27 February 2015

Some Here, Some There — February 27, 2015

by Dan Phillips

And off we go. There may be updates, as usual, up to noon TX time.
  • The murder of the 21 Egyptian Copts provoked a lot of heat, and debatable light, as to whether they should be classed as "Christians." Kevin DeYoung gives helpful historical and doctrinal framing. I've always appreciated how Kevin writes and speaks. The article includes some very nice turns of phrase, such as "It’s unclear whether Nestorius was actually a Nestorian." Then, later, "it’s unclear how much of Eutychianism came from Eutyches." History is hard.
  • There is much interesting and informative push-back in the meta, and (as I think is customary), zero response thus far from Kevin. One of the respondents is a poor soul who self-identifies as a "coptic orthodox christian" [sic]. He does, I think, a great deal of damage to his own case, aggressively crusading against truths we all hold dear and essential and for practices we rightly condemn.
  • But my personal fondness for DeYoung was increased by a particular phrase. My family (particularly my dear and only daughter) has had to wrestle with, and tease me for, my tendency to phrase things negatively. "Are you not going to finish that?" So imagine my joy in Kevin's wording here: "For my part, I’m unwilling to say the non-acceptance of Chalcedon is no big deal." Kevin, you are my brother.
  • Baronelle Stutzman is (A) a profile in courage and conviction, and (B) clearly not an "evangelical academic."
  • Doug Wilson adds some excellent commentary.
  • I wonder if The Gospel Coalition has blocked Wilson? They have to feel torn about him. He's a celebrity and witty... but has edges and little patience with pretentious frippery.
  • The smiling Scot, Prof. David Murray, offers ten Biblical formulas to cultivate a more joyous, positive attitude.
  • Murray also pointed to Brad Hambrick's favorite posts on anxiety.
  • This Wednesday's text in Psalm 3 will take me into the arena of the imprecatory prayers in the psalms. Some recent thoughts on that were offered at Reformation 21, and by Barry York.
  • The living breathing fog machine that is Rob Bell has rhetorically attempted to ennoble his amorous pursuit of the present age by framing homosexuality and its specifics as a cure for "loneliness" and a species of "love." Anyone who opposes, we're told, is overfond of 2000-year-old letters. Michael J. Kruger responds, winning the internet for the day by quoting from the movie Tombstone.
  • Also, as to the appeal to "love" you might remind yourself of this. As to his sneering denigration of God's wordthis.
  • Everyone who attended Sufficient Fire is ready to answer this sad, unintended confession of ineptitude from Anne Graham Lotz:
  • Deuced thing about "the slippery slope fallacy" is how individuals keep providing illustrations of its non-fallaciousness. Like John Walton.
  • This fellow has been one of my most effective (if unwitting) salesmen so far:

Dan Phillips's signature


Randy Talley said...

So now Anne Graham Lotz has moved from just "The Holy Spirit whispers to me" to "I'm a prophet just like Jeremiah". Ooookay.

Randy Talley said...

... and even more of a prophet than Jeremiah. She's claiming God has given her Carte Blanche to disobey explicit Biblical teaching. Yow.

DJP said...

Slippery Slope is slippery.

LanternBright said...

Just to be clear, Dan: when you say, "Baronelle Stutzman is (A) a profile in courage and conviction, and (B) clearly not an "evangelical academic," you mean something along the lines of (A) and therefore (B), yes?

DJP said...


jmb said...

All that stuff about Jesus was written about 2K years ago also. So I guess we should throw that out too. How can He apply to today?

Terry Rayburn said...

I heartily submit the following 2 biblical truths, expecting a "Hear, hear!" in this meta:

1. The practice of homosexuality is a (horrible) sin.

2. "Marriage" between two people of the same sex is morally wrong and a perversion of true marriage, which is a picture of Christ and the Church.

No nuance there.

But now I venture into territory that I assume might raise hairs on some necks. I don't know anyone else who has exactly said this. Standing alone (as far as I know) is scary, but hey, the alternative is to lie or remain silent.

1. The Scripture has a concept which in one spot is called a "weak" conscience (1 Cor 8:10).

A weak conscience is one that is not "informed" by Scripture, or is "informed" by a misunderstanding or misapplication of Scripture.

A "strong" conscience, then, might be seen as one informed by Scripture, or a reasonable application of Scripture.

For example, if one won't eat meat because their conscience tells them it's biblically immoral, they have a "weak" conscience.

(Obviously some things are not as clear as that, but I digress.)

2. I believe that the arranging of flowers for a homo wedding is ENTIRELY a matter of conscience.

To say otherwise is to extend biblical teaching so far as to veer deeply into Pharisee country. The Pharisees were experts at APPLYING Scripture so remotely, so secondarily, so tertiarily, that almost anything could be seen as morally wrong or a "violation of my Christian principles".

If it's wrong to "celebrate" a homo wedding by arranging flowers, then surely the manufacturer of the party favors should have a small-print disclaimer on every paper wedding bell "Not to be used for homo weddings."

3. Having said that the flower arrangement is a matter of conscience, I go further to say that to refuse arranging flowers for a homo wedding is the result of a (biblically) "weak" conscience, and I pity the person who might lose all they own to uphold such a "weak" conscience, and furthermore to influence others into having the same weak conscience.

4. Having said that, I strongly urge everyone to FOLLOW their conscience, as opposed to VIOLATING it just because Terry said so.

By all means, do what you think is biblically right, WHILE SEEKING TO INFORM YOUR CONSCIENCE BIBLICALLY for future use. And yes, do so even to the loss of all your worldy goods and freedom.

But it's sad, because it's (biblically) ignorant. It's a profile in courage and foolishness. It's being willing to die on the wrong hill.

5. If you disagree with me, then you must, IMHO:
a. call it sin if any florist DOES arrange such flowers, and
b. lay out a huge detailed mind-map of Pharisaism on what IS and IS NOT sin, as touching on homo weddings (Can the poor Christian janitor clean up after the party? Can the doorman greet the homos and homo supporters with a smile? Can the rental hall rent to the homos for the night? Is that "celebrating" sin? ad infintum, ad nauseum -- ohhh, I just hate Pharisaism).

6. As entirely a sidenote: as a quasi-Libertarian, I don't think the State has the right to tell a business whom they must or must not serve, but the Bible is certainly silent on that, so it's an irrelevant point to Christianity, and one which this old Constitutional Republic dinosaur is losing fast.

But for heaven's sake, don't make your conscience captive to "stubborn principles" that are mere octopus tentacles of Pharisaism, strung out so far from clear Bible teaching that you end up unnecessarily in prison, while teaching the World that Christianity is all about...what?...who you bake a cake for?

I don't want to pick on the poor florist, but if she REALLY wants to be courageous, maybe in her next "public statement" she should preach Jesus Christ, and the actual Gospel, not just reference "my faith".

Unknown said...

Well, Terry, that should liven things up. 3... 2... 1...

AJM said...

You have caused thought.
Question ... If making a flower arrangement is a matter of conscience, as you say, then could someone who is strong also refuse?
And not be weak in the faith?
Please continue .
I do especially agree with your last para ...

David Alves said...

With Rob Bell, there are ever so many things one can say in response -- partly because he is so flabbergastingly deviant (there's a lot to work with!) and partly because his errors touch on so many pieces of the Faith. Other and better minds have repeatedly (and far more patiently, I trust) responded to Bell's utter degradation of Holy Scripture, so I won't say more here. I will say that my fondness and respect for Dr. Kruger has grown since I read his responses to the Eichenwald disaster (which interestingly and unsurprisingly Newsweek publicly stated they still backed, even after everyone from Michael Brown to James White exposed Kurt's article for the stagnant cesspool of unspeakable ignorance it was). I am sure that admiration will only grow after I read his response to the Bells.

As for Doug Wilson, he is the incarnation of the phrase, "When he's good, he's spectacular."

Dan -- speaking of your Wednesday night studies, are they no longer being recorded? I so enjoyed what I heard of Psalm 1, though based on your first outline I missed about eight prior messages. Haven't had a chance to listen to Psalm 2 yet, though if you're just now getting to number 3...well, let's just say I hope to so thoroughly meander in my preaching like that someday. John MacArthur would be proud.

Blessings on your Lord's day as you unfold His Word to His dear bride!

Jonesy said...

A long response to Terry’s query Part 1 of 2:

These are my 2 bits gleaned from my understanding of the situation and the dusty dungeon where I’m musing on what I would do in a similar situation.

I cannot seem to find in scripture a clear understanding that a weak conscience is one that is the result of being “misinformed”, “uninformed”, or improperly informed on a matter. Since Rom 14:23 says that “whatever is not from faith is sin” and this verse seems to summarize the section on a “weak conscience”, I’ve assumed that a weak conscience is found in a person who is not fully convinced that what he is doing is the right thing to do. In other words, a weak conscience is found in a person with weak convictions.

I do not see that Paul could apply the concept of a weak conscience to a person who is firmly convinced that it was not good for him to drink.

As for there being tertiary applications of the Law by the Pharisees: the book of Deuteronomy seems to be structured, so “they” say, like a suzerain treaty where the “Terms” of the treaty (Dt. 4:44 – 26:19) seem to be structured around an exposition of the 10 commandments (see Ref 21 article on “Deuteronomy and the Decalogue” by Baugus, posted 2/26/15) as well as John Currid’s commentary on Deuteronomy.) In fact, in several places Moses even says, he’s expounding the law, cf. Deut. 1:8.

If the assumption that Moses is expounding the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy is true, then look at the Commandments and ask yourself: could you have expounded them the way Moses did in 4:44 – 26:19, having been given only Ex 20:1-17.

I believe the problem with Pharisaism is not the Law per se (cf. Rom. 7:12). The problem is one’s attitude towards the Law, cf. Rom 9:30 – 10:4, vis-à-vis Matt. 23:23:

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,


Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

In other words, it appears to me that the issue with being a Pharisee is that you have come to believe that keeping the Law somehow makes it possible for you not to depend on God, to live independently of God, maybe even to poke your finger in God’s eye just as the Lawless ones do, except here you’re doing it with God’s very own words.

In the mind of a Pharisee, he doesn’t need God, especially His forgiveness, mercy, holiness, justice and righteousness. He, the Pharisee, hates God as much as the Lawless ones do, but he’s just something of a coward and can’t face up to that fact. So, he lives in a way that hides his lawlessness. In essence, he can do quite well without God and he’s quite content and proud to show God that he can live without Him by using His very own words!

Now with regard to Baronelle Stutzman, the point of contention seems to be whether or not the government (or anybody else) has the authority to force me to live against my (well-founded ?) religious conviction. Yes, I may be wrong about my conviction but, as Martin Luther said, . . . “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

To be continued

Jonesy said...

A response to Terry: Part 2 of 2

Should we be open to consideration that our conviction is wrong? Yes.

Should we be willing to suffer for our conviction whether it’s right or wrong? Yes.

Should we use our God-given talents to help others make their sin more interesting, beautiful, palatable, pleasant, acceptable etc.? No way, José (ancient Greek phrase, cf Rom 6:1)

Should we be coerced into using our talents and abilities in such a way that our actions make us accomplices in the sin(s) committed and thereby we (in)directly give approval of sin? No (cf. Rom 1:32)

Is it a matter of economics that makes the homosexual agenda able to progress? Partly.

Surely, if sufficient people said, “No, I won’t lend my experience, talents, abilities, etc. so that you can promote, encourage, celebrate, embrace homosexuality”, then I believe the homosexual movement, while not being stopped in its tracks, would progress much more slowly.

Imagine if all the screenwriters of TV shows and movies would not allow their talents to be used to promote homosexuality and other vices: I believe homosexuality would not be in our houses this day. But, yes, the writers might be a bit lean, maybe even homeless for doing so, just as Baronelle may be in a few days.

So, I applaud Baronelle Stutzman for being a woman of conviction, which as Dan pointed out seems not to be a virtue of the “evangelical academic”.

I also call on us to follow Stutzman’s example when the movement comes knocking on our doors: to do so would not be a tertiary application of God’s Law, cf. Lev. 18:3ff, but a way to love God by trusting Him that the way He’s called us to live will be the way that He will bring honor and glory to His Name - which is what all His people desire (cf. the 1st Petition: Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed Your Name!) - as well as calling His people out from the darkness (cf. Matt 5:16)

May we not be a traitor to our Lord and sell Him out for any amount of silver!

Under His Mercy,

Terry Rayburn said...


1. Having a "weak" conscience doesn't automatically mean that someone is "weak in the faith". On the contrary, they may greatly love and serve the Lord, but be in a kind of bondage to a wrong application of Scripture -- which may, as in the florist case, cause them great harm unnecessarily.

Another example might be helpful: if a young lady thinks she MUST wear floor-length dresses and a hat and no make-up whenever she goes in public, she might well distort her own vision of herself, the Lord and the reaction of others who see her as an oddity. But she might be a lovely, holy-living saint nonetheless.

2. Yes, theoretically someone with a "strong" (biblically informed) conscience could refuse to arrange the flowers, but it would be difficult to see what reason he would give if he saw no biblical reason for the refusal (remember, I believe he cannot give an objective biblical reason for it, other than a strung-out convoluted road back to some clear biblical teaching, implicating the janitor and the party favor maker in sin as well).

AJM said...

So can one have a strong conscience, a strong faith (well informed, thoughtful as to consequences/ implications) and still refuse without implicating the janitor/party favor maker as to what they can or cannot do?

Terry Rayburn said...


Appreciate your comments. Hard to lasso all those scattered steers (a little Texas lingo).

1. You wrote "In other words, a weak conscience is found in a person with weak convictions."

I couldn't disagree more. Some of the people with the strongest convictions are misinformed biblically, yet TOTALLY sure of their "convictions".

This includes everybody from KJV-only folks, to dietary legalists who "know" it's a sin to eat meat.

It's not that their convictions are weak, it's that their consciences are bearing witness to unbiblical thoughts.

2. I don't accept the "assumption" that Moses was merely "expounding" the Ten Commandments, but even if he were, there's a huge difference between a prophet of God "expounding" under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writing down the actual words of God -- and a florist "expounding" on who-knows-what to conclude that arranging flowers for a homo wedding is a violation of her (I insist, weak) conscience.

3. You wrote, "I believe the problem with Pharisaism is not the Law per se. The problem is one’s attitude towards the Law."

First, I didn't say the problem with Pharisaism is the Law per se, so you're swatting a straw fly there.

Second, your point is well taken that the Pharisees saw a form of earned righteousness in their law-keeping, but that's irrelevant to my point, which is this:

The Pharisees were not content to follow the law, even as "expounded" by Moses.

They had to string the law out in absurd applications, sometimes quite far from the spirit of the actual law.

To whit, the law said one could not "work" on the Sabbath, so they detailed to the enth degree what "work" was, which included, for example, a woman carrying a needle in her skirt, that being a burden of work.

Part 2 to follow.

Terry Rayburn said...

Jonesy, Part 2 of 2

4. You wrote, "Now with regard to [the florist], the point of contention seems to be whether or not the government (or anybody else) has the authority to force me to live against my (well-founded ?) religious conviction."

That is the point of contention, and I believe the Government should not have that right, but in fact they (or we, depending how you look at the electorate) have given themselves that right.

Which is why I think it wise to pick our battles wisely -- yes, based on following our consciences -- but consciences "informed" by Scripture, not Pharisaical convolutions.

5. You wrote, "Should we use our God-given talents to help others make their sin more interesting, beautiful, palatable, pleasant, acceptable etc.? No way, José."

Sounds good, but doesn't address my point about Pharisaism, that is, applying clear biblical teaching in such a strung-out convoluted way as to put someone's conscience under wrongful bondage.

Example 1: I was for many years a Realtor. I sold many homes to unmarried couples and homosexuals.

Would that not make their sin more "interesting, beautiful, palatable, pleasant, acceptable etc."? I think so. But only a weak conscience would make me give up my career or risk a $500,000 fine by refusing them.

Example 2: I have sold Home Security systems for 13 years now. I sell lots of them to fornicators, homos, drug dealers, and pro-abortion Leftists.

Now, I may be biased, but I think that makes their lives, and therefore their sin, "more interesting, beautiful, palatable, pleasant, acceptable etc.", as they practice their sin with the protection from outside intrusion.

Example 3 (then I'm done): I already alluded to it, but you haven't addressed the poor janitor, doorman, rental hall owner, or party favor manufacturer. They too participate in the "celebration" of the homo wedding. (Perhaps they should sabotoge it? Mwu-ha-ha!)

6. Bottom line: without understanding what a "weak" conscience is (see #1 above), you can't see the real problem. I mean the real Theological one, not the Political one, which we agree on, I believe.

matt mckendrick said...

Regarding the “gotcha” examples you’re using to excuse arranging flowers for a gay wedding, that’s a classic example of the continuum fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuum_fallacy Basically, although situations exist along a continuum, with some of the situations falling in a grey area, this doesn't prevent you from making definitive judgments about other situations in the continuum. For example, a lot of Christians have retirement accounts that probably have money invested in mutual funds that probably have some holdings Christians would find objectionable. I think that’s ok. OTOH, I think it’s wrong for Christians to directly buy stock in a company that exists for the purpose of providing pornography, abortions, etc. With all due respect, the party favor example is foolish. A person who makes an object for a legitimate end is not responsible for someone using it for immoral ends, e.g. a gun manufacturer is not responsible for murders/suicides. However, if a gay couple asked a party favor maker to supply custom party favors engraved “in celebration of the marriage of Adam and Steve” I think that’s a problem. I think the janitor is ok. I think it’s wrong to rent the facilities for a gay wedding. Here’s an example for you: suppose NAMBLA gets its way, and the age of consent is significantly lowered. You own a hotel, and an older man shows up with a couple of 11 year olds for a night of fun. Is it ok to rent him the room? Finally, yes, I think it’s wrong to make floral arrangements for a gay wedding, and I don’t think it’s a “strung-out convoluted road back to some clear biblical teaching.” As Jonesy above stated, it’s wrong to make sin seem attractive, or endorse or facilitate it. A strong case can be made that using one’s creative talents to celebrate a gay marriage falls into that category.

AJM said...

Re: M. Deane McKendrick:
You and Jonesy hit the nail.
Also, The party favor maker, the janitor, the Fire Chief, the Police Officer and each of us will answer to our Master, right?

Michael said...

Of course that fellow hated your book, Dan. He thought he was buying The World-Tailored Gospel.
Your book should be sub dedicated to folks such as him.

Terry Rayburn said...

M. Deane,

1. I'm always amused by the hackneyed expression "with all due respect", because it's invariably followed by disrespect, in this case calling me (by way of my illustration) foolish.

In that spirit, and with all due respect, your appeal to the continuum fallacy is silly, and shows you either don't understand it, or you don't understand my overall point (one of "weak", i.e. biblically uninformed, conscience).

The continuum fallacy is concerned with vagueness vs precision, a concept I didn't even brush upon. I didn't question the refusal to arrange flowers for a homo wedding because it's vague (imprecise), but because it has no biblical warrant, except through a labyrinth of flimsy reasoning steps.

I do take partial responsibility, however, if that seemingly simple point is not being articulated well enough.

2. Maybe an example is in order. I love my baby baptism brethren. But I despise baby baptism, not only because there is no command nor example in Scripture for it, but because it has been the instrument of so many people ending up in hell because they had the impression that their baptism as a baby saved them.

How do these brothers justify baby baptism? Not by showing either example or command in Scripture, but by a long, drawn-out, step-by-step set of poor reasonings, born ususally from their pre-supposed Covenant Theology (itself unbiblical, IMHO), and ending in equating baptism of infants with Old Testament circumcision -- and thereby neglecting the clear teaching of HEART circumcision as the real New Covenant spiritual (that is, non-sacramental) equivalent.

Then they will swear that it's an obvious logical deduction that we believer baptism guys just can't grasp because we're too illogical and, "with all due respect", dense.

3. Sadly, almost your whole comment is exactly the kind of Pharasaical mishmash that I'm talking about. Talk about irony.

You've parsed several different scenarios, declared (without Scripture) what exactly is "wrong" or "okay".


"...some holdings Christians would find objectionable. I think that’s ok."

"I think it’s wrong for Christians to directly buy stock [in a company doing immoral things]."

Pre-made party favors are alright, but [custom party favors] "I think that’s a problem."

" I think the janitor is ok."

"I think it’s wrong to rent the facilities for a gay wedding."

Etc., etc.

I know you think you've got it all figured out, and all the bases covered, but you don't even know you are doing exactly what I'm trying to point out is a problem!

I would urge you to reread my original comment -- carefully. Perhaps some other florist, baker, candlestick maker might be saved from the horror of the World vs the weak conscience.

Jim Pemberton said...

If a man said what AGL said, I'd say he was unfit for teaching ministry because it's a poor interpretation/application of Jeremiah. Simply, what God told his prophet about his being a prophet isn't to be taken as normative for anyone else.

Jim Pemberton said...

By the way, I'm working my way through the Sufficient Fire conference material on my 10K runs. Good stuff.

Benjamin said...

Terry: I have a very real friend, a professing Christian, who takes a stance very similar to your own, and we've argued about that stance. I take the position that, indeed, a Christian is obligated not to arrange flowers for a gay mirage. He, obviously then, does not. However, this very same friend, a freelance software engineer, was recently sent a work proposal by his biggest customer: to design the back-end for a "Facebook for sex" app, featuring explicit imagery and whose only goal is to facilitate fornication among its users. And by "back-end", I'm referring to the nuts and bolts stuff that makes the app do its thing -- he even said that he could have theoretically done the job without even once being exposed to the perverted imagery that would be featured on the app. Nevertheless, he wisely turned down the job, and instructed this client to never send him such disgusting filth ever again (I paraphrase, but that was his general response).

Now: everything I've just typed is absolutely true; it just happened over the last two weeks, in fact. So the pastoral implications and consequences are by no means hypothetical. To say nothing of the morality of a government that would compel my friend to program that app, was he right in turning down the job? Does he have a "weak conscience" because he turned down the job (keep in mind the caveat that he could have done it unstained by the actual content of the app)? And most importantly, how is this at all different from the gay mirage example?

Solameanie said...

"Frippery." Now, I've heard of "Frippertronics" (Robert Fripp - King Crimson), but not "frippery." My vocabulary grows. Thank you, Dan.

As for Rob Bell, it is disappointing that the "evangelical press" gives him the time of day any longer. He has trundled along from a low view of Scripture to now being completely dismissive of it. He deserves to be lumped in with the late Bishop Spong. He's no theologian or Bible teacher. Or pastor.

Terry Rayburn said...


It's very tough to deal with your comment, because I think it circumvents my original point, and I just don't know how to articulate my point in another way.

So I'll just throw out a few ideas that may be helpful to somebody (and maybe not).

1. Your dilemma horns remind me of the sort of philosophical "critical thinking" exercises that parents sometimes criticize Public Schools for -- for example, "If you and your parents were in a survival raft in the middle of the Pacific, and you were starving, and your parents agreed to let you eat them in order to survive, would you eat your Dad or your Mom first?"

2. I'm not even implying that there are no things that are wrong, nor that each of us has to make those kinds of decisions regularly.

3. But if you even attempt to see my original point, you must admit that some things which are not button-down obviously biblically wrong, are nevertheless *perceived* as wrong by folks who over-apply Scripture.

4. There is a sense in which the florist "facilitates" the homo marriage, but certainly could not be said to "celebrate" it, when in her heart she obviously doesn't celebrate it.

But neither you, nor the other commenters, have shown a significant difference between her "facilitation" and that of the doorman, rental hall owner, party favor makers, or janitor. All are "facilitators", whether "celebrators" or not.

Moreover, the florist herself admits to serving the homos for years as beloved customers. What did she think they were doing with the previous flowers, if not celebrating their "love"?

5. As a last illustration of the kind of muddled thinking that a weak conscience can engender, I offer this:

Many times over the years, when people hear I'm a Christian, or Bible teacher, etc., I've been asked this question:

"Is it a sin to smoke?"

Now you know as well as I that anything that is not of faith is sin, right?

So if a lady thinks it's sin to wear lipstick, but she wears it anyway, well...that's sin.

But one can easily show that smoking is potentially harmful to one's health. And our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. And we ought to treat it right, right? Therefore, yes, smoking is sin, right?

But one has to look at so much which is behind the question.

Does this guy think that if he didn't smoke anymore, he would be sinless? Does he want to quit smoking but is "hopelessly" hooked? Is he likely to bring Spurgeon into the discussion to defend himself?

What about the guy who drinks 8 fructose-laden Cokes a day? (Bad! Is 5 okay?) Is he in sin? What about saturated fats? Oh, wait, new science shows saturated fats are actually good for you! Oh no they're not! What about lack of exercise? Ad nauseum.

And the Pharisee is just in HEAVEN(!) parsing these things and setting everybody straight. Because once one has their Talmud and Mishna (in print or in their messed-up head), one don't need no Holy Spirit.

6. Finally, lest I be falsely accused, I heartily concur that there is MUCH in Scripture that delineates right from wrong, directly or by application.

But much of that application must be left to conscience.

I'm not condemning the florist. ("The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not....for God has accepted them." - Rom 14:3).

I'm not even speaking to her, but to those who by Scripture and wisdom might avoid her unnecessary trials by having a strong (biblically informed) conscience which allows them to [by way of illustration] "reject Sabbatarianism" and "eat meat", e.g., in the freedom of Lord.

Sidenote: I read of one guy who hasn't paid income tax for twenty years because the Gov't supports Planned Parenthood. (Interestingly, he has no conscience about deceiving the Gov't by putting his cars, houses, bank accounts, and property in other folks' names, to avoid penalty.)

Terry Rayburn said...


To go from the sublime to the ridiculous...

I notice on your blog "About" page that you are a Dave Matthews fan. Did you know he a strong supporter of gay rights and participated in "Love Unites Shepard Fairey Equality Project", a gay marriage advocacy project?

I hope you didn't buy any of his albums, and thereby finance and "celebrate" his perverse views on marriage.

You Rock 'n Rollers are all alike.

I jest, of course, but hope that brings light to my point. (There are some reading the above that assume I'm quite seriously bringing you to task on your lack of "separation".)

Seriously, you seem like a great guy, and your wide range of interests make you seem like an interesting guy to drink Cokes with (but not too many), even if you are an Engineer. :)

Benjamin said...


The silly first (and for the record, my tone here is totally at ease, no offense taken or intended, etc.): I kinda chuckled when you brought up my profile, because I haven't touched that thing in at least five years. That being said, the modifier "historically" attached to my musical preferences was meant to convey that such was no longer true. In fact, for the very reasons you mention!, inter alia, I stopped patronizing that particular band over a decade ago -- I merely included it there to give a sense of the sorts of music I like. And even my soda-drinking is sanctified -- I only drink Coke Zero! Hah! ;)

Now on to the more serious -- you're absolutely right that I circumvented your main point -- because I disagree with it! Starting from your original point #2, I think you hit a significant flaw. Since everything beyond that point depends on that point, there is no sense responding to anything further -- I maintain that my example exposes the flaws in your view. I'd certainly like to hear reasons why it doesn't. Let me put it simply: is there any way, in the freedom of Christ, that it would be morally acceptable for my friend to write the software for that website?