Thank you for your reply, Steve.
I read the first page of “Is God a Hypocrite?” as well as some of the other threads you listed, and I can see that we are at polar opposites concerning the scriptures and the nature of God. Having had to put so many scriptures 'on the shelf' over the years, I no longer have a literalist way of looking at them. Paidion gave his best shot at refuting your arguments, and it will be an education to go through them, so I am glad you listed them.
Then, it was nice of you to commend me as a wife, but what attracted me to Paidion was the very fact that he would not
be attracted to a shrinking violet who would 'yes dear' his every word. In fact, we have spirited debate here on the home front as we search out the Spirit of God on matters. I hope to be a better wife than one who would simply rubber stamp all her husband says, out of sympathy or a false sense of loyalty. We have come to our views through much study and open discussion. I have never seen Paidion indulge in 'hijinx', 'play fast and loose' with the things of God, or have 'disdain for truthful interaction'. I wonder that you could know him so little after all these years.
''Paidion is a sweet guy. I know, because I have spent time with him. Joseph Smith may also have had his virtues, but this does not cancel his obligation to preach faithfully, or else stand public criticism...''
Many who know Paidion acknowledge his gentle spirit. Having read extensively about Joseph Smith, I am sure his sliminess would be immediately apparent to any true child of God. Paidion has stood up quite well to what little 'public criticism' he has found in the Church community, where he shares quite often, as well as the internet. I have never seen him shrink from a challenge to his views, and many seem to appreciate the challenge they receive from him. It is love for the brethren
that provokes him to persist in these matters.
Homer quoted Paidion's view of inspiration:
''That is, God influenced their minds as they wrote. This does not imply that their writings were without error. For God did not control their minds; He influenced them. Also, I do not believe inspiration is limited to the books that Athanasius happened to choose to comprise the "canon". Indeed I believe even people in our day are inspired to write (that is influenced by the spirit of God)."
Then Homer said in response:
''If this is true the Christian religion is built upon sand.''
This struck me as most tragic, because the opposite is true. Christianity becomes lifeless because of the view that the Bible was written by men whose minds were controlled, as in one who does automatic writing. They say that without scripture, we have no Christianity, but it is without the Living Christ that we have no Christianity! ...no matter how many manuscripts we have.
Don’t get me wrong – this does not lessen the importance of the scripture – but the life and authority of them come from the Spirit of the risen Christ which he gave to us for the very purpose of leading us into all truth. The Spirit of God is necessary for interpretation of the scriptures - and the scripture necessary for substantiation of the Spirit. The scriptures come alive for people only after they have an encounter with the Living Christ and know in their hearts that God has raised him from the dead.
He said, “On this rock I will build my Church'' - the Rock of revelation of who he is – not the writings of his followers, which, curiously, he never mentioned we would have, or that he would order them to be written.
Jesus' accusers, who knew scripture, confused Jesus' works with the works of Satan, missing the whole salvation story, so there must be a standard for interpreting scripture that has more integrity than, ''the Bible says, it, I believe it and that settles it.'' Without the Spirit of God, man is doomed in his zeal to use the letter of the scripture to badger every one in his path into his belief, and thus, shore up his own blind spots.
Perhaps you have heard the sad story of Bart Ehrmann whose faith was built on the inerrancy of scripture. I have read his words concerning this. When he went to Moody, then Wheaton, then Princeton, and realized he could no longer deny the discrepancies contained in the scriptures, he completely lost his faith, and went on to write book after book, pointing out these errors. I double dog dare any of you to read his books and see on what your faith is based. If the Spirit of God has not revealed to you that Jesus was raised from the dead, your faith is on shifting sand and you will not stand in the end. ''And this is eternal life, that you know me'' - not that ''...you know a book written about me''. If we don't come to know him as he really is, we have missed it all and have only a huge mass of memorized words and scripture references. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
Paidion has faced up to the discrepancies he has found in the Bible over all these decades and has come out with his faith intact, even substantiated and strengthened. I think it is for fear that one puts his fingers in his ears, shouts 'la-la-la-la-la' and then say things such as he is “....embarrassed by his own inability to face the scriptures and Christ honestly.'' He and I have gone over many of the scriptures that you have posted in argument, and I am amazed that you said that. He told you why your latest arguments didn't hold water. Not only is it that you just don't agree, but as I read this thread more than once, and parts of the others, I got the distinct impression that you had no regard for his explanations, if indeed you read them at all, and in many places, you presumed upon his meaning, thus, putting words in his mouth, which is akin to bearing false witness.
''... there is no evidence that Paul ever killed a Christian or was directly responsible for their deaths.”
It looks like Paul took responsibility for the stoning of Steven; at least, that's enough evidence to get you the death penalty in some states in the US.
When the Disciples gave a typical OT reaction to a problem facing them, Jesus rebuked them by telling them they did not know what spirit they were manifesting. We can be right exegetically but very wrong in our hearts, and that is what God is most concerned with.
Luke 9:53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them...
You can argue for the punitive nature of the Father till the cows come home, but I dare say, ''you do not know what manner of spirit you are of.''
Teachers in my early days tried to put us into bondage of fear lest should we reach out our hand 'to steady the ark', we too could be stricken dead. It took decades to unlearn such foolishness, and see that those who live in that fear cannot abide one who is free of it.
The letter kills, the Spirit gives life.
Nevertheless, I'm hoping for the best.
Sincerely, Jean Clink
"Anything you think you know about God that you can't find in the person of Jesus, you have reason to question.” - anonymous