The #Bible’s New Testament: The Book of Jude – Sounding the Alarm against Men Who Follow Natural Instincts

Can you call yourself a movie fan and NOT have seen a Mel Gibson film? If you never saw Braveheart, you probably saw at least one of the lethal weapon films. You might have skipped The Man Without a Face but probably sat through at least part of The Patriot, Signs, or one of the Mad Max films.  There’s a reason his films have made a ton of money for various studios—and himself—they’re usually quite entertaining.

And then he directed The Passion of the Christ and people didn’t know what to think—who knew he had such a religious streak? The movie went on to make a LOT of money and proved there was an audience for religious films (perhaps forgetting the 10 Commandments had done well too).

But then he started getting all kinds of bad press, and not for his acting. In addition to demonstrating a generally sexist attitude to the female cop(s) who detained him for drinking and driving, he also declared that Jews were responsible for all the wars in the world.

It’s one thing to hold a passionate belief; it’s quite another thing to put forward something that is both hurtful and inaccurate.

In this book of the Bible, Jude is all fired up and writing to warn his audience about the sin and doom of godless men.  Such people are dangerous, for they “change the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (1:4).  These people should have learned from the lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah, whom—in case you forgot—God punished for their sexual immorality by destroying them (1:7). In case this won’t convince his audience, he brings more examples, such as Cain, Balaam, and Korah’s rebellion (1:11).

So he’s at least done his homework.  Who wouldn’t take pause at these worthwhile examples, given the source (if that’s what you believe)? But then he keeps talking.  These people are “blemishes” at his audience’s table, when they share the same food, etc.  Although he is worried that their behavior might become infectious and taint well-meaning people, he’s forgetting an even greater example in the Bible: Jesus ROUTINELY feasted with “bad” people. In fact, he SPECIFICALLY sought these people out.

But he seems to not mention Jesus, choosing instead to argue that the biggest these evil people have is that they follow their evil desires, boast about themselves, and flatter people in order to take advantage of them. These people, he contends, follow “natural” desires and lack spirit.

This one word, natural, is perhaps the most startling admission in the entire Bible—people are embracing what occurs in them NATURALLY, which means it is not a perversion or even something unique. No, it’s natural, as in something people are BORN WITH. And if this is true, that means that God provided these desires. So if people are embracing their natural desires, they are just following through on what God gave them. Therefore, condemning their natural desires seems unnatural—why should someone judge another person who is only living the life God programmed in him or her?

Although his point seems to speak to things man-made—of the natural world—as opposed to things heaven-sent, there’s no mistaking the language. Since people who have often used the Bible to support their beliefs, it seems strange to not embrace the wording here.

These days, with social media providing the opportunity for so much scrutiny of what someone says, thankfully people tend to be held accountable for what they say. It also gives us an opportunity to replay what is said to make sure we’re hearing what we’re hearing. I wish more scrutiny would be afforded older ideas. If the Bible says that people are born the way they are, why isn’t this respected more often, especially if—as 1 John makes clear—a person’s actions are not a threat to another person, let them be (John 5:16). This should be our natural instinct.

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About virgowriter

Brad Windhauser has a Master's in English from Rutgers University (Camden campus) and an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte. He is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Temple University. His short stories have appeared in The Baltimore Review, The Santa Fe Writer's Project Journal, Ray's Road Review, Philadelphia Review of Books and Northern Liberty Review. His first novel, Regret (a gay-themed thriller set in Philadelphia) was published in 2007. You can read more about (and buy) it here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932993827/ref=cm_cmu_up_thanks_hdr/103-0234178-4062264 He is currently looking for an agent for his recently completed second novel, This Too Shall Pass. He is one of five regular contributors to 5Writer.com. On his solo blog, he is chronicling his experience as a gay writer reading the Bible for the first time: www.BibleProjectBlog.com VirgoWriter@gmail.com
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3 Responses to The #Bible’s New Testament: The Book of Jude – Sounding the Alarm against Men Who Follow Natural Instincts

  1. I appreciate your journey here. I am eager to follow it.
    If I was a student in your class though, would let me state as fact, perceptions I had which you knew in your much more experienced professional knowledge, to be inaccurate? Would you allow me to point out two flaws? Please erase this if not. Again, I respect your journey here.

    The Bible is an amazing book. One shouldn’t teach it unless they really studied how to study it. None of us would let someone who had only read a few scripts “teach” us scriptwriting. Likewise, The Bible is a little more complicated than a 21st century worldview frame of reference allows. The real reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorah is found in Ezekiel 16:49. The homosexual argument is promulgated by people who read the story in Genesis 19 and don’t pay attention to the rest of the Bible. The fascinating thing is that it all goes together.
    I respect your resolve at this; however, you can’t read the Bible and attempt to translate anything it means while ignoring one of it’s foundational precepts. The key precept relative here is the idea of the natural inclinations of man. The Bible claims that the “natural” state of anything in man is corrupted because it was corrupted in the first man after his fall from grace; and therefore, corrupted nature was the only nature ever reproduced ((Ephesians 2:1-5) being the protagonistic grace that changed the equation. The Bible doesn’t say we were good and natural and then dead, and then good again. It says that since adam ruined it we are all actually born dead {that is why the situation is so hopeless without his intervention], and then made alive). Their is no concept of “natural” being good in the Bible. So you can’t argue that idea while discussing an issue from the Bible itself.

    It’s unfair to redefine the objects definition of an idea for the purpose of having an argument. I hope this is helpful. I am a seminary graduate, former pastor, counselor and author – and now a film student. I believe Christ has been horribly misrepresented by those teaching his word for their own agenda (anti-gay or otherwise). I also think those wanting to know what Christ really says about their life choices that others disagree with (sexuality, divorce, etc.), have done a poor job on the level of study they would require of any other profession in life (medicine, law, engineering). For some reason, we give very little brevity to the lack of credentials of those who speak to the teachings of the Bible. Without muddying the waters with my own opinions, I would love to answer questions and dialogue on a very respectful level if you have any questions! I believe I can point things out from the text itself (like Ezekiel and Ephesians above) to clarify. Best wishes as you become a student of His word.

    • virgowriter says:

      Hello Image Bearing,
      I welcome the feedback. I did not start this blog in order to profess complete understanding of this text–this is merely how I read it. Also, given my background, I am likely to misunderstand–and in turn, perhaps misrepresent–some elements of it. This is unintentional. Lastly: I’m not teaching it, so there are no students in any class of mine. Now, to your specific points:

      I do appreciate how all the elements of the Bible should work together. As far as S&G, I can appreciate how Ezekiel completes the story. What’s interesting to me is that there are a number of people who refer to this passage in Genesis WITHOUT mentioning the additional part. One of the things I have learned is that my issues with the Bible haven’t been with the text itself; rather, how people have chosen to cheery pick from it to support viewpoints. As you mention, this is problematic because they don’t often present a complete picture when they do so. Removing content from context is problematic because of this issue. When I’ve written about this section, I have restricted my view to that section–my blog is about reacting as I read. I do intend a more comprehensive reaction to the whole book now that I have completed it. I will cop to the issue with perhaps mishandling of the word “natural” here–for reasons you mention. Another issue I have had with the Bible, however, is the way in which people have chosen when to take it literally and when to interpret it figuratively. Again, this is not an issue with the Bible but rather with the way in which it is sometimes used. I also agree with your thoughts on how people have (and continue to) misrepresent Jesus. I have read enough to know that there is a lot more study to be considered. This project, however, will take only a few steps further–I plan to read and blog about the Apocrypha and another book that delves into the history of the Gospel authorship. I have never intended to suggest that when I present my thoughts I am presenting an authoritative opinion; rather, I am merely reacting as a reader who often suffers from people who use this ancient text against him without understanding it themselves. I also find it interesting that these same people suggest I don’t understand the book when, if I asked them to read it in the original language they would chuckle. Shouldn’t all people understand it in the original language, free of any translation influence? Perhaps most people forget the Bible was not written in English.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and also for the thoughtful, respectful comment. This blog has always been about starting a conversation to explore what the Bible says and how it is used.

      • Tony says:

        Thanks for taking the time to respond! I appreciate your candor as well as your intent. I’m glad we agree that people’s agendas are very much at play for the subjectivity of so much of the discussion. I look forward to more.

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