Friday, December 12, 2008


I think I can just let this story speak for itself. I mean, how can you have a "girlfriend," who not even human? [If he wanted to argue that it was human, that would be a major redefinition of the term.] How can you have a girlfriend who is not even, in fact, a girl? All of this is utter nonsense. It is amazing to me to think that we may not only have gay rights, but we may have to be dealing with a man claiming rights to marry his machine.

All the more reason why God gets to set the standards for relationships and marriage. They are only to be between one man and one woman.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

So Much for Tolerance

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.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Marketing and Politics in the Promotion of the Mandatory Marriage Movement

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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gay Rights Gone Wild!

If you want to see what happens when you don't have an answer to arguments against your position, and you desperately need to justify your sinful behavior, then listen to this segment of the O'Reilly factor. Yes, the opening images are disturbing, but at least try to stomach it, because what happens next at the church is even worse.

I almost wonder if we may have to get police officers at the door of church buildings in order to have services in the near future! However, this is not the only incedent. Here is another incedent made known to me by Dr. James White's blog:

There you go. Just take a cross, and throw it to the ground, and step on it like a bunch of animals. Then, these people have the audacity to yell "shame on you!" When I heard that, I couldn't help think of the very same passage Dr. White wrote at the end of his blog:

Isaiah 5:20-21 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, those who replace darkness for light, and light for darkness, those who set up bitterness for sweetness, and sweetness for bitterness! 22. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, who discern in their own sight!

I think it is so providential that this verse is here because of the inability for secularism to account for morality. I mean, if this stuff is right, you might as well throw the Bible into the trash can. Yet, if it is not right, then you do you account for universal, absolute standards? How is it you can make sense out of universals in a universe that is inherently secular and imperical in character? Such is what happens when you are "wise in your own eyes." They know this, and they know that they only way they will get anywhere is by being bullies, and shouting anyone down who disagrees with them. Well, I could get four hundred body builders to shout them down too. Does that somehow prove something? Of course, it proves nothing at all. However, that is what you have to do when you are face to face with your creator day after day doing all kinds of abominations, knowing he exists the whole time, and knowing his wrath is against you for your sin. You have to suppress that knowledge, and that means that anyone who reminds you of that truth will just have to be shut up.

There is a simple solution for this, and that is the homosexuals repent and believe the gospel. However, as is the case with so much of society today, people love their sin more than they love God, and therefore, they will not repent. That is why we need to trust in an all powerful God who takes away the power of sin, frees people from bondage to their sin, and raises them to new life in Christ. Without the power of God to change peoples hearts and minds, we would be lost in this battle against this evil of homosexuality.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Short Radio Encounter with Albert Mohler

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.

God Bless,

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!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Gay Rights Crowd Starting them Young

One wonders what good it is having a kindergartner sign a pledge card saying they will stop "discrimination" against gays and lesbians. However, the gay rights crowd seem so intent on indoctrination of our youth, that apparently one did just that, even though, as the article says, most kindergartners do not even know what "gay" means. Here is a picture of one of the cards signed from the Fox News website:

Thankfully, the school had enough sense to say that action should be taken against this teacher, however, only because the material was not "age appropriate." In other words, it was morally acceptable to do this with our youth, but only when they reach the age where they can understand.

This is the reason why we need to be very careful about our children's education, expecially in public schools. Private schools and homeschooling are the best. Also, we also need to encourage those who live in California to get out and vote for proposition 8. Unfortunately, we still have a long battle on our hands, and it appears that those who hate God's law seem content to teach others to likewise hate God's law, even if they are only a kindergartner.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Text From the Davidic Kingdom Found?
(And another silly ABC claim that conservative Christianity is as dangerious as radical Islam)

Ok, this could be really neat, if Yossi Garfinkel is right. Who is he you may ask? He is an Israeli archaeologist who has just unearthed what may prove to be the earliest extrabiblical Hebrew text known to man. The Ostracon has been dated to between 1ooo BC and 975 BC, the time of the Davidic kingdom. In fact, it was discovered at a place overlooking Elah Valley, which is the place where David defeated Goliath.

I will have to be honest and say that the best picture I could find is on the FoxNews link I gave above. The only thing I can make out is the Aleph [the letter to which the man is pointing], and the tet [the circle with the x through it]. They seem to not be willing to release high quality photographs to the public so that students and professors can work on the ostracon independently. I don't know what to make of that.

Also, while I was on the ABC website looking to see if I could find more information about the ostrocon, I found a video on interpretation of scripture. I wondered why it is that ABC would be concerned with something like this, and, about halfway through, I realized where this was going. I would invite people to take a listen to this video, and try to avoid rolling your eyes when you hear Dianne Bergant speak:

The arguments Dianne Bergant makes are really, really bad. She tries to argue that the wars in the OT were mandated, and therefore, conservative Christianity is just as dangerious as conservative Islam because they both interpret their holy books "literally," and thus have the possibility of engaging in the same kinds of radical military behavior as radical Islam on the basis of the texts about the mandatory wars in the OT.

First of all, there is some truth in what she says, and that is, namely, that there are some commands in scripture that are meant to not be followed all the way through. Obviously, if we found the grave of king David, we are not to go and anoint him king over Israel [1 Samuel 16:12]. However, the assumption that God cannot speak in language that is binding for all time assumes that there is no sovereign God who knows the future, and can reveal himself in language that is binding for all time.

Not only that, but this hermeneutic breaks down when you ask how it is that you know that you have properly brought the text into our time. You see, this kind of hermeneutic results in no interpretation of a text being wrong. There is no check, and you can use the methodology to come up with all kinds of different interpretations. If you do not take the "literal" approach, it seems to me that we are left with pure subjectivism, as no interpretation can be wrong.

Not only that, but remember that the Israeli wars were a punisment for the radical wickedness of the Caananites. Just read Leviticus 18, and you will see the utter perversity of these people, even burning their own children alive. God said he was going to use Israel to drive these people out in punishment for what they did [Leviticus 18:24-28]. Obviously, God chose many methods to punish ungodly people thoughout the scriptures, so, to suggest that we are to do these things today is to simply rip it out of its context.

However, even worse than that, I have been doing work in canon criticism, that is, understanding the Bible in terms of the whole of scripture using Wittgenstein's concept of a language game. There is absolutely no way you can get the idea that we are to conquer the world by killing people, given what Paul says here:

Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Now, let me ask, how is it that a Christian could ever go around killing others to convert them to Christianity when Paul here says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood? Not only that, but Jesus tells us how we are to conquer the world:

Matthew 28:19-20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

It seems that Jesus says here that we are to conquer the world, not by the sword, or by bombs, or by nuclear weapons, but by the proclaimation of the gospel. Even if you misinterpreted those texts about the utter destruction of Canan, how could you get around these texts?

It is simply unbelievable, and another example of ABC's bias against Christianity.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just a Thought

Candice Watters recently wrote a post on the Boundless Blog and used an argument that has become fairly common:

Still, it's common to hear from readers who say we should be moving away from marriage since that's the way we'll be in heaven anyway -- single. But will we? I wrote:

In Matthew 22:30, Jesus says, "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." Does this suggest God is shifting gears from His original plan for marriage toward singleness? Why won't human marriage exist in heaven?

We will all be "single" in heaven so that we can become the bride of Christ, so that we can experience the perfect marriage. Marriage is the norm, both now and in the age to come. It's only the nature of the bridegroom that will change. In heaven, we'll turn our attention to Christ, the Bridegroom all human husbands foretell. Every marriage since Adam and Eve's has pointed to the ultimate wedding between Christ and His church (that's why it matters how we go about being husbands and wives.) Heaven won't mark the end of marriage, but its culmination.

Sadly, we live in a post-marriage culture where critics of marriage -- both secular and spiritual -- abound. Marriage as God made it is under fire from all sides. That's why we spend so much time defending it.

Now, I want people to notice the rhetoric. If you attack a position that says that unless you have a removal of sexual desire you must get married, delay of marriage is a sin, and you must go into gospel service if you have a removal of sexual desire, then you are somehow "criticizing marriage." In other words, if you criticize Candice Watters' views on marriage, you are criticizing marriage. That simply does not follow. It is simply a rhetorical device to try to equate her position with something that must be defended because it has been defined by God. Should I say that Candice is criticizing marriage because she has written a book that is critical of my position? Such seems to be the logic, but it doesn't go both ways.

Not only that, but, again, the effects of sin on marriage have not been taken into account. It is not "criticizing marriage" in any way to point out that human sin has corrupted the institution. Now, just as it is "not good for the man to be alone," [Genesis 2:18] it is not good for the man to be married [Genesis 3:16]. Sin has had an effect such that only the seed of the woman who bruises the head of the serpent can save mankind [Genesis 3:15]. Hence, the passages that talk about Christ and his bride are simply a restatement of this theme. Marriage has been corrupted, and, as long as people are married in this life, they will experience the same sinful problems that came as a result of the fall. The only marriage that will be the norm in the sense that Candice is talking about [i.e., something that is required], is in the eternal state. This is because this will be the only holy marriage that has not been corrupted by our own human sin. I believe that is the whole point of Genesis 3:15-17. Hence, in this life the choice will be between the not good being alone, and the not good being married because of sin.

This is why, while I know the terminology is a bit awkward since it normally refers to anthropology, I have suggested that we start talking about Albert Mohler, Candice Watters, and Debbie Maken as having a "pelagian" view of marriage. That is, all of the afore mentioned people seem to have a view of marriage as "norminative" that does not take into account the effects of the fall upon marriage.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dr. Robert Morey on the Gullability of the Modern Church

While I don't agree with everything Dr. Robert Morey posted in this post, I loved the lecture he posted in it! Just click on the link, scroll down, and click on the play button just to the left of the bold words "Length of audio: 43:10." As it says, it is just over 43 minutes long, so, make sure you have enough time to listen to it!

Anyway, I wanted to post the link to this lecture because it so applies to a lot of new fads on relationships that have come out today. Dr. Morey's discussion of gullability is exactly what comes to mind when I think of how the mandatory marriage movement has gotten to the position that it has simply because a few respected people like Albert Mohler started supporting it. This is a message a whole lot of Christian singles need to hear who just gulp down every new relationships fad that comes along.

It is also entertaining, as Dr. Morey is a very funny speaker. He speaks in such a way that it hits the nail on the head about churches today who say that we shouldn't think, we shouldn't engage in Biblical Exegesis, and we shouldn't study systematic theology; we should just simply "live." Dr. Morey's message is so needed in the church today, and is also important as we are dealing with these issues.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

See, I am Fallible!!!!!!
(and a discussion of the Radical Marriage Mandators too!!!!!!!!)
I was just reading up on Jim West's, and Lawrence Mykytiuk's comments on the Seal of Gedaliah, which I wrote about a while back. I have to admit, I think Jim brings up a good point that there is nothing on the seal to identify this with the Biblical Gedaliah. I had originally went down this road, but I thought that Finkelstein would have said something if this were possible. I must, therefore, agree with Jim West that, given that we don't know the frequency of these names in Jerusalem, we cannot identify it with the Biblical Gedaliah.
However, I must disagree with his comments that we cannot allow the Bible to interpret our Archaeology. He says, "Or, it’s equally possible, isn’t it, that the biblical account is based on historical factlets without itself being ‘historical’." For the Christian, the answer is simply "No, it is not possible." We are called to "Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ" [2 Corinthians 10:5]. Hence, we view history as being under the sovereign direction of God. Hence, if this does refer to the man spoken of by the Book of Jeremiah, we must understand him in the light of what the scripture says. Then, I would go on to argue that any philosophy of history other than the Christian philosophy of history makes nonsense out of the study of history.
The mistake that myself and Mazor made is that there is nothing in the Bible that says that this is, indeed, the seal of the Gedaliah that tried Jeremiah. I am willing to grant, therefore, that it is indeed possible that there was another Gedaliah that lived at this time, and that he is the owner of that seal, since the scriptures do not rule out that possibility.
However, I will not allow the liberal media off that easy. To this I simply would like to comment on Lawrence Mykytiuk's comments. He noted many of the same things I did, namely, that the script is consistent with this time period, and it was found on a controlled archaeological dig by a respected archaeologist. Hence, this makes it, at very least, difficult to question whether or not it is genuine. He also says that it is, at least, a reasonable hypothesis that this is the seal of the Gedaliah son of Pishhur mentioned in the book of Jeremiah. Therefore, you need to understand that the discovery of this seal does tell us that the book of Jeremiah, at least in this respect, is consistent with the time period in which the book of Jeremiah claims to have been written. Hence, if authentic [and I have little reason to doubt that it is authentic], it would at least confirm the historical accuracy of Jeremiah, namely, that it would further show that Jeremiah's writing shows a knowledge of the time period in which the events spoken of in the book took place.
Let me ask a simple question to drive this home. Why is it that a seal bearing a Biblical name in the script from that time period, recovered by a respected archaeologist, and having a reasonable hypothesis that this is the seal of the Biblical character gets absolutely no media attention, and the Talpiot Tomb theory, which was mocked and laughed at by secular and Jewish archaeologists alike, gets an entire program on the Discovery channel? I cannot figure it out, other than to point out that Christians are not the only ones who are ideologically driven. Hence, while I must agree with Jim West about this seal, it still shows the incredible bias of the leftest media.
As a Van Tillian, am not going to rest my faith on this discovery, but I think it is telling that this seal has gotten no media attention.
Now, from the academic, to people who are simply out of control. I happened to go over to the Boundless Blog today, and, much to my shagrin, found the following comments:
A few of us because concerned about the roots of this problem coming from the proliferation of the "gift of singleness" teachings of the past few decades. This phrase was actually an embellishment of the Living Bible of the 70's (now the NLT), that caught on among singleness writers, becoming somewhat of a rogue doctrine. A few of us became fed up the fact that not only was in not in the original Greek text, but with how it caused so many people to doubt whether or not God was on their side about the goodness of pursuing marriage. So we got together and successfully campaigned to the NLT to have it removed! HALLELUJIAH, IT'S GONE!!
Now, I am assuming that this is the same Jennifer that posts under the screenname Gortexgrrl. Of course, what is maddening about this is that I already addressed this issue a long time ago. As I mentioned in that post, I know one of the translators for the NLT, and if you go to that post, you will see that everything Jennifer is saying here is wrong. She says that she "successfully campaigned to the NLT to have it removed." Of course, the NLT translators told me that they did nothing because they agreed with these women. They did, indeed, decide to reconsider their translation of the passage, but the change was made because they didn't feel translating the passage in this way, and bringing out the fact that Paul was calling singleness a gift here would show the connection between this passage and the following discussion about spiritual gifts. The only thing on which the NLT translators were willing to agree with these women was that this text should not be used to forbid those who would like to marry from marrying or pursuing marriage, which no one was teaching in the first place! In fact, even worse for these girls, is that the NLT translators say that they still believe this passage teaches that singleness is a gift! Now, how did Gortexgrrl respond to this? Did she take back what she said? Did she, at very least, nuance what she said? No, she just said:
Whatever, Adam.
We're just glad the GoS is G.O.N.E.
Notice, no nuancing of what she said. No admittance that the NLT translators do not agree with her, and no acknowledgement that they did not remove this phrase because of their campaigning. Just a response of "whatever." Keep in mind, she knew all of these things before she repeated the same thing in this post on the Boundless Blog!
Not only that, but, [and I have said this before], but I have pointed out that this girl does not know Greek. I pointed out that in her article on 1 Corinthians 7, she simply put the dictionary form down for every word, and acted as if that was the Greek of the text. Here is what she said was the Greek of 1 Corinthians 7:6-9:
De lego touto kata suggnome ou kata epitage 7) Gar thelo pas anthropos einai kai hos emautou alla hekastos echo IDIOS CHARISMA ek theos HOS MEN HOUTO DE HOS HOUTO. 8) Lego de agamos kai chera esti KALOS autos ean meno kago hos kago 9) De ei egkrateuomai ou egkrateuomai GAMEO gar esti kreitton gameo e puroo."
Those of you who know Greek know what I mean. This is incapable of translation. Again, these are all things I have pointed out before this. Now, what is interesting is that, even after pointing this stuff out, what do we have on her post on the Boundless Blog? Well, she says the following with regards to Jesus' words in Matthew 19:12:
Christ then concludes this verse by stating A SECOND TIME the conditions he set in verse 11, reiterating clearly that it is for those capable of receiving it (rather than obeying under compulsion or command from God): Dunamai choreo choreo (He that is able to receive (it), let him receive (it).
Now, is that really the Greek of Matthew 19:12? Well, you guessed it. She did the exact same thing that she did in her article on 1 Corinthians 7, that is, she posted all of the dictionary forms of the words, somehow assuming that this was the way the Greek text read! However, what is even worse this time, is that she left out the article! The Greek text actually reads "ho dunamenos chorein choreito."
Now, I am not saying this because I think that it will somehow change Jennifer's mind. She believes she is right, and, even on something as easily demonstratable as these things, she still is going ahead. However, I was concerned because of the following comment that was left in response to her:
I am glad you brought your study of the original language into your post, God's word has final authority.

The ability to "receive" a teaching may well be what Jesus was referring to in that instance, but does that negate a view of giftedness including all you have been given? What have you NOT been given, in truth?

The label "gift" applies to far more than temporary pleasure, and all things work together for ultimate good (Romans 8). It does not seem a stretch to put all our circumstances and limitations and, dare I say, even sins into His hands & trust Him to use all for His glory & our good since that is His promise.

However, changing the label of "gift" doesn't change our responsibility. I've heard various teaching on "gifts" and have come to the conclusion that it's an area that causes sidetracking because the edges are fuzzy. I should've thought of that before I used the term!
Now, I have to say I am encouraged because it is obvious that this woman is using discernment. The problem is that she has no idea about the fact that Jennifer didn't even post the Greek text, but just simply went through and posted the dictionary form of each word! She also has no idea that the NLT did not remove anything because of these girl's campaigning. You see, this is what I am afraid of with this kind of thing. Many girls who have not heard of Debbie Maken, Captain Sensible, Gortexgrrl, etc. will be sucked into this simply out of ignorance. She has no way to check on these things. For all she knows, Jennifer has studied many years of Greek, and campaigned at the Society for Biblical Literature to have these things removed.
Hence, so that this rumor does not go any further, I am inviting everyone who is interested in this topic to post my response to this stuff found here on their blog, so we can get it out to as many people as possible. I figure that, if we can get this article out, it will at least make it harder for Gortexgrrl and Captain Sensible to go around saying these things all because of the ignorance of the people to whom they are talking. I also have written a response to this stuff at the Boundless Blog, but it would be a total waste of time to go around looking for everytime this issue has come up on the internet, expecially since I am preoccupied with my classes here at Trinity. Hence, anyone who is interested in posting the relevant section of that article on their blog, you have my permission.

Friday, September 19, 2008

An Open Letter to Albert Mohler

Dear Dr. Mohler,

I know that you probably do not know who I am, but my name is Adam, and I am a M.A. Candidate in Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I want to first of all say that I do really respect the work that you do. It is refreshing to hear a carefully reasoned voice on the radio with so much bad material in the media today.

However, I must say that I have been very distressed by the bad argumentation that you put forward in both your article, and in the beginning of your program on Friday. You said that "every single response, thus far, is from a woman." May I be the first [or one of the first] to break that string. I have been dealing with this issue for a long time. In fact, I have had a conversation [or tried to] with Debbie Maken, and have even reviewed Candice Watters' book [I know you have endorsed both of these]. Hence, I am well familiar with this topic.

Dr. Mohler, first of all, we are both protestants. As protestants, we both believe in Sola Scriptura, namely, that the Bible is sufficient to function as the regula fide, that is, the rule of faith for the church. We also recognize that, whatever is not found in scripture, is not binding upon the christian. Yet, I heard you say a whole lot of things that I believe are simply exegetically indefensible.

For instance, you said that, "You have this delayed adulthood among young men," and "This extended adolesence which is beginning to characterize so much of the young male experience."

So, we equate marriage with adulthood. Can you prove that from scripture Dr. Mohler? Even Dr. Grant Osborne, my Hermeneutics professor, said that this was totally wrong. The reality is I have never heard an exegetical argument for this position. The best argument I have heard goes back to Genesis 2:24. However, that text is not defining manhood, it is telling us why it is that you have men today who leave there father and mother, etc. It is because of what God instituted back in the garden of Eden.

Not only that, you have said that, "When you start looking at the fact that we have just actualized and made norminative the expectation in the secular culture that premarital sex is going to be the norm, and in the secular culture it certainly is, then young men are no longer modivated to take on the responsibilities of marriage. If you offer young men the opportunity to have sex without responsibility, here's a news flash, they will take it, and that's what's happening in this culture."

I am really amazed by this statement, Dr. Mohler. Are you denying the grace of God can instruct us to deny ungodly desires [Titus 2:11-12]? Are you likewise denying what the book of Proverbs says when it tells young men that wisdom will keep us from the adulteress [Proverbs 2:16]? So, if a man has the grace of God, and is growing in wisdom, how can you say that "they will take it." It seems to me that the grace of God, and the wisdom and instruction found in the book of Proverbs is foundational to fighting against these things! Yes, Dr. Mohler, men who do not have the grace of God or wisdom will "take it." However, that is a reflection upon the church merely teaching what is right and wrong, and not teaching discernment and wisdom as is found in the book of Proverbs.

Yes, I know, you will bring up 1 Corinthians 7:9. However, Dr. Mohler, did you ever notice that "burning with passion" there is not having sexual desire? The whole phrase runs "But if they do not have self-control, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." If you say that "burning with passion" is having sexual desire, then the text has nothing to do with the previous clause which is about having self control! I think it is more likely to equate "burning with passion" with "not having self control" given that Paul uses this chiastic structure in this very context [v.2-4].

Not only that, but many competent commentators such as Dr. Gordon Fee, Dr. Craig Blomberg, Dr. Richard Hays, and others have pointed out that this text probably is not referring to singles in general at all, but a specific group of singles, namely, widows and widowers! Hence, the text is totally irrelevant to the discussion of single people in general.

Also you say, "And what happens when you begin to take marriage, and you say, 'It's now an option. It's no longer norminative. It's now an option...'

Again, Dr. Mohler, where do you find these things in scripture? There is no command for every individual to marry anywhere in God's word. I believe that marriage should be norminative, but not in the sense that you are talking about. I believe that it is norminative because God has naturally put it into the hearts and desires of most people to get married, and not because of some command that I am going to add to scripture as if scripture is not sufficient.

Yes, I have dialogued with Debbie Maken, and I have read all of the arguments of the so called "Mandatory Marriage Movement," and I find them to be, not only unconvincing, but extremely weak. When you have to take Genesis 1:28b out of the context of 1:27c [which gives you the subject of "Be Fruitful and Multiply], and the phrase "fill the earth" so that you are left with the absurd idea that every single couple must not only marry, but that an individual couple must have seven billion children so that they "fill the earth," then you have missed something exegetically.

If you try to run off to Jeremiah 29, and use the phrase "Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters," then you will, not only be caught trying to explain how it is that we likewise are all obligated to plant gardens and build houses [v.5], but you will likewise be taking this text out of the context of the false prophets who were trying to encourage the people to revolt rather than live their life as usual [vs.8-10].

Again, your statement that marriage is norminative, in the sense that it is not an option is simply indefensible exegetically. For instance, even Andreas Kostenburger, who has conversed with Debbie Maken, has said the same thing I have. Not only that, but do you not have elders in your church? Are you saying that you command all people in your church to be elders, or else there will be no elders in your church? That is terrible logic.

Next you say, "There is no recovery if you are going to accept the premise that we are autonomious individuals, and each one of us has a right to do whatever is right in our own sight. We can define life as we want it. We can define relationships simply as whatever we want them to be. for however long we want them to last."

I reply. Dr. Mohler, why do you assume that it is either add to God's word, or be autonomious individuals? Might I point out that we are neither if we follow the principle of Sola Scriptura. What if scripture were our ultimate authority, and it defined for us what is sin and what is not sin. What if it defined for us what proper behavior was in our relationships, and decided to bind us to certain things, and not to other things?

What if it bound us to the idea that we had to dress modestly, but that we could wear either a yellow shirt or a green shirt? What if it told me that I had to only have sexual relations within marriage, but that I could remain unmarried? How in the world would this be talking about wanting our own autonomy? Shall I become the governor of Kentucky, and force the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to change its name to the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and teach Presbyterian doctrine? Would you not be crying out about your freedom to worship God in the way you think is right? What if I then accused you simply holding to your own autonomy? Again, God has bound our contience on some things, and not on others.

Next you say, "We can divide the goods of marriage. We can say we want reproduction without responsibility, or we want the marriage without the children. That's what happens when everything begins to unravel."

Again, how in the world is anyone going to be able to defend the idea that you cannot be married and not have children exegetically? Where is that in the Bible? And, yes, I have read all of the major books you might recommend, and the exegesis is very, very bad. For example, if you decide to go off to Genesis 1:28, see above.

If you try to argue that children are a blessing, and therefore required, then the logical conclusion of that position is that all blessings are required. A swimming pool on a hot day is a blessing. Now, if someone would prefer to put the money in the bank rather than by a swimming pool you could simply say, "See, you really don't believe a swimming pool is a blessing, you just view it as an inconvinience to your own personal autonomy." Or, if the person says that they can't afford it, one could likewise say, "See, you just view a swimming pool on a hot day as a financial inconvienience, not a blessing." In fact, given that logic, you should overdraw your checking account into the millions of dollars to have every blessing known to man, and if you don't, you simply do not believe they are blessings, and just believe that they are inconvienences to your own personal autonomy, and as well as financial inconveniences.

How did we get in this logical mess? We got in it by trying to force upon the text of scripture an idea that does not come from the Bible, but rather from "the way things always were." This is a theme in your writings when you talk about marriage and children, Dr. Mohler. I see a distinct difference in the quality of your exegesis from when you talk about things like Homosexuality, the Diety of Christ, and other issues, to this issue. Many others have said the same thing. Dr. Averbeck, my professor of Pentatuch, thought your view that delay of marriage as a sin was a "classic overreaction," yet he seemed suprised to hear that you were one of the people promoting it. Why is it that consistently, when I talk to people whose main area is exegesis, they consistently reject the arguments you put foward from the scriptures, as well as the arguments of these books you have endorsed? Shouldn't that tell you something about the quality of your exegesis on these issues?

Finally, Dr. Mohler, you kept on harping on the fact that these women have natural desires given to them by their creator. I agree, these are natural desires given to them by their creator. It is not wrong to want to be married and have children. In fact, it is a good and Godly desire. However, what you completely missed is that God can intentionally put desires in people that he will never fulfill. For instance, there are a whole lot of people around the world who have a God given desire for food. Does that mean God is obligated to give them food? No, of course not. However, what is amazing is to go to these countries and to see the faith of these people who, although they don't even know if they will get their next meal tonight, are still trusting in God whether he gives them food or not. These people have faith I can only hope to ever have.

And yet, look at the selfishness of these women. They have a desire for something, and if God doesn't give them what they want, they run off and sin. While I agree that the desire is good, and that simply having the desire is not selfish, to say that God must give them that desire right now is to make yourself God, and to engage in the most terrible form of idolatry. God can keep a husband from them for the rest of his life if he wants to do so. In fact, I might even say that God will willing keep a husband from these women to teach them to trust in him alone, rather then trusting in their own desires. It is amazing that these people in other nations who do not have something as essential to life as food do not rebel against God, but have very strong faith, and the women here in America and England who have a desire for something that, although good and Godly, is not essential to life, disobey God if he does not give them what they want. Why did you not address this, Dr. Mohler?

You see, the fact that people are under no obligation to marry means that we cannot trust in marriage, we must ultimately trust in God! We must ultimately trust that he is the God who will give us what we need. If someone, instead, runs off, and does what is right in their own eyes because their faith is in marriage and not in God, then the result will be this wickedness of fertilization to a man to whom they are not even married.

Finally, you speak about shifts in culture quite a lot in your program. Yes, many times culture shifts are for the worst. Many times they bring in ideas that are foreign and hostile to Christianity. However, we also have traditions that are not Biblical, and culture shifts force us to go back to the Bible and test our traditions against the unchanging norm of scripture. I believe that, if we cannot find these ideas in scripture, we need to reject them wholesale. The reason is that, if we are going to be protestants who hold to Sola Scriptura, we are going to have to be people who constantly go back to God's word to find out what God has bound to our contience. His revelation needs to be the foundation of even our morals and our ethics. If we cannot find the idea that not having any children in marriage is a sin, the idea that virtually everyone is commanded to marry, or the idea that marriage and manhood are synonomious in scripture, then we need to reject them as unbiblical traditions.

Again, I don't want this to sound like I don't respect you. I do, and that is the whole reason why I am writing to you. I know many people who have held strongly to these positions who have ended up leaving protestantism altogether because they could not defend these things from scripture. I think that the dialogue needs to focus on what the Bible says, and not upon rhetoric that simply doesn't get us anywhere. I hope you will give what I have said careful consideration.

In Christ,

Friday, September 05, 2008

Jack Van Impe on Canada and the End Times

I can honestly say that, when it comes to the area of eschatology, I am somewhat strange. I not only enjoy talking about eschatology, but I also believe that the area of eschatology is important to Christianity, and I am concerned about certain views of eschatology that are popular today. I mean, if I am going to be challanging relationship authors to be consistent in their exegesis of the text of scripture, then I believe we need to point out when people misuse the text of scripture to try to support certain views of eschatology.

Jack Van Impe is a very popular author on the subject of eschatology. I remember that, when I first started studying the subject of eschatology, Jack Van Impe was someone who was recommended to me. Now, let me tell you, Jack Van Impe seems to never run out of breath. He went through Bible verses so fast the first time I heard him that I had to tape the program, and then stop and start it so that I could write down what he was saying. When I started researching what he was saying, I was shocked. I still remember his misuse of Revelation 4:1 when he said that this referred to the rapture, when the language is very clearly addressed to John! He tried to get around that by saying that these people were crowned, and you cannot be crowned until the resurrection of the just. However, the text he cited actually said that you cannot be *rewarded* until the resurrection of the just. What if this was the "crown of life?" I could not believe how bad this stuff was.

I have been following Gary DeMar's study of Ezekiel 38 and 39 on his radio program and blog. DeMar is currently working on a book I am anxiously awaiting on Ezekiel 38 and 39 called Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future.

For some reason, the other day, I was looking at Jack Van Impe's website, and I found the following comments:

In the war with Russia in Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39 Ezekiel 38:13 mentions Tarshish and all of the young lions. The symbol of America is the Bald Eagle and the symbol of England is the Lion, so Tarshish and all her young lions, all the English speaking nations of the world including Canada come against Russia.

So, now, not only do we have Russia and Moscow in Ezekiel 38 and 39 because of the similar sounds between Russia and the Hebrew term varo, and between Moscow and the Hebrew term %v,m, [Which we now know to have been in Anatolia], but we also have Canada thrown in there for good measure because of this argument from young lions. This interpretation is full of problems. First of all, the Hebrew term rypiK. is often times used in the prophetic works as a metaphor for an army. For instance, the book of Jeremiah, in prophesying what is obviously the destruction of Judah, says the following:

Jeremiah 2:14-15 Is Israel a servant, or is he a houseborn servant? Why is he made for spoil? Young lions [rypiK.] are roaring over him. They lift up their voice. They have desolated his land; his cities are burned without an inhabitant [Translation mine].

Other examples of this usage is Isaiah 5:25-29, Isaiah 31:4, Jeremiah 25:36-38, 51:36-39, Ezekiel 19:1-7, Hosea 5:9-15, Amos 3:2-11, Micah 5:8-9, Zechariah 11:1-3. In fact, in all but three passages in which this term is used in the prophets it is a metaphor for a military army. There are a few usages found in Ezekiel 32:2 and Ezekiel 19 which appear to be referring to the leader of an army rather than the army itself. BDB lists Nahum 2:12 there, but it is also possible that it is referring to the "Nineveh" of verse 9. There is another usage refers to a Cherub in Ezekiel's vision of the temple in Ezekiel 41:19. However, none of these usages are very helpful to Jack Van Impe's interpretation. Also, it is interesting that, in all of those instances, it is context which rules rules out the understanding of rypiK. as a metaphor for an army.

This is what is so devistating for Jack Van Impe's interpretation of this passage. Not only does the context of Ezekiel 38 not rule out taking rypiK. as a metaphor for an army, it actually confirms it! The whole text of Ezekiel 38-39 is talking about a battle between nations. This is exactly the context in which we find the other usages of this term when the term is used as a metaphor for an army! Again, I have to ask, why is it that Jack Van Impe is willing to depart from the norminative usage of rypiK. in this context, and take rypiK. to be referring to the symbols of nations so as to insert some notion that English speaking nations are going to come against Russia [an idea which would have been totally foreign to the people of Ezekiel's day]?

Also interesting is the fact that there is a textual varient here. The Septuagint and Theodotion's Greek edition have kai. pa/sai ai` kw/mai auvtw/n which would suggest that the Hebrew rpiK. should be repointed as rp'K'! This would mean that the text would be translated, "Sheba, Dedan, all the merchants of Tarshish, and all her villages will say to you..." That totally changes everything. Now Jack Van Impe's argument is totally gone. In fact, this is the way the NIV and the NASB translate this passage.

However, making it worse or Jack Van Impe, is the fact that there have been two proposed readings that are likewise possible. The most likely of the two is a reading proposed by Leslie Allen in her commentary on this passage. She suggests that the text should read hyrk meaning "merchants." This fits well with the parallelism to yrex]so, and she suggests that it was changed because of the uniqueness of this word within the corpus of Ezekiel's prophecies.

Koehler-Baumgartner and the BHS suggest the reading h'yl, This is a little more difficult as it would have to be a wholesale change from the original reading. While there are many commentators who prefer this reading, it seems odd that the text would stray that much from the original, unless it were an intentional change. Allen suggests that it could be possible if the change came from hyrK.

Certainly this text-critical issue is far from settled. However, any one of these readings would make Van Impe's interpretation impossible.

So, in essence, we have Jack Van Impe giving us an interpretation of a text that is utterly out of the norm of the usage of rypiK., and, an interpretation that depends upon rypiK. being the correct reading of the text when there are several different possibilities for the original of this text.

I think, ultimately, the main problem here is Van Impe's interpretational methodology. You see, this form of dispensationalism has a bad habit of allowing current events to determine the meaning of the text rather than allowing the Bible itself to unlock the symbolism it uses. Van Impe is absolutely positive that these texts in Ezekiel 38 and 39 are referring to events that are going to happen in our lifetime, and that things that are going on right now in the world have a direct relationship to what is written here. When you take that perspective, you end up using the headlines to interpret the text of scripture, rather than using scripture to interpret itself. Now, I obviously have not settled the issue of the overall interpretation of Ezekiel 38 and 39. That is something that would require another article. However, I hopefully can contribute to stopping this interpretation from getting to popular, before it becomes as bad as the argument that this text is talking about Russia!

Also, I thought it was rather funny to read his comments on Postmillenialism [my view of eschatology]. You see, Postmillenialism is really booming in Africa. We have churches there that believe that the whole continent, yea, the whole world can be one for Christ. It is in light of this that we read the following question and answer:

It thrills my heart to listen to your weekly program and hear the most important event to take place - the second coming of Jesus - being portrayed so beautifully and forthrightly. I had virtually given up on the church in South Africa, which seems to follow all the false prophets and teachers who want to Christianize the world for Jesus and then invite Him back when the whole world is converted. I guess they just don't read the Bible or believe in the literal translation of it. May the lord continue to richly bless you and your ministry! Maranatha - even so come quickly, Lord Jesus

Sid Fenwick
South Africa

I know what the denomination is in South Africa, and it's one that comes out of Holland, and most of them an amillennialists, they don't believe there's going to be a thousand-year reign of Christ, and then there are the post-millennialists, and that thing died years ago. How ridiculous that we're going to make the world perfect and then invite Christ to come back. Jesus said iniquity is going to abound until He returns, Matthew 24:12 and Second Timothy 3:13 tells us that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived. It’s going to get so bad in Revelation 9:20 they're worshiping demons. Try to make it perfect before Jesus comes, you can't do it. Believe the Bible - Christ is coming to set up his kingdom.

Of course, none of the issues associated with these passages are even addressed. For instance, Matthew 24:34 is not addressed, and how the contrast between verses 13 and 14 which proves that he was talking to Timothy and his time are not even addressed. Also, Revelation 1:1, 3 was not addressed which shows that this is not talking about some future event. Not only that, but notice the ignorance of Van Impe. He seems to think that postmillenialism is dead. Has he not heard of the Christian Reconstructionist movement? Has he not heard of Keith Mathison and R.C. Sproul? Also, it is amazing that the questioner talks about interpreting the Bible literally. Go read any dispensationalist interpretation of Ezekiel 38 and 39. They try to turn all of the weapons into missles, and try to turn horses into horsepower. The reality is that they are more than willing to depart from their literal hermeneutic.

Again, the issue here is much deeper than just a simple misinterpretation of a text. It is entire hermeneutical issue. Van Impe is reading the text through the lens of the headlines rather than through the lens of scripture. As a result, he is poisoning Christians against one another. If they don't happen to buy into his dispensational premillenial scheme, then they just don't believe the Bible. No, actually, we just do not agree with his interpretation of the Bible. I only hope that Jack Van Impe will have the courage of his convictions to stop doing this to the body of Christ. I wish both sides could dialogue on this issue. However, given the responses on his Q and A webpage, it is not likely to happen any time soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Genesis 1:28 Freed from Tradition

I recently saw a post on the Boundlessline Blog discussing the number of children that we are having in today's society. I decided I would lurk around for a while.

Now, I am the first one to believe that marriage and children are important to a society. In fact, I believe that every church community has the duty to have people who are about the task of having and raising covenant children. I believe that every church must have people as part of this ministry.

However, it appears some have gone a step further, and declared that it is a sin to be able to have children, and yet not have children. In fact, it appears that these people would like to say that you are not holding to a Christian worldview if you disagree with them. I have even heard words like "liberal" being thrown around. I find this humerious since I have written against abortion and homosexuality, defended inerrancy numerious times, defended the Christian faith against the attacks of atheism and feminism, believe in the Mosaic authorship of the Pentatuch, the Davidic authorship of most of the Psalms, a literal seven day creation, and am a member of a denomination in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church that was formed as a reaction against liberalism. Yet, according to these people, because I disagree with them on this issue I am a liberal. It was sad to see, but mostly all I saw from the people promoting this position was rhetoric.

For instance, on argument that was continually brought up is that children are a blessing therefore you should have them if you can. However, using this logic, you must acquire everything that is a blessing if you can. In other words, no person can ever reject having anything that is a blessing. Such means that, if you can afford a swimming pool on a hot day, because it is a blessing, you must buy a swimming pool on a hot day. If you decide to put the money in a savings account instead, you must be engaging in sin, because you don't really believe that having a swimming pool on a hot day is a blessing.

In fact, I have heard Albert Mohler go far to say that, if you don't have children because of money, then you don't view children as a blessing, you view them as a financial inconvenience. Again, would Dr. Mohler be willing to say that every person must have every blessing, and money is no option? In other words, you must overdraw your checking account into the millions of dollars so that you can have a mansion, a swimming pool on a hot day, servants to do everything for you, and money is no option. If you don't do that, then you don't view a mansion, a swimming pool on a hot day, or servants as a blessing, but only as a monitary inconvenience.

The easiest way to refute these arguments is to follow the same principle. Force the person making these arguments to be consistent, and apply their standard across the board.

A girl by the name of Laura posted an argument that was a little bit better. However, even her argument was circular. Here is her argument as she posted it:

1. What does God say in his word about children?
2. Is God ultimately in control of our fertility?
3. If God calls children a blessing to be welcomed, and if he is in control of our fertility, do we have the right (as people whose lives are to be conformed to God's desires and values) to say, "I don't want kids" or "I want to put off having kids until ____"? Why or why not?

The crucial premise is #3. The statement "God calls children a blessing to be welcomed" can be interpreted in one of two ways. The key is how you take the term "children" here. The first possibility is that you take the term "children" to be referring to the actual child. The second possibility is that you take the term "children" here with an implied "having" [i.e., God calls having children a blessing to be welcomed]. We often times use nouns in this fashion. For instance, take the phrase "Fruit is good for you." We do not mean by that statement that the mere existance of fruit is good for you. It does you no good unless you eat it, or use it in some way, and that is what we mean by the statement "Fruit is good for you." Hence, #3 can be interpreted in one of two ways:

3' The actual child is a blessing to be welcomed.

3'' Having children is a blessing to be welcomed.

If Laura is taking the statement "God calls children a blessing to be welcomed" to mean 3'', then it is true that bearing children is a blessing, but the phrase "to be welcomed" begs the whole question. Is it true that, in every instance, we must welcome the bearing of children if we are able to bear children? Well, that is the whole question being asked, and thus, if 3'' is what she means by "God calls children a blessing to be welcomed," then she is simply engaging in a circular argument.

If Laura is taking the statement "God calls children a blessing to be welcomed" to mean 3', then she has stated something that is irrelevant because, while the actual child is indeed a blessing, the second half makes no sense because, before conception, the child simply doesn't exist [unless you are a Mormon, and believe in preexistence]. How can you welcome something that doesn't exist?

Rhetoric aside, though, Genesis 1:28 was brought up again. Honestly, I get so tired of hearing this verse quoted in this discussion, because no one wants to do any exegesis of this passage. The whole verse is generally not even cited. Generally only "Be fruitful and multiply" is cited!!!!!! It just seems like the folks on this forum think that, if you cite this text in this context ad nauseum, people will start to believe that it is talking to them as an individual couple. Never mind all the exegetical arguments to the contrary, and never mind that you cannot read that text in a consistent fashion like that.

As I have said before, if you take this interpretation, then how does one explain the next phrase, "Fill the earth?" If you say, on the basis of this text that, because I am able to have children, I must have children, then you are caught believing that I also must have seven billion children so that I "fill the earth." No one can read this text consistently in that fashion. You have to end up inserting an arbitrary break in the text, making the subject of "be fruitful and multiply" different from the subject of "fill the earth." In short, if "Be Fruitful and multiply" is a command directed at every individual couple, then so is the command "fill the earth."

Not only that, the subject is not even that hard to find. For instance, note Genesis 1:27:

A. And God created man in his own image.
B. In the image of God he greated him.
C. Male and Female he created them.

Notice how both the singular pronominal suffix "him," and the plural pronominal suffix "them" are used to refer to the singular "man." Generally when this happens, the term translated man, ~d'a', should be translated as the more general "mankind."

Now, let us take a look at the parallelism between verse 27c and 28a:

27c. Male and Female he created them.
28a. God blessed them and said to them,

Notice how the term "them" now matches up to 27c, which, as we have just stated refers to mankind. In fact, it is exactly the same form in Hebrew, ~t'ao [Direct object marker with 3mp suffix]!!!!!! Also, it is only two words later in the Hebrew text!!!!! Now, what warrant do we have for going from mankind in 27c, to individual couples only two words later, and then back to mankind again for "fill the earth?" How is that not arbitrary? Is it not more natural to see 27c-28 as referring to mankind as a whole the whole way through the verse?

In fact, adding more credence to our exegesis is the fact that, in verse 22, the same command is given to the birds, the fish, and "creeping animals," and they are spoken of in verse 21 as being created "according to their kind" [Whneymil.]. Because of this, it is rather hard to imagine God as commanding individual couples of birds to have children, and more than likely refers to each species of birds, fish, and creeping animals filling the sky, waters, and earth.

While I hate to use the term "species" of man [since it implies that we are equal with the animals], I think it might be appropriate here. It is the "species of mankind" that is commanded to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth in Genesis 1:28, not individual couples.

If you read the text "Be fruitful and multiply" as commanding individual couples, then you are caught not being able to explain the next phrase "fill the earth," without being arbitrary. Not only that, but you have to ignore the fact that verse 28 is a continuation of verse 27, and refuse to follow the suffixes from 27c-28a. Yet people still blindly quote the text in a discussion about whether or not individual couples must have children if they can. I believe this is done because of tradition. Tradition is a powerful thing. We believe something just because it is what we have always been told, or because one of our favorite teachers tells us it must be the case, and we refuse to actually examine what we believe carefully. That is why we should never just throw a text out blindly like this without first considering if we are using it properly. If we do not, the result is going to be that we end up putting the commands that come from our own traditions into the mouth of God.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Hypocracy of the Leftest Media with Regards to Archaeology

I hate to be the one to tell you this. I am not an archaeologist. My major area of study is Hebrew Bible [of which Archaeology is a related area]. I enjoy reading books on linguistics, logic, Hebrew grammar, and Hermeneutics. However, in studying Hebrew grammar, I have studied several inscriptions to understand the history of the Hebrew language. In fact, I got to take a class last semester from Dr. Lawson Younger called West Semitic Inscriptions, where we learned how to read the paleo-Hebrew script, and read the works of some of the greatest scholars in the area of the study of some major West Semitic Inscriptions.

Anyway, I went to my fiance's church last sunday, and one of the members of her congregation asked me if I had heard that Jeremiah's seal had been found. Now, you have to be skeptical about these things. There are so many sensationalists out there with no credibility whatsoever that you need to know where the story is coming from. However, I recognized the word "seal," as we had studied seals in West Semitic Inscriptions class. Hence, since it fit the time of Jeremiah, I thought I should at least do a Google search on it.

What I found was, not that archaeologists have found Jeremiah's seal, but the seal of one of Jeremiah's accusers from Jeremiah 38. And, the lady who found it, is Eliat Mazar, one of Israel's top archaeologists, to whom my professor, Dr. James Hoffmeier, even said was reliable. The letters are exactly the same as those found in the Hebrew Bible. Here is a photo of the seal. For those who cannot read the paleo-Hebrew script, I will write it in square letters beneath, and then, just to give you an idea, of how perfectly they match the Hebrew Bible, I will post the text of Jeremiah 38:1 so you can see exactly how they match up:

Seal in Square Characters: rwxXp !b whyldgl

Jeremiah 38:1: lk;Wyw> rWxêv.P;-!B, ‘Why"’l.d:g>W !T'ªm;-!b, hy"åj.p;v. [m;úv.YIw:
Why"±m.r>yI rv

As you can see, the Hebrew characters used in the seal are identical with the Hebrew characters in Jeremiah 38. The seal just simply reads, "[Belonging] to Gedaliah Son of Pashhur." These seals were used to seal envolopes, and to mark ownership certain pottery. What I found interesting about this seal is not only that it bears a name straight out of the Hebrew Bible, but also that it bears a name which is Egyptian in origin, namely, the name Pashhur. It is Egyptian for, , "The son of Horus."

This is an interesting find on so many levels. Yet, it is gotten nothing as far as media attention. Go look on or However, the whole "Jesus tomb" nonsense a few years ago was repeated ad infinitum ad nauseum. Yet was a horrendus example of scholarship as even unbelieving archaeologists are willing to admit. Also, remember the "Gabrael's Revelation" tablet that got a whole lot of media attention a few months ago. It seems like if it can be interpreted in any way to be against the Christian faith, the liberal media will make mention of it. However, when it comes to finds like this one that can only be interpreted as consistent with the Christian faith, the liberal media completely ignores it. The hypocracy is too unbelievable for words.

I have a feeling that, if we complained, we would probably get a response similar to that of Israel Finkelstein. I found an interesting quotation from him on Wikipedia the other day. He was going after Mazar's methodology, and he said, "The biblical text dominates this field operation, not archaeology." In other words, by it's very nature, archaeology cannot be Biblical!!!!!! He starts with the premise that archaeology can have nothing to do with the Biblical text, and low and behold, when we go out and do the research, the archaeological find has nothing to do with the Biblical text. Note that this is a presupposition that Finkelstein brings to the discussion a priori. According to him, the Bible has nothing of historical, archaeological value to say, period. That is a presupposition that needs to be challanged right of the bat. Being a Van Tillian, I would argue that, because Finkelstein rejects the Bible as inerrant revelation from God, he cannot make sense out of the very archaeology he is doing. He assumes that he can do archaeology autonomiously from God, and yet, I would argue that he has to rely upon the truth of the scriptures to even do his archaeology.

Interestingly enough, my professor, Dr. James Hoffmeier has caught Finkelstein doing just that. In his book Israel in Egypt, the Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition [Oxford University Press. New York, NY. 1996. see pages 31-32], Dr. Hoffmeier discusses Finkelstein's attempted reconstruction of the origins of Israel in a monograph he wrote in 1988 called The Archaeology of the Israelite Settlement (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society). Hoffmeier first summarizes Finkelstein's argument. He says that Finkelstein tries to argue that the Cannanite culture declined in the sixteenth century B.C., and a significant part of the population became nomadic. Then there was a resettlement in the Late Bronze Age, and this resettlement became known as "Israel." The way he tries to argue for this is to show that there were shrines at Shiloh dating from this period that are very large relative to their population, and thus, the people must have been nomadic. However, what Hoffmeier points out about Finkelstein's methodology in arguing for the idea that these are Israelite is instructive. Hoffmeier points out that he offers no extrabiblical evidence from this, but argues from the importance of Shiloh in Joshua. Even when he tries to link these cites to ancient Israel from various aspects, Hoffmeier shows that he is, even at this point, relying upon what the book of Joshua says about them. Such is amazing hypocracy from a man who does not believe that archaeology should have anything to do with the Biblical text! The reason for this is that even Finkelstein is created in the image of God, and he knows deep down in his heart, that he cannot even do his archaeology without revelation from God.

You will find this same problem in The New York Times as well when they talked about Mazar after she found what she believed to be the palace of David. Consider this quotation from this very article:

Hani Nur el-Din, a Palestinian professor of archaeology at Al Quds University, said he and his colleagues considered biblical archaeology an effort by Israelis "to fit historical evidence into a biblical context." He added: "The link between the historical evidence and the biblical narration, written much later, is largely missing. There's a kind of fiction about the 10th century. They try to link whatever they find to the biblical narration. They have a button, and they want to make a suit out of it."

Even Israeli archaeologists are not so sure that Ms. Mazar has found the palace - the house that Hiram, king of Tyre, built for the victorious king, at least as Samuel 2:5 describes it. It may also be the Fortress of Zion that David conquered from the Jebusites, who ruled Jerusalem before him, or some other structure about which the Bible is silent.

I think we could rewrite that whole first paragraph to display the bias of "historical minimalists," as Dr. Hoffmeier calls them:

Historical minimalism is an effort to fit historical information into an exclusively extrabiblical context. The link between historical evidence and Biblical narration, [written very close to the events] is very strong. The Bible provides us the history of the tenth century. The historical minimalists will do anything they can to avoid any connection between the Biblical text and archaeology.

Notice how the shoe is on the other foot now. You see, the historical minimalists have their presuppositions as well.

Mr El-Din likewise has his presuppositions. In fact, [and the New York Times completely ignores this], Al Quds University is an Arab university! You don't think that this Arab professor has his biases? Again, totally left out, and totally ignored.

Of course, I am not accusing them for this. We all have our presuppositions. However, what I *do* criticise them for is not recognizing their presuppositions as well as holding to presuppositions that cannot provide the preconditions for the intellegability of reality. This is where I believe the discussion needs to go.

For instance, as a case in point, after dismissing the Bible as historically accurate, this article then relies upon the Bible by giving the Fortress of Zion as a possible palace for David. How can that be a possible palace of David if the Bible is unreliable to tell us that such a place existed in the first place! If archaeology cannot be formed by the Biblical text, as these people say, why is it that they rely upon the Bible so much when they get in trouble?

These prejudices keep coming up in this article. Note for instance:

Archaeologists debate "to what extent Jerusalem was an important city or even a city in the time of David and Samuel," he said. "Some believe it was tiny and the kingdom unimportant." The site of ancient Jerusalem, stuck between two valleys on a ridge south of the Temple Mount, is very small, less than 10 acres.

Israel Finkelstein, another renowned archaeologist, has suggested that without significant evidence, Jerusalem in this period was "perhaps not more than a typical hill-country village."

Notice how Finkelstein automatically assumes that, because of silence, it is "perhaps not more than a typical hill-country village." This is simply a logical fallacy. Simply because someone doesn't have evidence for something doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. For instance, up until the nineteenth century, no one could find any evidence that the Hittites existed. Now, we have not only discovered Hittite archaeological sites, but we have also discovered their language and their literature, and, in the process, discovered the earliest Indo-European language known to man.

You see, Finkelstein's argument must assume that we have adequate knowledge of the archaeology of Jerusalem. The problem is that there is so much more work yet to be done, and, in point of fact, the political instability of the area has contributed to the inability to do archaeology. Hence, Finkelstein's argument not only is an argument from silence [which is always a logical fallacy], but, in order for one to even have an inductive argument [i.e: it is not likely that any evidence will turn up], one must rely upon an adequate knowledge of the Archaeology of Jerusalem, which is something we simply do not have.

Finally, and I think most devistatingly showing Finkelstein's bias, what does the statement "without significant evidence, Jerusalem in this period was 'perhaps not more than a typical hill-country village.'" assume? That the Bible is not "significant evidence." Pure and simple. Again, Finklestein's atheistic view of archaeology is shining through plain as day. Yet, it is quoted at the end of this article, as if it were somehow significant, that one of the reasons why the dig was undertaken was to prove the accuracy of the Biblical account. So what. Everyone has their presuppositions. Reasoning is impossible without them. As we have seen, these people quoted in this article are just as biased as the people who were doing the dig, and it is sad to see this completely slip under the radar.

However, I have to say one more thing in relation to the seal I discussed at the beginning. Finklestein has, indeed, commented on it, and his comments are very telling:

Dozens of bullas from the period already have been found, some of which turned out to be fakes," he said

In other words, rather than be driven to counter-example of his view that archaeology cannot be Biblical, he is willing to make the outragious statement that this might have been a forgery. As Dr. Hoffmeier told us in class, forgeries are simply not found on controlled digs like this. It is amazing to see a brilliant man like Finklestein say some of these things all because he refuses to recognize the presuppositions he brings to the table.

I suspect this is why the liberal media has not made too much of this story. The only way that this story can be interpreted is as consistent with the Bible. Now, I am obviously not resting my Christian faith on this discovery. I am a Christian because of the fact that only Christianity can provide any way to know anything. However, I think it is amazing when this seal is not even mentioned by,, and, and yet, they promote the whole "Lost Tomb of Jesus" nonsense. It is an abosolutely unbelievable demonstration of bias from people who are "just publishing the facts."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Simply Unbelievable!!!!!!!!

It is so painfully obvious that Candice Watters has no interest in interacting with the Biblical arguments against her position. In a recent post on Boundlessline, she says that another reason to not delay marriage is so you do not have to give your bridesmaids cosmetic gifts so they won't ruin your photo shoot. I guy named Craig M was taking her to task, and her response is telling:

Um, so far most everyone is missing the humor in this article, and by extension, my point. But Craig M. takes the cake. Sorry Craig, no such passes for older men to delay marriage only to turn around and pick a bride from the under 30, or better yet, 25, set. And then say that's the way God meant it. Nice try.

Did that just come out of the mouth of the founder of Boundless????? Also, notice how Candice is making the positive assertion that this is wrong. Where is the proof? This is the kind of comment I would expect from Captain Sensible or Debbie Maken!

However, again, I have to keep using this parody until she is willing to deal with the arguments against her position:

But Candice Watters takes the cake. Sorry Candice, no such passes for someone who enjoys a hot fudge sundae when they get home from work, only to turn around and enjoy a steak dinner, or better yet, a dinner at a fine dining restaurant later. And then say that's the way God meant it. Nice try.

Again, I have fully responded to all of her arguments, as many others. Before Candice can talk about "passes for older men to delay marriage," she must show that delay of marriage is a sin. I know she has tried, but there have been more than a number of people who have fully dealt with all of the argumentation she has brought up. Candice seems intent on this kind of indoctrination, rather than actually dealing with the substance of the arguments against her. The kind of sarcasm she writes at the end is simply unacceptable for a professional. What do you say when someone refuses to interact with argumentation from the opposition, and, instead, engages in this kind of behavior?

Now, don't misunderstand me. Boundless has been, by far, the most professional of anyone with whom I have dialogued. I hope this is just a blip on the radar screen from Candice, and not something that will become a habit!

Also, I think it is interesting that she quotes a passage of scripture that, in essence, refutes exactly what she is saying:

Solomon knew what he was talking about after all. "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).

Well, first of all, it wasn't Solomon who wrote that. It was king Lemuel. Second, the whole point of the passage is precisely that it does not matter what age you are or how you look. A woman who fears the Lord exists at any age! Thus, the most important thing for a woman is not that she is physically beautiful, and certainly not whether or not she gets married. It is whether or not she fears the Lord. That, when all is said and done, is what is most important. While physical beauty is a wonderful gift of God, and anyone who reads the Song of Songs can see that, it is not the most important thing in life.

I would also like to add to this whole discussion about physical beauty. Physical beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. There are some men who just like particular physical appearances in women. Hence, the fear of the Lord is, indeed, the most important thing for both man and woman, as they can trust that God will bring them someone who is attracted to them.

There is an added advantage to the fear of the Lord. I am doing a study in the book of Proverbs right now, and the advice of the father to the son is telling. He says that one of the reasons for him taking in his wisdom is:

Proverbs 2:16 To deliver you from the strange woman, from the foreign woman who is smooth in her words.

Now, let me ask why it is that we are so intent upon trying to show that marriage is a cure for sexual immorality when this text very clearly tells us what the cure for sexual immorality is! It is the wisdom of the Lord! Simply taking 1 Corinthians 7:2 out of context and giving people a sexual outlet is not going to cure the folly that gets them to give in to those ungodly desires in the first place! That is why, I have said many times, if you tell people to marry as cure for their sexual sin, they will just take that sexual sin right into marrage, and you will end up with internet pornography or adultery, both of which are deadly to a marriage. The answer to all of this is to gain wisdom, to learn to be wise, and discerning.

I remember Dr. VanGemeren telling us last semester that one of the problems with today's church is that we teach children what is right and wrong, but we never give them the wisdom to go along with it! Wisdom and discernment are key elements in raising children up to be good Christian children. Yet, we don't seem to teach it in our churches today. You see, there are two ladies portrayed in the book of Proverbs. The first is lady wisdom, and the second is the foreign woman. The scriptures very clearly teach us that they way in which we keep our way straight in this arena is by loving lady wisdom so much that we cannot ever think of running off to the strange woman. In fact, Dr. VanGemeren tells us that is exactly what he told a young man he was councilling.

Hence, the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of knowledge guides us into knowing wisdom. We are to take up the teaching as found here in the book of Proverbs, and learn the ways of Lady wisdom. I have found that I have been at my strongest spiritually this semester when I have most understood my studies in this remarkable book. Granted, it fits in with other parts of the Bible nicely, and we should study them as well. However, for a young man who wants to learn discernment, and how to resist temptation sexual or otherwise, this is a wonderful place to start.