Saturday, May 19, 2012

COGIC Presiding Bishop and General Board Elaborate on Existing Same Sex Policy | CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST

Here is my denominations official statement on Same-Sex marriage:

Official Statement
of the
Church of God in Christ, Inc.

Regarding Same Sex Marriages and Civil Unions
The President’s position regarding “same-sex marriage” has set off a “firestorm,” unlike any other debate in our civil society, perhaps, since the civil rights unrest of the mid-20th century.   The advocacy for same-sex marriage, while in conflict with our nation’s long-standing moral posture, has indeed, created opportunity for the Church to communicate our unequivocal position about God’s design and foundation for humanity, the biblical mandate for heterosexuality through the bonds of matrimony and, the centuries-old understanding of the only acceptable means of procreation, habitation, and the establishment of the family.

The President suggests same sex relationships and male-female relationships committed to by oath before God and/or witnesses, where formal documents are signed before a civil or ecclesiastical figure.  It further implies that both are equally good and valuable.  In addition to this, it suggests that both equally contribute to the good and advancement of a society.  From a fundamental view of scripture, the same word should not be used to describe both same sex and heterosexual relationships.
Fundamentally, traditionally, and historically, marriage has functioned to unite a man and women together in facing the challenges of life, to sanctify sexual involvement, to authorize the conception of children, provide an environment for the protection and development of offspring and to strengthen and sustain the family unit.  Historically, the sexual coming together of husband and wife produces children who are the fruit of both their bodies and are united by blood to their brothers and sisters.  This coming together of husband and wife is the means by which the world has been populated, and the human race sustained.

A husband, wife and children are the bedrock of a society which also mirrors the universal Church as a microcosm, or domestic church, out of which God’s values are modeled, nurtured, and disciplined.  This divinely-inspired family framework, pronounced in Old and New Testament scripture, is without compromise.  To tamper with the foundation is to disrupt the order God intended.  This order is the intended structure by which all humanity is expected to govern their lives.

The human body is designed by God as male and female to anatomically accommodate individuals of the opposite sex in the conception, bearing, and nurture of children; the human body is unquestionably designed to accommodate individuals of the opposite sex, not of the same sex.

The Holy Bible, which is the authoritative Word of God, clearly prohibits sexual relations between members of the same sex.  Though it does not isolate intercourse between individuals of the same sex as the only sin, it designates this and a series of other activities as sinful behavior from which the Christian is to abstain

1 Cor 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. NKJV (See also: Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; and 1 Timothy 1:8).

The Bible indicates that there is nothing that can excuse or eliminate the sinfulness of sexual involvement between individuals of the same sex.  Neither so called “marriage vows”, civil unions, nor homosexual drives or passions are recognized by the Bible as justifications or acceptable excuses or rationale for sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.  Sinful desires and inclinations must be resisted and overcome by the power of God in Christ Jesus, and by power of the Holy Spirit who strengthens our minds and our wills.

Our vocabularies are made up of thousands of words because there are so many distinctive entities and concepts to be referred to.  Each word designates a category of entities which are unique to that word.  Specific words are most useful when they reflect identical images, and when they do not create conflicting or unclear images in the mind of the speaker and the hearer.  The Bible defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).  To define marriage otherwise is to dilute and destroy its usefulness as a word which denotes what is highest and best about human society.

While we are committed to proclaim and support the tenants of the Bible, and also to persuade others to do so, we recognize that in a free and democratic society morality cannot be legislated.  We oppose violence and discrimination against individuals or groups because of sexual orientation. We do not feel that it is necessary to legalize same sex marriage to provide the civil benefits and civil rights to all regardless of sexual orientation.
We proclaim the value and worth of every human being regardless of sexual orientation.
But, we passionately and unapologetically, defend the right of faith communities to maintain the integrity of their message, mission and identity.  We welcome to the church all people who seek to serve and know God and His Word.

I agree.

COGIC Presiding Bishop and General Board Elaborate on Existing Same Sex Policy | CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST

Bring it On: Debunking Christianity: Okay, The Time Has Come, I'm Done

John Loftus is now saying that he's tired of talking to Christians and frustrated in talking to us. 

I have no more desire to engage Christians. They are deluded, all of them. I have never been more convinced of this than I am now. I have better things to do. I spent 39+ years of my adult life on a delusion. If I add the years of my childhood that's almost my entire life. Yet this is the only life I will ever have. It's time to move on, or at a minimum take a very long hiatus. I just finished what may be my last book, on The Outsider Test for Faith, to be published by Prometheus Books early next year. How many times do I need to kick the dead horse of Christianity? I don't think I need to say anything more. If what I have written isn't good enough then nothing is good enough for some Christians. What I intend to do is turn this blog over to a few qualified people. I'll still be a part of it and I suppose I'll post something from time to time. But I see no reason to waste large chunks of my time on this delusion anymore.

Why is he so frustrated? He has said in several posts that Atheism is winning and Christianity is loosing ground. If this is true, then why quit? I am detecting crocodile tears. If you are really winning why quit or take a hiatus, why not press the attack? Simple...he is not winning.  Personally, I'm disappointed. I mean the more Loftus tries to debunk Christianity, the more he helps us. The more he opines, the more the gospel is preached.

Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. - 2 Corinthians 13:7-9

Thanks, John Loftus. Say it ain't so?!!! We'd miss you! One comment on the post that I thought was telling was this one:

Wow. I suppose I'll need time to digest this. Although i utterly understand your frustration, I would imagine you might start seeing it as a job, rather than a calling, or something. The problem is it doesn't pay enough, admittedly. Is there any way of making it pay financially?

Calling? By whom? For what? How does a non-Christian even begin to answer questions like this one. 

Debunking Christianity: Okay, The Time Has Come, I'm Done

FacePalm of the Day: Debunking Christianity: The OTF is the Solution to Religious Diversity

John Loftus has again provided a summary of the Outsider Test of Faith (OTF). Let us work through his "logic".

I want people to see the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF) as the solution to an incredible amount of religious diversity. This is a problem that needs a solution. No other methods have worked before. If people cannot find solutions to problems within a business they hire solution specialists who offer ways to solve it. Mediators find ways to bring people together by offering ways they can see their differences in a better light. That’s what the OTF does. The goal is to offer a fair test to find out which religion is true if there is one.

I don't really think that the OTF is a bad idea, initially. I think that it has never been fairly applied on Debunking Christianity. Let us see if this post shows any more fairness.

The OTF grants that a religious faith can be reasonable and asks believers to test their faith with it, just as it grants that non-belief is reasonable and asks non-believers to consider the religious options available.

How can a belief that there exist one god or several gods be consistent or simultaneously reasonable with the belief in no gods? Hint: it isn't.

It grants the possibility that one particular religious faith could pass the test, just as it grants the possibility that none of them do. To be a fair and objective test it must allow that any conclusion could result from taking the test, and the OTF does just that. If someone disagrees he or she will not only need to find fault with it, but also propose a better test. What’s the alternative?

I have no problem with the test but the issue is how do you make such a test? How do you run the test? How do you measure success or failure?

The skepticism required by the OTF is expressed as follows: 1) It assumes one's own religious faith has the burden of proof; 2) It adopts the methodological naturalist viewpoint where we assume there is a natural explanation for the origins of that religion, its holy books, and it’s extraordinary claims of miracles;

Why is number 2, reasonable? If a religion does not agree that there is a natural explanation for the origins of that  religion, its holy books, and it's extraordinary claims of miracles it believes in then it's not a fair test unless you can show that naturalism does indeed explain these things. I thought the whole point of OTF was to show that the the methodological naturalist viewpoint where we assume there is a natural explanation for the origins of that religion, its holy books, and it’s extraordinary claims of miracles not to assume them from the beginning.

3)  It demands sufficient evidence, scientific evidence, before concluding a religion is true; and most importantly,

Is something only true if it can be weighed, counted, or measured? Can science be used to substantiate everything?! I don't think so. Somethings we all agree are true, but  have no scientific basis for believing it. Well, I guess fair tests aren't really what Loftus is looking for.

4) It disallows any faith in the religion under investigation since it cannot leap over the lack of evidence by punting to faith.

In order to apply number 4, you would need to correctly define what faith means. Something Loftus consistently fails to do. 

Believers may object that if they assume the skepticism of the OTF it will automatically cause them to reject their religious faith, and as such, doing so unfairly presumes its own conclusion.

You cannot rationally grant that Christianity or Islam may be true and then say that everything about testing them can only be explained by naturalistic evidence. That is assuming failure without really weighing the evidence.  Fortunately for Christianity there are naturalistic evidence, but there is much that is considered from such a myopic viewpoint.  

But I think not, not if there is objective evidence, sufficient evidence, for one’s religious faith. For if it exists then even a skeptic should come to accept it.

But there have been many who began as skeptics and upon examining the evidence from the outside, became born-again Christians. If Loftus is correct, then everyone who examines the evidence would be staunch atheist and never Christians.

Many people are convinced every day about issues when the evidence suggests otherwise. If God created us as reasonable people then the correct religious faith should have sufficient evidence for it since that’s what reasonable people require.

This one always gets me. Observation and the Bible always bear out that no one - not one of us - is reasonable enough or understanding enough to figure this out. We are all broken and fallen. Why should you assume that your intellect is enough to even know what sufficient evidence is?

Otherwise, if this evidence doesn’t exist in sufficient quantities then God counter-productively created us as reasonable people who would reject the correct faith.

We reject Christ not because of a lack of sufficient evidence but because of our own sin and hatred of God. And even if you are saved now, you once were a hater of God and God's ways.

It also means that people born as outsiders in different geographical locations will be condemned to hell (however conceived) by God merely because of when and where they were born.

Hogwash. Everyone is born in the time and place where we can best find God. Re-read Acts 17.

This doesn’t bode well for an omniscient omnibenelovent but wrathful kind of God. Even apart from such a God concept the only way to settle which religious faith is true is to rely on sufficient evidence.

Again, I don't think any one of us is capable of deciding what sufficient evidence is and what it is not. If you cannot see God as God is (or even  as the religion you are testing sees God), how can you correctly apply OTF. Loftus does not know the God of the Bible. His god indeed fails the OTF because his god does not exist. His god is a concept not a being. A god that knows everything but how to apply justice and mercy. A god that has much of the same limitations we do. This is not the God of the Bible - not the God of Christianity. Utter failure.

Debunking Christianity: The OTF is the Solution to Religious Diversity