Friday, August 01, 2008

The Purpose Driven distortion of 1 Cor. 6

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! (1 Cor. 6:1-8)

Warren apologist Richard Abanes, after using the threat of lawsuit to indirectly shut down Pastor Ken's website for some time before he switches over to a new ISP, and thus showing forth the fruit of the PD paradigm, has been spinning the facts and doing damage control ever since. Part of the spin is his denial that he is in violation of 1 Cor. 6:1-8, or of disobeying Mt. 18: 15-20. And as we will see, Abanes is using the exact same form of reasoning that lawyers use in attempting to get himself off the hook. Unfortunately for him, however, the commands of God are more comprehensive than the laws of the land.

Abanes' major objection to the application of 1 Cor. 6 to this situation can be seen in his own words:

So if anyone was threatened with a lawsuit, it was IPOWER!!! It was not you because that email was not to you! Pleeeze tell me, therefore, where 1 Corinthians 6 says that we, as Christians, cannot sue heathen, godless, worldly institutions when a wrong has been committed. I eagerly await your exegesis

And

Again, for the record, I did NOT:

1. File a lawsuit against Mr. Silva.

2. Threaten to file a lawsuit against Mr. Silva.

3. Contact an attorney about threatening a lawsuit against Mr. Silva

Abanes in this instance uses a strict literalist interpretation of 1 Cor. 6 and then deny that he has violated it because he did not fulfil the specifics violations stated therein. He did not file a lawsuit against Pastor Silva, or threaten him, or contact an attorney about threatening him with a lawsuit. But does this therefore take him off the hook?

The context of 1 Cor. 6:1-8 is specifically regarding conflict resolution within the Body of Christ, and must be read as such. The entire passage is telling us not to settle conflicts between believers by suing each other and thus making unbelievers judges over conflicts within the Church. This is not of course saying that we cannot judge a "Christian" who ie murders someone we love, but this is more for personal offences against each other and not for violations of the law of the land. With regards to slander/libel/ defamation etc, these are considered personal offences which the State decides to punish, and therefore although it is a violation of the law of the land to do such, it is to be regarded as a personal offence primarily.

Abanes in this instance attempts to use the evasion tactics of lawyers to escape the force of this passage as it applied to his deplorable action. First of all, he denied that he had threatened the IPower ISP with legal action, stating that the legal language placed there is his usual email template. I guess if your usual email template has death threats on it, then you can deny that you have ever send death threats to anyone based on such inane reasoning? Nonsense! Abanes' email template, if what he says is correct, is implicitly threatening people that 'failure to obey Abanes's instructions would make one liable to a potential lawsuit'. It does not really matter whether Abanes actually desires to sue or not to sue, as if a person who threatens to kill another can just get off Scot-free by stating that he actually has no desire to follow through on his threat and was 'just joking'! Abanes therefore has a bigger problem on his hand, in that his emails are always threatening the recipients with a lawsuit if they ever make any errors. I guess this fits in nicely with the litigious atmosphere of America, but somehow this does not quite fit in with the standard of Christian living expected of Christians who are called to holiness.

Abanes next tries to play around God's law by getting to Pastor Ken via a third party and then claim that he did not sue Pastor Ken, as if that means anything other than Abanes did not disobey the letter of the command. But the Scriptures are not easily subverted, for God's Word does not function like the laws of the land which must be very precise and have loopholes. Rather, God's Word functions as principles which focuses on the spirit of the Law rather than the letter of the Law, which extends beyond the mere letters of the Law. According to the ridiculous reductionistic and literalistic reading of God's Word by Abanes, it is morally permissible to lust after images of Bothans, Falleen or what have you, since they are obviously not human nor animals in any sense. Hey, the Bible does not say anything about email copyright issues either, you know!

In today's digital age, it has become possible for third parties to "settle personal conflict" by pulling articles and posts from their servers, whereas there was no such thing in the ancient world whereby everything was handwritten and you must silence the writer to do so, who typically happens to be the author also or his scribe. The Scriptures do not therefore talk about disinterested third party involvement in personal offences because there was simply none. Any 'third party' involved then would be involved in this matter and therefore not disinterested in how the conflict is resolved. With the printing press and now the Internet, such disinterested third parties exist which have the power to settle such personal conflicts/ offenses against one or both parties. Abanes' attempt to circumvent the commands of Scripture through running around it therefore exploits this "loophole" in Scripture.

God, however, is not mocked. Abanes can protest all he wants, and even use commentaries (which cannot even comprehend the modern situation and so have little if any to say about the matter) in an attempt to make himself seem biblical and righteous, when all the while he is doing a most wicked action. Abanes can run through this "loophole", but God who is all-knowing and all-just will judge him according to the spirit of the Law, not the letter. And in this, Abanes is found guilty of going to unbelievers and threatening them even in order to settle conflicts with believers, which is the principle behind 1 Cor. 6:1-8.

As for Mt. 18, I will just respond briefly here that Abanes is long on assertions and short on truth. Abanes cannot prove that Pastor Ken has truly violated the TOS of the ISP, especially since he has implicitly (knowingly or unknowingly) threatened them with a lawsuit. The whole issue is over Abanes' role and conduct as a Warren apologist which is NOT a secular matter, so Mt. 18 still holds. Well, perhaps in the event that Warren succeeds in re-creating the dominion and power of the Roman church-state, then perhaps the entire differentiation between the religious/personal/ secular does not really matter anymore.

See also:

Battles in the blogosphere ... when conflicts arise how should we respond and work towards resolve? by Steve Camp

15 comments:

Watcher's Lamp said...

Daniel,

I strongly agree. I have linked your article within this post that I also wrote this morning...

"The Price of Personal Pursuits".

Keep contending

Jim

Coram Deo said...

Daniel,

Though we have certainly had our disagreements I find your exegesis of scripture and its application herein to be completely on target.

May I invite you to engage in the conversation presently ocurring over at DefCon in this thread?

The clarity of thought you bring to this conversation is most welcome.

In Him,
CD

PuritanReformed said...

Jim:

thanks, and keep on contending tooo.

CD:

you're welcome. I do not know if there is truly a conversation going on in this thread, with Abanes posting only two times, but I'll see.

Richard Abanes said...

This Open Letter to Steve Camp outlines my initial thoughts/intentions/motivation for writing to Ken Silva's ISP. It also covers various issues relating to the "Ken Silva vs. Richard Abanes" controversy, including:

1. Bible Study notes on key passages being discussed,
2. the actual contents of my email to Silva's ISP,
3. observations about the current state of the church,
4. an indictment of today's so-called Online Discernment Ministries, and
5. documentation of Ken Silva’s violation of federal copyright/privacy laws, and other issues.

The open letter should answer most questions and addressed the widely-read article by Steve Camp titled "Battles in the Blogsphere."

This is my final word on the issue. Those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, will both hear and see the truth.

Richard Abanes
Pop Culture Mix

PuritanReformed said...

Richard:

I have seen your so-called response. As long as you refuse to interact with the exegesis of passages like 1 Cor. 6 and Mt. 18, but instead just continue to give ipse dixit responses, you show yourself to be the same as your pastor Rick Warren in distorting the Word of God to further his own [unbiblical] agenda. Pastor Ken did not violate any laws no more than the ISP violated those same laws. I propose you sue the ISP for copyright infringement first before complaining about Pastor Ken's so-called "violation". And by the way: have you heard of the fair use doctrine? That you refuse to sue IPower for copyright violation show all who have eyes to see your duplicity.

As it is, this activity has shown to all your true colors as someone who refuses to submit himself to the commands of Scripture but attempt to find tecnical 'loopholes' to squeeze through. I'm sorry to have to tell you that your tactics wouldn't work against God whose Word you show contempt for.

So I call upon you to repent of your deplorable conduct in twisting and violating the Word of God, and of your self-righteous attitude.

Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Rev. 2: 16-17

blackreformingkid said...

Bro. Daniel,

Doesn't the conduct of our dear friend Mr. Abanes demonstrate the fruit of the poisonous Purpose-Driven tree?

Also - why hasn't his pastor, Mr. Warren, reproved his spoilt teen behaviour?

PuritanReformed said...

Douglas:

well, I'm sure Warren would be happy to keep up focused on the antics of his follower Abanes while he "does [global] ministry aka the PEACE plan". And of course, Warren invented the PD paradigm, so perhaps he wouldn't be too bothered over Abanes' spoilt teen behavior.

PuritanReformed said...

Note:

Is it just me, or did I just see Abanes "chasing down" all his critics and spamming them with the exact same comment defending his actions? Hmmm... I guess it's really all about Abanes; where Christ is is another thing altogether.

PuritanReformed said...

Further note:

After looking through, I have started to feel sad and pitiful for Abanes. When someone needs to resorts to "spamming" multiple blogs with the exact same comment to defend HIMESELF, HIS actions, HIS motives, HIS career, and self-destructs in the process. [This latest action of his has caused me to lost all respect for him as a person, with behavior that is quite frankly juvenile].

So, IMO, Abanes is to be pitied, not even treated as a serious opponent [except for his apparent litigious nature]. Sad, very sad!

blackreformingkid said...

Yes he is and yes his "response" is just rude. If that's the way his books turn out, I wonder how they sell at all...

Coram Deo said...

Once again Daniel you're spot on accurate in your comments above. And thanks for stopping by DefCon and sharing your thoughts. You're always welcome there.

In the light of scripture I can't help but arrive at the conclusion that RA must be treated as a Gentile and a publican based on his well established pattern of un-Christ like behavior until he publicly repents.

Perhaps most amazingly RA seems to be completely unaware of the fact that his actions throughout this ordeal have served to vindicate Ken Silva's offending article "A PASTOR'S ASSESSMENT OF RICHARD ABANES".

I don't believe Ken could have scripted a response for RA to follow that could have done more to actually make Ken's original case for him than RA has done through his own unwitting tactics.

In Christ,
CD

PuritanReformed said...

Douglas,

in this world and age, I guess as long as you have something to say, there would be an audience to listen even if it's just nonsense...

PuritanReformed said...

CD:

truer words were never spoken.

Marie4thtimemom said...

I saw a reference to this mess made over on another blog, and I couldn't figure out what the controversy was about. Thanks for clearing that up.

PuritanReformed said...

Marie:

you're very welcome.