Various Churches issue new procedures, guidelines and codes of conduct, and set up professional standards committees. In the U.S.A. around February 2002, Roman Catholic Cardinal Bernard Law (whose April 2002 resignation was accepted on Dec 13, 2002), beset with lawsuits, set up a "new zero-tolerance policy," and in 2002 the Catholic bishops in the United States adopted such a policy, but it did not include the religious orders! (The Vatican promoted Cardinal Law to Rome a year or so later! And in 2007 it was reported he was an adviser to the new Pope, Benedict XVI.) By July-August 2005 the sex-abuse cost to the RCC in the USA was US $1 billion, and by mid-2010 it was triple that.
But is there any real need for leaders of religions based on a 2000-year-old tradition to set up "new" procedures, guidelines or codes? Whatever happened to the original "zero tolerance policy"?
¶ EXPEL and/or SHUN:
Purge out therefore the old yeast*, that you may become new dough. (Bible, 1 Corinthians 5:7) * or, "leaven"
In my letter I [Paul] wrote to you to stop mixing in company with fornicators*. I was not including everyone in this world who is a fornicator, or everybody who is greedy, or dishonest, or worships false gods – that would mean that you would have to cut yourselves off completely from the world. In fact what I meant was that you were not to keep company, not even eating with such a person, if any person who is called a brother be a person who has unmarried sex, or is covetous, or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner. … Remove the wicked from among yourselves. (1 Cor. 5:9-13) * In the Bible Greek, πόρνοις (pornois) for which other translations are "people having sex outside marriage" or "people living sexually immoral lives" Similar to Deuteronomy 13:5 / Deuteronomy 13:6.
… And from such people turn away. (2 Timothy 3:5)
Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition. (Titus 3:10)
… When I [Paul] do come next time, I shall have no mercy to those who sinned before. (2 Cor. 13:2)
That is what we pray for, your perfection. I write this in absence, in the hope that, when I come, I may not have to deal severely with you in the exercise of that authority which the Lord gave me, to build up and not to tear down. (2 Cor. 13:9-10)
Do not think I [Jesus] came to put peace upon the earth: I came to send, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a bride against her mother-in-law. (Matthew 10:34, 35)
¶ SET GOOD EXAMPLE TO THE PAGANS: Dearly beloved … abstain from fleshly desires which war against the soul. Always behave honourably among the unbelievers so that they can see for themselves what moral lives you lead, … For so is the will of God, that with good behaviour you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. … Behave like free people, and never use your freedom as a cover for wickedness*. (1 Peter 2:11-12, 15-16) * or, "and not as making liberty a cloak for malice"
CALLED TO LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS
… women to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:4)
¶ MARITAL SEX recommended: Let marriage be honourable in all, and the bed undefiled, because God will judge fornicators and adulterers. (Hebrews 13:4)
… to avoid fornication* every man ought to have his own wife and every woman her own husband. … You must not deprive each other, except by mutual consent for a limited time, to leave yourselves free for prayer, and to come together again afterwards, otherwise Satan may take advantage of any lack of self-control to put you to the test. … It is better to be married than to be burnt up. (1 Corinthians 7: 2, 5, 9) * or, "sexual vice" or "immorality"
¶ HIGH STANDARDS OF CONDUCT:
But I say to you that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart [, said Jesus]. (Matthew 5:28).
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as suits saints. … Also, do not be getting drunk with wine. … That he [Christ] might present it [God's community] to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; … but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:3, 18, 27)
Do your utmost that you may be found finally by him [God] spotless and unblemished and in peace. (2 Peter 3:14)
¶ BAD EXAMPLE TO CHILDREN FORBIDDEN: [Jesus said:] But anyone who is the downfall of* one of these little ones who have faith in me, it would be better for him that a millstone were hung about his neck, and that he were drowned in the deep sea. … alas for that man who provides the causes of falling. … (Matt. 18:6, 7; and see Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2) * or, "causes to stumble" or "causes to lose faith in me" or "causes to sin" or, "woe to that man by whom the scandal comes."
¶ TAKE FIRM MEASURES TO AVOID TRIPPING UP: [Jesus said:] If then, your hand or your foot is making you stumble*, cut it off and throw it away from you; … Also, if your eye is making you stumble, tear it out and throw it away from you. (Matt. 18: 8, 9) * or, "trip you" or "be your downfall" or "cause you to sin"
… decide instead that none of us will place obstacles in any brother's way, or anything that can bring him down. (Romans 14:13)
Don't be deceived: Bad company corrupts good habits*. (1 Corinthians 15:33) * or, "Evil communications corrupt good manners." This is a proverb found also in Menander's Thais, according to the NJB.
¶ TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit: Flee from fornication. Every other sin that man might commit is outside his body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. Do you not realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God? (1 Cor 6:18-20; and see 1 Cor 6:13-16)
GOD WILL GIVE LIFE, PROVIDED IT IS NOT A DEADLY SIN. If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that is not a deadly* sin, he has only to pray, and God will give life to his brother – provided that it is not a deadly* sin. . . . no one who is a child of God sins, … (1 John 5:16, 18) * Deadly. The Greek means "towards death," also translated "fatal", "mortal".
NOT FORGIVEN EVEN IN THE AGE TO COME: [Jesus said:] … Whoever speaks against the spirit of holiness, it will not be forgiven him, no, not in this age nor in that to come. (Matt 12:32)
LOOKING BACK, NOT WELL-FITTED FOR THE KINGDOM [Jesus said:] No man that has put his hand to a plough and looks at the things behind is well fitted for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
… Sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to you. (John's gospel 5:14, and see 8:11)
If anyone loves me [Jesus], he will observe my commandments … Anyone who does not love me does not observe my commandments. … (John 14:23, 24)
Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:18, see 6:22)
If there is anyone who does not love the Lord, let him be anathema. … (1 Corinthians 16:22)
NO OFFER OF FORGIVENESS IN THE TEMPLE! So, after making a whip of little cords, he [Jesus] drove all those with the sheep and cattle out of the temple, and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he said to those selling the doves: Take these things away from here! … (John 2:15-16, see Matt. 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45)
[Jesus said:] And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. In truth I tell you it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town on Judgement Day. (Matt 10:14-15) See also Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5
¶ GUILT REMAINS WITH BAD LEADERS. Jesus replied: If you [the Judaic leaders] were blind, you would not be guilty, but since you say, 'We can see,' your guilt remains. (John 9:41)
¶ COMMENTARY about DIFFICULTIES: Brought up on a religious diet of "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," "he who is without sin cast the first stone" and "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (the authenticity of two out of those three are contested), many Church members and ex-members won't actually "hear and heed" the above scriptures, even if they stumble across them. They can't critically examine the logic problem in the "forgive seven times 70 times" (Matt 18:21-22, and see Luke 17:4). If a person is "offending" you by trying to stab you, if you are sensible you will take action to stop him/her, but "forgiving" will not bring that about. There are questions of amplitude.
The original teachings were based on simple self-defence of the community, and the belief that sinners were baptised to forgive sins, and joined a holy pure community, thus to be saved from the terrible judgments that Jesus at his return would impose very soon – " … some standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:27). See also "Surely I come quickly." (Revelation/Apocalypse 22:20). Although commentaries and footnotes try to explain away the "impossible," "deadly sin," "not forgiven in the world to come," and anathema texts, the modern scholars' belief that Epistles such as this were written decades before the Gospels can give a clue as to why the later wave of Christian leaders, writing the Gospels, revised / reversed the teachings. The reason for the changes is outside the scope of this paper.
‘TRADITION’ AND BLIND GUIDES
¶ FALSE TEACHERS: [Jesus said:] Why do you [the Hebrew religious leaders] overstep the commandment of God because of your tradition? … Hypocrites! How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you when he said: This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. It is in vain that they keep revering me, because the doctrines they teach are nothing but commands of humans.* … They [those religious leaders] are blind leaders of the blind, and if one blind person leads another, both will fall into a pit. (Bible, Matthew 15:3, 7-9, 14) * Isaiah 29:13
If you [any self-satisfied Hebrew] are confident that you are a guide to the blind and a beacon to those in the dark … do you teach yourself as well? … You say that adultery is forbidden, but do you commit adultery? … If, while you are boasting of the Law, you disobey it, then you are bringing God into contempt. … It is your fault that the name of God is held in contempt among the pagan nations. (Romans 2:19, 21-23, 24, and using words similar to Ezekiel 36:20)
False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will quietly bring in destructive untrue doctrines … For they utter swelling expressions of no profit, and by the desires of the flesh and loose habits they entice those who are just escaping from people who conduct themselves in error. While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are existing as slaves of corruption. … The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire. (2 Peter 2:1-2, 18-19, 22, quoting Proverbs 26:11)
¶ SHUN ANYONE GOING BEYOND CHRIST'S TEACHING: Anyone who does not stay with the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God. … If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For anyone that greets him is a sharer in his wicked works. (2 John 9-11)
STAND FAST: Therefore, brothers, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or by our letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
Withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. … But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked not to associate with him, in order that he might become ashamed. (2 Thess. 3: 6 and 14) [An internet discussion page about 2 Thess 3:6 was at: http:// pub43.ezboard.com/ fthedialogue boxfrm12. showMessage?topicID=15.topic , but did not display on July 21, 2007 .]
¶ NO CHANGES: Even if we or an angel out of heaven were to preach to you as gospel* besides the gospel that we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8) * or, "good news"
Once for all delivered: … Fight hard for the faith which has been once for all delivered to the holy ones. (Jude, verse 3)
SHOULD THE CHURCH JUDGE ITSELF?
¶ IDEALISM: [Jesus said:] Do not be judging, in order that you will not be judged. (Bible, Matthew 7:1)
SUPER IDEALISTIC: From what source are there wars and fights among you? Aren't they from cravings for sensual pleasure that carry on a conflict in your members? … Adulteresses! Don't you know that friendship for the world is enmity with God? … Humble yourself in the eye of the Lord and he will lift you up … But you, who are you to be judging your neighbour? (James 4:1, 4, 10, 12)
EXCLUSION METHOD: [Jesus said:] If your brother sins, reprove him … if he does not listen take along with you one or two more … if he does not listen … tell the Church … if he does not listen even to the Church, let him be to you as the Gentiles and the tax-collectors. (Matt 18:15-17)
JUDGES? Is it true that there is not one wise man among you that will be able to judge between his brothers? (1 Corinthians 6: 5)
EXPOSE THEM: Reprove before all onlookers people who practise sin. I solemnly call on you to keep these rules impartially and never to be influenced by favouritism. (1 Timothy 5:20-21).
¶ COMMENTS: CHRIST'S FORGIVENESS WAS NOT AUTOMATICALLY SPRAYED AROUND:– These days, in many formerly Christian countries, many people including churchgoers have a blurred incorrect image of Christ as "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild" turning the other cheek and spraying forgiveness around indiscriminately. On the contrary, Christ had a balanced character. He not only taught love and helped people, but he also had a firm side. He did not hide his robust dislike of supposedly "religious" people who used religion as a mask for their misdeeds – he chased traders and moneychangers from the temple (Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45, John 2:15-16), and railed against "religious observers" who were dyed-in-the-wool hypocritical evildoers (read his speech "Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites" - Matt. 23:13-35, Luke 11:39-52).
¶ FORGIVENESS WITHOUT BEING ASKED: Contrariwise, however, note that, without being asked, Jesus forgave ordinary people and some people with bad reputations for their sins of human weakness, telling them to sin no more (for example, John 5:14; and disputed text John 8:11). (Please remember the "no more" part.)
DEATH, BLINDNESS FOR OFFENCES
¶ WAS PUNISHMENT SEVERE? And he [Jesus] caught sight of a fig tree by the road and went to it, but he found nothing on it except only leaves, and he said to it: "Let no fruit come from you any more forever." And the fig tree withered instantly. (Bible, Matthew 21:19; compare Mark 11:13, and 20)
Death for a lie: Ananias … with Sapphira his wife*, sold a possession and secretly put apart for themselves a part of the price. … Peter said: Ananias, … You have played false, not to men, but to God. On hearing these words Ananias fell down and let out his soul. … his wife* came in … Peter said to her: Tell me, did you sell the field for so much? She said: Yes, for so much. So Peter said: Why was it agreed between you to test the spirit of the Lord? … they will carry you out. Instantly she fell down at his feet and expired. (The Acts of the Apostles 5:3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10) * in the Greek, "woman"
… They met up with a certain man, a sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus … [He] began … seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. … Paul, becoming filled with holy spirit, looked at him intently and said: "Oh man full of every sort of fraud and every sort of villainy, you son of the Devil, you enemy of everything righteous, will you not stop distorting the right ways of the Lord? Now watch how the hand of the Lord will strike you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a time." That instant, everything went misty and dark for him, and he groped about to find someone to lead him by the hand. (The Acts 13:6-11)
¶ OBEY God, not men: … We must obey God rather than men. (The Acts 5:29)
¶ SUMMARY:- TOUGHENING ATTITUDE: Paul had tried the repeated forgiveness method, but changed to "I shall have no mercy" (2 Cor 13:2), and struck an opponent blind temporarily (The Acts 13:11). Peter, too, had learnt to be strict, and struck two liars dead (The Acts 5:5, 10). The early Christians, parallel with Jesus' harsh treatment of the Pharisees except the few who wanted eternal life, were taught not to even say hello to a nominal Christian who opposed the teaching (2 John 9-11) or had a sinful lifestyle (1 Cor. 5:9-13). Modern Church leaders in democracies ought not to "forgive seven times 70 times" (Matthew 18:22), but read Matt. 18:17 plus 1 Peter 2:13-14 and Romans 13:3-4, act strictly, and report the child abuse offenders to the civil powers.
¶ FUNDAMENTALISTS, PLEASE NOTE: The ancient oriental manner of talking of "drowned in the deep sea", "cut down", "withered instantly", "sword", "burned their city", "cut it off", and "tear it out", and the examples of the people struck dead or temporarily blind, ought not to be taken as permission to do these things to offenders or ourselves, any more than we would take literally our modern expression "cut out the dead wood," which is a figure of speech meaning to dismiss employees or office-bearers who are harmful or are not effective.
DO THE SKY-PILOTS FOLLOW THE FLIGHT PLAN?
2. It was with a young woman (yes, 14 is young! But wouldn't you call her a schoolgirl?);
3. It was not rape or anything like that (the Christian Greek Language Scriptures teach that fornication also – not just rape – is forbidden by God's law).
The other blind spots are:
4. The New Testament forbids tripping up (scandalising) children (Matthew 18:6-10, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2);
5. The "new" commandment "to love your neighbour as yourself" (Matt 19:16-19, Mark 10:17-19, Luke 18:20) implies a duty of care for others, and leaders are included in this;
6. Sex outside marriage would harm the solidarity/unity of the believers, or, in theological terms, the Mystical Body of Christ, according to 1 Corinthians 6:14-15; and
7. Both he and the person working in the student hostel had the responsibility of religious leaders for the moral progress of the communities they led. ("The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep. But the hireling … sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away – and the wolf snatches and scatters them" - John 10:11-12; also see The Acts 20:28-29.) Church-employed child-molesters are guilty of treason. Religious "teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others". (James 3:1)
These seven blind spots are similar to those of the leaders of various other denominations. The number of people being lost to religion because of these failures must be enormous, and might continue rising because the volume of newsitems about clergy sex and other abuse of children and women shows little sign of abating (noted August 13 2003 and on to Jan. 14, 2011).
CHRISTIANS are part of something bigger: Christ is like a single body, which has many parts. … all of us … have been baptised into the one body … For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. … If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is honoured, all the other parts share its happiness. (1 Cor. 12:12-26)
CRISIS 2002? In spite of the fact that pollsters around March 2002 said that more than 50% of Australians had no confidence in having Dr Hollingworth continue as Governor-General, there was no Constitutional crisis then, even though the news media said there was. The Queen was still "on the throne" even during her visit to New Zealand and Australia, and the other organs of government were still operating. CRISIS IN MAY 2003: However, from May 1 2003 after the Queensland Premier P. D. Beattie lessened the danger of defamation writs by tabling in State parliament an Anglican report on Dr Hollingworth's actions in allowing a paedophile to remain in the clergy with "no extenuating circumstances," the public disapproval rating was said to be 76%. A May 5 news report, and the ABC TV "7.30 Report" of May 7 03, showed that similar inactivity about sex abusers had occurred in Tasmanian and Victorian Anglican circles, just as blatantly as in the Roman Catholic Church. Further accusations were aired around that time of more sex-abuse in Brisbane area, and various dignitaries stated that he ought to "examine his conscience." A woman accused him of sexually abusing her years ago, and he stood aside from his duties. The Senate on May 15, 2003 asked him to resign. The woman apparently suicided, and the court case was stopped on May 23. In addition, his wife is recovering from a cancer operation. He announced his resignation on Sunday May 25, 2003. Melbourne cathedral later hired him as a preacher! (reported July 10, 2006.) The alleged paedophile handed back his Order of the British Empire (OBE) (reported March 03, 2007).
Tested with various Internet Browsers at times, including Microsoft ® Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Mozilla Firefox. In printouts are 7 pages of A4, plus an "administration" page. 04 Feb 09; tested on all 5 browsers on 14 May 2010. Last spellchecked with Microsoft ® Word © on 04 Feb 09, O.T. Commandments forbidding adultery and coveting wife and Matthew 5:28 added on 13 May 2010; inserted AV numbering for Deuteronomy 13:5 / 13:6 on 02 Sep 2011, last modified on 27 Sep 2012
Doc. 237: http://www.johnm.multiline.com.au/ethics/nonmarital.htm