GMO GENIE Part IV – The Great Divide

My freshman Sociology professor was a mix between Sarumon- (the evil wizard from J.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), and Freddy Kruger.  His reputation for baiting naïve freshmen into open debate just so he could slice them to pieces with his superior intellect and advanced debating skills was legendary.  I’ll never forget that first day of class when the “good” teacher wrote the following words across the blackboard:

THERE ARE NO INDIVIDUALS!

Sarumon the White – From the film vesion of J.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

When this firebrand of a teacher exclaimed in his booming voice that, “THERE ARE NO INDIVIDUALS!” and demanded a show of hands of anybody who dared disagree, I sat there just like all the other 90+ students in the lecture hall, churning inside, but too damn scared to raise my hand to voice opposition.

This particular professor was an outspoken practitioner of Wicca and well known for his radical environmental views.  The man’s shoulder length silver hair and matching beard were a common sight around campus.  He shunned automobiles and rode his bicycle everywhere he went..  Back in those days, (1975), I had no qualms with the professor’s worldview and certainly none for his chosen mode of transportation. I was an agnostic myself and already a very passionate environmentalist.

As the professor scanned the room looking for victims, our eyes met just for a moment, and then I immediately looked down at my feet hoping he wouldn’t notice me.  I could feel his piercing black eyes penetrating my soul as he sized up the flock.  I wanted to raise my hand in the worst way, but I also didn’t want to be made to look like a fool in front of the entire class, especially on the first day of the new semester.   Not surprisingly, no one in the entire class raised their hand. The professor looked disdainfully about the room and said, “I thought so.”  I don’t remember anything else the man said or taught for the rest of the semester.

After that experience I promised myself that whenever the opportunity presented itself, even though I lacked training in the fine art of debating, or possessed an inferior intellect compared to those I disagreed with, or fell short in the required academic credentialing, I was never going to remain silent and let someone tell me that up was really down, and wrong was really right.  And that included anyone who called themselves an “expert” or went around parading a long list of titles or academic credentials.

I have learned that the Bible is true, God is real, and He has given us His Son, so that “whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  [John 3:16]    I hang my hat on the fact that God will direct my steps, if I am willing, paying attention, obedient, and not blinded by my own desires.  As I have written in the first three segments of GMO GENIE, I hold a contrary position regarding Genetically Modified Organisms from that espoused by Dr. Calvin Beisner and the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

The theological debate regarding GMO’s centers on several factors, including the definition of “stewardship”, “dominion”, “good”, “evil”, and the ultimate purposes and goals of GM technology.  Cornwall Alliance claims that man has a “dominion mandate”, indeed, a moral obligation and stewardship responsibility to create new organisms by combining genes from different “kinds” of living creatures in the laboratory to produce stronger crops, increase yields, and “reduce the effects of the curse”.   Yet many professing Christians find the creation of these new chimeras abhorrent.

There are many ways to strengthen crops and produce higher yields without GM technology.  Man has developed all sorts of techniques and tools to make life safer, more pleasant, more productive, and last longer.  The debate is NOT about doing things that help us live in this fallen world.  The debate is about doing a specific thing that many people, and especially many Christians, believe that mankind has not been mandated by God to do and which could ultimately prove catastrophic. The debate is not just about the principle of re-making the plants and animals that God originally created by combining genetic material from different life forms in the laboratory, but it is about the wisdom of creating such organisms in the first place.  Once created, it then becomes a matter of judging the “product” itself. [See Matthew 7:20]

Reviewing the recent arguments for and against GMO’s as posted on the Cornwall Facebook page reveals that the conversation between opposing viewpoints can quickly devolve into what the apostle Paul described in 1 Timothy as “vain babblings”, arguments over cost benefit analysis, real or imagined effects, and other issues. One thing becomes very clear-  the GM process when looked at holistically involves many evils, including convincing, bribing, or intimidating individuals and governments to go along with the idea of releasing new patented creations into the environment, and then requiring nearly everyone on earth to purchase and consume them.  Cornwall and Dr. Calvin Beisner’s position that GMO’s are a legitimate expression of man’s dominion mandate provides a cover of morality, not just to those seeking privatization and a government/corporate monopoly on food production, but for nearly anything else that man can conceive of doing.

Please note, as has been discussed previously, we aren’t talking about making stronger pea plants through the hybridization of similar kinds.  We are talking about incorporating genetic material from vastly different “kinds”, different species, recombing genetic material in new and unique ways that are then controlled by patents requiring a legal obligation on the part of the grower.  With the simultaneous planned elimination of alternative seed choices, the farmer has little option but to comply.

[See:  http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500395_162-5978152.html]

In discussing GMO’s on Cornwall’s Facebook page, only two individuals raised their hands to argue against GM technology.  Outgunned by professional chemists and industry insiders led by Dr. Beisner, a skilled debator and master of “logic”,  we stood our ground.  The Cornwall folks did provide reasonable answers to many of the specific points and concerns that we raised, but ignored the thornier issues concerning human rights, food freedom, and specific theological criticisms leveled at their treatise called, Theological Framework for Evaluating Genetically Modified Food.

Beneath the word “stewardship” as Cornwall defines it,  lies the acquisition of influence, authority, power, control, and dominion over every aspect of creation.  At one point in the debate, I pointed out that had the Nazi’s won WW II, we would have been much further along with the creation of GMO’s than we are today.  One of the Cornwall folks responded to my NAZI comparison by pointing out that, “It was the Nazi’s ethics that were different, not their logic; and they certainly didn’t “elevate” logic.”

There may be differences between the “ethics” of Nazi eugenics and somebody’s definition of “godly” genetic engineering, but the rationalizations for, and even some of the underlying goals of today’s GM technologies, are exactly the same as those crudely employed sixty years ago.  If there is indeed a line that the NAZI’s crossed that we shouldn’t cross, I think the researchers in Great Britain who, just a few years ago, admitted to having created ‘para-humans’ and animal-human ‘chimeras” should hear about it.  Somebody should explain where the ethical boundary line is to SENOMYX, a company that has been utilizing the cloned cells from aborted fetuses as a test medium for flavor enhancement ingredients found in consumer food products sitting on store shelves right next to the GM products.

Cornwall says they don’t support the genetic modification of humans. Such a statement is not just arbitrary, it is basically meaningless since genetic modification and experimentation of human DNA has been underway for quite some time.  Their shaky theological framework in support of genetically modified organisms provides an open door for the acceptance of all sorts of unimaginable GM technologies, including transhumanism.  All “ethical” bets are off when it comes to finding new and innovative ways to reduce “the effects of the curse.”

Christian love is born of unity in the Spirit.  And unity of the Spirit comes from God. When we hold opposing worldviews, or cannot agree on the purposes for which we have been created, then there cannot be unity.  Opposing opinions regarding GMO’s are growing more passionate on both sides.  Pro GM theocrats are creating a massive stumbling block for people of conscience who simply aren’t buying the propaganda put forth by an elite cadre of scientists and self-appointed theologians.  To assume that such a growing divide can be bridged by skilled arguments, peer persuasion, or the sheer force of “logic”, is the height of arrogance.  For such are the tactics of our adversary.

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with the. Amen. “  [I Tim  6:20-21]

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”   [Philippians 2:1-2]

Man’s pursuit of GMO’s will ultimately be judged by God as either wise or foolish.  He will either be pleased with what we have done, or He will not.  There are no shades of gray regarding “good” or “evil” in this debate.

 

 

29 thoughts on “GMO GENIE Part IV – The Great Divide

  1. My computer has lost the ability to open PDF’s. Hopefully this glitch is only temporary.

    I have nothing against “logic” or sound reasoning. I try to be logical and I try to reason soundly. But I am very concerned that “reasoning” and “logic” have been elevated to a position that they do not deserve. “Logic” (to my very basic way of thinking) while it helps us organize our thoughts and conduct our lives, is a process that is not always sufficient to describe truth or lead one to form a correct solution. I am not schooled in logic, but it seems to me that it should not be held as sacrosanct, which is why I put quotes around the word.

    The Pharisees prided themselves on their knowledge, on their education, their reasoning skills, and their “logic”. They were elevated to positions of leadership and authority. But they came to faulty conclusions because they were wrong about many of their basic suppositions. I too have made many mistakes and have come to regret some of my previously held beliefs and suppositions. I simply do not put my trust in “logic”.

    God has indeed created an ordered universe. We agree that He is NOT a God of chaos. But neither is He limited to thinking the way man thinks, or acting the way man acts.

    “For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8.

  2. First, you can restore your computer’s ability to open PDFs by downloading Adobe Reader for free from http://get.adobe.com/reader/.

    Second, logic isn’t just “the way man thinks.” Man thinks in many ways–generously and selfishly, creatively and repetitively, righteously and sinfully, AND logically (validly) and illogically (invalidly). Just as righteous thinking is how God thinks, and so we should think righteously, too, so also logical thinking is the way God thinks, and we should think logically, too. Indeed, that logic is inherent to God’s mind is implicit in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God.” Although almost all English translations use “Word” to translate “logos,” the most common usages for that term in both Hebrew and Greek culture was not “word” (a sound or sequence of sounds, or a set of letters) but “account,” “argument,” reason,” or “logic.” Our sad contemporary lack of education in logic makes many of us think it’s cold and impersonal and thus resist the notion that John 1:1 could be translated “In the beginning was the Logic, and the Logic was with God, and the Logic was God,” but logic ISN’T necessarily cold or impersonal. Indeed, logic is an essential hallmark of personhood: rocks don’t make inferences, trees don’t make inferences, numbers don’t make inferences, geographical shapes don’t make inferences, but persons do. (There’s more than the capacity for logic to being personal, but not less.)

    Sometimes we do use the word “logic” in the very loose sense of simply “how such-and-such a person or group thinks,” but that’s not how we use the word when we use it to denote a test for the validity or invalidity of an argument. Then we use it to denote the rules of valid inference. And those rules are NOT man made. They’re in the very structure of God’s mind, and they’re implicit in Scripture. They begin with the “three laws of thought” (identity; contradiction; excluded middle) and advance through rules of definition, rules of distribution, rules of the syllogism, and so on. Indeed, when I used to teach logic in seminary, I drew most of the class exercises from Scripture, where every single one of the laws of thought and rules of inference gets exhibited one place or another.

    Abandon the laws of logic and no statement remains meaningful, communication becomes impossible.

    So, in addition to referring you again to my “Summary of Concepts, Principles, and Functions of Logic,” I’ll recommend again, as I did in another comment a little while ago, that you get and study (Christian apologists) Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks’s COME LET US REASON (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0801038367/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=cornwallia-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0801038367&adid=1GWWSCE5BPP9JXSS4K72&). Doing that will help you be much more effective in your defense of Christian faith and ethics.

  3. Daniel

    The foundation of responsibility is knowledge. I am sure we all would agree that we dont know all the consequences of our current actions. This realisation would make us very careful on approaching such incredibly complicated things as DNA modification. We asses risks/benefits with our current knowledge. It may be in the future we realise that many of our current technologies like GM have risks that out weigh the benefits like many technologies have done in the past. Different technologies have also different levels of risks depending on their complexity. I agree the Bible does not prohibit GM directly but from a historical perspective it does appear to me that it have been rushed to the market too quickly and in a dishonesty way.

  4. Daniel,

    When I think about responsibility I think about the fact that man was created in the image of God, so he certainly was endowed with many godly attributes right from the start. I won’t presume to make a list, but the first man had to have sense enough to name all the animals. That said, it was an act of complete irresponsibility that led the first humans to decide to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil after God said “do not”. And then they suffered the catastrophic consequences of their actions – being cast out of the garden and subjected to the “curse” of death, (or as some would say, “entropy”), which we have been combating ever since.

    Ecclesiastes 7:29 — “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.”

    My BLB Treasury of Scripture Knowledge explains that the word “inventions” refers to many things, including tools, technology, and weapons. It makes a comment then goes on to cite correlating verses….

    “The descendants of Adam have sought out an immense number of inventions, in order to find happiness in the world, without God, which have only proved so many variations of impiety and iniquity.” Gen 3:6,7; Gen 6:5,6,11,12; Gen 11:4-6; Psa 99:8; Psa 106:29,39; Jer 2:12,13; Jer 4:22; Eze 22:6-13; Mar 7:8,9; Act 7:40-43; Rom 1:21-32; Rom 3:9-19; Eph 2:2,3; Tts 3:3

    The notes say men do these things “without God”. But it is very relevant to this discussion to point out that “godly men” are not in charge of making the decisions or limiting the areas of where GM tech is headed, and even if they were, I contend they simply do not fully understand all the consequences of their actions.

  5. Daniel

    Thanks Steve. That is interesting about “inventions”. I think this par also add light to the subject though its on the energy question.

    “Now the discussion begins to touch on a more fundamental problem in the sinful human nature. There is an instinctive dislike of renewable energy by many political decision makers, because renewable energies essentially use the weather which is not under human control. It comes back to that very natural desire to be in charge of one’s destiny and not in any way to be dependent on God. Fossil fuel is there and can be used instantly. It’s a very human trait, as Edison implied, to live for today and not care for tomorrow. If there is something that one wants and one has the power, one can take it. The concept of sustainability is largely foreign to fallen man.”

    from http://www.e-n.org.uk/p-5555-God-and-the-energy-question.htm

    About risks and benefits its also worth to note from history that often the risks are delegated to the poor and future generations and the benefits are to rich and current generation.

  6. Dr. Beisner wrote: “First, you can restore your computer’s ability to open PDFs by downloading Adobe Reader…”

    A perfectly logical statement, but built on a false supposition.

    We have downloaded the latest Adobe programs a couple times, the problem goes a little deeper than that. Our computer was hacked a couple months ago, various spyware installed, (McAffee Security is a worthless piece of crap!) and nothing we have tried so far has completely worked to alleviate the problems.

    My wife has probably spent 100 hours over the past month on the phone with various tech support. We even installed an expensive professional grade security program recommended by Dell. Yesterday morning my Facebook account was hacked and bizarre stuff placed on my profile. We personally know three highly qualified computer security experts, all say the trojans are “a difficult problem to fix”. Entropy, sin and death are at work in this world Dr. Beisner, and the enemy doesn’t play fair.

    I’m about ready to go off grid and move to a bunker in the mountains.

  7. Christians are called to preach the gospel of the risen Christ.

    There is a “period” at the end of that sentence. When the period is in place, there is a unity among believers. Divisions arise when we start adding things. i.e. Jesus plus this, or Jesus plus that. Cornwall’s theology takes the gospel message and adds man’s dominion over nature. In fact this “dominion mandate” becomes quite nearly their entire focus almost completely obscuring and eclipsing the gospel message.

    Other religions and even some Christian groups support genetic engineering. Some, like Cornwall, want to limit the technology to plants and animals, while some want to extend it to the human genome. Some want to use every means possible to help man to make progress, “evolve” or fulfill his “ultimate destiny”.

    Carl Teichrib is an evangelical Christian who gave an outstanding talk to one such group – The Mormon Transhumanist Society. This is a must see video, as Carl not only clearly and concisely presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the differences between man (the steward) and God (the creator), but he points out the dangers of adding things to the gospel that distort or muddy the message.

  8. Steve, you write, “Christians are called to preach the gospel of the risen Christ.

    “There is a ‘period’ at the end of that sentence. When the period is in place, there is a unity among believers. Divisions arise when we start adding things. i.e. Jesus plus this, or Jesus plus that. Cornwall’s theology takes the gospel message and adds man’s dominion over nature. In fact this ‘dominion mandate’ becomes quite nearly their entire focus almost completely obscuring and eclipsing the gospel message.”

    Let’s leave aside for the moment the historically false claim that “[w]hen the period is in place, there is a unity among believers.” The gospel itself divides many who profess the Christian faith. One needn’t be a historian of theology (and so to recognize the differences between monergism and synergism, between sacerdotalism and evangelicalism, between Protestantism and Catholicism, between Calvinism and Arminianism, between universal atonement and particular atonement, between Pelagianism and Augustinianism and semi-Pelagianism, etc.) to recognize that. Just ask a few dozen professing Christians why, if they were to die today, God should admit them to heaven, and listen to the wide array of answers. Sad to say, few will answer, “Because Jesus Christ by His death on the cross paid the penalty for my sins, and His resurrection showed God’s acceptance of His sacrifice for me–I have no other claim, but His death and resurrection are sufficient.”

    But I focus here on your insinuation, via the vagueness of “takes the gospel message and adds,” that the Cornwall Alliance has corrupted the gospel by adding to it some requirement of salvation that it doesn’t include.

    Let’s make this clear: The gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). The Apostle Paul summarizes the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15 as the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. Justification–the forgiveness of our sins and the judgment that we are innocent in the sight of God–is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, as Paul argues in Romans 3:9-28 and often elsewhere, and as was affirmed in three of the five great solas of the Reformation. That is the gospel the Cornwall Alliance teaches and preaches–that, and nothing more.

    Scripture teaches more than the gospel, though. It also teaches law–and indeed, the gospel is meaningless without the law, since “Christ died for our sins” depends for its meaning in part on the meaning of “sins,” and Scripture defines sin as lawlessness (1 John 3:4)–i.e., violation of the law. And Scripture teaches that, ordinarily (there are exceptions, as, e.g., in the case of Job during the period of his testing, and as in the case of many heroes of the faith who suffered for it, mentioned in Hebrews 11, and as in the case of Steven and other martyrs, and ultimately as in the case of the unjust death of the sinless Savior), obedience to the law brings blessing in this life, while disobedience brings curse on the unbelieving or chastening on the believing (Deuteronomy 28). Further, Scripture teaches about wisdom and prudence (Proverbs and elsewhere), and it teaches that, ordinarily, wise and prudent conduct brings temporal prosperity (among other results), while foolish and imprudent conduct bring temporal poverty (among other results).

    The task of Christian teachers of the Word is, as Paul described his own conduct among the believers at Ephesus, to teach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)–not ONLY the gospel but the WHOLE counsel of God, from the whole Word of God, to the whole people of God, for the whole of life (since the God-breathed Scriptures are able not only to make us wise unto salvation [the gospel] but also to thoroughly equip us for every good work [2 Timothy 3:17]).

    So the Cornwall Alliance teaches and preaches the gospel. It also teaches and preaches much else that Scripture teaches and preaches. It does not, however, pretend to be omnicompetent, to address everything always to everyone. No one can do that, which is why the Body of Christ is made up of many members who have distinct contributions to make (1 Corinthians 12). We specialize in some things, others specialize in other things, and that’s as it should be.

    Should we criticize you, Steve, for adding to the preaching and teaching of the gospel your warnings about the Rewilding Project or about GMO? No–not so long as you don’t make opposition to Rewilding part of the gospel. Neither, then, should you criticize the Cornwall Alliance for adding to the preaching and teaching of the gospel what we teach about other things–not so long as we don’t make them part of the gospel.

    We have never done that. We never will.

  9. Steve, after citing Ecclesiastes 7:29 — “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” — you write: “My BLB Treasury of Scripture Knowledge explains that the word “inventions” refers to many things, including tools, technology, and weapons. It makes a comment then goes on to cite correlating verses….

    “’The descendants of Adam have sought out an immense number of inventions, in order to find happiness in the world, without God, which have only proved so many variations of impiety and iniquity.’ Gen 3:6,7; Gen 6:5,6,11,12; Gen 11:4-6; Psa 99:8; Psa 106:29,39; Jer 2:12,13; Jer 4:22; Eze 22:6-13; Mar 7:8,9; Act 7:40-43; Rom 1:21-32; Rom 3:9-19; Eph 2:2,3; Tts 3:3

    “The notes say men do these things ‘without God’. But it is very relevant to this discussion to point out that “godly men” are not in charge of making the decisions or limiting the areas of where GM tech is headed, and even if they were, I contend they simply do not fully understand all the consequences of their actions.”

    What’s your point here, Steve? That inventions–tools, technology, weapons–are all evil or are used only for evil? If not–and I trust not–then why raise it?

    The word translated “inventions” in the KJV there is translated “devices” in the ESV and NAS, and “schemes” in NIV, NKJV, and NRSV. It certainly has a much broader sense than just our modern word “inventions” (which itself had a much wider sense in Elizabethan English than is typical in today’s usage). And, by the way, not only sinful men but also godly men are said to do use “inventions,” “devices,” “schemes,” and likewise not only men but God also is said to use these–whatever English word we choose to translate the Hebrew mashabâ. Here’s the entry on it from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament:

    *****
    [starting with the verb] The basic idea of the word is the employment of the mind in thinking activity. Reference is not so much to “understanding” (cf. bi^n), but to the creating of new ideas. The root appears mainly in the Qal stem, but also in both Niphal and Piel, and once in Hithpael. The verb alone appears 121 times.

    Six clear variations of the basic thought of this root can be distinguished in the OT. The most frequently used is that of “planning,” “devising.” This variation is employed in reference to both man and God, and it appears in both Qal and Piel. Israelites, for instance, are warned not to “devise” evil against a brother (Zech 7:10). In one verse, Gen 50:20, there is reference to both man and God, as Joseph uses the word twice; first in saying that his brothers “meant” (planned) evil in their earlier treatment of him, but that God “meant” (planned) it for good.

    The next most frequent use is in the sense of “making a judgment.” This too is employed in reference to both man and God, and it appears in Qal and Niphal. The well-known text, Isa 53:4, uses it: “We did esteem (Judge) him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” God is the subject as Job exclaims, “He counts (judges) me for his enemy” (Job 33:10). The uses in Niphal are simply the passive of Qal.

    A third use, rather infrequent, is that of merely running thoughts through the mind, meditating (Qal and Piel). Malachi speaks commendably about those who feared the Lord and “thought” about his name (Mal 3:16). The Piel is employed (without any clear distinction in meaning) as David shows surprise, in respect to the identity of man, that God should take “account” (have thoughts) of him (Psa 144:3).

    A fourth variation means “to impute,” actually a specialized sense of “to make a judgment.” This variation occurs three times in Qal and three in Niphal, the latter simply being the passive. It refers to both God and man. Shimei, after having blatantly cursed David, beseeches David not to “impute” sin unto him (2Sam 19:20). More significantly, God is spoken of as imputing. Abraham believed God and God “counted” (imputed) it to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3). David states that the man is blessed to whom the Lord “imputes” not iniquity (Psa 32:2; Rom 4:8).

    A fifth variation means “to invent,” a use found only in the Qal. It is employed of Bezaleel, chosen by God to be head builder of the tabernacle, describing a part of his work as “devising” (inventing) artistic productions, using gold, silver, and brass (Exo 31:4; Exo 35:32, 35). Uzziah, king of Judah, placed in Jerusalem, war machines “invented” by clever men (2Chr 26:15).

    The last variation means “accounting,” “bookkeeping,” used only in the Piel. In the time of the aged high priest, Jehoiada, when repairs were being made on the temple, the word is used to say that the priests “reckoned” (accounted) not with the workmen in connection with money for the project, because the workers were honest. In the Mosaic legislation, the word is used several times in respect to the “accounting” necessary for figuring the fluctuating value of properties and produce, in the light of an approaching year of Jubilee (Lev 25:27, 50, 52; Lev 27:18, 23). The one use of the Hithpael is simply a reflexive of the second variation noted, “to make a judgment” (Num 23:9).

    maµ¦sh¹bâ. Thought, device. This noun derivative appears in three basic meanings: “thought,” “plan,” and “invention,” all three corresponding to basic variations noted for the verb. It is used to mean “thought” in Gen 6:5, “Every imagination of the ‘thoughts’ of his heart was “evil.” The second, “plan,” occurs when the Israelites are made to say, in contrast to God’s will for them, that they would follow their own “devices (plans) and do as they wanted” (Jer 18:12). The third is used in reference to a skilled worker, whom Hiram of Tyre sent to Solomon to work on the temple. He was described as being able to work out any “invention” necessary for the task (2Chr 2:14).

    *****
    In the context, the word mashaba in Ecclesiastes 7:29 refers not to inventions like airplanes or vaccines or sewage pipes, etc., and not to plans or thoughts per se, but, as the Hebrew antithetic parallelism makes clear, to plans or thoughts that are the opposite of those that should characterize “the upright.” That is, it denotes specifically plans or thoughts that are sinful. And since Scripture defines sin as lawlessness, or transgression of the law (1 John 3:4), that means this word denotes thoughts that are contrary to the moral law of God revealed in the Ten Commandments.

    To jump from there to the conclusion that GMO (or any other “invention”) is sinful is unwarranted. There are good thoughts and bad thoughts, and there are good ways and bad ways of using any technology.

  10. Dr. Beisner, I do not preach the gospel plus anything. I write about REWILDING because it is in direct opposition to the gospel message and needs to be exposed as such. Radical environmentalism is an attempt to deny the Creator, deny the curse, or return to an Eden-like existence only they are competent to define.

    Similarly I am opposed to GMO’s because I believe mixing and matching the genes of different “kinds” is bad stewardship that portends great risk. Using the “dominion” principle provides no excuse for bad stewardship. You say GMO’s are an example of good stewardship guided by knowledge. We disagree on that. I say they are an example of bad stewardship guided by arrogance, greed, and ignorance.

    I have spent fifty years learning about what it means to be a steward of creation. I started out as a radical environmentalist thinking that was the definition of ‘stewardship’. Then I studied Natural Resource Management in college and went on to work for the U.S. Forest Service with timber management, stand improvement, fire ecology, range management, etc. I also spent one summer as a backcountry ranger building trails and policing the Bridger-Teton wilderness. I did not really begin to understand the definition of conservation or “stewardship” until I began spending time with the individual ranchers, hunters, and outfitters who lived and worked directly with the land conserving and caring for wildlife as much as they cared for their own domesticated animals. Those rural folks out in Wyoming and Montana and Idaho taught me more about “stewardship” than my college professors or any government bureaucrat.

    That said, I changed gears and found my life’s calling working with people with developmental disabilities. Stewardship for me entails lifting up those who are hurting, those who have fallen, those who are inconvenienced or “disabled” by circumstances beyond their control.

    There are some who believe that Down’s Syndrome (also known as trisomy 21, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21) can, and should be eliminated through genetic engineering. They say, “Wouldn’t that be a great result of GM technology?” And my reply is a resounding “NO!” Some of the very best people in the world have, or have had Down’s Syndrome. In fact, I can honestly say that all the theology I ever needed to know was taught to me by someone who had Down’s. Those who believe God makes mistakes by allowing certain people to come into the world are simply wrong.

    Some claim that it is our job as Christians, our responsibility using our “dominion mandate”, to repair a particular “problem” or “help reverse the effects of the curse”. (I would disagree with that assessment.) But you cannot say that GM engineering will actually do what it promises to do or that it will do what you believe it will do. In fact, it seems to me, that just the opposite is true.

  11. The GMO Genie is already out of the bottle. Watch this optimistic pro-GM video dealing with the current prospects of “Synthetic Biology”. Pay particular attention to Dr. Hurlbut’s comments beginning at the 16:40 mark. Hurlbut is a physician and consulting scientist on bioethics at Stanford University. He served on President Bush’s bioethics committee re embryonic stem cell research. He described that committee as “a war zone.” (See Eph. 6:12)

    Everything Hurlbut says about the risks of manipulating the human genome also applies to plants and animals. We simply don’t have an appreciation for what we are doing.

  12. Daniel

    John Kempf who appear to be very knowledgeable experienced in both conventional and eco agriculture have very interesting things to say in his conference address here: http://bionutrient.org/library/audio-archive#2013Soil-Nutrition

    Regarding genetics he say that about 20 years ago the scientific community had bright hopes of what it can to for humanity, cure many diseases, provide more food, reduce pesticides etc. Later on a new field of study emerged called epigenetics out of a realisation that genetics is no where nearly as simple as once thought and failure of hope in genetics. Epigenetics is basically showing that the environment determine genetic expression and that according to Mr Kempf the GMO vs conventional vs organic yield debate is much less relevant than once thought. He show by examples that plant stress is a mayor thing to consider when asking why some plants have a greater yield than others. Stress factors are many things like lack of proper amount of water and access to important minerals at critical points in the plans growth like potassium.

    Interestingly regarding epigenetics he say that this guy demonstrated that healthy mosquitoes dont get malaria.

    http://www.dykstralabs.com/aboutus.html

    From a historical view GMOs was just the next logical step in the conventional chemical approach to farming which accelerated after WWII. During the last 70 years more and more people have moved to the cities form farms as pesticides and mechanisation have taken over their work. GMOs have reduced even more people from the farmland by eliminating the need for any weeding. In the pursuit of “productivity” many important things have been marginalised, most importantly peoples health.

    I believe with Mr. Kempf that current mainstream agriculture is not sustainable. The only why back is to heal the soil so much devastated by agriculture and start to rebuild the health of our culture that way.

    What is happening in our farms might also be a sign of Gods judgement on our wicket culture. May God grant us repentance and wisdom to be good stewards of his creation.

  13. Dr. Beisner,

    Re: your comment above @ May 4, 6:02pm: I’d like to start here to show where I agree with you, while saving future comments (food beckons at the moment) on where I disagree with some of your views.

    The writer’s use of Logos in the fourth Gospel was quite masterful. By personifying Logos as God in Jesus Christ, as the >Logos made flesh, the writer made a myriad of theological points, while simultaneously providing a useful apologetic against then current philosophical and religious thought. Rather than going into detail, I’ll provide a link to an article I wrote. The first part explains John’s use of logos as background for the meat of the article; therefore, I’m only suggesting you read this first part:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ-part-iiib/

  14. Dr. Beisner,

    As Steve here has emailed me the latest Facebook exchanges, I see your eschatological view is postmillennial. This helps me to better understand your stance with regard to GMOs. While I disagree with this view of eschatology, I will say that it is the most optimistic of the millennial views. But, I don’t wish to sidetrack the conversation to one of eschatology.

    As I wrote in the comments to the 2nd part of this particular series on Steve’s blog, my primary concern is in the exegesis of Romans 8. I see in the link provided by you to your article What Is the Most Important Environmental Task Facing American Christians Today? even more reason to challenge your views on this (which correspond to Ballor’s views of the ‘Theological Framework’ for a pro position with respect to GMOs).

    I see your view as implicitly of the ‘manifested sons of God’ (MSoG) view. The usual interpretation of this view is that a select number of “overcomers” (other terms are also used) will receive their resurrection/redemption (imperishable) bodies before Christ returns; however, yours does not explicitly make this distinction but rather seems to assume all Christians can potentially (or have, or will actually) obtain their non-flesh-and-blood imperishable bodies in advance of the eschaton.

    I state this because of the following (p 3 of above named article, with bolding added for my own emphasis):

    The effects of the atoning death, victorious resurrection, and triumphant ascension of Christ, then, sweep over all of creation. They include people, animals, plants, and even the ground itself. They include the restoration of the image of God in the redeemed and the restoration of knowledge, holiness, and creativity in working out the cultural mandate.

    Nothing is yet fully redeemed. The Earth, animals, plants, etc. are yet still in a post-Fall fallen state, as is most of humankind, the lone exception being Christians who are only partially redeemed. I’ll explain by exegeting Romans 8:18-21 (I noted that you left out verse 18 on p 4 of your article). First the Biblical text (NIV):

    18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

    Note the important clause “that will be revealed in us”; this is yet future from Paul’s writing. When is this ‘revealing’? The next four verses provide the answer:

    22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

    The “redemption of our bodies” (v 23) is our yet future “hope” (vv 24-25; cf. 1 Cor 15:20-28) – our future bodily resurrection in imperishable, immortal bodies (1 Cor 15:42-54). The Greek word for “creation” above (transliterated ktiseos), in this context, refers to all of God’s creation, save for mankind. BDAG (p 573) notes the meaning of this term is disputed, yet generally conceded to include all of creation below humans (animate and inanimate). However, it seems that by the context “creation” awaits the full redemption of Christians – a part of humankind – thereby implicitly excluding humankind. Logically, it would seem that unredeemed humanity would hardly be anticipating the ‘revealing’ of the “children of God” (Rom 8:19), as this would mean their time of judgment had come!

    Paul’s point in this particular Scripture is that all of creation will be redeemed (new heavens and new earth of Rev 21) only at the time of, or just after, the full redemption (‘revealing’) of Christians (the “children of God”) at the eschaton, i.e. when Christ returns.

    Perhaps I’m missing something here, Dr. Beisner. Could you provide your exegesis of Romans 8:18-25?

  15. I’m not going to get drawn into further interaction here. That you could think so fallaciously as to write, “I see your view as implicitly of the ‘manifested sons of God’ (MSoG) view” suggests that reasoning with you is next to impossible, and I simply haven’t the time to attempt the next-to-impossible. As a former cult apologist, trained under the late Walter R. Martin and employed by him for four years, I know the Manifest Sons of God movement, and my views are not remotely like its. Your comparison of mine with its merely because I happen to use the (Biblical!) language of the manifestation of the sons of God is utterly, completely fallacious.

  16. That’s about what I expected. Rather than engage in the argument, you resort to the claim that may argument is unsound on the surface, with absolutely no justification for your counterclaim.

    I stand firmly by my comment by the way you exegeted Romans 8:19-21.

  17. Dr. Beisner,

    And, for the record, I note that you don’t appreciate when others take your arguments out of context, yet that’s what you’ve done with mine, by rejecting my argument out of hand in view of my comparision of your exegesis of Romans 8 with MSoG. You fail to engage the main thrust of my argument in which I quoted directly from one of your own articles illustrating how your words do not align with Scripture.

    However, I concede that my statement that your view is implicitly of the MSoG view, should have been better stated that your view is tantamount to the MSoG view in the way it assumes we will receive (or have already received) our glorified bodies, as that is the end result of the manner in which you proof-texted Romans 8.

    I’ll even go further and concede that the way my comment above is written, one could rewrite as a conditional clause such that the protasis would be “If one exegetes Romans 8 the way Beisner has, [apodosis] then they are of the MSoG view” – a not necessarily true statement. I’ll grant you that. However, with the correction in my previous paragraph, it would instead read, “[protasis] If one exegetes Romans 8 such as Beisner, [apodosis] {then} this is tantamount to the MSoG view that (certain) Christians can obtain their imperishable bodies before Christ’s return” – a true statement.

    Sadly, your actions are not atypical of the way I see false teachers react: when challenged to a point that they cannot counter a valid argument against their position they usually resort to losing their temper and closing off all dialogue. Or, alternatively, false teachers in this situation just close off all dialogue without actually losing their temper, or at least keeping their anger under wraps in public forums.

    Bottom line: because of your own hermeneutical presuppositions, you’ve imposed something on this Scripture that is not borne out by a plain reading in context. You’ve employed eisegesis rather than exegesis.

  18. Sam Storms (who, please note, was formerly associated with Mike Bickle’s aberrant Metro (Vineyard) Christian Fellowship, which essentially became International House of Prayer, yet has never denounced this association, but is now in the Reformed camp) has an article on postmillennialism:

    http://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/the-postmillennial-view-of-the-kingdom-of-god

    The article specifically addresses Romans 8:17-23 as incongruent with a postmil stance. In F1, Storms quotes Richard Gaffin’s “Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections on Postmillennialism,” in Theonomy: A Reformed Critique [Zondervan, 1990]:

    “Until then, at Christ’s return, the suffering/futility/decay principle in creation remains in force, undiminished (but sure to be overcome); it is an enervating factor that cuts across the church’s existence, including its mission, in its entirety. The notion that this frustration factor will be demonstrable [sic] reduced, and the church’s suffering service noticeably alleviated and even compensated, in a future era before Christ’s return is not merely foreign to this passage; it trivializes as well as blurs both the present suffering and future hope/glory in view. Until his return, the church remains one step behind its exalted Lord; his exaltation means its (privileged) humiliation, his return (and not before), its exaltation” (214-15).

  19. Nobody commenting here is omniscient, and none of us intend to distort the other person’s viewpoint. The benefit of any discussion is to clarify what one means and intends, and come to a fuller understanding of the other’s viewpoint. We do that by exchanging words, and commenting on what others have said or written. Sometimes our understanding of what a person means or intended to say is not accurate. Asking solid questions and getting solid answers helps us form solid conclusions. It does not necessarily mean we will come to an agreement or form a consensus. Discernment requires that we look beneath the superficial and accept the fact that there exists an irreconcilable divide between right and wrong, truth and error, that is often hidden in the mist. Dispelling the mist takes effort.

    The fact that Dr. Beisner, (and by extension, we must assume that many others who associate with the Cornwall Alliance), ascribe to a post-millennial view is very informative, and especially enlightening regarding his/their unequivocal support of GMO’s. This theological revelation does bring up some additional questions.

    I asked Dr. Beisner two very simple questions on my GMO GENIE Part 1 thread (which generated 68 comments total) on the Cornwall Facebook page:

    1. Do you believe we are in the period known as “the millennium” at this very moment?

    2. What do you expect the circumstances on the earth will be when Jesus returns?

    And just so I’m not accused of taking things out of context, here’s Dr. Beisner’s full reply:

    “Okay, folks, this string is now closed. We’ve wandered all over the place and are verging on wandering much farther afield. Besides, with this constantly rising again to the top of the page it distracts attention from other/new posts.”

    Distracts attention? Why not just answer the questions? Seems to me they were quite reasonable and relevant to the discussion as it unfolded.

  20. At the risk of turning this comment page into a series of vain babblings, I’d like to examine in some detail one aspect of how Dr. Beisner tends to answer questions. I could post a half dozen different examples from our FB discussions to show that he nearly always begins by pointing out failures in reasoning or logic in others, and then usually adds some sort of personal jab or put down somewhere in the answer process.

    After reading through some of Dr. Beisner’s writings, I noticed his habit of nearly always capitalizing the word “Earth”. See this example:

    http://www.theird.org/Document.Doc?id=25

    I found this curious because in many other articles that I have read, especially those written from a conservative Christian perspective, the word “earth” is most often written in lower case. This is not to say that there aren’t occasions when it is proper to capitalize the word, of course there are. To capitalize, or not to capitalize, does it really mean anything one way or the other, and who really cares?

    Over the years I have studied a variety of worldviews and alternative religions, which included reviewing a fair amount of new-age and pagan literature. I found that the word “earth” is nearly always capitalized in pagan or neo-pagan discourse, i.e. “Mother Earth”, “The Earth Mother”, or just plain “Earth”. I asked Dr. Beisner why he chose to capitalize the word in his writings just like the pagans do. This was his response as recorded on Facebook:

    “I don’t capitalize “Earth” for any reason remotely like that of the Gaia worshipers, but because “Earth” is the proper name of the third planet out from the Sun in our solar system; the other planets’ proper names are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, etc. I capitalize “Earth” when it denotes the planet as a whole; I use lower-case when it denotes land in distinction from water, or when it denotes dirt. I capitalize “Earth” as the planet’s name just as capitalized “Aiko” as my dog’s name and “Shadow” as my cat’s name. Once upon a time this would have been common knowledge to anyone who had studied grammar and punctuation in third or fourth grade.”

    Obviously Dr. Beisner assumes I am ignorant of basic grammar and of the proper names of the planets. I admit that I hated grammar in school, and I often wander outside the lines of proper writing form on my own blog, and yes, I probably should have paid more attention in third grade. But then again, a little research shows that while Dr. Beisner may be technically correct in his assertion regarding proper names, he is in fact not following typical grammatical, scientific or theological practice by almost always capitalizing the word “Earth”.

    Consider that all of the planets in our solar system were given their names by men who wanted to honor the pagan deities of ancient Rome and Greece. The one exception of course is “Earth”, which is what God himself called the dry land that He created….

    “And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good.” [Gen. 1:10]

    Notice that the “E” is capitalized in the word “Earth” in Genesis 1:10, as is the “S” in the word “Seas”. But wait a minute, this is only one of two instances in the entire KJV where I could find that the word “earth” is capitalized. The remaining 884 out of 886 times where the word “earth” is used in the KJV, it is used with a lower case “e”. And yes, this lower case applies regardless of whether the word is in reference to the land or to the entire planet. The only other exception to the lower case form that I could find was in Rev. 17:5. Obviously, the transcribers of the KJV never attended Dr. Beisner’s school of grammar, otherwise they would have capitalized the word “earth” almost every time instead of only two out of eight hundred and eighty-six times. (2/886)

    Well, okay, that’s just one version of the bible. What about the others? The NIV uses the word “earth” 735 times and it is capitalized only one time, in Rev. 17:5. The NASB uses the word “earth” 886 times, and again, it is capitalized only once, or 1/886 of the time. Interestingly enough, like the NIV, the word is only capitalized once in the NASB along with an entire sentence….

    “…and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” [Rev. 17:5]

    So what about other theological or technical writings? Well, let’s make this short and sweet… I consider the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) to be a great mix of both theology and solid science. In reviewing numerous articles in their monthly magazine, and on their website, I find that the word “earth” is nearly always written in lower case, with the exception of when it is the first word in a sentence or part of the title of an article. See this example:

    http://www.icr.org/article/17895/

    Conversely, National Geographic magazine almost always capitalizes the word “Earth” or “Planet Earth”, with very few, if any exceptions. Those who cannot fathom why one organization that adheres to a particular worldview would choose to refrain from capitalizing the word, while others who follow a different worldview nearly always capitalize the word, need to pray for discernment.

  21. Addendum to above comment:

    I was curious to see if the “Green Bible”, which can be characterized as an environmentally enhanced version of the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), actually capitalized the word “earth” or not. Although I was unable to find a searchable version of the “Green Bible”, I did find several online quotes on stewardship and creation that were excerpted directly from both the “Green Bible” and the “Green Bible Daily Devotional”. From what I have been able to determine, the “Green Bible” never capitalizes the word “earth”, regardless of whether it is in reference to the entire planet or just plain dirt. (Maybe somebody who has a copy could verify this).

    In an online search of the NRSV I could not find even one instance where the word “earth” is written in upper case, including the Rev 17:5 passage.

    There is at least one interesting exception to this apparent grammatical rule of using lower case when referring to “earth” as far as bible translations/versions go. “The Message”, by Eugene Peterson capitalizes the word “Earth” more often than not, a whopping 62 times in the book of Genesis alone. In later passages Peterson does revert to using lower case, but not consistently. All in all, Peterson’s translation is a mixed bag with no rational reason that I could determine for writing the word one way or the other.

    Craig, I’d be interested in hearing from you about why this may be the case. (Pun intended!)

  22. Steve,

    It IS rather curious that Peterson’s paraphrase would capitalize Earth sometimes while not others. It seems that in the NT, it’s less apt to be capitalized, than in the OT. I dunno why. There are certainly enough overtly New Age/occult references (and other’s which hint at NA) in Peterson’s book (I would not call it a Bible, or even a Biblical paraphrase – even though there are parts that are just fine, as there are way too many occult references in it) that I’d expect it to be most usually capitalized.

    Similarly, I would have expected the “Green Bible” to capitalize it in all cases except the times in which it refers to land or soil as opposed to water.

    Going from memory here, it seems that scholarly theological literature tends towards not capitalizing earth just as it does with heaven. Disappointingly, most do not capitalize personal pronouns when they are used of Deity (His, Him, etc.), a trend I don’t follow. In addition, and probably even more disappointing to me, is the trend among even conservatives to use “BCE” (Before Common Era) and “CE” (Common Era) as opposed to BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini – Latin for the “in the year of our Lord”). I ALWAYS use BC and AD unless I’m quoting directly from another’s work.

  23. Dr. Beisner,

    I have to admit that I hadn’t known much about your background; so, I decided to investigate. Having done so, it’s quite obvious that you have a much more distinguished scholastic background as compared to mine. This, in addition, has undoubtedly afforded you the opportunity to hone your oratory and linguistic skills; hence, I concede you are more articulate than me. In addition, you may well have more raw intelligence. I’m just a guy who earned a mere BBA, and even that, rather late in life just shy of my 40th year (I’m 52). Moreover, I’ve only been in the faith for just over a dozen years. However, I have endeavored to learn as much as I can about Scripture and the object of my faith (especially the past 5 years) while working my full-time job, including self-studying a bit of Greek. While I am not even close to being conversant in Koine Greek, I do have quite a bit of material and study helps.

    Having stated the foregoing, I came across this old clip of you and Walter Martin debating some “Oneness” adherents; and, I must say that your assertion that applying Granville Sharp’s rule to Matthew 28:19 ‘proves’ the Trinitarian view is incorrect:

    Certainly, the copulative kai (= and) with the presence of the definite article before “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit” indicates distinction; however, this, as Sabin points out, does not necessarily mean the ‘Persons’ “existed simultaneously” (I put ‘Persons’ in quotes only to illustrate that the distinction is not so complete as to suggest tritheism as I see the Social Trinitarian view may do so implicitly). Yet, in this clip, you maintain this stance (with even Walter Martin not correcting you, unfortunately) until finally trotting out Malachi 3:6 as additional ‘proof’, which, in context, does not support your case at all as it refers to God as not changing His mind or withholding justice/judgment (in proper context the issue is the tithe), not that God is ontologically unchanging. Psalm 102:27 and James 1:17 would’ve been much better.

    Now, I’m not advocating Sabellianism/monarchianism, as I’m a strict Trinitarian; I’m just illustrating that you did not adequately prove your point in the above clip. However, of course, when viewing the totality of the associated clips, you and Martin certainly did well overall in defending Trinitarianism over against modalism.

    Similarly, you have not proved your assertion that the “redeemed” can work towards a “reversal of the curse on the human-earth relationship” by using Romans 8:19-21. I hadn’t even consulted commentary to bolster my comments above as I thought the text to be fairly straightforward. However, in looking at the few sources I have on this, all support my exegesis: Thomas Schreiner’s BECNT [pp 432-441], Dunn’s WBC [pp 464-476], and Bruce’s TNTC. Here’s a particularly cogent observation by Bruce:

    Even now man, who by selfish exploitation can turn the good earth into a dust bowl, can by responsible stewardship make the desert blossom like the rose; what then will be the effect of a completely redeemed humanity on the creation entrusted to its care?… [ED: here Bruce is speaking of the new earth; see below]

    The Christian will neither hold that at present ‘all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’, nor will he write the world off as belonging to the devil. The world is God’s world, and God will be glorified in his works. And, when the Creator is glorified, his creatures are blessed.

    These words of Paul [ED: Romans 8:18-30] point not to the annihilation of the present material universe on the day of revelation, to be replaced by a universe entirely new, but to the transformation of the present universe so that it will fulfill the purpose for which God created it…But the transformation of the universe depends on the completion of man’s transformation by the working of God’s grace [pp 170-171 (emphasis added)].

    Note that humankind has nothing to do with this transformation; note that humankind does nothing to “reverse the effects of the curse”. Yes, we are to properly steward God’s creation; however, the transformation of the cosmos occurs with, or just after, the Christians’ full redemption, over which the Christian has absolutely no control.

    Bottom line: I do not see how Romans 8:19-21 supports your assertion that the “redeemed” can “reverse the effects of the curse”.

  24. Craig,

    I won’t block Dr. Beisner from posting a reply if he so chooses, but as of yesterday I have deleted my blog links to the Cornwall page, severed ties with the group’s Facebook page, and withdrawn my support for the organization. I made this decision after receiving a private email from Beisner in which he answered my two questions regarding his post-millennial views. (I will not share the contents of a private email, nor will I speculate as to why he choose not to answer those questions publicly.) However, his answers clearly indicated to me that we are deeply divided on our interpretation of the Word of God.

    Division is not an evil in and of itself. Indeed, disagreements are to be expected. The fact is, division is often a very necessary spiritual reality in this fallen world. We are warned to mark and avoid those who teach a doctrine that is contrary to the sound doctrine that was taught to the apostles and by the apostles, a doctrine that is clearly presented in the Gospels.

    “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17-18)

    I believe I was taught sound doctrine, and I also believe that Beisner and his Cornwall Alliance have elevated the dominion mandate above nearly everything else, which to me is a grave error and constitutes false doctrine. Of course Beisner would disagree with my assessment. Therefore it is up to the reader to discern the truth of the matter. I would just caution folks not to be impressed by morally sounding speeches, and especially by the language of Christianity, but ask God for discernment.

  25. Steve,

    In this bio of Beisner (looks like it’s autobiographical), he is credited as a founding member of the Coalition on Revival (CoR). Other CoR founders include Jay Grimstead and Rushdoony. Both of these guys are (or at least have been) staunch Kingdom Now advocates. I’ve not looked into Beisner to see if he still (or has ever?) adheres to this particular view; however, a postmillennial eschatology is part and parcel of the Kingdom Now/Dominionist position.

  26. The way I see it, the world doesn’t need to hear that people just have to practice more “godly dominion” in order to overcome evil, or to correct the errors of the past, or help “reverse the effects of the curse”.

    I would remind the reader that Islam preaches their own version of “godly dominion”, as do the Theosophists, and if we look back at history, so did the Pharisees of ancient Israel.

    Instead of being told that all we need to do is practice more “godly dominion”, we need to hear the words of the prophets again, words that warned all of mankind to turn from our wicked ways and seek the face of the Lord.

    Folks, we are living in troubled times, perhaps the most evil and violent times since the days before the flood. Scripture teaches us that repentance was not something that was preached merely before Jesus came to the earth, but while He walked among us. It is the same message that Christ’s followers are supposed to be preaching in these darkening days before He returns again.
    .
    “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay [is] in the potter’s hand, so [are] ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
    [At what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy [it]; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And [at what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant [it]; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” [Jer 18:6-10]

    “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
    And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” [Mat 3:1-3]

    “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” [Mat 4:17]

    Jesus sent the disciples out… “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” [Mark 6:12]

    When told about the evil Pilate had done to the Galilaeans, slaughtering them by mingling their blood with their own sacrifices, Jesus answered them saying unto them,

    “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:2-3]

    “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Rev 2:5]

    “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” [Rev 2:16]

    “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” [Rev 3:3]

    “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” [Rev 3:19]

    The appropriate clothing for todays world is sackcloth and ashes.

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