IV hierarchy approved William Campbell's leadership at IU/InterVarsity event promoting sodomy (part VI)...

IVCF:Forum:2011 (Tim: this is sixth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011. Pic on right.)

This past Monday, April 4, 2011, Jacob Mentzel and Lucas Weeks met with Mark Abdon, InterVarsity's staff worker for their undergraduate chapter here at Indiana University, to state their concern over InterVarsity's promotion of homosexuality at an InterVarsity forum the previous week, and to ask Mr. Abdon and InterVarsity to issue a public correction. As a courtesy to InterVarsity and its staff, prior to this meeting with Mr. Abdon InterVarsity's office of the president had been called and informed this meeting was going to occur later that day.

The following account was written the same day as the meeting and edited for accuracy yesterday (4/5) and today (4/6). It's posted here as one more part of the historical record. 

An Account of Our Meeting With Mark Abdon

by Jacob Mentzel and Lucas Weeks

On Monday, April 4th, we met with Mark Abdon, the undergraduate staff worker for InterVarsity at Indiana University, to discuss IV's recent forum on homosexuality. Mark had an undergraduate woman present with him who plans to go on staff with IV this coming year. It was obvious Mark knew what we wanted to talk about, so we asked him about how the decision was made to have former IV staffer, William Campbell, speak.

Mark told us the majority of the planning for the week's forums belonged to one of his undergraduate students and that the planning began in May of 2010. He made it clear IV's goal from the beginning was to live at peace with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer (LGBTQ) community in Bloomington. InterVarsity partnered with Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality (SAGE), a LGBTQ student advocacy group on campus, to sponsor the event. Mark did not mention the involvement of any other student groups. He noted InterVarsity campus groups were being expelled from universities around the country over the issue of homosexuality, and he was very concerned that the Bloomington chapter not face the same fate.

Because of these concerns, InterVarsity had adopted a policy that the event would be viewpoint neutral. It was decided there would be no "theological content" in the forum...

Mark was aware of the plan to invite Campbell to speak during the event, and when the event was first being planned, Campbell was on staff with InterVarsity at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He said the primary objective of the forum was to "bridge" relationships with the LGBTQ community and that it would have been unacceptable for Campbell to explicitly condemn homosexuality. He was concerned such condemnation would have alienated the LGBTQ community and could have led to InterVarsity's dismissal from the campus of Indiana University.

However, in October of 2010 Campbell left InterVarsity. Mark told us Campbell's departure was linked to his position on homosexuality. When Campbell left InterVarsity, there was some question raised by InterVarsity staff about his fitness to address homophobia at IU. Mark informed us that this led to a discussion between his InterVarsity supervisors, including the area director for InterVarsity in Southern Indiana, Paul Bertsch. The regional director (above Bertsch) was involved in the decision too, along with other upper-level InterVarsity staff. Mark assured us the decision was considered carefully and he was not alone in making it.

The decision of the hierarchy was that Mr. Campbell would be allowed to speak for at least two reasons. First, his departure from InterVarsity had been very amicable—Mark stressed that repeatedly. Second, InterVarsity had already decided that the event was not to have "theological" content.

According to Mark, the fact that this policy was already in place when InterVarsity revisited Campbell's inclusion as a speaker made this decision easier. They did not want any speaker to condemn homosexuality, but they were also concerned that he not condone it. Condoning homosexuality could cause division among brothers with whom InterVarsity wanted to remain united. The only problem with the forum that Mark acknowledged was its failure to preserve this unity. 

InterVarsity was trying to take a third option—one that involved neither alienating homosexuals nor Biblical Christians. Their goal, according to Mark, was to create a "foyer" where these things could be discussed on neutral grounds. The forum was to be an entry point where "dialogue" could be initiated. This goal could remain intact if Campbell—regardless of his personal views on homosexuality—kept the forum devoid of theological content.

At this point we began to explain to Mark that he was in very serious error. We pointed out that InterVarsity had planned and widely promoted a meeting that was emphatically not viewpoint neutral. The forum not only condoned, but promoted sodomy. Campbell was given the floor by InterVarsity to speak for the organization in the name of Jesus Christ. In the words of the promotional material, he was to teach students "what Jesus really thought." In other words, an open homosexual was given the floor to promote sodomy. Which he did.

We explained to Mark that we know there were people present in that meeting who are tempted by homosexual sin, and we warned him of the danger of leading Christ's little ones astray. We also talked to him about the necessity of dealing with people's sin, calling them to repentance and warning them of the coming judgment.

At this point Mark directed the subject to a discussion of the nature of evangelism. He zeroed in on this as being a key disagreement between us. As he explained it, our error was that we try to take over the work of the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin while he simply asks questions and trusts the Holy Spirit to do the convicting. Mark explained what he meant by saying we try to convict people of sin, stating that he has no more right to tell someone that homosexuality is a sin (for them personally) than to tell a brother that it is a sin for him to drink alcohol. Mark explained to us that all he could, in good conscience, ask a practicing homosexual is, "How does your sexuality affect your spirituality?" That would be sufficient and the work from then on belonged to the Holy Spirit.

Coming into the meeting, our intention was to request that InterVarsity issue a correction of the event that was as public as the event and its promotion had been. At this point in the conversation, though, we sensed that Mark still did not think there was anything wrong with the event apart from the division it had caused among Christians. We asked Mark point blank if he thought homosexuality is sin. He hedged. He explained to us how he had thought long and hard on the subject, and had read a great deal of the modern "research." He quoted statistics to us that only 22% of those homosexuals going through sexual rehabilitation programs become straight. Some become celibate. Others aren't convinced they ought to give up their homosexual practice. And yet, all these people can be "sincere followers of Jesus Christ." 

Mark eventually conceded that he, personally, had come to the conclusion that it would be wrong for "him personally" to engage in homosexual practice. But he couldn't speak to how the Holy Spirit would deal with others' consciences.

We pressed him with Scripture, pointing out 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." We quoted Jesus' warning of Luke 17 that "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble." We quoted Acts 20, pointing out that the students under his care that evening were being led to Hell, and he would have blood on his hands at the final judgment.

Through all this, Mark did not budge on his position that homosexuality was a personal, private matter of conscience. His Scriptural support for this position was the Apostle Paul's teaching on food sacrificed to idols.

Mark thanked us for meeting with him, and assured us he believed we were sincere in our concern for him and the students on this campus—including his own students. He asked us to have the "long blog posts condemning whole organizations" (referring to Baylyblog.com) removed. We stated that Baylyblog was doing what we had hoped he himself would do.

Our final statement to Mark was that nothing would delight us more than InterVarsity publicly repenting of their dishonoring of the name of Jesus Christ, their denial of the authority of Scripture, and their leading students into sin.

We approached our meeting with Mark in good faith, but we left convinced that InterVarsity's forum on homophobia transpired exactly as they had planned.

 

Comments

Christian Worker: "How has your coveting affected your spirituality?"

Me: "It's helped me quite a bit and given me a larger perspective on the diversity of our world. I like to think of it as my bridge to the rich."

Christian Worker: "How has your adultery affected your spirituality?"

Me: "Thanks for asking. It has broadened my understanding of love and how it comes to us when we least expect it and least deserve it."

Christian Worker: "How do you sense the leading of the Holy Spirit at this time in your life?"

Me: "I have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."

Christian Worker: "I wish I could help you, but that would be overstepping my bounds."

Me: "That's okay. I do appreciate the civility of our discussion. You haven't attacked me and I feel really affirmed."

I was part of IVCF during my college days back in the 70's. I can't imagine anyone in a position of authority behaving like this fellow Mark. Here is the fruit of the kind of 'Evangelicalism' David Wells warned about beginning with his book 'No Place For Truth'. Sadly, this is only the tip of a massive iceberg. 'Evangelicals' like Mark ,have no place for truth and as such are very much at the mercy of the culture. The dominos have started to fall.

GLW,

That's the sort of thing which makes me say they have won, they own Evangelicalism and we orthodox believers are the 'Evangelicals'.

Kamilla

God have mercy on us (and give us a spine).

" As he explained it, our error was that we try to take over the work of the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin while he simply asks questions and trusts the Holy Spirit to do the convicting. Mark explained what he meant by saying we try to convict people of sin, stating that he has no more right to tell someone that homosexuality is a sin (for them personally) than to tell a brother that it is a sin for him to drink alcohol."

It isn't just the para-church organizations that are at fault. There are churches in conservative denominations that hold a smoking gun. My husband and I were in a PCA church where the phrase "you are trying to be the Holy Spirit" was common place as scandalous sin ran wild in certain situations.

The thought of calling someone to account for their sins in any type of Matt 18 situation is condemned if it means upsetting a comfort zone.

There is virtually no preaching on sin but there is the call to “come” to Christ. Long gone are the days of the old evangelical:

“Man is more lost than he understands and the older evangelicalism believed that the first objective of gospel preaching was to bring men to despair of themselves. To tell men the worst about themselves is not to hinder conversion. On the contrary, the real impediment to conversion is the absence of conviction of sin. The preacher’s first duty is to address that fact by awakening the conscience to the meaning of sin, and to sin understood not simply as wrong action requiring forgiveness, but as an evil principle governing man’s very heart. A sinner’s knowledge of his own inability is therefore part of the knowledge which leads him to recognize that what he needs is a new nature…”

Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray p 370.

That principle truth is long gone from the landscape of even large parts of the PCA, a noted conservative reformed denomination. We don’t call to repentance, we love ‘em into the kingdom.

We stand as guilty as IV. We are not far behind in the outworkings of such muddled and unbiblical thinking.

God forgive us and have mercy on us.

I have a collection of Charles Spurgeon sermons published by Baker Book House of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have used them in the last few years as a daily devotional of sorts. I read each sermon as if it was being preached directly to me. I was raised on the the King James Version of the Bible, so Mr. Spurgeon's old English is easy and a delight. Sometimes I read them aloud to myself. I would be willing to read them aloud to someone else, but I have yet to find someone who is willing to spend thirty to forty-five minutes a day listening to me read. I am convinced it would do them great good. The sermons certainly do me some good, might even say the Holy Spirit reaches out to me as I meditate, not only on the sermon, but the Bible text Mr. Spurgeon is faithful to supply. The set is nine or eleven volumes of small print. I am not in my home library right now, so I'm not exactly sure...don't hold me to that number. The books are seven to eight hundred pages thick. What a gifted man he was. One collection is on the "Miracles and Parables of Our Lord." That is a four volume set in and of itself. Oh, how I love reading these sermons.

Certainly Mr. Spurgeon's audience had a culturally common understanding of what sin was, and that whatever it was, "they knew they were guilty of doing it."

Interesting to me is the fact that not one single sermon, one single paragraph, focuses on homosexuality by itself.

I can not believe that Mr. Spurgeon was unaware of the "significance" of this particular sin.

Seems that Mr. Spurgeon was an equal opportunity sin pointer outer.

No one could hide from Mr. Spurgeon. No one could hide their own sins, or retain their uppity piousness by pointing out or deflecting the light shined on their sinful state onto someones else's more sin filled state. No one. To Mr. Spurgeon all had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All.

I don't think at his tabernacle anyone was able to point fingers at sloppy dressers while pridefully wearing fine black suits and tuxedos. No one could promote their love for the poor as they drove up to church in their BMW 735i. No one was allowed to challenge and admonish others to have more faith when they themselves had multi-million dollar life insurance policies, vast real-estate holdings, and gold plated Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance policies. Under Mr. Spurgeon's ministry I can't imagine a church mission committee getting away with helping the poor, but only certain poor that had only certain types of "poorness" or suffered from certain types of approved cultural disadvantages. I can not imagine anyone in his tabernacle ever being allowed to be smug about how good they were or how their sin wasn't as bad as others. "I'm O.K. you're not" would never have been heard from that tabernacle's pulpit.

This all leads me to my point. We evangelicals are being challenged by a new audience. The Gospel has not changed. For sure the Gospel has not changed. However, our modern, post modern, emergent, post emergent, beyond post emergent (whatever you want to call the "now") culture, simply has no universal understanding of what constitutes sin. They've been taught wrong, or they haven't been taught at all. In response we seem to react and often react badly, and by that I mean gracelessly, like Old Testament fire brands who had never heard of Christ like compassion. We so quickly grasp the mantle of Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple courtyard, oft times thinking we are Him, not trying to be like HIm.

We need to be careful. We must not accuse someone, who loves (agapes) people who happen to consider themselves homosexual, as being sodomy promoters. We do this. I have seen it over and over and over and over again in evangelical/fundamentalist settings. We must not mock homosexual and effeminate males behind their backs, AND WE DO! SHAME ON ALL OF US! We have our smug, all knowing, all agreeing conversations amongst ourselves within our comfortable little church circles; snicker, snicker, chuckle, laugh heartily. Again, shame on US!

The acts associated with homosexual behavior, if we are to accept them as sin, are hardly worse than the act of being fat while others starve, of being rich while others are poor, of desiring a forth car when others have none, of thinking about having sex with a good friend's wife, or lusting after that prematurely developed teen aged girl in Sunday school. The body of Scripture upholds this universal equality of sin. None, none is allowed to have sin stuck to their souls, of any kind, if they wish to be present with our creator and savior. I must point out that Jesus was most harsh with the hypocrites and the prideful.

We need to be balanced in our teaching. We take Satan's bait when we elevate issues associated with homosexuality higher than other issues before us. Burning bridges and bridge builders is not, by definition, edifying. We should not demand that homosexual behavior stop without demanding that the biggest "giver" in our congregation give up his or her passion for increased wealth. We must not stone a young person who has committed a homosexual act unless we are willing to stone our sons for "going too far", our daughters for "giving up too much", or ourselves for double clicking on a pornographic site. We must be willing to love all, forgive all, hope much for all, be patient with all, and lovingly share the good news with all on equal ground. We must not "judge" at all. That some don't like to listen doesn't mean we get to denigrate them.

I am fifty-eight years old! I have been a born again follower of Jesus of Nazareth since the age of six. I was saved within the IFCA/Evangelical communities. I continue to worship and serve there. I have seen dozens of fire brand pastors come and go, fallen by any number of sins. So often they carry these sins forward for years and years being expert at hiding them from the body; big time men, big time names of the faith. My heart is broken for those who have been lied to, mislead, whose faith has been diminished or destroyed by theologically sound teachers who fail to live according to the doctrines they espouse. So many of these big time believers are so less lovely and honest and broken than some person who is honestly willing to say, "I am a homosexual." I want to TALK to that person, share God's love. I don't want to LISTEN to any more sermons about how sick they are. Beams and specks...beams and specks...

Respectfully Submitted

Sincerely Heart Broken

I think we can see how modern evangelicalism is following the well worn path established by the mainline churches.

#6 Bruce

I can see the point(s) you are trying to make, but:

1. It must also be pointed out that homosexual practice is a sin "against nature" (Romans 1:26, 27) in a way that common-garden carnality is not.

2. If our culture does not understand sin, as you noted, then we have to preach in such a way that do. C.S. Lewis once suggested that the way to do that was to preach against a sin that you /yourself/ have been fighting. So perhaps the way to convict a homosexual of his sin, is not to start with homsexuality. However, I appreciate that others' views here will vary.

Recast - "preach in sych a way that they /do/ understand sin".

Out of everything mentioned above, I completely threw my hands up in the air when this entry says "He asked us to have the "long blog posts condemning whole organizations" (referring to Baylyblog.com) removed."

Unbelievable.

When I look at the history of the evangelical church, the fundamentalist movement, the reform movements, I do not see any time when the Church really "got it." I do not see any time when they were involved in politics and it was healthy. I do not see any time when they tried to impose a biblical standard and were generally successful. I do see "us" as having fallen into an inward focused, non-outreach motivated, fear based ministry. We were the first and most strident to bust Billy Graham's chops. There is no such thing as "modern evangelism" that is anything but an evangelistic effort, motivated by love, in its own time. Sadly, I do not think that Mr. Spurgoen would have been heard today, perhaps by you and me. But then, again, he would be preaching to the choir. Respectfully

I am sorry, Ross, but I can not accept your point number one. It would be comfortable to do so. It would give me a soap box of sorts for homosexuality is not a personal problem for me. Of coarse, you would have to take me at my word. By accepting your premise I could develop a personal, doctrinal, and corporate stance that gives me a moral high ground. From that ground I could pummel my perceived enemies with my "more righteousness," or "less sinfulness." This was clearly not something that was acceptable to our Lord.

I do not shy away from Romans 1. I must view Paul's list with great fear and trembling. I even share with others that I do so. I encourage others to read it and reflect deeply. But, they must do this on their own, reflect that is. I will not personally damn anyone with it, nor will I chose to risk applying it outside of deep personal relationship knowing that to many, that list will end conversation, at least for a time. It is not a good starting point. I am, after all, an evangelistic sort of fellow. I love (agape) gay people. Some of my attraction to them comes from seeing them as being brutalized by my own community! They are, to me at times, the weakest of the weak, poorest of the poor.

C.S. Lewis is my source for much of my thinking on our changing audience. He was quoted many times suggesting that the single greatest challenge to the true Church, and the getting out of the Good News, was the modernist denial of the very concept, let alone nature of sin. If there is no sin there is no need to be saved. If there is no need to be saved, there is no need for a savior. If there is no need for a savior then Jesus is irrelevant. He made many suggestions as to how to work to over come this new hinderance. To your point two I would suggest you are correct in many ways. It all comes down to what is most effective at reaching others. Targeting homosexually behaving people with that specific sin...again, not a good starting point. We are all flawed in many, many complex ways. This original blog seemed to me to have a certain imbalance in this area and, in fact, seemed to me, to be sort of mean spirited.

In comment #6 Bruce said:
"In response we seem to react and often react badly, and by that I mean gracelessly, like Old Testament fire brands who had never heard of Christ like compassion."

Am I correct in understanding you to be calling the Old Testament prophets graceless and void of compassion? Yet they were the arm of the Savior's love, reaching out to warn of sin and call to repentance. Over and over the LORD sent the prophets with their message of repentance, *because of* His steadfast love.

If we call God's love through the prophets of old graceless and void of compassion, no wonder we reject such expressions of grace and compassion in our own day. I tremble at such a rejection of God as this.

>>In response we seem to react and often react badly, and by that I mean gracelessly, like Old Testament fire brands who had never heard of Christ like compassion.

Marcion's heresy lives...

You are not correct in understanding that I believe the Old Testament Prophets were without grace and compassion. I simply and humbly suggest that today, in light of the cross, grasping the mantel of Old Testament Prophet in the way that they did is perhaps inappropriate. I have a significant dispensational element to my view of Scripture. The commissioning of the prophets was by God. Recorded in the texts are very clear and strong conversations that those men had directly with God. God then spoke to His people through those men. When our Savior arrived on the scene God spoke through Him and his teachings and actions. As we know, Jesus was not a prophet, he was God. I do not aspire to be the next Elijah. My belief is that none of us should aspire to be the next Elijah. If I am to be a prophet I will be so in the role of a teacher, teaching and proclaiming first and foremost the Good News. That is what the original evangelists did. I desire to submit to the example set by Christ realizing I do not have His authority and clarity of vision.

I also feel that I am on fairly sound theological ground when I suggest that the Old Testament prophets did not understand "Christ like compassion." When Christ came his love and compassion, and willingness to forgive confused even the most committed of the Jews. They understood the prophets. They didn't get Jesus.

I am not a trained theologian. No degrees under my belt. Truth be told, for a large segment of my career I've been a glorified janitor. I simply have to ask myself this question, "Am I willing to die to save the life of the most caustic sinner against nature I can think of?" My hope is that, in my heart and action, I am. My hope is that we all will be. Respectfully

I am sorry David, I don't understand what "Marcion's heresy" is. I've never been viewed as a heretic in my circles. Please help me understand your point. Respectfully

Bruce,

Marcionism would be the equivalent of so-called "red letter Christians".

Old Testament God (or in your case, prophets): Bad!

New Testament God (Jesus): Good!

Of course, a reading of the "red letters" leads us back to all the black ones which shows they're all written in blood.

Matt 22

38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Matt 23

29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Luke 24

25 And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

Luke 6

22"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

Luke 6

"Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

(Re-posting, as typepad is annoying)

Bruce,

Marcionism would be the equivalent of "red letter Christians".

Old Testament God (or in your case, prophets): Bad!

New Testament God (Jesus): Good!

Of course, a reading of the "red letters" leads us back to all the black ones which shows they're all written in blood.

Matt 22

38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Matt 23

29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Luke 24

25 And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

(Doesn't look like the Jews really believed the prophets as Bruce suggested...in fact, if one were to accept Bruce's understanding, then Jesus would be a liar and the Jews would have been telling the truth)

Luke 6

22"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

(Looks like Jesus' measured our success by how much we look like the prophets...if we preach the gospel, we will be spurned and even killed...lest you think this only pertains to the Jews persecuting Jesus and His disciples, consider that those who received this warning (i.e. Apostles and early Christians) were persecuted and killed by Rome)

Luke 6

"Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

(Red letter "christians" can't escape the scandalous things Jesus said)

Does it occur to you that the reason "sound Biblical teaching" on this subject (and others) is increasingly being disregarded even by the church is that it's mostly ridiculous? If I sat down to intentionally come up with the most absurd, preposterous, moronic proposition I could, I don't think I could do any better than Biblical homophobia.

Go ahead and continue to froth at the mouth if it makes you feel better (it's actually pretty entertaining), but you are theological emperors with no clothes. And even your own followers are increasingly having trouble pretending your worldview has so much as a stitch of reason or logic or common sense. It's not that they're in rebellion against God; it's that eventually the silliness of what you're teaching collapses under its own weight.

Thank you Craig for your explanation. I am now sure that I am not a heretic in the Marcion sense, just not the greatest of theological writers. I did not intend to suggest that the prophets of old were "bad' and that Jesus was "good" or that the Bible has two gods one dark and terrible the other warm and fuzzy.

I have had the privilege of hearing Mr. Campolo speak. I like much of what he has to say. I will not speak in his defense as I am sure I would do a pretty poor job. Nor do I embrace all that he has to say as I am sure I could not agree with his every proposition. I know that he is terribly trouble by the Church's handling of the homosexual community and their issues. I feel that he believes the Gospel has not been well served by our leaders, that we have focused so much on condemnation of the act that we have become unable to love and to be heard. Just my take on the matter.

I have observed in my life how differently people seem to engage the Scriptures. I was part of a church which fell into what many consider to be a heresy, hyper or ultra dispensationalism. The focus of the teaching was that the only words of the Bible that were understood to have any application to our lives today were those words penned by the Apostle Paul, and pretty much only his prison epistles at that. I've spent much of my adult life unwinding that in my head. I can remember a teacher telling us that we should actively ignore some of Christ's very words. They were meant for then and others, not us today and now. Looking back I just can't imagine I listened to that and for a time accepted it as true truth. If I could sum up that perspective lived out it would be described as; narrow, dogmatic, simplistic, intransigent, critical, with a heavy dose of false pride. Unfortunately, living that was part of my upbringing and now I view that time with great pain and shame. Still, in hindsight, some good came out of it despite our best efforts misapply God's word. Go figure. A miracle of sorts...no doubt.

I have also encounter those who seem to be animated only by prophetic books. Revelation becomes their all in all, their only interest. Any teaching from any other part of the Bible is forced through the end times prism. It is so tiring to listen to, there seems no wisdom or point in confronting this passion.

I've notice a difference of praxis in those who focus on Paul and the Old Testament, and those who focus on the Gospels. It is interesting how those "types" seem so threatened by the other.

I've been a bit too long winded on this blog. I apologize. I am not sure of much any more. As I grow older I become less and less sure.

There is one thing I do know though. We, the Body of Christ, have no right or commission to beat each other up. We also have no right or commission to physically, emotionally, or spiritually beat up on dear souls who are weaker than ourselves.

With much thanks for your gentle explanation.

In response to the IV staffer's attitude:

If only Jesus had been so understanding and non-confrontational, He might not have died that horrible death on the tree.

Wait, He chose that death, didn't He? I'm so thankful he did.

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