W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
USING GOD'S NAME FOR ONE'S OWN THOUGHTS
THE REVERSE KIND OF PLAGIARISM
It could be called something else; but since plagiarism is using another's thoughts or words as if one's own, so using another's name for one's own thoughts is simply the reverse.
In an account of a debating exchange between PM Rudd and what apparently was a Bible believer, the circumstance that Rudd's change, to come out in support of same-gender marriage, arose. How could he, since the Bible is contrary to it ? Ah! he is reported to have replied with considerable audience satisfaction, if you take that line, then the Bible makes slavery natural. What a bizarre belief, not of the Bible's presentation, but of Rudd concerning it. Natural ?
SIN IS NATURAL:
BUT IT IS NOT SUPERNATURALLY APPROVED
Slavery is as natural as pollution. If you insist on blowing up nerve gases, potential atmospheric pollution, then you may merely make matters worse. There are ways of treating problems such as the cavalier, the haughty, the Don Quixote charge, and on the other hand, the quiet work of dedicated hands. They may differ widely in result, even when the ultimate intention is similar.
Thus you could try to remove slavery by having the US Civil War, which even now is made the subject of the most poignant and desolatory footage readily imaginable! where courage and persistence and suffering and sacrifice and ruin and degradation and agony and anguish flower like a crop of sour grass. You can do this. You can speak as if any other course is sheer hypocrisy, weakness and so on. You can do that.
What however is the reality ? A certain course for dealing with such things as slavery is noted In the New Testament. This, many will know, does relate to Christianity, just as Jesus Christ does, having given His name to this radically different and objectively welfare wishing presentation, which is based on His own performance of promises and fulfilment of prophecy, and the God who made the one and sent the other (as in Isaiah 48:15ff., John 3). It was done out of love.
His followers are to be like soldiers who know how to bear contumely, reproach, slander, torture, death, and do so knowing this is the way this war is to be won. This is not the winning of it, but the witness to Him who has won it for any who will follow Him, and He will show the results in His own stated way and time, in the resurrection of the bodies of believers, and the judgment following the general resurrection (Acts 17:31). He is the only name given under heaven among men for this salvation (Acts 4:11-12), which involves repentance, regeneration, justification and eternal sustaining of the redeemed sinner (John 10:9,27-28, 3:15ff., Titus 3:3ff., Romans 3:23ff., II Cor. 5:27ff., I John 5:11-13).
In this mode of living, near to God, which is the New Testament teaching (cf. Colossians 1:27), certain morals appear, certain procedures and a certain divinely given perspective.
In the case of slavery, it is certainly never here made to appear natural. That is reverse plagiarism as defined above: putting your thought onto someone else's name. In the case of putting them in God's name, which is the name in which the New Testament is written (cf. I Corinthians 2:8ff., I Peter 1:10-12, II Peter 1:19-21, John 14:26), and mischaracterising what IS written there, so both twisting its truth on a topic, and rejecting its highly specific and even dramatic commandments, any one of them or all (James 1), there are other names for such an undertaking. In fact, Jesus Christ declared this: Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say! (Luke 6:46). He is not keen on twists or bifurcations
It is clear that this sort of double dealing is not spoken with approval, but with a profound distaste. It is something contrary to His heart, to His character, and hard to differentiate from the simplest kind of hypocrisy. If in a smaller sphere, you work for someone, and breach his known orders because you think differently, there is a question of what you are being paid for. You can always resign. If you breach the orders of someone whom you voluntarily (Psalm 110) called LORD, in a religious setting, someone who has declared that unless you forsake all, you cannot be His disciple (forsaking does not require removal physically, but it does require the omission of 'rights' for contest and clash with this kind of Lord), then that is a vast and disastrous leap into resuming your own lordship over yourself. Christ is most emphatic on this (Luke 13:27ff.).
He is One who asks for love, and love does not dither. If you love Me, He declared in John 14, you will keep My commandments. This is not a matter of force, to compel, but drawing, to impel.
Nor is it the way to salvation, which involves repentance, faith, regeneration, salvation, keeping and eternal life (Romans 3:23-27, II Cor. 5:17-21, John 3, Titus 3:3ff., I John 5:11-12, Acts 4:11, Luke 13:1-3, II Timothy 2:19, John 14: 6). It is however a fruit of it: IF you love Me, He declared, you WILL keep the words I speak. He Himself showed obedience to the words of His Father (John 12:48-50, Hebrews 5:8-9), which HE commanded, and expects His disciples to follow His words and ways, being converted and regenerated and so made most willing (cf. Acts 5:32). Jesus the Saviour not only declared what would be done by those who love Him, namely keep His words, but that those who do not love Him will not keep His words (John 14:24). He declared that this point was from the Father, the norm and basis of His Messianic speech.
Thus the Bible deals with the relationship between the Creator (Isaiah 45:12,18) and that creation which is in His image (not geometrical, since God is in His own being, a Spirit), that being capable of communion with Him, of knowing and understanding Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24). It deals with wisdom and perspective, understanding and the basic for knowledge of truth, of peace and its receipt, love and its dominion, obedience and its worth (Hebrews 5:8ff., John 12:48-50, 14:21ff.), and the clash of contempt for what He says (Luke 6:46, II Corinthians 10:12 - 11:15).
It touches those who make themselves the measure ("measuring themselves by themselves"), and with these as false apostles. It deals with inspiration from God (as in I Cor. 2:9-13, Matthew 5:17-20) and the calamity of adding one's own thoughts to His words as if to blend (far less amend!), as in Proverbs 30:6. It views with disfavour adding to the THINGS which He has revealed, by one's own cuteness (Revelation 22:18) in terms of loathing, and of those who subtract from words He has given, without approval - indeed with a judgmental horror.
Imagine a judge who having given a sentence, is officiously told by the one condemned, that he has a few things to add to the sentence, to alter, to quash and so on, and so to stand to attention (stop just sitting there and attend!) and LISTEN! You have made mistakes before, he might add, so this time learn from someone who knows. That would be quite a plaintiff!
That is NOTHING compared with using the name of Jesus Christ and contradicting what has been said through apostles in His name, or trying to patronise or disregard it.
You can make a new Christ, a new Jesus, but that in II Corinthians 10-11 is in line to becoming a false apostle, a neo-Christian and a post-Christian prevaricator. It is utterly condemned. Consider if you want, calling Marx a capitalist and just adding or removing a 'not' here and there, in his works, and then pouring scorn on those who refuse to do this. They might well object on the grounds that it is both arrogant, presumptuous and to create confusion, so to act. This is true, however much one detests Marx's seeming oblivion of the need for a background to the universe with adequate power and skill, proportional to the result, since nothing grows on nothing, nor does adequacy 'arise' from inadequacy; and however one loathes the myths of all that did not happen, does not happen despite the utmost pushing, and making 'nature' a foundling without a founder.
Despite all this, if you want Marx, do not make of him a puppet of yours while you, a puppeteer, tangle the strings and make him speak. Unspeakable as were his slaughterous modes of handling certain wrongs, and treacherous and murderous the manners of his disciples in instituting his conceptions, it is simple error to have him speak the opposite, in presenting him to anyone, to what he actually said. But this is only an illustrative example.
How much worse to do this to what the New Testament clearly declares to be God (John 14:6ff., 8:58, 17:1-3, 15:15, 5:19ff., Matthew 11:25ff., Philippians 2, Titus 2:13-14, Isaiah 44:8, Revelation 2:9), to His words. To put your own thoughts into God's stated mouth, in terms of being related as disciple to Jesus Christ, is an exercise in confusion, to say no more. Your imagination presides over the word and work of God to the point you can alter it at will: even while misrepresenting what He does say, you can contradict Him, and affirm what He denies. Who is this who as lord over the Lord can so act ? It is not following but leading, leading the Lord. Small wonder Paul was so aghast at those who made another Jesus, and hence another Gospel! as in II Cor. 10-11.
This said, there remain but two points. What IS the biblical position on the slavery issue, first in the theocracy and then in the international Christian Gospel, the Covenant in His blood in the New Testament; and secondly concerning the issue which led to these comments, that is, the biblical position relating to same-gender marriage. .
In the theocracy, there was nothing normal about slavery, let alone natural. If you were conquered, you might be made into a slave. That was one reason why it was rather better not to be conquered. However, in the hearth, in Israel, there were strict rules about freeing slaves at periodic intervals. The Jubilee year was such. So far from slavery being natural, it was to be eliminated from those who had fallen into it, at various times (cf. Leviticus 25:8ff., 39ff.). Indeed, there was provision for a slave to be redeemed by a relative, for example. Thus it was not a condition to be desired, far from natural, but one to be interrupted by love and sacrifice and dismissed at the Jubilee year altogether. If someone became poor and sold himself, then there were still these divine and interruptive provisions, in the interests of mercy, kindness, kinship and general national jubilee from time to time.
Not only so: for if someone had a slave of another Hebrew, who becoming poor, sold himself as a salve, then
"you shall not compel him to serve as a slave.
As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you,
and shall serve you until the Year of the Jubilee,
and then he shall depart from you - he and his children with him -
and shall return to his own family.
He shall return to the possession of his fathers."
To make this series of divine provisions to soften, subdue or countermand slavery is not to regard it as natural. Rather is it here found to be an evil to be conquered by various means, as occasion allows. Sin IS natural, but only in a horrible statistical sense; because man has fallen from grace (Romans 5); but this does not make it right. Its overcoming was even more costly than freeing a slave, as above; indeed it became slaughterous to free men from sin! Christ died to do it, and rose from the dead to show it; and furthermore, He came with staggering celestial powers to heal and raise from the dead, to become available so to die and rise, and demonstrate both the love, mercy and regenerative power of God to unbelieving parties, who as He stated, may indeed show their non-love by their non-keeping of His commands (John 14, Matthew 22:29ff.).
Let us then not make normal what the Bible makes abnormal, even with a matter of vast cost to correct and to cure.
So we turn now to the New Testament, passing to the international level, away from the earlier theocracy. Here you find the letter from the apostle Paul to Philemon. In this, the case is that of a runaway slave, Onesimus. First, Paul wanted him pardoned (not natural), and then received back in love as a brother, even thinking of him as his son, in committing him back to his former employer from whom he had escaped. Paul wished to keep him with himself for care in his condition, but rather preferred to heal the relationship and re-institute it on these brotherly and loving grounds, when the slave returned. Thus, again, so far from natural, this is a case of direct intervention when occasion permits, to cancel the setting not by agitation and Civil War, dependent on the scale of the operation, but through salvation and change of heart.
Now soldiers bear evils to win a war, and Christian soldiers bear evils in terms of the COMMANDMENTS of their God, not to win it, but to follow the plan of the Commander in Chief. In this way, the aim is to the heart, the need is for the love, the avoidance is civil war, the thrust as occurred from Christian sources in Great Britain in the day of Wilberforce, is through transformation, not of bodies to blood, bone and dust, but of minds to peace and grace.
Force and counter-force has much worldly appeal; how else are you going to have,
as predicted, such endless wars and rumours of wars, as now so dynamically and
increasingly foolishly seem to disadorn this writhing earth! The heart is the
base. People can talk and become angry, hurt the pride, incense the mind, and
slug it out like intersecting bullets. But there is a better way. Liberty is
lovely; love itself is more so; and when this has a basis in the Creator, and is
so fit for man, when mercy and understanding arise like clouds in a dry sky,
then we are beginning. When it leads back to the work, will and way of God, it
is better yet. When through regeneration, it leads on to obedience, we begin to
rise to something better than the drudgery of constant misunderstanding, murder,
insult, revenge, hatred, lostness and intentions to kill in order to be
satisfied (cf. the prediction in Revelation 6, now abundantly fulfilled).
The ways of God are eternal, and when He decides to act, as with the Amorites in Canaan (Genesis 15:12-21), though it may be centuries into a development, yet thus He does. He is not precipitate, but sees over all time, as one views ground from an aircraft. It is all before Him; He resolves; He does. He leads in the path of righteousness; but if folly is chosen, then it bears its own fruits. One injury to man is found in slavery, and its overcoming requires wisdom. This God has.
NATURALISTIC MORALS ARE FALLACIES,
INVENTIONS OF THE UNAUTHORISED,
TRIBUTES TO TRANSGRESSION
It is not natural, this slavery, and the love of Christ is towards its elimination, just as it is in other things regarded as slavery, such as serving sin and not the Lord, securing this from another plan, a philosophy, an idea and not the King who made us. Thus, including in this, as in John 8:30--31, in this type of slavery, the ultimate one because it acts within a person, is what the Bible DEEMS sin, such as misuse of sex in adultery, fornication, homosexuality, sodomy, or of property as in stealing. THAT is a slavery, biblically defined, which removes freedom. So far from providing a denied good thing, it is categorically condemned by the Designer of man (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139, Colossians 1:15), from the first.
Even here, there is not war. God does not kill you if you refuse to obey, though indirectly you may hasten your own death, with sin. God appeals, exhorts, shows His love, and calls. If you come, then that sort of slavery goes. If you do not, then your choice continues, though it has little in the long run to offer, since it is the law of the Maker which is in view (as in Romans 1). Accordingly, as in I Timothy 1, you find that the law is made for law-breakers (it gives them direction, and even in its breach there is not a natural, but a supernatural solution to this natural pollution, as the Bible regards it).
Indeed, in the case of gender disobedience, or sexual transgressions biblically defined, there is a list which includes with these things, some of the most aggravated sins imaginable. Let us see the actual case as in the Bible, as in I Timothy 1. Here we are given a list of sins, having been told the law is for those who break it, and it goes like this.
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous person,
but for the lawless and insubordinate,
for the ungodly and for sinners,
for the unholy and profane,
for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers,
for manslayers, for fornicators,
for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers,
and if there is nay other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,
according to the glorious gospel
of the blessed God which was committed to my trust."
Here sexual error is pointed out in detail, and gender error is but one of many errors equally focussed. You can transgress here in many ways; and politically, this happens to be just one more way of moving from the word of God, whether as here, by creating a diversion, or in any other way. To make a diversion by making a twist of the truth, however, is still further wrong. Slavery is no more natural than sin; and if by natural, you mean readily occurring, what has that to do with the issue! Perversion in sex and in other fields is frequent, and many indeed try to make of its commonness, some kind of authority; but facts do not sanction obligations, they merely state what is happening. When it comes to commands, you either reject the command, because you de-recognise the one who commands, or because you want to fight that one, whether or not you have your own agenda, political or otherwise.
Sin is NOT natural, nor is slavery. You can try to cover what you do not want, call it what you will, since you are not God, and perhaps just issue commands or ideas or sanctions, and call those who disobey you or your thoughts by all kinds of names, if you wish. But to make the common offence of slavery into something approved by the Bible which sends its mercy into the situation, when it is seeking ways of its mitigation, ending, overcoming, without using force intemperately or rashly, without having a civil war for example, when it limits, interrupts and has its own strategy: this alas is worse than irresponsible.
It is dangerously misleading. To use it to forward the flat rejection of what is uniformly taught in the Bible over millenia, as to principle, is to say no more, an example of a sublimity of arrogance which even takes God on. Now you may not believe the Bible; you may not be a follower of Jesus Christ, you may not recognise that He is God manifest in the flesh: but this is the liberty God has manufactured so magnificently, and He did not give it to remove it. It is to be used, preferably well and rightly.
It is when you put your words into His mouth in reverse plagiarism that the matter gets entirely out of hand. Confusion ought never to be elected. Clarity is a first requirement; and clarity about who is Lord, you or God or somebody else, is crucial when it comes to living.
That is the way of the false apostles so characterised by Paul in I Corinthians 10-11, who made a new Jesus, a new Gospel, and were for this denounced. If you want this, why not consider dying for sin, and rising for righteousness, and being sent by God in the first place, and having the divine power to implement your new Gospel, in a better way - by LAW of your own! as the government has been recently trying to do, instead of love, appeal, mercy and showing the workable and wise remedy of the millenia in one who DID all those things! Do not, for clarity's sake, however, put your laws and ideas into the mouth of God, far less into the decisively declared mouth of Jesus Christ, or into the maw of Christianity built on the One with the name of Christ. Taking that name in vain is not commendable, or wise, or clear; and against his, there are sanctions, only unwisely disregarded.
One can only hope such things will be considered by those who follow such lines, in concern and pity for their own souls.
Now let us consider I Corinthians 5, for a moment. When it comes to the kingdom of heaven, of God, then there are some ways you can be sure to avoid. There are law-breaking ways which can exclude you, declares the apostle Paul. They are various. Law does not save you; the Lord does, if you are to be saved, and He does it in mercy (Titus 3:3ff., Romans 3:23ff.), not by works which you do. It is by works which HE DID, that He does it. If you want to be excluded then you can do these things and NOT REPENT (for God is very merciful), just as with other forms of sin. Indeed, repentance is the way into life, by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Paul wishes you to listen to these things, so let us cite them from I Cor. 5:9-10).
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived.
"Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers,
nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified..."
The apostle is keen that you do two things. Answer his question: do you KNOW that those continuing in such courses as these will not inherit the kingdom of God ?
Secondly, do you gather the listing, to make you sure on various kinds of issue ? Are you aware of the particularity of the matter ? There are various ways of offending against the laws of God, and THESE are just SOME of them; but they are as in I Timothy 1, most strongly condemned.
Sex is a natural thing, it was made as part of man's nature. Its design is a natural thing; but when it comes to unnatural use of it, whether in treating women loosely, or being adulterous, or ignoring gender considerations as a barrier, this is not a natural thing, in the mind of the Lord who speaks, but contrary to nature (Romans 1). It does not fit into the mind of the One for whom one serves, as Lord, whose apostles He sent (John 14:26, I Cor. 2:9ff., Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 9:2-6, 10:2-16), whose commandments He bound (Luke 10:16, John 20:21),bringing His words back to their minds, and authorising their application (I Corinthians 14:37, II Peter 3:14-16, Galatians 1:1-10, I Peter 1:22-25, Luke 10:16, 24:44-49, John 14:26 cf. Ephesians 2:19-22).
THERE IS A CERTAIN CHARITY IN CLARITY
You may follow the Lord Jesus Christ or not; keep to His words or not; disrupt or receive the Bible; dispel or adhere to His apostles; and so is your place. If you want it, it is available. If you want God, He is available by the means, as sovereign over this universe, which He has created, He provides (Isaiah 55, 53, II Corinthians 5). He is available as Lord, not co-pilot, as truth (John 14:6), not conversationalist to be impressed by your insight in contradicting His words. If you want to rebel against this Lord, the path is both frequently followed - natural, one could call it, just as natural as sin is, for a fallen nature, as in Romans 5; but it is not right. Yet one thing do NOT do, as you value clarity, and do not seek yo find confusion a co-partner. Do not use the name of Jesus Christ to preach the opposite of what the Bible consistently declares. That is reverse plagiarism, and helps nothing but the darkness of dulled definitions and the obscuration of His coming, quest and methods.