A while back John Piper put out a video that defended God’s right to judge the Canaanites by the hand of the Israelites in the conquest narratives of the OT. He said something along the lines of “God is God, he made you and doesn’t owe you jack, so if he takes your life, you really have nothing to complain about. Also, God can use whom he pleases to do so.” Roughly.
Predictably, some people got mad. I mean, I get that. It’s a tough subject and any answer is going to be kind of awkward (although, honestly, at this point Piper could say that God loves kittens and somebody would snark, “But only elect ones, right?”). Beyond just general Facebook furor when it hit, it recently provoked a frontal-assault/response from author and pastor Brian Zahnd. For those who don’t know, Zahnd has been a rising voice on the Evangelical/Post-Evangelical Left since his book “Beauty Will Save the World” came out last year. I actually read it and loved it, even if I did have some qualms about the pacifism peeking out here and there.
Well, pacifist though he may be, Zahnd came out guns blazing with accusations of voluntarism against the monstrous God of Calvinism, and, just the slightest bit of Muslim-baiting in his provocatively titled, “John Piper and Allahu Akbar.” As you might have picked up, I didn’t love this post quite as much as the book and I’ll get to why in a minute. But first, a few quick caveats.
To be clear, I don’t particularly care to defend Piper’s views here as he is a big boy who can defend himself. Nor is this is denial that the OT narratives involving the conquest and destruction of the Canaanites require some serious consideration. They do. Actually, while we’re on the subject, I’d commend Paul Copan’s work on the subject in the book “Is God a Moral Monster?” or this summary article paying attention to historical, genre, and canonical considerations here. Finally, I too am very concerned about the misuse of Scripture to promote violence.
What I do want is to look at is Zahnd’s reponse, which, to mind, left something to be desired in terms of theological honesty as well as, well, ‘soundness of teaching’? (I don’t want to say orthodoxy, given his clear, robust Nicene and Chalcedonian faith.) Yes, I’m putting on my argumentative Reformed hat again, which I do try to stay away from, but, in all fairness, Zahnd shot first.
Well, without further ado, here are a few points in no particular order.
Zahnd found a cute short-hand for Piper’s theology of sovereignty, or rather, that of “Calvin’s disciples”, which he dubbed “Calvin’s Ism.” He then proceeded to rail on it, lamenting the way Piper and others would go to such great lengths to defend the “Ism” to the point of creating a monstrous voluntaristic/nominalist God whose will is what it is, simply because it is, and so forth. Don’t you know that we should look at Jesus, not what Calvin thought about Jesus?! Away with such Greek-philosophy-influenced, metaphysical barbarisms!
It’s typical anti-Calvinist boilerplate that fires up the troops and so forth, so I get it. As one of “Calvin’s Disciples” though, I simply wanted to stop and point out that, as a matter of historical fact, Calvin strongly repudiated the overly-voluntaristic and nominalist tradition popular in his day at the Sorbonne flowing from theological giants like Scotus and Ockham. (Incidentally, I always find it funny when guys who basically riff off of French social theorists like Rene Girard’s scapegoating theory when it comes to the Gospel, have the gall to call out “Greek philosophical categories” in more traditional theology.)
Calvin explicitly rejected a view of God’s unrestrained will, or absolute power, divorced from God’s justice or God’s goodness. While he unabashedly defends God’s complete sovereignty over human history, he simultaneously condemns “that absolute will of which the Sophists babble, by an impious and profane distinction separating his justice from his power.” (Institutes 1.17.2) That’s just one among many examples.
Again, it’s a fun phrase, and when you’re driving the punch-line home, why not pick a baddie to rip on your fanbase already doesn’t like? Calvin’s perfect for that, especially since most people haven’t actually read him much. But, in this case, Zahnd should probably find another whipping boy to pin the voluntarism charge on.
Killing is Not Always Murder
Moving more to the point, Zahnd tells us that God could never have ordered the conquest and judgment of the Canaanites in the way the narratives portray it because that would involve killing which is murder and God would never order murder.
So for some this next point might seem basic: while all murder is killing, not all killing is murder. For others, this is a basic false distinction that they rejected as un-biblical a long time ago.
I’ll just say that a prima facie reading of the Scriptures, especially the OT legal code (Exod. 21), shows that while God hates human death, the law that he handed down seemed to recognize a distinction between killing and murder. Actually, very early on in the narrative of the Torah, we find out that the reason he allows for some killing is precisely because he hates murder (Gen. 9:6). Murder is unjustifiable, but executions and judgments seemed to be accounted for and even commanded by God himself in various places in the OT law and the subsequent narrative. Of course, that raises the issue of the reliability of the OT on this point.
Which brings us to the really big issue with Zahnd’s post.
Marcionism isn’t a Better Option
See, Zahnd says we shouldn’t let something like the Old Testament slow us down when we’re thinking about these things:
And don’t let the Old Testament work you into a corner. You don’t need to defend the Old Testament to the extent that you find it necessary to justify genocide. God forbid! We can simply say this…
The Old Testament is the inspired telling of the story of Israel coming to know their God. Along the way assumptions were made and they didn’t get everything right. Keep reading the Bible until you come to Jesus and then center your reading of all Scripture in the light of Christ.
This is a perfect example of what Andrew Wilson has called the “New Marcionism“, which, while not explicitly repudiating the OT the way Marcion did, insists on seeing such a radical discontinuity between the God we see testified to in the OT and that of the NT that it has much the same effect.
Let me unsympathetically paraphrase Zahnd for you to see the problem: “The ancient Israelites who wrote the Holy Scriptures got some stuff wrong, but we know better now that Jesus came. We know that Jesus would never order something like that, so we know that God didn’t order something like that, so just don’t trouble yourself about it. The verses are just wrong. I mean, sure, Jesus said that the Scriptures all pointed to him (John 5:39), and the law is to be perfectly fulfilled (Matt. 5), and we can assume he read those parts, but he couldn’t possibly have meant all of it. Sure we have parallels in the NT with Revelation and God raining down judgment, etc. not to mention Jesus himself casting down judgment of his own, but again, don’t let that trouble you. Nevermind the deeply pervasive theology of God the Warrior who goes before Israel in battle that informs much of the OT, and depends on some of those “mistaken assumptions”–just try and skip those bits. I mean don’t worry that this even figures into Luke’s telling of Acts as a conquest narrative. Just squint until you see it properly. God wouldn’t do anything like that. I mean, don’t bother trying understand the difference between God’s administration of covenant justice in Israel v. the Church because of Christ’s ushering in a new phase in redemptive-history. It’s not that the same God can manifest his eternally good and beautiful character in consistent, but historically-distinct ways. We have the much easier option of saying the Israelites just got it wrong. Simple as that. Don’t worry about what that does to undermine the authority of the OT and its ability to actually point to Jesus Christ. Please don’t trouble yourself with the way this sort of crypto-Marcionism might spill into the subtle anti-Semitism of viewing the Old Testament as an inherently inferior text like the old-school German Liberal scholars who made this sort of argument popular back in the early part of the 20th Century. I mean, no big deal.”
In a dispute with the Pharisees in John 10:35, Jesus tells us that the scriptures cannot be “broken.” The Greek word there is luo which can be translated “to destroy, to tear down, the break to pieces” (Louw-Nida 20:35). Essentially, it can’t be ignored, released, explained away, or rendered null or void. Except, that’s exactly what Zahnd suggests we do with those uncomfortable bits.
On ‘Christocentric’ Readings (Or, The Cure that Killed the Patient)
Here’s the thing, when your “Christocentric” reading of the Scriptures leads you to ignore or deny parts of Scriptures the way Christ says shouldn’t happen, you might be doing it wrong. Realize that this isn’t about whether we’re going to read the Bible in light of Jesus, but about how. Does the revelation of Jesus Christ crucified and risen shed light on and transfigure the testimony of God’s dealing with Israel, or simply deny, or downgrade its validity by cutting chunks out?
Of course, this goes to the deeper theological question who we’re going to allow God to be? Will we allow him to reveal himself as a God who, though simple in essence, is narratively-complex in his self-rendering in the history of Israel? “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exod. 34:6-7) Do we let Jesus be both the one who longs to shelter Jerusalem under his wings to save them, all the while forcefully proclaiming God’s impending, violent, judgment on their sins (Matt 23:29-39)? Do we allow for the full picture of Jesus to emerge, or the one we’ve shoved into our pacifistic Procrustean bed, and shave off the verses that don’t fit?
While some of us are tempted to take Zahnd’s path of essentially rejecting prior revelation as the mistaken assumptions of our spiritual fathers, Might I suggest a surer, admittedly less comfortable, course? It is a route that N.T. Wright offers up in his answer to Wilson on the issue of the New Marcionism:
“There are many many things that God does, has done or will do which are not waiting for my approval or sanction before he does them. You know that line, “Many people want to serve God, but usually only in an advisory capacity.” Bonhoeffer said that putting the knowledge of good and evil before the knowledge of God is the primary sin in Genesis 3. They go for the knowledge of good and evil rather than what God says. Now that could just be an escape; it could just be throwing up our hands and saying we don’t know anything about God (when the whole point of the gospel is that we do know who God is, because of Jesus). However, if it’s the crucified Jesus, and if the cross means what it means in the light of the whole history of Israel, which is focused onto that, then … these narratives are the way in which all of those horrible, puzzling ambiguities, and all the awful things that happen – like Jesus saying, “what about those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell?” – there’s a sense that the cross gathers up all those puzzling, tragic horrible fragments of life, and says swoosh this is where it’s all going.
“I hold this within the framework I articulated this morning, which is to say: from the call of Abraham onwards, what God is committing himself to do is to act to bring about the restoration of the world, but to act through deeply flawed human beings, who constantly need to be reminded that they’re deeply flawed. That then produces all kinds of (to our mind) ambiguities. And I see all of it coming together in the cross. The cross is the moment when I see Israel’s God performing the salvific event, which is simultaneously the worst and most blasphemous act of judicial, theocidal murder than one can ever imagine. And somehow the cross itself says: these things are now reconciled.”
Of course there’s more to say, but I’ve already said too much for what’s an allegedly short blog post. (May God forgive my lies.) The end of the matter is that while Zahnd may find Piper’s alleged voluntarism to be a gross misrepresentation of Jesus by distortion, his own neo-Marcionism leaves us with a highly-abridged Bible, and therefore an abridged Jesus, which is hardly an improvement. While offering a solution to the Bible’s problematic texts, Zahnd is inadvertently administering the kind of cure that kills the patient.
Soli Deo Gloria
I first committed my life to Christ at Pastor Zahnd’s church, though I have since had my convictions shaped by the Reformed tradition. I’m thankful God uses his ministry and others at his church for his kingdom, but I’m sad that he often moves so far away from orthodoxy. I still have lots of friends up there who are members and even staff at the church, and it pains me to think of some of the things they are being taught.
Thanks for the post, by the way. And thanks for the generous tone toward a brother in error.
Ya, to be clear, like I said above, his book was great and I learned a lot from it. I do think he’s orthodox, (I don’t want to drop the h-bomb here), but I just really think his doctrine of revelation is off.
Thanks for dropping by the blog.
Brother Zanhd’s complaint against Piper is exactly why I need to stay off the Internet. Gets me riled and doesn’t get me anywhere. I probably need to read my Bible more, pray for my congregation, and talk to real live people in my neighbourhood about Jesus.
Still, I am glad there are responders like you out there who can answer the rhetoric.
Interesting how some I know who would enjoy Zanhd’s retort contra Piper also tend to be those who groove off of Wright. I loved Wright’s wisdom to Wilson when it first came out. Good strategy employing him now.
Derek, when I read your recent posts I can’t help but think of this: http://www.zhoag.com/2013/08/15/new-religious-right/
Zanhd’s a mega church hack but your railing against pacifism with no tilt towards how just-war or no just-war relates to American Christian’s support of foreign policy that does not follow it principles is a poor choice. Why do you think pacifism theology is running amok? Also, try dealing with the heavy weights like Richard Hays, Michael Gorman, Stanley Hauerwas, or John Howard Yoder, not light weight mega-church pastor’s. (Even Preston Sprinkle’s new book which I have low hopes for).
As a pacifist I read an appreciate Calvin (who IMO would be no friend of Piper’s) but our better arguments actually hinge on Jesus seeing as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets and full humanity in the flesh. When you look at Jesus as the fullest expression of humanity and the God who rescued Israel from slavery (the orthodox position) it becomes difficult justify violence. Not impossible but difficult. Are fine with God ordering what God orders Israel to do, but after Jesus life, death, and resurrection, we know that minus a direct word from God we aren’t meant to model that life. God isn’t a pacifist, and most of us don’t need him to be (God also isn’t a ‘just-warrior’. God is God). But God is fully expressed in Jesus and that is hard to reconcile with violence towards our enemies, or our friends.
Also, what other Piper quotes would you like to defend? Christianity having a masculine feel? The tornado being caused by the gays? His posts from the book of Job around tornado? HIs farewell tweet before a book comes out? Not to mention his support of Mark Driscoll and Douglas Wilson (slavery anyone?)
And on final note: when you bring this level of cricticism to your blog it’s not hard to see the commentators that come home to roost. This is the internet and you are becoming there new voice for finding false teachers whether you intend to or not.
So please get back to posting on Barth and the READ John Calvin!.
REAL not READ John Calvin. Although people should READ John Calvin.
Hey Karl, thanks for stopping by to comment. Appreciate the push-back.
A few quick points:
1. As I explicitly noted quite early on, the post wasn’t really aimed at defending Piper’s quotes or statements, but criticizing what I thought was a harmful bit of teaching from another well-known teacher who was responding to him.
2. I wouldn’t call Zahnd a mega-church hack, just a teacher. Which is kind of what I am, but maybe even less. That’s why I engaged with his post. It was widely-read and I felt it worth responding to. While the scholars you mentioned are also worth engaging with, from time to time I think it’s appropriate to deal with writers with a broader appeal.
3. On the whole argument on pacifism, etc. I did just post a link on Monday to a series of good posts on pacifism and Just War theory that you might be interested. It’s probably a subject to which I’ll return later, possibly dealing with Yoder or others. Still, to be clear, I am not defending, nor was Piper for that matter, the indiscriminate use of the sword by Christians post-Christ. That’s just not in the post.
4. On the general note: I think I mostly stick to non-polemical, general pieces. I like those more anyways. You can look forward to more Calvin and Barth, among others. That said, from time to time I get the sense that I ought to respond to certain more pop-level teachings or issues. You know, kinda like the NT authors do? Now, I try to do it with charity and grace, and I think I’ve been mostly fair. If I haven’t, well then, yes, I guess I am inviting a response and I should expect it. Well, even if I have, it’s perfectly normal to expect a response. That’s okay too. All that to say, thanks for the concern. I’m aware myself of the dangers of turning into a “discernment” blogger with sharp axe.
Thanks again for stopping by.
I’m kind of with you though I’m somewhat reluctant to be. I like pacifism insofar as I myself am concerned. I’m also disappointed that you’re not willing to say anything against what John Piper said. Basically his argument boils down to might makes right. He’s God; He’s big; so He’s right. It IS pure voluntarism and IS NOT faithful to your presentation of the original Calvin.
Regardless of that, I’ve been too immersed in the psalms for the past year not to believe that God protects His people from their oppressors. That’s the fundamental truth of His love and wrath. Who are His people? Those who have entered into His mercy. Those who refuse His mercy whatever form their resistance takes, even if they’re waving a big old Jesus flag around, will not be a part of the remnant who are hidden away with Christ in a little hole of beauty in the ground called heaven while the big ugly beasts cover themselves in God’s wrath by flailing against each other forever in the desolate wide open space of hell (my reversal of the Great Divorce metaphor).
Yeah, with Piper’s answer I’d have to go into the issues of divine providence, permission, etc. which would be a whole ‘nother can of worms on top of Zahnd’s post. I think the broad outlines of Piper’s response actually work, but the way he phrases things, especially when it comes to “God kills people every day”, comes off heavier, and might actually be heavier, than I’d agree with when it all shakes out.
He’s putting himself on the other side of the line of divine mystery and arrogating it to himself. That’s what’s unacceptable. We have to say shit happens, but God’s in charge, and God is love, and that doesn’t need to make sense.
I think the proper biblical term is ‘skubala’, Morgan.
Have you by any chance read TheDoors of the Sea, by David Bentley Hart? He really goes into some of the metaphysical you brought up in the beginning of this post.
I have and unfortunately that is my least-favorite piece by Hart that I’ve read. I think he leaves things hanging in an unacceptable way and, Reformed as I am, I think his treatment of Augustinian thought lacking as well. Brilliant writer, though.
I seems Augustine’s chapter, The morality of the Patriarchs in his Confessions should be more problematic for you than Zahnd’s post. Thoughts on that?
Haven’t read it in a bit. Will probably cruise over to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it reads a bit off. The Fathers had a tendency to allegorize the OT passages that didn’t fit their sensibilities as well, which is unfortunate, although that’s better in some ways than just saying those parts are uninspired and wrong.
I’m not sure that Brian’s view of revelation is Marcionite…although I have more sympathy for Marcion than many Christians do. I think his initial impulse made sense, but the anti-semitism of his conclusions is absolutely unacceptable.
I think that thinking about the Hebrew Scripture as Brian thinks about it is very similar to the way the NT authors thought about it: this is the Scripture, but how is it now reinterpreted in light of what has happened to us? A typical Evangelical hermeneutic fails to acknowledge Scripture’s internal critique and reinterpretation of itself. It seems to me that Jewish hermeneutics have always acknowledged the need to interpret and reinterpret. Why do Christians have such a flat view of the text? Interesting again that you critique the church fathers who allegorized the text, but seem to have no problem importing Western philosophical categories (omnipotence, impassibility, etc.) into texts that “clearly” express the exact opposite.
What I’m trying to say is: interpretation is complicated. Zahnd is perhaps reacting emotionally to Piper (although Piper’s words are so frequently emotionally charged and completely debatable), but I think the impulse behind his critique is necessary for deep interpretation.
Hey Luke, thanks for dropping by and commenting. A few quick response points:
1. Didn’t say he was a strict Marcionite, but rather that his method of reconciling the tensions between OT and NT lead us to a Neo-Marcionite position. In a way it still pits OT and NT against each other in an unacceptable fashion. I explicitly noted that I agree that the issue is a complicated one in need of thoughtful treatments. In fact, the point of the post is that Zahnd’s approach wasn’t nuanced enough.
2. I think you’re very quickly imputing to me whatever the ‘typical Evangelical’ hermeneutic that you’ve got in your mind and then moving to criticize that. The issue of the relationship between the NT and OT is a complex and many-sided one, subject to much debate and an area where nuance is needed.Nothing in this post denies that, and I’ve written elsewhere about the importance of complex, multi-layered approaches to interpretation including typology, fulfillment, genre, contextual issues, etc.
What I’m saying is that “Christians” don’t all have a flat view of the text. In fact, I might ask why you have such “flat” view of Christians?
If you’d like a couple of helpful approaches to these issues I would commend the works of Kevin Vanhoozer (The Drama of Doctrine), and G.K. Beale (New Testament Theology.) They’re really very good.
3. As for my treatment of the Fathers, I’m largely appreciative of their overall approach, but yes, I find them deficient at certain points. I read them like a Protestant. Go figure. As for “Western categories” like ‘impassibility’ ‘omniscience’, etc. I think those are theological concepts and doctrines that can be derived from the text even if we might use un-scriptural terminology to express them.
Well, again, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I might suggest re-reading the post, though, as I’m not sure you picked up the thrust of where I was going with this.
1. You’re right, and I think I was responding more to the pushback in the comments than to you. I’m just not sure that Zahnd (who I have no reason to defend outside of appreciating some of his thoughts and knowing a few people who know him) is pitting the Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament against each other. It seems to me that his kind of interpretation (and maybe I’m getting this from other posts besides the one in question regarding John Piper) is actually trying to deal with the different texts in a similar fashion to the NT authors and the Church Fathers, rather than to an anti-Jewish polemicist like Marcion. There seems to be a voice behind the voice of the text that the NT authors are seeking to discover as they reinterpret the Story in light of “the Event” that has taken place. That said, you’re point is well taken regarding this particular posting of Zahnd…it’s emotional and divisive and “sound-bytey.”
2. I’m not sure that I have a “typical Evangelical hermeneutic” in mind, although that may very well be true. What I do know is that you self-identify as Reformed, and seem to use that particular tradition as your framework. While Christians may not all have a flat view of the text, it seems to me that the kind of Christians who rush to charge thinkers like Zahnd with a Marcionite or neo-Marcionite hermeneutic (a la Andrew Wilson in the interview with Wright) are certainly not applying the nuance necessary to discern whether that’s a proper label. The anti-semitism of Marcion is the problem, not his ethical issues with the Hebrew Bible. I think it makes perfect sense to have ethical issues with something that is ancient and contextually alien. The history of Jewish interpretation reveals a distinct evolution of ethical hermeneutics. Heck, I would argue that the Hebrew Scripture is self-critiquing at many points. Everyone who’s read the thing has had issues with it. The question is what we do with those issues. All that said, I apologize for coming on like gangbusters without fully addressing or acknowledging the thoughtfulness of your post.
I’ll accept the rebuke of not reading the post clearly. Thanks for the pushback and engagement.
Late to the scene (actually after reading one of Morgan’s recent posts that referenced this discussion). Anyway a few thoughts…I agree that Zahnd’s post is pretty strong, but it’s understandable because we’re not just debating various doctrines; the very nature of God is at stake. In my opinion, as long as the reformed tradition and other Christian traditions who place the Bible over Jesus keep rubber stamping divine violence–we will always have a distorted view of God–which will distort our discipleship. I get that Keller wants to say, in light of Jesus, things are different now. But reality is, persons who believe God causes or allows murder, torture, and war, are often the very same persons supporting the death penalty, the torture of terrorists, and the dropping of bombs on persons made in the image of God. What we believe about who God is profoundly shapes our faith. This isn’t just a bunch of crazy leftists worshipping some hippie God…we’re talking about millions of evangelicals and pentecostals saying, we know the Father through the Son by the guiding of the Holy Spirit.
Grace and peace,
A few quick points:
1. Yes, the very nature of God is at stake–as well as that of his revelation. That’s something we both agree on.
2. It’s not simply a matter of placing the Bible over Jesus, but of people pitting Jesus against the Bible that he himself said was God’s word. It’s not respecting or glorifying God to deny what he says in his word as if he didn’t say it because of our narrow, modernist pretensions.
Pushing it further, we only know about Jesus through the Spirit-inspired Word. I care about the Bible because that is where the Spirit teaches me about the Son.
3. As for all the things you’re talking about, yes, those are real issues, but scrapping the text of scripture doesn’t make these problems go away. Simply because texts have been misused in those ways, it doesn’t mean we should take such a radical view towards the texts.
4. As for your shot about ‘reformed’ rubber-stamping of divine violence…eh. I know it might play well in whatever circles you run in, but if you’re actually trying to convinced someone in the Reformed tradition to hear you, please spare us the cheap rhetoric.
Thanks for the reply.
1) at least we can agree on what’s at stake.
2) those who hold to scripture as inspired vs infallible are going to keep disagreeing–though I personally think the infallible camp does as many gymnastics to get out of texts
3) questioning texts which seems to contradict the loving nature of God’s fullest revelation of himself in Jesus Christ is less radical than worshiping a genocidal God. And you’re right, there’s no guarantee that us anti-wrath folks are going to be perfect–but our image of God will profoundly shape us. “What we are worshipping we are becoming.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
4) I apologize for using a cheap language. I was being lazy for sure. guess my concern is that when you lock yourself into believing everything attributed to God is 100% accurate, then you will in fact approve of everything the text says God did.
2. Yeah, it must be nice being able to just scrap all the awkward bits of Scripture instead of having to actually wrestle with them.
3. Not worshipping a genocidal God, but one who reveals himself to be loving and just and merciful and holy and…well, you get the picture. I don’t actually see a conflict with who we see revealed in Jesus Christ, especially since Jesus affirms the OT. See, that’s the thing. It’s cool to claim you like the revelation of Christ, but you actually have to listen to what he says for that to work.
Also, no wrath? Have fun worshipping a god who doesn’t get angry at murder, rape, racism, pride, idolatry, and injustice. See, that god, well, he’s kinda scary to me too. Without righteous, moral indignation, and a will to do something about it (which is what wrath is), then you unintentionally turn God into an apathetic monster.
4. Thanks. On that, well, I’ve just made a decision that I’m not smarter than the text (which I take to be God’s inspired word.) That doesn’t mean I’m not uncomfortable, or I don’t wrestle, or struggle to understand it, but this whole “Yeah, that couldn’t be one of the inspired bits of Scripture because it rubs me the wrong way” approach has some dangers to it as well.
Alright, kinda done with this post. Have a good one.
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