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Or is it Un-united?

United Methodist Church Announces Plan to Split Over Same-Sex Marriage
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/us/methodist-split-gay-ma...

A group of leaders of the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, announced on Friday a plan that would formally split the church, citing “fundamental differences” over same-sex marriage after years of division.

The United Methodist Church is only the latest denomination to be roiled with intense and exhausting theological disputes over the place of L.G.B.T. members and clergy. Such fights have led to an exodus of congregations from Presbyterian and Episcopal churches in recent years, and pushed young evangelicals and Catholics to leave the pews as well.


It's been a long time coming. We gave up on the UMC in frustration over this issue a few years ago. We eventually found an open and affirming Episcopal church we liked and have been happy there for a couple of years. That's the nice thing about Protestant denominations - there's something for just about everyone.
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That's the nice thing about Protestant denominations - there's something for just about everyone.
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That is certainly true.

"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear." -Paul
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Adrian,

It's been a long time coming. We gave up on the UMC in frustration over this issue a few years ago. We eventually found an open and affirming Episcopal church we liked and have been happy there for a couple of years. That's the nice thing about Protestant denominations - there's something for just about everyone.

During the Civil War, a general meeting with President Lincoln at the White House made a remark to the effect that he hoped that God was on [the Union's] side. The President replied, "Rather, I should hope that we are on God's side."

So, what's wrong with this picture?

>> 1. Our Lord's clearly expressed will is that all who believe in him be united as one body -- see John 17:20-23. Division of the Body of Christ -- that is, schism -- is therefore completely contrary to our Lord's will, and thus constitutes sin.

>> 2. The doctrinal position of scripture regarding sexual morality is also abundantly clear -- see, for example, I Corinthians 5-6. This actually begs the question of whether those who claim to be "affirming" have abandoned scripture as a source of doctrine, which is a central tenet of Christian faith, and thus fallen into apostasy.

God does not offer "something for just about everyone." God offers one plan of salvation -- that is, full submission of one's life and one's being to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Norm.
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"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear." -Paul

I know, right.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -Jesus

;-)
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The doctrinal position of scripture regarding sexual morality is also abundantly clear -- see, for example, I Corinthians 5-6

Oh, I agree.

The doctrinal position of scripture regarding head coverings is also abundantly clear -- see, for example, I Corinthians 11.

This is my view: scripture is a 100%, totally, completely human product. It is the product of two ancient communities, with the biases and prejudice of those communities. It is the words of those communities, not God's words. If we were to write scripture now it would contain our biases and prejudice.

In y opinion, when we read scripture we shouldn't be asking "what is God telling me here?", we should ask "what is this ancient community saying here?"
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<<
>> 2. The doctrinal position of scripture regarding sexual morality is also abundantly clear -- see, for example, I Corinthians 5-6. This actually begs the question of whether those who claim to be "affirming" have abandoned scripture as a source of doctrine, which is a central tenet of Christian faith, and thus fallen into apostasy.
>>

A denomination that for years protected pedophiles and is some cases enabled them should not preach to other denominations about sexual morality! Continue to remove the logs from your own eyes, maybe you will be able to see more clearly.


Christ is not divided. The Church is the body of Christ, if I separate myself from a member of the body of Christ, am I separating myself from Christ?
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<<
This is my view: scripture is a 100%, totally, completely human product.
>>

2 Timothy 3:16 [Full Chapter]
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;


While your view is important to you and my view is important to me, our views may be incorrect.
I view scripture as profitable or useful for diverse purposes.
I view the Word of God differently.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

John 12:47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.

Luke 8:4 When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: 5 “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the [a]air ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. 8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, [b]let him hear.”

9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. 10 And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.

11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; [c]they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and [k]dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [l]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -Jesus

Why bother with what Jesus said if it's just all a human fabrication?

Jesus would have a hard time becoming a member in some churches today. Way to judgmental and preachy.
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"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear." -Paul

Really.

I expect that when it was written Paul had no way to know that this would be one of the snippets of Scripture that would be used through the years to appeal to the status quo of the day in an effort to justify the continuing use of slavery, rally opposition to giving women the right to vote, oppose acceptance of those who identify as gay as well as same sex marriage, and other efforts to deny equal treatment to certain groups of people. I suspect that was not what he had in mind.

I don't believe that the work of becoming who God has called us to be ended at some point in the past. It is unfortunate that it has become the passage of choice for many who seem to believe that we got it right long ago and there is no possibility that God is calling us to a better understanding of what it means to follow Christ.

I have always been struck by Peter's appearance at the house of Cornelius at Caesarea. Per tradition and scripture he should not have been there associating with the Gentiles. It was as if his going there was contrary to the "sound and wholesome teaching" of his day. But Peter's vision in the 10th chapter of Acts was an encounter with a living God that changed the way he understood all of that. Peter was paying attention.

So, despite they way it had been in the past, Peter was open to what God had to say in the moment. And that word was that God shows no partiality but accepts all who fear Him and work for righteousness.

That is the grace that motivates me. It is a level of grace that we are uncomfortable with I guess, so we end up trying to somehow disqualify some folks. It compromises our witness.
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I expect that when it was written Paul had no way to know that this would be one of the snippets of Scripture that would be used through the years to appeal to the status quo of the day in an effort to … oppose acceptance of those who identify as gay as well as same sex marriage, and other efforts to deny equal treatment to certain groups of people. I suspect that was not what he had in mind.

The only thing I suspect is that Paul knew that people would corrupt "sound doctrine" to suit their own purposes. He had already seen it and condemned it. What in Paul's writings leads you to believe that he would agree with you on God's view of marriage and human sexuality?

Do you believe anything in the Bible represents "sound doctrine"? Do you believe such doctrine can be changed to become "unsound"?

So, despite they way it had been in the past, Peter was open to what God had to say in the moment.

Jesus had already instructed him as such. He needed some kind of additional supernatural intervention to get the point. How does that relate to the issue of gay marriage and ordination? Who, that we should trust, has received such a supernatural message that we've gotten things so wrong?

so we end up trying to somehow disqualify some folks. It compromises our witness.

Thankfully I have not been tasked with disqualifying anyone.
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So, despite they way it had been in the past, Peter was open to what God had to say in the moment. And that word was that God shows no partiality but accepts all who fear Him and work for righteousness.


I'm curious about something. Adrian's position is easy to understand and deal with. He doesn't believe anything in the Bible is "God's Word" in the sense that we need to conform to it. Your position is a little harder to understand. IIRC, you are a pastor. Paul in 1Co. 6 gives a list of people who will "not inherit the Kingdom of God". Which of those types of people do you encourage to accept themselves as God created them, and which do you help to resist temptation?

I think the Church should be a place where sinners are welcomed with open arms. Otherwise I wouldn't have a place ;-) But neither should it be a place where views contrary to God's views are promoted.
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<<

Jesus would have a hard time becoming a member in some churches today. Way to judgmental and preachy.

>>

You forgot Jesus is a Jew, He would go to a synagogue!

He would weep over most churches today as He wept over Jerusalem!
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You forgot Jesus is a Jew, He would go to a synagogue!

Not sure he'd be recognized even there :-\

Would make for an interesting episode of "Undercover Boss"
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<<
Jesus had already instructed him as such. He needed some kind of additional supernatural intervention to get the point. How does that relate to the issue of gay marriage and ordination? Who, that we should trust, has received such a supernatural message that we've gotten things so wrong?
>>

Many churches today accept divorced and remarried clergy. Others have had known pedophiles as clergy. I see no reason not to accept gay clergy if you accept the former.

I understand that a local congregation needs some organization, but my belief is that the church is a body of believers and the only head of the church is Jesus Christ. The church will only grow and mature as every part does its work. We should each use the talents that we are given.
I know of no solution to the issue of division other that "Love one another as I have loved you." In the case of the United Methodist church, there are congregations that have no issue with a gay pastor or a gay bishop, there are others that have an issue with gay clergy. I expect there are also congregations that will split on the matter. There are preachers I do not care to listen to and I go elsewhere, I do not speak evil of them, I love them and should pray for them more than I do, just because I do not worship with a brother or sister, does not mean that I am no longer their brother. The Body of Christ is not divided, His garments were His Body was not and is not divided today. "As you treat the least of these brother and sisters of mine you also treat me."
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Why bother with what Jesus said if it's just all a human fabrication?


I been sayin.
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<<
This is my view: scripture is a 100%, totally, completely human product.
>>

2 Timothy 3:16 [Full Chapter]
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;


This is how 2 Timothy 1 begins:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is a very strong consensus among New Testament scholars that Paul could not have written 2 Timothy. It was written by someone else, probably a follower of Paul writing in Paul's name, probably in order to get a wider audience for his message. In other words, it is a forgery.

That doesn't mean there isn't useful information and insight in there, maybe there is, that's up to the reader to decide. It does point out once again that scripture is a human product.
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Why bother with what Jesus said if it's just all a human fabrication?

Literature isn't important to you?

I think I get a lot out of reading and listening to what others have written: fiction, non-fiction, or something in-between.

My son was reading Lord of the Flies recently for school. We were talking about the imagery used in the story, and it struck me how much was from the Bible. The look on his face when he connected the two was priceless.

The Bible has immense value. We should all read it. I have an NT where the books are placed in the order that they are thought to have been written. That'll be interesting - it's on my to be read soon shelf.
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So, despite they way it had been in the past, Peter was open to what God had to say in the moment. And that word was that God shows no partiality but accepts all who fear Him and work for righteousness.

That is the grace that motivates me. It is a level of grace that we are uncomfortable with I guess, so we end up trying to somehow disqualify some folks. It compromises our witness.


"Sorry, you can only recommend a post to the Best of once."
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There is a very strong consensus among New Testament scholars that Paul could not have written 2 Timothy.

Phillip Towner, NT scholar, wrote a commentary on Paul's letters. While he acknowledges your claim that the majority view of NT scholarship is that Paul didn't write them, it all comes down to assumptions:

"As I view the scholarly situation, there are gains and losses. While the majority view’s more recent conclusion that the [letters] present a coherent theology and a real setting in history might be an improvement over the older view that regarded the letters as simply a haphazard collection of traditions and Pauline memorabilia (as well as rather lame forgeries), it has evolved into a monolithic, rigid interpretive framework that rests on assumptions and creative reconstructions. These assumptions shape the interpretive methodology of the consensus; and this determines and in some ways restricts the understanding of the theology of these letters that results. What needs to be shown here is that the key assumptions and the methodology are neither airtight nor particularly compelling when objectively considered." --Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (p. 20). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

He then proceeds to dismantle the majority view in subsequent discussion. I highly recommend it.

Speaking of consensus, have you ever read Gary Habermas' "minimal facts" argument for the historicity of the Resurrection? These 6 or so "facts" are accepted by a wide majority of NT scholars:

1) that Jesus died by crucifixion; 2) that very soon afterwards, his followers had real experiences that they thought were actual appearances of the risen Jesus; 3) that their lives were transformed as a result, even to the point of being willing to die specifically for their faith in the resurrection message; 4) that these things were taught very early, soon after the crucifixion; 5) that James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, became a Christian due to his own experience that he thought was the resurrected Christ; and 6) that the Christian persecutor Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also became a believer after a similar experience. (https://ses.edu/minimal-facts-on-the-resurrection-that-even-...)

-Bryan
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Why bother with what Jesus said if it's just all a human fabrication?
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Literature isn't important to you?


Sure, but I don't make a religion out of Shakespeare
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<<
There is a very strong consensus among New Testament scholars that Paul could not have written 2 Timothy.
>>

There is a strong consensus among New Testament readers, hearers, and doers that 2 Timothy is scripture. I see no reason in the context or the style to assume the NT scholars you site are correct but that is possible. For a long time I did not like the writings of Paul, I learned that for me, i need to read the entire Pauline letter at one sitting to understand the meaning of the letter, then I can go back and study the verses in the context of the letter. Paul's writings appear to be to be easily distorted by some.

I became a Christian because of the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. i find in the Gospels a clarity of meaning that nourishes my soul. Some look for religion, I do not. In Jesus Christ I found a man worthy of following, a set of teachings that lead to a life that i would like to imitate. The New Testament can only be understood and lived if the focus in on Jesus Christ.
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Adrian,

This is my view: scripture is a 100%, totally, completely human product. It is the product of two ancient communities, with the biases and prejudice of those communities. It is the words of those communities, not God's words. If we were to write scripture now it would contain our biases and prejudice.

You are absolutely entitled to hold your view.

The view that you state, however, is neither the Christian view of scripture nor the view presented within the text of sacred scripture itself. Rather, the Christian view is that the humans who physically wrote the text are merely scribes doing God's bidding, and that the text itself is God's revelation of himself.

Norm.
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Lawrence,

A denomination that for years protected pedophiles and is some cases enabled them should not preach to other denominations about sexual morality! Continue to remove the logs from your own eyes, maybe you will be able to see more clearly.

I was not speaking in the name of, or on behalf of, any denomination, so what does this have to do with anything in this thread?

Norm.
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Phillip Towner, Gary Habermas' "minimal facts" - I'll check 'em out. Thanks.
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<<
The view that you state, however, is neither the Christian view of scripture nor the view presented within the text of sacred scripture itself. Rather, the Christian view is that the humans who physically wrote the text are merely scribes doing God's bidding, and that the text itself is God's revelation of himself.
>>

You are absolutely entitled to hold your view.

I have no idea what the Christian view of scripture is, since so many Christians have different views. From what you state I know my view is different that yours.

The scriptures do not state that all scripture is God's revelation of Himself. Therefore I see no reason to think that is true. I think Jesus Christ is God's revelation of Himself to man.

You are absolutely entitled to hold your view.
Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.


John 7:
6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

8 Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.
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We had a baptism yesterday. This man had never been baptized - the church rejected him early in his life. Some months ago he and his husband started to attend our church.

I find it incredibly sad that this couple of ordinary people would not be welcome to participate in most churches. People use the Bible to justify their prejudice. Yeah, well people used the Bible to justify racial prejudice and slavery, too. Most churches got past that, outwardly at least.
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I find it incredibly sad that this couple of ordinary people would not be welcome to participate in most churches.

Most churches exclude most ordinary people.

In your opinion, what people can a church consider 'not welcome to participate' without finding it sad?
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<<
Yeah, well people used the Bible to justify racial prejudice and slavery, too. Most churches got past that, outwardly at least.
>>

I think that Sunday morning is still the most segregated time of the week.

Most churches I attend or integrated but not all of them are. The only time I have seen a person of color in some churches are at funerals and weddings.
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Before this conversation goes further, "welcome to participate" needs to be defined.

Every church I have been in would have allowed a practicing homosexual couple to participate in worship service and attend Sunday school.

However, none would have allowed them to join as members, until they, like all other potential members repented of their sin.
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Most churches exclude most ordinary people.

Exclude how?

In your opinion, what people can a church consider 'not welcome to participate' without finding it sad?

People should not be excluded based on race, sexual orientation, who they are married to or partner with, appearance, occupation, or lack of belief, and it's sad if they are. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Probably some other things I'm not thinking of right now.

People who are disruptive can be asked to leave, I think that's fair, but it could still be sad.
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"Before this conversation goes further, "welcome to participate" needs to be defined.

Every church I have been in would have allowed a practicing homosexual couple to participate in worship service and attend Sunday school."


The Chicago diocese of the Catholic Church has a long history of making headlines of denying politicians who support abortion from receiving communion. Not having gotten an abortion nor even participated in doing one, just supporting a women's right to choose.

I may be mistaken, but I also believe that they have denied homosexual couples from receiving communion as well.

Seems that is "not allowing them to participate".
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>Most churches exclude most ordinary people.

Exclude how?

Most Catholic churches would require you to be Catholic to be a member of the church. Protestants, atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. would all be not welcome to participate. Similar answers would apply for most Lutheran churches, or Methodist, or Baptist, etc.


People who are disruptive can be asked to leave, I think that's fair, but it could still be sad.

That's it? I think even the Unitarian Universalists would fail this test. I would bet a KKK enthusiast, no matter how non-disruptive, would not be welcome to participate there.
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{{Most Catholic churches would require you to be Catholic to be a member of the church. Protestants, atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. would all be not welcome to participate. Similar answers would apply for most Lutheran churches, or Methodist, or Baptist, etc.}}


I am not Catholic. Yet, I attend a Catholic mass several times per year with our good friends. I am permitted to participate in everything except the eucharist.


I think the Lutheran aspect depends on which synod. I am not Lutheran but I have attended a church in the more liberal Lutherna synod and been allowed to participate in all aspects including eucharist.



c
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{{Seems that is "not allowing them to participate". }}



That is why I said I wanted to know what the commenter meant by participation.

There are varying levels of participation.

I am currently not a member of the church I regularly attend because we are building a house and will soon move. I felt more like a sojourner than a member. Not being a member limits my participation in the church.
I can't teach
I can't vote on any of the church governance or budget matters
I can't vote on who the new pastor would be
I can't be a deacon
I can't be an elder
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Before this conversation goes further, "welcome to participate" needs to be defined.

The way I meant it was "welcome to attend the church and church functions, and become a member of the church if desired".

It is sad that in most churches this openly gay legally-married couple would not be welcome to attend the church and church functions, and become members of the church.
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It is sad that in most churches this openly gay legally-married couple would not be welcome to attend the church and church functions, and become members of the church.

It's a matter of sharing core values. For some churches, there would be a mismatch here. For others, like mine who don't even have membership, the mismatch would come when the couple wanted to take on some leadership position.

Should PETA accept fur-wearing known big game hunters as members? Should Elizabeth Warren accept a card-carrying NRA member into a leadership position in her campaign?

I don't think so
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Most Catholic churches would require you to be Catholic to be a member of the church.

By definition, my dude.

That's it? I think even the Unitarian Universalists would fail this test. I would bet a KKK enthusiast, no matter how non-disruptive, would not be welcome to participate there.

What are you getting at, Ben? The thread topic is about how most churches reject openly gay people, and one church has decided to split over the issue.

Do you think it's good that most churches reject openly gay people? Ah! Yes, you do.
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It's a matter of sharing core values.

Sure. It's sad. It's sad that so many American churches are, in my opinion, on the wrong side of history, yet again.
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{{The thread topic is about how most churches reject openly gay people,}}


That is not quite accurate. Most churches do not reject openly gay people as members. They do not accept as members, people who unrepentantly sin. It is not about who they are, gay, but what actions they take.


c
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Do you think it's good that many churches reject members of the KKK? Ah! Maybe, you do.
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I thought the thread was about disunity.

Unity is an interesting idea, is it an ideal that cannot be reached?
I think unity can be reached, but it is not easy, unity requires us to love God, love our neighbor, and to love one another.

I do not require your approval to be in unity with you. If you require my approval then they may be a problem if i do not approve of your beliefs, your lifestyle, your actions. I normally do not think about whether I approve of another. No scripture requires me to judge others actions, some scriptures warn us against it. If you ask for my approval then you are asking me to judge, be careful what you ask for. I love many people who do not want nor care whether I approve of their life choices.

I am required to speak the Truth in Love. If someone does not want to hear what i have to say, then I will not go to their home, their church. If they come to mine, I will speak the Truth in Love.
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{{Do you think it's good that many churches reject members of the KKK?}}

Of course, unrepentant sinners should not be members. Though they should be allowed to attend.
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Matthew 10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
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Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
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<< Of course, unrepentant sinners should not be members. Though they should be allowed to attend. >>


1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”


2 Corinthians 2:5 If anyone has caused grief,(G) he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment(H) inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him,(I) so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
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Romans 14:22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
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"They do not accept as members, people who unrepentantly sin."

Sure they do. They take plenty of people who regularly and unrepentantly go against the teachings of Jesus.

Cast the first stone...….. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. etc. etc. etc.
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It's a matter of sharing core values.
-------------
Sure. It's sad. It's sad that so many American churches are, in my opinion, on the wrong side of history, yet again.


I'm curious as to why it matters to you? You believe the Bible is 100% human words, which seems to imply nothing from "God" in there, right?

If so, then churches are just social clubs of like-minded people. As such, they should have their own unique rules and membership requirements as they see fit. There is no unity to maintain, any more than there needs to be one hobby for all Americans, or one political party, or one model of car everyone drives.

I actually agree with you that the divisions are sad, though probably for a different reason than you, and with a different perspective on the wrong side ;-)
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What are you getting at, Ben? The thread topic is about how most churches reject openly gay people, and one church has decided to split over the issue.

Do you think it's good that most churches reject openly gay people? Ah! Yes, you do.


I don't think it's good or bad. Churches are places that promote authoritarianism, tribalism, and superstition. Lies and divisiveness. I don't see being unwelcome at a church as being a bad thing.


It's sad that so many American churches are, in my opinion, on the wrong side of history, yet again.

There is no reason to expect them to be otherwise.
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(Norm:)Rather, the Christian view is that the humans who physically wrote the text are merely scribes doing God's bidding, and that the text itself is God's revelation of himself.
---------------------------
I didn't think anybody actually believed that.

The scripture writers may have been inspired by the Spirit or by Grace, however you want to put it, to undertake their writing projects. It's one thing to believe that, and another thing to believe that somehow God dictated it all to them. If that were the case, the scriptures would make more sense historically and scientifically, for one thing.

Consider the opening of the Gospel of Luke, wherein he specifically states that this work is second-hand information, based on his own research of others' writings, as well as interviews with knowledgeable sources.

http://www.usccb.org/bible/luke/1

1 Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us,
2 just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
3 I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus,
4 so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.


He never said he spoke to God, or vice versa.

Bill
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"It's a matter of sharing core values."

I think Jesus would disagree with you.
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I don't see being unwelcome at a church as being a bad thing.

Yeah, that's what I meant.
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I'm curious as to why it matters to you? You believe the Bible is 100% human words, which seems to imply nothing from "God" in there, right?

If so, then churches are just social clubs of like-minded people.


First, that doesn’t follow. That the Bible is a 100% human product does not deny the existence of God, the historical Jesus or the truth of the gospel. Personally, I found it a relief when I realized this and no longer had to twist my mind into a pretzel trying to reconcile scripture. It don’t reconcile, it wasn’t intended to. It was written by at least 40 authors plus countless editors and redactors over a thousand years, people with different ideas and agendas. Scripture is critically important to Christianity. It is not a rule book from God.

If you want to understand my perspective you might try the book “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time” by Marcus Borg.

I'm curious as to why it matters to you?

Yeah, you’re right. Why should I care? I’m not gay. One of my kids might be, but I guess we’ll deal with that if we come to it. /sarcasm

I have a nephew who was pushed into conversion therapy. It didn’t work, obviously, because it cannot work. A person does not choose their sexual orientation. The family gave up and have now accepted him. He’s a successful young man – just passed the bar – and has a bright future. He has a chance at happiness.

I have a pastor friend who was continually in fear of losing his job. Until he moved to California, he had to stay in the closet. Now he’s happily married.

I had an uncle, estranged from the family for decades. He would visit my mother but no one else would accept him. It took the untimely death of my mother (the “baby”) to bring everyone to their senses and welcome him back into the family.

The trend is going in the direction of acceptance. Ten years ago, about 60% of Americans opposed same sex marriage. Now it’s 40%. Still, 40% is a lot of people, and most of those are Christians. About 70% of Evangelicals oppose LGBTQ+ rights. These people are told to by their churches. This obviously affects their attitudes towards gay people. Love the sinner, hate the sin is no solution.

If so, then churches are just social clubs of like-minded people. As such, they should have their own unique rules and membership requirements as they see fit. There is no unity to maintain, any more than there needs to be one hobby for all Americans, or one political party, or one model of car everyone drives.

Churches do have their own unique rules and membership requirements. That’s fine. But just like it would be wrong to deny membership based on race, I believe it is wrong based on sexual orientation or participation in a same sex relationship.

Well, long reply. No amount of personal anecdote is going to convince someone, I expect. It's like my own senator - Rob Portman - he opposed gay rights until his son came out as gay. He now supports marriage equality. Why? He wants his son to have a shot at happiness.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/rob-portman-and-his...
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<<
Churches do have their own unique rules and membership requirements. That’s fine. But just like it would be wrong to deny membership based on race, I believe it is wrong based on sexual orientation or participation in a same sex relationship.
>>

When you are stating "But just like it would be wrong to deny membership based on race, I believe it is wrong based on sexual orientation or participation in a same sex relationship.", are you not doing the same thing these congregations are doing, judging others.

I do not think anyone appointed me to determine if a congregations decisions are right or wrong (or the decisions of a brother or sister), I have to decide what is right or wrong for myself and speak the truth in love about what is right and I base that on the scriptures.
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But just like it would be wrong to deny membership based on race, I believe it is wrong based on sexual orientation or participation in a same sex relationship.

But it's OK to deny membership based on other things like religious beliefs? Or to have different classes of membership based on gender (no female priests, for example)?
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I appreciate your response, it helps me to understand where you are coming from, and also gives me the chance to clear up an embarrassing lack of clarity on my part.

However, this forum is a particularly bad choice of venues to talk about these matters. It's a very emotionally charged topic for many. So I can't promise I'll keep following up here.

You believe the Bible is 100% human words, which seems to imply nothing from "God" in there, right?

If so, then churches are just social clubs of like-minded people.
-----------
First, that doesn’t follow. That the Bible is a 100% human product does not deny the existence of God, the historical Jesus or the truth of the gospel. Personally, I found it a relief when I realized this and no longer had to twist my mind into a pretzel trying to reconcile scripture. It don’t reconcile, it wasn’t intended to. It was written by at least 40 authors plus countless editors and redactors over a thousand years, people with different ideas and agendas. Scripture is critically important to Christianity. It is not a rule book from God.



I guess it depends on what you mean by "the Bible is a 100% human product" and "it is not a rule book from God". A lot packed in there. I believe God oversaw the production of the Bible in such a way that what he wanted to communicate to us through it was communicated faithfully, by the hand of human authors and in human language and culture. It contains moral guidelines that those who want to be obedient to God must follow. I suppose all that could fit with your statements, though I suspect that's not what you meant. The number of authors, editors, etc. doesn't change these facts.

I'm curious as to why it matters to you?
--------
Yeah, you’re right. Why should I care? I’m not gay.


Here's the embarrassing part for me. I see why you took the question that way, but that's not what I meant. Of course you should care about how Christianity thinks about same-sex attraction, and how that affects those who experience it, as should I. I was actually wondering why you care what the Bible says if it is just the words of humans. That implied something to me that maybe doesn't reflect they way you look at the Bible. I think most of our atheist friend believe it is a human product, and as such don't look to it for moral guidance.

I have a nephew who was pushed into conversion therapy. It didn’t work, obviously, because it cannot work. A person does not choose their sexual orientation.

It depends on what you mean by "work". While I think it is true that some people will never be free from same-sex attractions, that is not necessarily the goal. And some do achieve that, while others learn to live with it and be happy in hetero relationships, or celibate.

He wants his son to have a shot at happiness

There are also different dimensions of happiness in play. We have this life, which is pretty short compared to eternity. Not everyone lives healthy, happy, prosperous lives. Some of us have to live with a lot of crap on this side. But it is only for a time.

You are concerned with people's short-term happiness, I'm concerned with their long-term joy. Love sometimes has to say "No, you can't have that", which creates short-lived pain, in order to achieve a greater good.
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Adrian,

People should not be excluded based on... lack of belief....

Rather, common belief is precisely what unites us as a community of faith, enabling us to share life together and especially a common expression of worship.

And yes, this has the consequence that those who persevere in lifestyles or practices that are contrary to our common belief cannot attain full membership in the body of believers because, as the adage says, their actions speak louder than their words.

And yes, this is precisely why several epistles of the new testament direct the recipient communities to expel those whose lifestyles were contrary to Christian faith from their midst.

Norm.
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But it's OK to deny membership based on other things like religious beliefs? Or to have different classes of membership based on gender (no female priests, for example)?

Bzzz.

Our church has a woman priest, a man as her assistant priest, and obviously no religious belief test because they accepted me as a member.
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no religious belief test because they accepted me as a member.

That's a pretty rare church. What makes it a church and not a social group, then?

Looking up the definition of 'church' to see if I'm off base here...

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/church
a building for public and especially Christian worship

a body or organization of religious believers

Neither of which would seem to apply to an organization with no religious test. It could be that dictionaries have yet to catch up to changes...
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<<
And yes, this is precisely why several epistles of the new testament direct the recipient communities to expel those whose lifestyles were contrary to Christian faith from their midst.
>>

And yet several Catholic diocese did not expel pedophile priests, I can only assume that pedophilia is not contrary to the Catholic faith or was not 30 years ago.



Then verse is the one that seems to be ignored by those who would split a congregation over doctrines and matters of opinion, traditions and such.
Titus 3:10
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.
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"Rather, common belief is precisely what unites us as a community of faith, enabling us to share life together and especially a common expression of worship.

And yes, this has the consequence that those who persevere in lifestyles or practices that are contrary to our common belief cannot attain full membership in the body of believers because, as the adage says, their actions speak louder than their words.

And yes, this is precisely why several epistles of the new testament direct the recipient communities to expel those whose lifestyles were contrary to Christian faith from their midst."


Yes, Jesus was all about exclusivity and pushing people away.

Yes, that was sarcasm.
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That's a pretty rare church. What makes it a church and not a social group, then?

It's like the word "Christian", it is whatever you want it to mean now.
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Looking up the definition of 'church' to see if I'm off base here...
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/church
a building for public and especially Christian worship
a body or organization of religious believers

Neither of which would seem to apply to an organization with no religious test. It could be that dictionaries have yet to catch up to changes...


Well, the Unitarian Church is known to accept people of just about any religious background, or no past history of any, as they do not have an official creed as to theological beliefs. That seems a little weird to me, too.

My niece, who is a lesbian, and previously a Methodist, was married in a Unitarian Church.
All the attendants were women; I referred to them as "the red team and the purple team" of bridesmaids. The pastor announced that, "Since I'm the only guy with pockets in his pants up here, there's no best man, so they asked me to hold the rings until now."

Bill
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Well, the Unitarian Church is known to accept people of just about any religious background, or no past history of any, as they do not have an official creed as to theological beliefs. That seems a little weird to me, too.

True, except they do have doctrinal beliefs they insist on. The beliefs are about ought instead of is, though. They call them their '7 Principles.'

https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles


so they asked me to hold the rings until now

Hahaha!
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Well, the Unitarian Church is known to accept people of just about any religious background, or no past history of any, as they do not have an official creed as to theological beliefs. That seems a little weird to me, too.
-----------------------------
True, except they do have doctrinal beliefs they insist on. The beliefs are about ought instead of is, though. They call them their '7 Principles.'


https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles
-----------------------------
Yes, but all those principles are focused on moral behavior, and are hard to argue with.

When I say they don't have a creed as to theological beliefs, I mean that they are unusually open-minded as to:

*Whether God, assuming he/she/it exists, is a living being or something different.
*Whether God, assuming he/she/it exists, is just one thing, or a Trinity of one God manifested as three divine persons (the traditional Christian view.) By the way, the word Unitarian came about as a contrast to Trinitarian, when the Unitarians separated from the Church of England. The American Unitarian Church developed on a parallel track, spinning off from the Congregationalist Church in New England.

*Whether Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and what role he plays/played in Salvation, and whether that concept is relevant.

The Unitarians' Seven Principles are things which its members can accept whether their background is that of traditional Christianity, or completely Humanist.

Bill
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[Church]
a building for public and especially Christian worship

a body or organization of religious believers

Neither of which would seem to apply to an organization with no religious test.


There are varieties of belief, non-belief, and everything in between. Faith and doubt go hand in hand. Hope is a component of faith, for some people hope is the only component.

I expect this applies to most churches, though in a liberal church, and you can't get much more liberal than ours, you're going to see more folks who are less likely to be dogmatic.
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What in Paul's writings leads you to believe that he would agree with you on God's view of marriage and human sexuality?

Do you believe anything in the Bible represents "sound doctrine"? Do you believe such doctrine can be changed to become "unsound"?


Bryan,

I didn't intentionally ignore your question, I have been on a break for surgery. Pleased to report that I am doing well.

Your questions are fair but are not something I feel that we could do justice to on a message board. Perhaps the place to start would be with looking at scripture and the authority of scripture and what that means. You and I have different views. We could probably have a good, and lengthy, discussion in person, but I don't believe that trying to do it here would be very productive.

Reading through the posts it seems to me that discussion moved towards defining the institution, who can belong and what one must do or believe to be part of the church. It sounds like an explanation of what one needs to do to be a member of the Elks Club. That does not seem to do justice to the message of the one who, following the Temptation, went to Nazareth to proclaim HOPE;

good news to the poor,
release to the captives,
recovering of sight to the blind,
freeing the oppressed,
proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord.

As is human nature, the task has too often become one of defending the institution. That does not seem to resonate with the message of Christ to me. That message of hope as I understand it has been at the core of my ministry for many years.

I could go on for a while, but will spare you, I'm still in recovery mode.
In any case, blessings on your journey.
Share some hope.

wolferd
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Bryan,

Thanks for the gracious reply, and I'm sorry too for the misunderstanding.

A couple of comments:

[The Bible] contains moral guidelines that those who want to be obedient to God must follow.

There's no system to it. It's just like people were working it out as they went along, which, of course, I believe they were. And we have continued to work on it since the canon was finished. Hence, our morality is different to Christian society of the 4th century.

You are concerned with people's short-term happiness, I'm concerned with their long-term joy. Love sometimes has to say "No, you can't have that", which creates short-lived pain, in order to achieve a greater good.

We know we have this life, and that's all we know.

We see what the Taliban does and we are rightly disgusted. They might kill someone for converting to Christianity, for example. Look at it from their point of view. They believe that people will spend an eternity in hell if they go against God. Apostasy is a crime against God. These people cannot be allowed to spread their evil among the people. In order to save the people from hell, the evil-doers must be removed.

If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting that person to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.

That's the Bible's version.
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Well, the Unitarian Church is known to accept people of just about any religious background, or no past history of any, as they do not have an official creed as to theological beliefs. That seems a little weird to me, too.

Just about all churches will accept people of any religious background, or no past history of any. It's what you do going forward that matters to them. Even in my liberal church you have to take a class to become a member. Here, the class isn't about teaching right belief, though, as it would be in a Roman Catholic church.
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That the Bible is a 100% human product does not deny the existence of God, the historical Jesus or the truth of the gospel. Personally, I found it a relief when I realized this and no longer had to twist my mind into a pretzel trying to reconcile scripture. It don’t reconcile, it wasn’t intended to. It was written by at least 40 authors plus countless editors and redactors over a thousand years, people with different ideas and agendas. Scripture is critically important to Christianity. It is not a rule book from God.

Adrian,

I've been frequenting this board for many years, but not enough that I necessarily have a good sense of who everyone is by their writings. I just drop in and read some posts and then am gone for a while. I guess I don't invest much. My apologies to those who post here.

Having said that, I thought your post was excellent. I cited the portion above, not because I necessarily thought it the best part, but because I thought it an excellent response to the question of the authority of scripture. I had kind of ducked that with Bryan in an earlier post. I would quibble with the notion that the Bible is 100% a human product (I'm not even sure what that means), but believe that the rest of the post is both accurate and helpful.

Thanks for your clarity, not a gift that I demonstrate very often.

peace,
wolferd
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Your questions are fair but are not something I feel that we could do justice to on a message board.

I agree, so happy to drop it. Glad you are doing better.

-Bryan
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I would quibble with the notion that the Bible is 100% a human product (I'm not even sure what that means)

That's just me conflating Marcus Borg and Lizzo…

"Foundational to reading the Bible is a decision about how to see its origin. Does it come from God, or is it a human product? Are we to see and read what it says as a divine product or a human product?" Marcus Borg, Reading the Bible Gain for the First Time, p21.

"I just took a[n authorship] test, turns out I'm one hundred percent that [human product]". Truth Hurts by Lizzo, modified by me.
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<<
Are we to see and read what it says as a divine product or a human product?"
>>
When a prophet claimed to speak in the name of the Lord, it could be hazardous to their health.

Deuteronomy 18:
20 But the prophet who speaks a word (V)presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or (W)which he speaks in the name of other gods, [m]that prophet shall die.’ 21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Jesus spoke about The Word that He spoke in an interesting way.
John 12:47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 (BX)He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; (BY)the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 (CA)For I did not speak [s]on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me (CB)has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak (CD)just as the Father has told Me.”

I hold to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Rejecting the teachings of Christ does not negate the TRUTH of them it only imperils you.
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When a prophet claimed to speak in the name of the Lord, it could be hazardous to their health.

Deuteronomy 18:
20 But the prophet who speaks a word (V)presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or (W)which he speaks in the name of other gods, [m]that prophet shall die.’ 21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.


I know, right?

Matthew 24
30“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth c will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. d 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it e is near, right at the door. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.


You could twist your mind like a pretzel, trying to explain it, like these guys do:

https://www.gotquestions.org/this-generation-not-pass.html

Or, you could say, huh, the author got that one a bit wrong. Interesting, but that's human.
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<<
32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.
>>

2 years ago my fig tree had leaves and figs in February.... Summer was not near enough, those leaves died but I still got a few figs in summer.

My pear tree was budding out last week, but those buds are now dead.... not sure if I will get pears.

I am not sure what causes you to think pretzel minded is necessary. Is it this?
<<
34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
>>
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I am not sure what causes you to think pretzel minded is necessary. Is it this?
<<
34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
>>

It's the gotquestions folks' attempt to explain it.

https://www.gotquestions.org/this-generation-not-pass.html

Jesus is clearly giving a prophecy; He is speaking of future events. Jesus had already told those living during His earthly ministry that the kingdom had been taken from them (Matthew 21:43).

Nope. That's a parable attacking the religious leaders - "45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them."

Therefore, it is imperative that Matthew 24–25 be seen as dealing with a future time. The generation that Jesus speaks of “not passing” until He returns is a future generation, namely, the people living when the predicted events occur. The word generation refers to the people alive in the future when the events of Matthew 24–25 take place.

Nope. It doesn't say these events will take place in one future generation. It says the events will take place in the current generation.

There's no need for all this jumping through hoops.
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I tried to read your post and failed to understand.
I am unable to justify nor explain pretzeled brains.

Do you have a question about what Jesus said? I usually understand what he says but there are times when I have to go to the Greek words and definitions or multiple translations.

I have seen that the word translated as "pass away" sometimes means "pass over" but I have not seen it translated that way in any version I have seen.

Hard to read cut and paste but I included the link. When He comes back I expect to meet Him in the air, whether from the grave or the sea. I know preachers at funerals talk about going to be with Jesus, I believe that we sleep until that day. That Day is coming soon.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/parerchom...

Parerchomai
Bible / / / / /
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Parepidemos Paresis
The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon
Strong's Number: 3928 Browse Lexicon
Original Word Word Origin
parercomai from (3844) and (2064)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Parerchomai 2:681,257
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
par-er'-khom-ahee Verb
Definition
to go past, pass by
of persons moving forward
to pass by
of time
an act continuing for a time
metaph.
to pass away, perish
to pass by (pass over), that is, to neglect, omit, (transgress)
to be led by, to be carried past, be averted
to come near, come forward, arrive
NAS Word Usage - Total: 30
came along 1, come 2, disregard 1, late 1, neglected 1, over 1, pass 5, pass away 14, passed away 1, passing 2, past 1
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Do you have a question about what Jesus said? I usually understand what he says but there are times when I have to go to the Greek words and definitions or multiple translations.

34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

Questions:
Did "all these things" happen?
Did "this generation" "pass away"?

What do you think?
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I do not know if all listed in Mark 13 is accomplished... if you want a specific item researched I will research the item.

The Greek word translated as generation may mean: "that which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family"
https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/genea.htm...

All Christian are of the same family, born from above with Jesus Christ being the firstborn of many brothers. (and sisters)

The word translated as "pass away" the KJV on translates as "pass".
Other verses have various English meanings of the same Greek word:
pass away 12, pass 10, pass by 3, pass over 1, transgress 1, past 1, go 1, come forth 1, come 1
https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/parerchom...
There are some who believe that those who have died in Christ are sleeping waiting for his return where the grave will give up it's dead and the sea will as well and along with those who are alive at the time we will rise to meet him in the sky.

In the verse in Mark 13 (KJV)
30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

When i have read this passage I most noticed, verse 33 "Take heed, watch and pray." I think in Matthew it says "be ready". This is the critical instruction for me. But if you want some more research on it I will.

thanks for you interest.
L
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