Shifting Sands On What The Bible Means.

I’ve mentioned here how fundamentalists have changed their minds about the sin of “working on Sundays” during my lifetime.  With malls open on Sundays, it seems OK now.

Some would be surprised to learn the fundamentalist Protestant view on abortion was the opposite of the current view until rather recently.  In a short period of time, conventional wisdom went from “the Bible says it’s fine” to “the Bible says it’s sin”.

As recently as the 1970’s, leading Christian magazines published articles supporting the right to abortion.  Authors wrote the Bible’s reference to “life” referred to life after birth.  Arguably the loudest conservative Christian voice, the Southern Baptist Convention, supported abortion.

The path toward reversal has been plotted by many scholars.  Out sized personalities like Jerry Falwell helped the change.  But, surely one of the forces in the change was the “root of all evil”, money.

For whatever reasons, two issues have helped fill collection plates.  One is abortion, the other is gays.  If both of these caused churches to lose money instead of make it, does anyone think they would be opposed today?

The sands of time have always changed conventional wisdom of “what the Bible means”.   And, it makes sense these shifts continue.

Without financial support from people in the pews, there can be no church building or preacher standing behind the pulpit.  The sermon preached on Sunday is written, ultimately, by those in the pews.

61 Responses

  1. Wanna B Sure

    And so it is/goes with Non-Creedals, which also includes the (so called) Creedals that have abandoned them in practice.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        Jon; Your “Or, revised what is meant by the creeds”. Any revision (IS) abandonment of them in practice. No real difference.

      2. Wanna B Sure

        Jon; As far as the “Non Creedals”; The term says it all, and that is their stated decleration. Their claim is “It’s deeds, not Creeds”. There are many Non Creedal Churches that have a statement of beliefs, (Credo). That could be loosly called “revisions”, however they publically reject the historic creeds, and is an abanconment of them in practice. Virtually all Non-Creedals are also non Liturgical.

      3. Wanna B Sure

        Jon; After all that is said, the Non-Creedals and Non-Liturgicals have to fill the voids the Creeds and Liturgy provide with something. The results are not revisions, or changes, but outright replacements with different emphasis, practices, and content. The current issues in controversy are the symptoms of those replacements. Your claim that these “controversies” are the cause the abandonment and/or “revision” of the Creeds and Liturgies, is false. The reality is the abandonment of the Creeds and Liturgy is the cause of the ” controversies”, and their growth. Credo means “This I believe”. Without that, anything is, and has become possible.

        1. Wanna 1:19 So, if you are done carrying on about whatever that topic is, why did the conservative branch think abortion was OK until the 1970’s and not OK afterwards?

          1. Stan

            Good question Wanna. Divorce wasn’t even talked about in our Lutheran church let alone abortion. I know the Catholics didn’t approve. Unwed mothers went to visit their far off “Aunt” for six months then returned to finish their high school class. Jon seems to think Evangelicals were the dominant Christian Church at the time and ergo control all Christian thought. In our town there was one small evangelical, a Methodist and about 6 Lutheran churches. The Catholics only had one but it was almost bigger then the others combined.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            Stan; Yes. Divorce or abortion wasn’t an option. No one got married with the consideration of; “If it doesn’t work out, we can always get a divorce”. If a girl got Pregenant, she got married with community approval and blessing, or carried the child full term, and got married later to the father or someone else, again with community support and blessing,depending on the situation. In a couple years, it was forgotten.

        2. Henry

          Wanna: “Jon; Again, who was “the conservative branch?””

          Sorry to butt in, but my guess would be the Roman Catholic, ELS, WLS, and LCMS denominations. They are conservative. At the time (late 1960’s) some denominations of the Presbyterians may have also qualified as conservative. But this is inconsistent with what the article link and Jon claims. Jon may need to clarify this a little.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            Henry; Jon seems to have a fixation on the “Mainline Churches”. By past posts he has indicated they are some sort of conservatives, which is far from “conservative”. Yes, in my definition of conservative, the churches you mention would be considered conservative. Creedal/Confessional/Liturgical. Absolutely no past approval of abortion.

          2. Wanna 2:29 The article I attached discusses a resolution passed by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1971 supporting abortion rights. Also cited was and article from Christian Life supporting abortion rights. We received Christian Life on the farm when I was growing up.

            My parents were members of a Swedish Evangelical Conventant Church of America. I several conversations where everyone present supported abortion. It was a way to feel superior to the Catholics. There is no doubt in my mind the denomination, and likeminded ones, supported abortion rights.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            Doesn’t sound very conservative to me. Pietistic, yes, More Mainline. The article you quote says “Evangelical”. More pietism, to the point of radical pietism. These “branches” also lean towards ecuminism, which also is not “conservative”. Your “It was a way to feel superior to the Catholics” is a dead giveaway and absolute statement of Pietism. Again, not conservative, nor quietism. I would suggest a study of terms, and a crash course in comparative theology.

          4. Henry

            Jon: I several conversations where everyone present supported abortion. It was a way to feel superior to the Catholics.”

            Perhaps you were doing the talking and everyone else in stunned silence was nodding their head in an effort to get the conversation to move along to something less uncomfortable.

          5. Stan

            “It was a way to feel superior to the Catholics.” Wonderful theology, I wonder who the bigots were in that conversation?

          6. Wanna B Sure

            Now we know how, and where Jon got to think he is superior to everyone. Funny he didn’t mention cards, dancing and drinking. That is also a feature of Jon’s conservative radical base. (More pietism). There is a clinical term that describes that, and pills won’t help. He is BOUND and determined to perpetuate it, and it makes him feel superior.

  2. entech

    There can’t be too much wrong with mothers not reaching full term. There must have been lots of them drowned when Noah and his brigade were saved.

  3. entech

    Shifting sands, biblical justification for not terminating a pregnancy, this seems to be the topic, so I would say it does follow. It is in your book, your inspired epic, or, is it only convenient when it agrees with what you want to believe, often on no basis stronger than that, I want to believe the scripture is true, so ipso facto it is. Because you believe it to be true, ergo propter hoc, definitely pro sequitur .

    1. entech

      I suppose in some ways you are right. The way the story of the flood is relevant to the premature death of unborn children by drowning the mothers, very efficient kills mother and child all in one go, does not follow, it is a non sequitur because the story on which it is based is just that, a story, the probability that it is true is negligible.

      1. entech 11:26 The notion that this “loving God” kills the wicked, including fetus’ carried by their unimportant mothers, is still alive and well today. One just has to go to websites where such stuff is written about and read celebration in the posts over drowning of the liberal East Coast.

          1. Wanna 1:14 Westboro Baptist Church has only a few family members in its “Congregation”. So far as I know all denominations claim WBC does not represent them. But, that’s only partially true.

            WBC is a big asset when people like me argue about the faith. That’s because, while no other group of Christians is like WBC, most of them incorporate some part of WBC. In the realm of public opinion, it’s really impossible to separate hatred of gays from disappproval of gay marriage. WBC hates gays. When a big swath of Christianity, including the Catholic Church, disapproves of gay marriage, the label of hatred sticks to the anti gay marriage branches.

            When red faced protesters scream at women entering an abortion clinic, in the realm of public opinion, they hate those women. This concept of hatred is assigned to all denominations and groups that oppose abortion.

            People can argue all they want to that the views of extreme wings should not be applied to other wings. That’s simply the way it works in public opinion.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            And guilt by non-association is applied to both sides of the fence. It is just too easy, convenient, and opportunistic. There are many devout Baptists that cringe when the” B” in the WBC is brought up. They probably preffer “WTF” as a title for the WTC. Jon; even within your loose association of Freethinkers, there are (I’m sure) those who are agnostics, Hardline activist atheists, and seekers. I have seen you and David react negatively to accusations not totally in line with your own personal position. Understandable. No one on either side wants to be painted as someone/thing they are not. And they should not be.

          3. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; Re. your last paragraphs; “This concept of hatred is assigned to all denominations and groups that oppose abortion.”. and “That’s simply the way it works in public opinion”. That is the result. If you aren’t part of the solution to clarify, you are also part of the problem in promoting it. I see little effort on your part to clarify. What would you say if I implied all atheists burn churches? You and yours sure get nervous when someone says that all Communists are Atheists. or is it the other way around? The sharp tools come out, and no meaningfull dialogue is possible. Accountability goes both ways my friend. Broad generalizations, and cute sound bites are not helpfull. Have a nice day.

          4. Wanna 2:47 There is a way for denominations not to find themselves associated with WBC. It is to see themselves in what WBC stands for and reject it. That’s what some denominations like the UCC do and, I would say generally, the emerging church groups.

            The ones that hang onto sin, gay marriage bashing and anti abortion postions are not my problem. There is an old rule in politics that if you don’t take a position, one will be assigned to you. WBC positions and persona have been assigned to denominations who don’t like WBC at all. If they would stop supporting some WBC prejudices, problem solved.

          5. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; That does not fly. You preffer to continue in accusing those not involved. Completely void of integrity. Guilty until proven innocent. Low life. You have shown your true colors.

          6. Wanna B Sure

            Jon has shown his disregard for the commandment against bearing false witness. By comission or omission, Jon champions bearing false witness for the sake of his cause. That at least explains his “problem” with the 10c. Lie, or let it be lied. That’s our Jon. Then he lowers himself to gangland tactics, and tries to extort protection from false information. ” Be one with the UCC or emergents on this,and I won’t talk falsely about you”. That might work with some, but not here. Chicago gangland/politics.

          7. Wanna 6:11 The UCC separted itself so clearly for the Westboro Baptist Church that WBC carries on protests in front of UCC services. Other denominations need to do what UCC did. To some extent they have, some mainlines deciding to allow local parishes to allow gay married pastors. But, they diddled around so long much of the general public doesn’t even know about it.

            Lots of the faith still holds to policies of the middle ages, no women in some positions, no gays, no abortions, big on sin and so on. If these churches do not want to be lumped in with the Westboro Baptist, they need to wake up. Because they hold some big issues in common they seem pretty similar to a big chunk of the public.

            It really does not matter how mad you are. What I’m saying here is still true. I think people like me should give a pass to the UCC’s of the faith in certain ways, but the rest needs to get on a bus headed for modern times. I’m not going to spend time sorting out and splitting hairs about what each group thinks.

            I think it’s just fine to lump all groups that engage in hair-brained thinking into the category of hair-brained.

          8. Wanna B Sure

            And Jon will continue to allow half truths and untruths to continue. A lie by omission is still a lie. Jon wants everyone to disregard the parts of the 10 c which relates to God, but in reality, he is against all of it. Whether it is on public property or private.

            He continues his policy of blackmail/extortion, (protection) to anyone he wishes with a broad brush. Anything but total capitulation to his desires is fair game. This has been done before, and it is never enough. His ” There is an old rule in politics that if you don’t take a position, one will be assigned to you;” Now he is injecting politics (state matters) into church matters. This is from a guy who so loudly proclaims “seperation of church and state”. One begins to wonder what and how the “assignments” would be if he was in controll. Jon is just showing his true colors, and ambitions. His solution is more dangerous than that which he opposes apart from the WBC. WTF???

          9. Wanna B Sure

            If everyone did COMPLY with the positions of the UCC, I would guarantee Jon would go after them next, simply because they do mention God from time to time, and he can’t stand it. Even if they have made the ten commandments into ten suggestions, or seven or six, depending on which version you subscribe to. He can’t fool me.

          10. Stan

            “That’s because, while no other group of Christians is like WBC, most of them incorporate some part of WBC.”

            Turn that around Jon. While WBC is like no other denomination, it incorporates very little from the others, and that which it does is twisted to their purposes. WBC is a law office disguised as a church. It’s funded by suing anybody who tries to stop it from protesting. The only people it doesn’t dare sue is the Patriot Riders. A group of motorcycle riders which consist of veterans and non-veterans who scare the heck out of that so called church.

            Jon, the Occupy crowd was praised by Nancy Polosi and President Obama, then they started firebombing banks, vandalizing churches and their camps hid rapists, thieves and generally violent perpetrators. The Glorious Main stream Press ignored all of that, but why can’t we use the same situation to smear the democrats?

          11. Stan 11:10 “WBC is a law office disguished at a church.”

            That well might be. Or, it might be called a social protest movement disguished as a church. The thing is, it calls itself a church and holds church services. I read an account of a reporter who was at the church service. Most of the handfull of people there were family members.

            But, still, whatever their crazy ways and practices, their views are shared to one degree or another across much of Christianity. Pubic opinion, what we might call it the “casual observer”, does not make much effort to distinguish among the Christian groups because, in many respects, it all sounds the same.

            Let’s look back at the Klu Klux Klan. They hated, and killed, black people. They paraded the cross. Plenty of people supported segregation and the prohibition of interracial marriage, but said the Klan was nuts. These people cannot be entirely blameless for the Klan. They shared a nutcase ideology with the Klan.

            In my own particular view of this, I don’t fault the United Church of Christ for believing in the same God as Westboro Baptist Church. It’s when two religous threads demonize the same groups in society I put them in the same bucket. For example, the Catholic Church and Westboro Baptist both see women as lessers and oppose gay marriage. They are very different in the way they conduct this discrimination, but they are both there.

            Everyone is free to believe whatever they want to believe. But, if the public sees the similarities as bigger than the differences, and sees those similarities as something they don’t like, someone involved should do something.

          12. Wanna B Sure

            Jon; Your”someone involved should do something” What are you sugesting Jon? With the laws of the land not being able to stop them, I guess the only thing that would satisfy you would be to do the vigilante approach?? Would you approve a little torture first just to “learn em” the error of their ways? Would you like each one of them put on a stauros in their driveway as a warning, Roman style? The problem with that is that it would be an intrusion of church into state matters. ( capital punishment being the juristction of the state.) But that would be OK with Jon, as he is into “assignment” to Christians from outside the community of believers. Could Jon then be arrested for incitement? so many things to ponder…….for Jon.

          13. Wanna 12:36 I’m saying that, for those denominations who hold midevil views on issues like women and gays, it would be in their own interests to change them. If they don’t change them, and they are shared by the likes of Westboro Baptist, they may be tossed into the same bucket with Landover Baptist.

          14. Stan

            “Let’s look back at the Klu Klux Klan. They hated, and killed, black people. ”

            You know they were started by southern Democrats don’t you?

          15. Stan 1:19 “You know they were started by southern Democrats don’t you?”

            I’m afraid I do know that. I’m glad their desendents, some still like minded, vote Republican now.

      2. entech

        Jon 1:03 That this sought of thing is a natural extension of scripture is something that most would like to overlook. It does seem to be a case of do what I say not what I do, hate to bring up the likes of Ted Haggard again, but that is a prime example, applies to the representatives as well, just not to the ordinary believer. Just because I can do it wholesale doesn’t mean you can do it one by one, thou shalt not murder applies to you not me, just ask some of the tribes that were on the wrong side, Josh you get out there and slaughter everyone, man, woman and child and with child, while you’re at it kill the livestock as well, definitely tainted by contact.

        I haven’t looked up anything about the disaster in New York on the web, local papers cover it in detail. But I can imagine the line of reasoning, hurricanes never came this far north until laws were introduced that God did not like; post hoc, ergo propter hoc; the perfect fallacy to describe the ranting of extremists – see you did something nasty and now God is punishing you. What an insult, attributing their own limited imagination to the supreme being, if such a being existed and was as mad at his creation as the book said he was, highly offended and regretted creation and determined to kill every one, just as he later instructed others to do. But if he is omnipotent and unchangeable, why did the flood fail to end evil and how did the unchangeable come to know regret. You would expect that if it could be made in six days it could be totally destroyed in less, snap of a metaphorical finger perhaps? Why bother with a flood at all, Ok so the wickedness of man had become great upon the earth, finish it and start again but no, Noah finds favour, Noah is a blameless man, Noah is the man who after the flood made wine, drank too much and passed out naked (doesn’t say what secret drunken things required him taking all his clothes off) and to cover his shame and in a godlike fit of rage condemned his grandchildren to perpetual slavery.

        If you want the good and the salvation you must take it all, the bad and the destruction as well.

          1. entech

            Unless it was gratuitous slaughter. I am making assumptions based on a long ago religious education, but I seem to recall that humanity had taken to sexual relations with “angels” (for want of a better name and without all the worse madness that spacemen etc. bring), these beings, sons of god, Nephilim or whatever can not have been too different or they would not be producing viable offspring, but of course they were “made in our image”, presuming again that the entities with whom they were mating were also made in the image:
            There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
            And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
            And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

            I have always thought that the angels that were sinful and evil were cast into the pit to become demons and that humanity was to end for the “evil which was in his heart”. There does seem to be a lot of overkill (pun intended) in the solution:
            first you get rid of the prime evil doers, the angels who though the humans were lovely looking playthings (did they have magazines in those days?) and indulged their unnatural lusts.
            Next you get rid of humanity, demonstrably a weak being given to disobedience – hardly the image of a God, eating the wrong fruit, carrying the wrong seed and El knows what else.
            Bit difficult to tell who is really to blame so get rid of them all in different ways, and there animals too. But wait we have one man who is not tainted by the evil seed, one man who found grace in the eyes of the lord.

            OK, if it was not to rid the world of this evil contamination what was it for, punishment – surely the introduction of death to the world was punishment enough, no, can’t wait until they die got to kill them now, because all they can think of is evil, rid the world of men and you rid it of evil.

            Bit of a simplistic view, but remember this is from school day memories. Of course, as always I could be wrong, if I am please tell me why did he decide to destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; and how could a perfect creator, omnipotent, omnipresent and all knowing ever reach the position where he is obliged to say for it repenteth me that I have made them. could he not foresee and thus find cause to forestall.

          2. entech

            Henry, thank you for your usual lucid and complete explanation. Now I know your God did not cause the great flood that is only my assumption.
            Wonder which is closer to reality, my assumption or your imagination.

  4. Michael Ross

    An answer to”when evagelicals were pro-choice” from Christianity Today:

    “Still, this sounds to me very much like early apologies for slavery, when some northern Christians imagined slave owners as benevolent masters of an inferior people. Once the horrors of slavery became known and the humanity of African-Americans became evident, northern Christians increasingly become single-minded in their opposition to slavery. That has more or less been the history of contemporary evangelicalism regarding abortion. When it was indeed a rare occurance, most of us could imagine an exception here and there. When it turned into the wholesale slaughter of millions (54 million since 1973 in the US alone), we have naturally become as little less flexible about it.”

    1. Michael 4:34 re: Christianitytoday.

      I read this articel and wondered how how long it would be for someone to cherry pick and post it here. Didn’t take long.

      The article points out clearly the OT referred to the fetus life as different than the after birth life. The author then dances about trying to explain this fact does not mean pro choice. As has been pointed out time and again, anyone can justify anything from the Bible.

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