24 May 2012

Answering basic questions about homosexuality; or, Why I will never be a big conference headliner, I guess

by Dan Phillips

I lifted these questions from the Keller video that the best and greatest of all known Franks has featured twice:
 What do so many of the churches have against homosexuals? And what about your church’s approach to homosexuals? Is it a sin? Are they going to Hell? There are many evangelicals who say that it is listed as a sin in the Bible, and these people are going to Hell.

Are committing homosexual acts sin [sic] against God? Committing homosexual acts will get you to go to Hell?
Is it really that hard to give a straight, comprehensible, Biblically faithful answer to those questions? Let's try. Ahem.

My brief answer in 3... 2... 1...

Yes, homosexuality is a sin; and yes, people who pursue homosexual desires will deserve Hell, and they'll be sent there righteously and justly and deservedly by the holy God. Sin, after all, is a violation of God's laws. Sin is what God says it is. Sin isn't what the latest Gallup poll says sin is.

But I hasten to say that Jesus Christ delivers people like you and me from both the guilt and the grip of sin. Homosexuals, liars, thieves, self-absorbed narcissists, idolaters of all stripes and brands — the whole lot of us: Jesus came to save exactly such people. When a person says he is a homosexual, he brands himself as just the sort of person Jesus came to deliver. The gospel is the message about just how Jesus does that, and that's what I'd like to explain, if you'll give me a moment to do so.

Now the longer version:

It's difficult to answer a question about "churches," so let me go straight to your second question: my church's approach to everyone who doesn't know Christ is to tell them the truth about Jesus, to tell them what they need to know about God and themselves. And let me answer your other questions, if I may, then return to this topic.

Yes, homosexuality is a sin. Yes, if people commit homosexual acts, they absolutely do deserve Hell. Every evangelical — not just "many" — should say precisely that, because evangelicals are supposed to believe in the Bible, and that is what the Bible says. There is no way to pursue homosexual desires and imagine that you can expect anything from God but well-deserved wrath, judgment, and condemnation.

Having said that, let me take a step back and say that "sin" is any want of conformity to the will and nature of God. Sin is rebellion against God's Lordship. It is refusal to do what God commands, or insisting on doing what God forbids, or rejecting what God enjoins. It had its birth in Adam and Eve's insane desire to "be as God." Every sin is an attempt to be God instead of God.

All such attempts are doomed from the start, because there is in fact only one God, and He won't give up the throne. He will absolutely and certainly judge every rebellion against Himself. If He did not, He would not only not be a good God, He wouldn't even be a sane God. And really, if you'll think about it, how scary is that?

Since that is what sin is, we can easily see that homosexuality is not the only sin. It is one of many. But I do not see great groundswells of support and sympathy and rationalization being built for rapists, child molesters, or murderers. Some sins are popular and winked-at among people, some aren't. Sex outside of marriage, wrongful divorce, lies and the like are in the former category, and now homosexuality is forcing its way there as well, with the help of slick PR, a complicit media, and "useful idiots" among the religious.

But the Bible is perfectly straightforward: all such things as these, popular or unpopular, bring the wrath of God (Eph. 5:5-6; Col. 3:5-6). What God says is right and wrong reflects God's holy nature; it isn't the result of His having taken a poll of the sinners frolicking below.

It is important to understand that this sin-brush paints us all. I may not be driven by perverted desires to have sex with someone of my own sex. Instead, I may be driven by perverted desires to try to be god in some other way, by other sexual expressions that violate God's laws, or by living my life in materialism or self-entertainment or self-indulgence, whiling away every spare moment in video games or fishing or watching wrestling or attending political rallies to save the country, and never bowing my knee in submission to the Lordship and absolute centrality of God. Sin comes in many varieties, and you and I have bought and consumed and advocated and proselytized for it.

See, that's where Jesus came in. He came and lived the life we should have but didn't, and died a death He shouldn't have had to die but did, that we might be freed not only from the penalty of sin, which is Hell, but from the power of sin — which is the life we all live, apart from Him.

So I don't want to play down homosexuality, or play it up. It is a repulsive outrage against God's design, and there is nothing good to be said for it. But trying to be a god unto myself is also a repulsive outrage against God's design, and there's nothing good to be said for that, either. I would hardly be loving to people or to God if I tried to soften or alter those truths.

The only thing I can say that is good and hopeful is that Jesus came to bring transformation, freedom, forgiveness and redemption to sinners of any and every category.

But He has nothing to offer to anyone who insists on disagreeing with God about the definition and horridness of sin, and who thus refuses to come to Christ for deliverance — nothing to offer, that is, other than the fearsome assurance of God's final and inescapable judgment, which is a topic He returned to over and over again.

Which is why we do that, too, insofar as we're faithful to Him.

I think that does it, doesn't it? And if a dim bulb like me can do it...?

Dan Phillips's signature

111 comments:

DJP said...

Good news: when time permits, m'man Frank will be adding an, er, addendum, easily doubling the value of the post.

So check back again latah, also.

DJP said...

LOL; already a one-star rating by someone who may not have even had the time to read it.

Barbara said...

So simple, so sane, so clear. WHY then is it so hard to communicate this message? Or, I guess the question should be...why does the pure, distilled truth of what you have written always get translated into some ridiculous notion of rabid "Christians" salivating for any chance to pounce on some poor group of unsuspecting, innocent "victims" who are just trying to live and love the only way they know how...the way (they say) that God made them?

I'm tempted to get angry at the "useful idiots among the religious" that you mention...but then I'm reminded of how many times I have sullied the name of Christ.

Wonderful, helpful post, Dan. Nice to see that the heat and humidity (not to mention cockroaches, snakes, lizards, and crocodiles) have not hurt your academic acumen and prose! :)

Jules said...

Thank you for not compromising.

zamar said...

Appreciate you dealing with this "PC" sin as just plain sin. Just like all our other sin. All sin. All guilty. All need JESUS.

dac said...

you did not answer the question. First rule of public q/a is you have to answer the question. And as someone who gets paid to do public q/a sessions (50 plus per year), sometimes in settings that are hostile or could become hostile, you have to answer the question or things will go downhill fast.

You may segue into other things, you may redirect, you can do alot of things. But first you have to answer the question.

Matthew Schultz said...

It's good and well to do it in a blog post. It's another matter to do it in front of a hostile audience with a hostile interviewer. In that situation, most people here, given the intensity of the moment, would err on the side of proclaiming the truth with less love, while some like Keller would err on emphasizing love without as much truth as should be emphasized.

The Keller interview question was a knife-edge kind of situation. Like all "elite" institutions of higher learning, Columbia is a bastion of intolerance and hate, and if you say the wrong words, you will be shouted down (recall Doug Wilson's recent experience). So I don't think it's analogous to making a blog post about the issue.

Of course, in the future, Keller should have more experience and be clearer.

Also, I think Keller is a headliner more for his homiletics than anything to do with his (in?)ability to discuss homosexuality.

Tom Chantry said...

dac,

You do public q/a sessions? I would pay to watch that. May I ask - very broadly so as not to compromise your anonymity - do you do this in an industry or political setting?

Fred Butler said...

@dac, I'm missing how Dan failed to "answer" the question.
Maybe it's the Fundy dullard in me.

Kerry James Allen said...

As Dave Barry used to say, "Big Conference Headliner" would be a great name for a rock group. Maybe "Chicago" is better. I return to what I said on the Part Two of the video commentary. Keller is looking over the shoulder of the commentator and seeing the 3,000 young singles walking out of his church if he comes off as a "homophobe" and adjusting his comments accordingly. When Lady Gag(a) is number one on Twitter with 24 million plus followers and is singing "Born this way," a church that full of millennials probably won't tolerate too much intolerance. Good post, Dan.

DJP said...

To be perfectly clear, I wouldn't want to speak at a conference devoted to homosexuality. The gospel, preaching, Proverbs, one of the couple-dozen major subjects dealt with in either book, or a hundred other things, terrific.

DJP said...

Matt, sorry, but that is simply silly. I'm beginning to feel that if I had, just for the same of a post, put myself in (as you say) a hostile audience and had some hostile questioner ask me, and had given either answer, you'd still say "Oh, sure, easy for you — you're wearing a sports shirt! Try doing it with a dark brown knit shirt and a jacket, eh? THAT is a totally different thing!"

Further, two other thoughts:

1. It was like Herman Cain's candidacy, everything else aside. He was totally blindsided by questions about abortion and foreign policy. I wasn't as much put off by his terrible answers as that he clearly hadn't spent a minute thinking about the dead-certain fact that he'd be asked such questions. He was completely unprepared. Terrible leadership.

But even more...

2. Really? You're a world-famous pastor/writer/speaker/whatever, and you're caught off-guard by a WRITER OF A BOOK ON HOMOSEXUALITY asking you a basic question? And that's to be shrugged off?

yankeegospelgirl said...

No Dan, you'll never be a big conference headliner, but that's okay. We like you better this way.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Dan, there you go again!
You really need a personal coach if you are ever going to get this conference-headliner-thingy going!
Sure, Paul said basically the same things you did, but he never had the opportunity to read a book by Hybels or Warren! So you are without excuse, dude!

(In other words, well-done!)

Tom Chantry said...

I've stayed out of these threads, waiting to see how everyone takes them. I find Keller offensive on many levels, but my first reaction to the vid posted was, "That wasn't terrible, nor was it as bad as I expected. But the more I think about it, my thinking is shifting.

Understand, I don't say this as an indictment of Piper or Keller or any one of them so much as I do of myself as a representative of 21st century evangelicalism: but what has happened to us?

Jules' comment on the other thread to the effect that a few decades ago this would be approached differently, coupled with Dan's summary of how he would approach it, really got me thinking along two lines.

First, the very fact that the question is being asked is an indictment. Why do they keep asking this? Simply because so many have punted on the question. Evangelicalism was indicted not when Keller gave his answer, but the moment the question was asked. We can't pretend that they know what we think, when so many who have had a national platform have muddied the waters. Whatever happened to taking a clear stand.

But worse than that, why have my own expectations been so lowered. Who cares what dumb answer Andy Stanley or Joel Osteen might give to these questions? I shouldn't care! I should still expect a Reformed pastor to have the wherewithal to give an answer which is straightforward without stridency. Have I reached the point at which "Better-Than-Osteen" = "Good-Enough"? If that's the case, I have some 'splainin' to do - not Keller, not Piper, but I do.

Richard said...

Dac: The first rule of Q&A is not to answer the question but to know what and why a person is asking. Jesus frequently responded with a question to elucidate these very issues prior to answering the question.

I maintain the Keller interview was not to find what evangelicals think of “Is homosexuality sin?” One can easily obtain the answer from Newsweek magazine or other secular news sources. The question is asked either to validate the sin of homosexuality or to ridicule and marginzalize Bible-believing evangelicals.

I think DJP’s answer would have been great amid all the shouting (somewhat like Paul and Mars Hill and other places, only without the stoning).

DJP said...

Tom, good thoughts, as always.

What's even more weighty to me is what we communicate by HOW we answer, in addition to the content.

I mean, suppose someone asked me in a public forum, "Do you love your wife?", and I said "Oh, well, heh-heh-heh, yes now, that's quite a complex and layered question. See, now, let me approach it this way: I mean, well, of course yes I do, but, you know, when you say 'love,' well, that word can mean so many different things to so many different people, and it can mean different things in different seasons of life..."

Would you come away thinking, "Wow, marriage is a really heavy topic"?

Would you think, "Wow, Dan is really a deep thinker, one of the best of our time!"

Or wouldn't you rather think, "Good heavens — I wonder what his issue is with his wife?"

Rob said...

Just a thought Dan: when you describe homosexuality as "a repulsive outrage against God's design, with nothing good to be said for it", what comes to mind is what I've heard Voddie Baucham talk about in some of his messages in terms of sexuality, particularly on the topics of surgical sterilization (vasectomy, tubal ligation, etc.) as being morally questionable practice (1 Cor. 6:19) related to sexuality. Not trying to derail here, but at the same time, when reading about issues regarding homosexuality, I think to some of Voddie's comments and wonder: are practices of surgical sterilization really that much different in terms of being an "outrage against God's design"?

Kerry James Allen said...

I never thought I'd admit this, but where is Jerry Falwell when you need him? I was never a big fan of Falwell, but I think he would have given a straighter answer than most have thus far on this issue.

DJP said...

Yeah, Rob, that is far afield. Plenty of directly-Biblical issues to talk about, no need to go there.

Matthew Schultz said...

Dan,

If you did a good job in such a setting, I'd congratulate you and rejoice that the truth was effectively and loving presented.

I understand you think what I've said is silly, and I certainly say silly things from time to time, as all ugly sinners do, but I'm not sure exactly how presenting a great answer on a blog post is sufficiently analogous to the hostile interviewer/audience scenario.

I don't want to "shrug off" Keller's response. It was lacking in significant ways. I do think, however, it is difficult to say what level of preparation was given based on the raw output. We don't really have access to those facts and whether there was a great deal of preparation or a small amount, it is more than possible to produce similar results when it comes time to actually address the issue. As with all uniquely difficult tasks, those who haven't experienced it tend to think it is easier than it actually is.

DJP said...

That's a gracious response, Matt, truly it is; but honestly, the question wasn't "What do you make of Hengstenberg's interpretation of the little horn in the book of Daniel?", or "Do you think Zanchius was right?", or "Phillips' appendix on Prov. 22:6 is causing a stir here and there - your thoughts?"

I just don't know how we can honestly and truly say to each other, "Oh yeah, wow - a question on HOMOSEXUALITY from someone who wrote a BOOK on the subject? Who could have seen THAT coming??"

Pam said...

Dan is right- the Gospel is for sinners. I have friends/acquaintances in this lifestyle and they are lost-hell is reality- please pray for them.
Only our Lord can open eyes but I fear for them. Thank you.

Michael Coughlin said...

Dan, I recently hosted the first ever "Psalm 117 Mini-Conference". You are still eligible to be a headliner there someday since it clearly doesn't qualify as a "big conference."

Lord bless you.

Nash Equilibrium said...

I wonder if the Sermon on the Mount was a big conference, or a little one?

Matthew Schultz said...

Hi Dan,

Well, if he didn't see it coming at all, then, yes, that is a large failure, although even that would depend on doing some research on the interviewer. Sometimes forums like that have a moderator who asks prepared audience questions, and they might, contrary to prearranged rules, insert their own personal agenda into the discussion. I don't think we have enough information to judge.

I defend Keller here because I sympathize with the difficulty of operating in hostile territory.

At NYU I served with the pro-life club and the Gospel Choir, directed the Veritas Forum for one year, was an officer in RUF, and was president of a Christian club.

I know what it's like to go to a pro-life debate where the opposition has stacked the front row with women whose hostile and contemptuous disposition is but a hair away from breaking into outright rage. Their only purpose is to intimidate you into making errors or otherwise fleeing the debate scene, and sometimes it works.

I know what it's like to have people upright leave a Veritas presentation when it's clear it has anything at all to do with the Gospel. That can be discouraging, and dampen the presenter's enthusiasm.

I know what it's like to be the only Christian in a 150+ size class room who is willing to defend the inerrancy of the Bible or the good character of God against the irrational critiques of the Professor. Effectively making the argument becomes more and more difficult as you realize that everyone in the room is laughing at you or rolling their eyes.

I've been in rooms where the Gospel is presented and you can feel the hostility rising in the audience. The tension is palpable, and it can involuntarily alter how you present something, even if you've prepared well.

When Satan rules a campus (at the time NYU had, at the very best, 300 Christians out of 40,000 students), the deck is stacked against you in every conceivable way. And even if you prepare, Satan might attack your spirit anyway, and cause you to falter.

So the last thing Christians in such hostile situations need, and I am not speaking to your post directly, since it doesn't necessarily fall into this category, but more generally on this issue, is the Monday morning quater backing that is devoid of any grace or sympathy for attempting to do good work on a hard battlefield, and clearly arises from people who have grown up churched and live in areas where Christianity is alive and tolerated.

Cathy said...

Matt- it's almost like you think Tim Keller was in the audience, and the moderator spotted him and said, "Oh, I see Tim Keller is here- come on up here Mr. Keller..."
I'm pretty sure TK was invited months in advance. But- even if that did happen, TK is a pastor - of a rather large church I might add, who speaks at many conferences, and has written apologetic type books. He knows that there are some basic questions and stumbling blocks that unbelievers typically have: the question of suffering, hell, the exclusivity of Christ, and the popular social issues of the day: abortion and homosexuality. As believers, we should all be prepared to give sound clear Biblical answers to these issues. A pastor is held to an even higher standard, no? How I wish the flock had more examples of strong shepherds answering these issues the way Dan just did. I refuse to believe that this expectation is too high.

Jules said...

I think Tom has landed squarely on the bullseye when he says, "First, the very fact that the question is being asked is an indictment."

Nash Equilibrium said...

I think Dan's point (if I read him correctly) was not that the audience would have necessarily been swayed by Dan's clear exposition on the subject, but that God requires us to speak the truth even if no one will be convinced. The minute we start thinking about how many people will be convinced, that's the minute we get tempted to water down the message.
Or something like that.

Matthew Schultz said...

Cathy, I've explained why I think it's not as easy as it's being made out to be. You seem to blow past that and then misread my post to think this attempt at sympathy is somehow an endorsement of a lower standard. I'm not--which is clear from what I've written in this thread and elsewhere.

Solameanie said...

And Dan, you have put it just about as succinctly and well as anyone could possibly put it. Glory to God!

Mr. Fosi said...

I like Dan's response.

What I see, I agree with and don't disagree with.

I also agree with Matt vis-a-vis public speaking vs. blog post. I have experience with the differences between speaking to audiences and writing and they are certainly not the same. Surely Dan doesn't dispute this fact, though perhaps he feels he suffers less than others because of it.

Yes, of course, we can all sit back and say, "How on earth could a guy who is supposed to be so erudite and clever be unprepared for such a question?" I can't, frankly, answer that one myself, but that doesn't mean there isn't an answer. It also doesn't mean that I should somehow choose to ignore what was correct in the presentation.

It seems like coming down like a ton of bricks, choosing not to acknowledge the imperfect good or the motives shown in a brother's actions could hardly be considered correction in love and gentleness. I suppose if you, like Chris Nelson, don't consider Keller to be a brother in Christ, then you can choose from all the passages that deal with confronting unbelievers.

I think that Frank's deliberate splitting of the vid posts into "positive only" and "free-for-all" was shrewd. It certainly highlighted how I come rolling at brothers like a bowling ball toward the pins.

Recognize and correct the errors of fellow believers. Do it in a way that the other person knows that you regard them as a brother in Christ. They should recognize that you love them... and not, "I love you, so I bludgeon you and screw you if you don't like it because I am elect of God and you'll agree with me if you are too."

DJP said...

Matthew, I think those are all fair points in themselves (what's RUF?), and I envy Keller for how ready you are to defend him. We're about to do an endless circle, it looks like; because as I've said, while I'd agree that there is NOT "nothing good" in his response, there isn't as much good as there should be, and the very manner of it shouts down any good content.

Perhaps the wisest thing would have been to follow the Lord's example and reply with a potentially disarming question: "What do you think a Christian is?" or "How do you think a Christian is supposed to deal with ethical questions?"

Oh, and for anyone keeping score at home, I find DAC's comment absolutely 100% bewildering. Classic DAC, in that regard, but absolutely incomprehensible.

Rhology said...

Matthew Schultz,

Would you agree if someone were to propose that it would be better if Pastor Keller didn't go into such environments, going forward?

Rhology said...

RUF = Reformed University Fellowship

DJP said...

"was an officer in RUF"

Ah; so he didn't actually carry a rifle.

Rhology said...

You never know...

Matthew Schultz said...

Hi Rho,

Good to hear from you.

Yes, I've said elsewhere that that could be a legitimate option.

Whether he's reached that point is another matter altogether, and, as I've thought about it, a rather complex issue. Trying to weigh all the positives and negatives is difficult, especially given the good he does in many public speaking contexts, and the lack of an alternative public witness in those contexts.

Since I came to faith under Keller's preaching, I tend to think that a decent witness is better than no witness at all. Whether such hypotheticals are ultimately useful, I do not think I would be a Christian today if I had not attended his church. But this broader issue might be another discussion for another time.

leadsoldier said...

Mr. Philips;

Here's why you will not be a big-conference headliner:

1 You are far to busy doing and writing other very profitable things;

2. Ergo you do not have time do get down from the wall even if it means a long and flattering introduction;

3. You are not a Shiny Pony from New York. If it didn't happen in New York, it wasn't supposed to happen.

leadsoldier said...

and you are TOO busy anyway...

Tom Chantry said...

I have a complaint to register about Michael Coughlin's conference. I showed up for it five minutes late and it was already over! I mean, c'mon!

Robert Warren said...

Dan:
You said it better than I could, but it really wasn't so tough to say, was it? When these other folks hem and haw, tap-dance, pas de deux, and dosado around this, it reminds me of an episode of Law & Order where the wonderfully grouchy DA portrayed by Steven Hill gets exasperated with the staff psychologist and exclaims: "Do you ever just give a straight answer? I'd have better luck with a phrenologist!"

Stan McCullars said...

Answering a question in a hostile environment is difficult? Perhaps...if one has difficulty speaking in public. Answering questions on homosexuality or abortion or the gospel is not difficult.

I think the bigger issue is a willingness to be considered a fool by a hostile crowd. Men of God should be courageous, not timid. They should not be so concerned about their reputations that they hesitate to answer truthfully.

That's my take.

Rhology said...

Answering questions on homosexuality or abortion or the gospel is not difficult.

At least, not if you think about it a little in advance. Honestly.

Matthew Schultz said...

Stan McCullars said:

Answering a question in a hostile environment is difficult? Perhaps...if one has difficulty speaking in public.

There's a distinction between speaking in public to a sympathetic audience and speaking in public to a hostile audience. Keller's experience is overwhelmingly in giving sermons. Not only can you expect an audience that is at least interested or genuinely tolerant, there is a proper code of conduct if you disagree with the pastor--you sit there quietly or, at worst, leave the building. It's a homefield advantage: you don't have to take time to establish credibility.

If Keller were a professional apologist, I'd be harsher. But he's not James White, William Lane Craig or other masters of public debate and rhetoric. Public speaking isn't a uniform genre, where experience in one area automatically translates into exceptional performance in all areas.

Honestly, Reformed people should be the last to succumb to our society's instant-expert syndrome. If you haven't engaged in public speaking to a hostile audience and/or studied the subject, don't be so quick to judge the supposed ease of giving the answer you want when it comes time to provide it.

I think the bigger issue is a willingness to be considered a fool by a hostile crowd.

Yes, that's a factor, but not the only one. Sometimes the adrenaline, unjustness of the opposition or other factors will affect your presentation and make it decidedly difficult to get what you want to say across clearly, even if you care little about mere perception.

Men of God should be courageous, not timid. They should not be so concerned about their reputations that they hesitate to answer truthfully.

Of course they should be courageous. Just like men should be unselfish toward their wives and give up sports for the evening to clean the house. But when the big game is on...

All of us live for social approval. We were made for it. It's natural for people to alter their behavior when it isn't received. So let's assume someone struggles in this area. What's the proper response?

DebbieLynne said...

"Having said that, let me take a step back and say that "sin" is any want of conformity to the will and nature of God. Sin is rebellion against God's Lordship. It is refusal to do what God commands, or insisting on doing what God forbids, or rejecting what God enjoins. It had its birth in Adam and Eve's insane desire to "be as God." Every sin is an attempt to be God instead of God."

What an excellent definition! And yes, it describes homosexual sin precisely! What the rest of us need to keep in mind, as DJP points out, is that it's merely one of many sins. Sadly, most churches these days fall to one of two extremes: either they treat it as the worst possible sin worthy of special damnation or they deny its sinfulness. We must regain the perspective that all sin, including homosexual behavior, is overt mutiny against God.

Stan McCullars said...

Matthew,
I speak in hostile environments from time to time. I'm not a professional apologist. I'm not particularly quick on my feet. In fact, I usually tell people that my brain has hiccups and that I would appreciate their patience. Still, I answer truthfully. I don't try to soften an answer because I think the Bible might offend someone. I may have to provide more Biblical background for context before or after answering a yes/no question. I do try to keep my attitude in check (as I struggle with improper anger) knowing that God is sovereign over the affairs of men.

What is a proper response for people who struggle with cowardice? Rebuke them for their cowardice and encourage them to be courageous.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Matthew Schultz: "All of us live for social approval. We were made for it. It's natural for people to alter their behavior when it isn't received. So let's assume someone struggles in this area. What's the proper response?"

Does turning to Scripture for guidance considered a proper response? Is Pastor Keller struggling in this area?

I rejoice with great gladness that you came to a saving faith in Tim Keller's church. Having said that, there are three significant areas in which pastor Keller has waffled on:

(1) Women in Ministry. See the many blog posts by the Bayly Brothers about Tim Keller and his church in NYC.

(2) Theistic Evolution. Tim Keller's sympathies with BioLogos.

(3) Homosexual Sin.

Daryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy said...

Matt- I certainly did not mean to imply that witnessing to the world about Jesus would be easy- only that we should be prepared to do it and that includes being prepared for the world's response, which is sometimes hostility and persecution. Perseverance under such trials is taught, modeled and commanded in scripture. Is that easy? No- but the scriptures also teach that by God's grace, it is possible- and actually necessary in a true believer's walk (I'm thinking of James 1). Your own testimony bears witness to our need for perseverance. Praise be to God that He is able and He supplied what you needed to persevere- and may He receive all the glory for it!!
Okay- so Tim Keller - I cannot judge his heart. I have no idea what motivated him to answer the way he did. I do know that this is a big part of what he does - he writes apologetics books and goes to conferences and he puts himself out there as a teacher and model on how to answer the basic questions and objections the unbeliever often has. Based on that alone, I think it's fair game to weigh how he answers. Half of the professing church has bought into the world's thinking on homosexuality, and the other half is going wobbly in the knees- so if I am looking to Jesus' under shepherds for guidance and teaching, and modeling on how I am to give a seasoned Biblical answer to this issue, it needs to be one that gives a strong, clear, Gospel saturated, gracious, thoroughly Biblical explanation.

Sir Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Schultz said...

Daryl said:

I'd suggest that that little list compounds the consternation over this particular video.

Yes, that would be TUAD's modus operandi--stir the pot.

Oh, one other thing for Matthew. Yes, we all want social approval. And the proper response to that is repentance.

I suspect you mean to an inordinate desire for social approval. But that wasn't how the term was being used in that context.

(If you mean all desire for social approval is sinful, then that's close to being a sociopath. I don't mean that flippantly, either. There's a reason Proverbs talks about community shame.)

I know, I know, I wouldn't get it right either.

Why do you assume you know how I would respond?

But if we cannot say "He's a pastor, he needs to get it right", then what can we say about the calling to be a pastor?

Please quote where I suggested such a thing, that we really should not say that "he needs to get it right."

This reminds me of political battles, where if you dare defend someone on the other side, you are a collaborator and your motives are suspect.

Daryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Matthew Schultz,

You're the one stirring the pot with your defensive emotionalism.

Did you read YankeeGospelGirl's comment to you yesterday:

"And finally, you're the one who's called me "hysterical" and "neo-primitive" and "needing to brush up on my gospel knowledge." I haven't called you anything. So who's the one falling back on rhetorical posturing here?"

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Does TUAD stir the pot? No question."

Do the Pyros Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, and Frank Turk stir the pot?

Does John MacArthur and John Piper stir the pot?

Did Charles Spurgeon stir the pot?

Did John Calvin stir the pot?

Did Martin Luther stir the pot?

Did Athanasius stir the pot?

Did the Apostles stir the pot?

Did Jesus stir the pot?

Did Elijah stir the pot?

Did Moses stir the pot?

Why did any of these people stir the precious pot? I don't get it.

yankeegospelgirl said...

Sir Aaron said: "I'm sorry, but if you don't tell the whole truth, you haven't truly been loving. No matter how much sugar coating you do, there is still going to be this large pill of truth that homosexuality is a sin, and one that requires Christians to deal with decisively. Will that get you shouted down? Yeah...because the rebel doesn't like God."

BIIIIIIIINGOOOOOO!

Matthew Schultz said...

Daryl,

TUAD's general approach to theological topics is to stir up controversy in order for people to fight over it. Scripture has a lot to say about Christians who seek to have people duke it out, and none of it is good.

How on earth my saying that I may not get it right means that I think you wouldn't is far beyond me...I said nothing about your abilities. Only mine.

You stated directly that I wouldn't think you would have gotten it right if you tried. There is no other meaningful interpretation of stating my name and then following up with "I know, I know, I wouldn't get it right either."

If you meant something else--and this applies to your other charges of reading comprehension errors, which are easily turned back on your treatment of my remarks--stop shooting from the hip and write more clearly.

Also, no, my point was not that you were attacking me personally or some such thing--as if I cared!

Let me know when this thread gets back to Keller's performance.

Frank Turk said...

Who said Keller was caught off-guard when he answered this question?

Here's what I said to Dan via e-mail prior to this post:

"The post is anti-contentious toward me and toward Keller. I think it captures the spirit of what I was saying about doing it better exactly, and I'd be proud to hold it up as an example of what I'm talking about."

The comments which follow this post? I would pay each of you a dollar to delete your own comments if I thought you would do it.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Matthew Schultz: "TUAD's general approach to theological topics is to stir up controversy in order for people to fight over it."

False!

"Let me know when this thread gets back to Keller's performance."

Says the guy who attacks other people (like YankeeGospelGirl and myself).

CCinTn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Schultz said...

CCinTn, I appreciate your latest comments, and I do not think I disagree. Your emphasis on the Holy Spirit is also very refreshing.

Thanks again!

trogdor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Schultz said...

Your defense is frankly arrogant and ignorant - it assumes that (1) none of us ever have to proclaim Jesus in a hostile environment (which is beyond silly), and/or (2) if we ever did have to, we would choke just as bad as Keller did.

It assumes neither. (1) conflates all experience of hostility with the specific scenario at hand, which I did not do explicitly. If you think that is an inference of what I wrote, you need to argue such, instead of assuming it. (2) is false on similar grounds, especially given what I have already said in this thread. Where did I say that no one would do better?

Your charge will have to stand on more reasonable grounds.

CCinTn said...

(reposting after cleaning up the verbage. Matthew, I see you already responded to my deleated post. You're fast!....)

Matthew,
I want to answer here on Dan’s post today (since his post is on the same issues) your last reply to me from earlier today on Frank’s post from yesterday. I know, that’s confusing!

I appreciate what you’ve said yesterday and today and the background you’ve provided about your personal experiences. Most if not all of us have certainly been in situations where we are trying to explain the Gospel or what the Bible says about such and such whether it is with a co-worker, family member or complete stranger and we’ve felt the knots in our stomachs and had the sweaty palms as we experience ‘brain-lock’ trying to recall things we already know or realize that we don’t know what the Bible says about something. It is from there that I want to go…

First, I think as we grow in our maturity in Christ and in God’s Word and as we have more and more opportunities to express our faith that we necessarily get “better” at being able to communicate to others about these matters.

As I said yesterday, I think this is where Tim has it all over your average Christian in Small-town, USA. He has all kinds of experience in extemporaneous Q&A. According to the TGC website, he’s currently on several panels at TGC grand council meeting of grand council people and others of significant significance. No doubt he’s answering questions about such and such without the use of que cards.

Secondly, Scripture does say that when and if we are dragged before kings and courts that we should not worry about what to say as the Holy Spirit will give us what we need to say in that hour (Matt 10:19). So while Keller was not arrested and handed over to the authorities because he belongs to Christ, can we not believe that when we find ourselves in a hostile crowd scenario, as you say he did, that we can trust that God is with us as we proclaim the truth of scripture and give an answer for the hope that lies within us? Especially when we’ve studied to show ourselves approved that is?

Or is this comfort reserved for when you are actually tied to a stake and they are lighting the flames under you? Is the Holy Spirit only there to bring to remembrance the things in God’s Word only during the real ‘serious’ times? Or perhaps we can only rely on God’s help when we are defending the Gospel (as in John 3:16) and not when we are explaining or defending the Gospel, as in how God’s saving work shapes how I live my life and the way I think….about homosexuality for example?

I’m wondering if there were other reasons for the manner in which Keller responded. What I’m getting at is that is this; if Tim had been asked to explain why a Christian believes that someone has to repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ alone in order to go to heaven, would Tim have been as vague in his answer? What if he was asked directly whether pedophilia was a sin? Or murder? In spite of the fact that he was in front of a hostile crowd? I don’t think so. Why then on this topic?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Matthew Schultz: "TUAD's general approach to theological topics is to stir up controversy in order for people to fight over it."

Response? To simply co-opt Matthew Schultz's later words and turn them back upon himself:

"If you think that is an inference of what I wrote, you need to argue such, instead of assuming it.

Your charge will have to stand on more reasonable grounds.
"

Frank Turk said...

I am raising the bid to $2 for anyone who will erase their comment -- especially the thread since my last comment.

Frank Turk said...

I'll pay in gold ducats for TUAD to vanish.

Matthew Schultz said...

Frank, please check your e-mail.

trogdor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Frank Turk: "I'll pay in gold ducats for TUAD to vanish."

Jesus Christ loves you.

Brett R said...

No disagreement with what your answer is in any way shape or form.

But...

with this being a blog as the medium, there is no sense of what would be said off the cuff. It would be near impossible to extemporaneously put yourself in the same position as Dr. Keller, but if you made a video ala Dr. Piper looking right into the camera, no notes, I think that there is a remote possibility your point could be made better.

HSAT, five star from the roofer.

Robert said...

Wow...I can finally post. Frank, the question is what would you pay for dac to disappear?

A few things came to mind in these videos that could have been done better. I think Piper stretched things in trying to say homosexuality has narcissism at its roots...I am paraphrasing there and if I misunderstood him, then I apologize.

With Keller, I was happy that he backed out of speaking for all Christians at first, but then he made it seem like his church is this safe haven and all these other Christians stay in the ditches. And as for the thought of speaking the Word of God to hostile audiences, go read through the prophets. Keller doesn't really have to be worried about getting dragged out to be stoned to death or sawed in half. He has the Word of God and if people are offended by the fact that the Bible calls sin sin and the punishment is facing the wrath of God in hell, that is their choice. But we should tell them the truth and preach the Gospel so that they have the options fully explained at least. Do you think anybody in that audience came away with a better understanding of their sinfulness and need for a Savior? If not, then would you call this a success?

Frank, let me know if I should delete this...free of charge.

Morris Brooks said...

Dan,
You could also have titled your post "An Open Letter to Piers Morgan" I wished those he confronted about the bible and homosexuality had been this forthright, biblical, and perspicuous.

Halcyon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Halcyon said...

TUAD:

Your response to Frank was one of the funniest things I've ever read.

Pot stirrer or not, you are a menace and must be stopped.

Halcyon said...

OK...so I want to ask a question that is slightly different than whatever it is that the others are going on about. And, yes, it has something to do with Dan's post.

DJP:

In your post, you more or less said that sin is sin because God says so, and we should not sin because God says so. Let me just say (in order to preemptively strike any haters) that I completely agree with you. God says it; therefore, it is true.

However, the reason I agree with you is because I know who God is (by reading and obeying His word). As such, when I hear "because God said so," the word "God" has heavy meaning for me and subsequent connotations, i.e., this is the God who is love, and who desires all to be saved, and who works all things for the good and salvation of His chosen children. He desires our good (because He is good), and desires that we (ahem) "flourish" by glorifying Him, which is what He created us for.

Because I know all that, God's indictments against sin are not arbitrary assignments, but a part of who He is, a part of His holy, loving character that desires to have us be who we were meant to be: His holy and redeemed children, glorifying and enjoying Him forever.

I say all that to say this: If we say, "Sin is sin because God says so," and let that be the end of the issue, then we will have spoken the truth, but not the whole truth. There is a reason that God "says so", and it has to do (amongst other things) with our (ahem, again) "flourishing". Granted, that "flourishing" has a certain quality to it (i.e., glorifying God and enjoying Him forever), but it is still flourishing (in a sense).

So my question for you is twofold:

(1) Do you agree? (Remember: my fragile ego is dependent upon your approval. So, no pressure.)

(2) Do you think that it is possible that when Keller mentioned "flourishing" in regard to sin he was merely touching on the second barrel of the shotgun, with the first being "because God says so"?

I agree that it is a shame that Keller didn't really touch on the "God says so" part, but I'm not sure that his "flourishing" argument is completely wrong.

Those are my thoughts. I await your judgement. And the judgement of my peers

CCinTn said...

Just getting back...
Frank, my comment at 12:33 came after yours at 11:57.
Say "the word" and I'll happily delete. For free!

Bill said...

Original:
Are committing homosexual acts sin [sic] against God?
Committing homosexual acts will get you to go to Hell?

Reworded:
Are committing embezzlement acts sin [sic] against God?
Committing embezzlement acts will get you to go to Hell?

Would there be much argument against the reworded questions? Only to try and look more tolerant but deep down, we all know it is wrong, only some surpress it

Later Dan says: But trying to be a god unto myself is also a repulsive outrage against God's design, and there's nothing good to be said for that, either.

Reminds of what Francis Schaeffer once said, and I paraphrase, that when we sin we almost always break the last commandment against coveting before we break another of God’s laws.

donsands said...

Excellent word Daniel: God is my judge.

"What God says is right and wrong reflects God's holy nature; it isn't the result of His having taken a poll of the sinners frolicking below."

I have found when I discuss the seriousness of sin, even in the church, there are those who will quickly bring up the Law, and eating shellfish, or going to service on the Sabbath, and other laws our Lord established with His people.
And it takes more than a couple paragraphs sometimes to expalin how the Law works, and how grace has always been the foundation of God's truth.

Thanks for the excellent post.

Bill Honsberger said...

Speaking of stirring the pot - let me have a turn! Since, unless the Lord returns, our millennial church will be forced to play the compromising game again - and the price tag will only rise. Despite activist claims that Christians obsess about homosexuality, we almost always answer (rightfully) that it is only one sin of many. The activists have heard and rejected that. Why? Because it is the listing of homosexuality as a sin, minor or major is irrelevant. What is coming down the pike and in fact the process is well under way - is that our spiritual children will be flayed in the media because they are not being loving and accepting of pedophilia. In exactly the same way the homosexual pr campaign began some forty three years ago or so, physicians gathered to pronounce homosexuality healthy, psychiatrists removed it from the standard list of pathologies and within basically one generation it's acceptance has become the literal benchmark for who is a "good" person and who is not. The pedophile media has been very active for almost the same amount of time, the NAMBLA groups march in virtually every gay rights parade in the country, and most critically - in the past two years JAMA published an article arguing the child/adult sexual contact is not harmful to the child and there was an academic conference this past fall where several college profs gathered to decry the marginalization of those who want to have sex with children.
Compromising on this issue is not going to make the pagans happy - it will be seen as blood in the water and full blown Levitical - level taboos will all be up for grabs.
Wonder if we will need a Five Year moratorium to see what God and the church should think about these upcoming challenges?

Stan McCullars said...

Halcyon, Frank addressed your questions in yesterday's post. See the link in the beginning of Dan's post.

LeeC said...

As for how hard it is to speak in front of a large hostile crowd a pastors JOB is to PROCLAIM the WORD to a sinful world.

Knowing what the Bible plainly states, and being ready to proclaim what it states clearly and simply should never be "above a pastors paygrade". In season or out.

Darlene said...

Bill H:

You are right on about NAMBLA. The well-known Allen Ginsberg, popular author and poet, praised on liberal college campuses across the country was a proud supporter of this group. The are riding on the coat tails of the Gay Rights Movement waiting for their opportunity to sway public opinion in their favor and thereby change the law.

Linda said...

Keller said, "homosexuality will not send you to hell". Bravo now all the homosexuals will take that statement out of the context of the whole video and run with it.
I understand what he was saying but they don't...

"Love your neighbor as yourself"~~ I've heard this verse taken entirely out of it context in more recent days than I can count. What happened to the first and greatest commandment?? How come it's being left out??

As far as it goes for Christians--the Church FAILS to love redeemed sinners who used to be caught up in homosexuality and THAT'S the REAL problem. I know a sister in Christ who was a homosexual then she was saved and began going to church. She gives her testimony in Church and what happens? Many shun her like her sins were not paid for by Jesus and their's was??? Why is she being treated differently?

There are people who are Christians who are our sisters and brothers in Christ whom we will live with for all eternity in heaven and yet, if a Christian brother or sister is struggling with homosexual temptations in their walk with Christ just like a heterosexual can STRUGGLE with temptations,, somehow the Christian struggling with homo. temptations who needs HELP from their brothers and sisters cannot get the help that a couple who is heterosexual and has temptations with the opposite sex and they are married for example . Both are Christians. So the problem is that Christians are not being treated the same

Jesus died for homosexuals, adulterers, liars, thieves..

I don't like and nor do I agree how Keller placates or downplays homosexuality as with heterosexuality when he said "nor will being a heterosexual get you to heaven"


homosexuality is specifically listed as sin along with all other sins.
heterosexuality is not listed as sin..

Frank Turk said...

Linda -- except, you know, for all the admonitions against fornication and adultery.

Frank Turk said...

I was going to raise my bid to $5 for people to self-select out of this thread, but the trend now for commenters to look for a personal invitation is making me sad.

Here's my counter-offer against my monetary bids: think of all the good you could do by taking your own comment out of this thread, and decide for yourself if your comment improves Dan's post or does something else. Seriously consider if Dan's post plus your comment makes this post more pastoral, and loving, and evangelical -- or if it makes this post a little more tawdry or petty or loveless.

If money can't improve the comments, maybe conscience can.

Sir Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nonna said...

Frank,

That's a tall order. :-)

Tom Chantry said...

Frank,

Is that $5.00 a comment? 'Cause I got three comments - four counting this one. I'll delete for $20.00. We're cheap here in Wisconsin!

yankeegospelgirl said...

Robert Downey Jr. rocks.

yankeegospelgirl said...

Mark Ruffalo rocks.

yankeegospelgirl said...

But Tom Hiddleston rocks more.

yankeegospelgirl said...

Aaaaand, this makes number six. Where's my $30? :D

Nonna said...

I think I like the way this thread is going.

yankeegospelgirl said...

I should clarify though: Tom Hiddleston rocks more than Mark Ruffalo, except for this one scene (don't see it if you haven't seen the movie):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7wug7QG8Oc

$35. I'm keeping count.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Scarlett Johansson shakes.

I prefer shakers to rockers. ;-)

yankeegospelgirl said...

Seriously? I thought there was some shaking going on in that link I... well, never mind. Wouldn't want to spoil anything.

$40 and counting.

walsingham said...

Well so much for the appeal to conscience...

Thomas Louw said...

Nice post Dan.

Seems the comment thread really went financial to the end.

I still wonder about Keller’s whole handling of the situation. It looked to me if got the Gospel in and still called it a sin. Was he a bit soft, yeah. Was his answer unclear and running in all directions, yip.

Like always I like your answer best but, I would still dip it in some “love” and hammer on the “all sinned” feature as u rightly did.
Here in South Africa the wheels are really coming off. I wrote a letter to a church who is a member of the one of the biggest denomination in the country.

They actually invited a gay celeb to be interviewed at one of their special services in the week of ascension. They just answered and said they will excuse me from the service and that they didn’t think they made a mistake in inviting them.

The other two was a sport personality and a liberal theologian who was elected as new leader of this denomination. A few weeks ago he came out defending the emergent church.

A few years prior to this a theology student at one of this denominations campus drew up a petition against some lectures who did not believe in the resurrection of Christ. After hearing he was expelled and the lectures retained their jobs. You see the church was too vague about what they believe and the lectures misused these misty declarations to slip through by playing with words.

Now, what am I saying? If you give unclear answers to straight question you get confusion and that leads to the dark side.

Andy Morrison said...

like most things in life, we don't want to let God define what is right and what is not, and so we kick against the rules like an unruly child (having a toddler in the house at the moment makes it all the more front of mind how we must appear to God).

Redefining anything as not sin that God has said is sin is a disservice to our fellow creatures in letting them believe they are in good standing when they are not. we need to keep many fingers pointing back at our own brokenness apart from the grace of christ whenever we try to point out the sins of others.

An aside: if anyone deletes comments in light of Frank's requests, i can offer something far more valuable than mere money - freshly printed indulgences for 6 months off pergatory.

Rachael Starke said...

And again with the wishing I had more time to read comment threads.

Dan, my brother, that was a measured and gracious response. 8/10. (-2 for sticking to sin as action, instead of condition)

Matthew Schultz - thanks for hanging in there and being equally measured and gracious. 8/10 (-2 because Keller has been in plenty of situations just like this before and has replied in similar mushy around the edges ways, on at least one occasion.)

TUAD - 5/10. For all the usual reasons.

Chris Nelson said...

Great post Dan. We must, must, must speak truth to power. The God's honest truth, with clarity and gospel power. When we dance, as emergent's like Keller do, we hide the gospel under a basket. He say's it's a sin one moment than not so much the next. He is slippery.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

YankeeGospelGirl,

I read in a previous comment that you've read and reviewed Keller's books.

Have you read Prodigal God? If so, what do you think of this review by a pastor who compares it to John MacArthur's book, The Tale of Two Sons:

The Prodigal God, Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, by Timothy Keller

yankeegospelgirl said...

No, I haven't read that book. Actually, the only book I've personally reviewed is _Counterfeit Gods_. I do work closely with someone in apologetics who read his _Reason for God_ and felt it was inadequate (though I myself have not read it, but I suspect I would agree). I haven't read _The Prodigal God_, but I'll check out the review. Thanks for the tip.

Halcyon said...

Stan:

Thanks for the direction, but I already read Frank's post and it didn't really answer my questions either (hence, why I'm asking them here on this post).

For clarity's sake, here's my question in simplified form:

(1) There are (basically) two parts to the gospel: Sin is bad, but Jesus saves (to paraphrase John Newton).

(2) Part of Christian theology is that Sin is bad for a reason (because it turns a soul away from God and His will for that soul, and that ends in death and hell) and that Jesus saves us for a reason (to turn us back to God and His will, because He loves us, and that ends in us glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever).

Dan seems to be saying that Keller messed up the first point, but is it possible that when Keller mentioned "human flourishing," he was attempting (poorly) to address the second point?

I ask this because if he was, then "human flourishing" is a part of the gospel (though it is not the whole story).

I want to know what Dan (and Frank as well) think about that.

BTW, my comments are worth $100 per deletion. Non-negotiable.

Matthew Schultz said...

Hello Trogdor,

If I am indeed guilty of the things you have accused me of, then I accept that your anger toward my actions is justified.

My intention has been neither a posture of arrogance nor a blithe dismissal of all criticisms of Keller based on what would be a completely myopic perception of other Christians' work under situations of pressure/persecution in the Kingdom. If your charges hold true, then, yes, I have rather unjustly dismissed all criticisms of Keller. Since that turns to the broader question of evaluating Keller's performance here, and my line of defense is one that a good number of people seem to use (I do not mean just at Pyromaniacs, of course), it is worth addressing.

My purposes here were to address those that do not have experience of these situations and incorrectly evaluate the "ease" of giving a good answer in similar situations. Given what I've written, it does not follow that I think every critic of Keller falls into this category; we could review the formal logic, but I think it is sufficient at this stage to simply note that I have accepted and agreed with criticisms of Keller given by people of whom I have no knowledge, in particular, knowledge of whether they have served in similar circumstances.

So when you ask questions like: "How are we supposed to take that, other than 'if you ever got a chance, you'd fail miserably, and then you'd change your tune'?"

I humbly suggest that my purpose is not to either say they would necessarily "fail miserably," or even hope they did, as if that would give me a measure of (deeply sinful) schadenfreude or some such thing.

If my words have made it seem like I was dismissing all criticism on these grounds, and you still think this case after reviewing my most recent comments, I will go ahead and reread them to see if that is true. I certainly do not want that to be true. If it is, then I will submit to your correction and offer an apology here.

Frank Turk said...

re: Human Flourishing.

I have already said this (in my original post):

Lastly, making this only about sin as a diagnosis of a failure to thrive forgets this biblical truth: all kinds of people thrive. One complaint from the Old Testament of Israel to God is, "hey: where is your justice? Why do those who scoff at you and hate you do so well in this life?" It's disingenuous to say that sin is about God's assessment of what will allow us to thrive when eventually we have to account for the problem of evil and the problem that in every case, and relating to all kinds of sin, people who are guilty seem to also get away with it and do pretty good.

Which proves that self-valuation of any product is a flawed endeavor.

donsands said...

"..all kinds of people thrive."

As I look at my own thriving as an adult without Christ, and as an adult with Christ, it is a mixture.

God's grace was even with me when I was a blasphemer. And I can say that my love for Jesus is genuine only in my spiritual thriving now, since I have been quickened by His mercy.
And yet, I have many, many valleys, or better said, I have seasons in my life that stinketh and I feel like dung, (if I can use that word.)

However, this past Lord's Day I was blessed with such joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.
What a Awesome God we do have, whose love for us is a million times greater than we could ever think.

Here's a song about thriving: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA-I3cKBSJ0&feature=related


"Will You hold me close so I can thrive?
When You touch me, that's when I know I'm alive"

Halcyon said...

Frank:

I hear ya, and agree with ya, but remember how God responded to those cries for justice: those who do evil and "flourish" only think that they flourish. Ultimately, God's justice will prevail, those who do evil are damned, and only those who know God (or rather, are known of God) will truly "flourish" in the end.

Of course, the point of God's response was to reveal that true, biblical "flourishing" isn't about money, success, or some sort of material gain (as you know). Flourishing is found in knowing God more (and desiring God more as a result). In short, God is our "flourishing", and we all whither without Him.

And that is the issue I had with Keller's "human flourishing" argument: not that he used it, but that he failed to define it biblically.

trogdor said...

Matthew,

Sorry man, I came off way stronger and angrier than I had any right being. I easily could have clarified things in a much more gracious way. Something like "This is what I get from your comments, is that what you meant or am I misreading?" would have been a lot more appropriate than the full flamethrower treatment. But I was a jerk, and I was wrong, and I apologize.

Matthew Schultz said...

Hi trogdor,

No worries, and thanks for your apology!

Hope you have a great day!