Christ and the Catastrophe of Arrogance

You are right again! Religion is a powerful toolbox that has countless ways to manipulate people when it is misused.


I have to search my archives where I keep record of “new tricks”… LOL


What shenanigans await the 2020 session? Stay tuned…


I’m not sure the labels of “self-satisfaction” and “arrogance” are accurate to describe the uncompromising nature of certain church members and conference administrators. I could make a case for “ancestral worship” - putting the study and conclusions drawn from scripture by those who have gone before us, the “pioneers”, above current study and transformative leading of the holy spirit, but I think that would miss the mark as well. I don’t see a spirit of arrogance or self-satisfaction in the people I have met who hold to the corresponding points of view, so I doubt that those charges will stick. It may be tempting to vilify others by attaching labels and then ostracize them for the sake of the label but, after close examination, this only sullies the reputation of the label-maker.

The spirit I see is more likely one of “fear”; fear of change while worshiping a God who “changes not”; fear of failure to recognize truth while following a Christ who IS truth (and has promised a Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth); fear to confront themistakes of the past and the damage that has occurred in the wake of those mistakes. And we all are fearful to some extent, so there should be no arrogance or self-satisfaction in pointing the finger at others for this condition. The solution to the problem, though, is indeed “Christ-centered”. God is love, Christ is the expression of God/love to mankind, and perfect (mature) love casts out…fear.


Question your certainties, at least as much as you doubt your fears…


I’d ike to address the genocide issue. (George has noted that things make sense to me. Well… but I will give this one a shot.)

Adventists believe the Bible should interprets itself; you feel that idea is simplistic at best. But it I the church’s position.

God had said that he would give Abraham the land of Canaan (Gen 15:7). But Abraham was unsure of the promise, so God entered into a covenant with him. In Gen 15:16 God said his descendants would return, and take possession, but there was grace still for the Amorites, for their sin had not reached its full measure.

So, when the Israelites returned, they were told to destroy them and have no mercy on them (Deuteronomy 7). God explains why he has told them to do this. Their religion is detestable, (And as I recall it was, with child sacrifice and sacred prostitution, etc.), and God said that such would be a snare to them if they did not utterly destroy them.

And when we read that they were not careful to do as God had said, and that the Canaanites did become a snare, and the tribes started to worship as the Canaanites had before them, and eventually went into captivity.

Now Adventists teach that it was Jesus who was on Mt. Sinai, and he was the one who gave the commands to Moses in Deuteronomy. Ellen is pretty clear on it. So, does this command correlate with the teachings of Jesus?

it is clear that God, when speaking to Abraham about Canaan, was aware of the sins of the Amorites, and that they had not yet come to the point of the unpardonable sin. They had not become so iniquitous that they could not respond to his Spirit. But that state was not far in the future. Then judgement would come to them, and in this instance, it would be the Israelites who would mete out the judgment. In Habakkuk, the Babylonians meted out judgment on Israel, a thing to which Habakkuk strongly objected . But God uses who he will. Jesus warned the Jews about impending judgment, but they would not listen, and so their nation was destroyed in AD 70, judgement meted out by the Romans.

Slvery was mentioned but Scrivin; Lincoln in his second inaugural mentions judgment because of slavery. He spoke of the North and South, and the war:

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Seems Lincoln had a pretty good handle on the “genocide” issue (the Union and the South being punished with killing of their people, judgment meted out.). I don’t think the command in Deuteronomy is such a difficult issue when the Bible is allowed to interpret itself. But I am a simple man.

I laughed out loud when I read these statements. I don’t know if Scrivin is still paid by the church, but Ness is. Here you two are complaining about the “arrogant ignorance” and unwillingness to consider alternatives, and you both are (or were) on the payroll!! Oh please!

Now the church may not take your positions, but if they were so all fired ready to absolutely squelch other ideas, I would think you would have been gone long ago.

Yes, “seeing” something NEW in old familiar Scriptures Would Be
quite Intimidating to the average SDA person who is comfortable
with “seeing” the words in the old familiar way.
We as Humans get PROGRAMMED to reading, seeing, hearing,
understanding something in one particular way. Difficult to change
those “old” brain pathways.

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WHO was the God of the 40 years in the wandering desert experience?
It is PAUL who says the God with the Israelites for the 40 years was
Christ before the Incarnation.
If anything, Ellen was only agreeing with Paul’s letter, included in the
QUESTION – When God “discontinued” the heathen practices of
worshiping their Gods [mentioned the offering of children to their gods]
was God ONLY being merciful?

So, the church is agreeing with Paul. Sorry for not giving credit where it is due. My bad…

HI Allen, a week or so ago I asked you in a post if you were willing to have a private conversation privately by way of email. Since you did not respond either way. So I will ask again and won’t be hurt if you reject th invitation. Let me know either way if you can. Thanks

So, if we find a tribe of cannibals with terrible religious practices, are we justfied in wiping them out?


Not our job as a church.

Do you have a concept of judgement? Did you read Lincoln’s thinking?

Something would have to be done about the cannibalism. It may require some form of war like action, and the death of some cannibals, maybe the whole tribe. I would think that reasonable. ( I might add that Christians missionaries have changed many cannibals to righteousness.)

Germany was judged last century. Their civilization was destroyed, or at least there was severe punishment for their deeds. The world was reluctant to go to war, but it could not be helped, and Germany came under judgment.

There is a verse I did not quote in my essay. Isaiah 43:3,4. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. … I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.

Here God pulls aside the curtain of his thinking. He gave of his most precious possessions to save Israel, his people. He loved Egypt, Seba, the Ammorites, etc. But he could not save both.

I am glad he is honest enough to reveal even the tough stuff.

So you really think that an infinite being with infinite power and understanding ran out of options?

I can think of a couple right now. How about I can prep that giant desert in the west of that region and transform it into a fortified city. I will lead my people there and educate them in the matters of how reality works. Then, they will come and use their newfound understanding of medicine and technology to gradually shift the world toward the technocratic state that both alleviates the suffering and points them to me with some certainty, because I have them clear understanding of functional reality … and not merely few ritualistic reminders, which can also be done much much better.

In the very least, if I cared about their health, I could have told them about bacteria, and why they should wash their food, and boil the milk they feed to their children, which would alleviate enormous amount of child mortality and suffering. And they would be in demand around the world as a nation that could magically heal people.

But, you are right. As an infinite being I have no other options than make my involvement look like I’ve hardly been involved at all, and that their understanding shouldn’t at all exceed the cultural development in their era. The best way to go is to have them kill animals and kill each other with stones every time they screwed up. And to kill people who are merely trying to find some functional system in their lack of understanding of reality… and doing it wrong.

This narrative of a god who has no other options is a narrative of an extremely weak and ignorant god who doesn’t have any understanding of reality beyond what an average person in that region would. It’s a God that can part a sea so people would cross over, and feed everyone in the desert for 40 years with miraculously dropping food on top of the sand. But disclosing them some information about reality that a 1st grader today able to understand quite fine… that would be going too far :slight_smile:

Now, there may be some hidden variables that I’m not aware of. But I would think that if one is getting involved in people’s life as far as having them cut the penises of newborn as a reminder… at least tell these people to wash their hands and sterilize their cutting instruments before doing so !

I’m not even going to imagine what kind of effects that procedure would have on a childhood development, given the instruments these guys would use, and that they would suck the blood out by mouth from the wound. There are know cases in recent recorded history of mohels infecting children with tuberculosis and Syphilis, and that’s in the era when we understand the importance of sterility for these procedures.

All of that history would be understandable, if the supreme being was projected into these procedures as a validating mechanism to keep doing them. But supreme being commanding them to do these, and giving no significant information as to how to accomplish it safely knowing that tends of thousands of children may suffer and likely die? I could be wrong, but it seems like they were adding God into equation to legitimize some of their cultural ideals.


The problem with this strategy is that the people would not follow you. Moses had a hard enough time, and they knew of Abraham and his promise, but when they got to the promised land they still would not go in. In fact, the wilderness wanderings show the stubbornness of the people. Do you think you could manage that? Moses is commended for his meekness and patience with them.

Why would they go out into a strange place, as if an alien had come down and made a place for them? God had to persuade them. And it was not an easy matter.

God stooped and met them where they were. There is also the problem of the universe looking on, and the objections of Satan, the ruler here.

I have not been that impressed with the results of those who second guess God with a better way.

Peter suggested a better way for Christ (Matt 16). Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan!”

I think we have to accept the Bible as it presents itself. God claims to be the King of he Universe and says he reveals himself in scripture, though the prophets (Jesus said the scriptures testified about him). We don’t have another god who claims the Bible as his.

There are other gods. But they are outside of the Bible.

And if you want to go there, you can have any god you want.

What’s amazing is that the Bible remains popular today, in this modern world with so much techy advancement. Why is that?

BTW, I did read your link on circumcision. What it says is generally accurate. So why do it?

It is a ritual emasculation. God instituted it after Abraham used his member to fulfill the promise (Gen 17) on his own. The act was a righteousness by works act. (now that covanent has been annulled by the crucifixion(

Seems a bit radical, don’t you think? But it made the point. Such things are eminently memorable.

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Has the Mosaic covenant, whose sign is the Sabbath, been annulled by the crucifixtion, and replaced by the New Covenant?

@ajshep Thoughts?


Why wouldn’t they? Are there limits to the incentive structure or resources that I could use to accomplish my goals?

For the same reason they left Egypt in that story, and for the same reason I moved to the US. We all want a better place for our children.

I think that’s the eventual position of the progression of Judeo-Christian theology, but it doesn’t seem to be the early concept.

The same goes for the Biblical morality, which went through various refinement stages, along with the cultures which shaped it.


Charles, I am having a little trouble with your conflicting statements below, hopefully you can explain :

This is incongruous logic, your accusation that some people, individually or corporately claim the place of Christ by choosing to believe that scriptures interpret themselves (which is stated right in scriptures incidentally), but in the paragraphs above you take on the prerogative to determine that:

  • Human authorship makes the Bible less objective
  • Some portions of Scripture include your co-called ‘human factor” and accordingly, makes them a matter of opinion (or perspective as you put it).
  • You further insinuate that not all parts of Scriptures have equal authority n Christian life.

Either all Scripture is truth or none of it is – A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

I remember Randy Roberts of LLU Church preached a sermon on that last year. Using God’s name to give false emphasis, or to spiritually manipulate your listeners is breaking the third commandment.


Circumcision had 2 meanings. 1. Were members of a “Tribe” or
“Family” since it wasn’t usually performed for that reason. 2. It
was a permanent sign of belonging to a particular God.
In Romans 3 Paul discusses circumcision. Saying the Law of
Faith replaces circumcision for Both Jew and Gentile.
Romans 2:25 and on. Breaking the Law for the Jew does away
of their circumcision. Keeping the Law by the Gentile is counted
as circumcision.

Circumcision was also a shorthand sign for being in the covenant community that organized its life by living under the Torah… the stipulations of the covenant. While the ritual had taken on a life of its own as an ethnic/religious identity marker, in reality, it still carried that freight. This is why Paul said to the Galatians,” Do you not know that if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, you are obligated to keep the entire Torah?”

He was arguing that Gentiles, as well as Jewish believers, only had one obligation for belonging to the people of God, faith in/allegiance to Jesus as messiah and Lord, alone. Law/Torah observance, as symbolized by circumcision, was not to be added as an additional condition. The Spirit was poured out upon anyone who joined with Jesus by faith through the word of the gospel, circumcised or not, Torah observant or not.

I know I sound like a broken record, but where does this leave the remnant message of Adventism based on sabbath observance and food laws as conditions for belonging?