We had a discussion of decent length here, but he dropped out of it prematurely for whatever reason, without answering most of my questions, which is a shame.
Said questions included:
(link) How do we judge which parts are right and which are wrong?
(link) You seem to offer "wrestl(ing) with what is right and wrong" and "love for others and the Golden Rule" as the standard of comparison for knowing good and evil. But perhaps "love one another" is part of the UNinspired, errant text of the Bible? How would you know? How does "wrestle with it" give any guidance? I'm asking whether I'm right to do this or that - I'm looking for something external to myself. Does God speak with authority on right and wrong, or not?
(link)So, it looks like your answer to the question "How do I know which parts are good and which are bad?" is "wrestle with it, go with what is loving", more or less? How does this escape my charge of the elevation of yourself as authority over the Bible that I expressed in my previous comment?
(link) if I pick and choose what to believe and follow, I am de facto a higher authority than the Bible. Why even bother reading it?
(link) Again I ask what moral standard we should use to judge what God has said. Please supply it.
(link) The Bible says do this or that, you say no. It's as simple as that. I'm just wondering why you bother listening to the rest of it, or better yet, why you would cite it for any moral authority for some other question. Why not just cite yourself, since you know better?
Why follow Luke 14:33, and why cite it? Are you saying I *should* follow it? Why?
You get the idea. I invite anyone to read just how well Dr. McGrath interacted with these questions. Turns out he is a typical liberal, substituting hand-waving and politically-correct bloviating for actual arguments. Not that I expected anything different.
Anyway, I was dismayed to learn from his blog that he is a Sunday School teacher, and a friend pointed out to me which church he attends, a Baptist church whose statement of faith was quite short but also orthodox. In my experience, a short statement of faith is not ideal, but I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
Bottom line - Dr. McGrath denies the authority of Scripture, as should be clear from the above-cited thread. He denies the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ, for poorly thought-out reasons. Worst of all, he denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
I shouldn't have to point out 1 Corinthians 15:14-19, but I will:
...if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
There is no code here, no obscurity. Why would Dr. McGrath continue to hold to the label "Christian" AND deny the resurrection, given what Paul says here? It's because he is committed to the authority of himself to pick and choose as he likes. He has no great need to be consistent with himself, and that's why he wouldn't answer my questions.
I emailed some of my concerns to the pastor of the church Dr. McGrath attends, requesting that he recognise that McGrath is a heretic who doesn't belong as a member of any church that claims to hold to the Bible as its final authority, let alone as a Sunday School teacher. I was and remain concerned for the class he teaches and the church as a whole. One day later, the pastor emailed me a courteous and pitiful reply, informing me that he was taking all this under "serious consideration" and he was "sure that you understand the strength of the Baptist faith in its diversity of beliefs and practices" and promising to discuss this with Dr. McGrath. Sigh. Of course, glaringly absent was any "Oh my gosh! We'll DEFINITELY be asking him to repent, for his own good, removing him from his post immediately for his own good and the good of the class, and we'll be exercising church discipline on him in the hopes that he will repent of his sin and unbelief."
Yesterday Dr. McGrath posted a complaint about my actions. A brief look at one quote from the post:
Such concerns often lead doubts to be denied publicly, perhaps even denied to ourselves. In such circumstances, being a Christian often becomes a matter of appearance, of pretending to be more certain than one really is, or simply refusing to ask certain kinds of questions.We're talking about a guy with a Ph.D in religion-related fields who is teaching Sunday School to a group of people in an allegedly-evangelical church. And he has "doubts". Boo-hoo; no doubt he wants us all to bear with him as he works them out, to come to an "honest" and "authentic" (to use the liberal buzzwords) faith. But he wants to be a teacher to others while he does so.
A few passages come to mind:
Romans 2: 17But if you bear the name "Jew" (or "professor of religion and Sunday School teacher in a Baptist church) and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written.
Matthew 15: 13He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."
Maybe in HIS church, they don't ask questions. Maybe he could do that as a guest, not a member, and for sure not a teacher. In my church, we ask all kinds of questions, and answer all kinds as well. We host atheist organisations for atheist-theist debates, we bring in ID-evolution debates, we go out on campus for anti-baby-murder educational exhibits. Perhaps McGrath would like us better if we just asked his kinds of questions, and answered them only the way he would like us to. Yeah, that's my guess too.
Also from him:
A conservative blog recently described me as "dangerous"Just for the record, I can't take credit for that, but I certainly agree. Sadly, he is most dangerous to the lemmings who should be sheep under a kindly and godly shepherd but whose ears are being tickled by this false teacher.
Moving on, what cracks me up the most is the other blogposts tracking back to that post, like #1, #2, and #3.
I love it - I'm some nobody blogger from flyover country, and I'm the "Thought Police"!
Let's take a look at this frothing from the mouth of #2.
-I'm a "cowardly offender who believes himself to be the thought police, and justified in reporting McGrath’s wicked views to his poor unsuspecting Parson."
I am a concerned observer, concerned for the pastor's church. The ideal situation is for the pastor to realise what's going on and discipline McGrath, and that McGrath would repent and be saved. I want the best for them all.
- "Shut up."
-"it’s none of your business what McGrath blogs. Ever heard of freedom of speech? Or (as James pointed out) has it ever occurred to you that his Pastor already reads James’s blog?"
Of course it's my business - it's a public blog. And do you see me asking Blogger to shut his blog down? Or siccing the ACLU on him? Of course not. Rather, I'm concerned that the name of Christ and His church may be pure and unequivocally defined. I want this church to be holier than it is, the same as I want for my own church. And I couldn't believe that his pastor reads his blog, but maybe he just skimmed it sometimes, maybe he needed a wake-up call, maybe he didn't read it recently. I didn't know. Why would Dr. McGrath object (for the record, he never did so) to my contacting his pastor? All his thoughts are out there for the world to see.
-"to ‘report’ him to his Pastor is just the most droll sort of childishness I’ve ever heard of... what did you hope to accomplish?"
-"Shame on this transgressor. He or she should consider him or herself anathematized."
So now I'm a transgressor. Looks like I'm too intolerant for this author, but it's OK to be intolerant of me. McGrath denies the resurrection of Christ, I tattled on him to the pastor, and I'm the one guilty of an excommunicable offense. Not only did this lib forget his own talking points when convenient, he needs a little priority adjustment.
Finally, #1 accuses me of wrongfully sending an anonymous hit-piece. Not so, I post under the same handle as is my email address. There could be no doubt who I was. What would have been cowardly would be to create a false email address - firstname.lastname@example.org or something - and send the message that way.
Liberal tolerance at its finest.