Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics

From: Bill Powers <>
Date: Wed Sep 23 2009 - 07:48:06 EDT


It seems that in the example you offer, the truth is that
"God is a god of Love. God is Love."
Such a truth is then recognized (at least by some) to be in tension with
other accepted truths, e.g., God's Sovereignty, His Omnipotence, His
command that the Israelites "destroy" a certain people.

What is not clear here is where the "tolerance" part comes in.

I am presuming that this "problem of evil" is addressed in various ways,
and that these various ways are where the tolerance is supposed to

I would suppose however that some resolutions might fall outside of the
Christianity, and therefore we would not be tolerant of them. For
example, the resolution can be achieved, consciouslessly or
unconsciously, by presuming the existence of two Gods, the one Good, the
other Evil. How often have you heard it said, or be tempted yourself to
say, "God, had nothing to do with the attack on the World Trade Tower."
Is this to abandon the concept of Sovereignty, or Omnipotence? Indeed,
wouldn't extreme verions of front-loading look this?

So, when and how do we decide to be tolerant, and when to object? I
suppose it could be equally consistent to always to one or the other.
Yet Paul tells to live in peace, as much as is possible, with our
neighbors? I still find this ambiguous.


On Tue, 22 Sep 2009, Jim Armstrong

> Christine -
> The problem is that what is truth for one may be taken as a godless heresy to
> another - e.g., evolution. So absolute Truth is more than a bit elusive,
> which you actually [perhaps unwittingly] captured in your condition, "
> the best of our ability". Therein lies the problem. We must virtually always
> understand that there will be great variation in the product of " the
> best of our ability." So we should not get too hung up on the pejorative use
> of "relativism". While we may think we hold the truth, others will
> predictably take issue with us, and SOMEBODY's got to be wrong!
> In fact, we need to get used to the fact that ALL bodies of human
> interpretation, such as those that define "denomination", are all
> error-ridden to some degree, even ... [gasp] ... our own! So while toleration
> may seem to be a pretext for this apparently undesirable thing called
> relativism, I submit that we absolutely must become humble enough to
> recognize that there is a very real probability that some portions of our own
> understandings are in error, that we may learn from the perspectives and
> practices of other persuasions, and that we are essentially charged to honor
> the quest for relationship with divinity underway in that other, less
> informed person. I would distill this to say that humility and reality demand
> a certain relativism.
> It seems to me that there are "truths" that are very widely accepted within
> the Christian community, but not really tested with steely-eyed resolve. For
> instance [and this is by no means a new thought!], consider these familiar
> expressions of truth: "God is a God of love. Indeed, God IS love."
> Given that starting point, have you ever found a really satisfying
> reconciliation between those statements and the genocides performed or
> ordered by the Old Testament God, or a truly satisfying answer to the
> disarmingly simple old nagging question, "But what about the African natives
> that never had a chance to accept Jesus?"
> To be sure, there are ways to respond to this seeming paradox. There are even
> ways that do not hand-wavingly appeal to "mystery" or "sovereignty" of God.
> But in my experience, the the former to not satisfy, and the latter do not
> come without giving up something broadly taught in mainstream Christianity.
> Or so it seemeth to me, at this brief parenthesis in my pilgrimage.
> JimA [Friend of ASA]
> Christine Smith wrote:
> [snip]
>> Jim writes:
>> "My guess is that God has no denominational affiliations, and wonders even
>> why we create them and defend them so passionately when we understand so
>> little."
>> CHRISTINE: True, I don't think God has a "denominational affiliation" per
>> se, but I do think He cares an awful lot about Truth, and that we follow
>> Truth to the best of our understanding. That is the purpose of revelation -
>> to help us understand truth better. Toleration should never be a pretext
>> for relativism.
> [major snip]
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Received on Wed Sep 23 07:49:21 2009

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