Theological Musings

Theological Musings has moved to a new location!
All posts and comments have been preserved at the new location. Please visit

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Update on End of the Spear

I regret that my first post in over a week is going to be 1) short, and 2) about a topic that I never intended to deal with at length. However, a note on Tim Challies' blog tipped me off to an excellent article by Randy Alcorn regarding the way the End of the Spear controversy has been mishandled by many.

As is often the case in situations like this, misinformation abounds and has been forwarded and repeated all over the place. So, I felt that the fact that I did previously post on this topic necessitated that I link to the article by Randy Alcorn in order to give my readers a better view of the controversy and our role in it.

While I did not take part in this controversy (in terms of repeating misinformation), it does make me sad to see what it has done to some people and the way it has been handled by some others. (I do not, in any way, mean that to be prideful or condescending to those who might have passed on some of the misinformation.) There is a huge lesson to be learned by all of us in this.

The Alcorn article is long, but well worth the read, so please take the time to read it when you get a chance.

I hope to be back blogging very soon with some more food for thought and discussion on some of the other topics we've dealt with recently.

Until next time,

steve :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Review: End of the Spear

Last night, my wife and son and I went to see the newly-opened movie End of the Spear. I had only heard about the movie two weeks ago when I happened to catch a radio program on which Steve Saint (one of the main characters in the movie) was being interviewed. I decided almost instantly that I wanted to see the movie.

For those of you unfamiliar with the true story on which this movie is based, fifty years ago, five young missionaries lost their lives to the vicious spears of the Waodani tribe in Ecuador. These five men were attempting to make peaceful contact with the tribe for the purpose of sharing the Gospel with them. For years, I was familiar with the story of Jim Elliot, one of the five who gave up his life. His widow, Elisabeth Elliot, has been an author and a speaker for most of the fifty years that have elapsed.

This movie, however, is based on the story of Nate Saint and his son, Steve. It also focuses on Mincayani, the tribesmember who personally speared Nate Saint. Without telling the whole story, I'll tell you that Nate's sister (Rachel) went to live with the Waodani after they had murdered her brother and the other four men. Steve spent many summers visiting Rachel there. It wasn't until after Rachel's death in 1994 that Steve finally found out many of the details surrounding his father's death (he was about eight years old at the time his father was killed).

Following Rachel's death, the Waodani insisted that Steve and his family come live with them. After much discussion and prayer, Steve agreed. Mincayani now is like a father to Steve and a grandfather to Steve's children.

This is a story of grace, forgiveness, sacrifice -- in a word: the Gospel.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I began to see rather heated arguments around the Christian blogosphere with some well-meaning folks even calling for Christians to boycott this movie! The controversy revolves around the fact that Chad Allen, who plays both Nate Saint and the adult Steve Saint in the movie is an outspoken homosexual. The outrage has been extremely vitriolic as some people try to outdo each other with their "stand against homosexuality". Comments have been made along the lines of how Christians are beginning to accept homosexuality because we are allowing a gay man to play the part of a martyred missionary.

If it is necessary to clarify this point, allow me to say publicly that I do believe that homosexuality is sin. I do not, for one moment, endorse homosexuality. My opinions stated here should not be mischaracterized or misrepresented as implying that I approve of homosexuality, or think that it's "ok".

I have read these arguments (I'm intentionally not going to link to them, because I don't think it's necessary. If you want to find them, it won't be hard for you to do so.) with a mixture of emotions. On the one hand, I want to applaud those who believe that we cannot compromise our values for the sake of entertainment and profit. But on the other hand, something does not seem to add up in the arguments. The question that remains is: Where do we draw the line? If we say that a movie that tells a wonderful story, contains elements of the Gospel in it, and is exactly the kind of "entertainment" Christians have been crying out for -- the sense that some folks can never be pleased is rather frustrating -- cannot star a homosexual, do we need to also eliminate adulterers? What about liars? What about divorced people? Are these not all things that God hates?

When others have posed similar questions, the answers frequently pointed out the fact that Chad is apparently an "activist" regarding his homosexuality. So, from that I conclude that others believe that secret sin is acceptable (if nobody knows about it, it's ok), but if someone is open about their sin, then we should not let them be in the movie. I guess that's where we draw the line. Or so the argument goes. Never mind the fact that Chad does not claim to be a Christian. (He claims to have a relationship with God, but also says that his "religion" draws from elements of many world religions, so from the perspective of biblical Christianity, I would have to say he is not a Christian, and to my knowledge, he has not claimed that particular label.) To expect a non-Christian to embrace the laws of God, however we might define them, is to put the cart before the horse. Chad Allen is, as far as I can tell, hell-bound regardless of his sexual orientation. That should be what we focus on.

With that in mind, it's possible that the very same compassion that Nate Saint felt for the Waodani (deemed to be the ones to avoid by many other Christians and non-Christians alike) may be what has motivated Steve Saint to approve of Chad Allen for this role (and it has been noted by Every Tribe Entertainment, the producers of this film, that Steve had a very active role in approving Chad to play him and his father). From what I have been able to gather, it seems that Steve has even befriended Chad, taking him to visit the Waodani in preparation for the movie, and continuing to have contact with him after the movie was made. Is this not the essence of Jesus' ministry? Reaching out to the "untouchables" and showing them love?

Well, I'm not trying to get sidetracked in this post with the controversy. I really want to review the movie. But I say all of the above to set the stage for my review. When I watched the movie yesterday, I was not seeing a homosexual activist. (I would not have even known that Chad was gay if I had not heard so beforehand. I even thought his onscreen kiss with his onscreen wife was very convincing!) I saw the Gospel lived out in so many ways. And I am not ashamed to say that in many places of the movie, I was moved to tears. Not just tears, but outright crying. Sobbing. The story was that powerful.

The movie has been criticized for "down playing" the Gospel, but you would have to be very blind (or be boycotting the movie!) in order not to see the Gospel message throughout. You have a modern-day example of exactly what God did to reach us. The Bible says that while we were still enemies with God, He reconciled us through the death of Christ.

The Waodani were the enemies of everyone. They mistrusted foreigners. They assumed that foreigners only came to kill them. They assumed foreigners were cannibals and would eat them. So they struck first. One of the most powerful questions in the mind of the Waodani (they asked this question of Steve Saint after Rachel's death) was, "Why did they not shoot at us?" They saw that Nate, Jim, and the others had guns. And yet when the warriors speared them, there was no attempt to fight back. Earlier in the movie, the Waodani were told that these men had not come as enemies. They came to tell them that God had a Son who was speared. And He did not spear back.

The Waodani way of life was revenge. One of their enemies would spear one of them. The Waodani would, in turn, take revenge against the family of the one who did the spearing. They would spear back. This vicious cycle of revenge was almost a "normal way of life" for them. It was all they knew. So, to hear that God had seen His own Son be speared and still loved those who speared His Son...this was amazing to them! They fully expected Steve to avenge the death of his father. Yet Steve showed love to them, even accepting Mincayani as the grandfather to his own children.

Another powerful moment in the movie is near the very end when Steve explains to Mincayani that no one took his dad's life. His dad gave his life. This is the message of Christ. Through the death of those five martyrs, and the ensuing love shown to them by Rachel, and then by Steve, the Waodani gave up their murderous way of life and trusted in Christ. They allowed the truth of God to change them.

This is also shown in the movie in a very touching way. One of the men in the tribe trusted Christ before the others did. In the movie, some of the men are discussing the changes they see in Kimo (the one who was saved). They said, "Kimo has changed. You can see it on his face." And Kimo, when given the opportunity to participate in spearing, took a stand for his new way of life and said, "No. God doesn't want us to spear anymore. I will not do it." Through his boldness, the rest of the tribe eventually followed suit.

All in all, I recommend this movie. There were a couple of times when it was hard for me to keep up with who was whom, but overall, it was a great movie. And a couple of concepts that were discussed (the Waodani talked about dying in terms of "jumping the Great Boa") were not really explained very well. But I was able to piece together what they were talking about. In terms of production quality, I would probably give it 3.5 stars out of 5. It was the first major release for Every Tribe Entertainment, and I expect that they will get better. But overall, with the story itself taken into consideration, I would probably give this movie 4.5 stars out of 5.

If the controversy surrounding Chad Allen's work in the movie bothers your conscience, then by all means follow your conscience. I would not judge you for that, and would never want to encourage you to go against your conscience (see Romans 14). But if you are like me, and do not see that as an issue over which to boycott the movie, then I highly recommend you go see the movie. It is one I will not soon forget.

Until next time,

steve :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Prophecy and the "Office" of Prophet

(Previous entries in this series are found at the following links: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)

In the comments to my previous post, Ray and Libbie have both brought up the question about the "office" of prophet, and whether or not it has vanished. The most obvious problem with this question, though, is that (as far as I can see in my study) prophet is never mentioned in Scripture with relation to being an office. However, for the sake of discussion, let's run with the definition that Ray and Libbie have given in the comments: one is recognized FUNCTIONALLY and OFFICIALLY as a prophet; in other words -- not one who has had a prophetic utterance, but one who is fully functioning 24/7 in that role.

Obviously, we do see this concept in the Old Testament with prophets such as Samuel, Elijah, etc. In those days, someone could say, "Where is the prophet of God?" and people would refer them to these men. These are men who spoke the words of God to the nation of Israel (and occasionally to other nations, as well). If you wanted to know what God was saying, you asked the prophet.

Now, in understanding what has happened to that "office", we need to first look at the origin of the prophet. I think this will help us understand how to relate to prophecy in the New Testament, and what the purpose of prophecy is.

When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, He called all of the Israelites to the mountain. He wanted them to hear Him speaking to Moses and His desire was that the entire nation would be a kingdom of priests. However, the people became frightened and told Moses they did not want to hear the voice of God. Rather, they asked Moses to listen for them and tell them what God had said.

It is out of this request from Israel that the voice of God became one step removed from the people. (At least, this is what I see out of the passages there. Any other ideas are welcome.) In a previous post, I contrasted the Old Testament prophets with Jesus. This is where Hebrews 1:1,2 comes in to our discussion. We see Jesus as, to put it one way, the culmination of this "office" of Prophet by removing the "barrier". (Hebrews also deals with the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus to the OT priesthood, not just the ministry of prophet.) God no longer restricted His communication to us as being through another mere human being. He spoke directly to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. And we now, according to Peter, have become the "kingdom of priests" that God originally desired in Israel.

Now, as I've mentioned in the earlier posts in this series, we obviously have prophecy being mentioned in the New Testament church, so what is this prophecy, and what is its purpose? For this, we turn to 1 Corinthians 14. Paul states in verses 3 and 4 that prophecy exists in the church to encourage, edify, comfort, and strengthen the church. Here, we see that it is not an issue of God speaking to us through a particular 24/7 "prophet", but is something that all believers can pursue as a means of edifying the church.

We can easily complicate this concept of prophecy by trying too hard to understand it in Old Testament terms only. I believe that as believers come together, the Spirit speaks through various people to encourage and strengthen the church. This could be a matter of reminding others of what they already know, or shedding new light on a Scripture through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I believe this is consistent with Paul's instructions. It is, as Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:10 and 2:16, part of us together as a body of believers being of "one mind" and having the "mind of Christ."

So what does it means to weigh the prophecies? Paul indicates that other prophets are, presumably, to judge whether or not the words spoken really are the words of God to the body. It is ironic to me that the Greek word used for "weigh" here is more often used in the New Testament (such as in James 1:6) in the sense of "to doubt"! So, perhaps what Paul is saying here is to be very discerning in accepting what is spoken, not just buying it all wholesale.

The prophecy is to be given with an understanding that others will weigh it, and it also seems implied to me that a consensus must emerge among others gifted in prophecy as to the "rightness" or "wrongness" of the prophecy spoken. Without that consensus, the word likely should be set aside or ignored.

I think one very critical point to note here is the plurality of both prophets speaking and prophets weighing. At no point is this to be one person claiming to have a word from God and not being open to that word being evaluated by others.

At this time, I think it is important to once again pause and allow comments. I probably will try to wrap up these thoughts in one more post, unless the questions are sufficient to require more than one additional post.

Let me conclude with this thought, though: We must learn as believers to trust the Holy Spirit. By that, I mean that we need to trust that we do have the ability as a body of believers to stay on track with the Holy Spirit if we are not all individualistically trying to control the flow of knowledge.

This seems to really have bearing today in our modern concept of one pastor being the teacher without dialogue taking place during the teaching. No one person in the body of Christ has a monopoly on the mind of Christ! And none of us should ever be so presumptuous as to think that we are exempt from correction by others.

Having said that, I am now ready to receive your criticisms and disagreements with what I've spoken here!

Until next time,

steve :)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Prophecy vs. Closed Canon

(See here for part 1 of this series, and here for part 2)

Continuing on with the prophecy discussion, I want to take the time to dismantle a frequently-taken rabbit trail with regard to prophecy and "Scripture". I think the rabbit trail is a red herring. Specifically, I'm speaking of the idea that one who accepts that God still speaks through prophecy today must necessarily accept that prophetic words are on the level of written Scripture, and therefore must disagree with the idea of a "closed canon".

For those who are not familiar with the concept of a closed or open canon, the "canon" refers to that body of writings which are accepted by Christians as being the Bible. A "closed canon" means that no more writings will be added to our Bible, and an "open canon" means that, in theory at least, more writings could be discovered or composed which could be accepted as part of the Bible.

I really feel like this is a red herring for several reasons. Most compelling for me is that there are references in Scripture to the fact that God would speak to people of all ages and both genders, and yet those are not all recorded as Scripture. Joel prophecied in chapter 2 of the book that bears his name:

It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

We know from Peter's sermon in Acts 2 that this prophecy was being fulfilled during his (Peter's) time period. (I'm not saying at this point whether or not that prophecy is still being fulfilled. That is a different issue than the main point being made here.) So, in this prophecy, we see that sons, daughters, old men, young men, male and female servants will all participate in the dreams, visions, and prophecies. Cross-reference Numbers 12:6 where God says that when a prophet is among us, God speaks to him through visions and dreams.

We also have recorded in Scripture at least two instances of people prophesying, and what they prophesied was not recorded in Scripture. The first example is Saul in 1 Samuel 10, where we find recorded that he, along with others, prophesied. But no written record is included there as to what the content of the prophecy was.

Another example is Anna, who was in the temple when Jesus was brought as a newborn baby. She is described in Luke 2 as a prophetess, and it mentions that she spoke to those there in the temple regarding the baby Jesus, but it does not record what she spoke. Even if we decide that what she spoke at that time was not a prophecy, the fact that she is called a prophetess and Scripture records no specific prophecy from her seems to support my argument that prophecy does not always equate to "canonical Scripture".

One could also look at Acts 21:8,9 which references four prophetesses who prophesied, yet does not record their prophecies. And, of course, we come back to the instructions in 1 Cor 14 regarding prophecy in the church, and to my knowledge, none of the books of the New Testament were written by members of the church in Corinth!

I must draw this post to a close, even though I haven't had a chance to move into more productive "positive" reasoning with regard to prophecy. But I hope that I have at least demonstrated that prophecy can exist outside of the canon of Scripture without forcing an "open" canon.

Until next time,

steve :)

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Biblical Definition and View of Prophecy

In my most recent post, I blogged my introductory comments regarding Cessationism and Continuationism. Libbie and Ray have both weighed in with good responses, and in this post, I would like to try to lay out a biblical definition and view of prophecy. I think that perhaps this can help us put some of this debate into perspective and shape the direction of it.

Now, many people have mentioned what Ray and I have both observed: namely, it seems from Scripture that there are two types of prophecies. To use the familiar terms, there is foretelling (telling the future, which is most commonly associated with the word "prophecy") and there is forthtelling, or speaking the mind of God.

Biblically speaking, how do I arrive at the conclusion of these two aspects of prophecy? Moses is referred to as a prophet in Deut 18:18. And yet what he was speaking to Israel was the word of God for their present tense, not a predictive statement of the future. To be sure, there were predictive statements (such as what would happen when they got in the land, etc.), but through Moses came the entire Law, a "forthtelling" for their day.

Additionally, many of the prophets recorded in the OT are speaking the words of God, just as Deut 18:18 predicted. While Isaiah, Ezekiel, and others told about things to come (most notably the arrival of Jesus), they also were speaking to the people about the present conditions of idolatry, spiritual adultery, etc. They were speaking appeals to repent and turn back to God. They were the very mouthpiece of God.

Now, as Ray pointed out in another discussion, we know that Hebrews 1:1,2 shows us that Christ was a very key figure in that line of prophets. But He was much greater than a mere prophet. Consider this:

  • The prophets spoke the word of God, but Jesus is the Word of God.
  • The prophets said, "Thus saith the Lord", but Jesus said, "Verily, verily I say unto you."
  • The prophets were men representing God, but Jesus is a man and God.

To underestimate the importance of Jesus in the subject of prophecy is to overlook a major element. But, we must look, then at the relationship of prophecy to Christians in the New Testament. If Hebrews 1:1,2 means that prophecy ceased with the coming of Jesus, then we have a bit of a difficulty. 1 Corinthians 14:29-32, which outlines the way in which prophecy should function in the church gathering, would be completely unnecessary if there were no prophecy after Christ. Hebrews 1, itself, would be unnecessary. In fact, most of the New Testament (other than the Gospels and Acts, which are mostly historical records and testimonies) would be unnecessary because we would have everything we needed from the words of Jesus.

Now, don't think that I'm heading off into heresy by implying that we need "Jesus plus..." for salvation. Absolutely not! But we are given instructions regarding prophecy within the New Testament, after the ascension of Christ, and so we must examine what that prophecy is. Is it foretelling and forthtelling? Or is it one or the other? Or is it something else entirely?

I think I'll pause at this point and see if anyone wants to interact so far. I'll post more later with regard to examples of prophecy in the New Testament, and then we'll get into whether it was limited to the "Apostolic Age". We'll also talk about what we can determine it means to "weigh" a prophecy and how to handle false prophecy.

I'll show my hand a little bit here in advance to say that I don't think anything has changed over time with regard to how we should view prophecy, how we weigh it, and what we do with false prophecies/prophets (although I'm not going to advocate literal stoning!). And one final point I hope to touch on in this discussion is how the idea of "speaking the mind of God" today relates to sola Scriptura, and whether this is a true conflict or a false dichotomy. Everybody still with me?! ;)

Until next time,

steve :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cessationism vs. Continuationism -- an attempt to take it piece by piece

I'm not going to link again to the discussion that is prompting this post because my linking to it in the previous post apparently was misunderstood! But, as you know, there is a discussion taking place again in the blogosphere regarding cessationism vs. continuationism.

This topic is a really good one, in my opinion, but has unfortunately sparked a lot of emotional debate and a lot of anecdotal arguments on both sides. Unlike others who have tried to mask their position while stating their arguments, I'm going to just tell you up front where I'm coming from. I think it will help you analyze my writing on this topic better, and hopefully we can think through this together. I'm open to the possibility that I could be wrong, and maybe someone will post a comment that will help me see where I'm mistaken.

So, for the record, I am not a cessationist. I am a continuationist. Personally, I just heard the word "continuationist" recently, and I love it. Because prior to that, the only terms I heard were "cessationist" and "charismatic." The term "charismatic", unfortunately, has a lot of baggage associated with it, and so I am glad to be able to use a different term!

Now, in case you are not familiar with these terms, in a nutshell, this is what they refer to. The position of cessationism says that some (not all) of the spiritual gifts discussed in Scripture were only in existence during the time of the Apostles, and they have ceased (hence the term "cessationism") to exist. Usually, the gifts relegated to this concept of cessationism are: tongues, healings, and prophecy.

In contrast to cessationism, continuationism asserts that all of the gifts still exist, and are valid. Because the gifts include tongues/interpretation, healings, and prophecy, this belief is usually associated with Charismatic and Pentecostal believers.

Now, I'm not sure how exactly to approach this discussion, but I'm launching off of some comments made on the other blog between myself and Ray. We got into a bit of a discussion regarding prophecy in general, and I think we'll start there.

What I would like to do over the next few posts is take some bits and pieces of the debate and approach them from a biblical perspective. What does the Bible say about prophecy, and how does that relate to the evaluation of the gift of prophecy today? Some seem to want to use the fact that false prophecies have been uttered by famous people in our day as evidence that the gift of prophecy no longer exists. I disagree, because false prophecy has been around as long as prophecy has been!

One of the points I have tried to make in other discussions is that people have always been given the responsibility to judge prophecies and act accordingly to whether or not the prophecy is true. For example, in Deuteronomy 18, God tells the Israelites that if a prophet claims to speak for God but isn't really speaking for God, they can ignore him. The text anticipates the question "How will we know?" to which God replies, "If what they prophesy does not come true, it wasn't from Me." (I'm paraphrasing) I think there is a parallel between this instruction in Deut 18 and what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14. Specifically Paul says that after two or three have prophesied in a meeting that the prophecies should be weighed.

Now, as I'm typing on this, I have come to the realization that we can begin to define prophecy a bit clearer by thinking through what Paul is saying. If a prophecy in the church can be weighed "on the spot", then we can't be talking about foretelling the future, can we? How would you know if it came true or not at the moment it was given?

So, let me try to bring this post to a close by suggesting that the term "prophecy" in the New Testament usage (with regard to spiritual gifts) is not merely foretelling the future. Therefore, I would suggest that it has more to do with speaking the mind of God (which OT prophets also did). While it is entirely possible that it could relate to foretelling an event (and we can look at some of these examples in the New Testament as we go), the instruction to weigh it seems to imply something other than that.

And how would they weigh the prophecies? By comparing them to what God has already revealed. In other words, by holding them up to the Scriptures and seeing if it "fit". This is what the Bereans did when Paul preached. They "weighed" what he taught against the Old Testament Scriptures, and found his teaching to be true.

I realize I'm rambling here, but am trying to build bit by bit an understanding of what it is we're even talking about. Ray brought up in the comments on "the other blog" a mention of Hebrews 1:1,2 as a suggestion that perhaps prophecy has ceased with the advent of Jesus Christ -- THE Word. He also talked about how "sign gifts" in general were always to authenticate and validate a new leader or new ministry and raised the question, "If these gifts are active today, what are they validating?" These are great questions, and we'll dialogue more about them in the next post.

Until next time,

steve :)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Of Theological Wars and Such

I love discussion and debate. I enjoy the challenge of trying to think through a particular position and consider its strengths and weaknesses. I love analyzing arguments and figuring out if they are solid or not. It's a positive and a negative for me, though.

On the one hand, it's great intellectual exercise and makes me feel more convinced about a particular issue once I have taken the time to think through it. On the other hand, it can lead to a lot of frustration because I often feel like many people debate issues solely on what they feel about it or what someone else says about it. This is especially true for me in reading blogs.

Frequently, I get involved in the comments section of other blogs, only to get frustrated at the lack of real solid defense of arguments. If you've read my blog at all, you've seen me reference this from time to time. I either get accused of being a heretic or people dismiss me as just not as theologically equipped as they are to speak to an issue. For a sensitive guy like me, that can be hard sometimes! But I'm learning to deal with it.

Here's an example of the type of debate I'm talking about: Phil Johnson, aka Pyromaniac, is an enormously popular blogger. And yesterday, he revived a charismatic/cessationist debate. This debate had begun during the fall, but had simmered down for a while. Now, Phil is arguing heavily for cessationism, specifically in this case as it relates to the gift of prophecy. And the comments section is jumping with fiery debate already.

While I think that the topic can be discussed among Christians to great benefit, the debate has already been polarized into false dichotomies and inaccurate presuppositions. It sometimes seems that in these situations, no one takes the time to lay out logical, rational, and peaceful arguments. So, a potentially good discussion gets lost in the midst of party lines and "my theology is better than your theology" finger-pointing.

Update on 1/6/06: The comments section on Phil's post has continued, but the tone has taken a very notable change for the better. Several people have called for civilized and biblically-based discussion, so there is hope! I felt it only fair to point that out as an update.

But I'm not convinced that is the biggest problem. Today, I read a post at one of the more recent blogs to make it onto my "must read" list, Cerulean Sanctum. In that post, Dan Edelen laments the surge in "theological wars" amongst Christian bloggers, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. We seem to spend way too much bandwidth and energy simply arguing without any real Kingdom benefit in sight.

Update on 1/10/06: It appears that the main intent of this post has been misunderstood, specifically by Phil as mentioned in this post. Let me clarify for all that I am not calling for the end of debates such as this. Far from it. I continue to enjoy, look for, and participate in discussions that will help me either firm up my own stance on particular issues or help me see reasonable evidence for a different conclusion. I used Phil's post as an example of what happens in these debates, but did not mean anything here to be construed as an attack on Phil or a call for him to cease his discussion. My agreement with Dan was not intended to be a full endorsement of the "white flag" that Dan threw up. It was simply on the nature of the debates. I hope that clears things up a bit...

I have to agree with Dan on this one. And I agree as well with Adrian Warnock, Michael Beasley, and Bob Kauflin, who all wrote similar posts recently. While I'm not exactly sure what the answer is, I know that I personally will endeavor to limit the intensity with which I engage in debates going forward. I still like to think through arguments, and I still like to attempt to make the case for my viewpoint, but not to the point of developing feelings of animosity or participating in mudslinging. If any of you observe me doing that here or on other blogs, please email me personally and speak a word of correction to me. I will listen humbly.

I'll conclude this post with the words of Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:23-24:

Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

Until next time,

steve :)