Tag Archives: Old Testament

Exodus 21 and abortion

Pro-abortion “Christian” Leftists and other abortion advocates often refer to a passage in Exodus 21 to support their views.  Don’t let them get away with such terrible and deadly reasoning.

When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22–25, ESV)

The short version is that the key word of the passage is, in rare circumstances, not translated well and says “miscarriage” instead of “children come out.”  They conclude that if it is “just” a miscarriage and the perpetrator only got a fine, then what’s the big deal about abortion?

It you study the original Hebrew it becomes very clear that Moses did not mean that if the child is killed that the penalty is less severe.  But the pro-aborts (rotten) cherry-pick a translation they can twist to justify murder to the child’s first breath.

But that is just one of many problems with their use of this passage.  Here is a full list:

1. They get the text wrong.  This is a pro-life passage, not a pro-legalized abortion passage.  If Moses wanted to say “miscarriage” he could have used a much more specific word for that.

2. They ignore or rationalize away other Biblical texts that they don’t like, such as Leviticus 18:22 (ESV – You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.)  So why do they find Exodus 21 so authoritative?

They ignore passages like Romans 1 where Paul explicitly declares homosexual behavior to be sinful because they think Paul didn’t know enough about biology and psychology (and they unwittingly tip their hand that they don’t believe any scripture is truly inspired by God).  But if Paul is so ignorant and scripture is un-inspired, why trust Moses to know key scientific facts?  They should dismiss the “miscarriage” term even if it had been in the original text because he didn’t have access to the scientific fact that a new human life begins at conception.

3. They don’t even agree with the other teachings of Exodus 21, such as verses 23-25.

But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

They are almost exclusively anti-capital punishment.  So why do they rationalize away the destruction of over a million innocent human beings per year in the U.S. based on a poor translation of a single word and then ignore the rest of the passage which is much more clear?

4. They ignore the endless pro-life passages in the Bible.

In summary, Christians (the uninformed kind) and “Christians” (the fake kind) who use Exodus 21 as support for abortion on demand fail on many levels.  If it weren’t for people like them Roe v Wade and the destruction that followed would not have happened.

More here:  The Misuse of Exodus 21:22-25 by Pro-Choice Advocates by John Piper.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

Here’s another reason the “Christian” Left denies that Peter wrote 2 Peter: He describes them perfectly!

This passage is about wolves like the “Christian” Leftists, who not only dismiss Paul’s writings (at least all the parts they don’t like) but Peter’s as well. They mock the early church as rubes who didn’t “know” that the writings attributed to Peter weren’t authentic.  Of course they must do that! See how Peter affirm’s Paul’s writings as scripture and then describes the “Christian” Left and their ilk in the most unflattering terms, outing them as ignorant and unstable scripture-twisters.

2 Peter 3:15-16 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

—–

More on the “Jesus vs. Paul” false dichotomy of the “Christian” Left:

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

The Tiny Bible of the “Christian” Left: Read it all in 5 minutes!

This started off as a tongue-in-cheek exercise, but I just kept thinking of more and more examples until my fingers cramped from typing so much.  Seriously, the more you think carefully about what the “Christian” Leftists teach and claim to believe about the Bible the more obvious it is that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

—–

There used to be a video store near us that rented movies with objectionable parts removed so the whole family could watch them.  I remember thinking, “What a time saver — you can watch Pulp Fiction in 5 minutes!”

In the same way, you can read the Theological Liberal Bible in about that time, and that is barely an exaggeration (although in this case there are no objectionable parts — at least to believers!).  Thomas Jefferson famously made his own religion with his “Jefferson Bible.” The “Christian” Left just goes many steps further.  I’m pretty sure this post is longer than their Bible.  Just think about all the things they have to leave out:

First, they must delete the many warnings against false teachers.  There are loads of those, even in the Sermon on the Mount that they think they like but don’t really understand.

Matthew 5:17–18 has to go from the Sermon on the Mount because it shows how Jesus fully supported all the Old Testament.

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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Then they need to delete various passages that warn not to add or remove anything from the word of God.

They must cut the 100+ passages passages explicitly or implicitly teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  You can’t have that while you’re busy teaching that all religions lead to the one true God.

They must delete the ~3,000 verses and surrounding texts that claim to directly speak for God.  In their hypocrisy many will claim that God is still speaking to them – such as with the UCC slogan “God is still speaking;” – but they don’t believe the original claims made in the Bible.  They treat it as a purely man-made book.  Why should we believe He is speaking to them in a reliable way?  Are we to believe that God has always been a 21st century far Left politician and was just waiting until the culture drifted his way before He was brave enough to speak?

All the claims that the Bible is the word of God have to be cut.  Psalm 119?  Gone.  2 Peter 3:16?  Gone.  And so on.

The beginning of Genesis must go, because they worship Darwin more than God and they “know” how we really came into being.

The countless passages in the Old Testament commanding us not to worship other gods.  For those of you who have actually read the Bible, you know how hard it is to go more than a couple pages without that warning or without reading about the horrible consequences of disobeying it.

The whole book of Joshua, because they think it would have been genocidal for God to clear out the promised land — even if the Canaanites had sacrificed babies and committed other atrocities for 400 years.

The messages about Adam & Eve, Sodom & Gomorrah, Noah and Jonah have to go, of course — as well as Jesus’ unapologetic commentary on them and his treatment of them as real events.

The whole Exodus passage, because they can’t believe that those miracles happened or that God would judge Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  And most of the wilderness experience and the Tabernacle creation must be removed, because they don’t think God really did miracles like providing manna or gave guidance to the Israelites.

The whole book of Judges, because they think God wouldn’t really punish Israel for cycle after cycle of turning from him and worshiping false gods.

Psalm 139 is out, because it teaches how we were knit together in our mother’s wombs by God.  And the same goes for all the other passages acknowledging the humanity of the unborn, such as when John the Baptist kicks in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, comes to visit.

All the do not murder / do not shed innocent blood passages have to be cut to support unrestricted abortion rights.

The book of Daniel, plus all other prophetic works, because their stunning accuracy leads theological Liberals to say they must have been written after the fact.  They seem to think that the proper Christian worldview is that Bible writers were big liars, so how could you possibly include those books?  After all, their god could never know the future like the God of the Bible.

Most or all of Paul’s letters, because they think he was a homophobic misogynist who could not have spoken for God.  There goes nearly half the books of the New Testament plus a big chunk of Acts.

The story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, because they think God wouldn’t do that.

All the animal sacrifices, because PETA opposes those and God wouldn’t really command blood to be shed as payment for sins.

All the passages about God having the Northern Kingdom and then the Southern Kingdom taken into captivity for disobeying him and worshiping other gods, because the god of liberal theologians would never do that!

The beginning of the book of Acts, because it has Jesus there after a physical resurrection.

All the passages about judgment and Hell (that’s a whole bunch of the red letters, btw).

All the Gospel presentations in Acts, because they never mention how much God loves us unconditionally but they continually mention that Jesus died and rose again for our sins and that we are commanded to repent and believe.

1 Corinthians 15, because it claims that Jesus was physically resurrected.

Most of the passages about the crucifixion being God’s idea, because that would be divine child abuse.

All the claims for Jesus’ divinity.

All the claims for the virgin birth.

All Jesus’ miracles, because they “know” those couldn’t have really happened.

All the Gospel accounts of Jesus rising from the dead.

All the passages saying Jesus died for our sins.

All the passages about sinners and how humans can’t be good on their own.

All the passages about Satan and demons (there are more than you might think).

Most of the passages about human sexuality, marriage and parenting, because they view that version of God as homophobic, misogynistic and hopelessly politically incorrect.

All passages about God’s wrath.

They even have to take out Leviticus 19:18 (” . . . love your neighbor as yourself”) because they dismiss the rest of Leviticus with their flawed “God hates shrimp”argument.

Pretty much all of Revelation, and especially chapters 2-3 where Jesus addresses the faults of many churches.

And so many more!  Truly, they are the original Leopard Theologians, claiming that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theologians, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Leave a comment with others I missed and I’ll update the post.

So what’s left? Roughly a dozen verses, which they take out of context or just plain misinterpret.  Examples:

  1. Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. They don’t have time to read the next 4 verses that explain how He meant not to judge hypocritically – which, ironically, is exactly what they do when they use that verse in isolation to judge you.
  2. Matthew 5:39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. They use that to oppose capital punishment, among other things, even though it is hard to turn the other cheek if you are the victim of murder and to apply it would mean you’d oppose not only capital punishment for murderers but any punishment at all.
  3. Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ They love mentioning the least of these to justify asking Caesar to take from neighbor A to give to neighbor B, but of course that isn’t what Jesus meant.  And they ignore the other language of eternal judgment in the passage.  Oh, and they are pro-legalized abortion and pro-taxpayer-funded abortion, which means they are pro-abortion.  I can’t reconcile that with helping the “least of these” or with loving your neighbor.

Seriously, we have a precise, highly technical theological term for people who hold those views about the Bible: Non-Christians.  Run, don’t walk, from their “churches.”  Highlight their errors until your throats are raw and your fingertips are calloused.  It is the loving thing to do for scores of their church members headed towards Hell.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to ignore those who claim his name then lie about him.  He didn’t call us to be politically correct.

If you love him you should agree with him about the Bible.

Things you find in 2 Chronicles 18: Bible sarcasm and false prophets dramatically outnumbering the real ones

Really, folks, you need to read the entire Bible.  So many great things in the word of God!  Every now and then you’ll find sarcasm in the Bible.  I’m not sure why I enjoy it so much, but I do.

In this example, the king asks 400 false prophets whether he should go into battle and they all say yes.  Then he asks a real prophet who gives him an initial sarcastic answer and then the truth.

2 Chronicles 18:5–6 (ESV)

5 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.” 6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?”

2 Chronicles 18:11–16 (ESV)

11 And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph. The Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”

12 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.” 14 And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he answered, “Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.” 15 But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 16 And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’ ”

SPOILER ALERT!

The king ignores the real prophet and gets killed in battle.

So don’t be surprised when you feel outnumbered by frauds like the “Christian” Left.  Those worldly people* are bound to outnumber authentic believers.

Oh, and do listen to the real prophets whose testimony is in the Bible.  Do not trust the false teachers who try to discredit the Bible.

P.S. This story is so good it is also told in 1 Kings 22.

—–

*Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” have nearly identical views to the world. It shows who their real father is. Jude 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Tiny Bible of the “Christian” Left: Read it all in 5 minutes!

 

There used to be a video store near us that rented movies with objectionable parts removed so the whole family could watch them.  I remember thinking, “What a time saver — you can watch Pulp Fiction in 5 minutes!”

In the same way, you can read the “Christian” Left Bible in about that time, and that is barely an exaggeration (although in this case there are no objectionable parts — at least to believers!).  Thomas Jefferson famously made his own religion with his “Jefferson Bible.” “Christian” Leftists just go many steps further.  I’m pretty sure this post is longer than their Bible.  Seriously, think about all the things they have to leave out:

First, they must delete the many warnings against false teachers.  There are loads of those, even in the Sermon on the Mount that they think they like but don’t really understand.

Matthew 4:4 is gone because Jesus says that all of the Old Testament is the word of God and you can’t just read the “red letters.”

Matthew 5:17–18 has to go from the Sermon on the Mount because it shows how Jesus fully supported all the Old Testament.

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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Then they need to delete various passages that warn not to add or remove anything from the word of God.

They must cut the 100+ passages passages explicitly or implicitly teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  You can’t have that while you’re busy teaching that all religions lead to the one true God.

They must delete the ~3,000 verses and surrounding texts that claim to directly speak for God.  In their hypocrisy many will claim that God is still speaking to them – such as with the UCC slogan “God is still speaking;” – but they don’t believe the original claims made in the Bible.  They treat it as a purely man-made book.  Why should we believe He is speaking to them in a reliable way?  Are we to believe that God has always been a 21st century far Left politician and was just waiting until the culture drifted his way before He was brave enough to speak?

All the claims that the Bible is the word of God have to be cut.  Psalm 119?  Gone.  2 Peter 3:16?  Gone.  And so on.

The beginning of Genesis must go, because they worship Darwin more than God and they “know” how we really came into being.

The countless passages in the Old Testament commanding us not to worship other gods.  For those of you who have actually read the Bible, you know how hard it is to go more than a couple pages without that warning or without reading about the horrible consequences of disobeying it.

The whole book of Joshua, because they think it would have been genocidal for God to clear out the promised land — even if the Canaanites had sacrificed babies and committed other atrocities for 400 years.

The messages about Adam & Eve, Sodom & Gomorrah, Noah and Jonah have to go, of course — as well as Jesus’ unapologetic commentary on them and his treatment of them as real events.

The whole Exodus passage, because they can’t believe that those miracles happened or that God would judge Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  And most of the wilderness experience and the Tabernacle creation must be removed, because they don’t think God really did miracles like providing manna or gave guidance to the Israelites.

The whole book of Judges, because they think God wouldn’t really punish Israel for cycle after cycle of turning from him and worshiping false gods.

Psalm 139 is out, because it teaches how we were knit together in our mother’s wombs by God.  And the same goes for all the other passages acknowledging the humanity of the unborn, such as when John the Baptist kicks in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, comes to visit.

All the do not murder / do not shed innocent blood passages have to be cut to support unrestricted abortion rights.

The book of Daniel, plus all other prophetic works, because their stunning accuracy leads theological Liberals to say they must have been written after the fact.  They seem to think that the proper Christian worldview is that Bible writers were big liars, so how could you possibly include those books?  After all, their god could never know the future like the God of the Bible.

Most or all of Paul’s letters, because they think he was a homophobic misogynist who could not have spoken for God.  There goes nearly half the books of the New Testament plus a big chunk of Acts.

The story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, because they think God wouldn’t do that.

All the animal sacrifices, because PETA opposes those and God wouldn’t really command blood to be shed as payment for sins.

All the passages about God having the Northern Kingdom and then the Southern Kingdom taken into captivity for disobeying him and worshiping other gods, because the god of liberal theologians would never do that!

The beginning of the book of Acts, because it has Jesus there after a physical resurrection.

All the passages about judgment and Hell (that’s a whole bunch of the red letters, btw).

All the Gospel presentations in Acts, because they never mention how much God loves us unconditionally but they continually mention that Jesus died and rose again for our sins and that we are commanded to repent and believe.

1 Corinthians 15, because it claims that Jesus was physically resurrected.

Most of the passages about the crucifixion being God’s idea, because that would be divine child abuse.

All the claims for Jesus’ divinity.

All the claims for the virgin birth.

All Jesus’ miracles, because they “know” those couldn’t have really happened.

All the Gospel accounts of Jesus rising from the dead.

All the passages saying Jesus died for our sins.

All the passages about sinners and how humans can’t be good on their own.

All the passages about Satan and demons (there are more than you might think).

Most of the passages about human sexuality, marriage and parenting, because they view that version of God as homophobic, misogynistic and hopelessly politically incorrect.

All passages about God’s wrath.

They even have to take out Leviticus 19:18 (” . . . love your neighbor as yourself”) because they dismiss the rest of Leviticus with their flawed “God hates shrimp”argument.

Pretty much all of Revelation, and especially chapters 2-3 where Jesus addresses the faults of many churches.

And so many more!  Truly, they are the original Dalmatian Theologians, claiming that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theologians, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Leave a comment with others I missed and I’ll update the post.

So what’s left? Roughly a dozen verses, which they take out of context or just plain misinterpret.  Examples:

  1. Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. They don’t have time to read the next 4 verses that explain how He meant not to judge hypocritically – which, ironically, is exactly what they do when they use that verse in isolation to judge you.
  2. Matthew 5:39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. They use that to oppose capital punishment, among other things, even though it is hard to turn the other cheek if you are the victim of murder and to apply it would mean you’d oppose not only capital punishment for murderers but any punishment at all.
  3. Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ They love mentioning the least of these to justify asking Caesar to take from neighbor A to give to neighbor B, but of course that isn’t what Jesus meant.  And they ignore the other language of eternal judgment in the passage.  Oh, and they are pro-legalized abortion and pro-taxpayer-funded abortion, which means they are pro-abortion.  I can’t reconcile that with helping the “least of these” or with loving your neighbor.

Seriously, we have a precise, highly technical theological term for people who hold those views about the Bible: Non-Christians.  Run, don’t walk, from their “churches.”  Highlight their errors until your throats are raw and your fingertips are calloused.  It is the loving thing to do for scores of their church members headed towards Hell.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to ignore those who claim his name then lie about him.  He didn’t call us to be politically correct.

Favorite dish of the theological Left & skeptics: Shellfish

shellfish.jpgAs always, this is about careful thinking and proper analysis of the Bible and not about picking on homosexuals.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

Many liberal theologians, skeptics and pro-gay lobbyists use the “shellfish” argument to undermine and/or dismiss parts of the Bible they disagree with, often mocking about how they love shrimp and such.  They use the same reasoning with other Old Testament restrictions such as not eating pork or mixing fibers in garments.  This video by Jack Black is a recent example.

Their argument goes like this:

  • Yes, Leviticus 18:22 says Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
  • But Leviticus 11:10 says, And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of all the living creatures that are in the waters, they are an abomination unto you
  • Therefore, the Bible cannot be the word of God and homosexual behavior must be moral because the Bible is an undependable, contradictory book that equates shrimp eating with sexual immorality.  And people who teach that homosexual behavior is a sin are bigoted hypocrites who only follow the parts of the Bible they like.

Search for Leviticus shellfish or see sites like God Hates Shrimp for more examples.

The above exercise proves that anti-gay fundamentalists selectively quote the Bible. They enthusiastically and openly embrace those parts of the Bible which affirm and justify their own personal, pre-existing prejudice against gay people, while declining to become as enthusiastic about verses like the ones listed above.

After all, how many times have you heard a fundamentalist say that eating shellfish was an abomination? But they sure don’t hesitate to say it about gay people, do they? What does that tell you?

Actually, I find those questions to be ironic, because I think the facts will show which side is most likely to pre-judge, selectively quote the Bible and take it too literally.  I hope they take this analysis seriously and reconsider whether their premises and conclusions were sound.

On the one hand, their argument is effective because it is catchy and very few people know how to respond to it.  Many people can’t even articulate the simple Gospel.  When was the last time anyone read Leviticus?

On the other hand, their argument is ineffective because the facts do not support it.  Also, it deliberately and unnecessarily undermines confidence in the word of God.  I expect that from skeptics and non-believers, but I am always disappointed that those claiming to be Christians use it to attack the word of God.

The argument appeals to those who take passages literally when it suits them.  Both passages say abomination (or detestable, depending on what translation you read), don’t they?  And if eating shellfish is obviously a morally neutral act then homosexual behavior must be as well, right?

However, if you follow the basic principle of reading things in context and you attempt to understand the original languages better on difficult or controversial passages, then you’ll realize that the shellfish argument is not supported by the facts.

The short version: There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination.  They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts.  The associated sins had radically different consequences and had 100% different treatments in the New Testament.  

The longer version

1. The words translated abomination in the original Hebrew are different.  In Lev. 11:10, it means detestable thing or idol, an unclean thing, an abomination, detestation.  This word is typically used in the Bible to describe unclean animals.

In Lev. 18:22 the Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, rendered “detestable act”) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners.  As noted below, the word is also used to describe bestiality, child sacrifice and incest.

Therefore, the entire “same word!” argument self-destructs immediately.

2. Even a plain reading of the passages shows that the homosexual behavior is considered detestable to God, whereas the shellfish are to be detestable to the Israelites because it made them ceremonially unclean.  Those are key differences.  Being detestable to God is quite a bit different than being detestable to a person.

3. The broader contexts show completely different types of regulations.  Read Leviticus 11 and Leviticus 18 yourself and note the contexts.  I’ll wait here.

The beginning and end of chapter 11 make it clear that this passage is about dietary rules just for the Israelites:

Leviticus 11:1-2 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat:

Leviticus 11:46-47 These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.

Now consider the beginning and end of chapter 18, where the Israelites are told not to be like the pagan Canaanites.  God expected the Canaanites to follow these moral laws and was about to vomit them out of the land for failing to do so.  Therefore, they obviously weren’t Jewish ceremonial laws.

Leviticus 18:1-3 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

Leviticus 18:30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.”

4. The punishments for eating shellfish and homosexual behavior were radically different.  There were about 15 things in the Israelite theocracy that could result in capital punishment, and homosexual behavior was one of them (And no, I’m not suggesting that should be the punishment today.  The punishments were for the Israelite theocracy, which is clear when you read the context of those passages.)  But eating shellfish just made one ceremonially unclean for a period of time.

Again, note how the moral laws with their steep punishments are tied to offenses God held the pagans responsible for, yet the unclean animal passages were for the Israelites only and were brief.

 Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Leviticus 20:22-26 Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.

‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those which I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.

5. The ceremonial dietary laws were clearly and emphatically overturned in the New Testament, whereas the commands against homosexual behavior (and other sexual sins) were not.   Also see Acts 15:28-29 (It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.)

6. The claim that Christians are inconsistent if they say homosexual behavior is a sin if they don’t also avoid shellfish, mixed fibers, etc. would mean that they anyone claiming to be Christian who complained about bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, gay-bashing, etc. would also be inconsistent if they didn’t obey the Jewish ceremonial laws.  That is transparently false.  You should use this counter-argument against “Christians” making the shellfish / mixed fiber / etc. claim: Unless you also follow the Jewish ceremonial laws, then you shouldn’t advocate for any of your [allegedly] biblical views about government, helping the poor, gays, abortion, etc.

And if someone tries to play the “Leviticus is outdated” card, remind them of this verse and ask if it still counts: Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

Remember, anyone calling themselves a Christian should be seeking to hold the same views as Jesus.  And Jesus fully supported the Old Testament law, including the most controversial parts.

So if anyone uses the shellfish argument with you, ask a few questions to see if they have really thought it through.  Everyone I have ever seen use it was either unaware of these responses or deliberately ignoring them. 

Also see Problems with Pro-Gay Theology.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

“The Lord says . . .”

bible3.jpgIs the Bible the Word of God?

The Bible directly quotes God roughly 3,000 times and the New Testament writers quote the Old Testament as the word of God 320 times.  Keep in mind that some of those references covered passages of scripture and not just one verse.

Also, Jesus claimed to be God, so all the “red letters” would be Biblical claims to be the Word of God.  And roughly 10% of the red letters quote the black letters.  As noted in “What did Jesus think of the Old Testament,” the references Jesus made to the Old Testament were varied and often cited the most controversial parts – Satan, Noah, Jonah, Sodom, etc.  Jesus made zero corrections to the Old Testament, and He quoted from the Pentateuch (the first five books), Psalms, Jonah and others.  He even said:

Matthew 5:17-18 “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.

I did some searches in my Bible software on a few phrases to see how many times they occurred.  There were so many that I got tired after a while.  Watch for them when you read the Bible.  It is really quite amazing.

  • The Lord says 198
  • The Lord said 301
  • The word of the Lord 239
  •  . . . declares the Lord 266
  •  . . . oracle 47
  • I am the Lord 158
  • Lord instructed 3
  • Lord commanded 117
  • Lord had commanded 24
  • the Lord gave this command 1
  • Lord gave 42
  • Lord told 10
  • Lord has told 4
  • Says the Lord 103
  • The Lord almighty says 47
  • Says the Lord almighty 31
  • The Lord almighty, the God of Israel says 1
  • Lord spoke 25
  • Lord revealed 1
  • Lord then said 1
  • Lord answered 23
  • God said 54
  • Lord had said 31
  • Lord replied 11
  • Holy one of Israel says 2
  • Lord called 14

Then, of course, there is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (Yes, I know some people think that doesn’t apply to the New Testament.  I’ll address that in another post.)  And Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.

So the Bible makes an extraordinary amount of claims to be the Word of God and that it was transmitted to us accurately.

What’s the point?

Now before any skeptics or Liberal Theologians choke on their own rage yelling, “circular reference!,” let me point out that I’m not referring to these as my only proof that the Bible is God’s Word.  I understand that claiming that the Bible is God’s Word because it says it is God’s Word wouldn’t be an adequate argument.  We have other evidence for it being God’s Word.

Still, there are a couple important points one can draw from this huge amount of references.

If the Bible is God’s Word then wouldn’t you expect it to make that claim?  In fact, if it didn’t make that claim wouldn’t you view that as a reason for it not being God’s word?  And if it said it wasn’t God’s word then it obviously wouldn’t be God’s word.  So the claims to be God’s word are a sort of necessary occurrence.

The second and main point of this post is only for Christians who claim the Bible isn’t all inspired by God, or that it was just what the Jews and Christians thought God was saying, or that it is somehow incomplete.

If you really think the Bible has upwards of 3,000 errors / lies in it, why pick it up?

How do you discern which parts belong there and which do not?  You appear to believe in Leopard Theology, where the Bible is only inspired in spots and that you are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Why should I trust your “inspiration” more than I trust the writings of the Apostles or their close companions, especially considering that every word they wrote has been scrutinized by believers and non-believers for 2,000 years?  Why should I trust your views when you deny many of the essentials of the faith and often claim that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection aren’t necessary for people to be reconciled to God or to go to Heaven?

The Gospels and the rest of the New Testament make multiple warnings about sound doctrine and Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their false doctrines.  And sound doctrine is found in the Word of God.  Otherwise, what doctrines were the writers referring to?

From beginning to end, the Bible claims to be the Word of God.  Is believing that a requirement for salvation?  No.  The criminal on the cross wasn’t a Bible scholar but he went to Heaven because he put his faith in Jesus.

But how even marginally educated Christians can hold a view other than the Bible being the Word of God is beyond me.  The educated theological liberals who deny God’s word tip their hands that their beliefs are really just politics disguised as religion.  I love Charles Spurgeon’s comment about these types and how he has “no more faith in their mercy than in their accuracy.”

Authentic believers are expected to trust that it is the word of God:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

Read it and enjoy it, knowing that the original writings turned out just as God and the human writers desired and that they have been accurately transmitted to us.  It will accomplish all that God promised it would.

Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Ahab repented. Jezebel didn’t.

If you’ve read the Old Testament — and all of you should have! — you’ll recall the pattern of the seemingly countless evil kings, especially in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel*, were over-the-top evil.  Here’s a sample:

1 Kings 16:30–33 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 

Then consider this message from Elijah:

1 Kings 21:20–29 (ESV) 20 Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. 21 Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 22 And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. 23 And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ 24 Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat.”

That sound severe, but fair (especially if you read the rest of the passages about this fun couple).  So Ahab is really going to get it, right?  Not exactly.

Ahab’s Repentance

25 (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. 26 He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.)

27 And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. 28 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”

Wait a minute — this guy is the most evil king ever, and by repenting for 15 minutes God lets him off the hook?  Where is the “mean and vengeful” Old Testament God I’ve been hearing so much about?  Note that I’m not necessarily saying that Ahab is in Heaven.  The text isn’t completely clear on that.  But God did withhold that judgment when Ahab repented.

But did Jezebel repent?  No.  She was eaten by dogs, just as predicted.

God’s grace is huge and wonderful, but you must repent.  If you haven’t done so already, I recommend doing it now.  And read all of God’s word.  You never know what you’ve been missing.

* As my youngest daughter likes to note, it is too bad that Jezebel was so spectacularly evil.  It would have made a really pretty name for a girl.

Best. Playlist. Ever.

I’ve really enjoyed a new Bible playlist on a my iPhone.  It took some time to set up but it was worth it.  It covers the entire Bible in 150 days (with Proverbs repeating every 30 days — one chapter a day except for the first day, which has two).  It includes a variety of areas each day.  It is roughly 36 minutes per day, which is about the length of my morning commute.

Each day has:

  • 1 chapter of Proverbs
  • 1 Psalm
  • 4-5 chapters of the Old Testament (I used the chronological version)
  • 1-2 chapters of the New Testament (basically in order, though I spread the Gospels out so it has Matthew, then Acts, then some letters, then Mark, then some letters, etc. and ends up with John)

For example, day 1 had chapters 1-9 below, day 2 had 10-17, etc.  To state the obvious, you could still enjoy the variety even if you don’t listen to 8-9 chapters in one day.

itune

You can get free audio Bible downloads in a variety of translations at Faith Comes By Hearing.  You can also contribute to them to help get the audio Bible out in hundreds of languages around the world.  This is vital for people who can’t read.  If you ever go on a mission trip be sure to take some of their Proclaimer audio devices.

If you haven’t tried listening to the Bible, give it a try — even if it is just a chapter per day.  Redeem your commute, or your workout, or your chores, or whatever else you do!

Well, that didn’t last long.

I’m referring to the Isralites’ celebration and obedience after they returned from their 70 year exile and re-built the wall of Jerusalem.  In Nehemiah chapter 12 they have a major celebration:

Nehemiah 12 (ESV)  38 The other choir of those who gave thanks went to the north, and I followed them with half of the people, on the wall, above the Tower of the Ovens, to the Broad Wall, 39 and above the Gate of Ephraim, and by the Gate of Yeshanah, and by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate; and they came to a halt at the Gate of the Guard. 40 So both choirs of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God, and I and half of the officials with me; 41 and the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. 43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.

The context here is vital, and it really sticks out when you have gone through the Old Testament chronologically, as I just finished doing.  If you read the OT straight through then Nehemiah comes before the halfway point.  But if you read it chronologically then there are only 5 chapters after it (a Psalm plus the book of Micah).  So it is basically at the end.

To reach this point you had to have read about dozens and dozens of judges and kings, most of whom were bad, the cycles of rebellion by the people (Baal worship, child sacrifice, and so much more), all the prophets warning them of doom, the Northern Kingdom taken away, then 200 years later the fall of Judah and the destruction of the temple.  The people are taken away to Babylon.  The books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and more describe in detail the grisly famine, pestilence, plague and sword that killed countless Israelites along with the humiliation of being carried away to other lands.  Pretty bleak stuff.

But after 70 years in exile they get to come back, and in miraculous fashion — just like God promised.  As Ezra and Nehemiah recount, there was great drama in King Cyrus letting the people return and in helping re-build the wall.

So in Nehemiah 12 the people celebrate.  So what happens in Nehemiah 13, roughly 15 minutes later?  Rampant disobedience: Foreigners in the temple, not paying the priests, violating the Sabbath.

Nehemiah 13 (ESV)   13 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent.

Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.

10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.

15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”

19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.

As I read about their disobedience throughout the OT my first reaction is, “Why did you do that when you knew better?  You were God’s chosen people!  You knew him like no one else.  You had direct access to his word, and you ignored it.”  Then I’m convicted that I’m the same way.  Think of how much we know about God and how easy it is to slip into sin.  It is almost as if on our own we will continue to sin no matter how hard we try, and that we need someone with the power to save us and change us . . .

P.S. People who hold to the “mean OT God / nice NT God” need to read more of both.  God’s grace towards the Israelites — and us — is profound.

“Marriage equality” and other wolf sayings

Here’s a recent example: Radical pro-abortionist and false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie took a break from taking little girls to gay pride parades to use his church to mock God Romans 1-style (V. 32 – . . .they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.).

First, to state what will be obvious to people who don’t mock God and common sense, same-sex unions are not equal to real marriage.  By nature and design they can’t produce the next generation and they can’t provide a mother and a father to a child.  And they don’t meet the timeless definition of marriage: A union of a man and a woman.

I am not making this up: These pagans actually have a pre-LGBTQX pride parade “worship” service, where they are worshiping the god of this world and themselves.

Here are more examples of his blasphemy, via Marriage Equality Campaign In Oregon Kicks Off At Sunnyside Church.

Homosexuality is not a sin but bigotry and discrimination are.

Homosexual behavior is indeed a sin.  The Bible couldn’t be more clear.  Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Chuck & Co. meet the definition of bigotry far better than any authentic Christian: big·ot – noun – a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

And did you notice how Chuck must also consider Muslims to be bigots?  Hey, why doesn’t he call them out specifically?

Holy Scripture is used to deny gays and lesbians the most basic of civil rights protection in many communities, including employment protections, but such use of Scripture is theological malpractice.

How ironic to hear the judgmental term “theological malpractice” from a “reverend” who says Jesus is not the only way to salvation (he is so lacking in biblical knowledge that he didn’t know the Bible teaches that over 100 times — he thought it was just John 14:6 and he insisted that John didn’t belong in the Bible!).

Just a generation ago people used the Bible to oppose inter-racial marriages in the United States.

Those people got the Bible wrong, just like Chuck is doing today.  Skin color is morally neutral.  Sexual behavior is not.

Today the same theological arguments are employed to oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

No, those aren’t the same arguments at all.

But Jesus never spoke of this issue.

The wolf tips his hand again.  Chuck doesn’t believe that Jesus is divine, so he thinks he can dismiss the entire Bible.  But it all turned out exactly as Jesus wanted it to, and even the “red letters” are on record with him approving of all the Old Testament.

And the “Jesus never said anything” argument fails on many, many levels.  Short version: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus is God and part of the Trinity that 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, taxpayer-funded abortions, etc.), He didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins though that wouldn’t justify them, and homosexual behavior simply wasn’t a hot topic for 1st century Jews.  And Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

What he did command was that we love our neighbor as we love God.  Legal discrimination against gays and lesbians is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

If you love God you won’t teach the opposite of what He commanded.  If you love your neighbors you won’t encourage them to participate in spiritually, emotionally and physically destructive behaviors.  Those advancing the concept of “marriage equality” love the world and themselves more than they love God and their neighbors.

It isn’t discrimination to point out that “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron that doesn’t require the government to sanction their relationships.

Run, don’t walk, from any false teachers playing the “marriage quality” card.  They are ravenous wolves.  And like Chuck, they don’t just mock God on this topic.  They deny the exclusivity and divinity of Jesus, they are radically pro-abortion, they deny the authority of scripture, and more.

Study the Bible and encourage others to do the same.  These fakes would have been run out of churches a long time ago if people actually read the Bible for themselves.  But they trust people like Chuck to tell them the truth!

* 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

When was the last time you read the entire Bible?

bible.jpgIf you are a Christian and you haven’t read the entire Bible at least once in your life, then it will be really awkward in Heaven when you meet some of the authors. Oh, uh, hi Obadiah . . . yeah, well, sorry I never got around to reading your book . . . OK, I can’t lie anymore, I didn’t even know you had a book in the Bible . . . oh look – a squirrel! [runs away].

More importantly, if you really love God and trust in Jesus for your eternal salvation, wouldn’t you want to know what He took the time to reveal to us?  Remember, the original writings turned out exactly as He wanted them to and they have been reliably transmitted to us.  His word, properly understood, trumps any other messages you hear or feelings you have.

In-depth, verse-by-verse Bible study is vital, but I also encourage people to go through the entire Bible fairly quickly now and then.  Don’t worry about catching every little nuance, just immerse yourself in it.  It will accomplish what God promised it would.

There are all sorts of reading plans available, including my current favorite, the chronological approach.  It is especially useful when going through the Old Testament, as it lines up the history and associated Psalms and Prophets better than reading it straight through.

One of the best things about reading it all is that when you come across popular verses you can automatically consider the context.  I memorized a lot of individual verses years ago and was surprised how different they sounded when I came across them in context.  That was humbling!  Now I ensure that if I memorize a verse that I know what was being addressed in the broader passage.

For example, if you’re used to hearing Jeremiah 29:11 (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope) used as a one-size-fits-all bit of encouragement for believers (and even non-believers) then you’ll be very surprised at what it really means.  You’ll realize that it could have just as easily said, “For I know the plans for you, declares the Lord, plans to punish you for your disobedience by keeping you in captivity for 70 years, not just 2 as the false prophet said.”  (I’ve listened to Jeremiah the last couple days so that one really sticks out.)

If you are too busy to read the Bible, then you are too busy.  You need to change your priorities immediately.  And whether you are busy or not, consider using an audio Bible.  Faith Comes By Hearing is a ministry that produces audio recordings of the Bible in hundreds of languages and all are available for free downloads. (Some countries are 80-90% illiterate, so getting the spoken Word to them via solar-powered audio devices is a powerful tool for evangelism and discipleship.)

But it is a great tool for us as well.  Having the Bible on your phone or MP3 player means you can listen to it throughout the day — commuting, errands, doing chores, exercising, etc. I usually listen to 8-10 chapters on my way into work.  It is a great way to start the day.

So just dive in and read or listen to all you can!  Don’t get hung up on exactly how much you cover each day.  Some days will be better than others.  Satan loves it when people set expectations too high and then quit when they miss a day or two.  Just read some . . . then some more . . . then some more . . . and never stop.

For Jewish people only

As a Christian I seek to share the Good News of Jesus with anyone, including Jewish people.  I realize that many things have been done to Jews that go against the teachings of Jesus, so it can be a sensitive subject.  And I know that Satan has done a great job of making Jews think the New Testament is an antisemitic manifesto (it is anything but).

However, from an apologetic standpoint I would love to have them read the New Testament and ask themselves if the types of Jews they see represented there are similar to the Jews shown in the Hebrew Bible (aka the Old Testament).

Here’s what I mean: Yes, there were some good Jews in the OT (and the NT).  But if you actually read the entire OT you can’t miss the non-stop cycles of rebellion from beginning to end — even though God had chosen them, set them apart and given them special revelation.  Scan the book of Judges.  Scan the history of the kings.  Scan the prophets.  It couldn’t be more clear.

So historically speaking, if the Jewish leaders had such a spectacularly awful track record, would it be surprising that the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time would reject their Messiah and persecute his followers?

Please note that I’m not committing the error of thinking that I would have done any better.  It is human nature to look at the bad guys of history and think we would have done the right thing.  Sure.  Sans the Holy Spirit, I’m sure I would have been yelling, “Crucify him!” and “Release to us Barrabas!”  I would have denied Jesus more than 3 times.  And so on.

But I do challenge Jewish folks — and anyone else, for that matter — to read the entire Bible carefully. It isn’t anti-Jewish.  It is pro-Good News for lost sinners of any kind.  Please don’t reject your Messiah.  Eternity is a mighty long time.