What’s right in our own eyes

This topic deserves more time than I will give it, but I’ve already started typing and am legally bound to continue… 🙂

I received a letter from a church member in Trinidad today, in which he enclosed some pamphlets detailing the false prophecies that are currently being taught by some in his country.  (No, the world will not end on that date in 2011, Pamphlet People!)  I appreciate his concern, and there is false information everywhere to be sure.

What was fascinating in the pamphlets is how many biblical stretches the authors of the pamphlets make to “prove” their point.  Absolutely unbelievable stretches, yet clearly they believe them with zeal and passion.  And I am sure that if you showed them their error, many of them would simply smile and say you are simply ignoring the Scriptures — as obvious as it may be to you that the reverse is true.

While their positions were absolutely loony, I must say that I was reminded of several that I know of — individuals who had been associated with the Church for some time but who are no longer, having left the Living Church of God (or some other COG incarnation through the years) to form what I call the “Me Church of God.”  Yes, the MCG — the one organization guaranteed to teach all doctrine and prophecy exactly how you would like it taught!  And that fascination with one’s own ideas is one of the surest routes to heresy that I know of.

I know several people who belong to the “Me Church of God” — not that they belong to the same MCG, since they are all generally different from the others (hence “Me” instead of “Us”), though some of them are loosely aligned.  What do they have in common?  A spirit of Judges 21:25 — everyone doing what is right in his own eyes.

Oh, they say what they preach and teach is biblical — that they have “proven” it, all of it, of course! — and yet it is amazing how blind they are to what others are able to see so clearly.  Jesus Christ  teaches us, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21), and those who have formed their own MCG have invested much “treasure” in their personal doctrines in the form of time, energy, and devotion.  And the more they invest in those private doctrines, the more they find it impossible to believe they could possibly be wrong.

Fascinating, then, that Jesus Christ and God the Father purposefully designed the Church — the Body of Christ — so that this should be impossible.  Read Ephesians 4:11-16.  Did God structure the church in such a specific manner and with such offices and gifts for no reason?  Read in Acts 14 & 15 how those who passionately believed that the Gentiles in the Church did not need to be physically circumcised appealed to that very structure to determine the biblical truth of the matter rather than taking it into their own hands to determine doctrine and form the “Circumcision Church of God.”  Of course, some did form such a “church within the church” over circumcision, and their activities continually vexed Paul from place to place.  And their “entrepreneurial spirit” is alive and well today, in an era in which so many refuse to identify and defer to any godly, biblical authority that differs from their own sovereign and exalted will.  Truly, it is an era in which many say, “I have need of nothing [cf. Rev. 3:17]!  Certainly no need for a teacher! And if I do decide I need a teacher I will find my own, thank you very much [cf. 2 Tim. 4:3].  In fact, I see that there are many just waiting to teach me right here on the Internet, and I can tell by what they are saying (in that it agrees with much I have already decided that the Bible says) that they’re the ones I want to listen to [cf. 2 Peter 1:20]!”

I was speaking to another man about such attitudes recently — a man I am blessed to count among my friends — and he told me of his own experience leaving the Church and going after a zealous Bible teacher he had “heaped up” for himself.  In his own words, “I misread his ability to quote scripture, as well as his self-confidence, as some sort of righteousness to be pursued.”  In his humility, he found his way back years later after recognizing his sin — a sin that, at the time, seemed like the righteous, zealous path! — and allowing Jesus Christ to lead him back to where He wanted him all along.  His example is an encouragement to me, and I appreciate his willingness to share it.  I hope I can be humble enough in the years ahead that when my time of testing comes I will pass.  And I pray that others out there currently lost in what appears to be righteousness while actually being a deadly maze of self-deceit, self-righteousness, and private interpretation of Scripture will be able to find the same path he did: a path that leads from doing what is right in one’s own eyes to doing what is truly right in God’s.

15 thoughts on “What’s right in our own eyes

  1. Great Topic Mr. Smith!

    The Me Church of God… has kind of a ring to it doesn’t it? Albeit an unhealthy ring… kind of humorous even if tragic. I had always heard of it as “The Me and Jesus” syndrome… not the Jesus and I, but Me and Jesus… LOL

    Hope you and the family are doing well, and happy Sabbath to yuzz!

    Deano

  2. Hey, Mr. Britt, I never thought of that! I’ve used the “Me Church of God” idea for years, but I’d never abbreviated it until this blog post, and I have to admit: “MeCG” does, indeed, have a ring to it!

  3. Hi Mr. Smith,

    You wrote: “Yes, the MCG — the one organization guaranteed to teach all doctrine and prophecy exactly how you would like it taught! And that fascination with one’s own ideas is one of the surest routes to heresy that I know of.”

    Take a look at Vine’s Expository Dictionary sometime, with regard to the word “heresies”. That is the essential definition of the word, and Vine’s gives the best elucidation of the trap that I know of. I like to put it in the vernacular as “opinionatedness” – that is, holding forth one’s ideas in place of or in disguise as God’s truth, which leads to sects and party spirit. And a sect of one i(the MCOG) s as much a sect as a sect of one billion (the Roman Catholic Church).

    Yeah, go with “MeCG”. Nice ring indeed. My favorite of the lot is actually a nickname for a group that reduced the amount of 1st tithe arbitrarily: “The Discount Church of God”. 🙂

  4. I would like to point out, though, that the City of Laodicea wasn’t known for its sectarianism (even if it was known for its skepticism), and therefore the Church of Laodicea wouldn’t have been either as a defining characteristic. (The very Church government you allude to – in the human leadership of Mr. Meredith, no less – has pointed out that Laodicea is accused of no heresy. But that is when its fruits are ripe; along the way it, like every other era, will have its sects.) What it was known for was being “rich, and increased with goods, and having need of nothing” materially, while being poor and destitute spiritually, and (note this) not caring about their spiritual state (like the rich man in Luke 12). And this was its reputation among the pagans! The Church there, again, would’ve had the same fault. In either case, they didn’t think of themselves as rich spiritually any more than the true Old Covenant counterpart to the Church of Laodicea, the Sadducees, did. That was a Pharisaic problem, one which (like the Pharisees’ infamous and endless sectarianism, right down to “MePharisee” in most cases) is meant to teach Philadelphia something about itself.

    According to Wm. Ramsay, it was the City of Philadelphia that had most of its people hanging on the fringes in the fields, doing their own affairs, or else leaving the area entirely, after the famous earthquake that overtook the region. The City gained the reputation not only as being a dangerous place to live, but a place which only fools would’ve founded in the first place (sound familiar?). Faced with the same trial, Laodicea remained united (pun intended). Laodicea dusted itself off and went on as before, with few defectors. But it did so using its own physical resources, refusing Imperial aid offered to it – unlike Philadelphia, which (for a time) was the only city in Asia Minor that changed its name to thank the Imperium for its help in reconstruction.

    Now I don’t mean to promote the “Rakkav COG” here either, but when presenting some of these things to the ministry over me (the late Ogwyn and Walden), they acknowledged that we need to rethink our position on the Church eras. Our model is mostly right, but we keep projecting Philadelphian faults (the same as the Pharisees’ faults, hypocrisy and self-righteousness, which is their leaven) onto Laodicea (which has a different set of problems, those of the Sadducees: the leaven of Herod, which is compromise with the world). And if I feel passionately about that projection sometimes, it’s only because I see the harm that it does to us and to them – not because I want any focus put on me or my ideas.

  5. One last thought: if Jesus Christ doesn’t mention the Philadelphian faults I point out (for these are things that have plagued us in the past and regrettably still do here and there), it’s because He addresses Philadelphia when its fruits are ripe – when it has mostly overcome its problems and rebuiilt from the “earthquakes” that overtook it. What He says applies to us in a way that it never applied to even Mr. Armstrong’s WCG, specifically because of how Jesus handles the Greek verb “I have set before you (an open door)”. The sense is that He did so in the past, is now doing so and will continue to do so indefinitely. But if He did so in the past, then He is already looking back at our track record since our founding (and thus praises us for its eventual results in the present). It’s meant to encourage us as survivors of the “earthquake” trying to rebuild the Work with few resources.

    Years ago it was ponted out to me that the Beatitudes parallel the Church eras and their aftermath (two periods of persecution) exactly. But they also express particular cognitive processes, first the Holy Spirit, then those of the human mind, in paired orders. “Blessed are the pure in heart” is the Philadelphian Beatitude. But since this has to do with personal and universal values, we should expect either extreme unity or extreme sectarianism and nothing in between. Whereas sectarianism is exactly what “Blessed are the peacemakers”, the Laodicean Beatitude, resists. It seeks to find common ground among differing opinions in a group (see, as I said sects will always be there, but I submit for other reasons that this isn’t why Laodicea is called “rich, and increased with goods, and having need of nothing” – if it were then Philadelphia would’ve had the rebuke more severely, as would Sardis).

  6. Thanks for your thoughts, Mr. Wheeler. Out of respect for your passion for the topic and for my desire to get some sleep, I will only add that I find Mr. Ogwyn’s published analysis of the eras of the OT church to be very credible. So if it lowers the bar for acceptance, simply consider my comment and reference to Rev. 3 as simply a borrowing of good prose and turn of phrase.

    Thanks, again, and I hope you have a great Sabbath!

  7. And let me kindly say in response that when he and I discussed that very article in person and I pointed out the difference in faults between the Pharisees and the Sadducees (and how they lined up with those of Philadelphia and Laodicea), he got the point and changed his mind. Regrettably, he didn’t live long enough to bring the information forward for further ministerial discussion and feedback.

    (There is a parallel between the Pharisee fraternity being the heirs of the Maccabean priest-kings and our “oligarchy” being the heirs of a very centralized apostolic authority, in each case seeking to preserve the ideals of the past – which is worth considering too. The Sadducees tried to preserve past ideals too, but largely in name only – with the notable exception of the Sons or Elders of Bathyra, from whom we get our Masoretic Text ultimately. And even they had their abusers of power, as a folk song preserved in one of the Talmuds records.)

    I’ve raised the point personally with Mr. Meredith and others and in due time there should be a discussion among Ye Powers That Be for further clarification. Thanks for your reply (and for leaving my comments up), and sleep well!

  8. author

    “…fascination with one’s own ideas is one of the surest routes to heresy that I know of”

    Was Herbert W. Armstrong “fascinated with his own ideas” when, as newly baptized, unordained lay member of the Church, he submitted his papers about the identity of the lost tribes of Israel and about the holy days to Church of God (Seventh Day) headquarters, truths which God’s true Church rejected at that time?

    How does one know if the ideas he has are from the Bible or not, except by the Bible? Cannot the Church of God be mistaken?

    I think Paul and his company understood the biblical truth of the matter and were teaching and practicing that truth before taking it to Church headquarters in Acts 15. Rather than primarily determining the “biblical truth”, the meeting in Acts 15 was mostly used to make an administrative decision about policy, that is, what would be taught and practiced by the whole Church. Although James quotes a passage of scripture near the end of the meeting in summing up the conclusion, it appears that most of the discussion was about the events the apostles had lived through showing how God was bringing the Gentiles into the Church.

    [EDITOR’S NOTE: Please forgive me, author, for deleting the reference to your book and website. I’m sure you would respectfully disagree and believe I am being small-minded, but I believe that efforts to preach the gospel are spread thin enough without adding to the spread. I appreciate your comment and will respond below. — WGS]

  9. Sorry, author, but I don’t think so.

    First, concerning Mr. Armstrong your comment misses the point. The problem isn’t that God occasionally raises up a man like Herbert Armstrong. The problem is that today everyone and his brother seems to think that he is a Herbert Armstrong.

    That the Sardis era failed to apply Matthew 7:16-20 and other related Scriptures concerning Mr. Armstrong’s ministry (which they did ordain him to, by the way) does not justify someone’s failing to apply them to himself.

    As for Acts 15, I’m sure that Paul and Barnabas believed they understood God’s will on the matter, but verse 2 makes it clear that it was a “question” at the time that needed to be settled. Your comment seems to display a sadly common cynicism, though oddly projected back through time onto the first century Church. Consider: you say that the meeting was to make a decision about “what would be taught and practiced by the whole church” but NOT a matter of “determining the ‘biblical truth'”… Why are those two things so categorically different? Your words indicate that you do not believe the apostles and elders were concerned that what they taught and practiced was the biblical truth. Surely you do not believe this.

    And can the Church of God be mistaken? Of course. God has shown us mistakes before, and I am sure he will in the future. But when I see…

    (1) on one hand, a man and group of men (such as Mr. Meredith and the Council of Elders) who have abundant Matthew 7:16-20 fruits, who have continually been tried and tested and found faithful, who have given their lives in service to God’s people, and who have literally centuries of experience in living God’s way in their aggregated backgrounds make a prayerful and studied decision about some matter of doctrine, and…

    (2) on the other hand, a fellow or fellows (or me for that matter) without such (we’ll be charitable and leave it there)

    …those differences should make a difference to me (and to you)!

    Do such things ultimately determine who is right and who is wrong? Nope. But should they influence me at all? Should they impact who gets the benefit of a doubt in a disagreement? Absolutely. 2 Tim. 3:14, Heb. 13:7, 1 Cor. 11:2, and verses like them really are in the Bible, regardless of how unpopular they are in the COG universe today. (Ditto for James 3:1.) And the one who too easily follows his own ideas while simultaneously tossing aside the leadership, experience, instruction and continuing godly example of such men is carelessly violating more proverbs of God than I care to list here.

    There is a reason that Aaron’s budded rod was one of the three items in the ark of the covenant. It’s a lesson too many have rejected today. Too many people want an ark that is only 2/3 full.

  10. author

    I don’t mind your deleting references to my book and website. Under the circumstances, I understand, and I am pleased that you have replied to me because it gives me a chance to test what I think with someone who is willing to tell me where I may be wrong.

    I don’t think I missed the point about your post in my comment. Actually I agree with much of what you said, and I understand that there is an ongoing and serious problem in the Church of God (perhaps there always has been) with individuals coming up with their own doctrinal ideas about the Bible, while really not understanding the Bible, and then either leaving a Church of God fellowship that is effectively doing the work (such as Living Church of God) to join with a different Church of God group that is not effectively doing the work, or, such an individual may stay where he is at, but cause division by promoting his ideas among other members, contrary to the teaching of the ministry. That may be worse.

    But I raise the point about Mr. Armstrong because I think there needs to be a balance, and I really do think there needs to be more discussion about how a member, who finds new knowledge in the Bible, should handle his doctrinal disagreements with the ministry in a godly way without causing division. Too often, the explanation I hear seems to be that Christ will guide the ministry to understand the Bible, so the member should trust the Church’s explanation of Bible passages and doctrines. The example of Mr. Armstrong shows that this is not always the case. And while you correctly point out that Mr. Armstrong was ordained, he was not ordained at the time he learned “new knowledge” about the United States in prophecy and about our obligation to keep the holy days, and he was just a lay member when he submitted those doctrines to the Church of God (Seventh Day) leadership.

    The Church of God (Seventh Day) did indeed fail to apply Matthew 7:16-20 relating to Mr. Armstrong, but at the time he sent in his doctrinal suggestions, those fruits were not yet evident. They became evident later. It sounds like you are suggesting that the way to know if a doctrinal suggestion is true is by the fruits of the man who suggests it rather than by the Bible itself.

    You are right that I do not believe that the apostles and elders were unconcerned with biblical truth. At the time of Acts 15, the Bible was not yet complete, and Christ was making His will known about circumcision and the law of Moses primarily through the events in the work of the apostles that were then taking place, and it was necessary for the apostles to get together to compare notes to see how God was making His will known. But there is also an element of policy making involved in their decision, not just a search for doctrinal truth. There is a subtle difference I think. When they said, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality”, that sounds like a binding or loosening policy judgment or decision, not just truth they obtained from Bible study. Of course, it became Bible truth for us after Acts was written, since the decision they made became part of the Bible.

    I also wanted to make the point that Paul did not wait for approval from headquarters before teaching that circumcision was not required. The meeting took place to resolve a conflict that occurred after Paul was already teaching what he thought he understood.

    I think the LCG leadership has binding authority to determine what will be officially taught in LCG, and members of LCG should not contradict the ministry in their conversations with other LCG members while they are in LCG. But LCG ministers do not have the authority to tell members what to believe or how to interpret the Bible. They have an obligation to help members find the answers in the Bible, but the faith of the members in doctrinal matters should be in the Bible primarily, not the ministry. 2 Corinthians 1:24 is also in the Bible.

    If a member disagrees with the leadership about what certain passages in the Bible mean, it is not wrong for the member to submit his suggestion to the leadership, as a recent article titled “My Will or God’s Will?” in the Living Church News points out. But a crux of the issue becomes, how should the member react if the leadership tries to show him he is wrong, but he still does not agree? What I am saying is that the member should NOT just assume that the Church is right, but rather the member should believe the Bible more than the Church, and put the matter “on the shelf”, waiting for Christ in the long term to show who is right, and in the meantime not discuss his view with other LCG members.

    Any LCG member should be very cautious about leaving LCG to join another group over disagreements on minor doctrines, especially if that “other group” is not doing an effective Work. In every case I know of, that has been a mistake.

    Any member can feel a sense of excitement and enthusiasm over what he learns in the Bible, and that “fascination” with such new knowledge, what might appear to ministers to be the member’s own idea, is not necessarily “the surest route to heresy”. It depends on how the member handles it in his relations with the Church. I once was a member of LCG, and I had several ideas about new truth I thought I had learned from the Bible, and felt very excited and enthusiastic about those ideas, what you might call “fascination”, but I refrained from discussing those ideas with other members, and I never left LCG over them.

  11. My pleasure, author, and I appreciate your understanding and courtesy.

    We actually seem to agree much more than we disagree. Let me see if I can iron out some of the more wrinkly differences, while others may need to be smoothed out by time. 🙂

    Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable with my statement if I wrote “obsession” instead of “fascination.” What I am thinking fits both words, but perhaps “obsession” is the better word.

    And if I did not make it clear, please let me do so: God’s Word is most certainly the final arbiter of truth–indeed, the source of it. As Mr. Meredith has said many a time, if he or the Council of Elders leads the Church into apostasy, leave and seek out where Christ is actually working. He is consistent, and there will still be a ministry teaching the truth. Our task becomes looking for Aaron’s rod once again, with the faith that it is, indeed, out there somewhere, and remaining faithful until we find it.

    The challenge with using Mr. Armstrong as an example is that it is so singular (or, if you’d prefer, so rare). We can’t create general rules for life and understanding based on exceptional examples, let alone highly exceptional examples. And even then, were his example to be considered, it wouldn’t fit nearly as well as some would hope for a variety of purposes.

    (By the way, let me clarify: By “fruits” I would include fidelity (Gal. 5:22) to Scripture, though we don’t have to agree with a teacher on every minute biblical point to conclude that he is faithful to Scripture. 🙂 Thanks for your comment and for giving me the chance to clarify.)

    As you mentioned, there really is a balance needed. For instance, I definitely agree with this statement you made: “If a member disagrees with the leadership about what certain passages in the Bible mean, it is not wrong for the member to submit his suggestion to the leadership, as a recent article titled ‘My Will or God’s Will?’ in the Living Church News points out. But a crux of the issue becomes, how should the member react if the leadership tries to show him he is wrong, but he still does not agree? What I am saying is that the member should NOT just assume that the Church is right, but rather the member should believe the Bible more than the Church, and put the matter ‘on the shelf’, waiting for Christ in the long term to show who is right, and in the meantime not discuss his view with other LCG members.”

    I appreciate the balance you show in such a statement, and many who now suffer would have been wise to heed it. But let me add two things to extend it:

    (1) There is still a matter of an attitude of deference in disagreement and a very real element of who should get a benefit of a doubt. It really should make a difference when one’s beliefs about something in God’s Word differ with the beliefs of those leaders whom he has proven to be true and faithful in their handling of God’s Word in every other way. As I have said frequently from the pulpit, my faith is rooted in the Bible, not the writings of Herbert Armstrong. Yet when rare moments come along in which he and I differ, I admit that he has earned quite a benefit of a doubt from me! Same with Mr. Meredith, Mr. Ames, Dr. Winnail, etc. I tell my sons the same thing: “Don’t believe me just because I tell you something. When we differ there are some times when you may be right. However, I will always tell you the truth to the best of my ability and when we do differ, you’d be wise to give me the benefit of a doubt.”

    As usual, I over explain. 🙂 Let me try with fewer words: If one cannot see in Scripture what men he has proven to be otherwise faithful and accurate and “fruit full” are saying is there, then always stick with the Bible but in humility remember that you may be wrong. They’ve earned the benefit of a doubt.

    (2) [Admit it: My #1 was so long you probably wondered if there was a #2!] If the difference you see really is rank apostasy — an actual abandoning of the Bible, not simply a difference rooted in a sincere attempt to discern the truth from Scripture — and if you have respectfully and appropriately sought the matter’s resolution, and if you conclude that Christ has, so to say, withdrawn his lampstand from that organization, then seek where He is currently working. No one is obligated to stay where there is neither fruit nor faithfulness.

    I doubt you’d differ with these things. In fact, your words match my verbose point #1 pretty well, methinks. And I add #2 only to make sure that I haven’t accidentally implied its opposite by not mentioning it.

    As for Paul & Acts 15, I still disagree with part of your characterization, perhaps because I have seen it in practice so often. A matter of doctrine comes up in an area, the pastor sees it very clearly one way and teaches it so. But others aren’t so sure and it becomes clear that HQ should be consulted, perhaps because it’s seen that the matter hasn’t actually been resolved before or because new light or understanding on an old matter seems relevant and worth considering.

    Men of good intent can sincerely disagree about what Scripture says, and when that disagreement is something significant there must be someway to determine the truth of the matter in accordance with 1 Cor. 14:33 & 40. If deference in the matter is not so obviously seen, it is only because Paul’s position ended up being the right one. If Sir Simon Circumcision was the center of the story and if he had been sincerely preaching circumcision to the Gentiles as a matter of humble obedience to God, the element of deference would be much more obvious.

    More broadly, Acts 15 has to be seen as more than one example of how all the needed truths were settled before completion of the canon. Else, we have no biblical model in the New Testament, and a model is needed because questions like that arise all the time, and they did not cease with the death of the Apostle John. Acts provides that model to follow, for situations like the circumcision question (and just as important in some respects) will always arise, and without Acts 15 we would not know how to best determine the truth of them. Or, rather, we would not see so obviously how Christ really is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that He communicates His judgment today in the same general manner as He did in the past (e.g., 2 Chr. 19:6). God’s Law was not meant to be understood and observed in isolation; as in the past He provides a ministry to help administer that law and clarify it when needed (Deut. 1:17; Eph. 4:11, 16).

    (By the way #2: Verses like 2 Chr. 19:6 & Deut. 1:17 help to clarify the “binding and loosing” verses such as Matt. 16:19, 18:18-20, and John 20:23, simultaneously freeing them from the abuse of those who would use them to apostatize while strengthening them from those who would rob them of the force and heft Christ intended. In fact, the parallel of 2 Chronicles’ “the LORD who is with you in the judgment” and Matthew 18’s “I am there in the midst of them” really hammers this home. The judges’ (and ministers’) role is to humbly seek & then communicate the judgment of God and Christ on a matter, not enforce their own; and thus the statements of faithful ministers in such matters should carry appropriate weight. And is this a long parenthetical statement, or what?)

    Thanks, again, author, for writing, and we really do seem to agree much more than we disagree. How refreshing. 🙂

  12. author

    Yes, Mr. Smith, I can better understand what you are saying if we use the word “obsession”. If a person becomes obsessed with new knowledge, that can be a bad thing. He can be in danger of making an idol out of it.

    I will need to digest what you have said about Acts 15.

    By the way, I have a new post in my blog you might be interested in reading, because it covers some of the same things we said here from a different angle, but basically saying the same thing. The post is titled [Really Great Title Here! 🙂 ]. And please feel free to edit my comment here to delete this paragraph, if you wish, because I know you do not want to promote my site. But I am making this comment because I want you to have a chance to read it yourself, and this is easier than sending you an email.

    Have a good Sabbath.

  13. Thanks, author! As you can see, I split the middle. 🙂 I did remove the title of your post, but your attitude is so nice and understanding, I did not want to delete the paragraph entirely so that others could see your good example.

    Thanks, again, and have a great Sabbath!

  14. Alex

    I really just read to the bottom so that I could chime in with a post regarding how much it iritates me when some blatantly twist the scriptures to suit their purposes…. but found that a lively and good natured, thoughtful discussion had broken out.

    Yes you do both seem to agree rather than disagree… if I may … occassionaly an individual can come to understand some scriptural point that is not widely accepted or taught, this OK – as long as it kept in perspective (is it the trunk of the tree, a branch, or twig – or even a leaf… I have a leaf or twig of my own).

    Now about my point of twisting scripture… apparently there is a growing trend in what are termed ‘gay christian apologetics’ (new to me). A certain segment would have you believe that Christ sanctioned homosexual relationships/activity… because he healed the centurion’s servant (Matt. 8 & Luke 7). … contortionists …

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