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.