Gay Marriage and Homosexuality the line is drawn…

REVISED and UPDATED…

MARRIAGE: Biblical Reference: We defer this issue to the reference of Gospel refereed to in the book of;

Matthew, chapter 19 verses 4 – 6 and it states as follows; 4) And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5) and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6) So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate”. And, The Old Testament book of Leviticus, chapter 18, verse 22. As well as Leviticus, chapter 20, verse 13. Which states “ 13) If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” … (NKJV)

Note: The sanctity of marriage is sacred and no other union is acceptable. This goes also for the general consensus that Gay and Lesbian couples should be allowed the sacred right of the union of marriage. This union would be by scriptures standard a sin, in the eyes of God.

For the sake of debate and argument we here in the ministry of the New Horizons Church of the Celtic Cross and the Traditional Old Catholic Celtic Church of the Cross, the New Catholic Church of the Celtic Cross as well as the Celtic Cross Foundation of Ministry and all of it’s subsidiaries, hold fast and dear to our heart and biblical belief, to the sanction of the union of matrimony. Only recognizing it as between a man and a woman and all other circumstances are ungodly and a sin.

If mankind passes a law or rules to allow such a union than let the governments perform the service through the means of the Justice of the Peace, the Mayor or if at sea than by the Captain of the vessel. (This obligation should be made as an option. Meaning that the requirement should not be forced upon an individual to preform such a duty if their personal moral and or ethical standard would cause them undo stress or credibility issues. But done only of their own free will. By No means order to preform the union).

NOTE: By no means will a union or the individual support of, be preformed or sanctioned by this ministry or any affiliate members or ministries or missionaries and or ordained clergy. We in this ministry and our affiliate ministries do not and will not support such sanctions or said union of the such under any circumstance. For the Law of God supersedes and is the precedence for which we stand united with the Creator. This stance is reaffirmed by our governance of Canon Law. Which will be up held and stood by all members of clergy within our ministry be they male or female. If a union is preformed by anyone of our clergy that does not adhere to this mandate, they will be excommunicated and the marriage / union will be Nell-envoid posthaste and deemed not legal by this ministry and in the eyes of God, the Creator of all.

By Official Mandate and Order hence forth, Now and always will be, attached to our Belief Statement on our ministry Website and backed up as well as enforced and up held by strict adherence to our Ministry Standard and Canon Law… (www.celticcrossministry.com)

Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley DD., M.R.Php., O.S.A., O.S.P., O.S.B., O.S.BB.

Electronically Signed, and official, by the Bishop and Chairman of the C.C.F.M. And all affiliate ministry subdivisions.

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The Twelve Commandments Prelude Part one.

I want to apologize for the delay in posting but due to unplanned problems I was unable to keep up with it, but due to the grace of our Lord Jesus I am now able to get back to it, so here goes.  Now seeing as I am the editor of this blog I am planning to take editorial license and to put certain things in that the bible may not be written in the bible, but I have a feeling that may have happened anyway. I also want to let you know that I am using the Kings James Version  for my reference. point.  So let us set the scene, Three months after (Bishop) Moses led the Hebrew Children out of Egypt they came to the mountain of God in order to worship him and in Exodus 19:10 there are 2 interesting things that I want to share with you.  To begin with God tells Moses to sanctity them today, And tomorrow, let them wash their clothes. I find it very interesting that God would tell Moses to have the children of Israel to wash their clothes, but then look at it this way God will not allow any unclean things to enter his presense, but lets put the entire verse into the proper perspective. first off God told Moses to sanctify the people or in other words ‘God wanted his people set forth and to be separated for the purpose he had for them. And as far as their clothes being washed the Hebrew word used in this context means to stomp out the dirt. in other words God wanted the Hebrew children to be sanctified on the first day and on the second day they cleaned their clothes so by days end on day two both the inner man and the outer. Before God told this to Moses, he gave Moses the reason for verse 10. In verse 4 God reminds Moses what he did to the Egytians and in the next verse (5)  God tells Moses that if they will obey his verse and keep his covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the Earth is mine: (6) And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation,  This message came form God to Moses and I find it interesting and it makes a good prelude to the blog as well as an  interesting message to his people.

Part two will be coming in the coming  days

Apologetics Lesson #4: Pragmaticism & Combinationalism

The next theory of truth and religious knowledge is pragmatism. Developed initially by Charles Sander Pierce and expanded by William James, pragmatism is the theory that truth is not determined by what one thinks, feels, or discovers but rather by what works.

Christians may instinctively recoil from this initially. However, the proper response to this epistemological methodology needs to be more nuanced than the believer might originally suspect.

Providing in part an alternative to the early 20th century viewpoint promoted in large part by Sigmund Freud that belief in God was psychologically harmful, in works such as The Varieties Of Religious Experience, James believed religion should be judged by its results in the life of the individual. Overall, James concluded that, “In a general way…on the whole…our testing of religion by practical common sense and the empirical method leaves it in possession of its towering place in history. For economically, the saintly group of qualities is indispensable to the world’s welfare (109).”

However, any alliance the Christian apologist may make with William James is tenuous at best. For example, James categorized the pantheistic outlook of Mediterranean paganism as healthy and those emphasizing the need to be “twice born” as epitomizing a Germanic dourness characterized by an obsession regarding man’s fallen nature and need to be saved by God (105).

Though few in number, Christian apologists have adapted pragmaticism to the defense of the faith. Foremost among these is Francis Schaeffer.

Schaeffer’s method might not be considered solely pragmatic by the methodology’s purists as he does not allow a worldview’s viability to determine whether or not it is true but rather to show how the Christian worldview is the most consistently livable. Schaeffer refers to this test as an experiential teleological argument (110).

In a Schaefferian apologetic, one takes the propositions of a particular worldview and projects them onto the movie screen of life. For example, Schaeffer noted how the materialism of Jackson Pollock drove the artist to suicide and how musician John Cage did not adhere to the philosophy of chance that categorized his music when it came to picking potentially deadly mushrooms

The next epistemological methodology is combinationalism. Throughout this discourse thus far, it has been observed that, while each methodology contributes something to our understanding of God and knowledge, none of these approaches is sufficient enough to stand alone as the only way through which to obtain an understanding of reality. But instead of falling into a state of solipsistic dismay that nothing can be known since each approach falls short, combinationalists suggest that the insights of each method ought to be knit together in order to produce the most comprehensive understanding possible.

One such apologist utilizing this approach is Edward J. Carnell. Carnell combines rationalism, which he defines as a “horizontal self-consistency so that all of the major assumptions of the position can be so related together that they placate the rules of formal logic” and evidentialism, which he categorizes as “a vertical fitting of the facts” in that one’s assumptions must cohere with the “real concrete facts of human history (122).” Together, these elements make up systematic consistency.

However, even combinationalists must proceed with caution. As Geisler points out in “the leaky bucket argument”, if the other methodologies are insufficient on their own, these do not necessarily hold the epistemological water any better when they are combined together (129). Furthermore, often when one proceeds to evaluate a worldview, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of presupposing the worldview before it has been established or the facts are spun in such a way to fit into the worldview.

For example, Geisler uses the example of Christ’s Resurrection. Geisler writes, “An apologist…cannot legitimately appeal to the miracle of Christ’s resurrection as a proof for the existence of God (129).” This statement, shocking on its face value, means that God is already presupposed if the event is categorized as miraculous in terms of its explanation. Geisler reassures, “On the other hand, grant that God already exists, then the resurrection may very well be a miraculous way of confirming that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God (129).”

Source: Geisler, Norman. “Christian Apologetics”. Baker Academic, 1988.

By Br. Frederick Meekins

Apologetics Lesson #3: Experientialism & amp; Evidentialism

The next methodology is experientialism. Though fideism strives to make faith alone the justification for religious knowledge or belief, Geisler observes that this faith is ultimately justified in terms of an experience had by the individual (65).

To the experientialist, God or the Ultimate is not so much something to be understood or comprehended but rather felt. Stretching all the way back to the Neoplatonist Plotinus, experientialism views what the believer refers to as God as “the one beyond all knowing and being (66).”

In fact, God is so far beyond what the finite mind is capable of comprehending that to really say anything about God is highly inaccurate as to do so would be limiting God. As such, the best the individual can aspire to is an intuitive mystical union with the universal by turning inward through an ascetic detachment from the physical world around us in pursuit of a metaphysical unity.

Friedrich Schleiermacher provided for a more accessible apprehension of the cosmic or divine by equating religious experience not so much with monastic solitude but rather with the feeling of absolute dependence we all feel from time to time. According to Schleiermacher, this feeling is actually the World Spirit reaching out to us and actualizing within each of us.

To experientialists, dogmas and doctrines are not that important (that itself actually a doctrine though) as these conceptual formulations are merely shadows or echoes of the deeper experience. While experientialists are correct that the individual must have some kind of encounter with God beyond that often referred to as “book knowledge”, one begins to trod upon dangerous ground when the experience becomes the ultimate criteria for judgment by positing that those having more intense experiences are somehow more in touch with the cosmos as in the case of certain meditation cults.

If experience itself is made the highest standard, the individual will end up not knowing whether or not he is being led into deception. I John 4:1 tells us to test the spirits to see if they are from God.

The next apologetic methodology is evidentialism. Rationalism, fideism, and experientialism are largely inwardly focused approaches to knowledge of God with both fideism and experientialism also being highly subjective as well. Evidentialism tends to be more objective as it points to evidence existing independently of an individual’s internal emotional or intellectual states to make a case for the existence of God.

While experientialism stresses the importance of a personal acquaintance with what we categorize as the divine, evidentialism provides an anchor to prevent such hypothesizing from meandering off into exceedingly esoteric or individualized speculation by providing a basis for belief any interested party is free to investigate at their own leisure. The primary forms of proof offered by evidentialists are nature and history.

Nature is probably the form of evidence best used when the individual being appealed to is not yet even a theist. This proof for the existence of God is known as the teleological argument in that it holds that the intricate structures found in the world point to the need for a designer.

This idea is expressed in terms of the Watchmaker Hypothesis formulated by William Paley. Paley contended that, if one found a watch in the woods, one would from the intricacies of its parts working together in tandem for a purpose assume the contraption would need a designer. Likewise, since the world is no less complex and actually even more so, it is only logical to conclude that the physical universe around us would also require a designer.

Having lived from 1743-1805, Paley himself did not face the Darwinian onslaught. However, others since then have tweaked the argument to make it stronger against criticisms such as those of John Stuart Mill. Mill argued that the watchmaker analogy was weak because we know things like watches have watchmakers and, without a perspective beyond which a finite human being is capable, Hume’s speculation of organicism with the world growing like a vegetable could very well be correct.

To counter the Darwinian and Humean notions that given enough time a number of elements could be reshuffled enough to fortuitously result in the world we see around us, A.E. Taylor and F.R. Tennat have argued that the world around us shows too much adaptation and anticipation to have been the product of random chance. For example, Taylor notes how the body’s need for oxygen is anticipated by biological structures such as membranes and organs. Geisler writes, “In fact, mind or intelligence is the only known condition that can overcome the improbabilities against the development and preservation of life…In short, the order evident in natural development of life is evidence of God (90).”

While this brand of evidentialism is vital in convincing the atheist or agnostic that God exists, it is not enough to bring someone to a saving knowledge of Christ as many of the world’s religions such as Judaism, Islam, and even apostate forms of Christianity are full of theists barreling down the road to Hell. An evidentialist approach emphasizing history directly confronts the unbeliever with the decision he will have to make to decide his eternal destiny.

One of the aspects of Christianity that sets it apart from many of the other religions and belief systems is its historical nature in that the validity of its claims ultimately rest upon the veracity of actual events. II Peter 1:16 says, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty?”

Since these events took place within the flow of normal time, by utilizing research methods similar to those used to investigate the past such as the examination of ancient documents, one can construct an intellectual framework reasonably assuming that Christ did indeed exist. Prominent evidentialists utilizing history would include John Warwick Montgomery and Lee Strobel.

Despite the strength of evidentialist apologetics, its efforts to elevate religious dialogue beyond one’s internal feelings (the burning in the bosom referred to by the Mormons which could very easily be indigestion), the approach is not without drawbacks. For while facts can indeed exist as objective realities, the individual can often go to great lengths to put a spin on them that fits them into an individual’s preconceived worldview.

For example, those inclined to marvel at the world around them can more easily be persuaded that everything was created by a wise and loving God than those who view the world through a survival of the fittest mindset focusing on the violence, bloodshed, and disease that often characterizes both the human and animal realms. Evidentialists will counter that often the theistic interpretation turns out to be the most credible rather than naturalistic ones that stretch plausibility such as the Apostles absconding with Christ’s body or Jesus being revived in the cool of the tomb.

Source:

Geisler, Norman. “Christian Apologetics”. Baker Academic, 1988.

Contributed by: Br. Frederick Meekins

Lessons In Apologetics #2: Rationalism & amp; Fideism

The next epistemological methodology is rationalism. Of rationalism, Geisler writes, “Rationalism is characterized by its stress on the innate a priori ability of human reason to know truth. Basically, rationalists hold that what is knowable or demonstrable by human reason is true (29).” To the rationalist, the mind takes precedence over experience and the information acquired through the senses as a foundation for truth and knowledge.

In a rationalist methodology, there exists in the mind a number of innate ideas or principles that allow the individual to arrive at an understanding of the universe. These include principles of logic such as the law of noncontradiction. It is from contemplation upon ideas generated through reflection upon such foundational principles that the thinker is able to postulate systems of truth in a manner reminiscent of mathematics and geometry.

For example, in his system, Descartes started from his “cogito, ergo, sum (I think, therefore I am)” as his ability to doubt was the one thing he could not doubt. From here, Descartes built a theistic proof.

Descartes begins this with the admission that, since he lacks knowledge, he is imperfect. However, to realize one is imperfect, one must have knowledge that perfection exists. Yet perfection cannot arise from within the imperfect. Therefore, there must be a perfect mind from which perfection originates and this is God (31).

An apologetic utilizing the rationalist approach possesses a number of strengths as well as drawbacks. As to its strengths, the rationalist method stresses a consistency of reality.

It follows that a rational God would create a universe that regularly operates in accord with verifiable laws that we as His creations would be able to arrive at through deliberative contemplation. As rationalists posit, the mind to an extent must possess some kind of mental architecture to process the jumble of sense experiences the individual is bombarded with almost constantly. Even Scripture indicates that part of man’s knowledge regarding God and His character is innate as Romans says that even the Gentiles, who were not formally given the Law in the same direct manner as their Hebrew counterparts, still had many aspects of the Law written upon their hearts.

Despite the strengths of the rationalist approach to apologetics, the methodology is not without drawbacks. The foremost is the acknowledgement that it can be argued that the rationally consistent does not always translate into the realm of necessarily actual and does not provide the bedrock certainty its advocates claim. For example, regarding the ontological argument, Geisler notes, “But it is not logically necessary for a necessary Being to exist anymore than it is for a triangle to exist…But the point here is that there is no purely logical way to eliminate the ‘if’ (43).”

Of the next religious epistemology, fideism, Geisler writes, “In view of the fact that empiricism led to skepticism…and that rationalism cannot rationally demonstrate its first principles, fideism becomes a more reliable option in religious epistemology. Perhaps there is no rational or evidential way to establish Christianity (47).” Thus fideism holds that truth in religious matters rests on an accepting faith rather than a critical scrutiny.

As with the other methodologies, fideism comes in a variety shades. On its more moderate side, one finds Blaise Pascal. At the more extreme end of the spectrum, one would find the likes of Karl Barth.

As a fideist, one might find Pascal a bit subdued. Though one would assume reason had no place in fideism, Pascal did not dismiss rational appeals outright. He just did not build his foundation or case upon them. Of Pascal’s position, Geisler writes, “A proof at best may be the instrument by which God places faith in one’s heart (49).”

Thus, the real difference between Pascal and the rationalist was basically a differing estimation in what each thought reason could achieve. To the rationalist, the thinker is able to deduce their way to a logically irrefutable foundation for a belief in God. To Pascal, such proofs were not absolutely conclusive and the chasm separating doubt and certainty had to be crossed by a bridge of faith.

Since at best, in the mind of Pascal, the individual is left with a fifty/fifty chance regarding the existence of God, the matter did not come down to a dispassionate calculation but rather to a matter of personal existential destiny best summarized by his famous wager (49). According to this wager, if the odds as to whether or not God exists are about even, one is better off believing God exists and then be proven wrong since upon death you would merely pass out of existence than to say God does not exist and then be proven wrong upon death as then one would end up in Hell.

At the other end of fideism’s spectrum stands the Neo-Orthodox such as Karl Barth. According to Barth, God is “wholly other” in that God can only be known through faith in revelation. Geisler summarizes Barth’s position as such: “We do not know the Bible is God’s Word by any objective evidence. It is a self-attesting truth (54).” Thus to the Barthian, the accounts contained in the Bible transpired on a plane beyond the parameters of objective, investigative history. One either accepts them by faith or one does not. Therefore, the believer does not have to answer and is immune from those such as the Higher Critics claiming to apply the rigors of scholarship to the scriptural texts in the hopes of either authenticating or discrediting these documents.

As with rationalism, fideism has both strengths and drawbacks. Fideists are to be commended for holding that the God of the Bible is much more than the God of mathematics. Though there is merit in the attempt to prove that belief in God does not violate reason and logic, there is a great danger in reducing God to the level of a distant first cause not all that interested in how human beings live their daily lives. Fidesits are also correct that ultimately, no matter how much evidence one might collect or how many syllogisms one might be able to deduce, one has to make a leap of faith over those gaps of doubt that remain no matter how small they might be.

Yet despite the strength of their methodology, it has shortcomings as well. Foremostly, fideism makes it very difficult to engage in a debate or discussion with someone holding to another worldview if one must accept a comprehensive system of faith solely by faith without evaluating between them with some agreed upon criteria. Geisler writes, “…either a fideist offers a justification for his belief or else he does not. If he does not, then as unjustified belief it has no rightful claim to knowledge (63).”

Source:

Geisler, Norman. “Christian Apologetics”. Baker Academic, 1988.
By Br. Frederick Meekins

Lessons In Apologetics, Part 1: Introduction & Agnostici

For anyone pursuing a degree in Apologetics that was given a dollar for every time they were asked “What is that, learning how to say you are sorry” upon answering the question of what it is that they study so many times, many would have financed a considerable portion of their academic pursuits. Unfortunately, such ignorance as to what exactly this theological discipline entails symbolizes the neglect the defense of the faith has fallen into in the contemporary church and is one of the reasons that everywhere the believer and student of religion turns today they find Christianity losing considerable ground both within and without its boundaries to a wide variety of opponents and adversaries. To the serious student of this field of study, one of the best tools around which to build a fundamental understanding of the discipline’s ins and outs is “Christian Apologetics” by Norman Geisler, one of the field’s foremost living practitioners.

Basic to any academic discipline is the approach or methodology which scholars and researchers apply to the subject matter. The field of Apologetics is no different. Geisler lists the methodologies to knowledge in general and about God in particular as agnosticism, rationalism, fideism, experientialism, evidentialism, pragmatism, and combinationalism. In the course of his analysis, Geisler evaluates each in terms of their epistemology regarding religious matters and how these approaches stack up under the weight of being scrutinized by their own criteria.

The first approach to knowledge of God is agnosticism. Coined by T.H. Huxley, the term agnosticism means “no knowledge” and thus contends one is unable to know anything about God (13).

Agnosticism is itself divided into two branches. The one holds that not yet enough conclusive evidence pointing in one direction or the other regarding the existence of God has been gathered. The other holds that God is not knowable.

Of the agnostics that claim God is not knowable, this claim is based upon their understanding of the nature of knowledge. Drawing upon David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and A.J. Ayers’ Language, Truth, & Logic, these agnostics have divided the tree of actual knowledge into two branches.

The first variety of valid statements are analytic statements meaning they are valid by the terms of their definitions. For example, all bachelors are unmarried. The second type of valid statements are known as synthetic and are what we would refer to as matters of fact as they are about empirically gathered data (17).

Geisler writes of the agnostic views regarding talk about God, “For the term ‘God’ is neither analytic nor synthetic; that is, it is neither offered by the theist as an empty contentless definition corresponding to nothing in reality nor is it filled with empirical content since ‘God’ is allegedly a supraempirical being. Hence, it is literally nonsense to talk about God (18).”

To the aspiring apologist hoping to present an objective case for the Christian faith beyond how warm and fuzzy Jesus makes their innards, it may seem that the agnostic methodology has struck an early and potentially crippling blow to this noble effort. However, a bit of careful reflection may even the scales once more between the agnostic and the Christian.

The lofty sounding name given to this epistemology of language is the Verification Principle. If the Christian turns the Verification Principle back on itself, one sees it is self-referentially incoherent as the concept cannot live up to its own criteria as the Verification Principle is neither purely definitional or merely a statement of fact.

Thus to remain consistent, the agnostic must admit that, since our knowledge of the empirical and metaphysical realms is limited, by definition of man’s own finitude, this understanding cannot be totally comprehensive. Of those unwilling to admit God may exist in those reaches man cannot fully fathom, Geisler writes, “And there is simply no way short of omniscience that one can make such sweeping and categorical statements about reality…Hence total agnosticism is only self-defeating. Only an omniscient mind could be totally agnostic and finite men do not possess omniscience (27).”

By Br. Frederick Meekins