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March 23, 2007


Greg (not that greg)

Hey big D. You can call me big G if you like. I would like you to show me where in the bible that revilers and heretics are treated with anything but scorn and derision? Paul's treatment of those advocating circumcision in Philippi is particularly rich. Let's be honest here any one who characterizes the Bible as;
"one of the most schizophrenic, neurotic, racist, xenophobic, sexist compilations of stories ever assembled." is nothing but a reviler. So typically, they can dish it out, but they can't take it. Mini-g is not asking any honest questions he is making arrogant and blasphemous pronouncements.



Please don't feed the trolls.


Big G, i believe the corinthians had quite a bit of division, arrogance, pride, moral impurity and borderline heresy (resurrection issues) and Paul's answer was 1 Corintians 13. "Love is patient, love is kind, is not rude..."

since you brought up paul--his very tough words were for people who were saying Jesus was not enough--one had to add circumcision or Jewish (or perhaps pre-gnostic) dietary laws, ecstatic experiences (see Colossians) and disciplines for salvation to be compeleted (or to be really spiritual).

paul also mentioned this love idea (i.e., how you treat other people) in various settings (Romans 13 and Galatians 5). in Galatians 6 he says when you are trying to correct someone you do it in a spirit of gentleness.

i might add the golden rule: treat others the way you wish to be treated. Jesus' harsh words were given to people who were the religious ruling elite and who were trying to kill him. somehow the profile doesn't seem to be the same as greg's.

(sorry greg, to be referring to you in the third person)...



sorry. too late. the food was thrown. i'm a bit of a sucker for that.


I understand


ok, i can't help it! one last word: 'let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" -Paul, Colossians 4:6

Greg (not that greg)

Where is your compassion for trolls g? Oh right, I forgot, it's do as I say not as I do. I guess you can add hypocrite to your self proclaimed Heretic/martyr title. You are just like all bullies mini-g, big talk until they are challenged and then you run away. Whatever......


i read an interesting article today on how (thanks to the anonymity of the web) people don't know how to engage in civil discourse with each other anymore...



That is, of course, the point. Some folks, especially those who have been indoctrinated with a static notion of "truth" and who are used to their particular view being ascendant, find it difficult to have a conversation. That, again of course, also applies to non-Christians.


it does seem a bit counter productive. especially when i wish to convince someone of something. i may be wrong, but i believe a person is the most persuasive when (s)he quits trying to be persuasive.

Greg (not that Greg)

Darryl, you can carry on civil discussions all day long with heretics if you like but you do so in opposition to the very scriptures you are trying to beat me over the head with. There is very specific instructions for dealing with so called brothers who become apostate (even bragging that they are heretics). I guess blasphemy against God and His people don't bother you at all. Time for a gut check my friend.


Word up to greg.

For a moment I wished I lived in the US so you and I could go get a beer and have a yarn. Unfortunately I live on an Island at the southern end of the world largest ocean, so that's not such a practical idea. Good on you for asking some queastions and beign honest that most of the 'usual answers' aren't satisfactory.

In the end I always come back to the commandement to Love. Often that's all I've got the will to hold on to. ;)


Big G, thanks for your input. i notice you did not appeal to a particular text. greg has not denied the deity of Jesus. in fact, i believe he affirmed it when he mentioned Jesus' resurrection. so i beg to differ--but differ i shall.

Greg (not that Greg)

g. If you did not think your "views" were "true" then you would not have posted them. It seems totally lost on you that you posted thirteen dogmatic statements and then followed that with "14. I simply don't believe much anymore." LOL! You really believe that don't you?
You believe all sorts of things and you believe you are right to believe them. Not only that, but you believe that others are wrong, (even bordering on insane) for not believing what you believe. To pretend otherwise is mot fooling anyone. You are either very naive, not too bright, or completely disingenuous.

Greg (not that Greg)

One does not need to deny the resurrection ONLY to be a heretic Darryl. I'll dig out some quotes for you when I get back from supper.


Big G, i seriously doubt you will convince me to attack or bad mouth greg. i just think it is rude.

Jesus', Paul's, James', John's (et al) command to love and be gentle to everyone are not to be ignored by those who claim to believe their words are from God. i would add jude who, besides saying some very strong things about heresy, said this: "be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh" (jude 22, 23)

love is the difficult way. (and i know i am inconsistent with it--that's why i ask "little g" greg--be kind even to hard nosed fundangelicals--that's a great word, btw greg!).

i know i am ignorant of so much. if i believe God loves me and is patient with me in my ignorance how dare i insult anyone who might disagree with me or see things from a different perspective? while i believe there is such a thing as objective truth, i also know we can be so blinded by our prejudices and culture it is difficult to separate the way of Jesus from the way i was raised.

i may disagree with any number of the first points made in this post. but is it evil to respond with respect? is it evil to treat people as God's creation? is it evil to be gentle? is it evil to listen with an open mind and to ask: "what if i have misunderstood what Jesus is saying?" as far as i believe no honest searcher for truth should be afraid of any discussion.



I meant to comment in support, but have found myself mulling over your post. That is a compliment, you know, and I am still doing that. I appreciate your heresy and think, as I have since I have known you, that your honesty and thoughtfulness is a good reason why I read blogs.

I should have guessed that this might have brought out the trolls, though. :)


oh, and Big G? if you are going to quote, please don't waste your time by stringing several verses together pulled from a concordance. as jiminy crickett once said "always let your context be your guide..." (it, was something like that, i'm sure!)


Only one persistent one so far, but I'm sure he'll win a convert to Jesus yet, what with his demeanor and all.


i've really g2go. my daughter is bugging me to bless her "good night".

greg, thanks for the blog. a friend passed it on to me. i feel a little bit like an interloper, though. i do believe i'll be back for a visit if you don't mind. hope big G cools down a bit (as well as Mrs. Pilgrim). i'm certain i will voice some disagreement with you later on. look forward to the discussion.

Big G, don't worry about sending me a bunch of scriptures. i don't think you'll give me anything i haven't read before.

Mrs. Pilgrim

"When has Greg ever said he hated the Bible?"

If I used on someone or something the words he uses on the Bible--"most schizophrenic, neurotic, racist, xenophobic, sexist compilations of stories ever assembled"--the first word applied to me would be "hater." Between that and the "one step above insane" characterization, I detect quite a bit of rather unnecessary hostility. Therefore, I think "hate" is not too strong a description of the attitude I observe.

And additionally, nobody has answered my question: what do you know about Jesus, unless you're cherry-picking from the Bible, which you've already denounced as per above? Wouldn't that suggest that you can't be entirely sure even of the Scriptures you would prefer to cite?

I don't know why, Darryl, you think I'm not "cool." I asked a perfectly legitimate question--with a touch of sarcasm thrown in for effect, yes. You obviously haven't been paying attention to "the other Greg," or else you wouldn't think I was anywhere near overheated.

But then again, could you blame me for getting upset? Could you fairly judge me for being hurt and offended when someone calls me insane (or nearly so)(#10), ignorant (#8, implied at #10, because "anyone who's read the Bible" supposedly agrees with him), un-Christlike (#5), backwards ("I can't go BACK someplace I've been")(#4), and inappropriately exclusivist(#13)--just because he happens to have given up on trying himself (#6) and forsaken the Way (#14)? As I espouse many of the positions he derides, the insult is to me as well.

I believe what I believe for reasons--among which is, in fact, a dispensation of faith from the Lord. I don't just go out there and buy into whatever's being handed out, like many people do, even so-called "Christians." The basis of my faith is not logic, true, being that it is bestowed through grace alone, but the continuation of my faith is logical. Has not the Christian the "mind of Christ" (I Cor. 2:16)? I suspect "mind" is not the same as "heart" or "spirit," unless suddenly words don't mean things anymore. Reason has its place; reason and faith support one another. Paul was a prime reasoner. So, in fact, was Jesus.

Well, I'm lecturing now. I don't expect this is going to do too much good, as I think there's too much in the way of entrenched prejudice at this forum. The blog owner seems to be angry and, to some extent, convinced of his superiority to us "Christians." There are too many here willing to countenance his bigotry--for make no mistake, his expressed feelings on this issue differ little from those of the classic white supremacist ("All y'all Christians look alike," for instance).

Well, have fun hating me, Greg. Jesus said you would.


Mrs. P,
There are a number of obvious examples
of xenophobia and racism in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament. The Israelites were certainly vicious and genocidal, whatever there reasons were.
We would probably use much stronger language than what Greg has used today if we were to describe a similarly genocidal people. I'm a Christian, too, but I find that hard to deny. If you're truly interested in this forum and the people in it, go back and read the
older posts and comments for a while. Greg has answered your question about the Bible many, many times. This forum is filled with people who were
raised with more traditional beliefs and have, for whatever reason, found that the standard Protestant answers to many theological questions are unsatisfactory. I don't think it's fair to compare Greg to a bigot either. He's not dismissing people because of a condition they have no control over. Think of it more like differing political parties, or an idealistic disagreement.


Mrs. Pilgrim:

Matthew 6:43-48
Ephesians 4:30-5:2

sorry if i offended--but the way of Christ is the way of peace.


Mrs. P: and you are right--your first post wasn't close to any that big G posted. perhaps my "cool down" comment was uncharitible toward you. unfortunately, typed words are not a great medium--you can't capture a tone of voice.


however, i think you are missing much of what greg is saying (as m. corely pointed out)...


Mrs. P,

You seem sincere enough so I'll respond in part. If someone insisted that a means of viewing reality which was, by all appearances irrational, was in fact the correct way to view reality, you would feel free to say this person was insane. So, you'll forgive me (it's a commandment, after all) if I think that someone who believes God can simultaneously love and slaughter, believes God can love and consign to hell for eternal conscious torment, believes the Revelation reveals the events leading up to the eschaton (read that carefully), believes that Paul and James don't disagree vehemently, believes that Jesus and YHWH, as portrayed by the Tanakh, are the same God without equivocation...should I go on?...you'll forgive me if I think that person is a bit touched. Not insane, mind you, a step above.

#8 had nothing to do with anyone's ignorance. As for 10, if you read it literally, then yes, you're ignorant. No one, NO ONE, truly reads it literally. People are just less honest about the parts they want to fudge than I am.

#5 I don't know you, but if you think you're a saint, fine. I've met a few. Perhaps you're one. Although the saints I've met didn't resort to sarcasm as often as you and I do.

"Inappropriately exclusivist" is a tautology.

#14 Forsaken the way? You read my posts like you read the Bible...selectively. Did you read the paragraph that followed? I didn't give up on Jesus; I gave up on the institution that calls itself the church.

And what does having the mind of Christ have to do with logic? Doesn't the Bible you read talk about the wisdom of the world being foolishness? Wouldn't logic with its proofs and equations and first principles be part of the wisdom of the world? Or is that a false wisdom that leads us astray, wheras logic leads us to Christ? Please.


Jesus=church...no church then no Jesus. Because Jesus like's to hear about himself.


that should be church=jesus


There are spiritual powers at work, messing with Christians and the Church, promoting a form of religion, over the simplicity of Christ. People naturally fear to approach God and be changed utterly, preferring a safe, diluted, girly Saviour.

But God dwells in unapproachable holiness, nothing we can do will impress him in the slightest. Crawling around on our kness and flagellating ourselves avails nothing. All that is left is to enjoy freedom, grace, and life that has been given us; taking responsibility for our selves and seeking Love.


Concerning the book of James, I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle, and my reasons follow.
In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works 2:24). It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac (2:20); Though in Romans 4:22-22 St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15:6. Although it would be possible to "save" the epistle by a gloss giving a correct explanation of justification here ascribed to works, it is impossible to deny that it does refer to Moses' words in Genesis 15 (which speaks not of Abraham's works but of his faith, just as Paul makes plain in Romans 4) to Abraham's works. This fault proves that this epistle is not the work of any apostle.

In the second place its purpose is to teach Christians, but in all this long teaching it does not once mention the Passion, the resurrection, or the Spirit of Christ. He names Christ several times; however he teaches nothing about him, but only speaks of general faith in God. Now it is the office of a true apostle to preach of the Passion and resurrection and office of Christ, and to lay the foundation for faith in him, as Christ himself says in John 15[:27], "You shall bear witness to me.? All the genuine sacred books agree in this, that all of them preach and inculcate [_treiben_] Christ. And that is the true test by which to judge all books, when we see whether or not they inculcate Christ. For all the Scriptures show us Christ, Romans 3[:21]; and St. Paul will know nothing but Christ, I Corinthians 2[:2]. Whatever does not teach Christ is not yet apostolic, even though St. Peter or St. Paul does the teaching. Again, whatever preaches Christ would be apostolic, even if Judas, Annas, Pilate, and Herod were doing it." (__ibid__).

But this James does nothing more than drive to the law and its works. Besides, he throws things together so chaotically that it seems to me he must have been some good, pious man, who took a few sayings from the disciples of the apostles and thus tossed them off on paper. Or it may perhaps have been written by someone on the basis of his preaching. He calls the law a "law of liberty" [1:25], though Paul calls it a law of slavery, of wrath, of death, and of sin.

Moreover he cites the sayings of St. Peter [in 5:20]; Love covers a multitude of sins" [1 Pet. 4:8], and again [in 4:10], "Humble yourselves under he had of God" [1 Pet. 5:6] also the saying of St. Paul in Galatians 5[:17], "The Spirit lusteth against envy." And yet, in point of time, St. James was put to death by Herod [Acts 12:2] in Jerusalem, before St. Peter. So it seems that [this author] came long after St. Peter and St. Paul.

In a word, he wanted to guard against those who relied on faith without works, but was unequal to the task in spirit, thought, and words. He mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture.


sorry for your troll problems. Your post is definitely kicking up a lot of things around the blogosphere (and having imonk link to it probably didn't help), but I think the discussion is good and profitable.

Rev Mike:
You certainly have an interesting opinion of things. Are you an Old School Lutheran or what? In James' defense I'd ask if in light of Paul's whole schtick of being all things to all people, and the missional drive which is in the current theological zeitgeist, is it outside the realm of possibility to assume that Paul and James might be saying different things because they have different audiences?

Perception changes reality.And if one defines the Gospel (or even God) in terms of doing rather than simply thinking or believing, how does that change your argument? Personally, I have found (and I think a few here might agree) that faith IS work, so the dichotomy doesn't hold.



Rev. Mike,

So you have a personal canon. Fantastic. I finally get someone else to admit it. That's all I've been saying about Scripture from the beginning: some of it works, some of it shouldn't be.


Thanks greg... enjoyed your post and can't wait for some mates of mine to read it.

Big 'G'.. nomatter what you say.. you can't deny that a lot of people seem to be feeling the same way as greg... like it or not, this feeling is growing in christianity...



That was the preface to James from Luther's bible.


Dr Q,

I watched in Acts as James passes sentence on a church bought with anothers blood, and then tells the gentiles they didn't have to keep all the law, only the kosher portions, and then in his epistle, states if you want to keep any or part, you must keep all the Law. I'm not sure his theological stance holds much consistancy. I posted in another thread what I feel about James. I know why it was rejected by the early church, and no other small section of scripture has done more to destroy the message of faith than James. Those who want to say Paul and James are saying the same thing only show they don't understand the termoil and the divisions of the early church.


Wow, this is me agreeing with Rev. Mike. I should probably go back to bed and start the day over, but I'm strangely on his side for now, until he pulls out the rest of the Lutheran stuff.


Rev Mike--
maybe you are right. but honestly, i don't think any of us 2,000 years removed understand the turmoil of the first century.

personally, i don't believe there is a contradiction between paul and james--and i have studied the texts from a textual/exegetical/historical background. remember christian jargon was not set in the 1st cent. words were used differently by different authors, right? john and paul do not mean the same thing when they use the word logos, do they? also, audience is a big thing (i realize you know this). if you look closely what paul says at the end of romans and galatians re: the law that sums up the entire law, it is the same law james refers to in james 2--the royal law of love: love your neighbor.

i honestly don't see paul debating james in luke pt. 2 (acts). greg, you mention how you accept the gospels as central--but isn't acts part of the gospel of luke?

just a thought to toss out there...am i all wet?


who says that mother teresa of calcutta isn't christian?


Darryl, Paul had a word he used for James and his band from Jerusalem, he called them "those from the cumsision." He actually went on to call them dogs, and deceivers.

When James and his band shows up at the restaurant, Peter who is eating his choked chicken, says to himself, "oh shit, there James, I had better get away from these gentiles so I won't tarnish my image before them." Paul wouldn't stand for that crap, and tattles on Peter when he goes to withstand him to his face. You know, its like, "oh honey, the pastor's at the door, quick! Hide the ashtray and the beer in the icebox!" Paul said even Barnabas, who helped Paul on many occasions, was even carried away by their hypocrisy.

Why is it we get some weird spiritual gears turning in our heads when we read the scriptures? When you analize with honest appraisal, and start hanging some flesh and blood on the record, I don't understand why folks today don't understand what was going on in the formations of the early church. left to the Apostles, (of which James was never called by Christ as an apostle, but succored as a blood line successor to Jesus by the Jews) left to them the Gospel would have been aborted and be nothing more than a splinter group of the Ebionites. That's why Jesus had to reach down and call Paul, one taught at the feet of Gamaliel, one who had the training and the expertise in the Law, that he actually knew what he was talking about. There is no marrying the message of Paul and James, its what Paul had to preach against over and over again.


Actually, Paul went on to say, "he wished they would go ahead and cut their whole little peepee off" too....


Rev. Mike,

You're wandering into odd, borderline anti-Semitic territory with your "the Jews" stuff. All of them? Half? Bad ones? Good ones? Are they a monolithic group that act the same and believe the same?



By any standard Protestant definition of salvation, Mother Teresa would not qualify. You'll have to take that up with the fundangelicals though; I think she's in. But, I think Gandhi is in too. And a few other folk, which probably makes me at least heterodox or pluralist or liberal or something like that.


rev mike,
what version are you reading of galatians. don't believe paul's account actually mentions james being present. furthermore, paul's critique was directed at peter, not even those who were sent by james. paul does not impugne james' motives at all--peter's motives are questioned.

i know i have personally failed because of misperceptions. i thought someone might be upset. doesn't mean i was correct.

i can't claim to have insight into peter's or james' thinking just by reading paul's account. don't forget, paul in just a few verses before (gal 2:6-10), seemed to give favorable mention re: james. paul certainly recognizes james' position as a leader of the jerusalem church right along side of peter. if he considered him illegitimate i don't see that he would be shy about saying so...i think you are wrongly equating james with the "circumcision group" who demanded circumcision--which james clearly did not.

you certainly know your background--but i don't think you are any more privy to the intents of peter or james than anyone else in the 21st century.

i tend to trust the collective judgment of the people of God throughout the centuries. yes, luther thought james a "right strawy epistle" but many disagreed with him.

nor did you answer the royal law issue. james is clearly discussing "love your neighbor" which paul contends is the basis of the law of Christ (in both romans and galatians).

zounds you're making me think!


got2g2bed. but i do look forward 2 a reply, rev mike.

thanks for the discussion.



Not all the Jews perpetrated Jesus' death, some of the discples were Jews. I'm not anti-semetic. The problem was, James made so little impact for the cause of Christ the few years after his death, that the leadership of the Ebionites told James to denounce Jesus was Messiah, (and this is one thing I will give James credit for) and when he said he wouldn't, they dashed his brains out with a fullers brush.


rev mike,
oh yeah, and i think you're confusing galatians with philippians on some of your quotes. you are making some assumptions re: who is who and to whom paul is referring.

when paul says "when peter came to antioch, i opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. before certain men came from james, he used to eat with the gentiles. but when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. the other jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even barnabas ws led astray."

this is not greek or hebrew poetry so i think we can't claim syonymous parallelisms are occurring here. so it's your assumption "those sent from james" and "those of the circumcision group" are the same. since these jews were from jerusalem they could have easily carried the news back to the church where there was a large contingency of those in th circumcision group. "the other jews joined him in his hypocrisy" other than whom? the jews sent from james or other than peter? if the latter paul could have been referring to the jews coming from james. they too were led astray by peter's hypocrisy. i admit that is somewhat of a stretch--but i'm not certain it is any more of a stretch than equating the jews sent from james with the circumcision group.

"even baranabas was led astray" btw, who sent barnabas to antioch to work with gentiles in the first place? wasn't james part of that council? also since you recognize james' pronouncement in acts--he certainly denounces the demand for circumcision. and it appears paul is fine with that. is paul just a wimp in jerusalem? the guy who opposes peter to his face won't oppose james? paul agrees to taking a vow--why? because he never suggests it's wrong for jewish christians to be jewish. his point is jewish ritual should never alienate others from christ. nor should rituals be demanded as a basis for salvation. i don't believe in faith only. i believe in christ only.

also the james of acts 21 seems very excited at paul's progress among the gentiles--this would have been long after paul's rebuke of peter. or does paul tell some little white lies to assuage james?

james is making his arguments to jewish christians, not gentile christians. he is arguing from their perspective and his argument is not really about the ten commandments (his illustration). his argument is about loving your neighbor and extending mercy. just like paul would argue from cretan poets ("even their own writers say...") james could have easily said ("even your own law says...")

furthermore if you compare james 2:14ff it sounds an awful like 1 john 3:4-9, 11-19ff. is john of the circumcision group?

sorry about such a long post. mike can you see my point? go ahead and poke holes in it--i'd really be interested in your perspective.


got2get ready for work. look forward to your post. cya


oh yeah, a couple of other things before i tear myself away from the screen. did paul actually say "peepee"? i'd like to get a copy of your translation! :)

also compare romans 13:8-14 w/james 2:14 ff. parallels?



Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your wanting to have Paul and James saying the same thing. I for one, have no compulsion to follow James' theological stance. And I don't mind it being in the canon in this regard, it shows me the perfect example of the un-regenerated Christian.


ah, but it's one thing to call him unregenerated, it's another to back it up. i'm not convinced you've made your case.

it's not just a matter of wanting. i think it is also a matter of the most simple explanation of the evidence. granted i could be just prejudiced in the whole affair--and i'm certainly open to that charge. however, i'd need a lot more evidence to convince me the two are contradictory rather than we've just missed some nuance.

it seems to me there one would have to do a lot of reading between the lines of acts and galatians to believe paul is antagonistic to james and thinks he's unregenerate. paul certainly makes no such overt claim.

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