I wrote a post on Red Letter Christianity about nine years ago, RED LETTER CHRISTIAN ACTIVIST.S? – Citizen Tom. In that old post I quoted Matthew 5:17-20 AMP – “Do not think that I came to do away – Bible Gateway. Here Jesus endorses the Old Testament. So, the concept behind Red Letter Christianity does not make any sense to me.
Both the Old and the New Testaments are about Jesus. Together these two sets of books tell us about how Jesus saved us. The Old Testament predicted Jesus’ coming. The New Testament tells the story of His First Coming and prophecies His Second. Moreover, God inspired the authors of both the Old and the New Testament. If we believe the authors who faithfully recorded the words of Jesus, why wouldn’t we believe the rest of the Bible. Without the rest of the Bible, Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection does not make any sense.
When I wrote that old post, I wrote it in response to tsalmon. Well, he still comments, and he still thinks…well, let him speak for himself. Here is the last half of his last comment.
Your version of God is all Old Testament, exclusive and tribal. In your “Christianity”, you create an angry OT god out of your own image, and conveniently omit the loving Jesus of the Gospel. It’s the hypocrisy of a Pharisaic “Christianity” without the universal Christ.
Have you noticed that you almost never use Jesus’ own words? Jesus did not give us tribal “rights” – He gave us universal responsibilities toward God and each other, and the greatest of these is simply to Love. But it’s hard to stoke up much grievance in your White Nationalist mob and incite with anger and fear with the Word of Love, now isn’t it?OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, THIS MEANS WAR! – Citizen Tom
One of the sad things about this election is all the anger. Peace requires us to agree to disagree and to leave those we disagree with in peace. Not happening anymore. When people think they have the right to fix other people, the people being fixed tend to be unappreciative. And what is one of the latest insults from the would be fixers of other people? The unappreciative are tribalistic. Apparently, calling anyone who disagrees with them names gives the fixers — busybodies for sure — the right to censor, tax, reeducate, demonize, cancel,… those unappreciative of their infinitely superior wisdom.
Does Jesus have a solution? Yes, but it is a very strange solution. We are suppose to love our enemies. Still, Jesus did not require us to be pacifists. He also did not listen without complaint to foolish heresies. That is why the Sadducees and the Pharisees were so mad at Him. That is one reason they demanded that Pontius Pilate crucify Him. They hated and feared Jesus. Apparently, the Sadducee’s and Pharisees did not see Jesus as the God of indulgent love.
What foolish heresies is tsalmon pushing? Well, here are a couple.
- The God of the Old Testament differs from the God of the New Testament.
- God did not give us the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He just gave us responsibilities, the main one being to love.
For some inexplicable reason Liberal Christians love to claim that the God of the Old Testament is an angry God, and Jesus, the God of the New Testament, is all love, love, love. That is, Jesus is just a kind, softhearted fellow, and a real pushover. No matter what we do we are going to Heaven because Jesus loves us so much.
I suppose people get that feeling because most people don’t bother to read the New Testament, much less the Old Testament. Unfortunately, that vast, almost inexcusable ignorance leaves us susceptible to the lies of scoffers.
God does not change. He is the same in both the Old and New Testaments. Consider how Jesus summarized the Old Testament.
When people read that passage, what does not seem to register with some is that Jesus is summarizing the Old Testament. He is paraphrasing Deut.6.5 NASB – And you shall love the LORD your God – Bible Gateway and Lev.19.18 NASB – You shall not take vengeance, nor hold – Bible Gateway.
So what makes people think the God of the Old Testament is an angry God? When the Hebrews took over the Holy Land, at the command of God they ruthlessly killed lots of Canaanites. Why did they do that? Was it because God thought the Hebrews so wonderful?
God hates sin. The Canaanites worshiped idols. When we worship idols, we will sacrifice our souls and do any evil. For the Canaanites that included sacrificing their own children to the god Moloch (Moloch | Definition & Facts | Britannica).
What about Jesus, supposedly the God of the New Testament. Most of what the Bible tells us about both Heaven and Hell we learn through the words of Jesus. Here is what Jesus thought of those who abuse the faith of those who believe in Him.
So did God give us rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Did Jesus ever address the subject? Yes. Curiously, the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5 – 7 NASB – The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes – Bible Gateway) contains some of Jesus’ most well known words, but we still have trouble understanding that passage.
Using an outline, The Sermon on the Mount, an outline (sermononthemount.org.uk) points out the relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:1-21 NASB – The Ten Commandments Repeated – Now – Bible Gateway). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus restates the Ten Commandments in more positive terms. He shows us how to live with a righteousness far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees. He tells us we must love our Lord God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we must love our neighbor as our self.
The last six of the Ten Commandments require us to respect each other’s rights. These commandments require us to honor those in authority and to leave each other in peace.
- Number 5: Honor those in authority.
- Number 6: Prohibits murder.
- Number 7: Prohibits adultery.
- Number 8: Prohibits stealing.
- Number 9: Prohibits lying about other people.
- Number 10: Prohibits coveting what belongs to someone else.
Essentially, commandments 6 – 10 require us to respect each other’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How does this work? Unfortunately, we find it difficult to avoid sinning against God and each other. So, we need a government to keep us in check. Hence, commandment number 5. Unless we honor those in authority, we cannot have a government. Unless our government protects us from those who refuse to respect the rights of others, in practice we will not have any rights. Some of will enslave others, and all will be the slaves of those who rule. Even those who rule will be enslaved by the tyranny they have created for their lives will be worthless if they relinquish power.
Therefore, God gave us the capacity to form a government and an innate understanding of right and wrong. To enhance our understanding, the Bible tells us about what God did for us. Still, we must read the Bible to understand it. Ironically, lots of people think they understand what they have never read.
You stated in a comment on Citizen Tom,” That’s because there’s a very divisive spirit in the world trying to insist, we must choose between Jesus and our country, as if you can’t love them both.”
It brought mind a song advice about love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other.”
Of course, that song advice is considered foolish by secularist today who are teaching the majority of children in the USA.
I posted another example of the folly to believe it is illegal to teach both Christian morality and civics and in my opinion that is why we have thousands of Natal Guard troops being stationed all over the USA to safeguard the election.
Regards and goodwill blogging,
I think that, for your own political purposes, you have distorted the theological question that I raised, just as you have distorted the message of Christ. The theological interpretations are very complex. We don’t have the common reference of theological studies from which to even begin to make that long argument so I will try to keep it simple.
As do many emotivist pontificators these days, you draw conclusions without full knowledge or study of the issues, and then dismiss anything counterfactual or counterrational to your ideological dogmas. In short, you are not seeing the God in yourself and every other individual, but you’re instead making your god into an anthropomorphism of your own hatreds and bigotries.
“God does not change. He is the same in both the Old and New Testaments. Consider how Jesus summarized the Old Testament.“
God does not evolve, but God is constantly evolving us and has evolved us. God is still evolving us. God did not reveal Himself to us all at once. The KNOWLEDGE of God revealed to Abraham is not the same as what was revealed to Moses or to David or to Solomon, and it certainly is not the same KNOWLEDGE revealed to us through Jesus. In scripture and in life, we are like the children that God is slowly teaching and we are slowly learning. As we grow and are capable of greater understanding, God teaches us more. Because God is infinite, at least in this life, our learning curve is infinitely steep and never ending.
God in Christ Jesus was standing there revealing Himself right in front of them, but the Pharisees were like children arrested in their development, far too prideful in the certainty of the small that knowledge they, like you, had studiously and legalistically attained. They lacked the wisdom that good children know, the wisdom to maintain their innocence and their openness.
I believe that you are doing the same. You are hung up and arrested in the small OT version of God while the universal God of Love in the eternal Christ revealed through Jesus stands there growing and expanding right in front of you and waiting for you to experience Him.
I hope you are trying to be funny.
That left me chuckling.
The Bible was written over a period of about a 1500 years. I don’t think we could have evolved much.
What changed? The Old and New Testament are based upon different covenants. The Hebrews gained the promised land by obeying the law. We gain salvation by trusting in Jesus.
Curiously, both the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Christians gain salvation through faith in the Word of God. That was clear, at least in hindsight, when Moses wrote Genesis.
It seems important to God that we believe and trust Him.
The Bible says we should study the Bible and trust in the Lord. Pride does get in the way of that. Nevertheless, since it would be prideful to say I am humble, I am not certain how I should respond to your accusation. All I can say is that I need God’s help because my best is not good enough. Seems to be a universal problem.
Anyway, if you do a bit of research, you will find that much of what the New Testament does is explain the Old Testament. Why? Jesus came to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. He also came to help us understand the Old Testament. Did the New Testament add much that was new. Of course, it did. The New Covenant is an especially spectacular, incomparable gift. We don’t deserve it.
Think about spending an everlasting time with God. Great for us, but God? Forever with you or me? Why?
To tolerate us, I wonder if God will have to make us better. To endlessly perfect us. Can you imagine what that will be like? Next time you think about fixing or perfecting someone else, don’t forget what may be in store for you.
The history of Judeo-Christian revelation in a few paragraphs is fairly simple. I have a long treatise I can refer you to if you don’t believe me. You prove one point though. Many people’s revelations of God really has not evolved since the Pharisees.
I am right. You are wrong because I can bury you in endless academic studies?
You tried reading the Bible? It does explain itself fair well.
“You tried reading the Bible? It does explain itself fair well.”
Sounds like the sort of demagogic logic a Pharisee might use, don’t you think?
I admire your study of the Bible Tom. It seems sad that you’ve quite apparently learned so little from it. You believe and promote the hateful lies of a populist demagogue. You promote the anti-Christian tribalism of White Nationalism. You helped foment a violent fascist insurrection, and you still do not repent at all the harmful lies that caused it.
Real wisdom isn’t the result of narrow mindedness. You’re like a child who spends 10,000
hours playing a nursery song on a toy piano over and over again, and now you think you’re a prima donna concert musician. Instead of cherry picking the Bible just to confirm your own ideological biases and bigotries, why don’t you learn something from people who have studied scripture at a level that neither you nor I will ever have time for (nor, despite loving to read the Bible, do I have the desire). Be a critical thinker again.
For me, thanks for the smug advice, but there are an infinite number of things that I will never understand about God . . . and I will never have the time to live up to small number of revelations that God has already blessed me to know. Since the dawn of humanity, there have been illiterate slaves that naturally have understood and lived Jesus’ Word better than either of us. These are the ones Jesus blessed first and foremost, not us.
The Protestant Reformation was largely about printing the Bible in a language people could read.
When you obviously have not studied it, you keep trying to tell me about the Bible. Then you personally attack me when I prove you wrong. With respect to our political differences, you do the same. When you refuse to address the points I make, don’t contend with them, you are not debating. You are just smearing my character.
Yesterday, I attended a building dedication in downtown Selma, Alabama, only blocks from the Edmond Pettus Bridge of Bloody Sunday infamy. Ministers of various denominations spoke at the event aimed at renovating an historic, but very dilapidated old mansion into a faith oriented health and wellness center that will serve the impoverished people of Dallas County and the surrounding counties.
My small part in this project comes through my beloved friend in Christ who once lived in the house with her late husband. It is her vision, her love, her faith and hope in Christ that will bring this dream of service into reality. In her opening remarks, she quoted the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
Although this was just a first step on a long and arduous road to bringing this project to a reality, the Love of Christ could be felt enveloping the ceremony and all of us who attended. The weight of the history of the neglected Selma community’s suffering for racial justice, both in its past and its sad present, felt like damning in a stream where the currents of justice in Dr. King’s “fierce urgency of now” have continued to be blocked, piling up little by little over these many decades. We all stood together, each in our own way to try to let a little bit of those life giving waters of God’s love flow over us and through us until, with hope and faith, someday the dams of hatred and fear and hopelessness may finally break.
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says ‘Love your enemies,’ he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies– or else? The chain reaction of evil–hate begetting hate, wars producing wars–must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
Martin Luther King Jr.,
If that is being one of your Red Letter Christians”, then count me in. Maybe you should join us too.
You have judged me as a hater because the news media told you to do so. And why did the news media do that? Because I voted for Donald Trump. And what is wrong with Trump? Supposedly, he is a racist? And how do we know Trump is a racist? He is not Liberal Democrat.
Frankly, I am not interested in being so obsessed with race. I think MLK said we should judge other based upon the content of their character.
That said, I hope your project actually helps people, not blacks, whites, yellows, or reds. The skin color is not what matters; it is only skin deep.
“You have judged me as a hater because the news media told you to do so.”
Sure Tom, despite my graduate degree in law and my studies, despite my experience in the media field, I’m just the innocent hapless victim of dark, diabolical, and ingenious propagandists intent on world domination. Sorry, I just don’t afford you such dumb innocence. You have deluded your own sweet self into promoting lies and White Nationalism . . . and you are definitely sophisticated enough to know (or you should know) what you’re doing.
“That said, I hope your project actually helps people, not blacks, whites, yellows, or reds. The skin color is not what matters; it is only skin deep.“
It was “skin deep” for our land’s 300 years of enslaving black people. It was “skin deep” during the hundred years of black subjugation and apartheid that only legally ended during our lifetimes. It continues to be “skin deep” as we imprison black people in far greater numbers and as more black people live at the bottom of the social ladder and have worse health outcomes. But we all live in a dream now where everyone starts from equal in every category and “skin deep” does not matter to anyone anymore. Seriously? At least White Supremacists are honest about their bigotry and the human nature of it. As MLK basically alluded, at least you can see them coming. Perhaps, the most dangerous bigot is the one who thinks he is perfect, and beyond all bigotry.
But if it makes you feel better for making the an insult of the obvious, no they are not denying anyone services based on skin color. Duh! It just so happens that through some strange, weird, fluke of history (he says sarcastically) most of the folks in this impoverished area just happen to identify as black at the skin level.
And BTW, it’s not MY project. Just a supportive sometimes worker bee and honored to help.
We are not debating whether you were a good student, have a law degree, or passed the bar exam. Why bother? In this environment, your degree is of little use.
Your party “elected” people who believe in the rule of man, not law. Except for the fact it poses an obstacle to them, Democrats do not care about the Constitution. It is a joke to them. The Law is just something they use to control us.
If the people who voted for the Democrats are unwilling to hold them accountable to the Constitution, lawyers, so long as our elites consider anoint them as politically correct, are just glorified political officers. People whose opinions are about as fickle as a weathercock.
Am I am supposed to feel guilty because you call me a racist, have a law degree, and you are a Democrat who knows best about all things racial? When you think a law is just whatever black robed judges say it is, and when you have no respect for the framers of our Constitution, why should anyone respect anyone you respect?
Indisputable fact. Democrats created those low income, high crime, dark skinned areas, and they have governed those those low income, high crime, dark skinned areas for decades. What gives you the right to blame that on me? What gives you the right to foist your phony guilt on me?
Do you really want to You want to fix those low income, high crime, dark skinned areas? Then instead of ridiculously signaling your phony virtue by “helping” those people become even more dependent on government, why don’t you vote for letting people run their own lives, including educating their children in private schools they get to choose for themselves?
When it comes to killing the unborn, you vote in favor of “choice”. How about education?
“Your party ‘elected’ people who believe in the rule of man, not law. Except for the fact it poses an obstacle to them, Democrats do not care about the Constitution. It is a joke to them. The Law is just something they use to control us.”
Control you? You are the one obsessed with controlling other people’s sex lives and bodies. You dangerously think pride in ignorance is a substitute for knowledge. Yours is the wisdom of the lynch mob.
Like your deranged White Nationalist mob that stormed the capital, you don’t know Jack about the law or the Constitution. It’s just a new rise of White Nationalist Know Nothingism into another attempted fascist overthrow, lawless nihilism as old as Cain.
You are Trump! Look at the insurrectionist mob you and he fomented and see the reflection of your activistic nativism. Look at the hundreds of self made videos of that fascist mob. They are you. You are them. To your lasting shame, you and Trump own them, and with them and their lawlessness, you have lost all credibility to lecture on the Rule of Law or the Constitution, not that you actually had much credibility to begin with.
You are just shrieking!
Sex lives and bodies? Well, let’s look at that.
When does life begin? You have not got a clue, but your party is not satisfied with just allowing women to have abortions. They have to turn abortion into a sacred rite that everyone has to believe in, financially support and participate in. And this is something that the Supreme Court decided all on its own.
Same-sex marriage is an absurd and unhealthy fantasy, but your party is not satisfied with allowing people to do as they wish in the privacy of their bedrooms. They have to turn same-sex marriage into a sacred rite that everyone has to believe in, financially support and participate in. And this is something that the Supreme Court decided all on its own.
Biological sex is a scientific reality, and gender identity is imaginary, but gender transition is also becoming a sacred rite that everyone has to believe in, financially support, and participate in, even if the subject of the transition is a child.
Did a mob storm the Capitol. Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and I condemned it immediately and so did Trump. Democrats only condemn riots when it suits them, when the rioters appear to be Conservatives. Otherwise, they start and use riots to berate Conservatives as racists.
Your party is just trying to shut us up and destroy us if we won’t obey your religious rites. Meanwhile, you preen in your delusions of superiority. If it makes someone happy, you will believe anything and stand for nothing.
You are very selective about whose First Amendment rights you are willing to protect, and you know it. And you are furious that I am pointing that out.
Good post,Tom. One of my favorite sayings right now is, “you don’t have to choose!” That’s because there’s a very divisive spirit in the world trying to insist we must choose between Jesus and our country, as if you can’t love them both. We must choose between the Lion and the Lamb as if Jesus isn’t both at the same time. As if we must choose between the God of the old testament and the God of the new as if they aren’t the same God. Christian Woke or Bad Nationalist? On and on it goes, getting more silly each time. So, “you don’t have to choose.” Jesus only requires one thing from us, we need to choose Him. The rest of this stuff is just fluff.
Check out. Hope you like it.
Thanks, but I don’t really a Trump idolizing modern day Pharisee to lecture me on what kind of Christian I am or what kind of Christian I need to be. I’ve got Jesus for that.
I pray that you do have Jesus.
This is great stuff-So much of the bitterness and division does seem to come from people grasping onto what others have said about things and people, without having really read or experienced them face to face. With the teachings of Jesus, we’re instructed to withhold judgment of others and that we will be judged as we judge. I am Loved and without that, I think it difficult, if not impossible to love. So I love them and try to understand. We need leaders, not rulers. But I’ll be praying for them.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Saturday people working against democracy must be condemned whoever they are, and lessons should be learned from this week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Rioters surged into the building on Wednesday after Trump urged them to go the Capitol and press his baseless claims that he won re-election in November. Five people including a police officer died in the ensuing chaos.
“I was astonished because they are people so disciplined in democracy,” the pontiff told Italy’s Canale 5 news channel in his first public comments on the events.
“There is always something that isn’t working … (with) people taking a path against the community, against democracy, against the common good,” the pope said.
“Thank God that this has burst into the open and is clear to see well, because like this you can put it right,” Francis said, adding: “Yes, this must be condemned, this movement, no matter who is involved in it.”
He said violence could flare anywhere and it was important to understand what had gone wrong and to learn from history.
“(Fringe) groups that are not well inserted into society sooner or later will commit this sort of violence,” he said.
The selective vision and hearing is really quite amazing. We have riots and riots and riots. Then there is a riot that appears to involve Conservatives, and suddenly Democrats and their new media and Big Tech think riots reprehensible. Where or where have you hypocrites been?
The false equivalencies are what’s amazing. Even in your darkest fever dream of supposed Democratic incitement, when in the past hundred years has either Party’s leadership incited an insurrection? Even if, for the sake of discussion only, I were to concede (I don’t) any Democratic leadership involvement in violent rioting, the scale of magnitude of what happened last Wednesday is staggering. Only a fool or a demagogue would think otherwise.
You make accusations, but you don’t back them up. If any Democrat had said the same things Trump said, the news media would have not thought anything about it.
As it is, we had violent riots in front of the White House, and the news media BLAMED Trump for putting the riots down.
Equivalent? Not the treatment from Democrats and the news media. Hypocritical describes it.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who delivered a prayer at Trump’s inauguration and has also advised him, told his congregation Sunday that America needs to hear a message of repentance.
“We must all repent; even the church needs to repent. The American nation will be healed when the American church repents,” he said to some cheers and applause.
“We must repent for making the person who occupies the White House more important than the one who occupies our hearts. We must repent for permitting the donkey and the elephant to divide what the Lamb died for on the cross,” Rodriguez said. “We must repent for voting for individuals whose policies run counter to the word of God and the spirit of the living God.”
Rodriguez, the lead pastor of New Season, said he was praying for a season of “instead of”: “Instead of destroying property, building altars. Instead of confrontation, conversations. … Instead of many under fear, one nation under God.”
Tiresome! Still demonizing.
Do we do what is right, or do we do what everyone else seems to be at the moment. You do realize is fickle?
I should add. If someone proved to be a false prophet, under Old Testament law, he would have been stoned. I don’t go to a church where the pastor is that foolish.