Looking for Understanding

December 7, 2015

I recently saw this posted on Facebook by one of my friends.


Here was my reply:


We have to read a little further for the answer actually.


John 13:12-17
"Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

Christ came to serve and save those who rejected, reviled, abused, falsely accused, often hated, didn't appreciate, and ultimately murdered Him, even though He had done absolutely nothing wrong. Still He loved them with a love beyond imagining. Who could do such a thing? Only the Son of God and Son of man.

Now, to those to whom He has shown such great love in saving He says, "you are no better than me, you must do as I have done."

Oh, but that is very hard, quite painful, often humiliating, mostly confusing, and just all around unpleasant many days. Jesus says, "you also ought to wash one another's feet."

But that is a very humbling thing to do Lord, I rather like it when you wash my feet (great job, loving spouse, wonderful children, no health problems, cool car, sunshine and rainbows are nice....). Do you really want me to wash someone else's nasty feet? That's actually kind of gross.

"I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you."

Mmmmm, there must be some loophole, some way around this "way of the cross," I thought if I were a good person and did everything I was supposed to do life would go my way and God would bless me. That's what they said in church.

No, that was not the deal Jesus offered. He said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-5

How did Jesus love us? While we were yet sinners. While we still hated Him. Before we ever felt one iota of gratitude.

Does that mean I must love my spouse even when h/she is grumpy, takes me for granted, expects me to do everything, says hurtful words, doesn’t look the same after 25 years, and etc.? Yes.

Does this mean I must love my children when they don't appreciate anything I have done for them, they disappointment me, and think only of themselves? Yes.

Does this mean I must love my coworkers even when they let me down, don't fulfill their commitments, don't give me credit for my hard work, take advantage, and throw me under the bus when something goes wrong? Yes.

Does this mean I must love my church even when they said I wasn't good enough to be among them, when they gossiped about me, my wife, and my children with hurtful lies and accusations? Yes.

Does this mean I must love Syrian refugees who might hate me and even want to kill me just for my faith in you Lord? Yes.

Wow, this is hard to understand.

"Yes. Come, take up your cross and follow me."


Keith Church, PhD

Assistant Professor of Theology

Sacro-Egotism and Cult Leadership

August 25, 2015

By Dr. John S. Knox, Ph.D.

     At the 2007 Association of Sociology of Religion conference in New York City, a member in the audience hearing my explanation of Sacro-Egoism (wherein individual authority and power vastly outweighs institutional or established authority for most religious issues and mores) mentioned that she thought the term, ‘Sacro-Egoism,’ was derogatory, and she demanded that I rescind it.  I replied that she probably was confusing ‘egoism’ with ‘egotism’—the former, egoism, is a healthy part of normal human personality; the latter, egotism is a manifestation of neuroses (or worse) that leads to an absurd sense of self-esteem or self-importance.  Moreover, Webster’s Dictionary defines the ego as “. . . [T]he self; the individual as aware of himself” and also as “. . . that part of the psyche which experiences the external world through the senses, organizes the though processes rationally, and governs action” (1986), so egoism is not a bad thing; it is part of normal human psychology.  Fortunately, she seemed content with my response.

     That being said, I began to consider whether or not Sacro-Egoism (i.e.—religious and political individualism) could become even more of an oppressive expression of personal will--both for the individual Christian and in any nearby church communities.  If a person’s radical-individualism was hyper-inflated, specifically regarding spiritual beliefs, then that person could become a “Sacro-Egotist,” wherein his or her notion of religion and/or spirituality would be the only option for themselves and could be forced upon others.  A person such as this sounds suspiciously like a cult leader.

In fact, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology states that the word,



. . . most frequently denotes a group, usually religious or pseudo-religious in nature, that exhibits the following characteristics: it deviates sharply from and strongly rejects the prevailing culture; it is dominated by a highly charismatic leader who often proclaims him- or herself to be divine or to have special access to the divinity (Richardson, 1983).


     This approach would take the main characteristics of Sacro-Egoism (on the part of the leader) and passive compliance (on the part of the followers) and would transform them into something much more intense and excessive (and likely harmful) than nominal religious expression.

      Thus, with a Sacro-Egotist cult leader established in a position of power and influence in a fringe religious community, his or her followers would completely acquiesce to his religious demands.  Clear examples of Sacro-Egotism/cults are evident in history—Jim Jones of the People’s Temple, David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, and Marshall Applewhite of Heaven’s Gate. One could possibly make the case that several post-modern leaders in the Emerging Church Movement also lean toward a Sacro-Egotistical understanding of salvation, biblical canon, and Christian ethos—i.e., Bell’s “Love wins,” which suggests counter-biblical claims of universalism and lawlessness.

     Each of the aforementioned cult leaders took their own sense of religious individualism to an extreme level, providing empowerment for themselves and submission for their followers, which is ironic, considering that Sacro-Egoism embraces the antagonism AND ambivalence to institutionalism that the Sacro-Egotistical commander will not allow.  The personal/pragmatic commitment to the spiritual journey was replaced with a rigid, sacrificial commitment to the spiritual plan of the leader. Jesus and the Bible were integrated into church life where it best served the cult leader.   Finally, there was an intolerant condemnation of other religious systems of faith that challenged or contradicted the superiority and authority of the Sacro-Egotist’s understanding of spirituality and/or holistic health.

     The recent push (and SCOTUS legalization) of gay “marriage” demonstrates just how much Sacro-Egotism and its embrace have infiltrated American culture. Five non-elected judges have attempted to decide an absolute (controversial) moral and religious code for 300 million American citizens. Still, the Bible warns about such a narcissistic approach to spirituality, religiosity, and leadership.

In Ezekiel 34, the prophet states,

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.


     Jesus also teaches about Sacro-Egotism in Matthew 24, predicting, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” In the Epistles, the Apostle Peter writes in 2 Peter 2,

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.


     And in Jude 1, the writer warns,

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord…  These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.


      Curiously, not everyone in modern society considers ‘cults’ to be necessarily negative. European sociologists Furseth and Repstad state,

Health and well-being are often important values in cults, as they are in society at large. The deviant aspect [of cults] lies in the fact that cults are critical of established religion and academic medicine, and that they seek alternative ways of attaining the same goals through healing, alternative medicine, astrology, and self-development (Furseth and Repstad , An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion, 137).


      Although the follower may be seeking spiritual improvement, the Sacro-Egotist is still mainly ‘on the hunt’ for spiritual exploitation of adherents—a violation of the main characteristic of good, healthy leaders who use their role to better the lives of those trusting in them. This was true 2,000 years and it is still true today.

      Modern American religious culture may tolerate (and affirm through passivity) the radical oppression of Sacro-Egotists, but the biblical message is clear. The Apostle John writes in his second epistle, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” 

      Sacro-Egotism may appeal to the cultural aesthetics of the present age, but it is still a destructive force that needs to be remedied in love and truth, but also rebuked on a personal and community level for the sake of the Gospel.


Significance of Global Bible Translation Now

April 28, 2015

"Christian faith rests on a divine act of translation: ‘the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). Any confidence we have in the translatability of the Bible rests on that prior act of translation. There is a history of translation of the Bible because there was a translation of the Word into flesh.”


-Andrew Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History


As we watched, the first showing of the Jesus Film in the language of the Dadiya people of northern Nigeria came to a close. Amidst the terrific response, a particular phrase seemed to pass from group to group. Turning to Pastor Illiya, the mother tongue translator who had been the voice of Jesus, I asked what they were saying. He listened: “They are saying Jesus has become a Dadiya man.” Then, as if in his own world, he said it again, very slowly. I responded, “It’s because God allowed you to enable Jesus to speak their language.” He just nodded, amazed. In that moment, I realized just how critical language is to the nexus of our identity and how important it is to God to speak “every tongue” to truly be experienced as Emmanuel.


The Bibleless represent a significant portion of our world’s “least of these.”  The languages into which the Scriptures have not yet been brought or in which minimal portions exist are most often the heart languages of marginalized people groups.  Additionally, these languages are often in areas of significant persecution and among unreached and unengaged people groups. The significance for the global Church and missions is clear: Heart language Scriptures provide the optimal basis for extending Christ’s body to where it is not and strengthening the whole Church. What is the significance of translation for us? We get to join in processes which are poised or already in motion and provide tangible experiences of connection to all our graduates with a foundational aspect of pursuing Great Commission while training them as global champions for Christ.


Since 1993, an increasing number of Bible translations worldwide have been based on equipping and empowering of “nationals” to do this work. Translation has also been a catalyst for a shift toward working in partnership in missions that is exciting, healthy, growing, and exemplary to the broader Christian community. This was, in part, due to the realization among translation entities that their structures needed to change to accomplish their goal. The degree to which organizations within the Wycliffe family had to, and were willing to, change the way they were working and do so in partnerships, remains one of the most encouraging missions developments I have been privileged to witness firsthand. Today, a Wycliffe Affiliate like the Seed Company partners with over 900 organizations, churches, and national entities. Thus, translation has become increasingly integral to missions today. Evangelism, discipleship, church planting, education, and addressing social/justice issues are built into the structure of translation projects so that God’s Word can have the most immediate impact in a given language and cultural context.


Translation of Gods Word will occur in more languages in the next 10-15 years than during any other such time in the history of translation.


The state of things is daunting yet encouraging. Over 1 billion people are still Bibleless: lacking the whole Bible in their heart languages. Around 2000 language groups still lack even a single verse of the Bible in their mother tongue. Still, Bible translation is happening faster, more accurately, sustainably and efficiently than ever before. Innovative efforts have made it more integrated into ministry, readily accessible during the translation process, and effectively distributed as translation progresses. God is bringing His Word into the entire world in a way that the translator of the last language to receive Scripture may well be alive today! This generation may see the day when zero languages exist without the Scriptures. If Henry Blackaby is right, that one should look where God is moving and then join Him, this is a movement of God where we should join in fully.


Engaging with global missions, Bible translation especially, enhances and increases our understanding, value, awe, and use of God’s Word. The “least of these” are to be learned from, and the Bibleless have so much to teach us. We can be so saturated with exposure to the Scriptures that we often overlook its power. When the Bibleless encounter the Scriptures in their heart language it is new and awesome and exciting! Their joy and love for God from having the Scriptures in their own language can remind us of the joy that God desires in our lives and the overwhelming gift of God’s love that the Scriptures reveal.


Reasons for joining the translation movement to end Bible poverty are not limited to vocational leading. We are all missionaries with a neighborhood/city, state, country, and an “end of the earth” we are to be concerned with in being and making lifelong disciples. Strategic short term missions and long term sent missionaries called to other cultures to carry out the Great Commission are both very important. However, in the focus of whether “you or I” are goers or senders there may not be enough on those who are already there because it is their home. Regardless of whether we go or send, we can empower local believers doing the work of global missions and be learners tangibly involved in it. This is certainly true in the world of Bible translation where the majority of translation projects now start with the primary work being done by native speakers partnered with trained translation linguistic consultants.  


Since the Scriptures connect with everything we do, what better way to unite our communities than around God’s Word coming alive? Collectively, we can adopt and engage with Bibleless people groups, and together be transformed. As part of the worldwide translation team for those who lack the Scriptures, we can learn, teach, and connect in a unique way to our world – partnering with the "least of these.”


David C. Alexander, PhD

Instructor of Church History

On Writing

April 14, 2015

To Prospective (or Current) Ministerial Students:


Whether you’re preparing for the pastorate, to be an evangelist, a church planter, a teacher, a missionary, or something else besides, you find yourself at seminary becoming equipped to fulfill your call. A big part of your job as a student will be to write papers. Up until now, in your undergraduate years for example, writing papers may have seemed like one of those pesky chores that simply had to be marked off your “to do” list. I want to submit that writing papers in graduate school and at seminary can and should become something very different.


I don’t claim to be an expert on teaching how to write; I do a fair bit of writing—both books and articles, both scholarly and popular—but I haven’t spent much time teaching writing. That’s my wife’s area, rather than mine, but perhaps I can say some things that will help some of you along in this area. Forgive me for my forthrightness; I’m just going to write what I feel needs to be communicated, and I do it with the sincere desire to help, challenge, inspire, encourage, and correct.


First I want to emphasize the importance of writing. As you are seminary students and prospective ministers (in various capacities), I’m sure you understand the importance of such tasks as giving sermons and presentations of various sorts. But especially in this day and age, written communication is of vital importance. You will have to do a great deal of it in your career, whatever particular vocational direction you choose.


Beyond the professional requirement of it, writing is one of the most important ways in which we learn to think. Often, if your experience turns out anything like my own, you won’t know exactly what you think about a matter until you’ve sat down and begun committing words to paper. Writing is thinking. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it; the better you write, the clearer a thinker you’ll become. So this matter of writing pertains to nothing less than an aspect of the most important commandment: to love God with all of your minds.


The dynamic nature of the writing process reveals something of great importance. You don’t need to have everything figured out in advance before you start writing. Admittedly, you likely won’t be able to generate a finished, final, polished draft as soon as you start to write. Not even professional writers do that. So that’s okay; don’t be afraid of lousy drafts. Some of the best writers write poor first drafts. That is just an inevitable part of the process. The key, though, is not quitting after a first draft. Write, and write again.


A paper I wrote in graduate school went through seven drafts before I felt like I finally nailed it. Admittedly, that was a bit much, but don’t be afraid to revise and revise again. Various portions of the book I just finished went, by turns, through multiple dozens of drafts. Don’t be afraid of bad drafts; don’t settle for early drafts; don’t be afraid to keep revising until the job is done. Papers are never finally done, as it happens; one usually just decides to quit. And that’s okay; just don’t quit too soon. First drafts in seminary are rarely done well enough to turn in. This means that last-minute papers should become a thing of the past. You can do better, and you must. Graduate school is a time to take a big step forward in this area.


I also see too much reticence to start writing among seminary students. Some students spend a bit too much time obsessing about their paper, trying to get every question answered in advance, preoccupied with the contours and shape and tenor of the project. After following the prompt (and that’s what paper directions are, not a blueprint for every detail and twist to come), I might suggest you start to write. All the inordinate navel-gazing can become an excuse to put the process of writing off interminably.


In a class I recently taught, I noticed that, with just a matter of weeks left in the term, some students had yet to write a single word on their paper. It is vital students be willing to dive in, put a stop to procrastination, muster the courage to give it a shot. When a teacher asks for a thesis statement and outline, she expects you to have written something, tried out ideas, to have seen what works and what doesn’t. She is most assuredly not simply asking you to guess and speculate about what you might like to write about. In my own experience with writing, I could never write an outline or even construct a robust, properly delimited thesis statement without doing some serious writing first. If you haven’t realized this before, let this be a lesson you’ll remember in the future.


Incidentally, this is not micromanagement on the part of your professor. She knows what good writing involves—both its difficulty and possibility—and she wants to give you the best shot at success. You are still students, and writing is still something you are improving at. Indeed, hopefully, you’ll never stop improving at it. But in seminary you still inhabit the position of a student who has the chance to gain from the expertise of the professor. Honor deadlines and due dates, work incrementally through each stage of the process, and, by all means, take the encouragement, the corrections, the admonitions, and grow the wiser. Don’t bristle, don’t resent the work. If you want to be a leader and a proclaimer of truth and a teacher, you must cultivate teachability yourself.


Perhaps some of you harbor fears and doubts about your writing. That’s fine, and perfectly natural; fear provides the opportunity for courage, and can function to remind us of our need for divine assistance. Now, having acknowledged it, get to work and, with God’s help, work through the fear. God doesn’t want you to be timid to the point of its becoming debilitating. That is not humility; it is lack of trust in God to do the work through you. You have got to be a willing, faithful vessel, though. You’ve got to work hard and be willing to risk failure; lack of diligence and faithfulness in this area, however, will only ensure failure.


Having said that, you do need to do one very important thing before writing, which reminds me of a troubling trend I have occasionally seen. It is the failure to recognize the importance of the research to be done before you write. When a teacher asks for a bibliography, it’s natural for her to assume that  you actually read the materials you are citing, at least some of them anyway, not just cobbling together a list of sources that strike you as at least tangentially relevant to the topic at hand. And she expects you not just to read the materials, but to take notes, highlight important concepts, underline, discuss, ponder, journal, in short, do active, engaged reading.


Teachers hope that something would have taken root—some central idea, some important topic, some engaging question, that mesmerizes your attention, captures your imagination, ignites your passion, and makes you feel like you just have to write about it. A teacher doesn’t expect you to have it all worked out ahead of time; that’s not how it works; but you should have developed at least some inkling, some intimation of a fruitful direction to explore, some guiding theme or motif or at least question.


Writing is not just a hoop to jump through. It is a sacred chance to share your thoughts, to glean insights from others on an important question, to enter a dialogue that was going on before you came along and will continue after you’re gone, to attain clarity that you didn’t have before, to become better equipped to minister, and the list goes on and on. This should be a joyous, festive experience for you; instead, too often, it’s like pulling teeth for some, a matter of dread, an unpleasant chore. It can be almost painful to watch. Somewhere along the way I fear that some have lost the sense of what an unmitigated and unadulterated joy writing can be. You simply must recapture such a sense, or catch it for the first time if need be.


Have you ever thought about the fact that special revelation has been communicated to us through the written word? God inspired people to write—God worked through their talents and gifts, their minds and writing abilities, even their editing and thought processes, to communicate eternal truths. Obviously none of us will be composing sacred writ, but God’s still in the business of inspiring us to write what He intends. Speaking is often spontaneous and off the cuff; it can be hit and miss. Writing gives you the chance to modify, refine, qualify, revise, polish, texture, and make it as elegant as you’d like it to be, as clear as you can make it, as erudite and eloquent, poignant and powerful as you want.


Please, friends, I know you have a lot on your plates; that grad school can feel like an endless litany of requirements and hoops; that you sometimes feel like you hardly have time to breathe. But your faithfulness now is part of your calling. Part of what this requires is that you must come to see the writing process, a central part of your preparation, as a chance at a reprieve from the frenetic pace and harried schedule, a chance to get it right, to attain necessary clarity, to take the time to think an issue through, to be a co-laborer with Christ in producing something that can be a blessing both to you and others. It’s a sacred duty, it’s a privilege, and it’s a joy. Don’t forget that. It’s an opportunity for excellence.


David Baggett, PhD

Professor of Apologetics

The Progressive Embrace of Fallacies

March 12, 2015

With the culturally proclaimed period of post-modernism, a very negative practice is observable in Progressive Christian apologetics—the embrace of fallacies in order to explain and promote divergent religious principles running contrary to traditional biblical thought.  Thus, it is easy to find the utilization of illogic in the writings and argumentations of theologians and pastors like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Matthew Vine, to name a few.  No doubt, most readers and listeners are unaware of the frequency these fallacies, but they occur often and with set purpose, unfortunately.  Thus, this article begins a cursory investigation of several different key cultural speakers and thinkers in Progressive Christianity, and examines the sophistic tools they use to sway readers and listeners in regards to key doctrinal ideas.


The “Transcript” of Matthew Vines’ video on gay Christianity (see matthewvines.com) is a very clear example of this embrace of illogic in progressive Christianity. Mr. Vines makes an eloquent, emotional, personal argument defending homosexual activity for the gay Christian, meandering through biblical passages that one-sidedly condemn the activity, utilizing specific Christian ethics and verses to affirm gay relationships, but unfortunately implementing multiple misconstructions and inaccuracies throughout his testimony to justify his position.


Vines’ discourse begins with a Strawman Fallacy, setting up a universal dichotomy that is not proven in order to promote his agenda. Vines states, “The most common themes voiced by those who support changing traditional church teaching on homosexuality are those of acceptance, inclusion, and love, while on the other hand, those who oppose these changes express concerns about sexual purity, holiness, and most fundamentally, the place of Scripture in our communities.”  So, only pro-gay Christians are loving, inclusive, and accepting; anti-gay Christians are legalists and literalists who have an exclusive vision of individualism in the Christian community? Such a conclusion comes across as diluted and cursory (and ironic), considering the artificial parameters presented by Vines.


Secondly, Vines points to evidence throughout his defense that only supports his pro-gay position while casually dismissing other truths that refutes his assertion; this is known as a Confirmation Bias Fallacy.  For example, he points to six passages that condemn homosexuality but then immediately points out that they are six verses out of 31, 000; however, there are over a dozen verses that specifically condemn the practice and a case could be made for over a dozen more that indirectly refute Vine’s position.  A more important question is how many biblical verses directly and specifically affirm the gay lifestyle for the Christian and the non-Christian (answer: none).  Moreover, I suspect if one biblical verse stated, “Don’t bully homosexuals,” that would be a sufficient proof for Progressives.


Another one of Vines’ illogical habits is the Confusion of Correlation and Causation Fallacy.  One of his more clear inconsistencies is evident when he states, “But everyone has a sexual orientation – and it isn’t just about sex,” which is like saying everyone has elbows, but they’re not connected to their arms. Additionally, he writes, “Family is not about sex, but for so many of us, it still depends upon having a companion, a spouse,” and yet, he is arguing for gay Christians to be able to express themselves sexually in a relationship with same-sex partners. Friendship is an integral part of Christianity, and no traditionalist is demanding that gay Christians not have friends or family in their lives.


Additionally, condemning traditional Christian sexuality morality, Vines claims, “Gay people are told to avoid romantic relationships entirely,” which is false. Gay people are told to avoid romantic relationships with members of the same sex alone.  All Christians are told to avoid all unhealthy, lustful, romantic relationships, regardless of their gender orientation, and same-sex relationships are completely acceptable provided that they are based on Agape love and not sexual Eros alone.   The relationship of David and Jonathon versus David and Bathsheba are fantastic examples of this notion. Vines’ assertion is that gay Christians just want what heterosexual Christians want, but a more accurate comparison would be gay Christians want what adulterous Christians want, which are relationships forbidden in the Bible as destructive and unhealthy.


One of Vine’s biggest false assertions is that, because of his gay orientation, “according to the traditional interpretation of Scripture, as a Christian, I am uniquely excluded from that possibility for love, for companionship, and for family.” Ultimately, Vines is saying that gay Christianity is not about sex; however, he also says that gay Christians are unhappy because they cannot have sexual relationships with same-sex lovers.  They are deprived of “human dignity” because they cannot have culturally-affirmed same-sex lovers, which is in their nature.  Again, using this reasoning, a heterosexual person with a natural lust-problem would be prevented from experiencing love, companionship, and family if he or she was unable to express him or herself in an adulterous relationship outside of marriage, which is absurd.  Love and companionship is easily and regularly found outside of sexual activity; in fact, it is more of the norm in society than sexual relationships.


Vines continues, “By holding to the traditional interpretation, we are now contradicting the Bible’s own teachings: the Bible teaches that it is not good for the man to be forced to be alone, and yet now, we are teaching that it is.”  Of course, most theologians and biblical scholars would note that Adam was lonely before he and Eve were aware of their sexuality.  Thus, God gave Adam a friend to tend to his emotional/intellectual--but not sexual--needs.  Sexuality was not an issue until the first couple went against the word of God and brought destruction upon themselves for another natural, innocuous activity, but one rightly prohibited by God.  Ironically, like Adam and Eve, Vines wants his listeners to think that gay Christianity is “good fruit,” acceptable to God despite it being prohibited clearly and unequivocally in both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.


The sorrow of this situation (and what Vines misses overall in his discourse) is that intimacy is defined by God in the Bible and is not defined by sexuality alone, culturally, but that is what Vines is trying to do (and not do) at the same time—dismissing the Word of God and proclaiming sexual needs to be quintessential for fulfillment in life.  Vines utilizes other fallacies to win his argument (appeal to ignorance, argument from authority, begging the questions, composition fallacy, etc), and although his intentions are sincere and his goals may be noble, in the end, his illogical, self-serving arguments negate the authority of his efforts. One cannot build a true bridge on false beams; it will collapse, unavoidably, with the weight of reality.


In our modern world of Sacro-Egoism (radical religious individualism), self-serving fallacies are commonly used by Progressives to promote their radical religious agenda, illogically appealing to the personal, emotional wants and needs of people, while ignoring the biblical, evidential facts established by God in the Holy Scriptures long ago.  And while gay Christians’ wants, needs, and human dignity should definitely be important to all Christians if we are to love one another as Jesus commanded, using fallacies to appease their suffering is just a placebo, at best. What every human being needs, regardless of sexual orientation, is a right relationship with God that transcends our humanity.  Finding that right path to emotional well-being and healing begins and ends in truth alone.


John S. Knox, PhD

Adjunct Instructor of Apologetics