Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

Support via Patreon | Subscribe

Header Image: Jars of Clay in Toronto, by Ian Muttoo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/imuttoo/)

By now, most people (in Christian circles, at least) will have heard about the Jars of Clay controversy. For those that are thinking "how on earth could there be controversy over some jars?" let me clarify: they are a contemporary Christian music band. The controversy is because the frontman, Dan Haseltine, tweeted some thoughts on the topic of gay marriage.

Shocking, I know.

 

Advertisement

This is what started it all:

 

Advertisement

 

 

Plus many, many, more tweets as time went on, with the whole twitter/blogosphere alight with this madness. Apparently even some radio stations had pulled Jars of Clay's music because of this assumed support of gay marriage by Dan, and by association, the band too. Dan has since issued an apology on his blog, and expanded on his thoughts in ways which the twitter character limitations wouldn't allow him to previously.

Advertisement

But as much of a hot-button topic as gay rights within the Church is, it is not what I want to talk about now. No, what got me was the way in which the Christians reacted to this news about JoC and the tweets, and how all the bloggers etc. exploded with articles with some hints of condemnation.

jars_of_clay.jpg
Jars of Clay at Toronto, Canada. Photo: Ian Muttoo

Though I do agree that twitter probably wasn't the best place to voice such questions and thoughts, which I do think were genuine and not merely provocative, that doesn't excuse the way in which people responded.

 

It all comes across as very judgemental, mean and downright nasty in some comments. Completely Christ-like behaviour. Obviously.

Advertisement

 

The whole things just comes across very much with the tone of "you can't question this belief or that doctrine"; but which beliefs and doctrines — well that's entirely up to whoever you speak to! Though in recent times, questioning issues relating to homosexuality — whether secular or Christian related thoughts, can get you in some hot water with certain groups and people.

Which is exactly what happened with Jars of Clay. Just take a browse through Dan's twitter feed or the Jars of Clay Facebook page to see the reactions to his thinking out loud.

I can't embed Facebook comments, but to give an idea of some responses I'll post a few screenshots which I've taken, and some which Patheos also took when they covered the story:

Advertisement

It all comes across as very judgemental, mean and downright nasty in some comments.

_jars_of_clay_fb_1.png

_jars_of_clay_fb_3.png

_jars_of_clay_fb_4.png

_jars_of_clay_fb_5.png

jars_of_clay_fb_6.png

And my "favourite" has got to be the call to go and basically commit suicide using a veiled reference to Luke 17:2 –

_jars_of_clay_fb_2.png

Advertisement

Since writing this will probably come across to some as though I'm not "toeing the party line" on the issue, this comment pretty much sums up my sentiments on the "gay issue" as far as this post will go:

nailed_it.png

Whether you agree, disagree, call it sin or not – the fact of the matter is is that the laws of the land (whichever land you happen to be in) are not based on our beliefs. You may say the Bible is your ultimate authority in and for life, but that doesn't make it so for everyone else, and especially not for those in government who dictate the laws. Sometimes I think the sooner we realise that, the better off the Church as a whole would be.

 

Advertisement

It was only last week I was writing a similar post about the online actions of Christians and how unloving they were in regards to Google not posting an Easter themed "doodle". This week it's the similarly unloving actions and attitudes towards someone who dared to question. It's not like it was asking or seeking heretical doctrine, but simply trying to get to the root of an issue. As a friend of mine also blogged last week, "Could your Evangelical Church be Unhealthy?" he addressed the issue of cult-like mindsets that can creep into some churches. Point 5 especially comes to mind now: "SACRED SCIENCE - The ideology is given special/sacred status and cannot be critiqued."

If no one is allowed to question and seek, then how can anyone come to the Faith fully and completely? Christianity is not "blind faith" (as much as some would try to say otherwise), but is based on the teachings and actions of a real man and was spread by the testimonies and accounts of eye-witnesses. Even before Jesus, the Psalmist declared, "O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him" (Ps 34:8) — that's a challenge right there to do something, to actually try your faith and see that God is there and real. This faith is a demonstrable one.

But I digress. As to the title of this post:

Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that hurry to run to evil,
a lying witness who testifies falsely,
    and one who sows discord in a family.

From the way Christians are reacting to things like this, whether online or not, I'm sure their attitudes will fall into at least three of these "things that the Lord hates."

  • A lying tongue – As far as I could see online, the Jars of Clay frontman hadn't expressly stated whether he supported SSM (Same Sex Marriage) or not, but was just asking about the arguments surrounding the topic, yet many posts that I did see were saying that he'd come out as supporting and/or advocating for gay marriage!
  • Haughty eyes– Now, I had to look up this word to make sense of it. It is defined as "arrogantly superior and disdainful." A quick skimming over the comments on Facebook and Twitter will show you the amount of arrogance and disdain on display.
  • One who sows discord in a family – If we are meant to be all brothers and sisters together in Christ, then it follows that we are all one big family united by Spirit and not blood. The malicious attacks against someone for asking questions is definitely not uniting and is sowing plenty of discord.

Yes, Dan is a public figure and a Christian, so what he says and does has more far-reaching consequences than maybe our own non-celebrity lives do, but that doesn't mean we ought to verbally crucify the man, rightly or wrongly (plus it's not the first time things like this have happened, even on a smaller scale). While I do think that public figures should probably be answered publicly if they are acting against the Body of Christ on a public platform – there are better and more loving ways to do it. 

We need to be more aware of our actions as Christians, and "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thess 5:22). As Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits" and if you have love for one another, "everyone will know that you are my disciples" (Matt 7:16; Jn 13:35).

Advertisement

There are ways to discuss and correct people who have wronged you (cf. Matt 18:15; Galatians 6:1), or who you think are saying/teaching the wrong things (cf. Acts 18:26), or times to just listen and wait (cf. James 1:19-20; Proverbs 18:13).

“Jars of Clay: Cracked!” by nakedpastor David Hayward
"Jars of Clay: Cracked!" by nakedpastor David Hayward

 

The Kingdom of God is counter-culture. That means the ethics and morals often go against what secular culture says and approves of. Just look at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Everything Jesus says to do it practically the opposite of what you'd expect or want to do!

 

Advertisement

You've got no food – don't worry and trust God.

Someone slaps you in the face  offer them another go.

Forced to do something for another carry on beyond expectations.

Persecuted and hated by people go and pray for them instead of retaliating.

Advertisement

 

And of course, above all, love your neighbourThat sums it all up. Laws and politics may (and probably often) do disagree with our Christian ethics, and while there could be some noble causes to change certain laws which do oppress, endanger and strip people of equality and justice, as followers of Jesus; as those who claim to be born-again, Spirit-filled, as having the mind of Christ – the only laws we should fight to change are those which go against justice and equality for all.

Our lives, as those lived out by following the teachings and examples of Jesus, by making the Kingdom of Heaven a reality on Earth, should influence and change our immediate environment and surroundings – through the power of the Spirit in us and by love.

I've said what the Lord hates, but what does He love? "For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing" (Isa. 61:8)

Isa. 1:16-17

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your doings
    from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
    learn to do good;
seek justice,
    rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
    plead for the widow.

Deut. 10:17-18

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.

James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

This is the nature of God. If our actions don't match those which Jesus taught and displayed, if they don't match up with this sense of equal justice for all, then can those actions really come from the Spirit of God who is meant to motivate and move us?

And before your thoughts are dragged back to the issue of Same Sex Marriage...

1 Cor 5:12

For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge?

So I don't care what cause you lobby for or against, if it isn't something which will ultimately display the love and justice of Christ to others, then of what use is it?

Contribute on Patreon

Enjoying this? Consider contributing regular gifts for this content on Patreon.
* Patreon is a way to join your favorite creator's community and pay them for making the stuff you love. You can simply pay a few pounds per month or per post that a creator makes, and in return receive some perks!

Subscribe to Updates
Order my new book today from Amazon or fortydays.co.uk

Subscribe to:

Have something to say? Leave a comment below.

Leave a comment   Like   Back to Top   Seen 353 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates and join over 128 subscribers today!

Order my new book today from Amazon or fortydays.co.uk

Subscribe to Blog updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS RSS

‹ Return to Blog

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Is The Rapture Biblical?

| 21st September 2020 | Eschatology

Is The Rapture Biblical?

Most people have some idea about what the rapture is – or do they? Generally there is an idea or concept of a form of escapism from the world when Jesus returns, which happens pre, mid or post tribulation and in some connection to the millenium. Now, if you understood any of those terms, you are most likely on, or aware of, the Dispensationalism side of things. There’s a lot of doctrine all bundled together in “end times” beliefs, and a fair bit of speculation around “the rapture” with its timing and logistics etc. which makes the whole thing a but murky, but nonetheless, it’s pretty much taken for granted as a staple belief within the Evangelical world. But has this always been so, and does it have any biblical basis? In short: sort of. What is The Rapture? This is the primary verse where the doctrine finds its footing: …then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. — 1 Thessalonians 4:17 On the face of it, that is a pretty obscure (and short) text, yet so much has been written on and speculated about around this event.  I’m not going to cover every aspect of rapture doctrine here, but rather want to just highlight the context of this verse and its parallels in Paul’s other letters, as this seems to get lost under centuries of doctrinal baggage, which, incidentally, also the leads to the next point to look at: is the rapture biblical? The origin of The Rapture The word “rapture” itself comes from the Latin word rapere, which means: “to seize” or “to abduct”. It is a translation from the Greek word that is rendered as “caught up” (ἁρπάζω / harpázō) in our English Bibles today. For many, asking if this belief is biblical is a non-starter because it is assumed so based on 1 Thess. 4 so obviously it is. But this is a presupposition, reading the modern ideas of what “the rapture” means into the text. The modern idea being that Jesus comes back briefly (and maybe secretly), whooses all the Christians into the sky and takes them to heaven, away from all the troubles on the earth, before coming back later to do a proper “second coming”. John Nelson Darby, a 19th-century theologian, is often credited with creating this premillennial rapture doctrine, followed closely by C.I. Scofield who wrote a best-selling annotated Bible which promoted Darby’s rapture views in its footnote commentary. This particular Bible became wildly popular across America in the early 1900s and ended up solidifying the futurist dispensational viewpoint for generations to come within Evangelicalism. Despite the popularity of Scofield’s Bible, what it (and Darby) taught was a novel idea which had not been seen nor heard of before in the previous 1800 years of Church History, yet many Christians accepted it without hesitation, likely due to it being part of the exposition alongside the Scripture they were reading, and therefore a seeming authority. I realise there is somewhat of an irony here in that I’m acting similarly like an authority telling you that this belief is wrong whereas Scofield was writing as though it were accurate, but in an even more ironic twist, just a handful of verses later, the same letter to the Thessalonians says to “test everything; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). This is what I would invite you to do: don’t just take my word for it, test everything and see if what I say is accurate. The context of The Rapture So what is the context of these verses, if not about being whisked away into the sky with Jesus? A couple of things, but one slightly more obvious than the other, though still overlooked by people, I’ve noticed; the other requires knowing some more about the ancient Greco-Roman culture of the time. Firstly, we only need go back a few verses to see what Paul is writing about here: he begins the passage in verse 13 by say...

Slavery in the Bible – Does God Condone Slavery?

| 15th September 2020 | Slavery

Slavery in the Bible – Does God Condone Slavery?

This is a guest post by Joshua Spaulding from eternalanswers.org. The views are that of the author and don't necessarily reflect the views of That Ancient Faith. As you read through the Scriptures, you will come across some passages that seem to suggest that slavery is not condemned by God. Some who think this to be the case are sincerely seeking truth, while others are only looking for reasons to discount the Bible. Some of the passages in question are Exodus 21:2-6, Deuteronomy 15:12-15, Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 4:1 which provide instruction on the treatment of slaves. In light of these Scriptures, does God condone slavery? Before diving too deep into the topic, there is one very important thing we must understand before we can rightly interpret these Scriptures, and others. Forced slavery, like that which was ended in the U.S. in modern-day history, is not always the same as the slavery mentioned in the Bible. This is significant! (Just a side note: there are still to this day an estimated 21-36 million people¹ in slavery across the world.) Additionally, seeing something such as forced slavery in the Bible does not necessarily mean God approves of it. The Bible consists of legal, historical, poetic, and prophetic books. The historical books are historical accounts of times past and sinful things are not excluded. God knows the heart of man. The laws He gave in regards to slavery were given as grace for those in slavery.We see at least two forms of slavery in the Bible and God gives guidelines, seemingly approving of one of those forms of slavery. We see the type of forced slavery that the Jews, God’s own people, were forced into (Exodus 1:13-14). The Lord delivered Israel from that slavery. So we know that this type of slavery certainly does not have God’s approval (Exodus 6:6). God would not need to “deliver” a people from something that is not sinful and wrong. So God gives guidelines on one from of slavery, seemingly approving of it to a certain extent, while condemning another form of slavery and delivering His people from it. Herein lies the seed of the confusion. Some innocently read the Bible and don’t realize this, but most who bring this topic up are skeptics just looking for a reason to discredit the Bible. They do not realize, or willingly suppress the fact, that the type of slavery that God gives guidelines for, and seemingly approves of to a certain extent, is not the same type of slavery that God clearly condemns. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and God’s Word does not contradict God’s Word. In Bible times (1st century Greco-Roman times and prior) slavery was not exclusive to any one particular race or language, nor were slaves segregated². They were just like everyone else. These slaves were willing bond-servants. They were often times very well educated contributors to society. Their servitude was rarely for life, but sometimes they willingly agreed to it out of love for their master. These servants were not kidnapped and forced into slavery, which God condemns (Deuteronomy 24:7, 1 Timothy 1:9-1:11). These servants were willing bond-slaves. There is even a book (actually a letter) in the Bible (Philemon) that was written by the Apostle Paul to Philemon (a slave master) emphasizing the fact that all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of their sin should be treated in the same way … with the same love and respect. What about Leviticus 25:44-46? It is true that God specifically made room for forced slavery, as seen in Lev. 25:44-46. However, this passage should not be seen in the same context as other passages we have considered when dealing with the moral implications of slavery. The reason being that this slavery was a form of judgement by Holy God on a paganistic, rebellious people. It was actually mercy that the Lord allowed them to live in slavery, rather than to be destroyed for their extreme rebellion against God in embr...

An Examination of Conditional Immortality (Part 1)

| 25th May 2020 | Hell

An Examination of Conditional Immortality (Part 1)

I know this is quite a divisive topic, and one you may have come across before (sometimes referred to as “Annihilationism”); and have been told outright that it’s “heresy” or false, or that it’s an emotional argument people want to believe because it ‘sounds nicer’ than the doctrine of Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT). Or maybe you’ve never even heard of this before and you didn’t realise there were alternative interpretations and views on hell. Any discussion on “hell” is going to cover a lot of ground, and refer to many, many places throughout Scripture; so with that said, this will be a long one, so get comfy! I will do this in two parts as it will become too lengthy for one blog post. This article will just focus on the Scriptural basis for the position of Annihilationism, as opposed to ECT, but to begin with I’ll define some terms as words like “hell” have become quite loaded with extra and unbiblical meaning over the centuries. What is hell, anyway? If you read through the Old and New Testament in older translations like the KJV, you’ll see the word “hell” a lot more often than in more recent Bible translations, which will most likely transliterate the Greek words instead. Not all the words get this treatment, and some still get presented as the word hell in English, for example, the NIV and NRSV will convert the word Gehenna into “hell”, but keep the Greek word Hades as-is (see: Matt. 5:22; 11:23). The etymology of “hell” and its origins and how it became the word we know today in English, would take more time than I have space for here, but in short, there are three main Greek words which often get translated as the word “hell”, even though they are each different words with different underlying meanings: GehennaLiterally means “valley of Hinnom”, which is a place near Jerusalem where children were once sacrificed to Baal (see Jer. 19:5–6). Due to its history, it took on a more eschatological/spiritual meaning as a place of judgement and destruction. Hades (Sheol)This is the Greek form of the Hebrew Sheol found in the Old Testament, usually (and properly) translated as “grave”, or meaning the general place of the dead (similar to the place of the same name in Greek mythology). TartarusThis only appears once in the New Testament in 2 Peter 2:4 and is used in relation to the angels who sinned and were put in chains. Interestingly, it’s another word borrowed from Greek mythology, for the prison where the Titans were sent as punishment. If you are interested in how we got the word “hell” in our English language, and more importantly, into our Bibles, I highly recommend that you read this study: The Real Hell. A Case for Conditional Immortality (aka Annihilationism) We are often taught that our souls, human souls, are inherently immortal. But where does this idea come from, because it’s never actually stated in Scripture that this is so. This is an Hellenistic philosophical assumption brought into the text (mainly from Plato’s influence) which can taint our interpretations. If we look at 1 Timothy 6:16 we can see that it is God alone who is immortal: It is he [God] alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen. Any other mention of immortality or eternal life is only ever spoken of as a gift given to us by Jesus, and is often contrasted with the alternative: death, perishing and/or destruction. Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 2 Timothy 1:10…but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. John 10:28; 17:2I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. […] since you have given him authority over all people, ...

That Ancient Faith is Expanding!

| 11th May 2020 | General Interest

That Ancient Faith is Expanding!

EXCITING UPDATES! Just a quick update for you about a couple of new and exciting things I am offering now! Firstly, I have now launched a new range of faith-inspired clothing, which you can see some examples of in the image banner above. If you want to proclaim Christ and your faith via what you wear (especially in these dark times where churches are closed), head on over to: https://thatancientfaith.teemill.com     The second thing to mention, as you may gather from the logo above, is that I now have a YouTube channel! I have begun it by doing a read through of my book, 40 Days with the Fathers, through Lent, so you can listen to the whole book for free. I also plan to create videos discussing the topics I write about where I can go into things in more detail or explain some of the thinking behind the various topics which I can't always fit into the blogs. So if you enjoy watching things on YouTube, come on over and subscribe to my channel.   That's right: I have a new book in the works! It draws on some of the series and articles I've written on this site to do with Old Testament prophecy and its links into the New Testament, the Incarnation (briefly) and the Second Coming and what we have to look forward to (or worry about). Stay tuned for updates, I'll post some more information soon when there's something more solid to show. If you want to get some insider previews or maybe some advanced reading or snippets etc. then come on over to my Patreon and sign up. Members will get advanced access to any news and updates before anyone else, plus other bonuses! That's all for now, leave a comment if you have any queries or thoughts! ...