The pastor of the largest United Methodist congregation in America is sparking intense debate with his new take on interpreting the Bible. - Image courtesy of Adam Hamilton

The pastor of the largest United Methodist congregation in America is sparking intense debate with his provocative new take on the Bible. – Image courtesy of Adam Hamilton

As pastor of Church of the Resurrection, Adam Hamilton has the honor of leading the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States. More than 8,600 attend services each week, and the Kansas congregation is considered by many to be America’s most influential mainline Protestant church. But with the release of his provocative new book, “Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today,” Hamilton is becoming known as someone who is challenging traditional understandings the Bible.

Here we discuss the message of his book and how he navigates the most difficult and debated passages.

RNS: You believe the Bible is divinely “inspired.” Can you explain what you mean exactly?

AH: The biblical authors were people like us. Christians do not hold, as Muslims do, that our holy book was dictated by God. The biblical authors wrote in particular times, for particular audiences, out of a particular context. Part of rightly interpreting Scripture is reading it in the light of what we can know about its historical and cultural context, the author’s purposes in writing and knowing something about the people they were writing to.

In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul writes, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” Christians often assume they know what this means, but Paul seems to have created the word “inspired.” It does not appear in the Greek language before this and is used nowhere else in the Bible. It literally means “God-breathed” but Paul doesn’t go on to explain precisely what he means. It is a metaphor, and metaphors are not precise. Push them too far and they break down.

When I think of inspired, I think of God-influenced. This leaves open a variety of ways in which the biblical authors were influenced by God.

Image courtesy of HarperOne

Image courtesy of HarperOne

RNS: A lot of critics reject the Bible because of the violence in the Old Testament. What say you?

My premise is that the Bible is the words of people who were influenced by God, and yet who were also shaped by the times in which they lived. The violence attributed to God in the Bible is a serious issue that Christians must address. It is inconsistent with the character of God described in many places in the Old Testament, and certainly inconsistent with the Word of God revealed in Jesus Christ who calls his followers to love their enemies.

In the Hebrew Bible we find God putting to death 70,000 Israelites to punish David for taking a census. We have God commanding Joshua to slaughter every man woman and child in 31 entire kingdoms in the Canaan as a kind of offering to God. This is what, today, we would call genocide. God commands priests to burn their daughters alive if they become prostitutes. I cannot imagine God calling me to burn one of my children alive, regardless of what they had done. Other ancient near eastern people believed their gods also called them to slaughter entire cities as an offering to their gods, so this seems to have been a common cultural understanding about the relationship between war and the gods.

RNS: Theologian J.P. Moreland once argued that among evangelicals, “There is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ.” What do you think about his assertion?

AH: I don’t know the context of Moreland’s quote, but it sounds much like what I’m saying in my book.  An exaggerated or inaccurate view of Scripture is not a high view of Scripture, it is just a wrong view of Scripture. A high view of Scripture takes the Bible seriously, while also taking its historical context and the humanity of its authors seriously. A high view of Scripture is held by those who actually read Scripture, seek to understand why the human authors wrote what they did, and how they convey God’s timeless will for us today. A high view of Scripture includes not only reading the Bible, but seeking to live its timeless messages, which are discerned in the light of Jesus Christ, who is the definitive Word of God.

RNS: I suspect your chapter on homosexuality will rankle a few feathers, particularly among conservatives. Can you summarize your position and why you believe it is a scriptural one?

AH: I offer two different arguments regarding homosexuality in my book. In the first, I suggest that what Moses and Paul were addressing in their teachings on same-sex intimacy was very different from two human beings entering into a covenant relationship of mutual love.  In the entire Old Testament we find only two expressions of same-sex intimacy: Gang rape and pagan temple prostitution. This is not at all synonymous with two people entering into a lifelong covenant relationship with one another.  In the New Testament, Paul, trained in rabbinic law, seems to draw upon all of these ideas in his words about same-sex intimacy in Romans where he uses the Old Testament terms of clean and unclean and where he speaks of same-sex intimacy in connection with idolatry.

But the second argument I make is that the Bible is complex and, while influenced by God, it is not dictated by God.  It reflects the humanity of the biblical authors and the times in which they lived.  We’ve seen this in its teaching on slavery, on violence, on the status and role of women, and several other topics. Thus, I suggest, it is possible to be a faithful Christian who loves God and loves the scriptures and at the same time to believe that the handful of verses on same-sex intimacy are like the hundreds of passages accepting and regulating slavery or other practices we today believe do not express the heart and character of God.

RNS: You say that for those who disagree on homosexuality, the issue is not Biblical authority, but Biblical interpretation. Explain this.

AH: Most conservatives, moderate evangelicals and progressives I know believe that the church is to love gay and lesbian people.  And nearly all agree, at core the issue is not homosexuality but the Bible. God did not rewrite, edit or send down from heaven a new Bible that clarified that God was against slavery. There are over 200 verses allowing and regulating the practice in the Bible.  Yet somehow Christians were able to look at those verses and ultimately conclude they did not reflect God’s will for humankind despite verses directly attributed to God that allowed for owning, selling and even beating slaves.

Conservatives often suggest homosexuality is an issue of biblical authority. I believe the Bible has authority in my life and for the church and, in the words of II Timothy 3:16, it is, “useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” But I also believe that the five passages that speak to some form of same-sex intimacy do not describe God’s timeless will for humanity any more than the passages on violence, or slavery, or women describe God’s timeless will. The issue is not authority, it is our assumptions about the Bible and the way we interpret it.

RNS: What do you say to those who would accuse you of just rehashing the arguments of 20th century theological liberalism? What is new here?

AH: My book is less about rehashing old arguments, than offering an accessible way of understanding both the Bible’s divine inspiration and its humanity. I share the kind of things any seminary student in a mainline or moderate evangelical seminary would learn in their first year, but most lay people may not be aware of. Often both laity and clergy speak of the Bible in terms that are not ultimately helpful in making sense of its difficult passages, and can actually lead to misunderstanding the Bible.

RNS: Your book might be characterized as provocative or progressive. Do you think it is also hopeful?  

AH: Yes. I wrote the book for young adults who have been turned away from faith by things they’ve read in the Bible. I wrote it to help Christians who are increasingly confronted by vocal atheists who love to focus on the Bible’s more difficult passages.  And I wrote it for people who are interested in reading the Bible and understanding its message. That is a message of great hope.

275 Comments

  1. Hamilton claims to know what God is like because of revelation in the Bible but then he claims the Bible also gets revelation about God wrong?

    The image I get is the man sitting on a branch while sawing it off.

    • the bible isn’t his only source. in any event, this stuff is hardly new. it’s the centrist or *slightly* center-left position in the christian world. as he says, “I share the kind of things any seminary student in a mainline or moderate evangelical seminary would learn in their first year.”

      • As one who has been through seminary, he’s 100% right. And when you look back in early church history, it’s not all that unorthodox, either.

    • Typical nonsense of religion.

      The Book which purports to be The Manual for Everything,
      requires a separate manual for interpreting!?

      What is it gonna take to stir the minds around here?

      • The Bible does not “purport to be The Manual for Everything.” Plus, the 8th chapter of Acts has a great story about the Ethiopian Eunuch struggling to read Isaiah, and realizing he needs help: “So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.” Isaiah 8:30-31.”

        • It is very obvious that Paul in the book of Acts as a Jew never did get the message of the book of Isiah. The entire book of Acts is wrong with Pauls doctrine of “whosoeve will’ that anyone can be saved if they only believe and call on the name of the Lord whether they be Jews or gentiles, he rejected no one.
          The book of Isiah is about only one family, those of the house of Israel that would be redeemed and that all others were rejected, The redeemer can for the wife and the children of her. Where did Paul find the evil doctrine of believing that one could be saved if they were not of the house of Israel?

    • Interesting analogy with the tree branch. The topic not being discussed is the ‘result’ of Pastor Hamilton’s work, and most specifically the impact on the community around him, which in this case is Overland Park, KS. I’m intimately familiar with Overland Park having lived there for years, and it is not a place where the Word of God is alive, manifesting itself in loving God first, loving your neighbor as yourself, humbleness, caring for the poor, providing for the least of these or evangelizing the Gospel. While like most communities there are good people there, as a whole It is a community that serves mammon, not God, (see Matthew 6:24). When the community truly starts serving God, and the manifestation is evident, then the leader can be considered influential and on the right track.

      • Well said. Church or the body of Christ is much more than making ourselves or other people feel good about themselves. Living according to the example of Christ is our call ad sacred obligation. Loving others is our call. A term for this what AH is doing may fit, it is called Moral Narcissism.

    • James 1:8
      A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

      I have a question for Mr. Hamilton……why did God create man with his male organs and woman with theirs……sorry but all I have had to ever say is (and excuse my bluntness) they don’t go together and they don’t fit. How are we suppose to populate the world if we decide we’re gay…..so…..question…..what if Adam and Eve decided they wanted to be gay………wonder where we’d be today.

      • Ah, Ray’s old argument from banana…. See how well this banana fits the hand, it’s created by God for man to eat.

        But why didn’t you ever wonder why a penis also fits so well in the anus and mouth? By your own logic doesn’t that mean they are created for this purpose?

        Besides, Paul himself says procreation is yucky and should be avoided, 1 Corinthians 7 “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” If it’s better NOT to have sex with a women doesn’t that go against your teleological argument?

        Surely you are aware that gay people frequently have children despite their sexual preference? So merely being gay is not necessarily the impediment to procreation that you pretend.

        Ever wonder where we would be if Adam and Eve’s supposed children didn’t practice incest?

        Remember Lilith? Oh yeah, your ancient old dudes left that bit out of your version of the ‘bible’ so maybe you don’t. Puts a very different spin on the whole Adam and Eve story. Of course, that’s just those silly Jewish myths… not the real ones like Christianity has, right?

        Since the evidence is that there was no Adam or Eve but rather a long period of gradual evolution of species over millions upon millions of years, I can simply do away with Original Sin, incestual origins, and the worry over rubbing the wrong naught bits together and I get to end up with a consistent position that in agreement with observations of the Natural world.

      • Carol Baswell

        “decide” they want to be gay????? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

        I LOVE Adam Hamilton, and would give anything in this world if he were a pastor in this area. He exudes Jesus–

        • I didn’t decide I wanted to be an alcoholic; I woke up one day and discovered that my choices had consequences. I also rationalized my behavior so as to allow me comfortably to keep on killing myself.

          I, too, admire much about Adam Hamilton, but he has written a horrible and destructive book.

      • Same sex attracting go far beyond the human sphere and occur in other animal populations as well. Being gay is not a decision and to try to simplify something as complex as human sexuality where we have sex for plenty of reasons other than procreation, simply because one has male genitals and the other female is not correct. Also, being gay is so rare that there is no threat to population growth, set aside the fact that the world is populated.

      • It is very interesting how these expert scholars can make all these arguments tearing the scriptures to pieces and stumble right over the fact that Jesus defines marriage in Matt19 and Mark chapter 10 and quotes the old testament verbally. He shows His respect for the ancient word of God.

    • Many of us did not realize we were locked into the simplistic and legalistic view of scripture that goes back to the Pharisees rather than Jesus. If we are holding our old unseen assumptions, we cannot get what this man is saying. He is challenging the church to read scriptures through the lens of love (not legalism). Doing so brings one closer to God.

    • absolutely! why is this not good enough for people? who do most people call on or whose name do they shout out in times of peril? LORD, JESUS, DEAR GOD.
      It is like a lot of churches now: preaching sublimal messages, being taught liberal theology, liberal to a fault, sunday school curriculum for children with poisonous messages….pretty soon, what use to make you draw back or feel is morally wrong, becomes common place and you lose your sensitivity and sense. so, anything becomes “ok”. There-in paves the infamous “road to hell”.

    • I think you have this absolutely correct. so, why not just believe the Bible and make it easy on yourself. Your soul will be better not to mention your life~

  2. I do not know what Mr. Hamilton’s qualifications are other than being a pastor, but it’s always interesting to me when “progressive” theologians want to rewrite the wisdom of 2,000 years of wise and well-respected scholars who have devoted their lives to the study of scripture, and I’m not talking about fundamentalists. There are other serious and more conservative yet very respected scholars who hold to a much more sacred view of scripture than does Mr. Hamilton. It is one thing to make new discoveries; it is quite another to rewrite history and scripture to suit one’s own “wants.” We cannot make God say something we want him to say just because we don’t like what he said. What is the point of having God at all if we do not believe in following the life of holiness he has proscribed? I weary of those who do not know as much as they think they know that they wish the rest of us knew simply because they want to make scripture more palatable.More loving, yes–less God and Bible honoring–no.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      “It is one thing to make new discoveries; it is quite another to rewrite history and scripture to suit one’s own “wants.””

      Rev.Hamilton’s view about loving, committed same gender couples is hardly unique. Modern Biblical scholars have proven the Bible was intentionally mistranslated relatively recently in order to provide “Biblical cover” for then-rising levels of homophobia. For example, the word “homosexual” didn’t even exist until 1870.

      But about 400 years ago, a group of religious authorities (sanctioned by King James I of England), secretly manipulated the English version of the Bible to reflect their own heterosexual attitude; they opposed the King kissing other men in public. But in revised versions, religious authorities re-defined the Greek word “arsenokoites” of 1 Corinthians 6:9. The most accurate translation, abusers of themselves with mankind [KJV], was pretty vague. Nevertheless, they replaced this vague 5-worded text with the not so vague and purposely targeted 1-word text, “homosexual(s).” Either way you cut it, this text does not describe loving, committed same gender couples. This campaign gave those who were looking for a reason to justify their own homophobia a license to openly express their bigotry.

      Clearly, Lynn, your suggestion I quoted above is reasonable, but considering the number of Christian and Jewish denominations that are marrying same gender couples in the 18 US States that support their Freedom Of Religion fully, it would seem Rev. Hamilton is trying to repair the damage done by those who wanted–and want today–to suit their homophobic “wants.”

      • Just because it is the biblical text does not make it correct, for fools have followed the wrong path for years and never found the truth. Just because the text says their is a church does not make it correct 111 times and for 600 years. Jesus never saw a church nor did Paul as there was no New Testament for 350 years does not make it correct when they translated the present text with Latinized form of Greek giving the meaning out of the Latin language rather than what it says in the pro drop language of the New Testament. A pro drop language is a language having no pronouns rather they are all race or species word where the translators used pronouns in there place altering the text.
        The word adam has been remove some 6000 times in the New Testament.
        read a lie and you will believe a lie.
        Jerry

      • When one finds something that has been there all the time which the evil gentile world has alter as with the church word when God said some 65 times in the OT that he would convene out the children of Israel where they had been scattered among the evil guim of the OT and the ethnoon of the NT and he would redeem them and reverse their scattering and place them in their own land. Find that for me in the NT where the evil gentile church of the damned ones are out saving the ethnoon heathers and making Christians of all that God has rejected from the foundation of the earth.
        The truth has been there all the time except the evil church sings the praises of their father the devil from the beginning “come be like God by confessing your sins and then you will know both good and evil:
        Jerry

      • Enough cutting and pasting of Boswell nonsense already. He was the only “modern scholar” (he was not a biblical scholar) to come up with this notion and no, he didn’t prove it in the least.

        • Or you could have just read the interview above. Adam Hamilton gets to the same point from a different direction.

          “In the entire Old Testament we find only two expressions of same-sex intimacy: Gang rape and pagan temple prostitution. This is not at all synonymous with two people entering into a lifelong covenant relationship with one another. In the New Testament, Paul, trained in rabbinic law, seems to draw upon all of these ideas in his words about same-sex intimacy in Romans where he uses the Old Testament terms of clean and unclean and where he speaks of same-sex intimacy in connection with idolatry.”

          • All this nonsense originates with Boswell.

            And there’s a lot more written by ancients “trained in rabbinic law” beside’s Paul’s works. But Hamilton ignores all of that just as Boswell did.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Apparently, Shawnie thinks he is somehow entitled to decide what other Americans “must” believe. I’m going to trust the many major Christian and Jewish denominations that are marrying same gender couples in the 18 US States and DC where their Freedom Of Religion is respected over an anonymous poster.

          • Again, fine and dandy. Let others do your thinking for you–particularly if it leads to your desired outcome, of course.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Considering how much of your comments look like they are copied from the website of the so-called National Organization for Marriage, don’t you think that weak attempt at projection was unwise, Shawnie?

          • National Organization for Marriage? Whatever that is. No, my awareness of quote-mining comes not from projection but from dreary familiarity with all the canned arguments cut and pasted by multitudes before you and all ultimately coming from the same extremely dubious source.

      • Yeah….problem with your statement there is that the word your using is with in the context of several other sins that were listed.

        1. in the KJV,- it does not mention Homosexual….it uses the “abuseres of themselves with mankind…and in the greek that same word is used for sodomite….the idea of abuser is really one that defiles himself with mankind, and is used for homosexual practice.

        2. There is no distinction given here about a “committed Homosexual realationship” WHY? Because there was no such thing! Homosexuality as we understand it today is recent distinction. To say that this one word does not imply a committed relationship of two same sex partners, therefore Homosexual marriage in the eyes of God is ok…is a HUGE LEAP.

        3. WIth in that verse that you are using there is another word that is used….this word was “pornos” in the KJV it is the word “fornicators” These would be “Prostitutes” Now I think we can all agree that this would not be a committed relationship for anyone….and in the Roman Culture there were many houses of ill repute, and there were not just women but male prostitues. Then there is the word “Moykhos” which means adulterer. Again I think we can both agree that this does not imply in the least a committed relationship. — So this all being said…Why use the word “Arsenokoytace” if the purpose was to say any uncommitted relationship….there were already plenty of examples of uncommitted relationships. So why use another word?

        3. Further there is the interesting word “Malakos” which litterally means soft….now what could this mean? Thayer gives us a little light on this word….He states the following: 1. Soft, soft to the touch 2. Metaphorically in a bad sense of a catamite; of a boy kept for homosedual relations with a man; Of a male who submits his body to unantual lewdness; of a male prosttute; Now first of all we know from context of this one verse that the subject of prostitution was already discussed, it would be silly to in just a few short words to reemphasis this. And given that the next word descibes the act of sodomy it would be sill again to use this word in that effect. So the only other possible definition….after all this is a verse that is talking about sin, so one must beilive that this word that is defined as soft must have been intended to be used metaphorically in a bad sense….so the only other definition of this one word would be of a catamite

        What is a catamite…in the ancient usage in the Roman culture it was a pubescent boy who was the intimate companion of a young man in Ancient Greece and Rome, Usually in a pederastic freindship (a committed relationship) It was usally a term of affection, however could have a term of insult when directed toward a grown man.

        Now there is another reason to use both these words….in the Roman Culture there was no distiction of homosexual and heterosexual….there distinction as far as sex was concerned was either Active/dominant/masculine and passive/submissive/feminized…..another words. The view of an effeminate was one who submitted…or took the passive role in sex.

        So the idea in this verse goes like this:

        Know you not that the unrightiou shall not inherit the kingdom of God? (Then we go into several examples of unrightiousness) Be not deceived: neither prostitues (male or female) nor Idol worshipers, nor individuals who cheat on there wife, nor the passive sexual partner, nor the active sexual partner…..

        For Romans the Sexaul realtionship between the passive and active partner in there culture was at times a committed relationship.

        When examining scripture, or any historical document for that matter it is important to understand the culture in which it was writen. Furthermore it is equally important to not put our 21st Centery understandings and culture in a 1st Century passage and try to interpret the passage in that light.

        What we see in that one verse is an attack on every sexaul indulgence the Romans enjoyed and accepted as good and wholesome. There was no such thing as a committed homosexual relationship to attack or call sin, because that is a 21st Century understanding…not a 1st. Century one.

        Bottom line this verse and other verses throughout scripture are clear. Homosexauality (committed or other wise) are sin, and are equal to other types of sexual immoriality such as but not limited to,….prostitution and adultery.

        • CarrotCakeMan

          Once again, colvin, I’m going to believe the many Christian and Jewish denominations over an anonymous poster here. But, please, don’t let me stop you from “believing” that God shares your prejudices.

          • This sums up the attitude of many in vers 32…..Romans 1:24 Therefore, God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, gave them up to uncleanness, so that their bodies might be dishonored among them. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for the lie and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation rather than the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. 26 That is why God gave them over to uncontrolled sexual passion, for their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; 27 likewise also the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full penalty, which was due for their error. 28 Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting. 29 And they were filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and badness, being full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice, being whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, schemers of what is harmful, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, false to agreements, having no natural affection, and merciless.32 Although these know full well the righteous decree of God—that those practicing such things are deserving of death —they not only keep on doing them but also approve of those practicing them.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Those are the words of a disturbed misogynist who never met Jesus, Michaelono. Sorry, I will believe Jesus’s actions over Paul’s hate speech.

        • We can spend another 2000 years aguing semantics on the bible texts but I would like everyone to stop and remember two things that Jesus said. 1) behold I make new all things and reconcile mankind with the father. 2) The whole law rests on two commandments.2a) Love God with all your heart, Mind, Soul and Strength and 2b) Love your neighbor as you would yourself.
          We forget that the only authority to judge is God the Father with His Son Jesus the Christ. So if Jesus directs us to love one another, then we should not participate in usurping His authority. “Judge not lest ye be judged”. We are called to live in christian love for one another. How can we be true to both laws as Jesus gave us, if we do not treat eachother in love? in other words, forget the old words and if you call yourself christian, pay attention to what the Christ told us plainly.

          • Quoting a parable? OK, Just who is the master in this one? Jesus points out that it is GOD who is the Master and Judge and He judges by the heart and intent of the spirit within. In this case, the lesson is, do you serve God or yourself. You miss the lesson if you think we are called to judge each other and render that judgement into eternity.

      • Homosexuality makes no sense. there are parts parts of the human body does not fit with this. If you practice this, you are a Sodomite pure and simple
        How about having sex and marrying animals ? This is coming down the pike plus other practices that make no sense. This pastor aught to read Gal. first chapter. Adding and taking away scripture sets a person under a Divine curse. It looks to me.

        • “Sodomite.” Loving someone of the same sex leads to having sex with animals. Ah, the old, truisms brought out once again!!! And it’s “ought” not “aught.”

        • CarrotCakeMan

          We can certainly see what John fantasizes about! Readers who would like to see the scientific evidence for why anti-gay posters are so obsessed with what they IMAGINE same gender couples do in private should Google “Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.”

      • The problem with your argument about the kjc is that there are over 20000 original language manuscripts available to scholars of all stripes and translation is no more impossible than your multi language instructions on an appliance manual that you have in English and Spanish. Greek and Hebrew are still spoken today with subtle but not significant changes. No one argues that we can’t read the Illiad and the Oddyssey because of translation issues. As one who is able to read the bible in the original languages I can tell you that there is no mistranslation when it comes to matters of sexuality. The interpretive issues arise when someone contorts the text or tells us what Paul Moses or Christ “meant” to say. The other issue conveniently ignore is the comments written by those contemporaneas to the authors. They had the same understanding and cultural milieu and yet millennia later we seek to correct their misunderstanding of what was going on in their cultural milieu .imagine me writing from California writing and correcting what you meant to say about the errand on your list today…

        • Thank you Keith. Any “ambiguity” on this subject is completely manufactured of course. But it’s so easy to sell an idea to the popular culture when (a) it matches what they want to hear and (b) they do not have the tools necessary to investigate it for themselves. And I believe many of the propagaters of this particular view know this quite well.

      • I have not heard that before about that specific change in wording in KJV. I would like to know more about that. Please let me know where I can find more information.

      • That’s right, the whole bible was one big gay party until those secret men who secretly wanted to secretly eliminate everything having to do with gayness out of it. In fact, the original title of the book was “How to be Absolutely Fabulous!”
        Modern Scholars have proved it!

    • Lynn…go to any seminary where you will find the ‘well respected scholars’ you are talking about. There you will find scholars who say the same as Adam Hamilton because they study these things! I’ve spent enough time around then to know that you will not find a scholar who believes the Bible is ‘complete and inerrant’. Anyone with a small amount of training knows that the Bible is a canon….made up of the books certain humans chose to include. Not only that but parables are stories….we don’t know if they were real or a way of telling a truth. The gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark,Luke and John but by a multitude of people. Go to seminary and your world will be rocked. If you do that….you will have no answer to LGBT inclusion.

      • Just because you go to a school having scholars does not make them correct just because some one has approved of what they say or publish. Just because the book of John is published in the New Testament does not make it correct study the OT and you will find it is full of lies and falsehoods, the same goes for the book of Hebrews as Jesus was never our high priest just because the writer says so, find me the place where he was made a high priest other than the book of Hebrews, Also the children of God have no need for a mediator for they have direct access to the father, This renders the entire book as being false even as your scholars have said so for 600 years. So much for their ivory towers of scholarship for not rejecting the entire New Testament based on lies and false statements,
        Jerry

        • Gerald…You might not believe and that is fine. But your supposition that seminary professors don’t know any more than you is pathetic. They spend their professional lives studying the bible and the life and times of Jesus. Yet not one finds anything that credibly says homosexuality is wrong. Go figure! Let’s face it we all know people twist and stretch God’s word to suit their own bigotry…..apparently you are doing well at that! How can people be so blinded that they don’t know the history of the Bible…..they just cling to it?

          • Seminary Graduate

            Sorry guys, your assumptions and blanket statements about seminary are just plain wrong. Plenty of seminaries, professors, archeologists, biologists, scholars, etc., who believe differently on a vast array of subjects, including scriptural interpretations of homosexuality and gay marriage. But you already know this.

          • “Not one”, you say? Not even Dr. Robert Gagnon? Not even Dr. Thomas Schmidt?

            Believe it or not, there are professors and scholars out there who STILL believe that the Bible texts are accurate and authoritative. They don’t accept all that watering-down and rejection of Scripture, like the libbie professors do. We shouldn’t accept it either.

          • Judging by the myriad of sects for Christianity alone its safe to say that no theologian has authority on the subject of interpretation of scripture which carries any weight people are compelled to accept.

            It all comes down to which opinions you feel like being inclined towards.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Yes, Doc, I know, there are still at least a few out there who still want to believe that God shares their homophobia. I hope they see the error of their ways one day and seek competent mental health care as well as figure out God didn’t make LGBT Americans just to be the victims of crazed anti-gays.

      • You will have to go to a seminary of those mainline Protestant churches that are declining so fast. Better hurry, they may not be there tomorrow.

        • Gagnon is a man with the heart-attitude of a Pharisee or even a Taliban thinker. His approach is logically consistent to him, but in reality it is a prescription for spiritual abuse. Jesus said the message of the scriptures can be summed up in two commandments: Love God…Love your neighbor as yourself.
          Gagnon will move you step by step away from that approach. And you will never find your way to the one and only commandment Jesus gave if you follow the legalistic, dogmatic path: LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.

      • Edward, I am saddened by your mis-representation of theological schools. Of the 20 largest seminaries in North America, about half would teach that the Scriptures are truly inspired by God and that the human authors were superintended by the Holy Spirit to capture exactly what God intended to be written. I have an engineering degree from state university and both a Masters and Doctorate from schools that uphold the Bible as God’s Word… all of it. The reality is that if you cannot believe that the God could give his written word without sin, then you are not going to believe that Jesus was was God in the flesh, the living word without sin.

    • One does not have to have qualification to understand the biblical text if one has understanding that Jesus talked off and there are many who will never have understanding even if they have all the qualifications of the world
      Start with a lie and the entire thing then becomes a lie. for example Genesis chapter one for God did not say to God let us make man in the image and likeness of us rather he said let us made Adam in the image and likeness of us and he became a living soul among the dead ones standing around watching what was going on for they had been there for millions of years before the Adam was formed of the dust. The Adam as been removed some 350 times in the Old Testament alone. Scholarship proves that they can be of the stupid ones that Jesus talked of.
      Jerry.

      • “One does not have to have qualification to understand the biblical text …”

        Which is why one opinion on the subject carries no more weight than another’s.

        The only difference being what they use to support their claims to others and most importantly, the level of self-pride/worship one has in making boasts about the purity of their interpretations.

        It really comes down to what you are trying to justify with the argument. There is nothing more relativistic than a position supported by scripture.

    • When Paul said in the Timothy letter that all Scripture is God breathed, he was referring to the Old Testament, because the first gospel, written by Mark, was written after Paul’s letters. And the gospels did not become Holy Scripture until they were compiled more than 300 years later.
      Also, the Israelites proclaimed themselves to be God’s chosen people, so it followed that their enemies were also God’s enemies. This accounts for much, but not all, of the violence in the Old Testament.

      • We know from the Muratonian Fragment that all of the NT writings (minus Hebrews, James and 1 and 2 Peter) were regarded by the early church as on par with OT scripture by the middle of the 2nd century.

      • The OT had no tolerance for enemies of God. Is it safe to assume that the enemies of God(Monotheism) heard of it and rejected it? And corrupted or persecuted anyone who believed it? Of course the OT documents beginning of an identity. How can you have an identity born from God and a relationship with God if you corrupt it with idolaters and the other people of the times.

    • Adam Hamilton is simply being true to his United Methodist heritage. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and well-schooled in Greek and Hebrew, knew full well that the Bible, from start to finish, nowhere says the institution of slavery is wrong; to the contrary, slavery is simply assumed as part of the biblical social order. Knowing this did not stop Wesley from being one of the most articulate opponents of slavery in 18th century England. The last letter he wrote before dying in 1791 is an eloquent denunciation of slavery addressed to none other than William Wilberforce. In it Wesley especially denounces American slavery and says it is an abomination for one human being to own another. Wesley knew precisely what Hamilton does: the Bible is often cultural chaff mixed with sacred wheat, and requires an educated interpreter as sifter.
      Ed Moore

      • You will find that the slavery Paul referred to was very, very different than the institution that was in the United States. In the ancient world, slaves were more akin to servants than to slaves. They often were only slaves for a term of years, and they were then set free. In addition, because of the hardness of the times, people voluntarily became “slaves” in order to improve their lot in life. Service in a rich persons house was better than eaking out a hard life of poverty.

    • Every Christian in the United States has re-written Scripture by not obeying the moral commandments in Leviticus to kill all adulterers (including pastors) and kill all women who have pre-marital sex (but it does not say to kill homosexuals).

      Until you and your church start practicing these commandments, you can’t be taken seriously as Bible believers.

      • Following many Biblical commandments in a modern society would get you thrown in prison. Many of those “moral commandments” are antithetical to a democratic, free society with rule of law.

        Everyone, including the Fundies (though they will never admit this) picks the areas of their scriptures they think are necessary and drops whatever doesn’t work.

        There is nothing more illusory and relativistic than “Bible based morality” any act, no matter how objectively harmful and malicious can be justified as long as one is claiming it is in God’s name.

      • If you take the bible seriously, you can distinguish among the rules that were to be applied only to the Jewish people of three thousand years ago, and those rules that are for all time. But that takes actually reading and studying the book, which critics generally don’t do. They just like to point out facile contradictions.

        • That is a load of crap.

          Christians will invoke the OT when they want to sound tough and stenorian and will disavow it when it involves obligations they should follow. It is only invoked when dealing with the acts of other people. Never to their own behavior. When called out on taking the OT too seriously the Christian will claim the escape clause, “Jesus said we don’t have to do that anymore”.

      • The premise that everyone should keep the law of Moses when it was given God had said of the Israelites these people are the people of me and I will be there God. The Law was only for those that were Hebrews and not all the gentiles on the outside. So to with the false doctrine of Christianity they make all the law for all those that God rejected and is able to save them God still is the God of the Hebrews and no one else for all others were rejected regardless of what says the New Testament in Acts, John and Romans

        • I agree with Gerald. I believe in Jesus but Jesus had nothing to do with a religion that came to be called Christianity. As taught by Paul, it’s followers largely have no need to take responsibility for anything as they are automatically forgiven over and over, no matter what they do. The ‘religion’ of Christianity has been frightingly violent, lacked compassion, been full of power instead of grace and intolerant through most of its history and the Protestant reformation, which has come apart thousands of times, began and still often is anti-Semitic.
          It’s time Jesus was preached but the Church in America was torn down. Overall, with some exceptions, it is a mockery of Jesus, who was Jewish from beginning to end.

    • You’re right, we can’t skip over or ignore what’s hard. That’s why we need to read the whole Bible and take it as a whole. We also need to read the Bible through understanding of who Christ is. If our understanding of parts of the Bible don’t fit with who Christ is, we need to adjust our understanding/interpretation of the Bible.

    • Hamilton speaks about many translations, interpretations etc. of the Bible. All he is doing successfully, here, is simply one more interpretation (by him) and one more seeking to find fault and loopholes in the Bible. Why are people obsessed with this? Why is it necessary to try to change the story that has basically remained the same all these years. I believe in inquisitive minds and thinking outside the box, but it seems so pointless to think and behave outside the Bible. The gay issue is getting to be old hat and boring; you either are or are not a homosexual..decision or by nature. it’s how you handle a situation that makes the difference. Quit giving them so much attention and get it out of the media and what do they have?

  3. Rev. Bill Huddle (ret.)

    How sad. Seems to me that, rather than trying to rationalize our way around scriptures that make us uncomfortable, or that don’t comport with modern human secularism, we’d be better off to take the scriptures at face value, and adjust our lives as necessary to line up with them. Hamilton is not the first brilliant pastor to be led off into this sort of rabbit Warren. He will probably not be the last. Pray for him.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      “Hamilton is not the first brilliant pastor”

      Yes, it is harder and harder to sell Christians on the notion that God wants Christians to take action to hurt His gay and lesbian children, especially now that we know for a fact that sexual orientation is inborn and unchangeable.

        • CarrotCakeMan

          Sorry, but we do know for a fact that all sexual orientation is inborn and unchangeable. Several US federal and several US State High Courts have examined that evidence and ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is similarly unconstitutional as discrimination based on race because BOTH are IMMUTABLE characteristics. Here are just a few of tens of thousands of respected websites (and a citation from Fox News for the doubters) that document this:

          http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf
          http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html
          http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html

          • CarrotCakeMan

            More:

            http://www.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html
            http://www.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/
            http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/06/16/172/
            http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/17/science/sci-gaybrain17

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Yet more:

            http://psych.fullerton.edu/rlippa/bbc_birthorder.htm
            http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12465295
            http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2006/06/26/brothers=gay.html
            http://www.medpagetoday.com/OBGYN/Pregnancy/3641

          • CarrotCakeMan

            A few more again:

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617151845.htm
            http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local&id=6209976
            http://www.apa.org/topics/sorientation.html

            Here’s a video that discusses the question:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfBOGXFkC8c

          • CarrotCakeMan

            A quick search on Scholar.google.com on the phrase Physiological Basis of Homosexuality turns up over 26,000 articles, the vast majority supporting the biological basis of same sex attraction.

            http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=physiological+cause+of+homosexuality&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C21&as_sdtp=

            So, where is your documentation for “it’s a choice,” bergontin? Did you realize we’d just laugh at you when you posted a URL from the FRC or some other anti-gay Hate Cult known for lying about just such scientific, established facts?

        • As there are two species of people mentioned in the book of Matthew those of the seed Satan and those of the seed of Adam. Jesus rejected all the seed of Satan on the basis that they were born dead on arrival to this live and during their they do the will of their father the wicked one. Jesus said of the seed of Satan they will be taken out and burmed. Those of the wicked one are born wicked just as their father is. It not what I think it is what does God have to say about things regardless of what I think about those of the seed of the beast as Jesus called them

    • Leviticus: Kill all adulterers and all women who have pre-marital sex. Kill disobedient children. You don’t conform to those Biblical commandments, do you?

  4. Here are my own appreciative but respectfully differing reflections on Hamilton’s book: http://understandingbooksbible.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/review-of-adam-hamiltons-making-sense-of-the-bible/

    Essentially, I see only “two buckets” where he sees “three buckets”: I don’t believe we have a comprehensive enough understanding of God or of redemptive history, from our own limited vantage point within it, to say definitively that certain biblical passages could not have expressed God’s will for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances.

  5. I so wish the UMC would listen carefully and thoughtfully to Adam Hamilton. After having my beautiful, sweet, Christian daughter come out to us and having the church she grew up in and the one where we lovingly devoted 31 years of dedication with our service and tithes reject her and tell her she was going to hell, we left the UMC and searched and found a Presbyterian USA church who believes as Adam Hamilton and we do. I will never believe that my loving God and Savior made my daughter in his image and then would turn his back on her because she finally had the courage and strength to live as she was born and made to be. Thank you, Adam Hamilton, for providing yet one more weapon for us in our fight for acceptance for her and all other GLBTs.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      Dear Ms. Hall,

      What a beautiful and loving comment! Are you aware of the organization, Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays or PFLAG? While I agree that it’s important for Christians to stand up to homophobic attacks on LGBT Americans in churches, it’s also important to remember that PCUSA is hardly alone in supporting LGBT Americans, but the many Christian and Jewish denominations who want to marry same gender couples are being denied their Constitutional right to practice their religion fully in 32 US States. While we can see federal courts are moving to eliminate the remaining anti-gay Hate Votes, I hope you will urge your representatives in Congress and your state legislature to remember LGBT Americans are their constituents also and to act with their equality in mind.

      Your daughter is very lucky. Yes, we are born this way. While there are multiple physiological effects that take place before birth that determine sexual orientation and scientists aren’t yet sure just which are the most important, please note there is not one iota of evidence to support the routine claim anti-gays make that “it’s a choice,” and that LGBT Americans could “choose” to live the way anti-gays want to force us to live.

      • Your sexual life style is cause by your father as there are only two species of people on the earth those born of the seed of Adam and those born of the seed of Satan. God chose out the Adams before the world was formed and he has hated all those born of the flesh and their reward is the day of vengeance of our God. The choice was not theirs to make either they are born of the Spirit of God having his righteousness or you are of the flesh whose end is destruction in the flames

        • CarrotCakeMan

          Sorry about all that nonsense having been debunked, Mr. Collins, sexual orientation has been proven to be inborn and unchangeable. I submitted evidence of that above. Your bizarre beliefs don’t negate the facts.

        • CarrotCakeMan

          I’m an American, bergontin, and I support the United States Constitution as well as the Freedom Of Religion of the many major Christian and Jewish denominations that want to marry same gender American couples NOW but are DENIED their right to practice their religion fully in 32 US States (although not for much longer).

          You’re political, too, bergontin, it’s called “Christianism.” Not a church, not a denomination, a political group.

    • So beautifully said. It is so easy to spit from the outside in…..only when you come face to face with someone you know who is LGBT do you realize that God doesn’t damn people from birth.

      • Well you need to read the account of Esau who was hated and rejected before he was born and also his descendants on Mount Seir in the book of Obadiah and how about Moab and Ammon for their mother’s committe insect with their Father and all the descendants are rejected of all three, then to how about Canaan when his father raped Noah. Each case is a deviated sex act and God rejected them for what they had done before they were born because the are of the seed of Satan. Oh you could have made Christians of them to day but they are never of the seed of Israel who are the only ones redeemed in the New Testament

    • Carla, I SO empathize and agree with you. As a life-long member of the UMC I am also hopeful that Pastor Hamilton’s book will make a positive impact on the UMC. My husband and I last year attended a seminar by Reconciling Ministries:
      http://www.rmnetwork.org
      Perhaps this organization will be one that interests you and to which you can lend your support. Best wishes to your family!

    • God did. It make your daughter gay. Our sinful fallen world did. If she doesn’t act on her sinful preference the. She is ok. If she does and you support her you are actually hating her not loving her.

      • CarrotCakeMan

        It’s so sad to see your shameful, vicious personal attacks, Frank, but the more you shriek out how much you want to hurt LGBT Americans, the more Americans reject and condemn your anti-gay agenda. Thanks for working so diligently to defeat your immoral, seditious agenda, Frank.

        • oh please save the histrionics. the only people who are doing real damage are those that fallaciously claim homosexual behavior is not a sin and that God makes people gay.

          • Frank, you have no idea how Christian you are.
            Congratulations.
            “Execute them…” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

      • Whether you know it or not there is two species of people on earth. The first ones were made of Satan having no soul and not having righteousness and the second was made by God when he formed Adam and he became a living soul having righteousness. Those of Satan were rejected before the worlds were formed and are called the seed of the beast and there are the seed of Adam who were chosen out from among all those he rejected before the worlds were formed. Jesus said you are of your father the devil and you do the will of the father of you, the lust of him. You need not look for a conversion from the seed of Satan the beast to that of being of the seed of Adam. one is born that way and there is no way out when the day of vengeance of God arrives

    • There is no faith or believing to be one who is rescued by Jesus for he spoke and he will do it for his name sake. It is only in the false new testament. The word believe is found 143 times in the entire biblical text and it is not until one gets to the book of John and the book of Acts and Romans written by Paul that one finds that he can be saved if he but believes.
      Jesus did not come saying if you believe i will buy you back from the one who owns you. Nor did he say that one can be saved if they believe in his name. Keeping the faith will get you nothing of you are of the wrong species of people. One must have the right DNA to be rescued out from among the heathen gentiles.
      No relief in sight.

  6. Once again, we see a “reinterpretation” of scripture which challenges traditional notions and understandings. Perhaps some need to be challenged, but we needn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Ultimately, if any religion has a holy book that becomes suspect in its writing, interpretation or practicality, then what’s the point and anything goes. I appreciate his intent to understand biblical writing in their culture, genre, etc., for this is absolutely correct, but he needs a better safeguard (theology) of God who is behind it all. Again, it would seem that God was not aware of how future generations would interpret his word and that God must have some inability to correctly and adequately communicate through the ages. Otherwise, he is left with only human authorship from people who, by definition, cannot be aware of future cultural shifts. So, is truth from God knowable? If not, then I would be forced to conclude that there is no God, for if God is real then surely he can communicate. But if it is, then it is right, good and unchangeable over time and cultures.

    • “Ultimately, if any religion has a holy book that becomes suspect in its writing, interpretation or practicality, then what’s the point and anything goes”

      That is a very immature way to view scripture. The idea of the Bible being factually literally true is a self-defeating effort which leads one towards self-deception, attacks reasoning ability. It makes one seek to lie, ignore or omit truth that one observes based on their personal notions of spiritual “proof”.

      It ignores the fact that people already interpret it in an “anything goes” fashion. Using it to justify whatever they want to give a socially acceptable sheen to.

      “Otherwise, he is left with only human authorship from people who, by definition, cannot be aware of future cultural shifts.”

      Which is exactly what we have. What you may call Biblical authority is just someone telling you their opinion on the subject with their own take on the scripture.

      “So, is truth from God knowable? ”

      You really have no honest way of answering that question. You can believe such things but it does not mean anyone else has to take it seriously.

      • Larry, you miss my point. It seems you are making your argument from outside a belief in Christianity, so you are not coming from the same position as Adam Hamilton. You can make your point that what I wrote is immature, but your missing the point of the article. From within Christianity his perspective is like unstable ground. He believes the Bible is true, but then levels against it modern critical standards to which many ancient documents will not stand up against. My point is that you cannot have it both ways so easily. This is because underlying the Christian worldview is a belief that God communicates and that we can understand it. If this assumption is now suspect or given over more to human authorship than divine, then nothing is left because we no longer have a firm way of knowing what is of man (culture and history) and what is of God (transcends culture and history).

        • ” It seems you are making your argument from outside a belief in Christianity, so you are not coming from the same position as Adam Hamilton”

          Talk about presumption and a sense of self-piety! Adam Hamilton is a pastor of a church! He is talking from INSIDE a belief in Christianity. It may not agree with yours, but nobody made you the arbiter as to who is a believer and who isn’t.

          My point is that it is only unstable to people working off of an immature and rationally untenable premise of Biblical literalism. As much as you may find comfort in believing you are following it to the letter and accepting it as the factual truth verbatim, you really aren’t. Nobody really does.

          Its not that you can’t have it both ways. Its that there is no both ways. We always interpret these things in the lens of our society and culture. Claims to the contrary are a fiction. Lies told to feel good about yourself and to confer a sense of pride and superiority over those you feel are less pious than you.

          You have to accept a great deal of dishonesty both in public and to one’s self for Biblical literalism to work. One has to lie about the veracity of evidence one observes. One has to make spurious arguments. One has to lie about the clarity (or lack thereof) of scriptural texts. One has to lie about the nature of their own belief. One has to lie about how different our society is from 2000+ years ago. The worst lie is that belief does not need faith, but is objectively self-evident as true.

          Your premise masks a rather weak form of belief. One which lacks or denies faith. Faith is the absence of evidence. It is the absence of easy answers and thoughtless actions. But it is also the nature of religious belief. The idea that one has to discover their own truths and meaning from the world around them is a major part of having faith. A belief that God is communicating to you, but no proof that can be shown. Figuring it all out for your self and hoping you got it right.

          • Dude, your whole response is not even remotely related to what I wrote. Not sure why you went so far out to make your points, but you didn’t get mine. Your not even addressing the issues presented. Good luck….

          • “…we no longer have a firm way of knowing what is of man (culture and history) and what is of God (transcends culture and history).”

            My point is we never did. That is what faith is for. It is true because you have faith that it is true and transcends culture and history. Anything else was just wishful thinking on your part. As part of having religious belief is the acceptance that some ideas have to be taken on faith and faith alone.

            There is no instability as you suggested if you have an honest take on the Bible, where it came from and what it contains. Hamilton, a Christian clergyman is saying that he believes in the Bible as a source of spiritual truth but it is buried in a sea of culturally specific, literary references. Much in the same way parable has any value as truth even if it is not about real people. The story needs not be literally true to have value as part of a moral lesson.

            The idea of separating spiritual truth from literal truth is well accepted by the overwhelming majority of Christians. Pope John Paul II even wrote a encyclical on the subject.

            Lets also be honest here, some ideas within the Bible are dropped by modern culture out of necessity as the ways of people who lived in less civilized times. Where following them would be considered criminal acts or human rights abuses.

          • Your major failure is that you think that because some doubt exists about some parts of the bible, or because there is some room for interpretation, then everything is completely open for any interpretation.

          • The problem is you think there is a reason I should take one interpretation more seriously than another when any of them are really just blowing smoke for effect.

            Everything is open to interpretation because that’s what people do anyway. They find the version which fits their own views and look for excuses to justify it.

            Anyone who says the Bible is an authoritative source on a given subject is full of crap. They are just trying to find ways to justify their own take on the material. EVERYONE does this. Even the fundamentalists who claim to follow every part of it without question (which is a flat out lie).

          • Just because one comes from the inside does not make him correct. One can operate in total agreement with the books of Acts and Romans and still be totally wrong for Saul who became Paul was wrong by the time he left Damascus. Inside operatives do not make them right

  7. Pastor Hamilton’s remarks remind me of the Catholic Church I grew up in where scripture was “sacred,” but also understood to be a product of it’s time and not to be taken literally -as it is often today- even by Catholics.

    For myself, I have decided to ‘stand back’ and look at the Bible, and not the opposite of breaking it down into finer and finer pieces. In fact, the words of the Bible should be viewed like the strokes of a painter’s brush on a canvass. The Artist is creating a picture using many colors and brush strokes. To try and see the beauty by just looking at the individual strokes or small portions is to miss the entire picture, complete and whole; to miss the greatness of the masterpiece because your nose is pushed up against the canvass.

    • John, I copied your analogy. I had my nose up to the canvas for so many years. Especially recently as I tried to dissect each ‘stroke’ when my daughter ‘came out’ and my son is transgender. I fought over how all of this was going to fit in my comfortable black/white God ‘box’. It just didn’t make sense. I love my children. I knew condemning them wasn’t in line with God’s command to love. In condemnation or judgement God would mirror back to me my brokenness. He showed me He loves me and my children–all broken–with unconditional love. I’m a lover of Jesus now–as I was before–but in such a deeper and bigger way. The world is broken–I’m broken–but this is the reason we have a Savior. It’s exhausting and counterproductive to continue this hateful bantering when there are so many people who are starving physically, emotionally and spiritually. The fruit we bear in this world gives testimony to ‘who’ lives in our heart. I’m choosing to step back and see the ‘whole’ beautiful picture of grace and redemption, tusting in a God who’s way bigger than my intellect can conceive.

    • That’s true, but not for Adam Hamilton. Not for at least half of the UMC, apparently.

      This nation is in serious trouble, starting with its Christians.

      • We like to think that Christianity is the rule book where by we judge God the truth is Christianity as found in the New Testament is total wrong compared to what God said in the Old Testament. The books of John, Acts and Romans open the door for all to be saved by believing and nothing could be further from the truth when we read Ezekiel and Isaiah of the wife who was divorce and the redeeming of the wife, no believing was necessary in the plan of redeeming the wife and the children.

    • Marcus Johnson

      The Bible contains the Word of God, but it is not the actual Word. Unless you claim that every Biblical writer took dictation from God like someone using a Ouija board (which, regardless of your denomination, is a premise with which I can guarantee no Christian-identifying faith tradition agrees), then the Bible remains a collection of texts written by human beings in different historical contexts and yet, when brought together, reveal who God actually is.

      So, cool bumper sticker slogan, Don, but ultimately, pretty superficial.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      The Bible contains the writings of Paul, who never met Jesus, Don Cline. Clearly, those are not the words of God, by the Bible’s own admission.

        • The road to Damascus experience is just that and that which follows is all a lie for when he got to Damascus Acts 22:16 when Ananias said to him arise and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. This type of thing is total wrong for their are three things wrong with it. First you can not wash away your sins and nothing will happen if you call on the name of the Lord, This is all self righteous behavior for Jesus came to redeem a people and not the person in some sort of personal salvation by believing Jesus said I speak it and I do it for my namesake and those redeemed play no role in redeeming.

    • What makes it the word of God is that if the internal evidence proves what is true from that which is false, If God has said that such a thing will happen and we can read of it then does that make it true. If the details are spelled and and the details come to pass as he said would then we can assume that that part is true but when the text creates that which is not supported by internal evidence then we have every right to cast it aside. Take the word believing, used 143 times in the entire biblical text. Examine each time it used and see if they all agree or is there something that gets added to it that makes another gospel as did the book of John, acts, and Romans. There is no believe required in the plan of God to redeem the house of Israel only but when it comes to Jews and gentiles then it is not part of the original plan and the writings are false and are to be rejected. Most doctrines are man’s opinion rather that what does the entire book have to say. In the case of salvation the plan called for the entire flock to be rescued in the Old Testament when we get to John and Acts with Romans it then turns to a personal salvation of the Jews and gentiles with believing be required.

  8. Rev. Stephen Cook

    In order to maintain consistency, I expect literalists will soon be campaigning for the return of human chattel slavery and stoning to death for adultery. After all, it couldn’t be any more obvious, could it?

  9. This is a great interview. Every evangelical Christian needs to read his book and be taught how to form an interpretive lens for reading scripture. All Biblical content outside of the Gospels need to be filtered through the Gospel himself – Jesus, the Christ. He is central. He is Supreme. He is the authority and “the Bible” is subject to Him.

    This piece is so good, I had to promote it on my blog: http://godislovechristianblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/the-bible-inspired-not-dictated-by-god/

    • You use the word gospel extremely loosely for their is no definition of the word gospel in the New Testament, the only place where one can find it is in the OT for there was no NT.
      The gospel of the Old Testament is that Jesus could be remarried to the wife he divorce. He died that he could be remarried to the wife divorce according to the book of Deuteronomy, After dying the could then buy back the wife who had been sold and became lost. Redemption was the buying back of the wife as he was the price paid to buy her from the creditor. The only ones sold were the children of Israel and no others therefore the gospel is the good news that the wife and her children could be remarried to the wife, NO gentiles are allowed for they are all rejected regardless of what one thinks.
      There is no salvation except for the house of Israel, the Hebrews.
      Jerry

    • If you use the gospel to prove itself then you have no proof at, The Old Testament spells out the details why it was that Jesus came to die and it was not for sins as the new Testament says, he came to die that he might remarry his divorce wife and then he could be the price to buy back the wife and the children of her. He was then to pardon the family of the transgressions that had caused the divorce in the first play. Jesus came to convene out the children of him whom had been scattered and was now to reverse the scattering. The good news is that the wife could be remarried to the husband, the gospel of the new Testament is another gospel which is not the gospel at all. There is no definition of the gospel in the New Testament to match what is said in the Old Testament. The gospel of the New Testament was created in John, Acts and Romans where by one could be saved no matter of which species they belong, The gospel is that anyone who believes can be saved when there is no message like that in the Old Testament. The evil gentile church makes Christians of all that God rejected before the foundation of the world. Start with a lie and the truth will never be found.

  10. So the logic is: Jesus didn’t say anything about it, so it must be ok. And the OT interpretations are wrong because they didn’t understand modern culture. And the NT is wrong because they weren’t speaking to people in committed relationships. And the Bible was written by men and just kinda nudged here and there by God, we just have to figure out which parts. Thus – God must have made me this way, even though there are no scriptures directly supporting that either. Hmmmmm.

    • Marcus Johnson

      Wow, what a superficial read of a very complex premise. Just because you don’t agree with it, doesn’t mean you’re smart for dumbing it down. Hamilton never wrote what you claim is “the logic,” never said it in his interview. Whatever Hamilton you just created is an idiot, but it is your own creation.

      • Actually, I think cutting through the complexities (or distractions) makes it easier to see it for what it is – people justifying their beliefs through historical revision.

      • Marcus Johnson

        You’re not talking about cutting through the complexities; you’re talking about dismissing the complexities: that the Bible is not a single book, but a compilation of many separate writings; that these writings were in different languages, genres, cultural and historical contexts; that the writers of these texts wrote to different audiences, over different periods of time, for different reasons, etc. Dismissing those complexities in favor of a “The Bible is either all fact or it isn’t” makes for a much easier read, sure, but it’s also a very illogical and dangerous method for making meaning out of the Bible, a method which can only serve to do what you claim Hamilton is doing: justifying a belief through historical revision (a revision process that only uses the Delete key).

        • I’ll bet that Hamilton sees the Bible as one book, as the Christian faith also does. A foundational tenet of Christianity is the continuity of scripture that was indeed written by many authors over a long period of time. It’s uniqueness is in the fact that it all tells the same story leading to the same conclusion. As far as complexities go, sometimes the simple facts can cut through the fog. I think they were a pretty good summary of Hamilton’ position.

        • Marcus Johnson

          Not really fair to generalize “the Christian faith,” any more than it would be to conceive of the Bible as one book. First-century Christians certainly didn’t conceive of the Bible that way; as a matter of fact, they didn’t conceive of it at all, most likely using the Torah (if they had it, which they probably wouldn’t, thanks to Roman persecution of Jewish sects in the second half of the century). While it’s nice to see you affirm that the Bible was written by many authors over a long period of time, that alone doesn’t address the reality that is the sheer complexity of what the Bible actually is: again, a compilation of books written by many people over many years to many audiences, in many genres, for different reasons, and in vastly different historical/cultural/rhetorical contexts. That is a fact; whether or not it is “simple” is irrelevant.

          As far as “simple facts,” I suspect that folks who ignore the complexity of the Bible are less concerned with “simple facts” as they are with a simple truth, and if the affirmation of that truth requires us to jettison some facts, so be it. I reject the premise that real faith has to look like that; I think it can be messy, and contradictory, and as enigmatic as life itself. There is eternal truth running throughout the Word of God, but you can’t get to it by dismissing the rhetorical context in which that truth appears.

        • The biblical text is not one book but many parts that make up the whole but it the contents of the parts do not agree with the other parts then they are suspect. The premise that Jesus came to die for the sins of the whole world is just plain not true when we read that he came to rescue the wife he divorced in the Old Testament and he was then going to pardon her and the children of their transgressions and Iniquity and remember their sins no more. Where then comes the evil doctrine of the remissions of sins by confessions and believing except when the parts are added to as in the books of John and the books of Acts and Romans written by Paul that anyone who believes whether he be Jew or Gentile can now be saved when they both were rejected by God from the foundation of the world. There is no internal evidence to support the books of John, Acts and Romans with the use of the word believe and you can have some sort of salvation with eternal life.
          Instead read Ezekiel, and Isaiah about the wife who was divorced sold and scattered because of their transgressions and iniquities
          The plan and the details are all spelled out and nothing matches the New Testament..

    • John McGrath

      Leviticus: Kill all adulterers, male and female, but kill only women who have pre-marital sex. Kill disobedient children. Do you practice these Biblical commandments directly from God? Or are you an apostate for not obeying them?

        • Jamie who can't believe

          Actually God would prefer us to eat goats and rams.
          He loves the aroma of burning ram flesh (mmmmm. ram. flesh)

          “Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire.”
          (Exodus 29:18)

          Nothing about that sounds remotely primitive or barbaric.

    • You are almost right, Satan made the beast people who were on earth for millions of years before he made adam See Jeremiah 4:25, remove the word man and change it to the Hebrew word Adam. You will find that there was cropland and dwelling places before the earth became a waste and void to have crop land one must have some one to till the land. it was the beast people whom Satan made in the eons before Adam. He had no breath of life to breath into them so they became the dead ones who were rejected before the foundation of the earth and if you think that they were destroy with the deluge. Read the Hebrew and find that their was 18 of them on board for the trip. Jesus talked of those whose father is the Old Devil. Yes you were made that way from the beginning by your father the Old Devil and all those will be destroyed regardless of what modern live has to say about the subject, God only chose those that were made having the breath of life the living ones and rejected all others and believing changes nothing.
      Jerry

      • I’m waiting for someone to translate the correct Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew translation of the word ‘Yahweh’ into its proper meaning: “BUNK”

        • The correct translation for the word Yahweh is from the book of Isiah and it is I the lord. Since Jesus is not his name and was not used for 350 years until they had the corrupted church text. Go to the Hebrew text and you will find his name in Ani the Romanized form of the Hebrew and it means I. When the angle said he name was ieesoun it is not the word Jesus but in translation if is: being the one of the one as the one I. It is the same name that he used in the Old Testament. So a search for the word in the Hebrew and read all the uses for the word ANI
          The most correct form of the word Yahweh is I the lord God. The proof is in Isaiah 50-55 when he talks of the wife he divorced and the children of her that he was going to redeem and no others were sold and they are the only ones bought back by I the Lord

  11. I don’t see why this is controversial at all — other mainline denominations, especially the Presbyterians have held this view for a long time. In fact it is the classically “Reformed” view of scripture. The bible-worshiping literal equation wherein God=scripture is a uniquely evangelical perspective…

    • CarrotCakeMan

      This really isn’t controversial with the vast majority of Americans, JThomas, just with anti-gays, who are the ones shrieking that we MUST live our lives according to their beliefs and posting vicious personal attacks at anyone who won’t help them hurt LGBT Americans and subvert the US Constitution. The majority of Americans already support marriage equality:

      “[A] record-high 59 percent say they support same-sex marriage, while 34 percent are opposed, the widest margin tracked in Post-ABC polling. Support for same-sex marriage has changed more rapidly than almost any social issue in the past decade. In a Post-ABC poll in March 2004, 38 percent said same-sex marriage should be legal, while 59 percent said it should not, the same percentage now in favor of allowing gays to marry. Nearly eight in 10 say that gays can parent as well as straight people, up from just below six in 10 in a 1996 Newsweek survey. Sixty-one percent support allowing gays to adopt a child, up from 49 percent in 2006 and 29 percent in a 1992 poll by Time magazine and CNN. More than twice as many people consider being gay as “just the way they are,” rather than something they chose.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/support-for-same-sex-marriage-hits-new-high-half-say-constitution-guarantees-right/2014/03/04/f737e87e-a3e5-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

  12. God isn’t dead. God gave us brains for critical thinking. Hamilton takes the radical view that Christianity is a living path, not a petrified fossil. He’s looking at the Bible as the foundation of faith.

    • First of all read the OT and find out that the redeemer was only for the house of Israel, those that had been divorced and sold and scattered because of their transgressions. The transgressions were idol and image worship. Read Isaiah 53 where Jesus said where is the bill of divorcement I gave your mother. He then provided the details on how he would redeem the children and the wife whom he had divorced. No gentiles were included they had been rejected by God before the foundation of the earth.
      In the NT Jesus said he came only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel all of them being only the Hebrew. He sent his learners to the ethnee not the word nation and they were to teach them and to baptized them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit no mentions of gentiles, no mentions of believing. no confession of sins for all of that was not necessary for those righteous children of God that he was going to convene out from among the evil rejected gentiles of this world. There is no such thing as Christianity or the evil church of the gentiles out of Rome and the rest of the world
      Jerry

    • Lets say that the church and Christians are not a part of the plan for the future, the doctrine of Salvation is not found in the biblical text except in the many corrupted books of the New Testament. Begin in the OT and see why Jesus had to die and it was not for sins and it was not for gentiles The word sooteerian is a physical rescue of the enemies of the people of God, read the book of Luke when Zacharias was speaking and the rest of the NT the meaning was changed to except all that God rejected by the confession of sins and believing.

      • Sorry the first post contained an error
        Lets say that the church and Christians are not a part of the plan for the future, the doctrine of Salvation is not found in the biblical text except in the many corrupted books of the New Testament. Begin in the OT and see why Jesus had to die and it was not for sins and it was not for gentiles The word sooteerian is a physical rescue out of the enemies of the people of God, read the book of Luke when Zacharias was speaking and the rest of the NT the meaning was changed to except all that God rejected by the confession of sins and believing. – See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/05/01/adam-hamilton-offers-scandalous-take-on-scripture/#comment-156380

  13. Adam Hamilton’s view of scripture is pretty mainline and centrist. Why it is said to be scandalous only applies if you are a conservative. For the rest of us, his is a moderate position.

    • Marcus Johnson

      Actually, we already do have a view of adultery that is significantly different from that of the Biblical authors. Aside from the union of a man and a woman, what we call “traditional” marriage has traditions scattered across several historical and cultural contexts.

        • Wrong bergontin!

          “Traditional” marriage in the Bible was hardly like what we have today:

          Some of them involve: a man and multiple women, a man his wife and concubines, a man and woman captured as war prize, rapist and victim…
          I could go on.

          Most importantly in the world of the Bible, and unlike moder views, marriage was a COMMERCIAL TRANSACTION between a man and a woman’s father.

      • Marcus Johnson

        Let’s add the phrase, “…in most Western cultures, like the United States,” as there are several countries in which adultery is a capital offense (usually for the women, though, but that’s another topic for another day).

        But you’re right. The idea of adultery as a capital offense is a culturally-specific one, and should probably be treated as such, rather than as a universal concept that is riddled with dozens of logical fallacies.

      • The first thing one needs to understand that God is a racist and his son had two wives and he then divorced one of them God rejected all those made by Satan called the beast. he has never loved them from the foundation of the world. Not only does God hate the gentiles and the Jews he says they are going to be burned to ashes and the house of Israel will walk over the ashes.
        Examine the New Testament Jesus never called those of Satan anything other that the names for animals of the field and he never offered them a conversion plan to be converted. John and Jesus both said that the Pharisees were children of the serpent and as such they would receive the wrath of God on that day when Jesus can finish reading Isaiah 61
        The God of the Old Testament hated Esau who became Edom and he gave the Egyptians and the Ethiopians for the children of Israel then he said that they were different than the children of Israel. If your God is from the New Testament then you have a God that is not like the God of the Old Testament.
        Jesus loved the children of him that he was willing to die for the right to remarry the wife who had been divorced.
        Give me the God of the Old Testament and not the God of the New Testament for he is willing to kill or murder the children for their falures those that he loved enough that he was willing to die for them and they do not have to believe or confess or even know before he would buy them back as he said in the Old Testament

  14. With all due respect, Adam Hamilton is an old school theological liberal who calls himself a “progressive”. Liberals always morph their language according to the times, but it takes very little probing to see their ploy. He sites one of dozens of passages about Divine Inspiration, then changes “God-breathed” to mean mere “influence”. He has you believe the OT says very little about homosexuality, when the whole paradigm in Genesis is clearly heterosexual union. Classifying homosexual practice as sin is clear in OT and NT. The absence of homosexual marriage just pours on the evidence further. But Hamilton is a liberal. Liberals morph. That’s what they have always done. A liberal universalist, not really different from Rob Bell, or anyone who things everyone will basically end up OK. It’s hard to be a more dangerous wolf.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      And anti-gays post personal attacks. That is what they have always done. To date, the evidence is this constant attacking has helped destroy the anti-gay agenda.

  15. Not sure where Hamilton gets his info. Much of his hermeneutic doesn’t seem to have had much scholarly rigour put to it. For example, on the most simple of issues, for him to say that “Paul seems to have invented [the Greek word for inspiration, θεόπνευστο]” is pretty wild. All one has to do is look at the one of the most commonly used Greek Dictionaries to find that such a claim isn’t true. BDAG mentions the following sources using versions of θεόπνευστο: Pseudo Phocylides, Plutarch, Vettius Valens, the Sybillene Oracles, and the Testament of Abraham. The combination in two words, θεία ἐπίπνοια, also appears in Greek inscriptions. It’s unfortunate.

    • Paul writing the books of Acts, Romans, and Hebrews and the writer of the book of John created another gospel which is not the gospel at all, The created a gospel whosoever will can be saved even if they are Jews Gentiles, and heathens all those that were rejected by God from the foundation of the world And all they have to do is use some form of believing with it be the name of Jesus or that the father made him to stand up again but it is always some form of believing.
      When Paul says it is written he was not even able to find the Old Testament verse and had to join together then add that they had to believe then he quotes himself to reinforce what he quoted. Paul is the corrupted of the biblical text when he saves all that God rejected to make his own gospel that God was going to judge the world by.
      The book of John is no more than a series of lies written by Jews the last chapter is nothing more than lies when you compare it to Matthews account.
      The book of Luke ends with a lie for it is total wrong. Mark chapter 16 is wrong when he says believe or be damned
      By the way the Greek Letter text is not Greek language at all. The Greek Letter text is a pro drop language in which there is no pronouns and to prove it they have removed the word Adam some 6000 times The translators made the word to convene as is used in the Old Testament 65 times they made it the evil gentile church some 111times. The name of the one who came to ransom the children of him is not Jesus as the entire New Testament says but rather it is the name of I, the same as it was in the Old Testament
      So much for the evil scholars and translators for the past 2000 years. The Greek Letter text has nothing to do with the Latinized Greek text.of errors by the evil gentile church of the damned

    • exactly. he’s right about this: “I share the kind of things any seminary student in a mainline or moderate evangelical seminary would learn in their first year.” there are, of course, many conservative evangelical seminaries that look at scripture differently. but it’s like finding a politician who wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.50/hr and saying “whoa, totally controversial!” i mean…it’s basically a centrist or slightly center-left position. it’s not like we’ve found a unicorn here.

  16. The pastor seems to have fallen into the most common human response to the question of God: to create God in his own image. This pastor’s theology tells me far more about the pastor and what he wished God was like than it says about the God revealed by Scripture.

  17. Adam Hamilton says,

    “Christians often assume they know…but Paul seems to have created the word “inspired.” It does not appear in the Greek language”

    Good grief!

    You cannot CLAIM The Bible is “the authoritative word of God”
    if it requires such an elaborate user’s manual !

    The Bible ITSELF claims TO BE the user’s manual !
    Religion is nonsense.

    • Max,

      When the NT writers said scripture was breathed by God, they weren’t talking about the entire Bible as we know it. They were referring to the Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament. Their writings weren’t considered by them to be scripture. So technically, no, the Bible didn’t claim what you say.

      • @Dave,

        incorrect.

        The Bible explicitly claims to have all the answers.
        It claims it is the Word of the only true God.
        It claims there is no missing information of value.
        Any interpretation of the Word of God is explicitly forbidden:

        ****
        “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)

        “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20)

        “The law of the Lord is perfect…the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” – (Psalm 19:7)

        “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – (2 Timothy 3:16)

        “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book” (Revelation 22:18)

        • What is wrong with your thinking ability? You claim that no interpretation of the bible is allowed. Then you cite quotes that say nothing should be added to the bible. They don’t say no interpretation of the bible is possbile, they say no words should be added to the bible.
          And of course, the quotes are ripped from context again and don’t quite fit your intent, but proof texting is a long established practice – among those who don’t want to be taken seriously.
          The one quote you have concerning interpretation is goofily taken out of context. Are you pulling these quotes from some atheist manifesto?
          2 Peter 1:
          “19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

          It’s easy being an atheist when you make up your own bible quotes, isn’t it?

          • “It is easy being an atheist….”
            Absolutely. And much, much happier.

            And showing that ‘proof texting’ is wrong is not effective if you are proof texting to make the point.

        • “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book” (Revelation 22:18)

          And that was verse above was referring specifically and *only* to the book of Revelation , NOT to the every verse of every text of the Bible as a whole . Notice how the text of Revelation 22:18 refers to “the prophecy of this book” . Not all the books in the Bible are prophecy .

          The book called ‘The Song of Solomon’ , for example, is not prophecy it is a romantic poem . It is weird when either fundamentalists (or atheists like yourself) try to misconstrue that verse in Revelation 22:18 and misinterpret it as applying to the whole bible .

          As for Proverbs 30:5-6 there is nothing in the text that states that “his words” = every single verse of the Bible .

          As for ‘the law of the Lord’, mentioned in Psalm 19:7, it is important to know that only the first 5 books of the Old Testament was referred to as the law (or Torah) in Old Testament times …not the all the verses of the Bible …

      • @Dave,

        You said, “they weren’t talking about the entire Bible as we know it….Their writings weren’t considered by them to be scripture.”

        Wow. Bunch of questions:

        1. Then why should we consider the New Testament ‘scripture’ if the authors did not consider it scripture?

        2. Was it written without God’s knowing about it?

        3. Is some of the New Testament scripture but other parts are not?
        Which parts of the New Testament are not scripture?

        4. At what time did they become scripture? After Jesus died?
        Then all of it must be scripture since it was written after Jesus died.

        5. Did it become scripture after Jesus rose from the dead? Then it must all be scripture because it was all written after the (supposed) resurrection.

        6. Who decided that those parts were worthy of being called scripture? It seems quite important that such a person would be a famous prophet who could hear what God was saying about which scriptures were valid and which were not – what was his name?

        7. Was Peter unaware that God was using him as an instrument as he wrote?

        8. Shall we assume then, that Peter’s words never became scripture?

        9. How can you answer any of these questions reliably? Mustn’t you simply refer to authorities who will themselves conflict with each other?

        • You completely missed the point. Dave said, quite correctly that when Jesus said “The scripture says” he was talking about the old testament, since the new testament had not been created yet.

          • bergontin,

            I didn’t miss the point at all. You missed the point.
            Jesus wrote the old testament – AS Yahweh.
            JESUS IS YAHWEH. JESUS IS GOD.

            Are you forgetting your Christian teachings?

        • The New Testament title in and of its self is wrong for the New Testament has not yet been given for it is only to the house of Judah and the house of Israel and no gentiles or Jews are included It is obvious that those who made it up do not have the understanding of what it says in the Old Testament when Jesus was coming to die for the divorced wife Aholah and not her sister that he was still married to. There are three kinds of people in the world: Those that can be saved ever or in any way as they are the children of Satan
          The second group is the house of Judah and they are not Jews as some say they remain married to the Lord and were never divorced and sold to the creditor for her transgressions therefor she was never lost.
          The third and last group are the children of Israel known as the house of Israel all of them being Hebrews. They had been divorced sold and lost because of their transgressions.
          Which group are you among is the real question for only those of the Royal family line with the correct DNA are those who will be rescued and pardoned of their transgressions and anything other that this is a lie and all false doctrine out of the evil church fathers no matter what they may have lied about.

        • If we take notice that nowhere is the New Testament quoted by the New Testament writers. Just because the false writers of the New Testament used parts and names does not move them up in rank to that of scriptures.
          After the resurrection the text becomes the religion of the person rather than the whole family of God. Everyone wants a way to be part of the family and why not because of the results are if you are not, so they created their own salvation based on believing that belief is all that it takes to become part of the family of God. When Jesus redeemed the family he ask nothing of them for they were not party to the redeeming of them but they were that which is redeemed.
          The nature of man has been the same since he was formed by Satan before the time that Adam was made in the image and likeness of God, that he was righteous and a living one, all others were rejected and their is no way to change the evil nature of those made by Satan.
          Satan has hated the word of God and the name of Jesus from the beginning, to change scripture is but a small thing to him to find someone who will write and create a false religion of believing.
          The real proof comes when you die whether your believing is sufficient to keep you from being tossed into the flames. God has not changed as the times have changed he still hates those of the wicked one who act out the desires of their father, the Old Devil. It all comes down to one thing and that is: Is one related to God or not by DNA.Those who are not are all those that will be rejected regardless of what they believed or the position for which they stand.

  18. I would love to hear from someone about current “conservative” perspectives on the slavery passages the author refers too. I *assume* you don’t take them to justify slavery in our time. (But perhaps you do). If not, how do you understand them?
    Thanks

    • @Allen,
      I think the dominant conservative answer is “let’s just ignore that part of the bible.”

      If the Old Testament is the word of God, He loved slavery.
      If the Old Testament is men’s indirect understanding of the ‘word of God’, then God loves slavery (and rape) as much as the men did.

      Conservative Christians like to say the Old Testament is no longer valid. This creates dozens of problems they don’t like to consider.
      Here are just a few:

      1. Is God’s word imperfect? Not timelessly valid? Not fair? Was God wrong to order executions under these laws?
      2. What are the implications about God if He was wrong?
      3. Why then does Jesus direct us to ‘love’ Him?
      4. The Commandments only appear in the Old Testament along with the 600 stoning laws are commandments by another name. If all of it can be ignored what is God’s role in producing them in the first place?
      5. Can Jesus be the same God who wiped out humanity several times?

      • Incorrect again. There are many rules in the old testament that specifically say they apply to the Jews – Jewish dietary laws. and many more. Of course people realize that rules for the Jewish people of thousands of years ago no longer apply to gentiles of today. So much of what atheists like to quote are those rules. And then, they obsess with a childlike insistence on ;consistency, when none is needed.

        • God Laws never applied to the evil gentile Jews read the books in the Old Testament how they were rejected by God when ever they got around the people of him
          In the day when Jesus was here he rejected them outright to their face when he said that where I go you can not go. There is no record of a gentile Jew ever being converted to the children of Israel.
          Get your facts from the biblical text and not from the world out side the biblical text, All Jews are evil rejected e.guim, ethnoon, gentiles.in the biblical text.

      • In the Old testament their is one named Yahweh who has the name Ani using romanized letters for the Hebrew. Ani is the name of Yahweh for Yahweh is his title and position. Many times in the Hebrew test he is called I the lord God of you.
        It was Yahweh who talked with Moses and he answered Moses when he ask who shall I say sent me, I the Lord. It was I the Lord that drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea. It was I the Lord that caused the deluge to destroy all those before the deluge. He did not care about their religion and he will do the same this next time. He hated Sodom and Gomorrah because of sexual sins and it is the place where we get the name of the Sodomites which is another name for homosexual sins. I the Lord said that in the last days it would be the same as Sodom and Gomorrah and as ti was before the deluge.
        The Old Testament is about two species of people, those of God and those of Satan. He never offered a way for the guim of the OT to be saved then and he has not accepted the plan of believing now.
        If one is of the guim people than let your actions continue for they are damned before they began life with their evil desires or evil religions of belief.
        Jesus has never loved all the children of the world and his name is still the name I in the New Testament and not the corrupted form of Jesus, the gentile name for the one I.

  19. I am a newer Christian and don’t pretend to have all the answers, but let me tell you what I see from my perspective.

    (1.) The lack of civility, respect, and tolerance is astonishing. Not, as I would have assumed, by the overly conservative, but by the very people who define themselves as progressive, liberal, and tolerant.

    (2) The GLBTQ community and those that support it make arguments that don’t hold water. I continually hear, and read in many of the comments on here, that those who view homosexuality as sin are homophobic, haters of gays, intolerant, and similar to racist, slavery-backers, genocide-supporters, etc.

    Can I make a simple statement that should be obvious? I believe the Bible states that sex outside of marriage is wrong, and a sin. Yet many in my family (who I love) have lived together without marriage. Many of my wife’s and my best friends are in this type of relationship. (In fact, we just returned from a European vacation with a couple that is not married.) I don’t ask, and don’t care if they are married or just living together. But I do not believe there is any ambiguity in what Jesus says about this…..it is sin. Yet if I have the same conviction that practicing homosexual acts is sinful, as is practicing heterosexual acts outside of marriage, suddenly I am evil incarnate, and incapable of being friends with GLBTQ people, or respecting and loving family members who are.

    It is this type of “crusade” by those who declare themselves “progressives” that ruins their arguments for me.

    • @Johnmpls,

      You have clearly decided to not judge adulterers and fornicators.

      You have decided to leave such ‘judgement’ to God perhaps? Good for you.
      I would suspect that homosexuals would appreciate it if you would kindly be just as indifferent to them.

      The hostility does not come from the gay community. They have no doctrine which says “Kill” straight people.

      Religious people do however have a doctrine which says “Kill homosexuals” (Lev 20:13) and many Christians have found that since murder is going too far, they are more than happy to deny Gays the rights that other people would normally have.

      Holding hands in public, a public kiss under an oak tree, a loving glance in a coffee shop.

      Heterosexuals take it for granted that they can love normally without fear
      for just being who they are.
      Yes – Gays are different from straight people. They truly are attracted to the same sex. And even if you don’t believe it, you should accept their position on that matter.

      And just like it shouldn’t be any of your business whether your friends are married. It shouldn’t be any of your business if gays are in love, celebrating that love with a ceremony or defending their right to do these things without being pushed out of jobs, communities, or friendships.

      Arizona tried to pass a very aggressive law a few months ago to stop gay people from being part of society. Arizona Bill (SB-1062)

.
      It failed but there are new laws popping up in Jesus’ name to keep the pressure on these poor people who are being denied a normal life just because they have a certain nature. Leave them alone.

      If you don’t think Gays are under attack for simply being gay you are not paying attention to the attacks they are under
      Or you are not capable of empathy or compassion.

      • @atheist max:

        You are continuing along with exactly what I am saying. Should laws restricting gay marriage be overturned? I believe “yes”, but I believe that because of our society and our freedoms and equal rights. I also believe it is against God’s plan, and that the bible states that.. I also believe that people who wish to live together without marriage should have the right to do so. That if they want to have children they should have that right. But I can support that right, and support them, while still acknowledging that it is a sin.

        I believe this is what is considered “tolerance”, that despite my beliefs, I can uphold and respect both the rights and the beliefs of others, even if I disagree with their beliefs. I do this with GLBTQ, extramarital sex, different religions, greedy people, self-absorbed people, and every other human being. We are all sinners.

        Why is it that those supporters of gay rights who don’t hold the belief that the God of the Christian bible, the Jewish scriptures, and the Islamic Koran considers this a sin…can’t treat those who do with the same tolerance?

        Are there publicized examples of those who hate and attack GLBTQs? Sure. Just as there are cases where gay men are pedophiles. But just as I don’t hold gays as responsible for a tiny minority, I would ask that the GLBTQ movement not paint the overwhelming majority of Christians who stand on and live out their beliefs, including loving all sinners, to the actions of a very small minority.

        Society, including Christians, have shown a remarkable tolerance for the GLBTQ community. And that is good. But as we recognize that people who have different religious beliefs should be allowed to maintain those beliefs, I would request the same tolerance. Just as it is unacceptable to call a GLBTQ member names, so should it be unacceptable to label those whose religious beliefs consider this a sin as “bigots”, “homophobiacs”, “cavemen”, “uneducated” and the dozes of others I read and hear daily.

        Tolerance has to go both ways.

        • @Johnmpls,

          I understand what you are saying. But look at the wider picture of why gays feel in danger. They are under attack in a way that you never will be:

          Arizona Bil SB-1062 was not ‘tolerant’ of gays. It was an attempt to ostracize them from society.
          Christians have been attacking gays for decades trying to outlaw their existence.
          Gays are being told they are second class citizens.
          All of these efforts are being done at the direction of offensive groups of Christians are on a mission to destroy hard won freedoms and to keep gays out of mainstream society.

          Your term ‘tolerate’ is wrong twice:
          You put yourself in the position of ‘allowing’ gays to be who they are. As if they should thank you. And second you assume they are second class citizens and they belonging in that status.

          Then there is the matter of ‘feeling offended’.

          Feeling offended by a group is not an argument unless they have done something to you. You have provided no evidence of any harm done to you.

          The Gay community has not persecuted anyone:

          Gays have proposed NO law to outlaw traditional marriage.
          Gays have proposed NO law to stop Christians from praying wherever they want to pray.
          Gays have proposed NO laws to stop straight people from holding hands in public.
          Gays have proposed NO laws to stop Straight people from doing what they consider repulsive. Straight sex.

          You never had anything to fear from Gays. You still don’t.
          Yet you are offended by them?

          By the way I am not gay.
          I am a married man with family and Christians are so offensive on the gay issue I had to stop teaching sunday school back when I was a Christian. Religion is poisonous, cruel and no good.

        • CarrotCakeMan

          johnmpls wrote, “Society, including Christians, have shown a remarkable tolerance for the GLBTQ community.”

          You mean like the over 30 anti-gay Hate Votes, johnmpls? And yet LGBT Americans have NEVER cooked up a Hate Vote to deprive anti-gays of their Constitutionally protected right to marry the person they love.

        • The Gays need to define what love between two of the same kind is so that we who are not gay can understand what that way of love is and is not found any where in the animal world who also do not have a spirit as doing the living ones. One can only have love for one another of the same species as those created by God. Those who have not the spirit of God, substitute desire for their definition of love.
          For the gay families is not a family that will tend to search the biblical text for the things of God and his ways because they are unrighteous and have no understanding of the ways or God or his righteousness. They are born dead on arrival and live their whole life being nothing but a bag of bones waiting to fall down to await the punishment of God. The real big question is if one is born that way why spend the whole life trying to be accepted by those who do not want to be around the gays and why is it that it becomes such a religious matter to seek to find acceptance with the righteous family of God. Go your way and have the desires of you and serve your god instead of seeking to find acceptance with the God of the Hebrews

      • Once again, you attempt to misquote the bible.
        First of all Leviticus 20 begins like this:
        “The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites:”
        So are these laws addressed to all mankind? No, they are addressed to the Israelites.
        Once again, the atheist has to lie to make his points. To say that Arizona tried to pass a law that would force gays out of society is one of the biggest mistatements I have seen you make.
        Atheists, it seems, need to lie to make their case.

      • The gays are no more than the children of the seed of Satan. all one has to do is to study whey the world before the flood was destroyed and when god said that because of their sexual sins was Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed and as Jesus said it the last day it would be like Sodom and Gomorrah. If God hated it then he still hates the seed of Satan from the foundation to the world those having no soul and are dead ones who are born in rebellion against God and the name of his son. They once ruled this earth when their was no Adam people and now once again they want to be come a special people above all other people with special privileges, They want to be accepted no matter what they have done and you cant even talk about them or it is a hate crime.
        God said in the Old Testament that the sexual deviation would vomit them out of the land of them. Nothing has changed from the beginning Preversion when Satan made them it will continue to the end when they will be bundled and taken out and burned in the flames that does not go out.
        Regardless of the world point of vies it is what does God think about them, he rejected them before the world were formed

        • Would the factions of fundamentalists who tout the conservative movement/ consumerist approach (claiming that getting rich is the “American way of life” blessed by God as “good stewardship”), and that Jesus did not really mean the verses in Luke about how ‘ye cannot serve both God and mammon ‘ and ‘woe, to ye are rich, for ye have received your consolation ‘, to be taken the way they sound , come close to what you call , telling people the scripture means the exact opposite, bergontin ?

  20. All religion is severe Delusional MENTAL ILLNESS! A delusion that there is an imaginary MALE Deity who judges and punishes and rewards us for proper or improper behavior is insane!
    Humans cannot deal with their animal instincts and SEX, so they make up rules to cope with them and call this Religion. Humans are the only creature that can contemplate their death. They fear death and cannot cope with the thought of it. Religion is a COPING mechanism that allows humans to get through the day without the panic that they are just like any other primate on the Earth, except that they know they will DIE and their powerful sexual and violent behavior has to be tamed and controlled or they cannot function as a society.
    Humans wrote the Torah, Bible, Koran and other holy books.
    How can GOD have gender? ..always referred to as a MAN–HE, HIM, HIS, KING etc.? Why would god who created the sun, the earth, and formed man out of dust –need a human woman Mary to create a son? Why would god allow the torture of his son to forgive bad actions of people thousands of years later? Belief in this silly fantasy/fable is a delusion and total insanity!
    Where was god during–Hiroshima Bomb, the holocaust? The WTC attack? On vacation? What did god do on the seventh day of rest, take a nap, lie in bed in Heaven, read the newspaper, watch football, have sex with his goddess wife? why would an almighty powerful god need to rest?
    Why would a deity want a week old baby to suffer excruciating pain from a scalpel cutting his penis for religious circumcision?

    • Geezis,

      You are correct, of course.

      Funny notion from a recent book by Robert Price –
      Assuming Jesus was born of Mary (a human) at least half of Jesus’ DNA had to be descended from a common ancestor with Apes.

      Jesus therefore could not have been entirely free of man’s original sin.

      Any acceptance of Evolution destroys Christianity completely.
      Yet I’ve heard many Christians say the do not believe in Adam & Eve because of evolution.

      Well, folks…it is time to call the American Atheists and get your membership card because you cannot have a sinless Jesus if evolution is true.

      Jesus Christ, Superchimp.

      • That is perhaps the oddest comment you have made.

        Let’s look at the raw bad thinking here:
        “Assuming Jesus was born of Mary (a human) at least half of Jesus’ DNA had to be descended from a common ancestor with Apes.”

        Since it was a virgin birth in which she gave birth to God, what makes you think that of necessity, Jesus DNA had to follow the rules for normal births of regular human beings?

        “Jesus therefore could not have been entirely free of man’s original sin.”

        Why not? Even if you believed your first statement, what makes you think that Original Sin is transmitted through DNA?
        Such bad thinking is astonishing.

        • @Bergontin,

          According to church doctrine Original sin is INHERITED and it automatically dooms each child to eternal Hell at birth. That is why every child must be baptized as a first step so they will be put on the path to Salvation from Hell.

          The church claims Jesus was both ‘fully human’ and fully God but it was not understood until the recent century that Jesus must have had the actual DNA which connects him to apes – thanks to Mary (and thanks to God Himself as I will explain).

          Where in the tree of evolution, then, would Adam & Eve specifically have existed? According to DNA there is no break in the line from sea to land so there never was a ‘first man’. Where then would original sin have occurred?

          Let’s assume then, that original sin is inherited as part of ‘being human’:

          1. Ancient people had no idea that children had chromosomes or DNA or any ingredients from BOTH parents – it was thought that women only incubated the man’s child. In this way it is preached Jesus is primarily ‘god’s child’ and not ‘mary’s child’.

          2. Mary was a descendent of apes as was Jesus. God would also have been part ape to provide the male chromosome to make Jesus a boy.

          3. If God had to provide ape DNA and chromosomes to make Jesus a boy – God would have to be part ape also from the same line of evolution.

          The inheritance of DNA proves that Jesus had to be ape-related from both mother and father. Jesus therefore had to have inherited original sin as every other ape-like creature must have had it before him.

          God (if he exists) is related to humanity through the same DNA and therefore carries the identical sin. If this sounds ridiculous you should examine why religion is dying off in the younger generations.

          If Original sin requires Salvation –
          God had better repent :-)

        • The short answer to your question is “Jesus was a boy”
          Chromosomes which determine sex are inherited from parents of the same species.

          You are free to claim that God just magicked Jesus’ chromosomes into position – but then you have to ask why Jesus had to be born at all.
          Wouldn’t there be a thousand other ways God could just have magicked people into salvation?

          You are free to believe God just magicked everything. But don’t feel bad if everybody laughs and shrugs it off.

        • Jesus was born of the seed of Adam he was formed in the image and likeness of God and became a living soul compared to all those watching who were dead ones. Those born by the seed of Adam are righteous just as their father is so to are they compared to those being dead and unrighteous. The seed of Satan had been here before the world became a waste and a desolation where God saw dwelling places and cropland but he saw no Adams When Adam lost his visible righteousness it is never brought up again except in the evil gentile church writings
          There was no original sins that doom the Adams to hell for he had already written their name in the book of Life before the foundation of the earth, those that were doomed to hell are those of Satran who were made by him.
          In the resurrection in the book of Ezekiel all the house of Israel are made to stand up again that have ever been killed
          When Jesus died for the right to remarry the wife the living ones in the tombs of them were made to stand up again while the dead ones remained in their tombs
          The children of the wicked ones are always the rejected ones waiting the wrath of God not for what they have done or said but who is their father and their being the dead ones from the foundation of the earth
          Church doctrine is all a lie from its beginning when all those that God rejected are made to be evil gentile Christians on the basis of believe.
          It was Satan that made the first man millions of years before God made Adam and he breathed into his nostrils and he became a living soul
          Adam is not a man and has never been an Adam nor was Jesus the Son of Man even if you find it in the biblical text. Jesus was the Son of Adam the the Son of God.
          The translators remove the Adams 350 times in the Old Testament and 6000 times in the New Testament. The Greek Letter test is a pro drop language having no pronouns but rather race/species words in their place.That is why no one knows the name of Jesus from the corrupted English Test, it was said to call him ieesoun being the one of the one as the one I being the one of Adam.
          return to the text and remove all the evil church words and add in all the Adams and you will find another text about the children of Israel being the only ones he came to redeem and none being a e.guim of the Old Testament and ethnoon of the New Testament and nation gentile and heathens of the corrupted English translation.

          • Hummmm

            Jesus born from the seed of Adam.

            Why not born from the womb of Mary?

            I am sure you have an answer

            Blessed Be

  21. Atheist Max…..I am not going to get into a theological discussion with a person who touts himself to be an atheist. It doesn’t do any good. People cant relate or understand scripture for two reasons. 1. It is impossible to understand scrpiture unless the Holy Spirit resides in you. Using man’s logic to understand God is impossible. 2. Arguing scripiture with unbelievers is a worthless endeavor and produces nothing.

    • @Mike,

      I have NEVER found debates with religious people pointless.
      Enormous headway is usually accomplished. I find most Christians to be extremely curious about whether their faith is valid or not.

      However, as you do not use ‘man’s logic’ I understand why you have had less success. :-p

      No need to reply…but..
      Why is it that every theologian has been wrong about God’s Laws and what they mean? If God’s word is perfect why is there so much confusion through the centuries about the Law?

      If you asked a Theologian 900 years ago whether it was okay to put up a Christmas tree, you might have been burned at the stake for asking – because it was strictly forbidden to put up Christmas trees. (Jeremiah 10:24)

      The Bible claims to be the ultimate book of answers – yet it constantly needs interpretation by people who did not write any of the answers in the first place.

      If the Bible is true then Christmas Trees will send you to Hell.
      The Book of Jeremiah bans holiday trees in the house along with decorations of silver and gold as one of the seven deadly sins.

      But modern Theologians have ‘reinterpreted’ this to mean these things are okay!
      Today, Christmas trees are “a sign of God’s ‘evergreen’ love.” (Oh, Tannenbaum)

      No “book of answers written by God” can simultaneously require “a separate book of answers modifying those answers not written by God.”
      Both books would have to be written by the same authority. Yet there is only one Bible and no separate ‘user’s manual’.

      As a result, all of “God’s laws” has been interpreted to mean the exact opposite over the last 3000 years.

      These are some of the things that God has absolutely BANNED
      According to Theologians of the past:

      CHRISTMAS TREES – (Jeremiah 10:24)
      SHAVING – (Leviticus 19:27)
      CURSING – (Ephesians 5:4)
      Gossip – (Leviticus 19:16)
      Football on Saturdays (Exodus 20:8)
      Eating Lobster – (Leviticus 11:10)
      Eating Pork – (Leviticus 11:7)
      Cotton/Polyester – (Leviticus 19:19)
      Associating with women who
      Are having their Periods – (Leviticus 15:19-20)

      Jesus says the smallest seed is a mustard seed. It isn’t true.
      Today Theologians agree that Jesus was just mistaken.
      However, someday Theologians – motivated by whatever is in the air at the time – may require people to be burned at the stake for refuting Jesus’ claim about the mustard seed.

      If God’s laws are true, Why are theologians always getting it wrong?

      • Let’s put on our thinking caps and think about what Max has just said. He just told us that the prophet Jeremiah, living thousands of years before Christ, told us that we should be executed for putting up Christmas trees.
        Did Jeremiah know about Christmas trees? Not a chance. Lets see what Max says:
        “The Book of Jeremiah bans holiday trees in the house along with decorations of silver and gold as one of the seven deadly sins.
        But modern Theologians have ‘reinterpreted’ this to mean these things are okay!Today, Christmas trees are “a sign of God’s ‘evergreen’ love.” (Oh, Tannenbaum)”
        What does Jeremiah actually say?
        “Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. 2 This is what the Lord says:
        “Do not learn the ways of the nations
        or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
        though the nations are terrified by them.
        3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
        they cut a tree out of the forest,
        and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
        4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
        they fasten it with hammer and nails
        so it will not totter.
        5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
        their idols cannot speak;
        they must be carried
        because they cannot walk.
        Do not fear them;
        they can do no harm
        nor can they do any good.”
        So, does Jeremiah have anything at all to say about “holiday trees”?
        No, obviously he is talking about making idols, making false gods. Nowhere is there anything at all bout getting killed for making false gods, either. Max just made that up.He got the cite wrong, too, it is not Jeremiah 10:24.

        • @Bergontin,
          Do you deny that people were killed over their Christmas Trees and Christmas celebrations during the Reformation?

          I always assume Christians know more about their history than they do.
          Shame on me.

        • Go study your Hebrew text for their is no word man in line 12 rather it should be e.guim these people are idol worships of their father the beast. God wanted his people to have no part of the e.guim for they are of the seed of Satan with all their evil practices
          The People of God are of a different species that those who are the e.guim who have been rejected from the foundation of the world..
          The bible is about the nature of God and his dealing with the Hebrews of the seed of Adam
          The gentiles as we call them are unable to sin even if we think they so the evil acts of them, they were born of the wicked one and can never be changed. God chose out the seed of Adam before the worlds were formed and he rejected all other of the families of the earth.
          All the evil things that go on are not the fault of God bur rather of the wicked one who still has rights on this earth until the day when a single messenger of god will take him and bind him and cast him into the pit
          Put the blame where it belong on the beast that was cast out of Heaven in the eons of time before their was and Adam dwelling on the earth.

      • Max also says “The Bible claims to be the ultimate book of answers – yet it constantly needs interpretation by people who did not write any of the answers in the first place.”

        Ever hear of the Constitution,Max. it was written a long time ago,. It needs constant interpretation. We have a Supreme Court that does that for us. Texts written long ago often need interpretation. It does not make them invalid. By your thinking, we should ignore the Constitution.

        Just like we have a place where qualified, learned men make authoritative interpretations of our Constitution, we also have a place where qualified, learned men make authoritative interpretations of the bible. In the Catholic church, it is called the Magisterium of the church. There, just like Supreme court judges, they study issues for a long time, they are aware of the parts of the bible that only applied to the early Jewish people, and what parts apply to us today. In Protestant religions, they have more trouble because every man is their own Pope, but they usually coalesce around the same ideas.
        So, apart from the fact that almost everything you asserted as true is not true, we do have a common massive set of beliefs. There are still iitems that get debated, but big deal. Most of it is settled.

        • @Berg,

          Nonsense. You are wrong again.

          Unlike the Constitution, The Bible claims to BE the interpretation.
          You have no right to interpret it unless you leave the religion:

          “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20)

          “The law of the Lord is perfect…the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” – (Psalm 19:7)

      • Lets examine another of Max’s hilarious bible interpretations:
        “Football on Saturdays (Exodus 20:8) is “absolutely banned”

        Now, the interesting theological question here is whether when God said “Football on Saturdays is banned” whether he meant Soccer or American Football.

        So lets consult the appropriate text:
        ““Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy”

        Nothing in there about football, is there.
        Max, oh Max. Perhaps, you, as an atheist, got it wrong?

        • @Bergontin,

          I’m sorry. Was the Bible not clear?
          Do football players in the NFL not get paid to WORK on weekends?

          I’ll be a little clearer for you, the Bible says: “You shall not do any work”

          So even if your job is only to pick up sticks
          you should be stoned to death for doing it on the Lord’s Day:

          “…They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. …And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones…” (Numbers 15:32-35)
          What would Jesus do?

          Jesus agrees! (John:7:19) “Did not Moses give you the law [of stoning], and yet none of you keepeth the law” (John 7:19)

          If you cannot work to pick up sticks, you certainly cannot work on a football team, baseball team, basketball team….do janitorial duties, wash other people’s laundry.

          What is it gonna take to wake people up that the bible is nonsense?

        • Remember this was written on for the children of Adam the sons of Israel and not for any of the children of the beast people those of the seed of Satan. they are dead ones and rejected ones and he cares not what they do in this life for the are just a bag of bones waiting to fall to the earth when they will be ushered into the flames. He had rejected them millions of years before he made the Adam and made a covenant with the house of Israel. The biblical text is only for and about the children of God those of the seed of Adam.

      • Max, thanks for reminding me which is the “Bretheren, thou shalt not shave” verse in the Bible (oi, and from the original text even, instead of the New Revised Goy Version; such a deal!) A lot of the Fundies in my neck of the woods think wearing a beard gives glory to…oh, I don’t know…could it be…S*A*T*A*N?!? I never bother to politely mention that the book they claim to base their lives upon was written by people who believed the world is flat.

      • The Book of Jeremiah bans holiday trees in the house along with decorations of silver and gold as one of the seven deadly sins. –

        RESPONSE : (1). The decorated trees in Jeremiah were trees that were specifically dedicated to Babylonian gods , not to Christmas trees …the seeming parallels between the two are cosmetic .

        (2) The phrase “seven deadly sins” is nowhere used in Jeremiah …

    • “Using man’s logic to understand God is impossible. – ”

      The claim above that man has a “different logic” than God is a claim that goes against Isaiah 1:18 which , according to the text , quotes God as saying to a man “come and let us reason together” .

      If there was some sort of supposed dichotomy between some sort of so-called “human logic” and divine logic , then there could be no reasoning *together* in Isaiah 1:18 , since there would be no common conceptual frame of reference between God and man. Clear communication of messages between God and humans would require the same logic / a shared set of concepts between both God and humans , otherwise communication could not take place .

      The principles of deductive logic were not created by man ; they principles of logic have always existed …they pre-exist .

      Man has merely discovered them , not created them …

      Furthermore, even Paul the apostle (whose writings fundamentalists tend to prefer to the teachings of Jesus) in Romans claimed that people can understand God via observing the orderly patterns of nature .

      St.Paul in Romans wrote,

      ‘For the invisible things of God are clearly understood by the things that are made and the things which appear , even his invisible power and Godhead ‘ .

  22. There’s nothing scandalous here. I’m no fan of Hamilton’s liturgical populism but this is all perfectly mainstream. If anything it seems like he’s trying to coax back to the mainstream of theological thought those who got scared off by Altizer and Cox in the 1960′s. Borg, Achtemeier, and Brueggemann have all been writing in this vein all along. It’s the mainstream of exegesis.

  23. One thing I don’t entirely understand is this unprecedented focus on homosexuality both in the comments and the article.

    What interests me much more is the application of Scripture upon daily life and how it transforms us. I come from a background of high theology, but I feel like I missed something. Yes, I know all of this “stuff”, I know the Catechisms, but how does it apply to my life and how does it effect those around me?

    One criticism I have is that of Adam being a pastor of a Mega-church. This may be highly exaggerated and incorrect, but I feel mega-churches constantly waste the money – The Parable of the Talents – that God has given them. Who cares about fancy technology when the homeless are starving outside our doors, our friends can’t find a place to live, ect?

    The Gospel is something that transforms people’s lives and those around them, not just spiritually, but from a very literal standpoint in people’s lives.

    • There are two species of people on the earth and the gospel can not and never has change the species of the seed of Satan and if your gospel comes from the New Testament then it is no gospel at all, it is a gospel created by the writer of John who by the way has to be an evil gentile Jew, and the gospel that was created by Paul in the book of Acts and Romans
      The real gospel was that Jesus came to die to be able to remarry the wife and them redeem the wife and children from the creditor who owned them. It takes no believing and the confessing of sins.
      What I hear you say is all false doctrine out of the evil gentile church of the damned. If you can not prove you believe system from the Old testament then you have no believe system why Jesus came to die and it was not for the sins of the whole world nor does he love all the children of the world. In fact he hates the most of them. The gospel has nothing to do with being spiritual for it was and is a real live rescue of the people of him out from among the evil gentiles of this world, and he is going to take only the children of him that are related to him by DNA

  24. I happen to side with Hamilton and his hermeneutical view. Unfortunately, any reading of scripture that does not abide by the dominant interpretation will be subjected to scrutiny. The text that was written in its context must be interpreted in its context. Furthermore, if Jewish Rabbinic sages (midrash) do not subject scripture to a static interpretation, why do we?
    On another note, the author of this article has erroneously credited Hamilton and the Resurrection church as being the largest UM Congregation. That claim belongs to Windor Village UMC, Kirby John Calwell as Pastor, with a membership of 17,045. Peace!
    http://www.genesisonecreative.com/30/preview/index.php#presentation

  25. Wow, a way of interpreting the Bible that requires zero actual moral rules and allows people to fully conform to the world’s standards of behavior comfortably. How convenient! If only the martyrs who died bloody for the faith throughout the ages had had the privilege of meeting Mr. Hamilton before committing to such unnecessary virtue.

      • Yeah, you’ll forgive me if I don’t regard highly the opinion of someone with the handle “Atheist Max” on the morality of the Bible or lack thereof.

        • No.
          The Good Samaritan was an Atheist.
          And yet he is the best example of moral behavior in the entire Bible.

          Not once does the Samaritan say, “I’m helping you because of God”
          He wasn’t a Christian (as it is Jesus telling the story).
          And the Theists walking by the sick man on the side of the road were all strong believers. The Samaritans are still mostly pagans and agnostics today.

          • At the risk of feeding the troll, you have presented no evidence whatsoever that the good Samaritan was an atheist.
            Which isn’t surprising since the good Samaritan didn’t exist, but was a character in a parable Jesus taught about what it meant to love your neighbor. Since he never existed outside of a pedagogical example, and since his belief or lack of belief or negative belief in God was unmentioned, your conclusion that he was an atheist is unfounded, especially since at that time most Samaritans were shunned not because they were atheists but because they practiced an offshoot of Judaism deemed impure by the ruling elite (which would have counted among their ranks the two who passed by the injured man the good Samaritan ended up helping).
            Further, your claim that the good Samaritan represented the greatest example of moral behavior in the Bible is unfounded. The moral teachings of the bible are accurately summed up in the Gospel according to St. Matthew:
            “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
            Now, two moral directives are established, with a hierarchical structure clearly evident: The first and greatest commandment is to love God completely. The second (and lesser) commandment is the love one’s neighbor as oneself. The parable of the good Samaritan demonstrates how fulfilling the second of these two operates in a real world situation; it says nothing about how fulfilling the first and greatest of these operates.

          • How many times are you going to keep repeating that nonsense about the Good Samaritan being an “atheist,” blatantly ignoring the history of the people and the region? The Samaritans not only had religion, they considered themselves the guardians of true ancient Israelite worship.

          • Jamie who can't believe

            Dear S. Keegan,

            The Samaritans existed in the time of Jesus. They were nominal pagans and agnostics with some Jewish ideas – just as they are today.
            Jesus used them as an example in the one truly moral instruction of the entire new testament. One strains to find a better moral in the Bible.

            Atheism is not the claim that God is impossible – it is lack of belief OR the complete INDIFFERENCE to the existence of a god.

            The Samaritan’s behavior functions with INDIFFERENCE to the existence of a god. He is moral without calling upon god. He is moral without referring to God.

            The Samaritan is moral REGARDLESS of a God.
            He doesn’t even bring it up.

          • @Jamie who can’t believe,

            I don’t know if ‘indifference’ to existence of a god qualifies as Atheism. Possibly. Certainly you are right that atheism is not a claim that god is absolutely non-existent, just that there is as yet no reason to believe in it.

            @S.Keegan,

            When Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan he makes a point of showing that the Theists (those who believe in God) are the ones who are not behaving morally.

            The Samaritan behaves morally not because of a godly injunction or a commandment – but because “he takes pity”.

            If it is true that Atheism can be defined as an indifference to god’s existence the Samaritan qualifies as an atheist. There is no place in the parable where God is spoken of – and there is no sign that the morality coming from the Samaritan is ‘Godly’ or ‘godlike’.

            ATHEIST TO THE RESCUE:
            PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN

            “…Jesus said:
            “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
            A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper.
            ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
            “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
            The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
            Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
            (Luke 10:30-37)

            Any atheist can ‘take pity’ just as well.
            Morality does not require a god. And everybody knows it.

          • “The Samaritan is moral REGARDLESS of a God. He doesn’t even bring it up.”

            That’s funny. The Samaritan woman at the well did.

          • There can be some elements of plausibility in what you have stated there , sir, (though to concede that is not the same as endorsing atheism) .

            Actually, whatever religious or theological affiliations of the Good Samaritan may have had, (if any) in the parable found in Luke, is not disclosed by the text .

            The Samaritans were considered “heretics” by the Pharisees , since they worshipped at different places of worship than the Pharisees did …

            Indeed, the good Samaritan would not have been a Christian (at least not in the explicit sense that many evangelicals and fundamentalists would call “Christian”) , but he still did do what was morally right, according to Jesus .

            Jesus placed great emphasis on the story of the Good Samaritan , he even tells the man who asked Jesus , what should I do to gain eternal life, to ‘Go and do thou likewise ‘ , after describing what the Good Samaritan did . The Good Samaritan is key to a deeper understanding of the other teachings of Jesus .

            If an agnostic or an atheist does what the Good Samaritan did to help others and does so *not* so as they can feel good about themselves , nor to gain happiness, nor worst still pride from doing so, but does so *instead* out of a motive of pure compassion …. the principle to help others for the sake of generosity, then such an atheist (or agnostic) might be far closer to serving Christ than some would be who call themselves Christians , such as those , say, for example, who would rather make sure that , say, they have a new luxury car to keep up with the Joneses in the name of success … the so-called “American Dream”, or are more concerned about thinking about any special recognition that they imagine they will receive when they get to heaven for being a better “soul winner” than other evangelicals in their church , *instead of* being concerned about the suffering of the poor on earth .

            After all, Jesus taught that the last shall be first and the first shall be last . An agnostic (or atheist) who is not hedonistic , but motivated by a purely altruistic desire to help their neighbor may be drawn to Jesus in a way that they don’t yet have full conscious awareness of …

            Though Jesus is the only name under heaven where men can be saved (as it is mentioned in Acts) , there is the possibility that those who, in some indirect sense, live in accordance with the name , might exemplify the name of Jesus, even more than those people who might verbally call on the name and yet who do not manifest what the name of Jesus represents .That prospect is not a notion of salvation by works, but rather a proposal that God looks more at the dispositions of what the Bible calls “the heart ” of a person , *instead of* whether a person has the “proper” approach to the sort of doctrines which are not specifically about how we help to comfort people who are poor and outsiders .

            In the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 , the ones that feed the least of the brethren , give them something to drink , welcome them when they are a stranger, give them clothes, visit them when they are sick and in prison , are the ones that serve Jesus and which Jesus indicates will be told to inherit the kingdom .

            Yet they , according to the parable, will ask Jesus , ‘when were you hungry and did we feed you, when were you thirsty and did we give you something to drink, when were you a stranger and we take you in , when were you sick and prison and did we visit you ?’, and, then, Jesus will say unto them : ‘inasmuch as you did it unto the least of these my brethren , ye did it unto me ‘ .

            UNLESS the people in the parable of sheep and goats , found in Matthew told to inherit the Kingdom by Jesus were asking a rhetorical question , or they were all only those Christians who never got around to reading Matthew 25 , then the text indicates that there will be people who will be found to have served Christ without having full conscious awareness that they were doing so , (and that *not* only those who are sure they are the Christians). Those are the ones who serve those who Jesus calls ‘brethren , and may not be fully aware that they are serving the brethren .

    • The bible is not based on some moral application for God chose out a people before the foundation of the world to be the people of him and he would be their God
      He says in the book of Amos that the whole house of Israel is the only family of all the families of the earth. His choosing out was not based on how they lived or what they eat but all these things are but the lifestyle he choose for them but as usual they failed the program but that did not remove their being the sons of God
      If ones reads the Hebrew the text is so graphic that you would not want to read it to his mother in public.The translators should have washed the mouth of God with soap for the things he said

  26. Stan B..

    Who is God? Where did God come from? The answer to these two questions and all other theological questions are found in these TWO statements….GOD IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE THE CONCEPT OF THE HUMAN MIND. GOD IS NO BIGGER OR GREATER THAN WHAT THE HUMAN MIND THINKS GOD IS!! THAT IS WHY WE HAVE SO MANY RELIGIONS, BELIEFS, AND UNDERSTANDINGS OF WHAT GOD AND JESUS CHRIST IS ALL ABOUT.

    Bro.Adam, your concept of God, Jesus, and the scriptures is a great attempt to help all better understand the difficulty involved in Biblical understanding. And I thank you for your efforts..

  27. All of this and more has been covered in the book “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity” by two other United Methodist pastors, David Felten and Jeff Procter-Murphy. It’s good to see more pastors being courageous enough to speak the truth that has been in their hearts for many years.

  28. Musial Pearson

    Musial Pearson With Rev. Hamilton’s understanding of the scriptures and in light of his new book on certain beliefs, we might as well just throw the baby out with the water. What good is the bible if we can’t believe what is written was God inspired as Paul said it was? What good is the bible if we have nothing to base our true beliefs on that homosexuality is against God’s intended way of living? What good is the bible if we take bits and pieces and decide what really pertains to us today and what really pertained to the people of the age it was written? Just simply do away with the bible altogether and just abide by man’s laws instead of God’s. Rev. Hamilton has some interesting arguments, but that is the reason we are in great debate of certain issues continuously not only in the United Methodist Church, but also with many other denominations. There is nothing in this book that will make me believe that it is ok for men to sleep with other men and women with women. Rev. Hamilton, I pray God will continue to bless you, your family and your church, but I also pray that God will enlighten your understanding of who HE really is and what HE wants HIS people to live like on this earth.

  29. If Adam Hamilton has finally interpreted scripture rightly, and can put Christianity back on track after 2000 years of error and ignorance, then we owe him a great debt, and I will enjoy talking with him in Heaven someday, because, by grace, I’ll be there too.

    If Adam Hamilton is merely one more false teacher that leads the flock astray with sweet sounding words and flashy intellect, he will be irrelevant in a few years, and I’ll miss the conversations we might have had.

    I’m willing to be open-minded and read his book. In all fairness, my church-going friends who don’t know their bibles think Adam Hamilton is great! In fact, they’re more open to Hamilton than they are to bible study. They’d rather study his books than their bibles!

    • Christianity was off track before it began and does not if know where the tracks are to get back on for they were wrong in its beginning and has never been right. Christianity was and is written for all those that God has rejected from the foundation of the world with the believing unto so sort of corrupted salvation that does not exist, The proof comes from the Old Testament and not from the writings of the fathers and some half hatch scholar from his ivory tower of Ignorance with no understand of the things of God and his righteousness
      The gospel of the evil gentile church was and is still wrong today after 2000 years.The answers are in the Old Testament and not in the New Testament for the most part it is wrong and nothing but a bunch of lies being told by evil writers of the seed of Satan.

  30. (Leviticus 18:22)-  You must not lie down with a male in the same way that you lie down with a woman. It is a detestable act. (Mosaic Law)
    (Romans 1:26-27)- 26 That is why God gave them over to uncontrolled sexual passion, for their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; 27 likewise also the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full penalty, which was due for their error. (Apostle Paul to the Roman Christians)
    (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)- 9 Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, 10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom. (Paul to the Corinthian Christians)
    (Malachi 3:6)- For I am GOD; I do not change. (said God through the prophet)

    Just let’s be clear, this IS what the BIBLE says…. note also the penalty is not HELL but that these ones “will not inherit God’s kingdom.” Also, GOD does NOT change just because society changes it’s viewpoint on these matters. People will do whatever seems good in their eyes and no human should judge another but at some future day, GOD will do the judging.
    One last scripture: (2 Timothy 4:1-4)- 4 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his Kingdom: 2 Preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching. 3 For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. 4 They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.

    This is what’s happening on a worldwide scale in our day. People don’t want the TRUTH. They want to have someone tell them what they want to hear…. that God loves them just the way they are with NO need to change anything. Traditionally, it’s never been easy to be a true Christian. That is the same today. It is, however, VERY EASY to be a “false christian” because ANYTHING GOES.

  31. The reason this is “scandalous” is because many Christians are uncomfortable with a lack of religious certainty. People create vast doctrines, dogmas, and entire systems to codify everything that “God spoke” because it is extremely difficult to live out your faith when everything can be doubted and when there isn’t some firm anchor of unquestionable certainty.

    The problem is that God and the Bible do not provide total certainty. There is always tension between our worldviews and the Bible, because it is a work that exists to generate such tension. This is true of many wisdom texts, especially when they are built on apparent paradoxes. They test our ability to comprehend truths that extend way beyond the feeble reaches of our minds – but they do this precisely because their purpose is to act as a forcing function for spiritual and mental development. The more you wrestle with Scripture, the more you grow as a Christian. When you become satisfied or comfortable with it, then you have a problem.

    I don’t think firm doctrine is the proper response to the Bible, and thus I am in agreement with Rev. Hamilton. The core of our faith is Jesus Christ, and his message is one that is extraordinarily difficult to put into practice. Rather than accepting our extreme fallibility in the face of this truth, we try to make ourselves comfortable as Christians by forming and codifying doctrine. But the Word challenges and pulls apart such legalism, while nonetheless demanding our fealty to a deity who is Perfection itself. When faced with that tension between our perfect God and our extremely imperfect selves, the proper response is the sort of love that generates true faith. We accept and contend with our own fallibility by continuously attempting to unconditionally love God and our fellow human beings – not by crushing others under the burden of human religious doctrine.

    “They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules.” Isaiah 29:13, paraphrased

    The practice of Christianity is not about codifying Scripture as a work of inerrant truth that serves as an instruction manual for human existence. It is accepting with serenity that our relationship with the difficult truths of Scripture is one of continuous challenges and uncertainty. This is not a comforting or easy view of the Bible, but it can be accepted with joy.

  32. Now you know why this country has no official religion, and never should, Christians can’t even agree…..

    I was born and confirmed Catholic, attended Lutheran church, married Presbyterian, but found myself visiting that eye-sore mega-church COR down the street.

    One thing I have learned, Adam has NO AGENDA, he does not preach AT you (bye bye Jerry Johnson) with one view or opinion. He spends more time doing research on some sermon series than others spend in seminary. He always has time to LISTEN when you talk to him. He injects SO MUCH historical and cultural color, and he empowers you to find a true belief, and be able to defend it. I’ve learned more about the history and culture of the Bible by attending…

    You can believe homosexuality is wrong, and Adam will respect your opinions, but not before he lays a ton of facts at your feet. If you want to go toe to toe, better do your homework…..

    I leave you with my intellectual query. Science has shown that there are people with non-typical male/female sex chromosones: (wikipedia:)

    Klinefelter Syndrome
    XXYY
    XYY
    XXY
    etc.

    Who does your God allow these people to love? And who may they be intimate with? and what chapter of the bible is that covered in?

    There is one answer, the person they love, and loves them.

  33. James 1:8
    A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

    I have a question for Mr. Hamilton……why did God create man with his male organs and woman with theirs……sorry but all I have had to ever say is (and excuse my bluntness) they don’t go together and they don’t fit. How are we suppose to populate the world if we decide we’re gay…..so…..question…..what if Adam and Eve decided they wanted to be gay………wonder where we’d be today.

  34. The Balfour Declaration operated enshrouded in secrecy, gave no reasons for the Declaration, outlined
    no conditions – other than those in the Declaration itself – and expected no
    accountability. The Declaration was not debated in either of the Houses of
    Parliament and like most foreign policy issues, was never approved by the
    British legislature.

    Many leading Christian Zionists were Jewish converts to evangelical
    Christianity who did much to shape the development of popular evangelical thinking in these matters. It was this Protestant religious discourse that
    marked the family backgrounds of many of the key members of the British
    political elite responsible for formulating the Balfour Declaration.

    http://assets.cambridge.org/97805215/15184/excerpt/9780521515184_excerpt.pdf

    And there remains no explanation of how Mitt Romney became radicalized:
    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/6234/romney_on_israel%3A_more_gop_than_lds/

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