Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dennis on : " The Rest of the Story....Um...NO"

The Rest of the Story....Um...NO

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorWell actually there rarely is the rest of the story in some of the more controversial accounts in the New Testament of Church events. 

I've recently been reminded of the Apostle Paul's admission that he didn't always do the right thing and in fact could not do the right things so he didn't.  (Romans 7)  He hems and haws around making up a convoluted explanation of how , no matter, it is not really him that is doing it.  It is sin in him and sin that has a hold of him that does it.  Really?  Ok, great.   But that's where the story ends.  We never hear if anyone asked him to elaborate on just exactly what his sins and struggles were.  Did no one ask "So Paul, since you are the Apostle and we are to hang on your every word and perspective, just what exactly is it that you do that you should not do?  And what is it that you should do that you can't do?  We'd like a list."  

Of course, Paul just ends with a big oh well...Jesus took care of all this so no more questions please.   I bet lots of people asked him or others just what exactly he was getting at and it probably did affect their confidence in him.  I mean this is the same Paul that is bouncing people out of the congregation in I Corinthians 5-7 and making up lots of rules for who you can and who you can't hang around or even eat with.  But Paul never went on to say, "And you can't eat with me either because I can't do any better than they do."

It's a rather confusing picture.   After Paul turns the one poor soul over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, we don't know if the guy died and if he did , did he have any family that blamed Paul for being a bit too hard on the guy.  Later Paul lightens up a bit and encourages the Church (maybe after Paul got a dressing down for being such a hard ass,)  to not let this guy or someone else be overtaken with too much sorrow, but hey, letting Satan take you out can do that to a guy.  Seems no one got to Judas in time for betraying the Gospel Jesus but managed to get to Peter for denying him.  Whew....gotta save those Peters.

(aside: Darn....the Mormon guys were headed right for my door and turned around...)

Paul had a way of telling you stuff without really telling you stuff.  Recall he went to the third heaven but couldn't share the journey with us.  He had a thorn in the flesh, but could not tell us exactly what it was.  Did bad things but don't ask.  Didn't do the right things, but again don't ask. 

I bet lots of folk asked Paul lots of questions but we don't know the end of the story save for Paul evidently won out.  We don't even know exactly when or why Paul was executed in Rome.  Well I bet lots knew but perhaps the real reason was more embarrassing than inspiring.  We'll never know.  We didn't get to write the story.

My favorite is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts .  Simply stated.  Two members said they would give the money from the sale of their property to the "Church."  When it sold, they held back and gave less.  Peter the Great gets really angry and "zap" you're both dead.  Let that be a lesson to the church.  Now...most of you realize I think this fairytale was a story meant to tell Paul and Luke's followers to ignore "Peter the Great."  Just as these two said they would do one thing and did another and thus died, so Peter said he'd do one thing, never leave Jesus, and did another, denied him.  Message:  Don't follow Peter.

But let's assume it's a real story and Peter really did strike these generous folk dead for holding back.  Do Roman's let you kill church members and never ask what is going on?  Do relatives who notice that mother, father, uncle, aunt, niece , nephew, grandma or grandpa went to church but were never seen again ask questions?  I'd think so!  Would not news get out of murder in the Church?  Would not some members leave because "well that was a bit extreme!?"  I'd think so!  But alas, we'd never know.  The left over members just took the warning and probably turned in all their stuff to the church as requested. 

In Acts 15 Mark and Paul have a falling out.  Paul won't have anything to do with him for past offenses or perhaps common senses that Paul didn't like.  You trying to tell Dave Pack maybe it's not a good idea to reinvent Ambassador College in the Winter spending millions we don't have on a place few will come to.   Other places say the problem was so bad that Paul didn't ever want anything to do with Mark, well at least not until Paul needed him for something at the end of his life.  But what was the problem?  Dunno!!  That part is not included.  It never is when someone has to win and someone has to lose.  Paul was not the kind who ever lost.

Saul/Paul says he oversaw the death and persecution of people in Jerusalem.  Did anyone ever come after the man when they found out he was now one of them?  Who didn't believe it?  What were the jokes about Paul the Apostle Now?  Dunno.  The losers don't write the story.

You can take this principle of there never being the rest or the other side of the story back to the OT as well.  Moses kills an what.   Hey, where is my dad?  So what.    Isaac almost gets his throat cut like a cow in sacrifice by DAD!   How did that set with him over the years?  How did being saved just in the nick of time affect his religious views of YHVH?  Did he go on mountain vacations with DAD anymore?  Did he trust DAD when asked to take a little walk with me son? How did, "your father did what!!!!?"  affect Sarah the mom?  

Anyone get offended at God for zapping Lot's wife for looking back at what was going on or how about how she may have felt when old Lot offered up her daughters to the crowd to be raped but please don't hurt my visitors?  I'd think dinner that night could have been a bit tense.  We' don't know do we.  Fairy tales are like that. 

I'm sure you can think of dozens of stories where we know what happened but we don't know the fall out and there had to be fall out big time.

And so it is today.  Humiliate someone just enough to look righteous but leave lots out .  Mark and embarrass people just enough to come out on top and show your authority, but show no real love and cover the damn thing up with the love so often professed.  A man should talk about his own failings and not let others dictate the terms. 

People with normal human failings can be pushed by Churches, scripture and the pristine leader types over the edge in despair.  Shunning or marking, disfellowshipping or "making an example of" can get someone killed or make the terrible person that is so different from the righteous ones end their lives in shame and guilt.  Guilt is "I did a bad thing," while shame is "I am a bad person?"   Both are fairly useless emotions and tools. 

I think I am finally ready to break out and start my own Church of God.  I have resisted for years but I think I have found my niche. 

I would like to announce the beginning of a new Church of God.  Church of God of the Exiled, Marked, Shunned, Marginalized and Thrown Away.  

COGEMSMTA for short.  Ok, that's not short.


Your sins must be great

 You must feel defective.

However, Your spirit must not be broken though tossed and torn a bit  (I feel a song coming on)

Your experience must have left you totally on the outs with the righteous and quite a bit with yourself

You must have suffered depression, anxiety and some mental disturbances for real wondering or knowing you have been turned over to Satan and that God loves you with a kind of hatred according to the minister, elders, deacons and loyal members who wish you no ill will and hope you repent.

You must still be a seeker of what's real and true.

No tithing, no church services, no hymns, no gurus, no need to save the world or preach until the incomes...I mean end comes.  

You must be yourself warts and all

You can only call me Dennis and we only talk here  or by phone if you want.  :)

Send for the free booklets...ok, we'll we can just talk..

"Being Authentic is Good Mental Health"
"I Know You Are But What Am I"
"Forgiving Oneself First"
(with more to follow)

And I don't care how badly you feel, how far you have "fallen", how thrown under a bus you were or how creative a sinner you became.  (All those guys that hurt you think and do all the same things.,-Your-Mom,-Dad,-Family,-and-YOU!&id=168861

Let's finish the stories and finish them well!

Welcome to the COGEMSMTA
Don't send nuttin' in!!!



UT, The Reigning Being of Being Banned By Banned By HWA said...

Oh, Silly, Hurting Dennis,

As I've said before, you've a precious knack for picking gurus. From HWA to Spong, none of them get St. Paul. And, where does that leave poor Dennis? With nary an original thought in his wee head.

When Paul said he did not do the good he knew he should do, he was admitting something the ruling Pharisees of his day and the ruling COG ministers of your day would never say.

Paul was copping to being a completely broken swine. In the midst of Paul being real, you have to ridicule him for not being real.

Paul said he was worthless but .... Jesus! You have a lot in common with Paul but, you won't tackle the grace of Jesus - yet.

Yet, you won't completely walk away from your self-titled Fairy Tale so, I bet grace will yet tackle you.

As for Abraham and Issac, the lesson was God always provides and was willing to provide the sacrifice of His own Son.

You sacrifice your sons too - in your signature brooding Dennis dervish. Why not end the torment and meet the grace Paul spoke of?

As I've also said before, if you really want to take Paul down, you have to gain the vantage point of truly understanding him. Why not study Paul and his message of grace from a guru who gets it - and then attempt to refute it?

Paul, like Dennis, were horribly hurt and bitterly broken - only one of them are presently healed.

Dennis, why not join your brother Paul?

DennisCDiehl said...

Give me a call 864 905 9506 Convince me you are the kind of person I would love to be like and you're view of Paul is more correct than many theologians who know the story pretty well.

I'm waiting and I'll report on your gracious and articulate concern for me and be happy to reveal how what seems smug like to me is really grace in action on your part.

seems fair enough...

DennisCDiehl said...

Well give me a call at 864 905 9506 and convince me you are the kind of person I'd like to be like and what grace has done for you.

If that doesn't work. Pick some points about Paul's never telling the rest of the story and write up your view of it all. I'm sure it would get posted for a look see.

I'll turn the phone up and report back here my impressions of how it went.

Allen C. Dexter said...

That was brilliant, Dennis. I get if UT doesn't. Christianity isn't about any real Jesus. It's about Paul and his mental delusions. Took me decades to get that straight. Your insight was a big, big help.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, this is one of your finest articles. Loved it.

Your articles, along with Gary King and Gavin's, kept me from blowing my brains out a few years ago. And I do mean that literally. I wasn't that far away from it.

Your stuff, and Gary's, and Gavin's, helped me finally understand after 30+ years of Armstrongism, that I really am worth something after all.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I put the sad story of Ananias and Sapphira in the nonfiction category. Peter (presumably) invoked the power of God, but in actuality, Peter pulled out a sword and did smite and kill the couple outright--the zeal to his Lord made him do it.

Contrary to popular fantasy, Peter was no Saint.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said:

", kept me from blowing my brains out a few years ago. And I do mean that literally. I wasn't that far away from it."

Many in life for many reasons have this little demon rear its head under stress. Very normal. I know the feeling well.

I wrote and studied to preserve myself I think. I always thought I was right in my younger life views and wanted to really know what I had missed or what those who should have known either didn't tell me or wouldn't.

I have done the funerals for any number of the wounded who resorted to suicide which ultimatly is a very permanent solution to a very temporary problem as they say.

I have learned when the ego takes a hit, as it should and is really "Dark night of the soul" stuff, some mistake that feeling of ego death for "I must die," which is terribly inaccurate.

Ego death and joining the rest of human race even in the struggle is a gift of Earth School.

I also find those who have struggled to be far more spiritual at their core than those who mix their obvious faith and desire to believe with their snark and personal animosities. It's a step but not a place to get stuck

DennisCDiehl said...

Though my topic here was not just Paul, I thought I'd provide a few thoughts of others for those who might be interested in what others have come to see about Paul and the NT to consider.

My point in this article was that the Bible goes very vague and unrealistic with many of it's fantastic stories and characters and reality does not tend to be that way.

It's an interesting topic to me but perhaps the wrong audience.

" is...a fact of history that St. Paul and his successors added to,..., or imposed upon, or substituted another doctrine for...the plain...teachings of Jesus..."
H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
(I am assuming this author is a Messianic Jew)

IMHO Paul of the NT is no different than any one man show we have today. The ONLY difference is that he is long dead and in print. It is Paul that soaks through in the NT as to how everything God and Jesus is or was. We don't tolerate that today much anymore with ONE man, why are we blind to it in print?

Galatians 1 and 2 clearly show Paul's animosity towards Peter, James and John. The Book of James shows theirs for Paul and his law/Grace works/law flip flops.

To me, Paul is the original "Mr Confusion" and many good theologians would agree.

I'll drop the Paul observations here and have only used them to show nothing is new under the sun, even in the NT, when two or three are gathered together.

Anyway, word count running out...

Douglas Becker said...

What utter nonsense: First prove that there was an "Apostle Paul", since some folks seem to think that the Catholics made up the whole New Testament in the Fourth (or so) Century.

There are a few other problems, even if we grant that there was an Apostle Paul and there is some legitimacy in the New Testament and it does look like another stacked deck.

For one thing, according to the Scriptural account, Lot's wife didn't get turned into seasoning just because she looked over her shoulder -- she wanted everything that Sodom represented: To be respected an honored, rich and increased in goods, have nice diamond rings, live in a nice house with a nice chariot to drive to the market, to be able to take trips with her husband. You know: Like Laura Weinland. She was really irritating and deserved to make an ash of herself.

Then there is Ananias and Saphira: The claim is made here that Peter killed them. Well, no, the Scripture plainly said that they lied to the Holy Spirit (I don't know how to resolve that) and just fell down dead. What did Peter do, except make the announcement?

As for Paul, if he were real, it seems more likely that he still had plenty of guilt for not just killing off Christians but turning them to deny Christ. I doubt that the members had any questions about, say, whether Paul was a queer or not -- more like whether they could trust him to not kill them.

Then there's that corrective letter to the Corinthians, casting out the fornicator, since he was poisoning the congregation (sort of what went on all the time in the WCG, but with the ministers). It should be noted that the guy finally made it back then, but then again you aren't necessarily Paul Harvey, here to give us the rest of the story.

We don't need another church.

Honestly, we also don't need another Robert Thiel either.

DennisCDiehl said...

What the heck...PS

If Paul is the false apostle that the Ephesian Church in Revelation said was a jew and was not and was found wanting and then the Jesus of Revelation congratulates the Church for booting him out, it would make sense that we only find the 12 disciples of the Gospels as the 12 gates of Revelation Jerusalem.

Paul, who we must admit, is the star of the NT and the 12 have pretty much faded away is not listed in the Revelation group of Apostles.

Paul to the Ephesians: "I am an apostle of Yeshua"

The Ephesians to Paul: "No you're not."

"All those in Asia have forsake me..."Paul

Yeshua to the Ephesians: "Well done!"

Just seems right to me at this point...

DennisCDiehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Kisack said...

Why are comments removed by the author? How bad can they be? Don't we like a good argument?

DennisCDiehl said...

that was my removal Steve. I hit the publish button twice and took the duplicate posted out

Douglas Becker said...

When people decide to flame me, sometimes they think better of it.

That's one explanation....

Not to worry, no doubt they will come back with some closely reasoned amusing bon mot.

[Off Topic:] You people who think you're going to Petra as the Place of Safety, let me point out to you that there will be no chocolate available there (because someone confused bon mot with bonbon).

Anonymous said...

comment deleted was a second copy of the first. Having some 'publish" issues this am


Douglas Becker said...

IMHO Paul of the NT is no different than any one man show we have today. The ONLY difference is that he is long dead and in print.

Sort of like Herbert Armstrong.

At least we can be certain Herbert Armstrong existed....

DennisCDiehl said...

Exactly Douglas. Where as James etc were extentions of existing communities of believers i.e. Judaism, Paul just shows up to loosely associate until he can break out on his own and turn the whole program on its head cursing anyone who didn't adopt his "Good News"

DennisCDiehl said...

PS still waiting on UT to give me a call.

Douglas Becker said...

Well, Dennis, you may be right.

I'm still sitting on the fence concerning the New Testament and whether these people even existed... I guess so. Whatever.

If you say so.

DennisCDiehl said...

Douglas..I think I am at the same place. Rather numbing to think that what is so ingrained could be that made up. I guess each has to settle it on their own.

I was always amazed by the statement in I John where anyone who said Jesus was not come in the flesh was accursed.

How could anyone so close to the "real" events of Jesus times come up with such an idea.

In my view, Paul, writing first, never knew any physical or gospel Jesus. You know my view on that. Then comes along the Gospels to bring the cosmic Jesus down to earth in stories. Then come those that know it's a ruse and threaten the literalist church and thus John's comment to warn them to keep it to themselves

Fascinating I guess

Douglas Becker said...

Seriously, the only thing that we have as a personal reality is our experiences.

My personal experiences are such that I believe that God exists and that He has provided miraculously for me, personally. There are many things I perceive as gifts and benefits which are extrememly difficult to explain any other way.

Nevertheless, I also am quite certain that not everything works out as it would seem that it should if one accepts Scripture as written.

If someone does not experience exceptional events in their life which are difficult to explain (with God's intervention being the most simple), then it would be unlikely that they would believe in God.

The magic of Herbert Armstrong is that he convinced so many of us to believe in his god and when things didn't work out, many turned to atheism or at least agnosticism, having accepted the premise that he proved all the other religions false, then found that his was.

This is unfortunate, because if God really does exist, then a lot of people are going to miss out on the good stuff... really good stuff -- some physical stuff but a lot more of the non physical.

I also suspect it involves the degree of freedom in what one believes: Oppressive and regressive just doesn't cut it.

DennisCDiehl said...

again..I agree with you Douglas. I'm not some hardened bitter or even "hurt" guy. I simply want to know the truth. I love good science done well and I dislike religion disquised as knowldedge and truth. I have always been this way and was the reason I was drawn to WCG in the first place. It made much more sense to me than being Presbyterian. I was young. Vietnam raged and everyone of importance seemed to be getting assassinated.

I am only still here because of some pretty crazy interventions and circumstances I could list. Coincidence? Luck of the draw? dunno.

Certainly the Deity did not spare to be a massage therapist lol But it still fits the caretaker/healer in my soul I suppose. ENFP and haven't drifted far from the personality profile.

I find those who were the most sincere become the most cynical. THose who meant the best no longer trust anyone and tend to go it alone.

Those without conscience tended to rise to the "top" in WCG and splinters , whatever "the top" means. In many respects it is just their temporary stop to the bottom.

All flesh is grass and billions and billions of galaxies, known only to us in our generation, can't be wrong....

DennisCDiehl said...

238PSS Still waiting on UT's call. It could happen I suppose. After 8PM EST I'll have to consider him in default.

I'm pretty darn easy to talk to as well.

Anonymous said...

I had a couple of Jehovah Witnesses come to my house yesterday. I wasn't so sure they were JWs to begin with because they looked like 2 super successful real estate agents, really well dressed and a rich man car together with driver. Must have been the ministers doing their stint.
But that knowing look was a giveaway. I told them "I am not interested in religion", to which they replied "this isn't religion this is the truth" and pulled a Bible from their pocket. I said it is so nice for you that you feel you know the truth but I don't want to talk about it, goodbye. Reminded me so much of WCG.

From your comments it sounds like you are still seeking "the truth", I think the closest you can get is to convince yourself that you know the truth which is what WCG was so good at.

And what is the "good stuff" the unbelievers are going to miss out on? If there is a merciful god then there won't be any missing out not for some silly inability to believe something.

Douglas Becker said...

Missing out on potluck dishes that turn out a lot better than when I made them in the kitchen!

Douglas Becker said...

Now don't get me wrong: I have a high appreciation of Herbert Armstrong and the WCG.

It takes me much less time to identify a psychopath than it would otherwise.

UT, The Reigning Being of Being Banned by Banned by HWA said...


Give you a call? Forgive me for the flashbacks but, every time a minister made that command, I never fared well.

In the last case, the minister distorted my statements in an attempt at a public spanking. I thought his rantings shamed him, not me, but his lap minions unanimously proclaimed him the victor.

Your statement, "convince me you are the kind of person I'd like to be like ..." is baffling.

Given your distaste for Paul, you won't like me either. I'm cool with that and won't try to persuade you otherwise.

The "convincing" of Dennis is a fascinating study though - in words on a blog, not via phone, I'm rather sure.

The evidence indicates you fall hard for extremes. Both schools of thought on Paul, which you've swallowed at differing times, neglect the concept of grace.

However, a mere word count on grace verifies it's a weighty subject in Paul's writings. Furthermore, several times, Paul declared we are saved by grace, not works. Therefore, the term grace is of paramount importance to understanding Paul.

If you care enough to write about Paul, why not cut to the crux of his heart?

Armstronites are characteristically inbred and inread. You can't convince them of anything divergent of their mindset because they won't contemplate anything outside of their closed clan. And, if forced to face something outside of their group-think, they can only view it through the filter of their dogma.

You, Dennis, carry on that tiresome tradition with a new master but, with the same tenacious loyalty.

Theoretically, the more you know about Paul, the better you'd be at dismantling Paul.

If you read widely, among those who applaud Paul for his doctrine of grace, you're viewpoint would follow one of two paths. The first path could lead you to an enhanced factual ability to shred Paul. Or, you could land in a place of appreciation for Paul.

Either path leads to a sharper Dennis. Who wouldn't enjoy a sharper Dennis?

Additionally, you said I could, "Pick some points about Paul's never telling the rest of the story ..."

I believe the not knowing goes nicely with his doctrine of grace.

It doesn't matter what his faults were, or what our faults are - they are all covered by grace.

As I said, Paul dared to admit the truth no Pharisee or COG minister would ever utter. He publicly declared himself to be a broken, wicked sinner. That is HUGE!

Paul admits his own guilt and proclaims healing for everyone.

I too have no other option than to publicly acknowledge that I'm broken fool. How messed up and how so messed up is inconsequential to the weight of my personal suffering and my wide wake of destruction.

The rest of the story for me and for Paul is - GRACE!

Grace is the rest of your story too - you just haven't read it yet.

Though grace is new for each day, it always leads to the happiest of endings.

As for the phone call, my preference is to snipe at you with written comments as you fire the same at Paul. That seems fair to me and enough for me.

However, if you still require a call, I'm willing to forgo my better judgement. The call for a call is yours.

William said...

Hello Dennis

Just a few comments on some of the things you said.

“it is...a fact of history that St. Paul and his successors added to,..., or imposed upon, or substituted another doctrine for...the plain...teachings of Jesus..."
H.G. Wells (1866-1946)”

The full quote from wells says this

“It is a fact in history that the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth had in it something profoundly new and creative; he preached a new Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and in the world of men. There was nothing in his teaching, so far as we can judge it at this distance of time, to clash or interfere with any discovery or expansion of the history of the world and mankind. But it is equally a fact in history that St. Paul and his successors, added to or completed or imposed upon or substituted another doctrine for—as you may prefer to think— the plain and profoundly revolutionary teachings of Jesus by expounding a subtle and complex theory of salvation, a salvation which could be attained very largely by belief and formalities without any serious disturbance of the believer’s ordinary habits and occupations, and that this Pauline teaching did involve very definite beliefs about the history of the world and man.”

A couple of problems with the above are

1 We have no writings from the Historical Jesus and have to reconstruct what the Historical Jesus taught (from the Gospel’s, Pauline Epistles, Acts) so it would not be accurate to say Paul changed Jesus teachings because we have not yet established what these teachings were.

2 The consensus of critical scholarship would be that the Historical Jesus considered himself an apocalyptic prophet who taught that God was going to over throw the rulers of the world and set up a Kingdom on earth (see Jesus & Judaism and The Historical Figure of Jesus both by E.P. Sanders) There would be no evidence that the Historical Jesus preached about any Kingdom in men’s hearts

3 Jesus as he is portrayed in the Gospels does make statements that does conflict with what we know about the world and how life evolved (Adam and Eve being the first man and woman, a worldwide flood of Noah)

“Galatians 1 and 2 clearly show Paul's animosity towards Peter, James and John. The Book of James shows theirs for Paul and his law/Grace works/law flip flops. To me, Paul is the original "Mr Confusion" and many good theologians would agree.”

The problem with Epistle of James is that it would not show what James, Peter or John thought of Paul or their views of the Law because it was not written by any of the James’s that were with the historical Jesus (the disciples or Jesus brother) nor does it claim to be. It is usually dated to have been written around the late 1st to early 2nd century and it and most likely responds to the ideas about faith and works expressed in the Deutero-Pauline epistles not the Genuine Epistles of Paul.

“If Paul is the false apostle that the Ephesian Church in Revelation said was a jew and was not and was found wanting and then the Jesus of Revelation congratulates the Church for booting him out, it would make sense that we only find the 12 disciples of the Gospels as the 12 gates of Revelation Jerusalem.

Paul, who we must admit, is the star of the NT and the 12 have pretty much faded away is not listed in the Revelation group of Apostles.”

I don’t know of any critical scholar that thinks that Paul is being referenced in Revelation as the False Apostle that was kicked out (as the texts never mentions Paul and we have no evidence that any other writer taught the view that it was Paul).

William said...

Part 2

“I was always amazed by the statement in I John where anyone who said Jesus was not come in the flesh was accursed.
How could anyone so close to the "real" events of Jesus times come up with such an idea.
In my view, Paul, writing first, never knew any physical or gospel Jesus. You know my view on that. Then comes along the Gospels to bring the cosmic Jesus down to earth in stories. Then come those that know it's a ruse and threaten the literalist church and thus John's comment to warn them to keep it to themselves”

I don’t think that by reading Paul’s epistles that you could get the idea that Paul did not know any physical Jesus. According to Paul, Jesus was a descendant of David (Rom. 1:3), born of a woman under the law (Gal.4:4), was a servant to the circumcision (Rom. 15:8) had a brother named James (Gal 1:19) and was crucified on a tree (Gal.3:13) and buried (I Cor. 15:4). There is no evidence the Gospels were the first documents to portray Jesus as being on earth. 1 John (not written by the Historical John) is dated as being written around 95-110AD and the issue it addresses is that of Docetism (that Jesus was not really flesh but only appeared to be). I have mot read any works by critical scholars that take the view that 1 John is addressing people who do not believe that Jesus was ever on earth.

Assistant Deacon said...

Dennis, surely you know by now that most refutations of what you originally posted will be loaded with non-sequitur upon non-sequitur.

Beginning with "Oh, Silly, Hurting Dennis." HWA to Spong is quite the span. They don't get Paul, but apparently UT does; after all, he expounds on what Paul meant and what Paul thought and what Paul would have done, since, you know, he knows those things for sure, and lifelong theologians like Spong don't.

Glad he cleared THAT up.


DennisCDiehl said...

Hi William,

Thanks for the reply. That James of James was not the James people think is also my view as is the timing of the writing. Good points all.

Paul not knowing a physical Jesus or at least one he referenced much seems to be true to many. Of course, he does not quote any Gospel Jesus ever and even more so when it would do him some good to do so. For example. "Sometimes we don't know how to pray.." and then talks about the HS peeping and muttering instead of referencing Jesus "Therefore when you pray..." He never read that.

As with most generic references to those who give others problems in the NT, the idea of Paul being the false apostle of Ephesus is , of course, speculation. I think it is a valid one based on the bigger story and the fact that it is John who gets the credit for being in Ephesus and John never mentions Paul. We only get a couple of actual names of culprits against the Paul and then, as usual, we don't get much of a view of what they taught or did that was to Paul's distaste and against his Gospel.

I agree with much of your views and appreciate someone who has read from sources other than WCG/COG booklets lol.

The fact that the NT is a Pauline wonder story with the Gospels playing a bit part seems obvious. Acts is all about bringing Paul on the scene and marginalizing the others to extinction.

It's just a very interesting topic to me and explains why Paul seems so for law and then against it and then for it again and then against it through out. Some what of a mishmash to be sure.

The bottom line seems to be that in the early years, there was a conflict between the Church as an apocolyptic extention of Judaism and the Jesus of the Gentiles who seems like a mix of the Jewish and then as time went on the pagan complete with all the appropriate holidays. The gentile version won out.

DennisCDiehl said...


The call was not intended to argue theology, law, grace, Paul or the deep blue sea.

It was intended to talk as two people who may filter things differently based on experiences and perhaps tone down your "Oh silly hurting fool" approach to discussion.

You are quick to claim grace for everyone as an explanation for my practical musings on just what may be going on in the NT story, which I find quite fascinating. Perhaps your tone could reflect in fact towards others or else, in my experience, one simply becomes another one of the those that are so religious and yet so offensive and caustic for whatever reasons.

The call was always yours , not mine. I dont call you names.

DennisCDiehl said...

"Perhaps your tone could reflect in fact towards others or else, in my experience, one simply becomes another one of the those that are so religious and yet so offensive and caustic for whatever reasons."

Whew..must not have had my coffee when I wrote that sentence!

I think I was trying to say
if one is going to claim all kinds of grace, forgiveness and kindness to the NT characters, how about an update and extend it real people you don't care for. How typical it seems to me sitting just blocks from Bob Jones university where kids soak in fundamentalism and grace and yet judge everyone rather harshly when they run across those who don't see as they see or think as they think.

I have been around long enough to know that talk and debate changes no one and no thing.

As we used to sing as kids in Sunday School. "you in your small corner and I in mine."

DennisCDiehl said...

UT Perhaps you could at least share your real name, past COG experience and current church of choice. Seems only fair since I am pretty transparent here.

Part of the reason I can be is that I don't call other people names or imput motives or lack of intelligence and true understanding to people. What others actually believe matters not a bit. We are all where we are in the story and journey.

So share your background so at least I can understand why you have felt the need to belittle

Other than that, nuff said here comes another week

DennisCDiehl said...

Sadly, and of course...I was unable to even get one Deacon for COG-EMSMTA. I'll have to cancel the purchase of the Church Jet and my 'go me therefore into all the world.." meeting with the CEO of Dunkin Donuts.

Truely now....a famine of the word

Assistant Deacon said...

Dennis, you need to expand the hierarchy to include us assistant deacons.

You're rusty, dude.

DennisCDiehl said...

what the heck was an "assistant deacon?" lol Ok, we'll make room for you but so far it's just me.

Assistant Deacon said...


UT, He Whose Name Must be Blotted Out of this Bog said...

Hey Dennis,

There's an urgent mission that needs your attention.

Quick; run to the bathroom.

Close the door.

Stand in front of the mirror.

Whip down your pants.

And, check to see if you're missing anything.

Okay, you're back so soon, so I trust that you found everything to be in order.

Then you should be aware that when men play, they hit hard. Otherwise, it's called foreplay.

I have an internet etiquette rule that I never break: I never slam anyone unless he spends a good deal of his words dissing others.

I've gotten the attention of a fair number of bigs in the biz by hitting them hard with what they're used to dishing onto others. Then, I'm always sickened by how their little lap dog followers yap at me while licking the butt of their master.

It's not that I have anything against homosexuals, it's just that I think this type of public foreplay is so weirdly against what these masters and their packs think they stand for - metaphorically speaking, of course.

Banned by HWA is all about making fun of others - and for good reason. You feel privileged to slam others and I mostly agree with you when you do - except when you attempt to slug Paul. However, you're suggesting that no one should dare touch you. I find that strangely reminiscent of a group you like to criticize.

You're accustomed to having your followers hang on your every word. However, those who voice disapproval are not your automatic enemies.

There are a few lap dog followers on this site who'll butter your butt regardless of how bad your position stinks. However, I'm glad to say that the blind followers problem is not as pervasive here as it is on some sites.

I don't know why you accuse me of being overly religious and judgmental. Just because I don't always agree with you, do you then suppose I must be an evil Bible thumper? In your book, anyone who'd believe in grace oddly religious?

However, with what ever faults I tag you with, I always allude to the fact that because of grace - it's okay; you're covered. I don't call that judgmental.

Here is what I do think smells like judgment. You often accuse the Jonesers of being judgmental - because you see what's in their hearts - I suppose. As much as I don't care for their school, and as much as I doubt they are learning about grace (as you say), I bet that the majority of those students you are accusing of being judgmental are - in the moment you pounce on them - merely just thinking about getting laid and where they can score some weed.

That's okay; you and your student victims are covered by grace.

I think your post about starting your own church is ironic because it appears you already have one; one with a long list of laws like:

Touch not the ego of Pope Dennis.

Taste not an opinion contrary to the opinions of Dennis.

Have no other theologian before Spong.

Call upon demand; and your conversation will be reported back to the congregation.

State your name, rank, and affiliation.

And, the list can go on for a long while but, why not make some room for grace?

Fortunately, grace is a God thing - not a Dennis or a UT thing.

We can reject God, deny grace, and we can run from it but, bam ... there it saves you. Paul claimed you were saved before the foundation of the world.

You can blabber at great length about Paul while ignoring grace but, that just means you aren't truly hitting Paul hard. Paul's teachings, being, and eternity were sown up in Grace.

Hitting you hard and challenging you to learn about grace is not an insult - however, being your lap minion would be.

Anonymous said...

We can reject trolls, deny their bad behavior, and we can ban their sorry uncivil asses but, bam ... there's another one...

Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick. How can this disgraceful behavior be intended to promote grace? Does UT really not see how his approach completely refutes everything he thinks he's "preaching." (God, I hate it when people preach.)

DennisCDiehl said...

Well UT...Since you are a Grace saved Christian, and that can be a good thing I suppose, you'll have to forgive me...

Assistant Deacon said...

Yes, Dennis, you're not allowed to slam Paul. That's where your right to express your opinions STOPS, buddy boy!

Interestingly, since you're not at all my master, and since you are most decidedly not accustomed to having followers -- let alone ones who hang on your every word -- UT's latest attempt to characterize those who disregard his rants is, like his others, so much hot air.

May he go back to trying to impress the "fair number of bigs" from whom he has previously garnered attention, and somehow see that the picking of fights never goes very far in this forum.

UT, He Whose Name Must Be Blotted Out of this Blog said...

Dennis, I don't need to forgive you of anything. You haven't offended me. I'd gladly forgive you if need be but, I fear that wouldn't gain you anything anyway.

I bet Paul wouldn't care about anything you've written about him either - except for what you neglected to write.

Grace is all about forgiveness though - you've got that from God, even if you don't want it.

I suspect I've offended you and a few of your lovey friends. I am sorry for that as it was not my intent. I guess I just can't play in your hard hitting league.

I should have just said, "Excuse me kind sir. I see you are trying to discredit Paul but, you haven't mentioned his most important ideas."

Then you could have continued with your life, much like you did, and I could have saved a few minutes of typing.

And, life would go on as usual in Armstrongland.

Anonymous said...

Wow, if that's what "grace" does to a person, please keep that shit away from me!

Assistant Deacon said...

"Excuse me kind sir. I see you are trying to discredit Paul but, you haven't mentioned his most important ideas."

That's what COGers say about HWA.

It's what PCGers say about Gerry.

It's what RCGers say about David SeePack.

UT, Dennis is skeptical, and isn't afraid to say so. He's familiar with all the scriptures that you are, as most of us here are. He studied them, he taught them, he analyzed them. He tried to proof-text them in grand Armstrongist style. From what he's told us, it didn't work out too well.

We can agree with his current views, we can disagree. But he's entitled to them. A vast body of New Testament thought hinges on the writings that were allegedly of Paul. Is it better to blindly accept it, or view it critically? Much harm, even evil, has been done over the centuries by those who think they knew what it all meant and had all the answers.

Dennis admits he doesn't. That's refreshing. Your piousness, on the other hand, is an old act that simply doesn't resonate.

Dennis invited you to call him. If you're so concerned about him, why not take him up on it? If he's descended into darkness as far as you suggest, he needs your helping hands more than your lectures.

Then again, maybe he's just fine.

Anonymous said...

I think UTs real identity is Paula Broadwell. Look out!

Anonymous said...

"Dennis invited you to call him. If you're so concerned about him, why not take him up on it?"

UT isn't concerned about Dennis at all. That's not how a person talks to someone they care about. UT is only concerned with feeling superior. Obviously UT doesn't feel good enough without a little pick-me-up at someone else's expense. Just the way Jesus would have done, I guess.