women many years younger then themselves (not children) may have definite issue around aging, but they dynamic is the same with gay or straight people.

Next_step: “We even see homosexual groups like NAMBLA who are working with other homosexual groups to lower age of consent all in the name of civil rights.”

This is an aberrant and tiny group of sick men who do not hold the support of hardly anyone. Prohibitionist love to use it as THE example of how horrible homosexuality is, but the group does not hold any support among the vast majority of homosexuals.

Next_step: “Even if they enter with the best of intentions eventually human nature will take over and the result will be same.”

The American Catholic church estimates that around 30% or so of Catholic priests are not faithful to their vows of chastity. The vast majority of those who aren’t are straight men.


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