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Monthly Archives: August 2015

“Change or Die” or “Change and Die”?: As Pressure Mounts, What Should Christian Colleges and Universities Say?

againsttheflowI know for a fact that there are Christian universities and colleges in this country that are slowly going to hell. I mean that both figuratively and theologically.

The pressure of the world – and its elites – is just too much. I guess Jesus Christ just does not provoke awe and reverence in the same way the world does.

The world’s elites seem genuinely shocked (give me a break) that Christians have the beliefs they have had for thousands of years (see this which hits close to home for me – its from the Ft. Wayne, Indiana paper, home of one of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s two seminaries).

And so the soldiers of the sexual revolution – which only continues to grow more extreme and hostile to traditional marriage and family (see here) and ponder this) – will continue to press forward.

The evangelical Council for Christian Colleges and Universities is fracturing as schools scramble to remain viable in an increasingly gay-friendly America (see here). In Switzerland, a Roman Catholic Bishop now even faces three years in jail merely for defending traditional marriage and making space for his flock to avoid the contagion (see here ; even if this charge will not last, is not the fact that this group felt it could be brought telling? Note Denmark as well).

Things like this mean that fear threatens to rule the day – and this will increasingly be the case more and more. “Change or die. Change or die. Change or die….”  It seems like the revolution cannot leave one Christian home, church, or institution untouched. You will be assimilated (note this).

What should be our response? How about this?:

“Get behind me Satan. On my watch, I will not let you destroy those created in the image of God with your lies.”

And to the world:

“Don’t tell me Christians are obsessed with sex and make far too much of this issue. That is you projecting – it would be the world that does this to us.”

It seems to me that a Christian college could and should say much the same thing (maybe said just a bit more tactfully).

Why am I being so “mean” and insensitive – acting like a bully? (my kids sometimes say it and I am guessing some folks reading this article are saying it to). Not to mention downright unsophisticated (yes, I realize I sound positively medieval, ISIS-ish… backwards to many who will read this)?

Why am I not talking about love right now like good, tame little Christians should?

Well, one can certainly try to be “nice”, and step really softly – I’ve done that myself with this issue (and was even thanked for this article, published in our school’s student newspaper, by students, parents, and a few staff and faculty).

And by the way, the author of this article happens to work in SAINT Paul, Minnesota : )

And by the way, the author of this article happens to work in SAINT Paul, Minnesota : )

And really – this should not be too hard for us as Christians, as our default setting should be welcoming, kind, and patient with all – even enemies! As Saint Paul said in his second letter to Timothy: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct….

In other words, if a Christian finds it hard to be disagreeable, stand-offish, etc., I tend to think that that’s a very good thing.

I also tend to think that being “disagreeable” is much easier for the world – and that their “niceness” is often just an act (see the Psalms). In reality, I am quite sure many don’t care one whit what traditional Christians think – partly because in their worst moments they simply don’t feel obligated to God to love those they see as their enemies (so much for their lectures from the world on what it means to love).

So what this means is that in certain circumstances, there may well come a time when the gloves need to come off a bit more… and that we need to be more direct. Even if that is hard for us (and really, who wants to keep talking about this issue?)

Months ago, I wrote a post entitled “Facing Hostility, Can Some Christian Colleges Continue to Welcome All?” In short, can some Christian colleges continue to successfully recruit persons from all different cultures, religions, and moral views while also continuing, in order to remain Christian, to honor Christ as they ought?

Perhaps so – with sufficient honesty in advertising, strong leadership, and intelligent hiring practices. Why think “no”?

On the other hand, if this “welcome” means, for example, inevitably feeling and thinking that one must, because of one’s student population, promote student organizations that advocate for the gay lifestyle – essentially putting the university’s imprimatur on the organization – then definitely not.

And if this means that that the leadership of the school feels compelled to create an environment where faculty and staff who disagree with traditional Christian teaching feel comfortable – while those who agree with it start to feel outnumbered… and start to wonder if they really are bigots on the wrong side of history… and wonder whether the administration only reluctantly and tepidly supports their views – then definitely not.

Speaking personally, I can’t betray those who have appreciated that I take the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual practice seriously (and again… please note I am only singling out this sin because this is the issue right now… again, please don’t project).  I think of the many students who have thanked me for teaching them about Jesus Christ and His word – even when they asked about this topic and I told them hard things their culture never told them. I think of the dear student who told me she was bisexual, but that she respected that I stood up for what I believed to be true (later she told me that she did not think she was bisexual any more). And I think of the students who, in trust, “came out to me”, telling me that they recognized their homosexual inclinations as harmful and wrong – but that they wanted support from Christians they knew would understand, support, encourage, and offer them Christ’s forgiveness. That happened over 15 years ago, and just recently as well.

So even from a general human perspective, I can’t throw these folks under the bus. I need to fight for them.

Rachel - not sure why "your truth" isn't OK yet - maybe it will count when more persons are ready for it....

Rachel – not sure why “your truth” isn’t OK yet – maybe it will count when more persons are ready for it….

One would think this kind of view should not be so hard to understand. After all, no informed person disagrees that the activities associated with male homosexual activity entail more potential for health problems (see here, for example). Nor will they disagree that lesbian relationships are more readily characterized by abuse. Nor will they deny that gay marriages in northern Europe – where in society as a whole they have been widely accepted and encouraged – have shown themselves to be far less stable (it is clear that, in general, gay relationships are not friendly to monogamy – a fact actually celebrated and touted now as a model for heterosexual relationships ; see here). And is the majority of the population really OK asserting that ultimately, fatherhood and motherhood do not matter? Or that is OK to call into question the integrity of those who do careful studies that clearly indicate that, in general, children do more poorly when raised by two same-sex parents? (see here).[i]

Yes, I know this is America, where you can do anything you put your mind to – even, I suppose, attempt to overcome the limits of nature classical philosophers recognized but many modern philosophers (scientists) do not.

“Where is the love?”, you ask.  “What about, for example, the rash of suicides all your objections to the gay lifestyle have caused?”

I think giving a clear answer is critical here. You, ultimately, do not know what love – particularly in its tough forms – is. Or, I assert, its more tender forms. The causes of suicide are sin, death, and the devil – not God and His will for men and women broken by sin. Christ’s love for the persons with homosexual, transgendered, or pedophilic impulses is no less than any other sinner. As I said, many struggle against these and desperately know they need His love and need the message we bear – coupled with the tender mercies of our God.  I have even suggested that Christ’s love for such as these might even be stronger that his love for “normal” fallen human beings (see here).

Because, yes, the grace of God reigns (see my article “Why Every Christian Should Be Tempted by Radical Lutheranism”).  As I heard one recently say, the reality is that our sin – all of our sin – is worse than we could ever conceive and the grace of God is better than anything we could imagine.

Now maybe you work at a Christian college and you don’t understand the terms I am working with or how I can talk this way. If that is the case, you owe it to yourself – and your colleagues – to try to learn more about the best of Christian thinking on all these issues – sin, grace, and yes, specific sins.

Finally, I want those who are opposed to my views to understand something. While I care what you think (because your soul is precious to God) and while I care what you think of my thoughts (because I have been known to be wrong and need others to correct me), I ultimately believe that I must care about what God thinks more than anyone else. Even if I – like anyone else – have doubts (and it is a persistent mystery to me how non-Christian people often seem to have the most confidence about what they believe!) I know that He is real and I am to fear Him above every other.

The Scriptures are treasured first and foremost because it points us to Jesus Christ – God incarnate and the Savior of the world. Salvation from sin, death, and the devil is ours!  A deep and abiding comfort, peace, and joy – now and forever – is ours!  And (not “but”!) we also treasure his word because of everything that it contains to guide our lives.[ii] As Joel Hess recently put it: “If you believe that it is possible to have an external authority such as God, yet not trust any document of said God, then you will inevitably create your own God, let alone your own definitions of justice, salvation, grace, right and wrong.”

And those who object? It depends, but when it comes to Christian institutions in such a time as this, I suggest only a hard word can be offered.[iii]

As Wolfhart Pannenberg put it in the late 1990s when talking about this issue: “Here lies the boundary of a Christian church that knows itself to be bound by the authority of Scripture. Those who urge the church to change the norm of its teaching on this matter must know that they are promoting schism.” (quoted here)

Insofar as Christian colleges see themselves as being a part of the church, this statement applies to them as well.  And I don’t think that a hard word needs to be an un-gentle one.

And so, I end with what Saint Paul went on to say in the book of II Timothy:

“…Those who oppose him he must gently instruct…. in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will (II Timothy 2: 24-26).”

FIN

 

 

Image credit: “against the flow” – https://www.flickr.com/photos/creative_stock/3478801241 ; Saint Paul postcard and Rachel Anne Dolezal – Wikipedia

[i] Personal stories are not lacking as regards to the downsides of gay parenting either (see here, here, and here). Exploring this further, from something I wrote a while back:

“Looking at this further we can see that we are more “moral creatures” than we are “scientific” ones. If our science can often help us see what “works” it is nevertheless often considered irrelevant. For example, to take the contentious issue of gay marriage, it is interesting that some very sophisticated persons will say that whether or not kids in general do better with a mom or dad is not really an important issue, period!: civil rights are. This was recently put forth in a NY Times op-ed, making the argument that a new study that made this case (by critically examining all the studies done on this topic thusfar) did not matter – there is a deeper issue of right and wrong here. After all, it was argued, if we did a study among families, taking racial differences into consideration, and it seemed to definitively show that kids largely did better with white parents than black parents, would we care? Should we care? Well, of course I would say “no”.

That said, I say “no” not because of anything “science shows”, but because I believe that God created all persons in His image, and I believe parents, as much as is humanly possible, should have the right to raise their own biological offspring – and that those offspring, correspondingly, should have a right to know and be loved and raised by their parents. I assume that the NY Times author, like myself, believes at least something similar, even as he leaps from this to the notion of people having the right to marry whomever they want to, biological factors being irrelevant.”

[ii] From another past post:

“Protestants, like N.T. Wright, are seemingly content to make sure Jesus Christ is the main focus of the church when it comes to speaking about “words”:

“When John declares that ‘in the beginning was the word,’ he does not reach a climax with ‘and the word was written down’ but ‘and the word became flesh’… scripture itself points… away from itself” (Wright, Scripture, 24, quoted on 136 of Peter Nafzger’s These Are Written)

Here is where we confessional Lutherans are keen to point out that we are not just talking about the Church living from the living Word Jesus Christ – but also “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” – words of Spirit and life that proceed from that Word’s mouth. In this view – which we fiercely contend is true – the Word includes but is it not limited to the Scriptures – in fact the oral or preached word… is always to be seen as primary. Nevertheless, more must be said.

Back to N.T. Wright for a moment: he is right because the good news is indeed not so much that God has given us His written word, but that He has given us the incarnate Word. Further when he says that the Holy Spirit does give us the incarnate Word through the written word. On the other hand, Wright goes wrong when he forgets to mention not only that the Scripture does in fact point to itself (Isaiah 8:20, Acts 17:11), but that it also points to the incarnate Word who points us back to the written word – particularly as it regards His fulfillment of its Divine prophecies (see Luke 7:18-23 in particular but also all throughout the New Testament – also note my recent series on the significance of this matter)!

[iii] Should someone be fired over this? Dissenting in this way. I think it may depends on the Christian college, what one teaches, etc. So the answer could indeed be “no” – even as I would expect such persons to be in a conversation about these things, ask questions when not understanding, and to also share the best of Christian thinking with students (if they feel they must share their own views as well).

 

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

How Darwin Helps Us See the Truth: Life is About Helping Our Neighbor Survive

Saint Darwin?

Saint Darwin?  Well, let’s not be too hasty…

“You have the God you believe in.” – Martin Luther

[warning: this post has a central point, but also touches on many big issues in a process that both meanders and relentlessly re-frames”. Patience may be needed.]

Charles Darwin talked about the “truth of the universal struggle for life”, where the “strongest live and the weakest die”. For example, “intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”

As A.N. Wilson points out, Darwin’s mechanistic theory of natural selection “removed any necessity for a metaphor of purpose when discussing natural history”[i]. Many years after Darwin, Richard Dawkins then reduced matters to the level of the individual “selfish gene”. And now, evolutionary epistemologists (this is evolution applied to the “theory of knowledge”) have argued that the ideas in our minds are not selected for their truth value but their survival value.

Much to dispute there of course! Still, doesn’t it seem like Charles Darwin was on to something when he used the words life and survival in the same breath? Doesn’t this point us to what is, in fact, an obvious truth?

No.

Yes.

It depends.[ii]

"Not surviving", you say?

“Not surviving” you say?

Darwin, of course, was right to highlight the obvious fact that we, as human beings, are consciously concerned about our lives and the upholding of the same. And this is, in one sense, the way things must and should be – each of us exhibiting legitimate concern for ourselves, which is in fact a part of serving our neighbor. That said, persons like Darwin, deep down, really do believe that life, “nasty, brutish, and short… red in tooth and claw” (Hobbes), is really all about pure survival – for one’s self and those one cares about.[iii]

“This is most certainly true”, they believe.

Of course, this is not really what is true about life. Rather, the words of God’s risen Messiah are true: “whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

The Christian should know that losing our lives for Christ is not something we are supposed to worry about. It is something we are supposed to receive from the hand of our loving heavenly Father. The foremost way that we “lose our lives” has to do with something that is entirely passive on our part.[iv] It means that He drowns our old self in baptism, and identifies us not with this fallen world but with Him (see Romans 6). Having left the old, empty way of life behind, we are united with the One who makes all things new. And having been raised from the dead Himself as the first fruits of a new creation, we too are raised to spiritual life… and will know new physical life as well in the life that is to come. This world no longer has any real power over us – even if this is something we continually have trouble believing.

So the answer is “no” – life is not ultimately about our struggling to survive. We have a heavenly Father who has saved us from the world, the flesh, and the devil! We are worth more than many sparrows.

But why then would I say that the answer “yes” is a possible answer as well?

Well, all of us – even Christians – know that we fight for many things: our integrity, recognition… “success”.  And in the midst of this, do we not seem to be estranged from the world we know? As Pastor Brian Wolfmueller puts it, our consciences tell us (at the very least!) that there is something wrong with

  • me
  • the way others treat me
  • the way people treat other people
  • everything

It seems to me that whatever we believe about the divine, man, and the world, we know that this is true. At the very least….can you admit it often feels like it!?

Of course as a Christian, I would go much further than this. Although we can’t not love as a human beings, our love is not only weak, but fallen. More specifically, because it is not oriented correctly, our love is wholly tainted with selfish desire…. corrupt. Take the matter of how we abuse sex, for example. As the journal First Things provocatively put it in a recent tweet (leading to a larger article on the purpose of pornography): “Sex distracts us from death. Perhaps that is why it has come to be seen as the central purpose of human existence.”

soooo

Sokushinbutsu – freeing the soul from the temporal?

Death. Is not the specter of death is always lingering in the background in everything we do? As the book of Hebrews puts it, Christ came to “deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery”.

I submit this is the core reason for the “yes” answer: we are at war with death, and it is indeed awareness of death that, in part, fuels all that he is and does. We can see this illustrated not only in the efforts of persons to have their names live on – to be memorialized and such – but in the extremes we see around us. Historically, most men have not, in Ray Kurzweil fashion, thought it realistic or worthwhile to try and topple death itself – at least in this world. On the other hand many have, for example, attempted to assert their authority over death by taking their lives into their own hands… and ending them. Not only this, we know that at one time Buddhist sages attempted to overcome death’s power – the temporality of this world itself – by dying a slow and intentional death…. This is known as the practice of sokushinbutsu, where “austerity [is observed] to the point of death and mummification.” By doing this, they sought to earn bliss in a life which transcended this world.[v]

Why? Perhaps the Apostle Paul gives us a clue when he states that all know “God’s righteous decree that those who practice [evil] deserve to die” (Rom. 1:30-32). And of course, none of this is meant to deny what he also asserts elsewhere not of Christians but of pagans: God “satisfy[ies] [human] hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14).

So not even possessing true joy in one’s heart from God is the same as salvation from the “wages of sin”, death!

But this is exactly all the stuff that fallen man wants to suppress and not think about. Really better not to frame it this way…

Indeed, since human beings are not like the other animals, we can deliberate over whether or not to rightly grow and reach our intended end (not death… but eternal bliss with God and men). And therefore, there is much to be said about “natural man’s” fight for survival. All of this is inevitably tied up with philosophy, which the French philosopher Pierre Hadot asserts – I believe rightly – is like a religious conversion. We must say that all men – the greatest and the least – are philosophers, involved in what Hadot says involves “a total transformation of ones vision, life-style, and behavior.”  

[bonus insight from my pastor: “Philosophy determines self-control internally.  Civil law determines how the self is controlled externally. When theses two clash, then we have problems.”]

James K.A. Smith: humans, having a “religious nature” are devoted to alternative liturgies designed to pull us away from God’s true story… true liturgy

James K.A. Smith: humans, having a “religious nature”, are devoted to alternative “liturgies” designed to pull us away from God’s true story… true “liturgy”

Whatever someone’s philosophy, they are seeking what they call the “good life”, and they will attempt to state what this life entails as positively as they can. Finally however, examined negatively, this is actually an attempt to be able to live with themselves – to be content in the face of the questions of meaning that may haunt them…. To be able to find answers that they take some satisfaction in regarding their questions of life, death, guilt, etc…..

And how do we get back to Darwin in all this? Unbelief leads to sin which leads to death which leads to fear which leads to an obsession – though knowledge of this is also suppressed – with survival. Still, the hard-core evolutionist looks to “bravely” face the “truth”: it is not only ideas in our minds which are selected for their survival value – not truth value – but everything. It is True that everything is about survival – particular truths being valuable only insofar as they aid survival (for problems with this see here).

Surely, when matters are put this way, even some non-theist evolutionists will balk. That said, I wonder if any outrage they might feel can last. After all, thoughts of “selfish genes” aside, more “liberal” (i.e. idealistic, Romantic, historicist) evolutionists could – in complete harmony with what I have put forth above – also think about this in terms of the survival of love – of fighting to continue life not just for myself but for those I love! And maybe I really do feel like – and think – I am eager to love the whole world….

Curtis White, a “Romantic” but nevertheless “in the tank” with the philosophical naturalists: the attack on the arts is “also an attack on our earliest human instinct: our ability to invent our way to survival.” (p. 91)

Curtis White, a “Romantic” but nevertheless “in the tank” with the philosophical naturalists: the attack on the arts is “also an attack on our earliest human instinct: our ability to invent our way to survival.” (p. 91, italics his)

And in the midst of all of this kind of thinking, I suggest that we can find many grains of truth. After all, as those created in the image of God, we certainly were made to love our neighbors. I would even posit that all communication, for example, exists primarily for the sake of love between persons, particularly the Creator and the crown of His creatures, man. Further, I would assert that the key purpose of communication, specifically but not limited to oral language, is that it enables us to share, intelligently navigate, pursue goals in, and enjoy the world and with other persons, present as well as past (i.e. remembering).

So, even for the Christian, it is best not to think about the purpose of language being to form truthful propositions (even as they are eager to propose Christ and His benefits to the neighbors they love!).[vi] The Christian seeks to be true, using all gestures – particularly spoken words – to love his neighbor. This means helping others to know peace in the midst of what we sometimes can only call a “vale of tears”, that is, a dying and disintegrating world. In such a world – ravaged by the curse and the “Prince of this world” – we are not exempt from the reality of life’s struggle, nor immune from the temptations we face.

So being more specific, just how does Darwin help us see the truth – namely that life is about helping our neighbor survive? Simply put, Christians know that even though God has delivered them from the world, the flesh and the devil they are still here. The reason is that God is keen that all persons – our neighbors – would survive His wrath. He desires that all persons be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

“God has communicated his entire self to you. Communicate also your entire self to your neighbor”.

“God has communicated his entire self to you. Communicate also your entire self to your neighbor”. – 17th c. Lutheran theologian John Gerhard.

And here, the Scriptures have two important themes to understand.

On the one hand, we learn how God, while we were still sinners (enemies), was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. He obviously means to be taken seriously here when He says the world (elsewhere: “the whole world”) and does not make an effort to qualify. Again, this really is a God who desires all persons to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

On the other hand, in the book of John we learn that whoever does not believe in Jesus Christ is under the wrath of God: the wrath of God remains on those who reject the Son (see John 3:16-18, 36).[vii]

So which one is true? That is the wrong question. Here, your Christian friend should actually tell you “what is true for me” is not the wrong question (since its so postmodern!) but the right one!

Do you enjoy hearing about this Jesus you hear your Christian friend talking about? Are you curious to hear more? Do you feel a pull towards this man Jesus, His life, His message, His mind-numbing claims? Are you perhaps even thankful that this message of God’s great love for you in Christ has come to you here and now?

Then you have that first God, the Truth.  And, in a very real sense, survival is not an ultimate issue for you: in Him you overcome the world, the flesh and the devil.

Or, do you turn away? If so, then you have that second God – even though that is not what He wants for you. You will not only not know victory over the world, flesh, and devil in this life, you will, being under Gods wrath, die the “second death” in the life to come.

Go with that first option, and you will truly – rightly – have the God you believe in.

FIN

 

Image credits: St. Darwin: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2482/3731337208_f2b2f791fc.jpg ; other non-book pics: Wikipedia.

Notes:

[i] In God’s Funeral, p. 188. Of course, in traditional Christian theology, this kind of talk was not metaphorical. That is, until Ockham: For Ockham, all talk of nature acting unconsciously for an end is pure metaphorcausal explanations of a mechanist sort alone are possible…. [he] opens the way to the purely empirical approach of Baconian science” (Holmes, Fact, Value, and God, p. 74). Of course, there were previous theological developments in the West that made this kind of thinking possible as well.

[ii] I think, in general, if you insist on using the word “nature” the answer is “yes”. On the other hand, if you are eager to be displeased with the word “nature” – wanting to use the word “creation” instead – the answer is “no”. I think this is in the background of this entire article, but the following paragraph speak to this a bit more:

The difference between saying “creation” and “nature”…. The Christian knows that there is no “nature” that can be distinguished from the “supernatural” – not if that means that nature can be profitably believed to function apart from the moment-by-moment sustaining presence of its Creator. Not if man can imagine that he can master and control “nature” by reading the book of the world, ignoring its Author, and thinking it to be a machine he is now enlightened enough to master. Not if he can save himself – not needing the One who comes down from heaven that we might be “born from above”….. (John 3)

[iii] This man, a well-known, [formerly unapologetic] pick-up artist (the “red pill” he talks about refers to the movie the Matrix, and in this context, means having the courage to learn about the true nature of women), argues that while evolution as a theory is true that it does not apply to modern human beings. I think his argument would be particularly intriguing for anyone who buys into evolutionary thinking – even if my wider formulation above: “life is really all about survival – for one’s self and those one cares about“, would still seem to apply to his view.

[iv] From an old blogpost: “But wait a minute, we might say… what about the parables of the “treasure in the field” or “counting the cost”?   It is true – on the other side of this banquet of grace, the parables of Jesus also call us to recognize that this love interest is going to cost us everything.  The church cannot fail to see that being the bride of the King means “losing our earthly lives” – relatively speaking, we must see that they are, in a very real sense, “dead to us”.  When He leads us to the treasure in the field, we see that the things on this earth really are – and must continue to be left behind – “buried” in the ground like the treasure was.  After He finds us and brings us into the banquet this is the cost that Jesus demands we recognize and actively participate in.  In his small catechism, Luther said: “that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness…” (see more on this here, from the most excellent Lutheran blog Pastoral Meanderings).  This can mean nothing but a radical change – as He exchanges His righteousness for our sins, we also see that our world has been exchanged for His world.”

[v] This bliss of nirvana would be the extinguishing of their desire and even their own selves (as their individuality can only be seen as something to overcome).

[vi] This is not to say that truth in language is unimportant – it is always important, even as technical accuracy is not always needed nor even desirable. To say “the sun rises” today still, post-Galileo, still does not strike us as wrong or in need of adjustment. This holds true for both oral and written communication, for example. What is more important – the basis for beneficial communication – is that persons be true, hence acting truly.

“True” can also mean good things like being genuine, authentic, sincere, caring, firm in allegiance, loyal, steadfast as well. For example, we speak of true feelings, having a true interest in another’s welfare, or being a true friend. Here, in this sense, it seems to me that “real” could serve as a synonym of true. See http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/true

[vii] For any Calvinists in the room, I give you the Lutheran scholastic theologian Hunnius: “Why are the reprobate condemned for not believing that Jesus died for their sins if He didn’t, in fact, die for their sins?” In other words, “You are condemned for not believing what isn’t true for you, anyway.”

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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