Episode 297-The Gospel Coalitions Sex Article

Disciple Up #297
The Gospel Coalition’s Sex Article
By Louie Marsh, 3-8-2023

An article was published on the Gospel Coalition’s website last week. It immediately drew criticism, even from people who don’t engage in online criticism like Rick Warren. In response, TGC published a PDF of the intro and first chapter of the as yet unpublished book to help “give context.”

That only drew even more criticism and so as of March 6th, 2023 the link to that PDF became a link to an Open Letter.

I’ll be reading the letter and then reading some excerpts from the PDF which I downloaded and is no longer available. In the show notes you’ll find a few excerpts from the article but not the PDF since I don’t own it and don’t want to break the law. The link to the letter of apology is below.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sex-wont-save-you/

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your feedback on the Keller Center’s book excerpt from Joshua Butler posted on March 1, 2023. And thank you for your patience while we took the time to listen to our critics and the serious objections from concerned fellows, as well as discuss this matter with our Board of Directors and care for our friend Josh.

Earlier this week, we accepted Josh’s resignation as a Keller Center fellow. He will no longer lead an online cohort with the center nor speak at TGC23. While he will no longer participate in these events, Josh remains a beloved brother and friend whom we respect and care deeply about.

To our fellows and our readers, please forgive us. The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics is a new effort by TGC, and we are still learning how to work with our directors and our fellows to produce content that will serve our readers in a way that is trusted and wise. To ensure greater accountability with our fellows, we will develop better review systems for our work together. We will also review our publication processes more broadly at TGC and develop plans to ensure greater accountability to you, our readers.

Again, thank you for your patience with us. At TGC, we want to provide a venue for healthy dialogue and robust debate on important matters that affect us all. We want to model grace-filled conversations, and we want to learn from one another. In this case, we failed you and hurt many friends. Thank you in advance for your continued prayers.

For Christ and his gospel,

Julius Kim

President

The Gospel Coalition

 Excerpts from the article that started it all

Sex Won’t Save You (But It Points to the One Who Will)

MARCH 1, 2023

JOSH BUTLER

I used to look to sex for salvation. I wanted it to liberate me from loneliness; I wanted to find freedom in the arms of another. But the search failed.

Sex wasn’t designed to be your salvation but to point you to the One who is.

Union with Christ

Sex is an icon of Christ and the church. In Ephesians 5:31–32, a “hall of fame” marriage passage, the apostle Paul proclaims, “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (NIV; I’ve translated proskollao as “cleave”).

Paul says both are about Christ and the church.

This should be shocking! It’s not only the giving of your vows at the altar but what happens in the honeymoon suite afterward that speaks to the life you were made for with God. A husband and wife’s life of faithful love is designed to point to greater things, but so is their sexual union! This is a gospel bombshell: sex is an icon of salvation.

How? I’d suggest the language of generosity and hospitality can help us out.

At a deeper level, generosity is giving not just your resources but your very self. And what deeper form of self-giving is there than sexual union where the husband pours out his very presence not only upon but within his wife?

Here again, what deeper form of hospitality is there than sexual union where the wife welcomes her husband into the sanctuary of her very self?

Giving and receiving are at the heart of sex.

The Bible makes this distinction explicit. The most frequent Hebrew phrase for sex is, literally, “he went into her” (wayyabo eleha). Translations often soften this for modern ears, saying he “made love to her” or they “slept together.” But the Bible is less prudish than we are, using more graphic language to describe what happens in the honeymoon tent.

Sexual Union Pictures the Gospel

This is a picture of the gospel. Christ arrives in salvation to be not only with his church but within his church. Christ gives himself to his beloved with extravagant generosity, showering his love upon us and imparting his very presence within us. Christ penetrates his church with the generative seed of his Word and the life-giving presence of his Spirit, which takes root within her and grows to bring new life into the world.

 

Inversely, back in the wedding suite, the bride embraces her most intimate guest on the threshold of her dwelling place and welcomes him into the sanctuary of her very self. She gladly receives the warmth of his presence and accepts the sacrificial offering he bestows upon the altar within her Most Holy Place.

 

Their union brings forth new creation.

Editors’ note:

Josh Butler—a fellow at the newly launched Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics—will be leading a seven-week online cohort this spring on “The Beauty of the Christian Sexual Ethic,” based on his forthcoming book Beautiful Union (Multnomah, 2023). The cohort—limited to 200 participants—will meet weekly from May 11 to June 22, 2023. Learn more and register. This article was adapted from Beautiful Union: How God’s Vision for Sex Points Us to the Good, Unlocks the True, and (Sort of) Explains Everything (Multnomah, April 2023) by Joshua Ryan Butler. Copyright © 2023 by Joshua Ryan Butler. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Josh Butler serves as a lead pastor of Redemption Tempe in Arizona, is the author of the critically acclaimed books Beautiful Union, The Skeletons in God’s Closet and The Pursuing God, and is a fellow with The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics. He lives in the American Southwest with his wife, Holly, daughter Aiden, and sons James and Jacob.

 

 

Episode 247

Disciple Up # 247
The Passion Translation – Translation, paraphrase or…?
By Louie Marsh

Intro.

I’m not a Bible translator, or a Greek or Hebrew scholar, but I am a Bible teacher with nearly 50 years of experience and when things like this appear they need to be spoken on. My goal isn’t to attack anyone and that includes the people involved with the Passion Translation.

Links to websites used in this episode:

 Examples of Too Many Words AND Continual Improvements

 PHILIPPIANS 1:1-2:

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:1–2, ESV)

 

TPT (2016)  “My name is Paul and I’m joined by my spiritual son Timothy, both of us passionate servants of Jesus, the Anointed One. We decree over your lives the blessings of divine grace and supernatural peace.”

 

TPT (2022) 1From Paul and Timothy, both of us servants of Jesus, the Anointed One. To all his devoted followers in Philippi, including your pastors, and to all the servant-leaders of the church. 2May the blessings of divine grace and supernatural peace that flow from God our wonderful Father, and our Messiah, the Lord Jesus, be upon your lives.

GALATIANS 2:19:

19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.” (Galatians 2:19, ESV)

 

TPT (22016) “so that I can live for God in heaven’s freedom

 

TPT (2022) 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

Examples of Adding Words & Phrases to the Text:

THE LORD’S PRAYER IN LUKE:

ESV Translation: 1Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread, 4and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”” (Luke 11:1–4, ESV)

 

TPT (2022) 1One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of his disciples came over to him as he finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just as John did for his disciples?”

2So Jesus taught them this prayer: “Our heavenly Father, may the glory of your name be the center on which our life turns.  May your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.  Manifest your kingdom on earth. 3And give us our needed bread for the coming day.  4Forgive our sins as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. And rescue us every time we face tribulations.”

TBT (2022) Lord’s Prayer In Matthew: 9Pray like this: ‘Our Beloved Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn10Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is in heaven. 11We acknowledge you as our Provider of all we need each day. 12Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. 13Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever. Amen.’

The Deeper Issue with this “translation”

It focuses the reader upon themselves rather than on God. The first part of the Lord’s prayer is all about focusing on God. This model prayer of Jesus teaches us to focus on God first – not ourselves. Yet the Passion Translation turns our attention immediately to ourselves with the Holy Spirit line.

So not only is there NOTHING about the Holy Spirit in the text – his choice to add to the Lord’s prayer derails what Jesus is trying to do with it! So we end up doing the exact opposite of what Jesus is leading us to do!

All translations struggle with being produced in a particular time and place. Your culture does impact how you translate things. The job of a good translator – and good Bible Teachers as well for that matter – is to minimize the impact.

Here we see the Passion Translation being as modern as you can get. It seems determined to get me and myself and my problems and my ego into view as often as possible. Even when the sinless and perfect Son of God make sure to exclude those!

Jesus is trying to get us to see that one of the first things prayer should do is to pull us out of ourselves and remind us how glorious, holy, perfect and pure God really is. Then, once I’ve got my eyes focused on Jesus again, once I can begin to see things from God’s perspective, then and only then do I bring my needs to my Father.

This translation destroys that and it does it by adding to the text while changing the focus of the passage. It actually perverts Jesus intention in saying this.

The Bottom Line:

1) It’s a paraphrase, not a translation, and that’s what it should be called.

2) The misuse of the Syriac Aramaic translation must be abandoned and corrected.

3) The practice of inserting entire phrases and sentences into the text must cease and be corrected.

If these things are not done then this so-called translation which is really a paraphrase, should be avoided by all who seriously seek to honor, understand and practice God’s Word.

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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Episode 243

Disciple Up # 243
Deconstructing Christianity – Nothing New
By Louie Marsh, 1-26-2022

Websites Used:

https://medium.com/backyard-theology/how-to-deconstruct-christianity-5a5bc498c86d

https://www.lffellowship.com/blog/2019/8/7/on-christian-deconstruction

https://churchleaders.com/news/413880-lecrae-deconstruction-isnt-a-bad-thing-if-it-leads-to-reconstruction.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quest_for_the_historical_Jesus

Introduction to this:

  • I heard about this so-called “deconstruction” movement just recently. I hadn’t known it was a big thing now days.
  • However, being old and having studied church history, both of which most deconstructionists can’t claim for themselves, I immediately recognized what was going on here.

A Little History:

 The idea of deconstructing your faith is anything but new. It’s been going on for centuries and has come in several waves. What we are seeing today is just the latest version of this.

Deconstructing the Deconstructionists:

https://medium.com/backyard-theology/how-to-deconstruct-christianity-5a5bc498c86d

The author is a self-described medium. That means he seeks to allow spirits to speak through him. Supposedly contacts the dead, etc.

What does the Bible say about mediums?  “31“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:31, ESV)

19And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19, ESV)

20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:20–21, ESV)

8But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”” (Revelation 21:8, ESV)

Keep this in mind as we go through this article.

Of course there are different Jesus’s running around the landscape. There always have been and always will be till the real one comes back again.

3But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” (2 Corinthians 11:3–4, ESV)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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Episode 209

Disciple Up # 209
Wrestling with Scripture
By Louie Marsh, 5-5-2021

 Intro. Excerpts from the article I’m discussing today, with a link to it below. Also some links to John Stott’s books are below as well. 

John Stott Would Want Us to Stop, Study, and Struggle

JOHN W. YATES III

APRIL 26, 2021

It was a bitterly cold January afternoon and rain was pinging sideways off the windows when John Stott emerged from his study. It was teatime, and a large pot was brewing on the small counter of the kitchenette of The Hermitage, Uncle John’s cozy living quarters in one of the old farm buildings at the Hookses, his rural retreat in Wales.

“Oh JY,” John said to me, wearily, rubbing his temples, “I have a terrible case of PIM.” His acronym stood for pain in the mind. It was his way of describing what it felt like to wrestle over a difficult writing project or a seemingly intractable problem, and it was a phrase I knew well after 18 months working as John’s study assistant.

Over tea, we discussed the progress he had made that day and the state of my research on the chapter he would tackle the following day. We also indulged in shortbread cookies (which were known to be an effective treatment for PIM). As he rose to return to work, he patted down the white tufts of hair he had disturbed at his temples and said.

“JY, there are certain tasks which cannot be done without acute pain in the mind. They are rarely fun, but always worthwhile.”

Another favorite acronym of John’s was BBC. He took delight in explaining that this did not stand for the British Broadcasting Corporation, but rather for balanced biblical Christianity. John was not afraid of taking an unpopular stance if Scripture required it. But he never rushed into an opinion. In his quest for a balanced and biblical Christianity, he worked tirelessly to understand every perspective on a topic before coming to a carefully considered judgment rooted in Scripture.

In an age of sound bites and Twitter feeds, many Christian leaders are so busy trying to keep up with current events that few of us take time to stop, to study, and to struggle for the sake of teaching God’s people. All too often, we take a side and stick to it without the discipline of listening or questioning our instincts. The thin veneer of our discipleship is showing cracks as a result.

In this complex and constantly changing world, we do not need more commentary. We need more pain in the mind. John was willing to endure this pain, not just in the quiet of his study, but also in the company of others. He understood that the work of preaching and teaching requires the steadfast suffering of careful thinking.

John Yates is the rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He served as John Stott’s study assistant from 1996 to 1999

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/april-web-only/john-stott-100-pain-in-mind-balanced-biblical-christianity.html

Some Books By John Stott

The Cross of Christ:

https://www.amazon.com/Cross-Christ-John-Stott/dp/083083320X/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083222&sr=8-2

The Message of the Sermon on the Mount:

https://www.amazon.com/Message-Sermon-Mount-Bible-Speaks/dp/0830824235/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083268&sr=8-10

Your Mind Matters:

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Mind-Matters-Christian-Classics/dp/0830834087/ref=sr_1_18?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083268&sr=8-18

Between Two Worlds: (excellent book on how to preach)

https://www.amazon.com/Between-Two-Worlds-John-Stott/dp/0802875521/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083268&sr=8-13

 

 

 

Episode 187

Disciple Up # 187
What About Repentance, Works & Salvation?
By Louie Marsh, 11-25-2020

Intro. Happy Thanksgiving!

An E-mail comes in:

Hello louie this is josh again and I have been struggling to understand this topic that I have came apon concerning ones salvation. The topic is a few questions, are we saved in just believing in christ or Is repentance required for salvation? Roman’s 10:9-13. In this passage Paul does not mention repentance as a need for salvation. Is believing enough or is there more we need to do to be saved?

What got me thinking about this was this video I watched on this topic, which I would like for you to watch and see if what his is saying is right

Mike, holdingfirmly channel on YouTube

If You Do Well Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOAdqrvjUn0&feature=youtu.be

“The Great deception among most Professed Christians is they refuse to recognize that Patient Continuance in Doing Well is the determining factor on whether or not they will enter the Kingdom of God. They think Salvation is a Package deal, that once they ‘receive Jesus forgiveness of past, present and future sins is assured and nothing they do or don’t do from that point forward has any bearing on the outcome of their inheritance of eternal life. Under the ‘not of works’, collective reasoning ‘doing well’ may be a by-product of Faith, but its never a necessity in that ‘NOT doing well will disqualify them form the Kingdom.”

Mistakes – “he told Cain to do well which he wouldn’t have done if he had a sin nature.” BUT Jesus regularly told people who were fallen to “go and sin not.” Plus later he says the whole structure of the Scriptures is God telling us to do well, but that contradicts which said about Cain.

“God expects an increase of His grace.”  What does that even mean? How can you or I increase God’s grace since that comes from him and is a part of him?

This is based on a misunderstanding of the Old Testament Covenants (yes, there were more than one) and the New Testament covenant of Jesus.

He only quotes part of this passage and then concludes that the disciples were able to deal with sin –

21And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”” (Matthew 20:21–23, ESV)

– when the passage proves the opposite! Great example of Is eisegesis – forming an opinion and then forcing it upon the text.

This man cannot properly interpret Scripture.

He either doesn’t know about or ignores one of the primary rules of interpretation of Scripture which is: You interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. Not the other way around, which is what he does.

He points out that in the OT you had to work to be saved or in the kingdom, then he quotes Jesus to support this (mangling His words as seen above) and then concludes he’s right. He forgets or ignores that Jesus lived under the Old Covenant and spoke to people who lived under it too!

It’s not till He rises from the grave that the New Covenant takes effect.

They FAILED when they betrayed Christ!

I’m not saying he’s bad or evil or is deliberately trying to mislead. I am saying he’s wrong, woefully wrong and in a way that anyone who’s taken even ONE class on how to interpret the Bible ought to be able to see.

Josh’s Questions:

Are we saved in just believing in Christ or Is repentance required for salvation? Roman’s 10:9-13. In this passage Paul does not mention repentance as a need for salvation. Is believing enough or is there more we need to do to be saved?

  1. Does God expect an increase of his grace?
  2. Can you be saved in your sin by faith alone?
  3. Are there deeds required in faithfulness.

Watch out for Proof Texting

A proof text is a passage of scripture presented as proof for a theological doctrine, belief, or principle.  Proof texting (sometimes “proof-texting” or “proof texting”) is the practice of using isolated, out-of-context quotations from a document to establish a proposition in eisegesis (introducing one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases). Such quotes may not accurately reflect the original intent of the author, and a document quoted in such a manner, when read as a whole, may not support the proposition for which it was cited. The term has currency primarily in theological and exegetical circles.

8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”” (Romans 10:8–11, ESV)

Notice that this doesn’t mention repentance. So is it really necessary? Proof texters would say this proves it’s not important! But they taking the wrong approach. You need to look at all the verses on this subject and see what they say. Note that this verse doesn’t say you have to ask God to forgive your sins either.

Is that now something we don’t do?

Repentance is one of the things we do, along with believing, confessing and being baptized, that we do when we make Jesus the Lord of our lives.

  1. Does God expect an increase of his grace?

Honestly and sincerely I don’t know what this means.

20Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” (Romans 5:20, ESV)

15For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15, ESV)

6which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,” (Colossians 1:6, ESV)

  1. Can you be saved in your sin by faith alone?

I already answered this.

  1. Are there deeds required in faithfulness?

14What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:14–19, ESV)

26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26, ESV)

You aren’t saved by works, but your works prove your faith. That’s it and that’s all.

This guys “Doing Well” stuff has another fatal flaw in it that I’ve save for now – HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’VE DONE WELL ENOUGH TO BE SAVED?

 He gives no standard for us to look too. There’s nothing about that in the Bible. So you are left up on your own never being sure if you are accepted by God or not.

You don’t have to have read much of the NT to see that this kind of insecurity isn’t typical of the language used about salvation. If he’s right then no one can ever know they are saved since they cannot know if they done well enough.

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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