WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR FORGIVENESS?

18th-century tapestry of the death of Absalom. (from here)

Cal Thomas has written a column that leaves me wondering, Nonpartisanship tossed out the window at Trump’s ‘National Prayer Breakfast’ (A missed opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to heal rifts). Here is how it starts.

For 68 years the National Prayer Breakfast has been a political oasis, a chance for Republicans, Democrats, national and world leaders to assemble and pray for each other and the nation.

Not this year.

One could tell where things were headed when President Trump arrived later than most other presidents and held up two newspapers with the headline “Acquitted,” a reference to the vote by the Republican majority in the Senate the day before, which refused to convict him of articles of impeachment written by the Democratic majority in the House.

The president then shook hands with only half of those at the head table, apparently because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was sitting on the other side of the podium. It was Mr. Trump who refused to shake Mrs. Pelosi’s hand at the State of the Union address last Monday night and it was Mrs. Pelosi who tore up her copy of his speech for all to see.

The co-chairs of the 2020 breakfast, Rep. John Moolenaar, Michigan Republican, and Rep. Thomas Suozzi, New York Democrat, spoke of their deep personal relationship and their ability to bridge differences because of it. (continued here)

Forgiveness. As Thomas goes on to tell us, God calls upon us to forgive each other. Is Thomas right? Should President Donald Trump have offered Speaker Nancy Pelosi his hand in friendship and reconciliation? I don’t have a straightforward answer. I just know what King Solomon observed in Ecclesiastes. There is a time for everything, perhaps even forgiveness.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

Imagine the grief of King David. He had been a poor father, but he loved Absalom. So, when Absalom rebelled, David blamed himself, and now Absalom was dead at the hands of David’s second in command. Was this a time to weep?

2 Samuel 19:1-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

19 Then it was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourns for Absalom.” The victory that day was turned to mourning for all the people, for the people heard it said that day, “The king is grieved for his son.” So the people went by stealth into the city that day, as people who are humiliated steal away when they flee in battle. The king covered his face and cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines, by loving those who hate you, and by hating those who love you. For you have shown today that princes and servants are nothing to you; for I know this day that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, surely not a man will pass the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.”

The war was over, but civil war is costly, and the people had paid a heavy price. Yet their leader was lost in his grief. He had no joy in victory, no sense that the victory had been worth the cost.

Are we in the aftermath of a bloody conflict? Are we at war? We are just approaching an election, right? No. Elections are wars fought with ballots, and elections have consequences. Depending upon who wins, more babies are aborted, more children are poorly educated and indoctrinated in strange and vile beliefs, more people lose important rights, more people suffer from lost income, more public infrastructure suffers from improper maintenance, more people are homeless, more people defecate on the streets and sidewalks, …….. When Trump made his speech at that breakfast, should he have forgiven a vicious and power-hungry enemy, or was it his job to rally the people to the defense of our constitutional republic? Should he have allowed the likes of Pelosi to seem reasonable, or should he have made it clear to everyone the danger she represents?

What’s the answer? Well, Cal Thomas has expressed his opinion. What do you think?

34 thoughts on “WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR FORGIVENESS?

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  1. I could not read the New York Times opinion piece (TSalmon’s link), unfortunately, since I don’t subscribe to the NYT.
    (If I were subscribed I would’ve unsubscribed after they came out with a comic book version of the Mueller report for folks who can’t read so well..only the “important points” of course. With pictures!)

    The weather has been bad here and internet access sketchy.
    I’m kind of glad because after pondering on it for a day, my opinion is different.
    I was going to say I could kind of see Cal Thomas’ point.
    But upon reflection (and reading some posts above) I simply think he is wrong.
    Any other politician would shake hands and say, “oh Bob! so good to see you!’ when they actually detest them. This is part of what makes him unique.
    He’s probably got a protocol person who was cringing.
    And that’s okay.
    It’s much more genuine than to go on television like Pelosi and say “I pray for the president” or claim that impeachment is a serious business, “obstruction of Congress” a high crime, while stifling smiles and giggles.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tom,

    1000 years after King David, Jesus Christ cried out on his cross while being crucified.

    “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Perhaps Trump should have offered his hand to everyone at the prayer meeting. And as he shook the hands of Pelosi supporters, he should have recommended they pray for forgiveness for “not knowing what they do.”

    And if they ask what it is they know not, he should answer. Anyone who promotes killing an unborn baby should pray for forgiveness for not knowing what they are doing attending a prayer meeting.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    As for not shaking hands to snub Pelosi at another public meeting, if interested, check out my post about King Solomon.

    https://rudymartinka.com/2020/01/31/king-solomon-blog-riddle-whats-the-main-point-of/

    Like

    1. @scatterwisdom

      Check out IB’s comment. => https://citizentom.com/2020/02/12/when-is-the-right-time-for-forgiveness/comment-page-1/#comment-91828

      While I am tempted to agree with you, I think Romans 13:1-7 makes it clear that forgiveness is not the government’s job. That is an individual responsibility. In any event, the moment Trump said what you suggest the Democrats would have been just as furious.
      Consider how they reacted here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tom,

        Interesting video that challenges Religious vs. Secular views or opinions in a Nation that states all citizens have Rights to speech and religion.

        The minister gave his opinion and was cut off same as when people listening minds shut off when they hear what they don’t want to hear.

        What really needs to be cut off from listening becomes a conundrum for voters.
        For example which party on the issue of abortion believes it is a citizen’s Right to kill an unborn child and the procedure is not defined as what it really is, an abortion of truth, The truth being when you remove a fetus with a beating heart, is it or is it not killing a fetus..

        As for gay being allowed to influence children and not offer a choice for parent to choose what they want their children to be indoctrinated at an age when they are most impressionable, what is the truthful word to describe this issue?

        Hypocrisy of Rights is the only word that comes to my mind.

        My post what Trump should observe before shaking hands with a political party that believes in promoting both of the two above issues.

        Same as King Solomon observed 3000 years ago in this verse.

        “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverb 12:15)”

        In other words, we have two political parties not listening to each other and each believes they are right.

        Or nothing new under the sun so long as people refuse to listen and discern the truth.

        The truth in my opinion is ending a heartbeat is killing.

        Indoctrinating children at an impressionable age is the governments Right and not the Parents Right, and the Rights amendments are hypocrisy of the truth on these two issues.

        Same as shaking hands with a person you know is a hypocrite who hides the truth of what is really in their heart

        So, what should a voter discern about the truth or hypocrisy of wise or foolish advice?

        In my opinion, voters should begin by discerning which political party who discern the truth of the issue of abortion vs. killing.

        Then the voter should discern if they want the same fools to teach or indoctrinate their children what to believe instead of what a parent believes is the truth about religious vs. secular values.

        And then voters should discern their concerns of who should be cut off and who they choose to shake hands with in the voter’s booth.

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Scatterwisdom

          You got it right I think. The Democrats won’t compromise. They want power, and they see their chance to have it. The Republicans cannot compromise. They have begun to understand their supporters will give up on them if they do. Moreover, the Democrats have become too eager to destroy them. How does a politician compromise with an opponent who seeks to shut him up?

          That leaves the voters. They must listen to both sides and make their choice.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The time for forgiveness is when we are not in the throes of battle and when the enemy has made some attempt at surrender and reconciliation. I’m pleased with the president for standing up for what is right and not capitulating to what basically amounts to a tantrum. Imagine trying to preach to a military leader or a cop on the scene, about how he just needs to be more forgiving and reach across the aisle. It’s just nutty.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cal thinks we should reconcile our differences. You think we should go to war. Ross Douthat here thinks we live in an decadent age where rhetorical fire and fury gives way to actual impotence and stalemate:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/opinion/western-society-decadence.amp.html%3f0p19G=3248

    According to Douthat we are more likely to internet each other to death than to either join together or go to war. The latter two actually would mean leaving the virtual world and getting out of our PJs. 🙂

    Like

    1. @tsalmon

      You will be happy to know that my favorite time to blog is in my PJs after I eat breakfast.

      Cal thinks we should reconcile our differences. You think we should go to war.

      Cal Thomas’ position is a bit more subtle than that. Think about that proverb he quoted.

      Proverbs 25:21-22:

      If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head. And the Lord will reward you.

      When we treat an enemy with mercy we shame him. We force him to recognize that what he is doing to us is wrong. He has no excuse.

      Cal Thomas is a Christian Conservative. I don’t have a huge difference of opinion with Him. I just don’t think he recognizes that the president’s first responsibility is justice, not mercy. Political leaders must deal with people who cannot be shamed into doing what is right (Check out Romans 13:1-7.). As private citizens, we don’t usually deal with cutthroats, unless, of course, the government itself is the problem. Then, if the majority supports the government, we are stuck with Romans 13:1-7. Our first loyalty is to God, but if the people recognize an oppressive government as legitimate, rebellion is not an option.

      Do I think we should go to war? No. I think we are already in a political war. To a Democrat, bipartisan agreement means agreeing with the Democrats. Reconciliation just means doing what the Democrats say we should do. So, compromise is not a practical option.

      When Barack Obama was running for office in October 2008, he said: “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” After he was elected, he set about trying to fundamentally transform us whether we wanted to be transformed or not. Transforming citizens who don’t want to be transformed is not the government’s job. That just violates our rights. Besides, only a fool would elect a politician to make him a better person. Politicians cannot be trusted with that sort of power. Unfortunately, Democrats have been conniving for, scheming to get, and demanding such power for decades, and they have been all to successful in acquiring the power they crave.

      What about Ross Douthat? Well, The New York Times is now demanding that I log onto their fish wrap, and I don’t want to subsidize that outfit. If you think it is worth the trouble, you can repost that fellow’s article in a comment. Otherwise, I don’t care.

      Do we live in a decadent age? Thanks mostly to Liberal Democrats I suppose we do. Don’t Democrats control the public schools and the mass media? Doesn’t that sort of make Democrats largely responsible for the decadence? Have you seriously examined the values of Liberal Democrats?

      What does the Internet have to do with this? We can use the Internet to bypass people like Ross Douthat and discuss our differences directly. The news media hates that.

      You want forgiveness and reconciliation? The forgiveness that matters is between individual Americans, not between leaders like Trump and Pelosi. Please forgive the harshness of my words. Meanwhile, I will forgive you for voting for people like Barack Obama. Just don’t vote for a Democrat this year. Your candidates have just gotten worse. Scary awful!

      Like

      1. The NYT is what it is. In Russia, the mob, which is also the money, which is also the government, which is also Putin controls the premier newspapers as well as the rest of the “mainstream media”. You lament that the liberal media bias is somehow brainwashing everyone else but the select who know the truth about all the real conspiracies, but what you really seem to be complaining about is the freedom to be wrong or only partly right (which most of us are most of the time). Before you whine too much, I suggest you consider the alternative. You have the luxury of 31 flavors of ice cream and you are mad all the time that they are not all vanilla. If you decide to find a way to read the article; you will find that neither gluttony nor too much variety is the “decadence” that concerns Douthat.

        Douthat is a conservative Catholic columnist. I rarely completely agree with Douthat on anything, but I always read his column. I’m not sure that I agree with this column either, but I think, whether it’s true or only partly true, Douthat’s world view cuts to the heart the red queen game that the extremes at both ends of the spectrum seem to be playing.

        It is a long , well developed article and it seems to be excerpted from Douthat’s latest book on the issue (which I’ll probably also read). In short, by “decadence” refers to the stagnation that comes over a civilization when malaise leads to stalemate. According to Douthat, despite all the sound and the fury, it’s not Armageddon that we ware approaching, but instead the sustained chaos of much noisy, ineffectual frenzy with very little actual direction or progress. This could actually go on for centuries.

        Let’s take a couple of the issues that you constantly inveigle against here:

        1. The Deficit. Perhaps the main issue of the Tea Party was the exploding deficit. As a movement, the Tea Party was very successful at getting candidates elected all over the country. Grover Norquist got every Republican to sign pledges. The Fed was constantly lambasted for not raising interest rates and expanding the money supply. With Trump, Republicans got control of all three branches of government for a while, and they exploded the deficit and now they constantly whine at the Fed to lower interest rates. Like our own household economy, the government will always do better for a short while if it is based upon borrowing at low interest rates and maxing out the credit cards. It’s always AFTER the NEXT election that Republicans will make those hard choices. Meanwhile, in the Modern Era at least, the Democrats seem to have the better record for this sort of fiscal conservatism.

        2. Abortion. In your mind, a Holocaust of babies are being slaughtered yearly. Perhaps, but every acorn despite its potentiality, is not the same as an oak tree. Regardless, if you actually overturned Rowe tomorrow, little would change. D & C abortions are getting scarcer while other safer abortifacients and birth control methods are becoming more abundant. The most populated states are unlikely to ban any of this. Socioeconomic and technological factors govern the real issue which I won’t get into, but even if you are right in your absolutist view of conception as a political (or actual) battle, you will only get you what by means that are so oppressive that you would not want to live in the country that adopted them. More likely, the two sides will just continue to battle to a stalemate.

        I could go on to public schools, entitlements, gay rights, but the result is the same. You think that the issue is whether to forgive and reconcile with your dastardly political enemies, and they are wondering the same about you. (I think both sides could use a little more humility about their own sinfulness and a little less judgementalism). I think Douthat may be right in that we are loudly barking up wrong trees and nothing changes. But you have to look at the failing NYT to figure that out, and raging to the echo chamber is so much more cathartic. 🙂

        Like

        1. @tsalmon

          I have no use for The New York Times. So, you bring up Putin? I have no use free press?😒

          Much of the news media lies. The New York Times leads in telling lies. You don’t have to be among the “select” to figure that out, but it doesn’t hurt to be a deplorable.

          I did not use the word “brainwash”. You like to exaggerate what I write to make it appear absurd. Shrug! We have had competing politically aligned news organizations since the founding of the republic. The The New York Times is so biased it cannot be trusted.

          You say Douthat is a conservative Catholic columnist. You also think Brooks is a Conservative. You don’t understand Conservativism. That is because you believe The New York Times, and they lie.

          1. The Deficit. Congress controls taxes and spending. That is why I never believed Trump would bring spending under control. We the People must stop letting politicians buy our votes with other people’s money. Democrats exist to buy our votes.

          2. Abortion. Democrats point to this as their single biggest issue. They even want taxpayers to pay for a abortions. Abortion is murder.

          The Democrats stance on abortion is part of a pattern. Democrats are using the government, especially the public schools, to force their beliefs upon everyone else. Democrats have no use for religious freedom.

          If you don’t think anything is changing, that we risk losing our constitutional republic, it because you don’t want to see what is right in front of you. That is why you read The New York Times. You would rather read lies.

          Did you read your own nonsense about Trump. The Democrats and the Obama administration used the CIA, DOJ, and the FBI to try to frame Trump and throw him out of office. But it is just a malaise? Your name is Jimmy Carter, right?

          Like

          1. Tom,

            1. The deficit. You made a good many charges but didn’t prove anything. For two years at least, you had total Republican control, but the deficit only got worse. Recent evidence suggests that the Dems do a better job on this problem, and that Republicans only care about deficit spending and money printing when they are NOT in office. Trump appears quite happy to do plenty of both to stay in office. But I agree that the problem drags on indefinitely no matter who we elect. Maybe there is a systemic fix, but the current furious partisan tribalism encourages stalemate for just the reason that you mentioned – both sides buy us with our own money. And we are back to Douthat’s analysis on decadence.

            2. Abortion. In the art or warfare, it is a mistake to conflate your priorities with your enemies’s strategy and tactics. (Probably why you lost Virginia). Actually, I think defeating Trump is Democrat’s single biggest issue, and after that it would be healthcare. I’m not sure that abortion ranks in the top ten. “Murder” is a legal issue. The political issue is whether you can actually make intensional abortion at any second after conception a criminal act worthy of prosecution. I don’t see it happening for a number of reasons even if, unlike most American’s, I agreed with your religious absolutism on this. That absolutism leaves no political compromise that is acceptable. The only way that you win is to therefore sacrifice our democracy, so we will remain in a stalemate. And we are back to Douthat’s analysis on decadence.

            All the other whining about being victimized by information that you don’t like is off topic and really is more of a demagogic polemic than an argument. But, please forgive if I find your continuing frustration with reality to be a little amusing. I love you for your earnestness though. ❤️

            Like

          2. @tsalmon

            1. The Deficit. We have a spending problem. We are at the point ncreasing taxes doesn’t increase revenue. The Democrats are Socialists. They will not decrease spending. Because all politicians gain influence and power by spending money (The promise to spend money is used to get political donations.), Republicans don’t want to decrease spending either. So it is up to the voters replace the big spenders. We must nominate candidates and help them fund their campaigns. Otherwise, nothing will change.

            Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” — Inferno (Dante)

            That is where you find yourself listening to someone like Ross Douthat, knee deep and sinking rapidly into fatalism.

            2. Abortion. You are all over the place attacking your own straw men, really just windmills. You attack positions I have never taken. You attack what the Liberal Democrat news media calls the Conservative position, not the Conservative position itself.

            Like

          3. @tsalmon

            BTW – You should know by now my number one issue is school choice. I am appalled by abortion. What kind doctor kills babies for a living?

            Because the public schools are incapable of providing instruction in wisdom, our society is becoming more decadent. The Democratic Party’s fullthroated support for abortion and willingness of people like you to acquiesce the atrocities committed in abortion clinics….. You should know better. Instead of dealing with the moral issues, straightforwardly trying to determine the truth, you spout ridicule and weaselly legal arguments. That’s cowardice! At what point does a newly conceived human being acquire a soul? When does a newly conceived human being entitled to the protection of the law? Why would anyone want to force taxpayers pay for abortions?

            Like

          4. “You should know better. Instead of dealing with the moral issues, straightforwardly trying to determine the truth, you spout ridicule and weaselly legal arguments. That’s cowardice!“

            Tom,

            I served my country in war and in Cold War and in peace for 20 years around the world during moments of calm and in extreme crisis, but that is the first time I have ever been accused by anyone of cowardice. Foolhardy a few times, and overly cautious a few others, but never cowardice. 🙂

            Do you believe that smearing me gives you a better argument? That’s the kind of Trumpism that started with Trump smearing “Lying Ted Cruz” and Ted’s family, then continued with anyone who questions Trump and does not cow tow to him and his unethical and illegal acts and now he is publicly smearing career prosecutors, judges and juries simply because they prosecute his friends and don’t prosecute his enemies.

            I know you to be an honorable and loving believer who always tries to act with integrity. I can be sarcastic and satirical at times to prove my point. I often throw your own arguments back in your face. I honestly disagree with you on many issues and I try to use facts and logic and yes, sometimes some rhetoric, to argue my point of view. Lastly, I try not to pretend to know things with God given certainty that I don’t actually know. You often erroneously confuse some of that as an attack on you personally. However, let me make it clear if I have not done so before – even when I am certain that you are absolutely wrong or that you have convinced yourself of a divine certainty that I don’t believe that you possess, I always believe that you believe what you write here.

            That’s the problem right now don’t you see? And it goes right to the heart of this topic. Jesus’ example from the cross was to ask for forgiveness for those who “know not what they are doing”. Your assumption is that everyone who disagrees with you is vice filled and purposefully doing evil, and no doubt some (including both Democrats and Republicans) are that corrupt. My experience is that most partisans on both sides actually believe what they believe (granted, with certain degrees of cynicism) even if I believe that they actually are terribly wrong. I think also that many of us conveniently let our political tribalism drive our religious morality rather than letting our religious ethics drive our political decisions.

            I believe that as Christians, our religious convictions require us to be loving, empathetic, compassionate and merciful, perhaps most especially in wars, whether actual or just political. I’m thick skinned enough to handle being called names, but I forgive you and will love you no less for accusing me of cowardice and lying. I would do so even if I did think you knew what you were doing, but in this case, I honestly don’t think you did.

            1. Deficit spending. Are you saying it’s not true that, with control of all three branches of government, the Republicans did not explode the deficit and are not now begging the Fed to print more money? Are you saying that in most of our lifetime Democratic administrations don’t have a better history at lowering the deficit? These are just facts that are either true or not true, whether you read them in the NYT, or you conveniently chose not to hear them anywhere. Can you rebut them rationally without smearing anyone, calling them names or casting aspersions on their integrity?

            2. Abortion. I don’t claim to know with certainty when a fetus gets a soul. I understand the Thomist metaphysical argument that everything, all matter, and especially all beings, have a soul. I also understand the teleology that God, through His love, maintains in the universe and in the development of every soul. I see Christ as incarnate in such souls. I tend to believe these things with a faith that is not the same as rational certainty. As such, I would not want to get an abortion or perform one. However, I can also see how some people might not understand this, or even if they did, they might honestly not have my peculiarly religious faith in these things. They might quite ingenuously differ. The legal issue isn’t then whether they are maliciously evil, but how much I am willing to legally impose on them to comply with my faith and the moral issue is whether I am required to forgive them for not knowing what they are doing. These are not weasel words, they are simply my humble and honest understanding of the issue. Do you have a better understanding or are you just going to accuse me of dishonesty and cowardice again? Either way, I’ll forgive you in advance because my eternal soul can only be injured by my failure to forgive, not by the forgiving.

            I don’t think that makes me a fatalist (perhaps a realist). My hope stems from joy, not pessimism.

            Like

          5. @tsalmon

            After what the DEMOCRATS (you included) have done to Trump, you are complaining about being smeared?

            When Jesus forgave the people who crucified Him, His forgiveness was greater than we understand. The people who took His life (to some degree just about everyone in Jerusalem) REFUSED to understand what they were doing. They were capable of understanding, but they did not want to understand. Had accepted the truth they would have had to give up control of their lives to Jesus.

            I said it is cowardice to run from the truth. We don’t want to give up control. That is why I say you are not contesting for the truth; you are avoiding it. Does that make you a coward? God knows.

            Can people of the same sex marry each other? You speak of it simply as a legal issue, because you know two people of the same sex cannot marry each other. You are afraid to deal with the truth. Meanwhile, the people who run our society demand that we ignore the differences between men and women as if they don’t exist. Next thing you know, because we can make very similar legal arguments, we will be treating children just like they are little adults. That will empower government because it will eliminate parental rights. Elections have consequences. When we won’t respect the truth, they have bad consequences.

            Could you quit the tribalism argument? We are brothers. We are from the same tribe. It is idiotic to assert otherwise. Does saying you are saying something idiotic mean I think you are an idiot? Well, if you find the distinction between a specific act and your overall life too difficult to make, I think you are making it difficult because you want to play the victim.

            1. Deficit spending. Historical evidence? 🤣This thread has gotten stupid. Neither party is going to reduce spending unless the voters leave them no other choice. Both Republican and Democrat constituencies fight for spending.

            2. Abortion. Is abortion murder? How we should deal with abortion as a legal issue and whether abortion is murder are related, but separate issues. If we believe abortion is murder, then we believe the unborn have legal rights and deserve the protection of the law. Unfortunately, it makes no sense legally to treat abortion as murder because such a law would not be enforceable. Too many people don’t want to believe babies are human and entitled to human rights, even after their birth.

            Other the other hand, it is cowardly and meanspirited to make taxpayers pay for other people’s abortions just because you can get away with it. Think! Why do Liberal Democrats have respect for some people’s feelings and no respect for other people’s feelings? Humility????!!!!! Yeah, that’s it. Killing babies is a a personal decision. Would it have anything to do with that tribalism you keep yapping about? How about the simple fact sinners just want to implicate others in their sins?

            Like

      1. Yes I am interested in this subject. I do a good bit of reading on it more generally. You have given many links, however, and I have not had the time to look at them all. Also, as you no doubt realize, this is not a topic that one can easily understand without a good bit of research and contemplation, and therefore any opinion on this topic is hard to put into a few words.

        The spectrum between pure literalism and a purely mythical interpretation of the Bible is both broad and deep. It also involves conflicts regarding the preeminence of revelation over reason, of the mystical and the spiritual verses the material. There is a reason that the slow rise of reason and the Reformation and the Enlightenment relate to one another and that none of this would have been quite the issue for Moses or Saint Paul as it later became for Jefferson and the rest of the more or less Deist Founders, for example.

        Also, as interesting as it is, I think that it may be a bit narrow to just focus on the issue of “inerrancy” that Protestant Evangelical Christians have struggled with over the last century or so. As important as they are politically these days, they are not the really the center of Christian Theology. Indeed, just by casting the issue by using the term “inerrancy” may mean that we may be asking the wrong questions.

        Given all that difficulty at saying anything (or enough) on this amazingly broad topic, I will probably not respond to your post. But if you have something more specific you want me to address, then I can do so in the comment section of that post.

        That said, your post seems well researched to provide someone with at least the beginnings of a narrowly focused study in this area.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @tsalmon

          The spectrum between pure literalism and a purely mythical interpretation of the Bible is both broad and deep. It also involves conflicts regarding the preeminence of revelation over reason, of the mystical and the spiritual verses the material. There is a reason that the slow rise of reason and the Reformation and the Enlightenment relate to one another and that none of this would have been quite the issue for Moses or Saint Paul as it later became for Jefferson and the rest of the more or less Deist Founders, for example.

          Reason leads us to believe what God has revealed to us in the Bible. Otherwise, there is no good reason to believe. Do some people say they believe just because they want to believe? Yes, and some people say they disbelieve for much the same reason. We can fear a universe without God, and we can be terrified by a Holy God.

          Also, as interesting as it is, I think that it may be a bit narrow to just focus on the issue of “inerrancy” that Protestant Evangelical Christians have struggled with over the last century or so.

          The ICBI produced three. documents.

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          1. You are not wrong brother, which is not the same thing as saying that you are perfectly and comprehensively right, is it? That’s the problem with the double negative of the word “inerrancy”.

            The literal etymology of the word “inerrancy” is “not errant” or in other words “not wrong” or more specifically “not not right”. This is not exactly a resounding proclamation of support for a book that both of us believe is the most profound Assembly of God given truths ever written: “Hallelujah, Bible is not not right!?!?”

            It also seems kind of defensive doesn’t it? Like some smart evangelicals felt threatened by rationalists who found all biblical revelation, miracles and mysticism a bit too superstitious so in response they tried to give the biblical stories that resounded with joyful truth in the hearts illiterate slaves some sort of an academic seal of approval. And yet at the same time they also didn’t also want to alienate the fundamentalists who, embarrassingly it would seem, wanted to take everything a bit too literally to pass the muster of a real academia.

            The word seems like a sad attempt to block all the heat and yet not not offer very little radiant light. I just think that the evolution of such obvious defensiveness is the result of an errant reaction to the too much influence of rationalism on the Christian religion. It’s not that the Bible is irrational or in other words, not not rational; it’s that I have come to have faith that there are modes of truth revealed through God in the Bible in which rationalism (and the literalism that grew as rationalism’s sibling rival) simply has no purchase and where the truth from other graces from God, other realms of divine revelation, prevail far more profoundly.

            And that’s just the beginning of a much, much longer discussion for which this is a terrible forum to have it anyway, I don’t have time to present it, you wouldn’t want to read it anyway, and for which neither one of us is qualified to teach it.

            I think that this is unfortunately one of those things that takes much individual study, contemplation, prayer and loving action. You can’t argue someone into this mysterious truth because, when we believe everything makes too much sense, then it is a sign that we haven’t really obtained the most profound (and inherently mysterious) truths. Another paradox.

            I am familiar with the evolution of the ICBI from some other books that I have read, but I will try to read the reports you reference when I get a chance. Thanks.

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          2. @tsalmon

            Double negative? 🙄

            This is just weird.

            The word seems like a sad attempt to block all the heat and yet not not offer very little radiant light. I just think that the evolution of such obvious defensiveness is the result of an errant reaction to the too much influence of rationalism on the Christian religion.

            Inerrant is just another word we use to convey a belief. It is the belief you don’t like. Criticizing the word is just a silly dodge.

            You pointlessly criticize the word “inerrancy”, and you “humbly” criticize the people who use the word. Do you have a better idea? Then what is that idea, and what makes it better?

            Here is the etymology of “inerrant”.

            inerrant (adj.)
            1650s, in reference to “fixed” stars (as opposed to “wandering” planets), from Latin inerrantem (nominative inerrans) “not wandering, fixed (of stars),” from in- “not, opposite of” (see in- (1)) + errans, present participle of errare “to wander, stray, roam, rove” (see err). Meaning “unerring, free from error” is from 1785. (from https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=inerrant)

            There is no double negative.

            If the Bible is the Word of God, then any rational soul would expect it to be inerrant. Does that mean we can understand the Bible without making errors in interpretation? Of course not. No one understands the mind of God.

            On the other hand, if we don’t believe the Bible is inerrant, then we why would we believe it is the Word of God? Why take the Bible seriously? Well, if we want a moral guide we can twist to suit our own desires …..

            Literalism is a method of interpretation. Depending upon how we define a literalist approach, a literalist will make a boatload of errors when he interprets the Bible. That is because the Bible obvious uses all the usual literary devices to convey the truths it teaches us. Here is an example.

            Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
            Remember God in Your Youth
            12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; 2 before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain; 3 in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through [a]windows grow dim; 4 and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will [b]sing softly. 5 Furthermore, [c]men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. 6 Remember Him before the silver cord is [d]broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the [e]spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!”

            If we are so literal we refuse to recognize a literary device is being used describe old age, then we will not understand that passage. Yet you want to equate inerrancy with literalism. Nonsense!

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          3. Tom,

            You have a habit of making me say things that I did not say and then misunderstanding what I do say so as to suit your own constant binary need for some dark knight to always oppose your white knight. People and ideas are complex – they just don’t work that way.

            For example, you said that I said that I want to equate inerrancy with literalism. I quite literally did not do that. Instead, I wrote that the inerrancy movement has tried to appease fundamentalists and that literalism and rationalism evolved as “sibling rivals” of one another. That’s because literalism itself is a response to the modern era need for scientific rationalism. You really do need to search for deeper meaning and mutual understanding before you default to lecturing.

            Other than that, you are not wrong. 😉

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          4. Just to be clear, I’m saying that the inerrancy movement itself is a response to something else mostly extrinsic to the intrinsic infallibility of the Bible just as the Reformation was responsive to extrinsic Catholicism’s scriptural abuses. Your the biblical scholar Tom. Do you think Moses woke up one day and worried about how people would judge the inerrancy of the scriptures that would someday be written about him? Do you think Paul did? People simply did not think that way then. These movements over time as a reaction to and an accommodation for human epistemological developments in thinking and in tune with psychological needs for divine resonance within the spiritually sterile and growing rationalist hegemony.

            The reason why it is difficult to discuss these things on a blog is because it requires a more historical and psychological understanding than can be explained in a few words before we can sort ourselves into the tribes of good guys and bad guys that the blogosphere loves.

            Before you default to pontification, do you agree with any of than, and do you even understand what I’m saying?

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          5. @tsalmon

            Just to be clear? One thing you are not is clear.

            You say you are not equating literalism with inerrancy. Shrug! Then I will quit that argument while I am ahead.

            Do you think Moses woke up one day and worried about how people would judge the inerrancy of the scriptures that would someday be written about him? Do you think Paul did? People simply did not think that way then. These movements over time as a reaction to and an accommodation for human epistemological developments in thinking and in tune with psychological needs for divine resonance within the spiritually sterile and growing rationalist hegemony.

            People have not changed much. Neither have the arguments over scripture. We have added more books. So we know more about God’s plan for our redemption.

            If Moses believed he was writing down what God told him to write down, do you think Moses would think what he wrote was full of errors?

            Exodus 17:14 “Then the Lord instructed Moses, ‘Write this down as a permanent record…'”
            Exodus 24:4 “Then Moses carefully wrote down all the Lord’s instructions.”
            Exodus 34:27 “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write down all these instructions, for they represents the terms of my covenant with you and with Israel.'”
            Leviticus 1:1 “The Lord called to Moses from the Tabernacle and said to him, ‘Give the following instructions to the Israelites…'”
            Leviticus 6:8 “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions…'”
            Deuteronomy 31:9 “So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the priests.”
            Deuteronomy 31:24-26 “When Moses had finished writing down this entire body of law in a book…” (from http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tora.htm)

            What about Paul?

            Romans 3:2-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
            2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What then? If some [a]did not believe, their [b]unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,

            “That You may be justified in Your words,
            And prevail when You [c]are judged.”

            2 Timothy 3:16-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
            16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

            The Bible itself says it is wholly trustworthy.

            Psalm 12:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
            6 The words of the Lord are pure words;
            As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

            Psalm 119:160 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
            160 The sum of Your word is truth,
            And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

            Psalm 119 was written in praise of the Old Testament. However, there many verses throughout the Bible that attests to its accuracy. Jesus, Himself, affirmed the Old Testament.

            Here is a brief defense of Biblical inerrancy => https://www.gotquestions.org/Biblical-inerrancy.html.

            Why does the argument over inerrancy exist? Why is it a big deal now. You already sort of know. Some people decided that modern science had demonstrated that parts of the Bible are wrong. Well, if we accept their observation as correct, then the Bible could not be inerrant. Yet if the Bible in some sense comes from God, how do we interpret it?

            Genesis, of course, became a hot potato. Those who held to inerrancy argued that Adam and Eve were real people. Parts of the New Testament affirm as much. Those who thought the Bible contains errors derided that notion and they began to define their opponents as literalists.

            What I suggest is that instead of characterizing people we need to look at their arguments. Do that and you would find this format sufficient.

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          6. “What I suggest is that instead of characterizing people we need to look at their arguments.”

            Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

            You’re not wrong there brother. Thanks. You’ve made my week. Happy Valentines’ Day!

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          7. @tsalmon

            Telling you are wrong is characterizing you? Telling you that you are talking around the crux of the matter is characterizing you? Calling such behavior cowardice is characterizing you?

            Meanwhile, you call the guy I voted for names and accuse him of crimes. His supporters you say are guilty of tribalism and bigotry. And that is not characterizing anyone?

            You wrote this.

            The reason why it is difficult to discuss these things on a blog is because it requires a more historical and psychological understanding than can be explained in a few words before we can sort ourselves into the tribes of good guys and bad guys that the blogosphere loves.

            Instead of trying to understand the Bible, you are trying to characterize the people who believe it. Don’t think you can learn much about the Bible that way.

            I suppose I should laugh at myself with you. It is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts, not other people. But I thought I might be able to say something.

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          8. “I suppose I should laugh at myself with you. It is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts, not other people. But I thought I might be able to say something.”

            Tom,

            Thanks, I agree. Let us look deep into each our own hearts. Is our objective really to encourage people to find a loving relationship with Jesus? Or are we frustrated because we wish to use Scripture as a political weapon to accuse and judge those we deem our enemies? Are we taking the most profound book of truth in human history, a story that culminates and climaxes in the loving sacrifice of Jesus, and trivializing that eternal message down to the petty and the parochial?

            The reason that this is funny is because you throw up inerrancy, not for any enlightenment, but as a challenge to pick a fight with me, and no matter how much I say to agree with you, you instead look for the disagreement. You must know that this is not historically an issue that unifies sinful hearts in the merciful true light of a loving God. Instead, it’s just the latest excuse to further divide us into factions with labels, intellectual tribes of rationalist atheists, literalists, fundamentalists, spiritualists and mystics that war with each other over minuscule doctrinal legalisms. (Actually, I don’t think mystics want to fight).

            Dig a little deeper into the heart for the virtue of even having the argument. Why is “inerrancy” important as an issue if it is not to promote a kind of Pharisaic belligerence, to pick a stupid fight in the dirt over whether Adam and Eve had pet dinosaurs, while the infinite mystery and the sacrificial glory of an incarnate Christ crucified shines down on us and in us and all around us, ignored?

            In the question of hearts, who’s do you think appears to be most changed by the Holy Spirit: the one who hatefully weaponizes the Word Made Flesh in order to make picayunish judgements on other peoples’ supposed doctrinal errancy, or the one who lives the Word in love? I hope to have my heart daily changed by the latter grace, and I hope the same for you. 🙂

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          9. @tsalmon

            The reason that this is funny is because you throw up inerrancy, not for any enlightenment, but as a challenge to pick a fight with me, and no matter how much I say to agree with you, you instead look for the disagreement.

            I did not bring up inerrancy just to pick a fight. Of course, you can make the charge, and I cannot disprove it. Shrug!

            As a practical matter, when there is no way to resolve a dispute, argument grows tiresome.

            Are we taking the most profound book of truth in human history, a story that culminates and climaxes in the loving sacrifice of Jesus, and trivializing that eternal message down to the petty and the parochial?

            The most profound book of truth in human history is not inerrant? How does that work?

            You must know that this is not historically an issue that unifies sinful hearts in the merciful true light of a loving God. Instead, it’s just the latest excuse to further divide us into factions with labels, intellectual tribes of rationalist atheists, literalists, fundamentalists, spiritualists and mystics that war with each other over minuscule doctrinal legalisms. (Actually, I don’t think mystics want to fight).

            It is my experience that people don’t need much excuse to fight, but among those who call themselves Christians I don’t think biblical inerrancy faced a serious challenge until well into the French Enlightenment. Why then? Among the socalled intellectual class, the Bible had lost favor. One way to demonstrate the Bible is not the Word of God is to demonstrate it contains errors.

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          10. “It is my experience that people don’t need much excuse to fight, but among those who call themselves Christians I don’t think biblical inerrancy faced a serious challenge until well into the French Enlightenment. Why then? Among the socalled intellectual class, the Bible had lost favor. One way to demonstrate the Bible is not the Word of God is to demonstrate it contains errors.“

            Tom,

            I’m not disagreeing. I’m just saying that the best way to make a game senseless is to let the other side make up new rules that appeal to their strengths and that expose your weaknesses. The best boxer in the world might not do well in sword fight, even with a mediocre fencer. Does that mean that the boxer is not “inerrant” at boxing? Why would he even play that game?

            Perhaps it’s not the perfect analogy, but it reminds me of Luke 4:1-12. Why would we participate with anyone putting the Lord our God to such silly tests?

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          11. @tsalmon

            I’m not disagreeing. I’m just saying that the best way to make a game senseless is to let the other side make up new rules that appeal to their strengths and that expose your weaknesses.

            I think the ICBI addressed this issue with their three statements. That is the point of defining biblical inerrancy, not letting the other guy set the rules so they don’t make any sense.

            Much of the Bible is a history book. If the history is inaccurate, then that is a problem. People have in fact said the history is inaccurate. For example, no one could figure out who the Hittites were. Then archeologists found evidence of their civilization. That argument actually reinforced the faith of believers.

            The Bible is full of prophecies. So, scholars argue whether the prophecies were written before or after the prophecies were fulfilled. Don’t you think it is reasonable to determine which side is most correct?

            Anyway, I am not certain what Luke 4:1-12 has to do with this. You think assessing the truthfulness of the Bible is putting God to the test? I don’t. To verify the Bible is of God, we must assess the truthfulness of the Bible. God expects us to test the Bible and marvel at it. The Bible is a miracle. Testing the Bible and trying to understand it is an act of worship.

            Because God is Truth, it is only logical to expect a divine revelation from Him to be completely true. Consider this one.
            https://biblereadingarcheology.com/2018/01/29/when-alexander-the-great-came-to-jerusalem/
            https://www.gotquestions.org/Alexander-the-Great.html
            The story about Alexander the Great meeting the high priest Jaddua may or may not be true, but Josephus recorded it in chapter 8.
            https://ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-11.htm
            In any event, Daniel’s prophecy seems accurate.

            Of course, once we determine the Bible is true, that does not mean we can interpret all of it correctly. Nevertheless, once we have enough evidence that the Bible has to be from God we can work though many interpretation issues. Some passages, however, will leave us stumped. Then we have to make the observation we don’t understand. The Book of Revelation, for example, has more than a few confusing passages.

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