Saturday, January 26, 2008

Religious Pluralism from a Christian Worldview

This semester I am taking a class in West Semitic Inscriptions. It is an interesting class in that I am learning how Hebrew grammar developed into the form that is found in the Hebrew Bible. Originally, the Hebrew text did not have any vowels. Some vowels were indicated by certain consonantal letters [or "mater" letters], but these were most always at the end. Then, later on, they were inserted into the middle of words. Hence, the Hebrew Bible that we have today is the result of some editing that has been done to make it easier to read as the language developed. Of course, the insertion of mater letters into the middle of the text does not in any way change the meaning of the text. However, if we are going to understand the Hebrew Bible, we must be able to understand how the Hebrew language developed over time.

It is also interesting to see that the ancient Jews, while they certainly experienced some of the greatest of God's mighty deeds, were people just like us. For instance, one inscription that I read was from a pre-exilic tomb:

bhzw @sk hp !ya tybh l[ rXa why trbq taz
rXa ~dah rwra hta htma tmc[w wtmc[ ~a yk
taz ta xtpy

"This is the Tomb of [...]yahu who was over the house. There is no silver or gold here. However, his bones [are here], and the bones of his handmaid with him. Cursed is the man who opens this [tomb]!"

Seems like a very simple inscription that we might want written over our graves to prevent grave robbers from desecrating our tomb. The first few inscriptions were like this.
However, this next one absolutely shocked me. Here is a picture of it. It was found at Khirbet El Qom, which is 14 Kilometers West of Hebron. My professor believes it to be the ancient site of Makkedah mentioned in Joshua 10. There are many theories to why the hand is there in the center. However, it is the meaning of the text that shocked me:

hbtk rX[h whyra
hwhyl whyra $rb
hl [Xwh htrXal whyrcmw


Uriah the rich cut it. Uriah was blessed by the Lord, and he [the Lord] delivered him from his enemies by his his Asherah...

Now, let us think about this as Christians. We know that around a hundred years after this inscription [which was written around 701 B.C.], Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians [586-587 B.C.]. In Jeremiah, and the other prophets, it specifically mentions warnings against Jerusalem if they do not repent of their idolatry. One of these warnings is the destruction of Jerusalem. This was a sobering reminder to me that God will punish our idolatry. Worshipping the same God along side of the one true God will not help either, as God has said that we should have no other gods in his presence [Exodus 20:3]. God takes his worship very seriously, and if he is blasphemed by our sinful worship, he is not afraid to even have people killed. You might say, "This is just an Old Testament thing, right?" No, I am afraid it is not. Look at Acts 5:1-10. We must be careful how we worship. As I said, God takes his worship very seriously.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I remember Dr. James White always saying something very wise. He always used to say that, when engaging in polemic theology, there is always the danger of becoming exactly like the groups to whom we are responding.

Now, I have documented on this very blog the ungodly behavior of Debbie Maken, Captian Sensible, and Gortexgirl, and have totally distanced myself from this kind of behavior. However, I must distance myself from these things again, only this time from people who agree with me.

I came across this blog the other day. Go ahead, click on it. It is nothing more than the Gift of Singleness Blog all over again, but only from my position. Why is it that people can't take on these issues using the word of God and sound reason? Why must there always be insults hurled both ways? As many of you know, I refuse to get into the insult-fest. I believe the Bible is squarely against what Albert Mohler, Debbie Maken, and Candace Watters are teaching on this issue. That is why I go to the scriptures, and show that there is no Biblical leg to stand on, and people have to resort to arguments from silence to try to refute me. There is no need for these kinds of insults when you can deal with these issues on an exegetical basis.

Not only that, but I am also concerned about the liberal tone that the rejection of this movement is taking. I am an Orthodox Presbyterian, and we are very conservative. However, notice all of the liberal insults against conservativism being hurled on the afore mentioned blog, and also, notice the usage of profanity. Also, even Anakin Niceguy has come out with an article wherein he distinguishes between two types of conservativism, and then critiques my kind. For instance, he says that:

How does this differentiation play out in politics? Reactionary Conservatives will talk about limited government up until the point the concept threatens their sense of identity or desired state of affairs. They'll go after the "welfare queens", but won't touch the entitlements that go to married suburbanites. They'll oppose "nation building" unless their favored politician changes his mind. They believe government shouldn't be involved in raising our kids unless they want to censor what our kids might see on the Internet.

I really don't know if Anakin has thought through some of this stuff. I am not saying I agree with everything here. I am theonomic in my perspective. However, it does give someone cause to wonder. For instance, one could equally argue that the left wants to have an unlimited government, unless that govenment would threaten what they call "rights" like the "right" to an abortion, or the "right" to the sell of pornography. Look at how worried these people were about Roe v. Wade during the supreme court hearings for John Roberts. If the government were to make abortion illegal, define marriage as between one man and one woman, make pornography illegal, and reinstate blue laws, you will have the left going up in smoke about their "individual rights" and how "the government is overstepping its bounds." Yet they were the ones who wanted an unlimited government in the first place.

However, the point of this post is not to discuss politics. Why is it that Anakin has gone after these folks? My pastor would agree with me that this movement is wrong, Dr. Averbeck and Dr. Hoffmeier believe it is wrong, and there are many other so called "reactionary conservatives" who believe this movement is just as wrong as he does. There are many people who would give high respect to folks like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, B.B. Warfield, and other people who will reject Mandatory Marriage position. Does the Mandatory Marriage Movement come mostly from conservatives? Yes. However, this is not the issue. There are conservatives and liberals on both sides of this debate. We need to keep our eye on the ball, and make sure that we are actually dealing with the issues.

The fact of the matter is that the Mandatory Marriage Movement falling upon hard times rationally. I recently had a dialogue with some folks from this movement online. Their argumentation is getting really bad. For instance, I had one person argue that, because Paul was not single, and taking long vacations to many places, that therefore, we cannot be doing the same thing. In other words, if I cite Paul as an example, I must do everything exactly as Paul does it. As a defense of this argumentation, they cited Paul's usage of the phrase "as I am" in 1 Corinthians 7:8. However, the context of 1 Corinthians 7:8 is self-control [7:9]. Thus, those who have the gift of singleness are ones who can self-control their desires. Outside of that, no one is commanded to get married. It is a personal decision.

Also, consider this reductio of the argument. Not only do we not have singles in the Bible making a fortune, and taking long vacations, we also do not have singles going to Cambodia to do missions. Does that therefore mean that singles cannot go to Cambodia? We also do not have singles driving their cars on missions trips. Does that mean we cannot drive cars during our missions trips? Such is absolutely absurd. This kind of logical fallacy is what is known as an argument from silence. If you cannot find a single doing it in the Bible, then it must be wrong to do it.

As for the idea that all singles were ministers of God in the Bible, although it is irrelevant to what the Bible teaches, it is simply false. Consider the story of Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha [John 11:1-2]. Hence, all singles in the Bible are not engaging in "gospel service."

Not only that, I actually heard that the one who is the "firstborn among many brethren" is actually those who are foreknown, predestined, justified, sanctified, and glorified in Romans 8:29-30. There is simply no doubt that the one who is the firstborn among many brethren is Christ! There is a key switch from the plural to the singular there leaving no doubt. Again, these arguments are not even beginning to deal exegetically with the text [If you notice, I got no refutation of my exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7:2].

In fact, here is a story that will tell you how bad it is getting for these folks. I got back to Trinity for my second semester, and I saw Dr. Hoffmeier, and said hello to him. He said, "Hey Adam, I heard you were giving some girls a hard time on the internet." Now, I had no idea what he meant. I had not told him about this movement, given that he was my exegesis teacher, and I knew of no other women with whom I converse on the internet since I am engaged. I told him that the only thing I could think of was the Mandatory Marriage Movement, and then I proceeded to tell him about it. However, he stopped me in mid sentence, and told me he already knew about it. Apparently, someone in the discussion had sent an e-mail to all of the professors here in the Hebrew department asking them to "do something about me." Dr. Hoffmeier said that the thing that suprised this girl the most was when he wrote back to her telling her that he agreed with me!!!!! Keep in mind, I had not discussed this with Dr. Hoffmeier at all prior to this. He said that her arguments [as most of the Mandatory Marriage Movement's arguments do] basically boiled down to "I don't like the way what he is saying makes me feel."

I mean, what kind of desperation is this? As many of you know, there is a man by the name of Darren Allen who sometimes posts nastygrams in "response" to some of the things I say on other blogs. I have documented this man's nastiness, and unwillingness to deal with the issues many times before. Now, he happened to tell me once that he went to college at Wheaton. However, it never crossed my mind to write e-mails to his professors at Wheaton, and ask them to "do something about Darren Allen." The fact that this girl did this is simply laughable, and shows the desperation on the part of these folks to find some Biblical foundation for their position.

Hence, we do not need these kinds of attacks that are coming from the "ManyLuxuryVacations" blog, or the liberals. Indeed, we need to be careful when we engage in polemics that we do not become exactly as Maken and all of the folks that desire to shame single men. We must persevere in examining the scriptures alone, and not lowering ourselves to their level. If what I have seen from these folks recently has anything to do with where this movement is headed, we just need to keep on doing what we are doing, and the movement will be very small in a few years.