#1. Joel Watts Gets One Right— http://unsettledchristianity.com/quote-of-the-day-daniel-dennett-on-postmodernism/
Postmodernism, the school of “thought” that proclaimed “There are no truths, only interpretations” has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for “conversations” in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster…The best way for the humanities to get back their mojo is to learn from the invaders and re-acquire the respect for truth that they used to share with the sciences. — Daniel Dennett
This is a quote that he is responding to and I needed it here to provide context. Here is what Watts says in response:
This is, I fear, the nature of modern religion, specifically modern Christianity. There is no truth. There are only matters of interpretations so that regardless of what one believes, it is a personal matter of no importance.
Here he is right as I have been hearing for over 30 years now responses to what I have said, ‘That’s your interpretation.’ It didn’t take a supposed post-modern way of thinking to introduce that concept into the church, people use it constantly when they want to avoid hearing the truth. Of course, the idea that there are only interpretations flies in the face of biblical teaching as I have often quoted Jesus on this matter. You all know the verse– ‘ye shall know the truth and it shall set you free.’
There is truth and there is only one,not many. Just like there is only one true religious faith and not many leading to the same goal. The true Christian church needs its leaders to get back to the truth and preach and apply that correctly so that all Christians and people will know the right way to go and, hopefully, make the right decision.
This is one of the things that bothers me about the Irish vote recently that approved same-sex marriage in their country. Their ‘yes’ vote simply tells their people that there is no such thing as truth and there is no such thing as right and wrong. There are just accepted and unacceptable practices and those standards are flexible. The truth is not flexible which is why so many people do not want it and gravitate towards interpretation. The latter allows them to feel good about their wrong behavior and thoughts.
#2. He Is Wrong About The Ancients— http://biologos.org/news/may-2015/meet-scot-mcknight-biologos-conference-plenary-speaker
For some Jewish writers of that time, Adam comes off more positively than for others, but in each, Adam is not just the first human being but also the archetypal first sinner whose sin had an impact on those who followed him. In no instances is Adam simply the first human being in a long chain of history; Adam is always the archetype of humans in general or of Israel in particular. How did these authors learn to read Adam as an archetype and come to know these things? Not by historical investigation as we do it, not by scientific inquiry as we do it but, put plainly and simply: they knew Adam as the literary Adam found in their sacred book, the Torah, in Genesis.
How does he know this? I know that this idea has been trumpeted for years now by archaeologists and historians but there actually is no evidence to support that argument. I say this because I know that these same people talk out of the other side of their mouths and praise certain ancients for their scientific work and their historical records. When one is talking about the ancients and what they did or did not know you need to remind them that we have so few ancient written works available that such a conclusion cannot be made.
When people say the above, what they are really saying is that they do not believe God about Adam being a real and historical person, the first human. They are saying they accept and believe what unbelievers say about ancient humans and that there was no historical Adam and Eve. Then what they are saying is that they do not believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God which puts them in the camp of evil for they certainly are not on God’s side.
#3. Biblical Issues Are Not For The Unbeliever— http://unsettledchristianity.com/book-notice-candidamosss-reconceiving-infertility-biblical-perspectives-on-procreation-and-childlessness/
In the Book of Genesis, the first words God speaks to humanity are “Be fruitful and multiply.” From ancient times to today, these words have been understood as a divine command to procreate. Fertility is viewed as a sign of blessedness and moral uprightness, while infertility is associated with sin and moral failing. Reconceiving Infertility explores traditional interpretations such as these, providing a more complete picture of how procreation and childlessness are depicted in the Bible.
Closely examining texts and themes from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Candida Moss and Joel Baden offer vital new perspectives on infertility and the social experiences of the infertile in the biblical tradition.
This section does not address Joel Watts as he is not the one doing the speaking here. I titled this section in the way that I did as I am getting tired of seeing so many unbelievers and alternative believers speaking on issues they do not understand or believe. When McGrath made his point about scholars correcting the masses on biblical points I made a comment stating that the unbelieving scholar does not have holy help in obtaining the truth about what God has said.
That is the point I want to make here, again. When you do not believe, you are deceived and how you look at the Bible is skewed because of the evil influences that have a free reign in your minds. They blind people to the truth and push them towards conclusions that are far from what God has said and judging from the above quote, Candida Moss and Joel Baden have fallen victim to or have always been under evil’s influence.
It is not just this topic of infertility but since the sinful world doe snot have the truth they should not expect to get to it on their own or through their own ways of study and research. They need their eyes opened to see what is really going on. Now they may make a good point or two but that will be about it. I have not seen fertility and infertility expressed in the Bible as equivalents to blessedness, moral uprightness or sin and moral failing. Was Elizabeth sinful or had a moral failing because she was barren? No of course not but according to that logic she must have and if she had, why are we not treated to her repentance and restoration first before being told she would be the mother of John the Baptist?
After all, both she and Mary were living under Mosaic law and OT culture. Why pick 3 women only when Samson’s mother who seemed to do nothing wrong that we know of? What did she do to deserve being barren? Then what did she do to receive the blessing God gave her? Their logic just does not make sense and ignores how many details we do not have about the lives of those women. Or God’s interaction with them.
Moss & Baden also misunderstand God’s command to be fruitful and multiply as do so many believers have done throughout history to the modern age. I will not go into it here but suffice it to say people do not clarify with God to find out if they got the message correct before they set out on a course of action. The fact that Moss and Baden do not have the help of the HS tells us that their perspective on this and any issue will be filled with error and biblical misunderstandings and they are not contributing anything constructive to the church.
Over the course of the past year I’ve had an ongoing series introducing readers to what I call the “biblical alternative to hell,” which is a position called conditionalism…. In brief for newcomers, those who hold to the position of conditionalism or annihilationism believe the Bible teaches that those who ultimately refuse to be reconciled to God through Christ are “totally destroyed” or “blotted out of the Book of Life,” as in, they ultimately cease to exist
The owner of that website does not believe God yet still claims to be a Christian but if you read his words, you will see that he does not understand one thing God has said in the Bible and does not have the help of the HS to get to the truth. His whole series contradicts the Bible and what it teaches about hell. I have brought this topic up here before and shown how that author is dishonest in his presentation of biblical passages and that is another reason why I say that unbelievers and alternative believers need to stop talking about biblical topics as if they have an inside track or know something about scriptures.
They are dishonest in their presentation of what God has recorded in the Bible’s pages. They cannot be honest for if they were, their alternative points would crumble right before their very eyes and they do not want that to happen. They want to believe alternatives because it gives them false hope and relieves them of the despair that will come when they realize they are very, very wrong. This dishonesty is why you have to be careful when you read their works for they can be very subtle to say the least.
No, unbelievers and alternative believers need to stop expounding upon the bible like they know the truth. They need to repent of their sins in order to remove the blindness that covers their eyes but since most of them do not believe the devil exists or that he has the influence he has, that rarely happens. That author ends his article with the following words:
But the traditional view of hell? That view paints a picture of God where He loses in the end.
How does God lose when he is the one revealing to us what hell is, who it is for and why humans will be sent there. It also tells us that it will not be a temporary punishment:
10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and [f]brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever…. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if [k]anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20 NASB)
There is no confusion or ambiguity to this revelation.
As some continue to debate the presence of women in the pulpit, we must not miss this immediate problem: the marked absence of women in areas of church leadership that are open to them.
We should not hinder women from serving God in those church positions that God has opened up to them. BUT we need to make sure God has led them to those positions and that they are qualified to occupy those positions. This means we need to make sure their attitudes are correct, that they are not harboring sin or doing sinful activities and that they are humbly following all of God’s rules.
They are fighting to be seen as necessary beyond children’s ministry and women’s ministry. They are fighting to contribute more than hospitality or a soft voice on the praise team. They are looking for leadership trajectories for women in the local church and finding virtually nothing. They watch their brothers receive advocacy and wonder who will invite them and equip them to lead well. If the contributions of women are equally valued in the church, shouldn’t we see some indication in the way we staff?
The question for this is: are they looking for those real positions or do they want to sneak into church leadership through the back door? This is the problem with this issue. Where are we going to draw the line and will the women accept that line? Obviously we need to draw the line where God draws it and not succumb to modern cultural influences. Nor should we allow for selfish desires to help create that barrier. We do need to be honest and make sure we do have the right positions available for women to fill but that does not mean we put them on staff, that would make them church leaders- a position where they are not allowed to go.
But we must be careful that our high regard doesn’t morph into idolatry.
This is a common complaint by those who want women in church leadership roles. They confuse obedience to God’s word with making the Bible an idol and those who subscribe to this view error on their definitions. Getting people to obey is not the same as making a biblical instruction an object of worship. Making something an idol means we bow down to it and praise it, but that is not what is happening here when we limit women to biblical roles.
We men are charged with keeping our women from sinning in spite of their best efforts to fudge on God’s rules.
Much of this counsel applies equally to the roles of teacher, counselor, minister, lay leader—roles that can be filled by both men and women.
The problem she overlooks is the admonition by Paul that women cannot teach men and according to Jewish tradition males become men at about the age of 12 or 13. This means that the positions of teacher is limited to women and men under the age of 12 if women are going to fill that position. The last two positions are filled only if the definition and duties do not violate God’s rules.
We need some hands and feet to go with all these heads, and many of them are female. The sisters among us are wondering when we’ll be able to tangibly demonstrate equal value in the local church, not just affirm this value with our words.
The problem here is that that author is using one verse that does not apply to this issue and using it to define who can or cannot be a church leader. Also what that author forgets, is that the husband of these women have a say in this matter and if they do not want their wives to fill these positions then they cannot do so or the woman would be sinning and then corrupting the position they have filled.
We do not take one passage of scripture and negate the others that apply. A woman is to be in submission to her husband and these verses apply to this issue. Women are not free from these instructions simply because they are trying to be a church leader.
What opportunities would you seek out for him to cultivate his gifts and gain ministry experience? What hopes would you have for him as a leader? Now, ask yourself the same questions for a woman. If the fact that she will never fill the pulpit means you cannot imagine a ministry trajectory for her, something is wrong. What ministry might she build and run? What place on your executive staff might she fill? What committee needs her leadership? What role in the Sunday gathering needs her voice and example? Where can her teaching gift be leveraged? What blind spot or planning dilemma can she speak into? What mission effort can she spearhead?
These are both good and bad questions but I do not think that women, or certain women, are ready for the answers nor will they accept them when given. Most of these sound like an end run around God’s rules for the church. Women need to be content with being the helpmeet and not the leader, they need to focus on
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. (Luke 1610 NASB)
before trying to get those larger positions in the church. Women are not excused from this guideline because they are women or that they feel they have been discriminated against or suppressed. They really need to know the biblical instructions concerning leadership long before they demand to be promoted to such positions. A lot of women put the cart before the horse and that is not how you get the cart to move.
But I cherish the hope it will one day yield up a sermon on the priesthood of all believers
I put the key word in bold as it is another term that most believers do not understand nor use correctly. That word doe snot over-rule God’s instructions to women given throughout the Bible. God’s rules still apply concerning church leadership regardless of this identification.
Treasure the brotherhood of the pastorate, but for the love of the church, invite your sisters to take a seat at the ministry table, a seat you may reflexively want to fill with a man.
The answer to this is a ‘no’. We do not place women in positions just because there are no women in these positions. If they are biblically allowed to hold certain positions, they still have to be spiritually qualified to fill those roles. Should women represent the other women of the church and inform the leadership of what is going on in their lives and in the church–of course but that does not mean they need to be or have to be a leader of the church.
Communication of women issues is not restricted to the idea that there must be a woman leader in the church or on a committee.
But when he does, may he be greeted by a church whose practice affirms its belief that the equal value of men and women was never open to debate.
This point doesn’t hold water for that opens the church to sinful practices in the name of equality. Jesus said, ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’ so her idea is not a good one when no church rejecting women leaders is making them unequal or second class. Again those who advocate women leadership distort this equality point for their own gain and not for Christ’s. This is the point that most advocates for women leadership in the church do not talk about. What they are doing is for their own gain and they do not have the church ‘s interest or Christ’s in mind.