Liberal Bible Quotes

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One would go mad if one took the Bible seriously; but to take it seriously one must be already mad.
Aleister Crowley (Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4)
There is no greater power than the one others do not believe you possess.
Luis Marques (Book of Orion - Liber Aeternus)
The next time believers tell you that 'separation of church and state' does not appear in our founding document, tell them to stop using the word 'trinity.' The word 'trinity' appears nowhere in the bible. Neither does Rapture, or Second Coming, or Original Sin. If they are still unfazed (or unphrased), by this, then add Omniscience, Omnipresence, Supernatural,Transcendence, Afterlife, Deity, Divinity, Theology, Monotheism, Missionary, Immaculate Conception, Christmas, Christianity, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Methodist, Catholic, Pope, Cardinal, Catechism, Purgatory, Penance, Transubstantiation, Excommunication, Dogma, Chastity, Unpardonable Sin, Infallibility, Inerrancy, Incarnation, Epiphany, Sermon, Eucharist, the Lord's Prayer, Good Friday, Doubting Thomas, Advent, Sunday School, Dead Sea, Golden Rule, Moral, Morality, Ethics, Patriotism, Education, Atheism, Apostasy, Conservative (Liberal is in), Capital Punishment, Monogamy, Abortion, Pornography, Homosexual, Lesbian, Fairness, Logic, Republic, Democracy, Capitalism, Funeral, Decalogue, or Bible.
Dan Barker (Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist)
I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.
Tallulah Bankhead
If you are looking for verses with which to oppress women, you will find them. If you are looking for verses with which to liberate and honor women, you will find them.
Rachel Held Evans (A Year of Biblical Womanhood)
Jesus's teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.
Timothy J. Keller (The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith)
Fear of God is a liberating emotion, freeing one from a disabling fear of evil, powerful people. This needs to be emphasized because many people see fear of God as onerous rather than liberating.
Dennis Prager (The Rational Bible: Exodus)
explanation. LaVey’s Satan is “the spirit of progress, the inspirer of all great movements that contribute to the development of civilization and the advancement of mankind. He is the spirit of revolt that leads to freedom, the embodiment of all heresies that liberate.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Bible)
Did you ever face Death and let it stare back at you right in the Eyes? ☥
Luis Marques (Book of Orion - Liber Aeternus)
Life is a chance at Evolution. Overcome yourself and Become. ☥
Luis Marques (Book of Orion - Liber Aeternus)
Words are sigils that can hide the coded language of your Soul. ☥
Luis Marques (Book of Orion - Liber Aeternus)
Jesus did not simply die to save us from our sins; Jesus lived to save us from our sins. His life and teachings show us the way to liberation. But you can't fit all that on a bumper sticker. So we try to boil it down to a formula. Four steps. The "Romans Road." John 3:16. And yet the gospel itself, in its eternal scope and scandalous particularity, defies reduction.
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again)
For Jesus, the correct interpretation of Scripture all comes down to how we love. The Bible was never intended to be our master, placing a burden on our back; it was intended to act as a servant, leading us to love God, others, and ourselves.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
A mystical path requires courage as you must take a first step of faith so that the second may be of science. ☥
Luis Marques (Book of Orion - Liber Aeternus)
He who does not cherish life, does not deserve to be among the living. ☥
Luis Marques (Book of Orion - Liber Aeternus)
The truth is, you can bend Scripture to say just about anything you want it to say. You can bend it until it breaks. For those who count the Bible as sacred, interpretation is not a matter of whether to pick and choose, but how to pick and choose. We’re all selective. We all wrestle with how to interpret and apply the Bible to our lives. We all go to the text looking for something, and we all have a tendency to find it. So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: are we reading with the prejudice of love, with Christ as our model, or are we reading with the prejudices of judgment and power, self-interest and greed? Are we seeking to enslave or liberate, burden or set free?
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again (series_title))
For those who think religious people live in a constant state of fear and quaking, compare Ps 111:10 to Ps 112:7. There, you will find that the person who fears God will not fear anyone, or anything else. This is not living in fear. By choosing one fear, they are liberated from the many fears.
Michael Ben Zehabe (A Commentary on Jonah)
Fundamentalism has stood aloof from the liberal in self-conscious superiority and has on its own part fallen into error, the error of textualism, which is simply orthodoxy without the Holy Ghost. Everywhere among conservatives we find persons who are Bible-taught but not Spirit-taught. They conceive truth to be something which they can grasp with the mind.
A.W. Tozer (The Divine Conquest)
But there is no perfect guide for discerning God's movement in the world, Contrary to what many conservatives say, the Bible is not a blueprint on this matter. It is a valuable symbol for point to God's revelation in Jesus, but it is not self-interpreting. We are thus place in an existential situation of freedom in which the burden is on us to make decisions without a guaranteed ethical guide.
James H. Cone (A Black Theology of Liberation (Ethics and Society))
Scripture is only read right when it is read in a way that leads us to a Jesus-shaped life and a Jesus-shaped understanding of God’s heart.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
There is no greater pleasure than to be a freethinker.
Paulo Bitencourt (Liberated from Religion: The Inestimable Pleasure of Being a Freethinker)
Whether you are a believer—fundamentalist, evangelical, moderate, liberal—or a nonbeliever, the Bible is the most significant book in the history of our civilization. Coming to understand what it actually is, and is not, is one of the most important intellectual endeavors that anyone in our society can embark upon.
Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them))
A terrible crisis unquestionably has arisen in the Church. In the ministry of evangelical churches are to be found hosts of those who reject the gospel of Christ. By the equivocal use of traditional phrases, by the representation of differences of opinion as though they were only differences about the interpretation of the Bible, entrance into the Church was secured for those who are hostile to the very foundations of the faith.
J. Gresham Machen (Christianity and Liberalism)
The line between the Rebel and Union element in Georgetown was so marked that it led to divisions even in the churches. There were churches in that part of Ohio where treason was preached regularly, and where, to secure membership, hostility to the government, to the war and to the liberation of the slaves, was far more essential than a belief in the authenticity or credibility of the Bible. There were men in Georgetown who filled all the requirements for membership in these churches.
Ulysses S. Grant (Personal Memoirs, Vol. 1)
We all go to the text looking for something, and we all have a tendency to find it. So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: are we reading with the prejudice of love, with Christ as our model, or are we reading with the prejudices of judgment and power, self-interest and greed? Are we seeking to enslave or liberate, burden or set free?
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again (series_title))
There is frankly no other theme that made Jesus quite as furious as seeing people hurt in the name of religion.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
Orang kita kan memang suka barang impor, suka latah dan ikut-ikutan. Seringkali tanpa mengerti maksud dan latar belakangnya. Orang Barat sekuler, ikut sekuler. Mereka liberal, ikut liberal. Mereka kritik Bible, kita kritik Al-Qur'an. Nanti, mereka hancur, kita pun ikut hancur.
Syamsuddin Arif (Orientalis & Diabolisme Pemikiran)
It is usually considered good practice to examine a thing for one's self before echoing the vulgar ridicule of it. But in connection with the Bible, such scholarly restraints are somehow regarded as out of place.
J. Gresham Machen (Christianity and Liberalism)
The greatest jail break in all of history occurred on Easter morning. Therefore, we must remember that whatever our prisons might be and however impenetrable they might appear, your jail break is just a prayer away.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Despite the fact that the Gospels are filled with page after page of Jesus confronting and rebuking the religious leaders of his day for their hurtful approach to Scripture, we have somehow adopted their approach to biblical interpretation characterized by unquestioning obedience, rather than the approach of Jesus characterized by a hermeneutic of faithful questioning.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
It will probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave. 1879
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
If we start with such ideas as God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, we will never arrive at a true knowledge of God. However, if we participate by faith in Jesus Christ as the one who “is there for others,” we are liberated from self and experience the transcendence that is truly the God of the Bible.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison DBW Vol 8 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works))
Frederick Douglass saw the same connection. When his master heard that young Frederick was reading well, he was furious, saying, “Learning will spoil the best nigger in the world. If he learns to read the Bible it will forever unfit him to be a slave.” Douglass recalled that he “instinctively assented to the proposition, and from that moment I understood the direct pathway from slavery to freedom.
Fareed Zakaria (In Defense of a Liberal Education)
Jesus drank wine in the Bible, y'all. Yun's make up a bunch of shit he never said about gay people but then just ignore the fact that one time a party started sucking and he abracadabraed some well water into Pinot and got that bitch turnt!
Trae Crowder (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark)
Sometimes the very things that we’re expending our lives to sustain are the very things that are killing our ability to live. And against our blind and frequently raging protests, these are the very things that God let’s die so that we can live.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
At present, the successful office-seeker is a good deal like the center of the earth; he weighs nothing himself, but draws everything else to him. There are so many societies, so many churches, so many isms, that it is almost impossible for an independent man to succeed in a political career. Candidates are forced to pretend that they are catholics with protestant proclivities, or christians with liberal tendencies, or temperance men who now and then take a glass of wine, or, that although not members of any church their wives are, and that they subscribe liberally to all. The result of all this is that we reward hypocrisy and elect men entirely destitute of real principle; and this will never change until the people become grand enough to allow each other to do their own thinking. Our government should be entirely and purely secular. The religious views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of sight. He should not be compelled to give his opinion as to the inspiration of the bible, the propriety of infant baptism, or the immaculate conception. All these things are private and personal. The people ought to be wise enough to select as their officers men who know something of political affairs, who comprehend the present greatness, and clearly perceive the future grandeur of our country. If we were in a storm at sea, with deck wave-washed and masts strained and bent with storm, and it was necessary to reef the top sail, we certainly would not ask the brave sailor who volunteered to go aloft, what his opinion was on the five points of Calvinism. Our government has nothing to do with religion. It is neither christian nor pagan; it is secular. But as long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place and power. Just so long will the candidates crawl in the dust—hide their opinions, flatter those with whom they differ, pretend to agree with those whom they despise; and just so long will honest men be trampled under foot.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Conquest and liberation and democracy and divorce are words that mean squat, basically, when you have hungry children and clothes to get out on the line and it looks like rain.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)
when theologians read the Bible through the lens of the Exodus narrative, they are called “liberation theologians,” but their counterparts who read it through the Greco-Roman narrative are never labeled “domination theologians” or “colonization theologians.” Similarly, we have “black theology” and “feminist theology,” but Greco-Roman orthodoxy is never called “white theology” or “male theology.
Brian D. McLaren (A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith)
in faithfully acting to restore people, the Gospel writers tell us, Jesus continually appeared in the eyes of the religious leaders around him to be breaking God’s laws. Jesus was not particularly concerned with this, and instead was infinitely more concerned with caring for the least, even if this meant his reputation became one of a “blasphemer” and “law breaker” in the eyes of the religious authorities.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
Learning to read the Bible like Jesus did means being empowered to faithfully question in the name of compassion. It likewise means learning to read the Bible as morally responsible adults, aware of our own limitations. Because in the final analysis, faith is not about certainty; faith is about humility and trust.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
We can of course argue over what the Bible says about homosexuality, but one thing is utterly clear: Jesus teaches us to love people, not to hate them, not to make them feel hated, and not to stand by while that is happening. From the perspective of the New Testament there simply is no room for doubt on this. We know exactly where Jesus stands in this regard. He stands on the side of the least, the condemned, the vulnerable.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
The people who wrote and edited the Bible, for example, weren’t scientists. They couldn’t have been scientists, even if they had wanted to be. The viewpoints, methods and practices of science hadn’t been formulated when the Bible was written. Religion is instead about proper behaviour. It’s about what Plato called “the Good.” A genuine religious acolyte isn’t trying to formulate accurate ideas about the objective nature of the world (although he may be trying to do that too). He’s striving, instead, to be a “good person.” It may be the case that to him “good” means nothing but “obedient”—even blindly obedient. Hence the classic liberal Western enlightenment objection to religious belief: obedience is not enough. But it’s at least a start (and we have forgotten this): You cannot aim yourself at anything if you are completely undisciplined and untutored.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
In all these assaults on the senses there is a great wisdom — not only about the addictiveness of pleasures but about their ephemerality. The essence of addiction, after all, is that pleasure tends to desperate and leave the mind agitated, hungry for more. The idea that just one more dollar, one more dalliance, one more rung on the ladder will leave us feeling sated reflects a misunderstanding about human nature — a misunderstanding, moreover, that is built into human nature; we are designed to feel that the next great goal will bring bliss, and the bliss is designed to evaporate shortly after we get there. Natural selection has a malicious sense of humor; it leads us along with a series of promises and then keeps saying ‘Just kidding.’ As the Bible puts it, ‘All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.’ Remarkably, we go our whole lives without ever really catching on. The advice of the sages — that we refuse to play this game — is nothing less than an incitement to mutiny, to rebel against our creator. Sensual pleasures are the whip natural selection uses to control us to keep us in the thrall of its warped value system. To cultivate some indifference to them is one plausible route to liberation. While few of us can claim to have traveled far on this route, the proliferation of this scriptural advice suggests it has been followed some distance with some success.
Robert Wright (The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are - The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology)
Science Class Would you invent some irrational explanation for we lost souls that the glaciers aren’t really melting at all, that they are and will remain just as they always have been? Some rationale that claims the whole climate change scenario is really just a satanic plot, concocted by liberal secular humanists to trick the world into thinking that the glaciers have been melting for twice as long as the Bible says the Earth has been around.
Diogenes of Mayberry (Manifest Insanity, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Think for Myself)
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly
But a flawed and erroneous Bible is no longer the authoritative Word of God. And that low view of Scripture has successively given license to liberal theologians, militant feminists, homosexuals, and many others intent on assaulting the authority and relevance of God’s Word.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Final Word: Why We Need the Bible)
From the beginning, Judeo-Christian principles have been the foundation for American public dialogue and government policy. They serve as the solid basis for political activism in support of a better socioeconomic environment. Found in American homes, truth from the Hebrew Christian Bible has enabled individual liberty to prevail over secular empires because it is a practical message about reality from man’s Creator. In their quest for liberty, Americans focused upon the conspicuously self-evident “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” It is the governing character of these principles (laws), such as humility, the Golden Rule, and the Ten Commandments, that leads to success. This is the sure foundation upon which man’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” rests. Called “virtue” by America’s Founding Fathers, the impartial and divine element frees man to do what is right. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
David A. Norris (Restoring Education: Central to American Greatness Fifteen Principles that Liberated Mankind from the Politics of Tyranny)
The key difference between Jesus and the Pharisees described in the Gospel accounts is in which narratives they chose to embrace. Similarly, the question for us is not whether or not we will choose, but rather which narratives we choose to embrace, and how will we choose them?
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
Indeed, in Scripture, no two people encounter Jesus in exactly the same way. Not once does anyone pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” or ask Jesus into their heart. The good news is good for the whole world, certainly, but what makes it good varies from person to person and community to community. Liberation from sin looks different for the rich young ruler than it does for the woman caught in adultery. The good news that Jesus is the Messiah has a different impact on John the Baptist, a Jewish prophet, than it does the Ethiopian eunuch, a Gentile and outsider. Salvation means one thing for Mary Magdalene, first to witness the resurrection, and another to the thief who died next to Jesus on a cross. The gospel is like a mosaic of stories, each one part of a larger story, yet beautiful and truthful on its own. There’s no formula, no blueprint.
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again (series_title))
The ethical issues that confront Christians who try to discern the will of God in Scripture are, as I shall try to show in this book, far more nuanced than a simple conservative/liberal polarity would suggest. One reason that the church has become so bitterly divided over moral issues is that the community of faith has uncritically accepted the categories of popular U.S. discourse about these topics, without subjecting them to sustained critical scrutiny in light of a close reading of the Bible.
Richard B. Hays (The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics)
To see God as primarily loving, a person must embrace a liberal interpretation of the Bible, ignoring or rejecting the vindictive passages.
Andrew B. Newberg (How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist)
The central aim of Scripture, as Jesus saw it, was to lead us to love.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
What’s the greater sin: questioning a doctrine or working to destroy someone’s career and livelihood because they questioned it?
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
the priority of Jesus was instead focused on loving and caring for people in need. That is, the way Jesus understood faithfulness to Scripture was that it should lead to love.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
Jesus begins with the call to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves,” and then pushes us to expand our definition of “neighbor” to encompass those we would normally reject and shut out.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
These moral conclusions are easy to make. The real problem is that many of us have been systematically taught in church to shut off our brains and conscience when we read the Bible. In fact, it is commonly taught that we are utterly incapable of making sound moral judgments on our own. Our hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9, KJV). We are therefore admonished to “lean not on thine own understanding” (Prov 3:5, KJV), because “God’s ways are higher than our ways” (Isa 55:9).41 These verses are all marshaled to appeal to the narrative of unquestioning obedience, and are used to get us to not question moral atrocity in the Bible and instead defend it. The Bible says so; that settles it. End of discussion, end of thought, end of conscience.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
Jesus’ teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted do not bother coming to our churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.2
Tullian Tchividjian (Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels)
1. Women do not have as great a need for poetry because their own essence is poetry. 2. Every uneducated person is a caricature of himself. 3. Versatility of education can be found in our best poetry, but the depth of mankind should be found in the philosopher. 4. If you want to see mankind fully, look at a family. Within the family minds become organically one, and for this reason the family is total poetry. 5. Considered subjectively, philosophy always begins in the middle, like an epic poem. 6. Duty is for Kant the One and All. Out of the duty of gratitude, he claims, one has to defend and esteem the ancients; and only out of duty has he become a great man. 7. Nothing truly convincing - which would possess thoroughness, vigor, and skill - has been written against the ancients as yet; especially not against their poetry. 8. The genuine priest always feels something higher than compassion. 9. Man is a creative retrospection of nature upon itself. In the world of language, or in other words in the world of art and liberal education, religion necessarily appears as mythology or as Bible.
Friedrich Schlegel
Again and again, we keep returning to this question: what does the Bible say? If it forbids women from taking the office of pastor or elder (as I have argued extensively elsewhere),4 then we have no right to say this is a “unique time” when we can disobey what God’s Word says. Therefore those who argue that women should have all ministry roles open to them because this is a “unique time” in history are taking the church another step down the path toward liberalism.
Wayne Grudem (Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?)
The Bible was never intended to be our master, placing a burden on our back; it was intended to act as a servant, leading us to love God, others, and ourselves. When we read it in a way that leads to the opposite of this, we get it wrong.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
1. Those who first set themselves to discover nature’s secrets and designs, fearlessly opposing mankind’s early ignorance, deserve our praise;   2. For they began the quest to measure what once was unmeasurable, to discern its laws, and conquer time itself by understanding.   3. New eyes were needed to see what lay hidden in ignorance, new language to express the unknown,   4. New hope that the world would reveal itself to inquiry and investigation.   5. They sought to unfold the world’s primordial sources, asking how nature yields its abundance and fosters it,   6. And where in its course everything goes when it ends, either to change or cease.   7. The first inquirers named nature’s elements atoms, matter, seeds, primal bodies, and understood that they are coeval with the world;   8. They saw that nothing comes from nothing, so that discovering the elements reveals how the things of nature exist and evolve.   9. Fear holds dominion over people when they understand little, and need simple stories and legends to comfort and explain; 10. But legends and the ignorance that give them birth are a house of limitations and darkness. 11. Knowledge is freedom, freedom from ignorance and its offspring fear; knowledge is light and liberation, 12. Knowledge that the world contains itself, and its origins, and the mind of man, 13. From which comes more know­ledge, and hope of knowledge again. 14. Dare to know: that is the motto of enlightenment.  
A.C. Grayling (The Good Book: A Secular Bible)
There is nothing wrong with correctly understanding what a text is saying. The problem is when this focus on correct interpretation becomes primary, and love takes a backseat, the focus being placed on “being right” and “orthodox” at the expense of love.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
People rely too much on their lifelong instincts. Their perception is divided by necessary obedience, which they themselves have become too weak to liberate themselves from. I'd let the Devil read me the bible, before I trusted the Words of God or the Mind of Man.
Lionel Suggs
Christ, the new Moses, liberates His people, the Church, the new Israel, from the spiritual slavery of sin and from the power of the world (symbolized by Egypt), which is under the dominion of Satan (symbolized by Pharaoh), through the sea (death) and the wilderness (Purgatory) to the promised land (Heaven).
Peter Kreeft (You Can Understand the Bible: A Practical and Illuminating Guide to Each Book in the Bible)
The primary way Jesus taught was by dramatic provocation. He speaks in ironic riddles that tell us to do seemingly absurd things like dying in order to live, and loving the people we hate. Jesus is constantly pulling the rug out from under us—saying things that are intended to shock, to throw us off balance.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
In telling these stories of our Nation's past, however, let's not be so zealous in correcting liberal historians that we create our own historical revisionism. If the Founding Fathers were alive today, some of them would not want to go to the typical Evangelical church. Some were influenced by the pagan Enlightenment, as well as the Protestant Reformation. one historical figure (not a Founding Father) who's been misrepresented in our quest to find Christian heroes is Johnny Appleseed. He's routinely pictured as a nice man who went around scattering apple seeds everywhere and toting a Bible under his arm. The fact is, Johnny Appleseed was a missionary for Swedenbogrism, a spiritist cult. This cult taught many false doctrines and claimed that the writings of the Apostle Paul had no place in the Bible. When a child hears that Johnny Appleseed is a 'godly hero' and then discovers that he was in fact a cult member, what will he logically conclude about everything he's been taught?
Gregg Harris (The Christian Home School)
The Christian message does not begin with "accept Christ as your Savior"; it begins with "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". The Bible teaches that God is the sole source of the entire created order. No other gods compare with Him; no natural forces exist on their own; nothing receives its nature or existence from another source. Thus, His Word, or laws, or creation ordinances give the world its order and structure. God's creative world is the source of the laws of physical nature (natural sciences), human nature (ethics, politics, economics, aesthetics) and even logic. That's why Psalm 119:91 says, "all things are your servants". There is no philosophically or spiritually neutral subject matter.
Nancy R. Pearcey (Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity)
Again, as stated above, if we recognize that our particular interpretation and application of Scripture is leading to observable harm, this necessarily means that we need to stop and reassess our course. Scripture, as Jesus read it, needs to lead us to love God, others, and ourselves. If we find that it is leading instead to causing harm then we are getting it wrong.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
Rather than boasting a doctrinal statement, the Refuge extends an invitation: The Refuge is a mission center and Christian community dedicated to helping hurting and hungry people find faith, hope, and dignity alongside each other. We love to throw parties, tell stories, find hope, and practice the ways of Jesus as best we can. We’re all hurt or hungry in our own ways. We’re at different places on our journey but we share a guiding story, a sweeping epic drama called the Bible. We find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts. We find dignity as God’s image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another. We all receive, we all give. We are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberal, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, overeducated, undereducated, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving. Yet Christ’s love binds our differences together in unity. At The Refuge, everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable.24 Imagine if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. Imagine if every church became a place where we told one another the truth. We might just create sanctuary.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16). Those who remain alone with their evil are left utterly alone. It is possible that Christians may remain lonely in spite of daily worship together, prayer together, and all their community through service—that the final breakthrough to community does not occur precisely because they enjoy community with one another as pious believers, but not with one another as those lacking piety, as sinners. For the pious community permits no one to be a sinner. Hence all have to conceal their sins from themselves and from the community. We are not allowed to be sinners. Many Christians would be unimaginably horrified if a real sinner were suddenly to turn up among the pious. So we remain alone with our sin, trapped in lies and hypocrisy, for we are in fact sinners. However, the grace of the gospel, which is so hard for the pious to comprehend, confronts us with the truth. It says to us, you are a sinner, a great, unholy sinner. Now come, as the sinner that you are, to your God who loves you. For God wants you as you are, not desiring anything from you—a sacrifice, a good deed—but rather desiring you alone. “My child, give me your heart” (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to make the sinner blessed. Rejoice! This message is liberation through truth. You cannot hide from God. The mask you wear in the presence of other people won’t get you anywhere in the presence of God. God wants to see you as you are, wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to go on lying to yourself and to other Christians as if you were without sin. You are allowed to be a sinner. Thank God for that; God loves the sinner but hates the sin.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol 5))
sexuality isn’t ancillary to Christianity, in the way some other cultural or political issues are. Marriage and sex point, the Bible says, to a picture of the gospel itself, the union of Christ and his church. This is why the Bible spends so much time, as some critics would put it, “obsessed” with sex. That’s why, historically, churches that liberalize on sex tend to liberalize themselves right out of Christianity itself.
Russell D. Moore
One sunny day, when Jung was twelve, he was traversing the Münsterplatz in Basel, admiring the sun shining on the newly restored glazed roof tiles of the cathedral. He then felt the approach of a terrible, sinful thought, which he pushed away. He was in a state of anguish for several days. Finally, after convincing himself that it was God who wanted him to think this thought, just as it had been God who had wanted Adam and Eve to sin, he let himself contemplate it, and saw God on his throne unleashing an almighty turd on the cathedral, shattering its new roof and smashing the cathedral. With this, Jung felt a sense of bliss and relief such as he had never experienced before. He felt that it was an experience of the "direct living God, who stands omnipotent and free above the Bible and Church." He felt alone before God, and that his real responsibility commenced then.
C.G. Jung (The Red Book: Liber Novus)
The most revolutionary change that hit the world in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries was the liberation of women. The Bible and the Qur’an came from societies controlled by men. No surprise there. That’s how the world everywhere was run until fairly recently. And there is something worth noting before we go deeper into the issue. History shows that the men in charge never volunteer to give up their privileges. They don’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’ve suddenly realised that the way I control and dominate others is wrong. I must change my ways. So I’ll share my power with them. I’ll give them the vote!’ That’s never how it works. History shows that power always has to be wrested from those who have it. The suffragettes who fought for the vote or suffrage for women learned that lesson. Men didn’t volunteer to give women the vote. Women had to fight them for it.
Richard Holloway (A Little History of Religion)
Fifield’s connection to his congregation extended to their views on religion and politics too. In the apt words of one observer, Fifield was “one of the most theologically liberal and at the same time politically conservative ministers” of his era. He had no patience for fundamentalists who insisted upon a literal reading of Scripture. “The men who chronicled and canonized the Bible were subject to human error and limitation,” he believed, and therefore the text needed to be sifted and interpreted. Reading the holy book should be “like eating fish—we take the bones out to enjoy the meat. All parts are not of equal value.” Accordingly, Fifield dismissed the many passages in the New Testament about wealth and poverty and instead worked tirelessly to reconcile Christianity and capitalism. In his view, both systems rested on a basic belief that individuals would succeed or fail on their own merit.
Kevin M. Kruse (One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America)
The simple fact is, all the so-called “heresies” throughout history pale in comparison to the hurtful ways that people have been ostracized, threatened, and wounded by those who act as the champions of so-called orthodoxy. The fact that this continues today in this country (albeit without physical violence) is a sad testament to the deadly grip of the authoritarian narrative of unquestioning obedience that still drives much of religious belief in America.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
The author of IRR, who worshipped the King, said he had the valor of Hector, the magnanimity of Achilles, the liberality of Titus, the eloquence of Nestor, and the prudence of Ulysses; that he was the equal of Alexander and not inferior to Roland. But later historians tend to picture him rather as a remorseless, kindless villain. He was probably not a pleasant or a lovable character; none of the Plantagenets were. But a great soldier and a great commander he certainly was. He possessed that one quality without which nothing else in a commander counts: the determination to win. To this everything else—mercy, moderation, tact—was sacrificed. The avarice that so horrifies his critics was not simple greed: it was a quartermaster’s greed for his army. His massacre of the prisoners was not simple cruelty, but a deliberate reminder to Saladin to keep faith with the terms agreed to, which that great opponent understood and respected.
Barbara W. Tuchman (Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour)
The Refuge is a mission center and Christian community dedicated to helping hurting and hungry people find faith, hope, and dignity alongside each other. We love to throw parties, tell stories, find hope, and practice the ways of Jesus as best we can. We’re all hurt or hungry in our own ways. We’re at different places on our journey but we share a guiding story, a sweeping epic drama called the Bible. We find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts. We find dignity as God’s image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another. We all receive, we all give. We are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberal, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, overeducated, undereducated, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving. Yet Christ’s love binds our differences together in unity. At The Refuge, everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable.24
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
In editing a volume of Washington's private letters for the Long Island Historical Society, I have been much impressed by indications that this great historic personality represented the Liberal religious tendency of his time. That tendency was to respect religious organizations as part of the social order, which required some minister to visit the sick, bury the dead, and perform marriages. It was considered in nowise inconsistent with disbelief of the clergyman's doctrines to contribute to his support, or even to be a vestryman in his church. In his many letters to his adopted nephew and younger relatives, he admonishes them about their manners and morals, but in no case have I been able to discover any suggestion that they should read the Bible, keep the Sabbath, go to church, or any warning against Infidelity. Washington had in his library the writings of Paine, Priestley, Voltaire, Frederick the Great, and other heretical works. [The Religion of Washington]
Moncure Daniel Conway
The late Francis Schaeffer, one of the wisest and most influential Christian thinkers of the twentieth century, warned of this exact trend just a few months before his death in 1984. In his book The Great Evangelical Disaster he included a section called “The Feminist Subversion,” in which he wrote: There is one final area that I would mention where evangelicals have, with tragic results, accommodated to the world spirit of this age. This has to do with the whole area of marriage, family, sexual morality, feminism, homosexuality, and divorce. . . . The key to understanding extreme feminism centers around the idea of total equality, or more properly the idea of equality without distinction. . . . the world spirit in our day would have us aspire to autonomous absolute freedom in the area of male and female relationships—to throw off all form and boundaries in these relationships and especially those boundaries taught in the Scriptures. . . . Some evangelical leaders, in fact, have changed their views about inerrancy as a direct consequence of trying to come to terms with feminism. There is no other word for this than accommodation. It is a direct and deliberate bending of the Bible to conform to the world spirit of our age at the point where the modern spirit conflicts with what the Bible teaches.2 My argument in the following pages demonstrates that what Schaeffer predicted so clearly twenty-two years ago is increasingly coming true in evangelicalism today. It is a deeply troubling trend.
Wayne Grudem (Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?)
(Many religions, from Judaism to Zoroastrianism, use light and fire as symbols for the presence of God, perhaps because light, like God, cannot be seen but permits us to see everything there is, perhaps because fire liberates the energy hidden in a log of wood or a lump of coal just as God liberates the potential energy to do good things that is hidden in every human being, just as God will be the fire that burns within Moses, enabling him to do the great things he will go on to do, but not consuming him in the process.)
Harold S. Kushner (Overcoming Life's Disappointments)
Two centuries ago, the United States settled into a permanent political order, after fourteen years of violence and heated debate. Two centuries ago, France fell into ruinous disorder that ran its course for twenty-four years. In both countries there resounded much ardent talk of rights--rights natural, rights prescriptive. . . . [F]anatic ideology had begun to rage within France, so that not one of the liberties guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man could be enjoyed by France's citizens. One thinks of the words of Dostoievski: "To begin with unlimited liberty is to end with unlimited despotism." . . . In striking contrast, the twenty-two senators and fifty-nine representatives who during the summer of 1789 debated the proposed seventeen amendments to the Constitution were men of much experience in representative government, experience acquired within the governments of their several states or, before 1776, in colonial assembles and in the practice of the law. Many had served in the army during the Revolution. They decidedly were political realists, aware of how difficult it is to govern men's passions and self-interest. . . . Among most of them, the term democracy was suspect. The War of Independence had sufficed them by way of revolution. . . . The purpose of law, they knew, is to keep the peace. To that end, compromises must be made among interests and among states. Both Federalists and Anti-Federalists ranked historical experience higher than novel theory. They suffered from no itch to alter American society radically; they went for sound security. The amendments constituting what is called the Bill of Rights were not innovations, but rather restatements of principles at law long observed in Britain and in the thirteen colonies. . . . The Americans who approved the first ten amendments to their Constitution were no ideologues. Neither Voltaire nor Rousseau had any substantial following among them. Their political ideas, with few exceptions, were those of English Whigs. The typical textbook in American history used to inform us that Americans of the colonial years and the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras were ardent disciples of John Locke. This notion was the work of Charles A. Beard and Vernon L. Parrington, chiefly. It fitted well enough their liberal convictions, but . . . it has the disadvantage of being erroneous. . . . They had no set of philosophes inflicted upon them. Their morals they took, most of them, from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Their Bill of Rights made no reference whatever to political abstractions; the Constitution itself is perfectly innocent of speculative or theoretical political arguments, so far as its text is concerned. John Dickinson, James Madison, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, and other thoughtful delegates to the Convention in 1787 knew something of political theory, but they did not put political abstractions into the text of the Constitution. . . . Probably most members of the First Congress, being Christian communicants of one persuasion or another, would have been dubious about the doctrine that every man should freely indulge himself in whatever is not specifically prohibited by positive law and that the state should restrain only those actions patently "hurtful to society." Nor did Congress then find it necessary or desirable to justify civil liberties by an appeal to a rather vague concept of natural law . . . . Two centuries later, the provisions of the Bill of Rights endure--if sometimes strangely interpreted. Americans have known liberty under law, ordered liberty, for more than two centuries, while states that have embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with its pompous abstractions, have paid the penalty in blood.
Russell Kirk (Rights and Duties: Reflections on Our Conservative Constitution)
As we have seen so often in this book, religion may begin with mystical experiences but it always leads to politics. It starts with the voice heard by the prophets who are its chosen instruments. And what they hear always leads to actions that affect the way people live: with politics. Sometimes the politics are bad. People are persecuted for following the wrong faith or for listening to the wrong voice. Or they are forced to embrace the message announced by the latest hot prophet. So the history of religion becomes a study in different forms of oppression. But sometimes the politics are good. They are about liberation, not oppression. We saw good politics in the stand the Pennsylvanian Quakers made against slavery in 1688. And in the African American Church today the politics of Christianity are still about liberation. The tactics of Moses and the promises of Jesus are used to make the world a better place. Religion is no longer used as an opiate to dull the pain of injustice and inequality but as a stimulant to overcome it. That’s what keeps many people in the religion game.
Richard Holloway (A Little History of Religion)
[Professor Greene's] reaction to GAMAY, as published in the Yale Daily News, fairly took one's breath away. He fondled the word "fascist" as though he had come up with a Dead Sea Scroll vouchsafing the key word to the understanding of God and Man at Yale. In a few sentences he used the term thrice. "Mr. Buckley has done Yale a great service" (how I would tire of this pedestrian rhetorical device), "and he may well do the cause of liberal education in America an even greater service, by stating the fascist alternative to liberalism. This fascist thesis . . . This . . . pure fascism . . . What more could Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin ask for . . . ?" (They asked for, and got, a great deal more.) What survives, from such stuff as this, is ne-plus-ultra relativism, idiot nihlism. "What is required," Professor Greene spoke, "is more, not less tolerance--not the tolerance of indifference, but the tolerance of honest respect for divergent convictions and the determination of all that such divergent opinions be heard without administrative censorship. I try my best in the classroom to expound and defend my faith, when it is relevant, as honestly and persuasively as I can. But I can do so only because many of my colleagues are expounding and defending their contrasting faiths, or skepticisms, as openly and honestly as I am mine." A professor of philosophy! Question: What is the 1) ethical, 2) philosophical, or 3) epistemological argument for requiring continued tolerance of ideas whose discrediting it is the purpose of education to effect? What ethical code (in the Bible? in Plato? Kant? Hume?) requires "honest respect" for any divergent conviction?
William F. Buckley Jr. (God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom')
The truth is, you can bend Scripture to say just about anything you want it to say. You can bend it until it breaks. For those who count the Bible as sacred, interpretation is not a matter of whether to pick and choose, but how to pick and choose. We’re all selective. We all wrestle with how to interpret and apply the Bible to our lives. We all go to the text looking for something, and we all have a tendency to find it. So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: are we reading with the prejudice of love, with Christ as our model, or are we reading with the prejudices of judgment and power, self-interest and greed? Are we seeking to enslave or liberate, burden or set free? If you are looking for Bible verses with which to support slavery, you will find them. If you are looking for verses with which to abolish slavery, you will find them. If you are looking for verses with which to oppress women, you will find them. If you are looking for verses with which to honor and celebrate women, you will find them. If you are looking for reasons to wage war, there are plenty. If you are looking for reasons to promote peace, there are plenty more. If you are looking for an outdated and irrelevant ancient text, that’s exactly what you will see. If you are looking for truth, that’s exactly what you will find. This is why there are times when the most instructive question to bring to the text is not, What does this say? but, What am I looking for? I suspect Jesus knew this when he said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). If you want to do violence in this world, you will always find the weapons. If you want to heal, you will always find the balm. With Scripture, we’ve been entrusted with some of the most powerful stories ever told. How we harness that power, whether for good or evil, oppression or liberation, changes everything.
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again (series_title))
Humanae Vitae is important for yet another reason. Just as the National Socialists used nationalism and racism, among other levers, to overthrow Christian morality, in modern, liberal society the levers have been sexual liberation and consumerism. These two “freedoms to choose” have replaced objective morality with the dogma of whatever the customer, or the individual, wants is right. In opposing this attitude, the Church is often accused of being “opposed to sex.” Such an accusation reveals the incredible poverty of modern thought. Far from being opposed to sex, the Church affirms that sex is a definable thing: God made them man and woman. The Church affirms the twofold “unitive” and “procreative” purpose and virtue inherent in conjugal activity and cherishes the result: the bonding of man and wife and their commitment to raise their children. And as anyone remotely familiar with the paintings and sculptures in the Vatican can affirm, the Church celebrates the human body, celebrates the reality of sex and the erotic (in the same spirit as the Bible's Song of Solomon), and indeed celebrates marriage as a sacrament. It is modern, liberal secularists who are “opposed to sex” in that they attempt to blur the distinctions between male and female, ignore the objective meaning of sexual activity, and who think that its natural result should be freely and inconsequentially aborted if it cannot otherwise be prevented.
H.W. Crocker III (Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church)
Paul already had religion, and describes himself in fact as a religious zealot who could boast that his observance of the Torah was “faultless” (Phil 3:6). So while Luther might say “no one can keep the law,” Paul here declares that he had in fact kept it flawlessly. Yet despite this, Paul came to regard himself as “the worst of all sinners” and “a violent man” (1 Tim 1:13, 15). He confesses painfully, “I do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor 15:9). Paul’s own self-described sin was one that was committed in the name of religion. It was not a sin that came from a failure to keep the law, but one committed in the practice of carrying it out and defending it by means of violence. Paul’s conversion was one away from religious fanaticism.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
To be a critical reader means for me: (1) to affirm the enduring power of the Bible in my culture and in my own life and yet (2) to remain open enough to dare to ask any question and to risk any critical judgement. Nothing less than both of these points, together, can suffice for me. I was a reader of the Bible before I was a critic of it, but I found becoming a critic to be liberating and satisfying, and therefore I judge criticism to be a high calling of inestimable value. Yet, I recognize the prior claim of the text and the preeminence of reading over criticism; accordingly, I see and occasionally am apprehended by moments in which the text wields its indubitable power. The critic's ego says this could be a taste of the cherished post-critical naivete; the reader's proper humility before the text says that a reader should not judge such things.
Robert M. Fowler
Church is important to most folks in the South. So the most important thing going is basically ruled by men as decreed by the Big Man himself. Not only that, but the church puts pressures on women that it does not put on men. Young women are expected to be chaste, moral, and pure, whereas young men are given way more leeway, ’cause, ya know, boys will be boys. Girls are expected to marry young and have kids, be a helpmate to their husbands (who are basically like having another child), and, of course, raise perfect little Christian babies to make this world a better place. So while it’s the preacher man who controls the church, it’s the women—those helpmates—who keep that shit going. They keep the pews tidy and wash the windows; type up the bulletins; volunteer for Sunday school, the nursery, youth group, and Vacation Bible School; fry the chicken for the postchurch dinners; organize the monthly potluck dinners, the spaghetti supper to raise money for a new roof, and the church fund drive; plant flowers in the front of the church, make food for sick parishioners, serve food after funerals, put together the Christmas pageant, get Easter lilies for Easter, wash the choir robes, organize the church trip, bake cookies for the bake sale to fund the church trip, pray unceasingly for their husband and their pastor and their kids and never complain, and then make sure their skirts are ironed for Sunday mornin’ service. All this while in most churches not being allowed to speak with any authority on the direction or doctrine of the church. No, no, ladies, the heavy lifting—thinkin’ up shit to say, standing up at the lectern telling people what to do, counting the money—that ain’t for yuns. So sorry.
Trae Crowder (The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark)
The church's theology bought into this ahistoricism in different ways: along a more liberal, post-Kantian trajectory, the historical particularities of Christian faith were reduced to atemporal moral teachings that were universal and unconditioned. Thus it turned out that what Jesus taught was something like Kant's categorical imperative - a universal ethics based on reason rather than a set of concrete practices related to a specific community. Liberal Christianity fostered ahistoricism by reducing Christianity to a universal, rational kernel of moral teaching. Along a more conservative, evangelical trajectory (and the Reformation is not wholly innocent here), it was recognized that Christians could not simply jettison the historical particularities of the Christian event: the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, there was still a quasi-Platonic, quasi-gnostic rejection of material history such that evangelicalism, while not devolving to a pure ahistoricism, become dominated by a modified ahistoricism we can call primitivism. Primitivism retains the most minimal commitment to God's action in history (in the life of Christ and usually in the first century of apostolic activity) and seeks to make only this first-century 'New Testament church' normative for contemporary practice. This is usually articulated by a rigid distinction between Scripture and tradition (the latter then usually castigated as 'the traditions of men' as opposed to the 'God-give' realities of Scripture). Such primitivism is thus anticreedal and anticatholic, rejecting any sense that what was unfolded by the church between the first and the twenty-first centuries is at all normative for current faith and practice (the question of the canon's formation being an interesting exception here). Ecumenical creeds and confessions - such as the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed - that unite the church across time and around the globe are not 'live' in primitivist worship practices, which enforce a sense of autonomy or even isolation, while at the same time claiming a direct connection to first-century apostolic practices.
James K.A. Smith (Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture))
But it was never actually that big a deal. Jenkins didn't really disbelieve in the Resurrection: he merely questioned the historical veracity of the New Testament narratives. It was mildly interesting: one side saying "I really believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and that the Bible gives a journalistically accurate account of the circumstances surrounding his birth," and the other saying "I also really believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but I think that the story of Mary and Gabriel may be a legend." A real disagreement, an important one, but not a fundamental fault line along which a church can split. The people who think that the stone really was rolled away, and the people who think that it was rolled away in a very real sense are clearly part of the same religion. But it is hard to see how people who think that it doesn't particularly matter whether or not the stone was rolled away, provided we live in the way that Jesus would have wanted us to, are part of the same religion; or, indeed, of any religion at all. I think that this is what some evangelicals think some liberals think. I think they may be right.
Andrew Rilstone (Where Dawkins Went Wrong)
Michelle Alexander, an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, has written an entire book, The New Jim Crow, that blames high black incarceration rates on racial discrimination. She posits that prisons are teeming with young black men due primarily to a war on drugs that was launched by the Reagan administration in the 1980s for the express purpose of resegregating society. “This book argues that mass incarceration is, metaphorically, the New Jim Crow and that all those who care about social justice should fully commit themselves to dismantling this new racial caste system,” wrote Alexander.4 “What this book is intended to do—the only thing it is intended to do—is to stimulate a much-needed conversation about the role of the criminal justice system in creating and perpetrating racial hierarchy in the United States.”5 Liberals love to have “conversations” about these matters, and Alexander got her wish. The book was a best seller. NPR interviewed her multiple times at length. The New York Times said that Alexander “deserved to be compared to Du Bois.” The San Francisco Chronicle described the book as “The Bible of a social movement.
Jason L. Riley (Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed)
First, the biblical descriptions regarding the coming of Jesus the Jewish Messiah bear many striking resemblances to the coming Antichrist of Islam, whom Muslims refer to as the al-maseeh al-dajjaal (the counterfeit Messiah). Second, the Bible’s Antichrist bears numerous striking commonalities with the primary messiah figure of Islam, who Muslims call the Mahdi. In other words, our Messiah is their antichrist and our Antichrist is their messiah. Even more shocking to many readers was the revelation that Islam teaches that when Jesus returns, He will come back as a Muslim prophet whose primary mission will be to abolish Christianity. It’s difficult for any Bible believer to read of these things without becoming acutely aware of the satanic origins of the Islamic religion. In 2008, I also had the opportunity to coauthor another book on the same subject with Walid Shoebat, a former operative for the Palestine Liberation Organization. This book, entitled God’s War on Terror, is an almost encyclopedic discussion of the role of Islam in the last days, as well as a chronicle of Walid’s journey from a young Palestinian Muslim with a deep hatred for the Jews, to a Christian man who spends his life standing with the Jewish people and proclaiming the truth concerning the dangers of radical Islam. Together these two books have become the cornerstone of what has developed into a popular eschatological revolution. Today, I receive a steady stream of e-mails and reports from individuals expressing how much these books have affected them and transformed their understanding of the end-times. Students, pastors, and even reputable scholars have expressed that they have abandoned the popular notion that the Antichrist, his empire, and his religion will emerge out of Europe or a revived Roman Empire. Instead they have come to recognize the simple fact that the Bible emphatically and repeatedly points us to the Middle East as the launchpad and epicenter of the emerging empire of the Antichrist and his religion. Many testify that although they have been students of Bible prophecy for many years, never before had anything made so much sense, or the prophecies of the Bible become so clear. And even more important, some have even written to share that they’ve become believers or recommitted their lives to Jesus as a result of reading these books. Hallelujah!
Joel Richardson (Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist)
There was however one real romance in his [J. Gresham Machen's] life, though unhappily it was not destined to blossom into marriage. One would never have learned of it from the files of his personal letters since it seems that he did not trust himself to write on the subject, extraordinary though that may seem when one considers how fully he confided in his mother. He did tell his brother Arthur about it, and in a conference concerning the projected biography in March, 1944, the elder brother told me that the story to be complete would have to include a reference to Gresham's one love affair. He identified the lady by name, as a resident of Boston, and as "intelligent, beautiful, exquisite." He further stated that apparently they were utterly devoted to each other for a time, but that the devotion never developed into an engagement to be married because she was a Unitarian. Miss S., as she may be designated, made a real effort to believe, but could not bring her mind and heart to the point where she could share his faith. On the other hand, as Arthur Machen hardly needed to add, Gresham Machen could not possibly think of uniting his life with one who could not come to basic agreement with him with regard to the Christian faith. . . . Machen had been advising her with respect to study of the Bible. He must have counseled her to read the Gospels through consecutively. He had a copy of his course of Bible study prepared for the Board of Christian education especially bound for her. He sent her copies of his books as they appeared. He had copies of Dr. Erdman's little commentaries and other books sent to her. On her part she indicated an interest in these things, but evidently it was stimulated more by the desire to please Machen than by an earnest agitation of spirit. At any rate her mind was set awhirl as she read some of the books and she was forced to come to the conclusion that, judged by his views as set forth for example in Christianity and Liberalism, published in 1923, if she was a Christian at all, she was a pretty feeble one. How tragic an ending to Machen's one real romance or approach to it! It does serve to underscore once again, however, how utterly devoted he was to his Lord. He could be counted upon in the public and conspicuous arenas of conflict but also in the utterly private relations of life to be true to his dearly-bought convictions.
Ned B. Stonehouse
Muslims in the West regularly refer to Islam as the “religion of peace.” Yet of the roughly 400 recognized terrorist groups in the world, over 90 percent are Islamist groups. Over 90 percent of the current world-fighting involves Islamist terror movements.120 The endless goal of moderate Muslim apologists is to make the claim that the radical terrorist groups are not behaving in an Islamic way. While many nominal and liberal Muslims have a strong disdain for the murderous behavior of many of the most violent groups, the terrorists are actually carrying out a very legitimate aspect of Islam as defined by Islam’s sacred texts, scholars, and representatives. They are indeed behaving in an Islamic way. They are behaving like Mohammed and his successors. While it is often said that the terrorists have high-jacked Islam, in reality it is the so-called moderate Muslims who are trying to change the true teachings of Islam. Many in the West today are calling for a “reformation” within Islam. The problem is that this reformation has already happened and the most radical forms of Islam that we are seeing today are the result—violent Islam is true Islam. Yet few have the courage to declare the obvious. The Bible warns us that in the Last-Days, the Antichrist would be given power, “over all peoples, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7) Today throughout the world, Islam is pushing for precisely that. In the days to come, it appears as if, although for a very short time, the Muslim Antichrist will come very close to accomplishing this goal.
Walid Shoebat (God's War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible)
MT: The arrival of Christ disturbs the sacrificial order, the cycle of little false periods of temporary peace following sacrifices? RG: The story of the “demons of Gerasa” in the synoptic Gospels, and notably in Mark, shows this well. To free himself from the crowd that surrounds him, Christ gets on a boat, crosses Lake Tiberias, and comes to shore in non-Jewish territory, in the land of the Gerasenes. It's the only time the Gospels venture among a people who don't read the Bible or acknowledge Mosaic law. As Jesus is getting off the boat, a possessed man blocks his way, like the Sphinx blocking Oedipus. “The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him anymore, even with a chain. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones.” Christ asks him his name, and he replies: “My name is Legion, for there are many of us.” The man then asks, or rather the demons who speak through him ask Christ not to send them out of the area—a telling detail—and to let them enter a herd of swine that happen to be passing by. And the swine hurl themselves off the edge of the cliff into the lake. It's not the victim who throws himself off the cliff, it's the crowd. The expulsion of the violent crowd is substituted for the expulsion of the single victim. The possessed man is healed and wants to follow Christ, but Christ tells him to stay put. And the Gerasenes come en masse to beg Jesus to leave immediately. They're pagans who function thanks to their expelled victims, and Christ is subverting their system, spreading confusion that recalls the unrest in today's world. They're basically telling him: “We'd rather continue with our exorcists, because you, you're obviously a true revolutionary. Instead of reorganizing the demoniac, rearranging it a bit, like a psychoanalyst, you do away with it entirely. If you stayed, you would deprive us of the sacrificial crutches that make it possible for us to get around.” That's when Jesus says to the man he's just liberated from his demons: “You're going to explain it to them.” It's actually quite a bit like the conversion of Paul. Who's to say that historical Christianity isn't a system that, for a long time, has tempered the message and made it possible to wait for two thousand years? Of course this text is dated because of its primitive demonological framework, but it contains the capital idea that, in the sacrificial universe that is the norm for mankind, Christ always comes too early. More precisely, Christ must come when it's time, and not before. In Cana he says: “My hour has not come yet.” This theme is linked to the sacrificial crisis: Christ intervenes at the moment the sacrificial system is complete. This possessed man who keeps gashing himself with stones, as Jean Starobinski has revealed, is a victim of “auto-lapidation.” It's the crowd's role to throw stones. So, it's the demons of the crowd that are in him. That's why he's called Legion—in a way he's the embodiment of the crowd. It's the crowd that comes out of him and goes and throws itself off of the cliff. We're witnessing the birth of an individual capable of escaping the fatal destiny of collective violence. MT
René Girard (When These Things Begin: Conversations with Michel Treguer (Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture))
Endorsement of the ordination of women is not the final step in the process, however. If we look at the denominations that approved women’s ordination from 1956–1976, we find that several of them, such as the United Methodist Church and the United Presbyterian Church (now called the Presbyterian Church–USA), have large contingents pressing for (a) the endorsement of homosexual conduct as morally valid and (b) the approval of homosexual ordination. In fact, the Episcopal Church on August 5, 2003, approved the appointment of an openly homosexual bishop.16 In more liberal denominations such as these, a predictable sequence has been seen (though so far only the Episcopal Church has followed the sequence to point 7): 1. abandoning biblical inerrancy 2. endorsing the ordination of women 3. abandoning the Bible’s teaching on male headship in marriage 4. excluding clergy who are opposed to women’s ordination 5. approving homosexual conduct as morally valid in some cases 6. approving homosexual ordination 7. ordaining homosexuals to high leadership positions in the denomination17 I am not arguing that all egalitarians are liberals. Some denominations have approved women’s ordination for other reasons, such as a long historical tradition and a strong emphasis on gifting by the Holy Spirit as the primary requirement for ministry (as in the Assemblies of God), or because of the dominant influence of an egalitarian leader and a high priority on relating effectively to the culture (as in the Willow Creek Association). But it is unquestionable that theological liberalism leads to the endorsement of women’s ordination. While not all egalitarians are liberals, all liberals are egalitarians. There is no theologically liberal denomination or seminary in the United States today that opposes women’s ordination. Liberalism and the approval of women’s ordination go hand in hand.
Wayne Grudem (Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?)
To understand the New Testament we need to understand that religious past, in order to recognize what it is protesting against. Properly interpreting the New Testament - not as detached scholars but as followers of Jesus and his way - thus involves recognizing the redemptive trajectory it sets away from religious violence, and then continuing to develop and move forward along that same trajectory ourselves. In other words, we cannot stop at the place the New Testament got to, but must recognize where it was headed. A clear example of this can be seen in the institution of slavery: The New Testament takes major steps away from slavery, encouraging slaves to gain their freedom if possible (1 Cor 7:21), counseling masters to treat their slaves as Christ treats them (Eph 6:9), and, most significantly, declaring that in Christ there is “no slave or free,” that is, no concept of class or superiority (Gal 3:28). While we can recognize here a movement away from slavery that set a trajectory which would eventually lead to the complete abolition of the institution of slavery centuries later, we do not see the New Testament directly condemning slavery or calling for its abolishment. Masters are not told to give up their slaves as Christians, but simply to treat them well. Slaves are not encouraged to participate in an “underground railroad” to gain their freedom, but instead are told to submit - even in the face of the cruelty, oppression, and violence that characterized slavery in the ancient Greco-Roman world at the time. If we read the New Testament as a storehouse of eternal principles, representing a “frozen in time” ethic, where we can simply flip open a page and find what the timeless “biblical” view on any particular issue is - as so many people read the Bible today - then we would need to conclude that the institution of slavery has God’s approval in the New Testament, and that we should therefore support and maintain it today. This is in fact exactly how many American slave-owning Christians did read the Bible in the past. Yet all of us would agree today that slavery is immoral.
Derek Flood (Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did)
Sadly though, this side of heaven, we can only attempt to have a fore-shadow of the romance to come. Even the best marriages and the men and women who valiantly strive to follow the Bible’s model of marriage fall short. I am sure many of us have failed in obtaining the type of earthly relationship God planned and intended to display His love. Pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, sex outside of a marriage covenant, and love-less, dysfunctional marriages are just the beginning. Many have been abused, sold, objectified, molested, even raped. All manner of perversion and depravity have marred the beauty God intended. We are broken, injured, hurt, marginalized, left feeling like so much less than what God requires. If you are one broken, please hear this: It should not have been. It was not God’s way or His will that you were treated like anything less than His highly valued, flawless beauty—His beloved. If you are one who lost your way and engaged in things beneath your royal standing, He died, arose and lives to forgive and restore. Yes, we know a good and solid Biblical marriage gives the closest representation of godly intimacy. But let’s get real for a minute. So few of us have ever experienced that for ourselves or grew up in homes where that was our example, we desperately need to trust God for our own healing and restoration in this area before we can ever hope to experience it in our relationships. I am convinced God’s priority for us is to learn about spiritual intimacy with Him. He can restore marriages, liberate from sexual addictions, save spouses, give us a godly man. But I think, for the most part, those things happen after we realize and accept our need for Christ. His priority will always be our spirit intimately one with His, because He puts the spirit above the flesh. We have to lay our souls bare and ask for His touch. God alone can reclaim our perception of intimacy for His holy and righteous glory. He can restore our hearts and minds to righteousness, clean and pure so we might experience holy intimacy through the Spirit until we see Him face to face in glory.
Angie Nichols (Something Abundant)
In Romans 12:4-8, Paul writes about gifts: “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” Recognize that the gifts inside you are not only for you; just as the gifts inside other people around you are not only for them. We are meant to help each other. God designed us this way on purpose! All being members of one body, our successes are shared — there is no need to be threatened by another person’s gift. Use your gifts, and encourage the people in your life to use their gifts as well. You will be blessed as a result! Unfortunately, one thing that keeps us from asking for help or taking advantage of the talents in people around us is pride. Never allow pride to keep you from asking for counsel when it is needed! 1 Corinthians 12:20 is another passage about gifts: “now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ ” We need each other, and joining our gifts together will result in a much stronger body. If you have time, read 1 Corinthians 12:4-20. Reflect on how there can be unity in the diversity of gifts if we use our different gifts properly. Determine that you will not be threatened by anyone else’s gifts! Esther was not afraid of the gifts in the people around her. Let’s see how she responds to the wisdom of others today. And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her. Esther 2:11 Every day, Mordecai goes to the palace gates to inquire after Esther and learn of what was happening to her. He goes to the palace gates with purpose. He paces in front of the women’s court until he has learns the day’s news about Esther. Even though she is no longer under his roof, he stills feels a strong responsibility toward her, and acts accordingly. He is a faithful man, and has set a great example before Esther. The news that he hears concerning Esther daily must be good: her inward beauty and submission to authority are two of the many wonderful traits that God placed in her so that she will be effective in Persia. Even though Esther is in an unfamiliar place and experiencing “firsts” every day in the palace, God is making sure she has what she needs. Esther did not need to feel nervous! She needed wise counsel; it has been provided for her in Mordecai and Hegai. She needs a pleasant and patient personality; that has been being developed in her by the Lord for many years. In your own life, you are constantly undergoing change and growth as you are submitting to the Lord. Whether or not you can see it, God is continually preparing you for what lies ahead so that you will have what you need when you need it. The God who loves you so much knows your future, and He is preparing you today for what you will experience tomorrow. Esther is receiving what she needs as well. She is in the palace undergoing her beauty preparations — a twelve month process! Even through this extended period of time, Mordecai is still at the palace gates every day (the Bible does not say that he stopped his concern for her at any point). It is an entire
Jennifer Spivey (Esther: Reflections From An Unexpected Life)
There are many who profess to be religious and speak of themselves as Christians, and, according to one such, “as accepting the scriptures only as sources of inspiration and moral truth,” and then ask in their smugness: “Do the revelations of God give us a handrail to the kingdom of God, as the Lord’s messenger told Lehi, or merely a compass?” Unfortunately, some are among us who claim to be Church members but are somewhat like the scoffers in Lehi’s vision—standing aloof and seemingly inclined to hold in derision the faithful who choose to accept Church authorities as God’s special witnesses of the gospel and his agents in directing the affairs of the Church. There are those in the Church who speak of themselves as liberals who, as one of our former presidents has said, “read by the lamp of their own conceit.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 373.) One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: “A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony.” Dr. John A. Widtsoe, former member of the Quorum of the Twelve and an eminent educator, made a statement relative to this word liberal as it applied to those in the Church. This is what he said: “The self-called liberal [in the Church] is usually one who has broken with the fundamental principles or guiding philosophy of the group to which he belongs. . . . He claims membership in an organization but does not believe in its basic concepts; and sets out to reform it by changing its foundations. . . . “It is folly to speak of a liberal religion, if that religion claims that it rests upon unchanging truth.” And then Dr. Widtsoe concludes his statement with this: “It is well to beware of people who go about proclaiming that they are or their churches are liberal. The probabilities are that the structure of their faith is built on sand and will not withstand the storms of truth.” (“Evidences and Reconciliations,” Improvement Era, vol. 44 [1941], p. 609.) Here again, to use the figure of speech in Lehi’s vision, they are those who are blinded by the mists of darkness and as yet have not a firm grasp on the “iron rod.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when there are questions which are unanswered because the Lord hasn’t seen fit to reveal the answers as yet, all such could say, as Abraham Lincoln is alleged to have said, “I accept all I read in the Bible that I can understand, and accept the rest on faith.” . . . Wouldn’t it be a great thing if all who are well schooled in secular learning could hold fast to the “iron rod,” or the word of God, which could lead them, through faith, to an understanding, rather than to have them stray away into strange paths of man-made theories and be plunged into the murky waters of disbelief and apostasy? . . . Cyprian, a defender of the faith in the Apostolic Period, testified, and I quote, “Into my heart, purified of all sin, there entered a light which came from on high, and then suddenly and in a marvelous manner, I saw certainty succeed doubt.” . . . The Lord issued a warning to those who would seek to destroy the faith of an individual or lead him away from the word of God or cause him to lose his grasp on the “iron rod,” wherein was safety by faith in a Divine Redeemer and his purposes concerning this earth and its peoples. The Master warned: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better … that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6.) The Master was impressing the fact that rather than ruin the soul of a true believer, it were better for a person to suffer an earthly death than to incur the penalty of jeopardizing his own eternal destiny.
Harold B. Lee