Oh No! A Disagreement!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!
What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

Laugh. πŸ™‚

That comic is funny, but it is also very true.

How many times do we get bent out of shape, and spend precious moments of our time (and every moment is precious), trying to convince someone just because they are wrong?

Think about it: there are over six and a half billion people on this planet. That is a lot. But that number pales to insignificance when you consider the amount of knowledge available in the universe. Every detail of every action of all time; every fact of every attribute of every event and every object that ever occurred or existed; every thought of every human in response to every stimulus in history.

That still blows me away.

When you consider the vastness of total knowledge, the amount you think you know becomes a tiny spot, indistinguishable in a lake of ink that spreads as far as the horizon.

And then when you look at what you know, with an honest mind, how much do you really know? How many times have you held something with absolute conviction, yet only to renounce it as complete foolishness a few short years later? Hopefully many, many times. There is very little we can be sure of. I won’t say, like many, that there is nothing that we can be sure of, which is foolishness. But the vast majority of our knowledge is on very shaky ground.

So when you couple these two considerations together, you must realize the self-evident fact that the huge, vast majority of people in the world are just simply wrong about almost everything, including yourself. (By the way, no one is wrong about everything: each person has a certain measure of absolute truth in their keeping.)

This is a humbling, and a daunting prospect. Only God is absolutely right, with absolute knowledge. And it is insufferable arrogance to assume that we are anywhere close to Him in that regard.

So what do we do when we find out that someone * gasp * is wrong?

Well most of the time we can simply pass on. We have other things to do. At least, hopefully we do. There are only a very few, very rare situations in which it is appropriate and helpful to address someone’s perceived error.

And even then, first make sure that you are really in disagreement. The vast, vast majority of perceived disagreements are just that, perceived. It is extremely easy to mistake someone’s point of view. And it is even easier to assume that they believe things that they really don’t: you might be in agreement on everything they say except for one small point.

Then, don’t attack. Being mistaken is never a sin in itself,Β even in matters of doctrine, and it is rarely very bad either. It can be dangerous, though, which should motivate us to be as kind and unselfish as possible in helping the other person.

And above all…

Don’t lose sleep over it. πŸ˜‰

What Do You Want Me To Write? :D

The book
Image by Dave Heuts via Flickr

Hey everyone!

I am planning to write a book (well, several books). I have a few topics for non-fiction books, and I have well over 20 concepts for novels in various stages of development, in both fantasy and sci-fi genres. I know roughly what my writing plans are for the fiction end of things will be…

But I am also planning to write a non-fiction book and publish it. It will be along the lines of what I am writing here in this blog: advocating outside-the-box, logical, Biblical lexicology and hermeneutics. I will take a set of concepts that I have expounded on here, and expand on them, examining all the different facets, and answering objections, and present them in a book form.

And, knowing me, it won’t be dry theology either. Be prepared for lots of humor, drama, and probably short stories illustrating points (you can’t keep me from writing fiction even when I am writing non-fiction). πŸ˜‰

And also expect to have a hand in helping me bring it to fruition. This is a community project as much as a Jay Lauser project. I want you, my loyal friends, to help me in every stage of this creation. From picking a topic, to figuring out what to include, to helping present counter-points, to giving feedback, to editing, and of course to get all of that you will be getting insider reports on my progress and reading my stuff before anyone else in the world. Happy yet?

So First Things First. What topic would you most like me to publish a book on? Ask your friends, look at the state of the world, at what our generation most needs to hear, look back at my old posts, and think about what we have talked about, and let me know what you think I should present as my debut non-fiction work.

I can’t wait to hear what y’all say. πŸ™‚

(Oh, if you don’t want to comment below, you can email me at jay.lauser@sir-emeth.com.)

Don't You Hate Being Wrong?

It is no calumny to be mistaken. Indeed, it is not even a very great fault. And although it is preferable to be correct, other matters of far greater importance ought to pull rank on any division over a matter of correctness.

There are, of course, matters in which correctness is of vital, nay, crucial importance, but this import is not derived from the correctness itself, but from other matters and considerations. Salvation is a prime example. For to be perfectly accurate (though not necessarily precise) on the matters upon which our eternal souls depend is a matter of eternal import. Yet it is evident that this importance is due to the immeasurable stakes which are upon this belief, and not to the details of the belief itself. Thus we must be perfectly accurate in this, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the consequences of that belief.

You will say that God is Truth, that He values truth, that He abhors false witnesses, that He is Holy (and thus no fault or mistake is in His nature), and that we ought to be like Him. You will moreover assert that God commands us to hold to those standards, so to neglect to seek Truth would be to sin against Him. I do not contest these assertions.

I do, however, contend that these truths to not make mistakes in accuracy sins themselves, but merely the neglect to pursue the eradication of these errors. I still further contend that there are other duties held so much higher in God’s esteem that when these come in conflict with out quest for truth, we must relinquish said quest for their sakes.

This philosophy has two manifestations in practical life, insofar as I know. Each of these are sadly quite common, and ought to be solidly addressed.

The first is where you find yourself in a situation in which another person is mistaken, and because of this difference in belief between the two of you, there is potential for discord and other undesirables. The Biblical example is eating food. Some people mistakenly believe it is sinful to eat certain foods, others do not have this misunderstanding of the Bible. Paul says that it is more important to avoid conflict with the person than it is to confront them. We ought to, as far as reason allows, trick them into thinking we agree with them, more or less. It is more important to help keep them from feeling like they are sinning than to help them see their mistake. (Of course we still ought not to avoid preaching and teaching the truth. (Paul didn’t)) This conclusion is clear to anyone who has read Romans 14-15 honestly.

The second is where you find yourself in a situation in which another person is mistaken, and that person is in significant authority over you. This is something that has a lot more emotional charge than the last, and I do not expect many of you to agree with me. But here ’tis. There are situations in which we ought to submit certain beliefs of ours to another in the cause of obedience, submission, and creating a good witness.

What kinds of situations? Well the most solid one is that of husbands and wives. If a husband believes that a wife ought to wear headcoverings, and she doesn’t believe that, it is her duty to submit to her husband’s belief and wear them. Same thing with other topics like eating certain foods, going to church, etc. This is being a witness to her husband, and God will bless that, possible even turning her husband to the truth. Mistakes in minor doctrines like these are so unimportant that they are hardly worth mentioning, especially if doing so would be an act of rebellion, disrespect, or conflict. This principle is not so obvious, but just as strong. Study 1 Peter 3:1-6 in coordination with Romans 14-15 if you want to see it.

This principle also applies to children who are under their father’s authority. (Don’t ask me when they go out from under his authority, that is another post entirely.)

The basic principle is that seeking truth is good and profitable, as long as it doesn’t conflict with other, more important things like submission and charity.

What are your thoughts on this concept? This is a hot topic, but I would like to see what you think.

Rebellion and You

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse synago...
Image via Wikipedia

What is rebellion?

First, why do we care? That question is easily dealt with:

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.

Proverbs 17:11 An evil [man] seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.

Jeremiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.

Remember that both rebellion and witchcraft were punished by stoning in OT Israel. Ouch. So… what is rebellion then?

Of course you know where I am going to go to find out, don’t you? πŸ™‚

Yup, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

β€œOpen resistance to lawful authority.”

That is the short bit, and all we really need here, but the rest is very cool too, so check it out if you are interested. [http://1828.sorabji.com/1828/words/r/rebellion.html]

The only proper (meaning ‘approved by Jay’) shift of meaning that has transpired since Webster’s writing of this cogent definition is a variation of use which allows for rebellion to occur covertly, rather than openly. One may have a rebellious attitude that remains sequestered within your breast, and never sees the light of day, and yet remains truly rebellious in the sight of God.

(One could argue that this sense still retains the quality of openness, since all things are open to God. But if you take that into consideration you might as well strike it out of the definition anyways since all things are open and thus it ceases to be a defining factor.)

On to the next word.

What does it mean to resist?

β€œTo stand against; to withstand.”

To set yourself against something means that you are out from under it. You cannot be submissive and rebellious simultaneously. Thus rebellion is a rejection of authority.

Ah, but not just any authority.

Lawful authority.

I think that little word there, Lawful, is the most important word in that definition. I believe that is so because of this simple fact that it makes true:

You cannot rebel against unlawful authority. It simply cannot be done.

This ties directly into Romans 13:1-2.

Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

The message of this passage is very clear and simple: Authority only comes from God. And so to resist lawful authority (rebellion) is indeed resisting God just as much as if you spit in His holy face or committed witchcraft.

Because of this powerful fact, we must be very careful. Why? People claim to have authority over us constantly, and by thereby demanding obedience of us they are claiming to be the ministers of God. Whether or not they think they are claiming this is irrelevant.

The Bible is very very clear that we are all equal, and equally at liberty from the control of others, except where God has specifically delineated an authority figure to perform a specific function.

These authority figures are defined and instituted by God for our good. That is His created order: for us to submit ourselves to these authority figures. I cannot go into all of the different ones here (that is a matter for many books), but I do want to point something out:

If an authority figure steps outside of his jurisdiction and exerts control that was not given him by God, he is sinning. And by definition, he is sinning against someone (or more than one someone). This does not mean that we ought to revolt (notice my word choice: we can’t rebel against him, since he isn’t exerting lawful authority, we can only revolt) against him, though. Generally we ought to merely yield (give up your cloak, turn the other cheek, etc.). There are very few situations in which the Bible commands us to revolt, resist, and overthrow unlawful authority. Most of the time we ought to pass it by.

Realize this though: your parents are your lawful authority, and their jurisdiction is far reaching. Their authority surpasses and supersedes the authority of every other ordination of God. That means that if your pastor tells you to do one thing, and your father tells you to do another, you obey your father. Period. Full stop. No questions, no buts, no hesitations, no qualms.

Realize also that even if your parents tell you to do something that you consider to be sin (like for example not going to church, or not wearing a headcovering, or going to public school, or reading a secular book on the ‘Sabbath’ day (I am looking at you Elsie Dinsmore)) in the vast majority of cases, you ought to obey. Even if they are not saved. (Especially if they are not saved, depending on how you look at it.) This passes the responsibility for that action onto them, and God will bless you in that deed.

Why do I say this? Wouldn’t God say that you aren’t rebelling since it isn’t their jurisdiction?

Because God commanded us to do it. Do a study of 1 Peter 3:1-6 and ask me about it in the comments if you don’t see it.

Controversial issue, I know. But those who know me know that I don’t shy from those. * smile * There are a lot of facets that I haven’t covered (such as when parental authority ceases to be binding), but I will save those for another time and another post.

What do you think? How do you think you should change your life in light of this study? In particular, what do you think about how you are treating (and thinking about) your parents? Are you rebelling against them in your heart or in your actions by simply not yielding to them with all your heart?