Tag Archives: consent

Healing the Paralytic at Bethesda, Consent, Victim Blaming, and a Missing Verse

So someone ate John 5:4 in the ESV… alas, we can find it in the KJV.

For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

The story of this is that the later manuscripts which were used by the KJV translators have this verse, where in it is absent in much older manuscripts. Without this verse, one might reason that some form of water therapy took place. That there were a limited number of sessions per day , and the paralytic having no help, got hung out to dry, as others who could walk, got in ahead of hum.

But the reasoning to get the above doesn’t really jibe with angels or the first come first only served healing thing in the KJV… Perhaps it made sense to the scribe to fill in the blanks so as to limit how much one might read into said text? Alas its later addition is interesting.

Speaking of reading into the text, one can have a field day with John 5:6  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

So why did Jesus ask this?

On first pass reading of this, it seems Jesus upholds the humanity of the paralytic man, and asked for consent. Certainly after being paralyzed for 38 years, and after coming to the healing pool at Bethesda, one can infer with high certainty the man desires healing… and still Jesus asks him. I tend to think this is more for our education, as to how critical consent is, than it was for the time and place of the event itself.

And yet, the question does open the door to the victim blamer types. To the “you are not healed because you have some unrepentant in in your life”. To the “You are not healed, as you don’t really want to be healed. You enjoy lying by the pool as part of your daily routine, you don’t want to change…. as if you prayed enough, God would have healed you long ago”.

And yet, there is no mention of sin, no mention of repentance, or even faith on the part of the man. Even more interestingly, as Jesus heals him, he tells also him to sin, at least sin as defined by the culture of the day.

This may well be yet another key teaching of Jesus… to be wary of cultural definitions of sin, consider the teachings of some groups that Christian’s don’t drink alcohol, dance, or go to movies. Can you imagine how it might fly with the temperance folks if Jesus told the guy to get up, and go grab a beer?

And yet later on in John 5:15, Jesus meets up with the guy, and tells him to sin no more… it makes me wonder if the dude had tempted God in his youth, jumped off a cliff, and crashed and broke his neck or something which brought about his paralysis. Certainly, the dude could have kicked the bucket the first time out… giving it another go would be pretty unwise.

Problems w Conservative Argument Against SSM….

A fellow from my aviation universe posted a seemingly very well thought out conservative argument against SSM. It was not meant to convince, but more so to help others understand his opposition to it. I have to give the author types a lot of credit, there was a lot of thought put into it, and unlike the hating types, these Christian aviation folks really seem to be trying to walk a Christlike path. It did receive a lot of praise, from the conservative crowd… but crickets from most everyone else.

The problem is the vastly different frames of reference… the appeals to the scriptures, the focus on love and the hope of the Gospels are shared by both camps. Likewise, the same scriptures used by those against SSM marriage, are also commonly used by those for same sex marriage…. and thus we have vastly different outcomes from mostly the same reference material.

Being Pastor Steve and I have spent way too much time arguing back and forth over the years on this very issue, I thought it would be worth shedding some light on things I discovered over the years.

The following factors are at play:

The weighting factors leading to approval or dismissal of higher criticism as concerns the 7 clobber texts (6 here, plus this one) plays a huge role. If all we had were today’s English translations, things would be pretty easy to sort out. Alas, even something as simple as reading the texts in the original languages sends a drastically different message, and that alone should raise the red flags. In addition, since we have a ton of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and literature of that time period, even more of this shifts into a land of intense gray with higher criticism. There is no easy way to resolve this…

The perception of antinomianism (anti-law) is at the hands of both parties.  In the case against SSM, if one merely dismisses the 7 clobber texts without the use of higher criticism, such a charge seems quite reasonable… the proverbial, these scriptures are too hard to hear, so we won’t consider them is very much anti-law..

On the other hand, if one looks to Matthew 25 and the greatest commandments, follow by Jesus explicit statement that the law and the prophets hang from them… the argument against SSM ends up coming from the bottom up, rather than top down… and thus, we end up anti-law mode in reference to the greatest commandments. Consider how often Jesus worked on the Sabbath… which really was more important  big picture wise than adhering explicitly to the third commandment.

Both of the above antinomianism scenarios are very hard to understand by the opposing parties on the opposing side… I’m not quite sure how to get past this one either. Belinda suggested that looking at the scriptures as a whole vs proof texting might be a helpful route.

Another factor that plays off of this is the difference between complementarianism and egalitarianism in marriage as concerns consent. Within the construct of egalitarianism, consent plays a huge role, where as its downplayed a fair amount in complementarianism. While this difference plays out mostly in the haterz realm with straw man arguments (ie what next, marry your dog or pet fish), I’ve often seen a semblance of decreased focus on consent circling through specific sectors of the conservative domain… which often leads to errant assumptions that one is talking about the same thing, when in reality they are not. I think this is one of the easier things to process through such that both parties can understand.

Lastly, a somewhat over shadowing aspect is sanctity/disgust as defined in Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory. I remember when a couple young gal friends of mine told me some years they were moving in with each other and starting a relationship. In my mind, the relationship was a most beautiful thing, but I also had some concerns about cohabitation aspect / the lack of church community support and preparation that would be available to them if they were not same gender. Even today, all these years later, I find the churches inaction in this domain bordering on negligence. No doubt it will change with time… but still, isn’t every relationship worth supporting? And there in lies a huge difference in the sanctity/disgust domain… many would not find such a relationship a beautiful thing, some might even find it borderline disgusting.

Despite all of the above seemingly impossible paths going forward, I came across the following from Brandon’s blog where he publishes an anonymous story of a young Catholic girl trying to process SCOTUS decision… there is much wisdom in the young. I think the next generation will do us proud in a variety of ways.