Mark 13

Greetings!  This is part of the read-the-New-Testament-in-a-year series running from June 2015 – May 2016.*  Please read and enjoy the word of God and feel free to leave comments and/or ask questions.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal his truths to you.  Don’t just focus on what you don’t understand.  Think carefully about the things that are clear to you.

Mark 13 (ESV)

1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

*If you missed anything you can always catch up later.  Just dive in!

We will go in order other than spreading the Gospels throughout the year.  We’ll start with Luke, then Acts, some of Paul’s letters, Matthew, more letters, Mark, more letters plus Revelation and then close with John.

Remember, this is the word of God.  The original writings turned out exactly as God and the human writers wanted them to.  If you aren’t a believer, give it a try.  If you are a believer, you’ll want to be in the practice of hearing from God every day through his chosen primary means of communicating to us.

It is 2016 and the “Christian” Left is still using the fallacious “Jesus never said anything about LGBTQX” line

The argument that “Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexual behavior so it must be OK” is so fallacious on so many levels and debunked so regularly that you’d think the “Christian” Left would have some semblance of dignity and stop using it.  But here we are.  I continue to see it regularly on blogs.  Those who use it are either wildly ignorant of the refutations, presumably because they live in a deadly “Christian” Left cocoon, or they know it is false but use it anyway.  They serve the Father of Lies, after all.  The saying is used to rationalize abortion as well.

Here’s an overview of how to respond, though I encourage you to read it all.  Feel free to copy or link all you like.

  • Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy
  • Jesus is God, so He inspired all scripture — not just the “red letters” (the direct quotes of Jesus in the New Testament)
  • He supported the Old Testament to the last letter
  • The “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were
  • He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.)
  • He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.)
  • Abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews
  • He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah

For self-proclaimed Christians to (mis)quote the red letters and to commit the logical fallacy of arguing from silence is negligent and foolish.  They are distorting the Bible and hurting the church and its witness.

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cross3.jpgLifeSite News reported that Dr. Bob Edgar, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches, said “Jesus never said one word about homosexuality, never said one word about civil marriage or abortion.” He said this to CBS News at a gathering of liberal Christian leaders in Washington.

Sadly, this is a common sound bite from people who should know better. Their reasoning goes like this:

  • Whatever Jesus did not specifically condemn in the Bible is morally permissible or unimportant.
  • In the Bible, Jesus did not specifically condemn abortion or homosexual behavior.
  • Therefore, abortion and homosexual behavior are morally permissible or unimportant.

There are many problems with this reasoning.

1. As you may have noticed, their logic goes off track in the first bullet.  Direct quotes of Jesus also didn’t specifically mention gay-bashing, slavery, drunk driving, child sacrifice, and many other sins, but they are still sins.  They are arguing from silence, and that is a logical fallacy.

Some insist that since Jesus didn’t specifically condemn oxymoronic “same sex marriages” that they must be permissible.  Jesus also never talked about square circles, partly because they don’t exist either.

2. Jesus is God (and anyone such as Edgar should know that), so He authored all the moral laws in the Bible – including the crystal-clear ones against homosexual behavior and murder. And He created the institution of marriage and desribed what parents should do, of which 100% of the verses refer to the ideal as a one man/one woman union.

3. Many of the “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus) referred to the “black letters” (the rest of the Bible).  Jesus noted in Matthew 5:17-19 that He supported all the law.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

4. He may not have specifically mentioned abortion and homosexual behavior because they weren’t hot topics for his primarily Jewish audience.  Homosexuals were a tiny minority then just as they are now (less than 3% of the U.S. population) and the Jews had strict laws against such behavior.  Regarding abortion, Jews actually saw children as a blessing and not a curse, so they had no desire to destroy them.  I am not aware of any Jewish movements at the time advancing these behaviors as not being sinful.  Under no circumstances were these issues dividing the followers as they are today.

Having said that, Jesus was not silent on oxymoronic “same sex marriage.” He clearly stated what marriage was in Mark 10:6-9 and elsewhere, to the exclusion of other scenarios:

But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

He describes exactly what the plan was, and doesn’t even hint at other possibilities. He didn’t say you couldn’t marry animals either, but I don’t see anyone saying bestiality must be acceptable because He didn’t specifically prohibit it.  So there was no silence.

Regarding abortion, He reiterated that we shouldn’t murder and noted that the real meaning of the command was deeper than the physical act.

Think about this: It took almost 2,000 years and a several decades long perverted sexual revolution that repeatedly denies and mocks the Biblical worldview of human sexuality plus a massive, well funded pro-gay public relations campaign to convince some liberals that oxymoronic “same sex marriages” should have government recognition and that abortion should be legal.  Yet liberal theologians think that it is something Jesus should have addressed in more detail back then?  Even the pagan Hippocratic oath had prohibitions against abortions until just recently.

Most people would concede that U.S.-style slavery was a moral evil, but since it is now illegal you won’t hear about it as a campaign issue in the presidential election.  But does that mean it isn’t important?  Does that mean the candidates wouldn’t address it if large parts of the population were seeking to legalize it?  Of course not.

Simply put, they were non-issues for the Jews.

5. If these liberal theologians are so keen on the direct quotes of Jesus and assume that they trump the rest of the Bible, why don’t they take them all as seriously as they do their pet verses or arguments from silence?

Jesus claimed to be the only way to salvation, but they not only ignore that but they teach the opposite.  He claimed to be God, but they tend to ignore that.  He spoke with a physically resurrected body but they often deny that.  He said his primary purpose was to save lost sinners and He taught about Hell a lot.  When was the last time you heard them preach on that truth?  And so on.

6. Those who use these arguments from silence don’t apply them to the rest of their pet topics.  Jesus said nothing about universal health care, for example.  Jesus advocated caring for the poor, but he never brought government into it (apparently Jesus’ alleged silence only counts when it comes to abortion and homosexuality.  Jesus also never said not to stone gays.  Of course, those who know the Bible realize that was a law just for the Israelites, but if you want to use the argument from silence rationale, you’d have to support that for this culture.

So to summarize: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews, and He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah.  Oh, and Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

For leaders like this to (mis)quote the red letters and to commit the logical fallacy of arguing from silence is negligent and foolish.  They are distorting the Bible and hurting the church and its witness.

Hat tip: RealChoice blog

Mark 12

Greetings!  This is part of the read-the-New-Testament-in-a-year series running from June 2015 – May 2016.*  Please read and enjoy the word of God and feel free to leave comments and/or ask questions.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal his truths to you.  Don’t just focus on what you don’t understand.  Think carefully about the things that are clear to you.

Mark 12 (ESV)

1 And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this Scripture:

“ ‘The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone;

11 this was the Lord’s doing,

and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’

37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

*If you missed anything you can always catch up later.  Just dive in!

We will go in order other than spreading the Gospels throughout the year.  We’ll start with Luke, then Acts, some of Paul’s letters, Matthew, more letters, Mark, more letters plus Revelation and then close with John.

Remember, this is the word of God.  The original writings turned out exactly as God and the human writers wanted them to.  If you aren’t a believer, give it a try.  If you are a believer, you’ll want to be in the practice of hearing from God every day through his chosen primary means of communicating to us.