I just wanted to let everyone know that I am now blogging at a different website:
I will still check up on this blog every now and then, but otrmin will be my new blog home.
I have got used to nastiness and insults from people. If you dare oppose Debbie Maken, you will get all kinds of nasty comments from her and her followers. Hence, I am not that easily offended. However, if you are easily offended, do not click this link. to the O'Reilly factor. What he shows on this segement just may end up really offending you. Yes, we have an entire musical mocking Christianity, and its opposition to homosexuality. Also, we found that Hollywood script writers do not know how to do exegesis, as the well known distinction between the usage of hb'[eAT in Leviticus [relevant to chapter 18] where it refers specifically to moral abomination, and in Deuteronomy [relevant to chapter 14] which speaks specifically of dietary laws, using terms that are code words for ritual uncleanliness. There have been entire dissertations written on the differences of hb'[eAT in these two books. Of course, this is hollywood, and we will ignore any kind of rationality when it comes to the promotion of gay marriage.
More than that, it shows you that the mask of tolerance is off for these folks. Their hatred for God and for his law is coming out clearer and clearer.
Anakin broke some interesting news this morning. Everyone in the Christian community has been raving about the movie Fireproof. My fiance even told me she heard it was excellent. I have yet to see this movie, but would like to as it seems any movie that is an encouragement to struggling married couples, and helps them to avoid divorce is incredibly helpful in the cultural struggle for marriage. Now, I know Focus on the Family probably has a whole lot to do with this, but, apparently, the makers of Fireproof are promoting Debbie Maken's book. At first, I thought "shame on them," but you have to remember the situation in which they are. They are trying to promote a defense of marriage, and Maken makes her book appear to be pro-marriage [even though, as I have argued elsewhere, it is actually anti-marriage, because of the unbiblical misrepresentation of marriage found in the book], and thus, it is easy to see why they would go for it. Also, remember that these people are film makers, not scholars. Hence, it is more than possible that they do not know any better.
However, the marketing and political backing that this movement is getting is just amazing. You have the Albert Mohler program, you have Focus on the Family, you have Mark Driscoll, you have both Moody Publishing, and Crossway Books; you have so many popular names and organizations promoting this, that one wonders how much money is really going behind it. It must be at least a small fortune.
What is annoying about all of this is, with the exception of Ted Slater, the editor of Boundless, these folks are more than willing to say this stuff in public, and yet not interact in cross-examiniation with their critics. In what little interaction time we have had, the results have simply been amazing. Every time Debbie Maken dialogued with me, she had to result to avoiding my direct questions, and engaging in name calling. Albert Mohler, when challenged on his views of marriage relating to sexual purity, ran fast out of the text of Genesis 2-3, and went to a completely different text in 1 Corinthians 7, with a completely different context. Candice Watters will not even interact with me, and the reality is that these folks just seem to not like exegetical criticism of their position. Yet, what is amazing is the marketing power these folks have to keep putting these views out there. They know that Anakin, myself, Andreas Kostenberger, and others have criticized them, and yet, no effort is made to respond to us. It is just more promotion, and more spotlight, and more airtime for them to engage in a monologue.
What is amazing is the marketing job that has gotten Debbie Maken's book associated with Fireproof. Keep in mind, this is the same book that I have compared with Gail Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions. Maken's book is, by far, the worst book I have ever read in English. No one managed to get as many errors onto one page as Maken did, and no one managed to engage in as much ad hominem on one page as Maken did. This is the same woman who attributed an idea to the reformers, when they very source she cited said it was the radical reformers who believed this, and this same source then went on to say that the reformers did not believe this position! This is the same woman who conviniently ignored quotations from Luther, in the very same sermon from which she was quoting, and completely misused the works of John Calvin as well, even paraphrasing a quotation she got second hand, from a quotation that I to this day have not been able to find. This is the same woman who said that, because Malachi 2:15 has the phrase "wife of your youth" that therefore you are to marry in your youth. Keep in mind, this is the kind of material that is being marketed, and held up as honoring to marriage. I have always wondered how honoring you are being to something when you have to engage in dishonesty in order to talk about it.
Not only that, but as I pointed out last summer, Candice Watters does not know how to do exegesis. Her main area of study is public policy, and thus, she makes several simple errors with regards to the exegesis of the text. Now, do you want to see the marketing power of this movement? Even though these errors were readily available to anyone, Candice is coming out with a new book, coauthored with her husband Steve, called Start your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. I hope that I am wrong, but my best guess is that we will see another eisegetical misuse of Genesis 1:28 and Jeremiah 29:6. We will hear about how children are a blessing, and are therefore required. We will likewise hear the fatalistic notion that we need to just simply trust in God, and thus, not use the resources God has given us. We will also no doubt not hear of the influence of gnosticism on this view of marriage and children. Again, I hope I am wrong, and I hope that Candice does take into account some of the things her strongest critics are telling her, but, again, I am not optimistic. This is what happens when marketing takes the place of seeking truth. When you put someone up to writing about what the Bible says, when they are not trained to be in that position of leadership, disaster is bound to follow.
Be that as it may, I still would like to see a round-table discussion with Anakin, Andreas Kostenburger, and myself engaging in an extended interaction with Debbie Maken, Candice Watters, and Albert Mohler. We could market it, and really get critical thinking going from an exegetical perspective on this issue. Until then, we will just have to keep responding to these folks, and let all of the marketing and political fluff speak for itself.
Finally, I would like to let everyone know that Kuya Kevin, a regular commenter on my blog, has started a new blog for discussing singles issues. He has some good stuff over there, and I will look forward to seeing what he will write.
I had heard earlier in the week that Albert Mohler was going to be discussing is view that delay of marriage is a sin on his program today, so figured I would try to get a call in on the program. I couldn't get through the first time, but I did the second time.
Here is the link to the program. My call comes at about 17:45. I have to say, I am impressed with the way I was treated. I was treated very fairly. I had originally figured that calling in would give people a chance to hear the other side, but time was so limited, that it seemed like all we could do is make assertions. I figured on using the same argument I used against Candice Watters here, with regards to Genesis 2-3. The call screener told me to be quick, so I had to get a lot of information out in a very short period of time. Hence the misunderstanding at the beginning. However, I think that when I answered Dr. Mohler's question about why I believed marriage was a bad thing if I wanted to get married, he got my argument. All he could say about my interpretation is that it was "warped." I just wanted to say, "Prove it!" He threw out 1 Corinthians 7, and the reason why I found out that this is not the best arena for dialoguing about these things is because I had no time to respond to his presentation on that passage.
Now, some of the things Dr. Mohler said were really interesting. For instance, he tried to say he wasn't connecting marriage and salvation from sexual sin. Yet, as I have documented time and time again, Dr. Mohler has connected marriage and sanctification. One has to wonder if Dr. Mohler believes that sanctification is part of salvation. The only logical conclusion I can come to from hearing him speak is that salvation and sanctification are able to be separated, which has outragious implications for understanding the importance of sanctification within salvation itself.
Also, he said that I was going of topic by bringing up Genesis 2-3, because the topic was delay of marriage. Of course, what I found odd is, at the New Attitude Conference, where his sermon first popularized this idea that delay of marriage is a sin, he spent nearly the whole first half of the sermon on the topic! The reason why I chose this is obvious. If it can be shown that marriage and singleness are parallel in the text of Genesis 2-3, and, because of sin, it is not good for the man to be married just as it is not good for the man to be alone, then there is no reason to say that delay of marriage is bad because there is nothing inherently necessary about getting married. I really have no idea if Dr. Mohler really got that. Again, if I had more time, I could have pressed this.
Finally, this pushing of the idea that manhood=marriage was also bothersome. I figured that one was easy to challange, even though I felt I had very little time. However, I don't know how well it was heard. We were coming up on a station break, and the music was playing in the background. Dr. Mohler said that the Bible said that manhood=marriage, and I just said loudly and firmly, "where?". If it was heard, he never bothered to answer that question.
Also, he was very broad in his statements. He said things like "All of scripture teaches x." If there would have been more time I would have told him that, if all scripture teaches it, then it should not be hard to find a particular text that teaches it! These broad strokes were just all over Dr. Mohler's statements. The only specific he gave was 1 Corinthians 7, which I have dealt with before. The problem is it would have taken me more time to develop these things than the few brief minutes we talked.
Also, one of the things I have been increasingly very concerned about is the attempt to paint anyone who holds this position as a liberal. As I went through and listened to the first half of the program before my call, that came out very clearly. The interesting thing is that, before 1995, if you had stated this position to someone, they would have thought you were strange. Also with me is that I just let my track record speak for itself. I have defended inerrancy, argued against feminism, atheism, and written against abortion and homosexuality. I have the track record of being a committed, conservative, evangelical Christian. We need to keep doing this, and it will prove them wrong by our very actions.
I figured that this was the only way to get through to him to at least talk with him on this topic, and let his listeners know that there are other positions that conservative, evangelical Christians can hold besides his. That is why I made it clear at the beginning that I do agree with him on 95% of everything he says. I do respect the man. However, I pray that God would change his heart so that he repents of these ideas, and does not bind to the contience of God's people things that are not found in God's word. I would also be open to dialoguing with him more on this topic. However, his interest in dialoguing with a master's student in Hebrew and Semitic Studies is not probably going to be that high.
I have written the following suggestion to the editors of Boundless:
Hey Ted and Co!
I have a suggestion. Since you guys have the Boundless show webcast, why don't you invite some of the teachers you guys promote who believe that delay of marriage is a sin, and have Anakin Niceguy, myself, Andreas Kostenberger, or others who disagree with them on the Boundless Show to discuss our disagreements with them? Shows like this usually do really well in terms of downloads. It is a hot button issue anyway, and putting both sides next to each other will allow people understand the issues much more clearly. The only other times I see this issue discussed is in a thread like on the Line or on a call in talk program, and you either have a mammoth amount of material through which to sort [on the thread], or an extremely short time, at most minute and a half, to make your point [on a call in talk program]. A program with even a section like this would allow both sides to lay out their position, and discuss areas of disagreement, and thus, I think would be more edifying in terms of helping people understand the issues involved.
I figure that this would be a much better idea for allowing both sides to lay out the issues. We will see what they say!