Is sex outside of marriage always sin?

Hi – this is my first post and I thought I’d post a thorny one straight up. Hope I don’t offend anyone unnecessarily but I think it’s important to be forthright sometimes.

It’s been on my mind recently that Jesus said to the Pharisees that they should ‘judge for yourself’. It seems to me part of growing up in Christ is – as Hebrews 5 says – wrestling with issues of right and wrong and developing the ‘sense’ of these things. Not everything can be reduced to a blanket rule.

The other side of these things is what is marriage? Does cohabitation along with commitment fulfill Genesis 1 where it says that ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.. ‘.

How does the fact that in many countries of the world people of the same sex can be ‘married’ affect things? Is it the case that John and Jim (gay couple) are not living in sin because they are married in the UK in 2014 but Derek and Samantha are (who are cohabiting)?

Washed and Rearranged

There are many Christians whose hearts have been washed by the blood of Christ but whose minds have not been rearranged by the truth of Christ.” – Dr. Sinclair Ferguson

Three questions:

  1. Is there any truth to this statement?  If yes, then…
  2. What is the rearranging?
  3. How does the rearranging occur?

Was Salvation My Choice?

… though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ro 9:11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

The scripture suggests that my acceptance of God’s promise of salvation was not my choice but God’s plan.  Did you chose to be saved?  Can anyone chose to be saved?  What causes someone to chose salvation?

Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

I’m reading “The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume1: Revelation and Inspiration” published in 1932. Dr Warfield wrote:

“In the whole history of the church there have been but two movements of thought, tending to a lower conception of the inspiration and authority of Scripture, which have attained sufficient proportions to bring them into view in an historical sketch.

(1) The first of these may be called the Rationalistic view. Its characteristic feature is an effort to distinguish between inspired and uninspired elements within the Scriptures… only the mysteries of the faith are inspired, i. e. things undiscoverable by unaided reason,—that the Bible is inspired only in matters of faith and practice,—and that the Bible is inspired only in its thoughts or concepts, not in its words.”…

“(2) The second of the lowered views of inspiration may be called the Mystical view. Its characteristic conception is that the Christian man has something within himself,—call it enlightened reason, spiritual insight, the Christian consciousness, the witness of the Spirit, or call it what you will,—to the test of which every “external revelation” is to be subjected, and according to the decision of which are the contents of the Bible to be valued.”

Why do you agree or disagree with Dr. Warfield’s assertion?  Which view, rational or mystical or both, do you subscribe to today and why?  Is there another view and what unique characteristics does it have?

The Bible: Inerrant, Infallible, or Something Else?

Addressing the issue of biblical inerrancy, John Goldingay in his book, Models for Interpretation of Scripture, writes this:

A stress on inerrancy cannot safeguard people from a slippery slope that carries them from abandoning inerrancy to an eventual reneging on all other Christian doctrines. Indeed, it more likely impels them toward such a slope. The claim that scripture is factually inerrant sets up misleading expectations regarding the precision of narratives and then requires such far-fetched defenses . . . that it presses people toward rejecting it.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve seen teenagers and young adults, raised in a biblicist evangelical home, leave the faith when their view of (among other things) the Bible is challenged.  If we hold that the Bible is inerrant, and then that is shown to be false, it can lead us to “renege” on other doctrines and perhaps the faith altogether — this is what I think Goldingay is suggesting.

Recently, I’ve become more and more uncomfortable with the word inerrant (and infallible) as a description for the Bible.  I don’t think this is because I’ve adopted a “lower” view of scripture, but feel free to suggest otherwise!

If you’re cool with “inerrant” as descriptive of the Bible, please discuss why in the comments.  If not, where can we go?  If we are to leave behind this central tenet of fundamental evangelicalism, where can we turn?  What is the Bible?  How do you describe it?

Were Adam and Eve literal?

Seems pretty questionable to me. After all, Adam, in Hebrew, simply means ‘mankind’, or, to be politically correct, ‘humankind’. Eve? Well, the septuigent renders her ‘name’ as Zoe which, in Greek, means ‘life’. Plus, we see that death was everywhere prior to the appearance of humankind in the archeaological record.

Maybe there is a higher spiritual truth being taught?

Certainly Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve. Are we free to disagree with Paul?

Does God know the future?

We talk a lot about God’s desire to “partner” with us. What does that mean? Do we have “our end of the bargain” to meet within this “partnership”? Or is God going to do what He wants to do regardless of our decisions? Are our decisions already pre-determined? Or does God simply know ahead of time what “free” decisions we will make? Or is there another possibility? Does God really know the future?

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