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Today, 220 years ago, Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 which authorized the creation of 6 ships to constitute a Naval fleet for the protection of US interests.  In particular they were to protect against the Barbary “pirates” who were harassing merchant shipping in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic oceans.   The Barbary Pirates actually were state sponsored privateers who would attack and capture ships of almost any nation, selling off the cargo, and often selling the captured men into slavery.

While the Act provides that if peace is reached with Algiers (one of the city-states on the Barbary Coast) that all funding for the ships would stop, in the end it did not.  Indeed, conflict with the Barbary coast states would go on and eventually result in war. Did you know that the first declared war by the United States of America was against a bunch of Muslims in North Africa?  A little something the text books leave out now of days.

These six ships; the Chesapeake, Constitution, President, United States, Congress and Constellation, would go to form the backbone of what would become a permanent naval fleet for the United States of America. They would all see action from a quasi-war with France, to the First (and Second) Barbary Wars, to the war of 1812.

While my current historical studies have taken me elsewhere, my love for Naval History always will be strong. On this the anniversary of a the creation of a permanent navy, I remember the heroes of centuries past, who would establish the grand tradition that is the United States Navy.

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Recently, on one of the Baptist forums I frequent, there as a topic broached regarding Christian marriage, and when is the right age to get married.  Apparently there were several such topics being posted on other blogs in Baptist circles, this one just joined in the parade.  In this topic, the author was advocating that specifically choosing to remain single past 25 and into the 30’s was problematic, and inherently unbiblical.  He tried to differentiate between those who happen to be single (like me) not for want or try, and those who “choose” to be single into “advanced” age.

This really burned my goat to the level that some events in modern politics burn my goat.  And if you are familiar with my frequent rants, you will understand my full meaning when I say that. 

Despite his attempts to “limit” his remarks to those who choose to remain single, and not intentionally trying to include those who happen to be single into their 30’s, his remarks were striking and hurtful beyond degree.

As a single man, I have faced two types of “advice” from those around me.  First, are the groups like this person, the “something must be wrong with you” crowd.  These types of people, often members of churches, look at people who are “older” and still single and they view them with suspicion.  Whether that singleness is intentional or not, for a Christian to be still single into their late 20’s and into the 30’s, they quickly and automatically assume that something must be wrong.  Either your motivations are wrong (as the author of the thread was insinuating), or something is wrong with you personally, or any number of things can be brought up that explain why “you” are odd, and everyone else is normal.

The second group are those who keep saying, “Just wait, God will bring someone along soon!”  This group, frankly, is just as annoying.  Simply put, I have been “waiting” for 15 or so years to “find” the right girl.  I have tried “waiting” and being “patient” for her to arrive, and that has only resulted in seeing girls found interesting getting into relationships and getting married.  I have tried being forward, and actually trying to start relationships, only to have girls reject me.  I have had relationships that were good and I screwed up, and I have had relationships that were terrible and did not end soon enough.  Now theologically speaking, I would consider myself a bit of a fatalist/determinist when it comes to God’s sovereignty.  I have no doubt in my mind that (supposing I am to be married and not remain single for the rest of my life) God already knows the exact identity of the woman I am to marry, He knows the very moment that we will meet, start dating, get engaged, and get married.  Nothing I do or do not do can change that.  I know I need to act, but I also know it will happen in His perfect timing.  All the “advice” I get does nothing but cause me more grief.

So with these two groups, on one hand I have voices telling me something is very wrong because I am still single, and on the other, the fact I am thinking about the future is wrong in as of itself.  Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

Pile onto this all, another topic going around the blogosphere, and that is the question of whether a Pastor/minister/ect needs to be married to do his job.  I know I have been rejected by one church because I am single, I don’t doubt that if/when I start applying again I will be rejected some more because of that status.  The idea being, if I am single, how can I minister to married couples?  Well by that logic, how can pastors minister to people needing heart surgery if they have not had heart surgery?  How can someone minister to addicts unless they have been an addict?  Now to be sure, those who have dealt with situations are better able to minister to those who have also experienced those things, BUT ultimately, any pastor’s advise should be grounded in scripture, not “just” experience.  If I base my ministry off of scripture, if I study it daily, and make it the core of my life and my counseling, then I CAN answer any issue that would come before me whether I am single or married.

So needless to say, recently I have been a little upset regarding this whole “single vs married” thing.  It seems that when I finally get to a place where I do not dwell on this issue, something happens to drag me back in.  Maybe that is why I get so bothered by it now of days, and it is not just the issue itself.

Let me finish by saying this.

I have no doubt that had I been married 10 years ago, I likely would have ended up in a divorce.  I was not a healthy person, I did stupid things, and any relationship would have ended in a disaster.  Indeed, even 4-5 years ago any attempt at marriage would not have gone well.  I needed time to mature.  Maybe I still have a lot more maturing to go.  But one of the good things about being a fatalist/determinist, is again, I know the best is yet to come.  I really hate waiting, but in God’s perfect timing, everything will work out.  I will one day look back, and see exactly why it was good that I had to wait.  And when I finally have found “her”, I will be incredibly happy that all the “attempts” I have had in the past have failed and that I did not find anyone before “her”. 

Southern Baptists hate alcohol.  There is no other way to put it. They hate it, and in many eyes, anyone who consumes alcohol, is at best, a bad Christian.  But can scripture support such a position?

Much of the argument goes around the translation of the Greek word οἶνος.  Abstinence/Prohibitionists like to play games with this nice little word.  They claim, that this word can mean both fermented wine, and grape juice.  Convinenently, everytime something positive is said about this word, it means grape juice.  Everytime it is used negatively, it means fermented wine.  What a terrible way to interpret scripture.

I would like to highlight a particular verse that, in my opinion, tears apart the idea that οἶνος has a dual meaning.

Please consider Luke 7:33-34.

“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’  The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”

Now the word “wine” there is the word οἶνος.  Further, the word “drunkard” is the word οἰνοπότης, literally “wine-drinker”.  The clear context being, they were accusing Jesus of being a drunkard.  You cant get drunk off of grape juice.

Now how can that happen unless Jesus was actually drinking wine?  Surely, if he was not, He would have said “Look, this is not wine!”  But rather, He uses the reaction to John the Baptist, and the reaction to Him, which was done by the same people, to prove a point.  It is exactly as Jesus says.  John the Baptist did not drink any wine, and for that he was ridiculed; and yet Jesus is drinking wine, and He too is being ridiculed.  Jesus was pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.  They rejected John for one reason, and then use the exact opposite reason to reject Jesus.  Thus the in these two verses, it becomes clear that the use of οἶνος, clearly is in reference to an alcoholic beverage.  Thus, Jesus Himself drank alcohol.

Another way of looking at the parallell between John B. and Jesus is that John was “fasting” in preparation for the coming of God’s kingdom.  Jesus on the other hand was “celebrating” because God’s kingdom has arrived.[1]

Let us look at another issue.  The case of Jesus’ first recorded miracle, the wedding in Cana, found in John 2:1-12.  I will let you read it for yourself but again, οἶνος is used here for the word translated in most bibles as “wine”.  New wine, cannot mean “grape juice” as some argue.  Look at the context.  You had a wedding where wine was being served.  Towards the end of the wedding, the wine was running out, and Jesus created some more from water.  The waiter comes and reacts harshly to the servants because this wine was saved for last, it was better than what was already being served.  Now if the “old” stuff was alcoholic, and the “new” stuff was grape juice this text would make no sense.  Why would people care what got served first?  The reason the “new” wine was served first, was because you could get away with using less of it.  Why?  Because as people drank and their senses became dulled due to the wine, they would not notice the “lesser” standard of wine being served.  They would not care.  The waiter was upset because he assumed that the “new” wine that Jesus just created was being wasted now that it was well into the wedding feast.  Indeed in John 2:10, the Greek word that is translated, “people having drunk freely”, is one word μεθύω, that is “to drink to a point of intoxication, to be drunk”.

The reason why abstinence/prohibitionists jump over themselves to argue that οἶνος, has to have a meaning of “grape juice” is because of the misplaced idea that they have to “protect” Jesus.  After if that word truly means alcoholic wine, than Jesus was getting people drunk!  Indeed there are several scripture passages that warn against being drunk.  And I will be honest, how to explain this, I do not know.  What I do know, is translating and interpreting words to avoid having to deal with “sticky” situations like this is wrong. οἶνος means alcoholic wine.  The Greek does not allow it to be otherwise.

However, we do have another verse that is important here.  1st Timothy 5:23, “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”  This verse is important for several reasons.  First, earlier in 1st Timothy 3, Paul is giving the qualifications for elders and deacons.  One of those is the line “not addicted to wine”.  Many Baptists jump to use this verse to say pastors/deacons in the church cannot drink any alcohol.  But then Paul tells Timothy to drink wine.  Both words are οἶνος here.  So this is (as some argue) a case of sometimes it means “wine” and other times it means “grape juice”; hopefully you can now see how silly that argument is.  So clearly, ALL consumption of wine is not wrong, otherwise Timothy now, per Paul’s instruction, is prohibited from ever serving as an elder/deacon.  Again, kind of silly.

This verse is also interesting in light of many modern day studies that show moderate consumption of some alcoholic products (usually red wine), can be beneficial to peoples health.  Considering the Greeks and Romans were expert wine producers, it is not surprising that they would have figured this out back then, i.e. “Hey if I drink a little wine every day, I don’t get sick as often!”  Wine also would serve as an antiseptic, killing off the microbes, viruses, and bacteria that were in water of that time.  Sometimes people today forget that the “clear” water that they get from the tap or from bottles is a relatively “new” thing historically.  Unless you were healthy, drinking straight water was not a good idea.  Grape juice, would not serve as an antiseptic.  Have you watched old westerns or such shows, and sometimes after someone gets injured/wounded, they ask for some type of alcoholic beverage, usually something like whiskey, and then (usually after the “doctor” takes a quick swig as a gag) they poor it on the wound and the instruments?  You ever wonder why they do that?  Alcohol = antiseptic.  Paul is giving some good medical advise!

In the Greek, words have specific meanings.  Just because you don’t like what the words mean, does not give you the right to invent new interpretations of those words.  I demonstrated something similar in my post regarding homosexuality.  Words may change over time, but the meaning of a word at a specific point in time does not change.

So then what why am I arguing this?  Some would say I am trying to justify a reason to go drinking!  Indeed, I would say that fear of that accusation, is the primary reason why I have chosen not to drink alcohol since I was called to seminary.  But that, is not a good reason to do or not to do something.  I still do not know for sure if submission to this unbiblical position is truly being lifted.  Until I know that without a doubt, I still wont drink.  But that does not mean that I will be silent on what I view is a gross misinterpretation of scripture.


[1] Robert H. Stein, Luke. The New American Commentary. Vol. 24. (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 1992); 233.

Baptize You with the Holy Spirit and with Fire 

Consider Luke 3:16.

“John answered and said to them all, ‘As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the throng of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

There are some in Christian circles who look at this text, and conclude that there are two baptisms that Christians will receive, Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Baptism of Fire (some would even count three with the inclusion of water baptism).  Most of these people associate the two with Salvation (Baptism of the Holy Spirit) and then with the receiving of Spiritual Gifts (Baptism by Fire) usually manifesting in the gift of Speaking in Tongues.

Now I do not wish to get into the Tongues debate in this particular topic.  That is a discussion for/from a different text on a different day.  Rather, I wish to point to the context of what John the Baptist is saying, and argue for a different interpretation of Baptism by Fire.

We see in the larger context, that John the Baptist is not speaking just to those with Faith, coming in repentance, but also to the unbelievers and those who reject his teachings (and eventually reject the coming Messiah).  Begin by looking back to John 3:7ff.  John is talking to the crowds surrounding him.  He is challenging them.  Specifically, as we see in vs 8, he is challenging the idea that lineage to Abraham was of great importance in the concept of repentance and salvation.  This was largely a target to the religious authorities of the day, to men like Saul/Paul (see what he says about himself in Phillipians 3:2-6).

In making this confrontation, John urges those listening to consider their actions, to consider their “fruit”.  And in vs 9, he states “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  This gets to the root of the context, and the true meaning of “baptism of fire”.  This “baptism” has nothing to do with Spiritual gifts.  There is nothing in the context of John’s words here that indicate that in anyway.  This has everything to do with a fire of holiness and judgment. 

The Greek word used here is πῦρ.  There seems to be three uses of πῦρ in the New Testament Greek.  To refer to an actual fire, to refer to a figuretive fire (this is the rarest use), and to refer to fire of heavenly origin.  In the context of the what John the Baptist is speaking, it is safe to conclude that the third use of πῦρ is what is done here.  It is used in this way nearly 50 times.  And as far as I can tell, in every case it is refering either to the fire of God’s glory (ie think burning bush, Stephen’s mention of this in Acts 7:30), or the fire of punishment/purification.  In the context of Luke 3:16, we see John is talking quite clearly about a fire of punishment.  The trees that are not bearing good fruit are going to be burnt away in the fire.

To help us fully understand this concept and what John is getting at, it is appropriate to also consider 1st Peter 1:6-7.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”[1]

Consider the similarities in what John and Peter are saying.  Both are indicating that people will be tested, to prove if their faith is valid.  The garbage, the rift raft, the “bad” fruit will be burnt away, and only the “good” fruit will remain.  Now also consider what James says about faith and works.  True faith will show good works.  This takes us back to John’s confrontation of those who hold their lineage in Abraham as being something.  John is confronting them saying to the effect, “If you truly are repentant of your sins, don’t rely on any connection to Abraham, but prove your repentance by doing good works, by producing good fruit.  Because you will go through the fire, and what ever is bad will be destroyed.”

So then when John says in Luke 3:16 that Jesus will bring about “baptism of the Holy spirit and fire.” This then is talking about the fires of punishment/purification.  This is something that everyone will go through.  That which is good and holy will be purified and made perfect, that which is not will be destroyed. 

It seems then that as Christians we need to be mindful of our actions.  Simply relying on being “baptized” as a child/young adult (or baby for my paedobaptist friends/family), is not enough.  That is exactly what the Pharisees and others were doing in their reliance on the lineage of Abraham.  Indeed consider what Jesus says in Matthew 7:22, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”[2]

Is this arguing for a works based salvation?  Good heavens no!  We are saved by faith!  However, saying magic words does not make that faith.  There is such a thing as “false” faith, just like the Pharisees had.  What separates good faith from bad?  The fruit that each produces.  Those who have a true faith, somehow will produce good fruit, they would do good works.  Now fruit takes its shape in many different forms (did you know both almonds and olives are both “fruit”), and some trees produce a lot of fruit, and some produce a little.  But good fruit is good fruit, and bad fruit is bad fruit.  John (and Peter, James, Paul, Jesus, ect) are warning us that we will all be going through the fire.  The question is what will come out the other end?


[1] The BDAG has the 1 Peter 1:7 use of πῦρ under the use of “literal” fire, however it also states that this is “metaphorical” and in context seems to point back to the idea of a fire of purification/punishment.

[2] I encourage you to look at the context around this verse.  Jesus says nearly identical things to what John had said regarding “bad trees/fruit” and being thrown into the fire. 

Consider this

Study Reveals that Concealed Carry Reduces Crime

In my debate class back in high school, I remember reading studies that seems to confirm other stories/studies such as this.  Criminals overwhelmingly state that they avoid attacking people whom they know or suspect to be armed.  They, by their nature, want to attack people who will be “easy” targets.  They want the “quick score”.  Often times, simply carrying a firearm, proves to be a deterrent.

Consider, that when Missouri was seeking to pass a concealed carry law, critics were claiming that Missouri would become like the “Wild West” if it were to pass.  First, I actually challenge people to look at the crime/violence rates in the “Wild West”.  Much of what we know of it is based on Hollywood fables, not on truth.  But secondly and more importantly, if you look at the crime rates in Missouri from before CCW passed, and now after, at “best” crime has remained the same.  It may even be argued that it has gone down.  But most certainly it cannot be argued that crime increased, especially those involving guns, at all.  This is a pattern mirrored in every other state that has passed CCW laws since the 1987 (when Florida started the modern move to CCW).

Further, gun ownership in America has never been higher, per capita, in its history.  It has been growing like this largely for the past 20 or so years.  And yet as a whole, violent crime nation wide has gone down over this time.  The argument used by opponents of gun ownership and CCW’s are that more guns equal more crime.  This clearly is not true.  It may be hard to argue that more guns “causes” less crime, but it cannot be argued that more guns “causes” higher crime.  This is demonstrated by simple analysis of statistics.  This is why opponents of gun ownership as a whole have to rely on emotional appeals, rather than facts.  Simply put, the facts don’t support their agendas.  

Consider this case that apparently happened just before Christmas.

Abortion Abolitionist Assaulted

My question is have we as Christians miss interpreted Luke 6:27-29, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever taks your cloak, do not withhold your shirt from him either.”  I know of Christians who advocate that if a man were to break into a home, and threaten to rape the wife and young daughters, they would say that even then you should not resist violently.  People in that situation should pray, to God and for the rapist.  Now granted, that is an extreme case, a minority view, and few true Christians would advocate such action.  Protecting one’s self in your own home is okay, but does it end there?

I have a Concealed Carry Weapons permit.  With the exception of Church, school, and a select few other locations (banks, ect) I carry everywhere I go.  Some Christians that I know personally, don’t like the fact that I do so.  These are people who I would consider theologically conservative.  Maybe they don’t understand or appreciate the fact that there are times when one must defend ourselves, even in places outside the home.  Or maybe they do subscribe to a type of mentality that argues defending yourself from an attacker is always wrong, per Matthew 5:39.  I honestly don’t know how they feel.

My question then is when, if at all, should we defend ourselves?

Does it make a difference in what we are doing at the time?  If I am going to the grocery store do I have more a right to defend myself, over if I am say walking the inner city streets sharing the gospel?  Can a Christian doing Christian ministry defend themselves from physical harm if they come under attack?  Would it have been permissible for this man in the story that I linked to, to defend himself?

To be sure it is not an exhaustive or scientific study, but in my experience I have seen more non-believers react negatively to Christians who won’t defend themselves in the case of physical attack, than those who react to those who do.  Should that be taken into account?

I’ll be honest, this is one of the reasons why I am hesitant to do street evangelism.  Whether it is walking the streets sharing the gospel, or staining outside of a murder abortion center trying to save the lives of innocent children.  I seriously feel uneasy when I am not armed.  Maybe it is due to traumatic experiences of being regularly assaulted, on a near weekly basis during 7th and 8th grade, maybe I am just a bit paranoid, maybe I do see monsters under every rock and behind every door, maybe I need to repent for those fears.  However, I also believe that it is better to be armed and never be in a situation where I need to use my firearm, rather than be in such a situation without it.

Robert Stein in his Commentary on Luke presents the idea that what Luke is trying to imply is more insult not injury (i.e. “…that was a slap to my face…”) and that it should be understood as occurring “because of the Son of Man”, that is insulted/attacked due to the message we are giving.¹  Would this mean that if we are attacked just because we can defend ourselves, but we can’t defend ourselves if it is because we are Christian?  Taking this to the logical extreme, consider the case of that rapist.  Suppose he specifically targets a family because they are Christian, and they make that known in their attack?  Does the family then loose the right to defend themselves because, after all, they are being attacked because of their belief in Christ Jesus?  Does it matter if the victim is actively ministering vs just going about their ordinary life?  That is the family at home can defend themselves, but the man in the linked story cannot?

I honestly don’t know what the answers are.  Does anyone have any thoughts or advice?

—-

1. Robert Stein. Luke. The New American Commentary, vol. 24, (B&H Publishing: Nashville TN, 1992); 207.

New Year, New Drive

Hello boys and girls!  2014 is a new year and in this new year I will attempt to restart and regularly contribute to this blog.  Indeed, it is my hope to transition from posting all my political/theological rants on Facebook to this blog so as to make it easier for people to read what I have to say, or to ignore it.

 

For my first post of this reconstituted endeavor, I want to take a quick look at a Greek word study of 1st Corinthians 6:9-10.  Here we see that the Apostle Paul writes:

 

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

 

The reason I want to look at these two verses, is because of the recent kerfuffle regarding Duck Dynasty, where Phil Robertson expressed his view of homosexuality as sin. In doing this, during the interview in question, he paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9.  Some would say that scripture never completely forbids homosexuality, and it is a matter of interpretation.  It is my contention that a word study of this one verse completely destroys that line of argument, and provides evidence that Scripture does indeed condemn homosexuality.

 

In verse 9 we see Paul use four terms to refer to sexual sin.  These words are πόρνος (translated in the NASB as fornication), μοιχός (adulterers), μαλαχός (effeminate), and ἀρσενοκοιτης (homosexuality).

Now Paul uses these four separate words to signify what he viewed as four separate issues.  He is making a point on being clear, and not lumping all sexual misconduct under one broad word/term.  This is key as a common ploy among those who challenge the meaning of these words in that they try to claim there is ambiguity in their meaning.  I.e. homosexuality in the bible was different than homosexuality, as it exists today.  An examination of these words would seem to dismantle that argument in their scope and differnces.

 

First we have the word, πόρνος, the root of this word (πόρν) is where we get the word “porn” form (that literally is how it is pronounced in the greek, funny how many words in English we have that come directly from the greek).  The primary definition is: one who practices sexual immorality.  It should be noted that this word is often compared with πορνεύω.  Usually πόρνος refers to males, and πορνεύω refers to females.  The BDAG (probably the most respected Greek New Testament lexicon in existance), indicates that these words can refer to prostitutes (of the male and female variaties), as well (especially in regards to πόρνος) as general sexual immorality.  Indeed, πόρνος was used several times in the previous chapter (5:9ff).  In the context of these verses, it seems to indicate that Paul is speaking not just of male prostitution (and by relation female prostitution) but a larger concept of sexual immorality in general.  This can be further figured out by his use of two other of these words, which I will get to in a bit.

 

The second word used is μοιχός. This word is not really debated much as it is cut and dry.  The primary definition is, one who is unfaithful to a spouse, adulterer.  The reason considering this word and Paul’s use of it is the context and scope of what he is talking about.

 

The third word is μαλαχός.  This noun is interesting, as it has two primary uses in scripture.  It’s primary historical use is defined as, pertaining to being yielding to touch, soft.  This is used in reference to garments, ie soft clothes.  However, its second use is in regards to a person, as clearly Paul is doing here.  When this is done, the definition changes to, pertaining to being passive in a same-sex relationship, effeminate.  More specifically, as documented in BDAG, this is in reference to men (and young boys) who are sodomized by other males in a relationship.  BDAG goes further to expressly point out that the translation of “male prostitute” is to narrow of a rendering.  Indeed, if πόρνος is limited just to male prostitutes as some would claim, then it makes no sense that Paul would use two words to refer to the same group.  The simple and clear understanding of this word is those who voluntarily submit to homosexual acts upon their body. 

 

Finally, the final word used ἀρσενοκοιτης.  This has the definition of, a male who engages in sexual activity with a person of his own sex.  The word is quite literally a compound of two words ἄρσην (male) and κοίτη (bed).  BDAG has an interesting side note that this word is constructed similar to the word μητροκοίτης, which means “one who sleeps with their mother”.  Given the context of how this word is constructed, this word on its own indicates how scripture views homosexuality.  Quite simply, it condemns a man sleeping with a man.  Paul’s use of this word and μαλαχός, is indicative of the comprehensive nature of Paul’s attitude towards homosexuality.  Both the passive (by choice) and the active participants of the homosexual act are committing sin. 

In looking at all these four words, I struggle with how people could come to the conclusion that there is any ambiguity regarding Paul’s or Scripture’s (as a whole) position on homosexuality.  Paul was fairly exhaustive in his coverage of sexual sins.  If anything, he focused more on homosexual sins, than any other (such as premarital sex).  Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson was not misquoting scripture, he was quoting it and interpreting it accurately. 

Inherited guilt from Adam

The prevailing problem with the SBC “traditionalist” view of original sin (which I contend is based off of Arminianism, which I also believe is rooted in semi-pelagianism), is the hypothetical “island child” example.  If as they put forward, humanity is born with the inclination to sin, but are not responsible for the guilt of Adam (that is to say a human is without sin until they commit the first sin), then what happens to a child who grows up out of society free from the taint of sin as introduced by others?  Is it possible for that child to live a sinless life?  Based on the reasoning that these “traditionalists” come up with, their answer has to be yes.  Yet this is clearly denied in scripture.

 

In Romans 5:12-21, I find it very hard to come to any other conclusion that we bear the guilt of Adam.  Specifically see vs16-17 “And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose rom many transgression resulting in justification.  For if by the transgression of the one, death reined through the one, much more those who received the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in the life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

 

Notice how condemnation comes to humanity through the one (that is to say the first) transgression of Adam.  Everyone is condemned for the action of Adam.  How is this not inherited guilt?  These two verses do not, and cannot allow for a interpretation that simply calls for “inclination to sin”.  We clearly are guilt before God not only for our own sins, but also for the sins of Adam.  It is in our DNA so to speak.
Paul continues on into vs 19, “For through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”  It cannot be clearer than this.  We are made sinners by the disobedience of one man that is Adam.  We are not made with the inclination to sin; we are “made sinners”.  We all were sinners from the moment of our conception.

 

I wager that a major reason why many Baptists so oppose this clear teaching, is that it makes them deal with hard questions regarding baptism, and specifically the salvation status of infants.  It is much easier to say “we are not sinners until a certain age”, as they would reach with the idea of  “inclination to sin”, rather than have to deal with the idea that we inherit our guilt from not only our sins, but from Adam as well.  I have found that many Baptists support “believers baptism” because they are Baptists, and cannot articulate any real substantive support for their position beyond that “tradition” that they hold as they were born into the Baptist faith.

 

I have long struggled with the ramifications of inherited guilt and the concept of baptism for infants.  If baptism is exclusively a symbolism of the washing of sins, then infant baptism is a logical result.  If baptism is exclusively a symbolism of our death burial and resurrection, then believer’s immersion is the logical result.  My problem is I interpret scripture as supporting both.

 

Regardless, I once again declare that I find it quite hard to understand how anyone can come to any other conclusion than inherited guilt from Adam.  Can anyone help shed light on this subject?