"Heresy! Blasphemy! How can you say such a thing!"
"I read the book and thought about it."
"You mean you read the Bible. It is not just a book!"
"It is too a book."
"It is the very Word of God!"
"This is a book, a printed book on rather cheap paper, the IDEAS in it, the MEANING in it, is the Word of God. But as for this physical copy of it being inspired, I doubt it."
"AGAIN he blasphemes. How long do I have to listen to this?"
"The Word says that His Words will never pass away. If I throw this book into a fire what will happen to it?"
"... it will burn."
"Then it will pass away. Therefore the words in this book are just words in a book. It is only when I read them that they speak to me and become the Word of God."
"OK. You got a point. But it is still the Word of God."
"When you read it, or it is preached, Jesus said GOD is the God of the living, not the dead. The God of Life. Not the God of ink and paper. He is worshiped in word and deed, not in something like this."
"But still, what you said earlier is wrong."
"Look in the book. Read your Bible. Think about it. There is only ONE sin in the entire book, but an argument could be made for one other one that is a commandment of Christ, that if broken, is a sin."
"I still disagree. You're going to have to convince me."
"OK, fine, we'll do it point by point. What's the first commandment? Exodus 20."
"I know where it's at. Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
"That's it. What becomes a god to you?"
"Anything that comes between you and God."
"Which is a sin right?"
"Yes. But what's that got to do with your one sin?"
"How can something come between you and God?"
"Hhhmmm... I have to allow it."
"You loose your self control and allow it."
"You can follow that argument all the way through all ten?"
"All Ten Commandments, gluttony, sloth, envy. Pick your deadly sin. The Tenth Commandment, coveting your neighbor's possessions. That is not an accident that just happens, you have a choice, you make the choice, if your focus was where it should be, on GOD..."
"I would never think about my neighbor's wife."
"Look at your New Testament. Like the list in Colossians 3."
"Give me a second... Verse five, '... dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.' I see your point. Those are all under my control."
"Look down further, verse 8 'But now you also, put them aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.' If I sit here and cuss the Warden, it is my doing. I make the choice, anger and unclean speech come between me and God because I loose my focus. My self control."
"Every sin comes down to that?"
"Consider some of the great sinners of the Bible. David, he looked at the woman and was consumed with lust. The sin was not seeing her taking her bath. If he had said, 'Hey! She's naked' and looked away and went about his business, nothing would have been wrong, but he chose to look, and to lust. He lost his focus and fell into sin after sin, and yet God called him a man after His own heart."
"Judas Iscariot, the Jews did not hold a gun on him and make him betray Jesus. He did that on his own."
"Yes, 'And it would have been better for that man if he had never been born.'"
"But even then, one of the others would have betrayed Him, it was prophesied. How about Cain? That was all his idea. Lot's wife chose to look back when she had been told not to. King Saul fell into every sin you can think of, but the medium didn't come to the palace looking for him, he went to her."
"And he put on a disguise to do it. I see."
"And so on. Every one of them, they made a conscious decision to not do what was right, to shift their focus off God and onto the matters of this world. And that's when something else, be it money, a woman, anger and fear, whatever, came between them and God and that's when it's a sin."
"They decided to do wrong."
"Is eating a sin?"
"No. Of course not."
"Is gluttony a sin?"
"I see where you're going with it. Letting food consume you instead of you consuming the food."
"That's a good way to put it, remind me to use that sometime. How about money?"
"The root of all evil."
"Nope, you missed part of it. The LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Several times Christ in His ministry used money as a good example, the widow's mite, the faithful servant with the ten talents, the king that forgave the debtor. He didn't just pick on the wealthy. He even paid His tax."
"You really like this don't you?"
"I love discussing the Truth of the Bible. So much of it has been overblown while other parts of it are ignored."
"I've seen that, they pick out a verse here, a paragraph there..."
"And they will answer to God for it."
"I wouldn't want to be in their shoes on that day."
"Christ called them workers of iniquity. That's pretty strong stuff from the Loving God. Think about this, how do you deny the Great Commission of Matthew and Mark by saying that water baptism by immersion isn't part of the plan of salvation? Yet every Sunday in Chapel the man stands there and begs people to just recite a 'sinner's prayer' that isn't even in Scripture, saying that will save them."
"But everybody is a sinner."
"So when I pray, or you pray, whenever anybody prays, it's a sinner's payer."
"I bet that's not a real popular way of looking at it."
"Got me thrown out of more than one Bible Study. But I got some of them to read and think for themselves."
"So the chaplain doesn't want you in service?"
"As long as I don't argue with him during the service he doesn't mind."
"So what about them offering Communion only on the first Sunday of the month."
"Find that in Acts."
"It's not there. I asked him about it. He said something about security."
"If it was from the Security Chief they wouldn't do it at all."
"This is true."
"Another one not in the Book, when you're in chapel and they have a prayer, what do they always say?"
"Every head bowed every eye closed."
"Find that in scripture."
"I take it it's not there."
"They lift their faces toward heaven, or fall flat on their faces. Christ did both. So did David. Read First Timothy two eight."
"Sure... let me find it. John, Titus, Hebrews, it's here someplace. Two... Eight. 'Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.' That would raise some hackles in chapel."
"It has. There are some that say that that behavior is sinful, that you're trying to call attention to yourself. Like the Pharisees on the street corners."
"But if Paul says he wants it done, how can it be a sin?"
"That's what I wanted to know. The motive here is key, Paul wants it done without wrath and dissension, in the sentence before he reminds them that he is an Apostle, and that he wants things done with dignity."
"That's right here. '...a tranquil life in godliness and dignity.'"
"But what were the hypocrites doing? They loved, I mean: They Loved! Standing in public so they might be seen by men, praying long wordy prayers, to be seen by men, which was their reward. We are told by Christ to go in our closets and pray in secret."
"We don't have a closet."
"Then this cell will have to do."
"So the guys that get up in chapel and use the big words and cry during their prayer have their reward?"
"More than likely. I seriously doubt if they are sincere."
"Yes He does. And lying to God is a sin. Almost blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven."
"You should have been a preacher."
"I am a preacher. Well, a teacher, maybe an evangelist. But then again, we are all called to teach the Good News to the world."
"Is that why you're in here?"
"Basically. Some people cannot abide the truth. It's uncomfortable."
"Seems that happens a lot in the Bible too."
"Oh yeah, in Nineveh when Jonah preached the Truth the king himself led the entire people in repenting. In several places when Israel returned home and they found the book of the Law and it was read the people had a fit getting themselves right before God. That's the power of the Word."
"You're waving your Bible and you just got done saying it's just a book."
"Well, that's the power of the preached word to convict men's souls."
"Lot of convicts around here."
"Christ blessed those that would be abused and oppressed for His sake. Paul blessed God that he was deemed worthy to be flogged for His name. If all I have to put up with is being locked up and thrown out of a classroom for showing them the Truth, Blessed be our Great God!"
"So are we going to have to agree to disagree about there only being one sin or not?"
"Let me read some more and pray on it and I'll get back to you."
"That's all I ask. I never tell anybody: 'This is IT. Believe what I'm telling you!' I can't do a 'Thus Sayth the Lord' unless it says that in here."
"But some of those in chapel do, and you know it's just their opinion."
"And God will judge them. There is an old creedo, 'Speak where the Bible Speaks, be Silent where It is Silent.' I try to do that."
"More of them should."
"Man has always decided what God should and should not do. Putting limits on faith or actions and in some cases in direct contradiction of the Scripture."
"OK, for instance. How should a woman dress?"
"It says exactly that in Timothy, but it goes on, it talks about how she shouldn't wear costly garments. So an argument could be made that if a woman couldn't make her clothes and had to buy them with money, she should wear a sheet. Gluttony, alcoholism, laziness, even religion, carried to extreme, is a sin. Yet how many fat preachers that look for excuses to get out of real work have you seen? But they preach constantly against drinking or long hair or gambling. Yet Jesus and Paul railed against partiality, James devoted most of his letter to it."
"James was talking about showing favoritism to people."
"And in breaking the Law. He said if you tried to keep the Law and broke one point you were guilty of all of it. So why would one sin under the New Covenant be any less serious than another? If I'm an adulterer and you're a drunk, which is less the sinner?"
"Remind me not to get on the other team from you when there's a panel debate."
"I don't have any problem if you can show me in here where something I say and believe is wrong. If it's your interpretation, or your opinion, back it up, if you can't, then my interpretation and opinion is just as good as yours."
"Like armpits, everybody has a couple and some of them stink."
"I like that one."
"See, we can laugh together at clean humor. Paul commands us to be happy. 'Rejoice, and again I say rejoice.' He doesn't want us walking around all sour and afraid to smile because somebody might think we've been up to something. What does the word 'Gospel' mean?"
"Not Solemn News, or Don't You Dare Smile About This News? Good News! The Message is GOOD NEWS! The People of GOD are supposed to have a GOOD TIME being the People of GOD! In Psalms it says to Praise God with dancing!"
"It does not. Believers are not supposed to dance."
"Psalm 149. I think its verse three or four, start with two just to make sure. Look it up."
"It does not say to dance. One forty nine... 'Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name with...' well I'll be."
"'Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation, Let the godly ones exult in glory, Let them sing for joy on their beds.'"
"What else is in here that blows away everything they said when I was a kid?"
"A lot. 'A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance' as well. If they were supposed to be happy, and laugh, sing, and dance about it being under the LAW for crying out loud, should we be all glum and sour about being under Grace?"
"You're giving me a headache."
"We've only been at this for a little while too."
"You've gone through more scripture than I get in a year of Chapel and you've only been in my cell since this afternoon. I got a lot to think about."
"That's OK, its about time for lights out anyway. We can pick this up some other time."
"I got a lot of time."
"We got all eternity."
"Hey. Officer. Sir!"
"Where's my cellie? He was here last night."
"No. I had a cellie move in last night. He was like some sort of Bible teacher or something. Knew everything. See, his Bible is open on the other bunk."
"You feelin' alright?"
"You ain't had nobody in your cell in months."
"No way. He was in here. Moved in last night right before chow. We started out arguing about the Bible and he taught me more than I ever knew before until lights out."
"Here, look at the board, you're it for this cell. You want me to take you up to the infirmary?"
"No... Maybe it was a dream."
"So that's your Bible there?"
"Yeah, I guess it is. I'm OK corporal. Sorry."
"He didn't mention this verse that's highlighted. Hebrews 13. 'Let the love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.'... wow... Well. Whoever you were, thanks."
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