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Showing posts with label Hyphenated Christians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hyphenated Christians. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Christian agnostics . . . is that possible?

The story is told of a budding philosopher who set out on a search for truth, during the process he discovered Christianity. There were many aspect of this new discover that he liked; however, being the honest man that he was, he was not sure about some of the deeper mysteries of the religion, so he decide to wait before he embraced it full on. Unfortunately one day as he set about to meditate on this new religion in order to unravel some of the knots of doubts in this new discovery, he was shot with an arrow filled with a slow action poison. None-the-less, he resolved to get all of his questioned answered before he signed on. So, he continued in his pursuit. As he edged closer and closer to declaring himself a fully committed Christian convert the poison finally took his life.

At the time of his funeral a great debate broke out among his fellow philosophers as to whether or not he such be buried a Christian or an agnostic. Finally it was decided to bury him as an agnostic Christian, and so it was, and perhaps rightly so from their perspective.

The point is, Christianity is not a philosophy and, in my opinion, those that approach it as such are in for a great disappointment. I will also goes so far as to say that it is totally impossible to prove any of the claims of Christianity through the use of philosophy. I say this because all philosophy is open ended—there is always room for doubt; therefore, certainty is out.

Scripture speaks of this phenomenon when Paul writes to Timothy with criticism of those that are always learning but never come to any understanding, that is to say, any conclusion [2 Tim. 3:7].

Now, back to our story. Life in a sense is as if we have all be shot with a poison arrow at that time of our conception which slowly but surely works its way through our system until we eventually die. There is no escape either, as Alan Seeger's poem, I Have a Rendezvous with Death, so aptly reminds us. The sad fact is that most live their lives as it they have ever and a day to make up their minds on such an important subject as what happens when we face the Grim Reaper, and what can I do to assure a safe passage into something better?

As Blaise Pascal, the great French mathematician and philosopher once remarked—

“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.”

So, if we have the notion that we will ever have enough faith to answer all our questions, my answer is that no you never will; however, you can have enough trust to navigate the course of this thing we call life, and die with the full confidence that you have done your best and that you are comfortable with the choice to leave the rest up to God.

Friday, November 01, 2013

I can see clearly now . . .


"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." — C. S. Lewis

Dear friends, faithful prayer and financial partners,

Paul has captured the spiritual plight of our generation when he wrote that,
“The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Sadly, the truth is that modern secularism has failed miserably to deliver the promised utopia of freedom and liberating spirituality that it has so passionately championed. Instead, we have been handed a culture of death both from war abroad and the abortion industry nationally. 

Our personal freedom has been corroded with an ill-defined political correctness that insists on equal rights for all except those that dissent. Our youth has been and are harassed daily to conform to worldly standards that even the most flagrant of sinners would have blushed at in times past. Heterosexual and indeed traditional marriage unions in general are considered just one ‘moral’ choice among others—yes, others, as in homosexual unions, and believe it or not, there is a strong from this ungodly crowd to legalize polygamy and even polyandrous (two men/one woman) government sanctioned relationships.

May I ask, where is there freedom in sex addition or liberty in the shackles of politically correct speech? 

This great Apostle to the Gentiles also cues us in on why modern secularism has failed us so miserably.
For [he writes] although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:21-25)

Now, I challenge you to take the front page of any national newspaper or tune into the headlines of any international news broadcast and place either of these two Biblical references side by side with what the media gives us 24/7 and tell me that there is not a parallel there.
Sadly, in my opinion, we have become a nation of secular Hindus—more interested ecology  and animal rights than we are with pleasing God; not understanding that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
But then, I am preaching to the choir, aren't I? And, we all know that is not good enough; we must also act. If we can agree upon this, then my next question is, Why then are so many Christians willing to sit on the sidelines and  let the few carry the banner and wage the war?

Truly, the harvest is plenteous. We need, therefore, to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send forth laborers into the harvest field. 

I am yours for the journey,
Jim R/~

P.S. I've sent my passport particulars to begin the visa process for Russia. At present, we have received some, but not nearly enough to pay the expenses.You are a vital part of this ministry. So, please keep us on your prayer list. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What About Those Goofy Preachers?

I probably should have written this blog some time back, but kept hoping things would improve. Of course, they haven't, so I've decided to give the thought a whirl.

Among friends, nominal Christians, usually; but also among those who take their faith very seriously, eventually the subject will come up in the form of a question: "Well, Pastor, what do you think of those television evangelists?"

Well, of course, I know that they are not talking about Billy Graham and the likes; but rather those with the fancy hairdos and 'get rich quick' faith formulas (usually meaning that you send money into them) type of preachers.

My general response is: "Not much!" Translated: I really don't spend a lot of time thinking about them. But, when I do think about them, I continue to be amazed that there are so many gullible people that fall for their sells pitch.

So, I've devised a formula of my own. The first ingredient is God's word. Now, when I say, 'God's word,' I mean all of his word, not just a few bits and pieces of Scripture taken from here and there and pasted together to prove a point, but the total theme of Scripture in regards to finance. And, you know what? When I do that, I find that there is nothing  there that promises to turn us into 'faith generated' millionaires. The Bible's scheme is for you and me to work hard, make the right decisions, pay our tithes and offerings, and be satisfied and content with the results.

If you have problems with that, may I suggest that you quit reading the Bible in bits and pieces and start reading whole books of the Bible. Because, if you do, you will find that God is not some kind of cosmic Santa Claus hanging over the banisters of Heaven just waiting to give you a financial blessing out of his bag of goodies. No, as far back as Genesis, God decreed that we were to earn our living through sweat and toil.

My second ingredient is to put the preacher's life through the litmus test of what I like to think of as a lifestyle evaluation. Right away that eliminates those with the  Rolls Royces and the 10 million dollar homes. And, believe it or not, that whittles the number down considerably.

Then, lastly, I ask myself if the man or woman shows any of the fruits of the Spirit~not gifts, which can many times be fakes; but fruits which are demonstrated by a consistent Christlike lifestyle.

Here is what has to say about it:

In the prosperity gospel, also known as the “Word of Faith,” the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite—God uses the believer. Word of Faith or prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God's will. The prosperity gospel movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that infiltrated the early church. Paul and the other apostles were not accommodating to or conciliatory with the false teachers who propagated such heresy. They identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them.

Paul warned Timothy about such men in 1 Timothy 6:59-11. These men of “corrupt mind” supposed godliness was a means of gain and their desire for riches was a trap that brought them “into ruin and destruction” (v. 9). The pursuit of wealth is a dangerous path for Christians and one which God warns about: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (v. 10). If riches were a reasonable goal for the godly, Jesus would have pursued it. But He did not, preferring instead to have no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20) and teaching His disciples to do the same. It should also be remembered that the only disciple concerned with wealth was Judas.

Paul said covetousness is idolatry (Ephesians 5:5) and instructed the Ephesians to avoid anyone who brought a message of immorality or covetousness (Ephesians 5:6-7). Prosperity teaching prohibits God from working on His own, meaning that God is not Lord of all because He cannot work until we release Him to do so. Faith, according to the Word of Faith doctrine, is not submissive trust in God; faith is a formula by which we manipulate the spiritual laws that prosperity teachers believe govern the universe. As the name “Word of Faith” implies, this movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more than whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts.

A favorite term in the Word of Faith movement is “positive confession.” This refers to the teaching that words themselves have creative power. What you say, Word of Faith teachers claim, determines everything that happens to you. Your confessions, especially the favors you demand of God, must all be stated positively and without wavering. Then God is required to answer (as though man could require anything of God!). Thus, God's ability to bless us supposedly hangs on our faith. James 4:13-16 clearly contradicts this teaching: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Far from speaking things into existence in the future, we do not even know what tomorrow will bring or even whether we will be alive. 

Instead of stressing the importance of wealth, the Bible warns against pursuing it. Believers, especially leaders in the church (1 Timothy 3:3), are to be free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5). The love of money leads to all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). In sharp contrast to the Word of Faith emphasis on gaining money and possessions in this life, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). The irreconcilable contradictions between prosperity teaching and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is best summed up in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:24; “You cannot serve both God and money.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Does The Bible Say About Homosexuality?

Statement/Question: 'Jesus never condemned homosexuality. So, why do you?

Answer: "Well, technically speaking Jesus said he did not come to condemn, but to give life. Jesus himself said,
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)
However, to say that Jesus did not address the homosexual issue is simply not true.

Jesus said, "[that] from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mark 10:6)

Jesus in this instance points out our biological differences: that is, male and female. Furthermore, he says that a man should cleave to his wife (female). Nowhere does Jesus mention cleaving to someone of the same sex, or that we were created anything but male and female. One’s psyche or sexual preference is not mentioned.

Anti-Homosexuality Related Scriptures

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.  (Leviticus 18:22)

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."  Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends.  Don't do this wicked thing."  (Genesis 19:5-7)

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.  Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  (Romans 1:26)

In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  (Romans 1:27)

Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.  (Romans 1:27)

The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it.  Woe to them!  They have brought disaster upon themselves.  (Isaiah 3:9)

We should also keep in focus some other Scriptural comments on sins in general:

For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths.  (Proverbs 5:21)

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.  (1 John 3:6)

Some say they are born gay. Is this true? And if they are born that way is that a sin?

First of all, in response to the question: "Is it a sin to be born and found yourself gay?"

Apparently, some think it is possible, or you would not be asking the question. However, in all honesty, since I am not gay, nor do I have any desire to be gay, I cannot put myself in anyone's shoe that is gay. I have some gay friends; however, I have never really discussed their feelings or why they chose to be gay.

I do know, however, that the Bible says in Genesis 1:26,27,31:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

So, there are a couple of observations that can be made here.

  • One, we are created with Godlike qualities (in His image), so in my opinion that is a high standard.
  • Secondly, God created male and female, and after it was all done, the Scripture says, “God saw all he had made and it was very good.”

From that I gather, God felt that making male and female was good. Now, following that, we are all aware that the Old Testament laws were totally against homosexuality in any form. And, that brings us to the New Testament. The New Testament is also very strongly opposed to homosexuality. Romans chapter one is a good example. Now, I know that some say, “Well, the Bible also condoned slavery, and we don’t practice slavery anymore, so how can we just take the Bible or some preacher’s word on what is right and wrong as far as anything goes(?).”

However, without going into great detail, the New Testament, in my opinion, never condoned slavery. As a matter of fact, in the letter to Philemon, verses 12—16,  Paul says that he is sending a runaway slave by the name of Onesimus back to his owner, Philemon, with these words:

“I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.”
To me, this gesture by the Apostle indicates his true feelings. Firstly, he was against slavery, but totally committed to a nonviolent approach for the abolition of this practice. In other words, as with any morality, it must be voluntary; whether through consent or fear of the law. Goodness originates in the heart, not from a judge’s bench. Furthermore, in this case, a minority of Christians would have been decimated had they taken to arms. Paul did the best he could under the circumstances.

Now, as far as slavery in the Old Testament, we could save ourselves a lot of time arguing about this if we would just substitute the word “bondservant” in place of the word “slave” in most cases. Benjamin Franklin was an indentured servant (i.e., a bond-servant) but he was certainly not a slave in the typical fashion of the practice. There is much more that I could say about this, but since this article is about homosexuality and not slavery, I shall leave that for another time.

So, in conclusion, let me say, to excuse homosexuality activity off as that was the way one was born is certainly at odds with scripture, and, in my opinion, biology. Now, that does not take away the desire, or the complications, I realize. Just to say that something is a sin is not enough. The homosexual must break the hold that sin has on them, and fully commit themselves to Jesus and accept his offer of salvation.

Politically, should gays have the same rights as heterosexuals? I am not a Constitutional lawyer, so I really cannot argue that. However, I personally feel the Scripture is absolutely against homosexual marriages. How that translates into public polity in our egalitarian society is yet to be seen. So, unless our Supreme Court rules otherwise, we are pretty much left up with what our individual States decide on the matter. Right now, every State that has allowed the issue to come up for a vote has come out clearly on the side of the traditional stance of one man to one woman.   

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Old Time Gospel . . . slightly updated

Some days I just like to let off a little steam. This is one of them.

So, let me begin with: Imagine, you go to church for the first time and the pastor announces that his subject for today is to discuss the parallels between Steven Spielberg's film "Saving Private Ryan” and God’s relentless search for the wayward soul?

Farfetched? I think not. It happens almost every Sunday, or at least something similar or just as irrelevant. Some have built ministry empires on a big smile and a good pep talk with a little Christianeze thrown in for effect.

Amazing, isn’t it? Amazing that triviality can pass itself off as the gospel. And, of course, our self-indulgent society laps it up like a hungry dog laps up clabber, as my mother used to say.

The Scripture says in Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." And, if there were ever a day that this is true it is this day.

The world is hungry for God. For truth. People need something more than a pop psychology sermon on how to feel better, or financial advice on how to become a multimillionaire by using 5 simple steps found right there in the good old King James Bible.

And, oh, yeah, I almost forgot: "Hummmmm . . . Don't forget to send in your tithe and offerings to the address right there on your television screen."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Same-sex Marriages

Gay marriages are in the news these days. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat who has championed same-sex marriage in the state since taking office in January, held a party in New York City and promised to help push for same-sex couples to be allowed to marry in other states. "Passing this law not only completes the promise that we made to the people of the state during the campaign; it's going to make a real difference in people's lives,"

Mr. Cuomo told reporters at the Dream Downtown Hotel near the meatpacking district, where he hosted a reception for lawmakers and gay rights advocates. "And I don't think this is just about gay people who now choose to get married," the governor added. "This is a statement that we should all feel good about."

A city official married the first couple in New York City to wed under the state's new law allowing same-sex marriage Sunday. Phyllis Siegal, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, were married in a chapel at the city clerk's office as a crowd of onlookers cheered.

The two, of New York, have been together for 23 years. Kopelov left the clerk's office in a wheelchair, but used a walker to approach reporters. "Your cheers are wonderful," Siegal told well-wishers outside the office.

She told reporters the experience was "just so amazing. It's the only way I can describe it."

Surprisingly, very few Christians understand or can defend the Biblical stance on this issue.

Many have asked what my position is on the subject. So, perhaps, a blog is the best place to deal with it.
First of all both Old and New Testaments are adamantly opposed to sexual activity between people of the same sex. The scriptures explicitly forbid it.

For starters, just read Leviticus 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination."

And, of course, the New Testament follows though on this theme culminating with Jude 5-7 which reads: "Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day - just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire."

Of course, advocates of same sex marriages are well aware to these verses of scripture, but through a series of contorted hermeneutical maneuvers manage to illogically circumvent these obvious proscriptions. Perhaps, the most ridiculous one is to somehow tie heterosexual marriages with the ancient practice of slavery as an example on how we must change our position on same sex marriages to keep up with the times.

Well, for one thing, marriage between the opposite sexes is not slavery-nor is it, archaic. Furthermore, Jesus recognized the marriage as consummated when the opposite sexes were joined together. To put it bluntly, the puzzle just does not fit in same sex marriages.

Read it for yourself: "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,' and said, ‘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." Matt. 19:4-6

Finally, even reason itself dictates against the practice. It simply is not natural.

I know that some argue that gays are just born that way; but I maintain that the same line of reasoning and argument could be used to condone pedophilia.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Did Mary Have Other Children? by Matt Slick

One of the more controversial teachings of the Catholic church deals with the perpetual virginity of Mary. This doctrine maintains that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus and that biblical references suggesting Jesus had siblings are really references to cousins (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 510).

As the veneration of Mary increased throughout the centuries, the vehicle of Sacred Tradition became the means of promoting new doctrines not explicitly taught in the Bible. The virginity of Mary is clearly taught in scripture when describing the birth of Jesus. But is the doctrine of her continued virginity supported by the Bible? Did Mary lose her virginity after Jesus was born? Does the Bible reveal that Mary had other children, that Jesus had brothers and sisters?

The Bible does not come out and declare that Mary remained a virgin and that she had no children. In fact, the Bible seems to state otherwise: (All quotes are from the NASB.)

•Matthew 1:24-25 - "And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus."
•Matthew 12:46-47 - "While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."
•Matthew 13:55 - "Is not this the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?"
•Mark 6:2-3 - "And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?"
•John 2:12 - "After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days."
•Acts 1:14 - "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."
•1 Cor. 9:4-5 - "Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?"
•Gal. 1:19 - But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother."

An initial reading of these biblical texts seems to clear up the issue: Jesus had brothers and sisters. But such obvious scriptures are not without their response from Catholic theologians. The primary argument against these biblical texts is as follows:

In Greek, the word for brother is adelphos and sister is adelphe. This word is used in different contexts: of children of the same parents (Matt. 1:2; 14:3), descendants of parents (Acts 7:23, 26; Heb. 7:5), the Jews as a whole (Acts 3:17, 22), etc. Therefore, the term brother (and sister) can and does refer to the cousins of Jesus.

There is certainly merit in this argument, However, different contexts give different meanings to words. It is not legitimate to say that because a word has a wide scope of meaning, that you may then transfer any part of that range of meaning to any other text that uses the word. In other words, just because the word brother means fellow Jews or cousin in one place, does not mean it has the same meaning in another. Therefore, each verse should be looked at in context to see what it means.

Lets briefly analyze a couple of verses dealing with the brothers of Jesus.

•Matthew 12:46-47, "While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."
•Matthew 13:55 - "Is not this the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?"

In both of these verses, if the brothers of Jesus are not brothers, but His cousins, then who is His mother and who is the carpenters father? In other words, mother here refers to Mary. The carpenter in Matt. 13:55, refers to Joseph. These are literal. Yet, the Catholic theologian will then stop there and say, "Though carpenters son refers to Joseph, and mother refers to Mary, brothers does not mean brothers, but "cousins." This does not seem to be a legitimate assertion. You cannot simply switch contextual meanings in the middle of a sentence unless it is obviously required. The context is clear. This verse is speaking of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus brothers. The whole context is of familial relationship: father, mother, and brothers.

Psalm 69, A Messianic Psalm

There are many arguments pro and con concerning Jesus siblings. But the issue cannot be settled without examining Psalm 69, a Messianic Psalm. Jesus quotes Psalm 69:4 in John 15:25, "But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their Law, they hated Me without a cause."

He also quotes Psalm 69:9 in John 2:16-17, "and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Fathers house a house of merchandise." His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Thy house will consume me."
Clearly, Psalm 69 is a Messianic Psalm since Jesus quoted it in reference to Himself two times. The reason this is important is because of what is written between the verses that Jesus quoted.

To get the whole context, here is Psalm 69:4-9,
"Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies, What I did not steal, I then have to restore. 5O God, it is Thou who dost know my folly, And my wrongs are not hidden from Thee. 6May those who wait for Thee not be ashamed through me, O Lord God of hosts; May those who seek Thee not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel, 7Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; Dishonor has covered my face. 8I have become estranged from my brothers, and an alien to my mothers sons. 9For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me."

This messianic Psalm clearly shows that Jesus has brothers. As Amos 3:7 says,
"Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets." Gods will has been revealed plainly in the New Testament and prophetically in the Old. Psalm 69 shows us that Jesus had brothers.

Did Mary have other children? The Bible seems to suggest yes. Catholic Tradition says no. Which will you trust?

Of course, the Catholic will simply state that even this phrase "my mother's sons" is in reference not to his siblings, but to cousins and other relatives. This is a necessary thing for the Catholic to say, otherwise, the perpetual virginity of Mary is threatened and since that contradicts Roman Catholic tradition, an interpretation that is consistent with that tradition must be adopted.

The question is, "Was Jesus estranged by His brothers?". Yes, He was. John 7:5 says "For not even His brothers were believing in Him." Furthermore, Psalm 69:8 says both "my brothers" and "my mother's sons." Are these both to be understood as not referring to His siblings? Hardly. The Catholics are fond of saying that "brothers" must mean "cousins." But, if that is the case, then when we read "an alien to my mother's sons" we can see that the writer is adding a further distinction and narrowing the scope of meaning. In other words, Jesus was alienated by his siblings, His very half-brothers begotten from Mary.

It is sad to see the Roman Catholic church go to such lengths to maintain Mary's virginity, something that is a violation of biblical law to be married and fill the earth.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Was Moses Polygamous?

Proponent for polygamy

My reply

The Bible does not say that Zipporah was from the land of Cush or Ethiopia.

The wife of Moses was a Cushite, according to the Book of Numbers 12:1. Exagoge 60-65 by Ezekiel the Tragedian (fragments reproduced in Eusebius) has Zipporah describe herself to Moses as a stranger in the land of Midian, and proceeds to describe the inhabitants of her ancestral lands in Africa:

"Stranger, this land is called Libya {an ancient name for the African continent}. It is inhabited by tribes of various peoples, Ethiopians, dark men. One man is the ruler of the land: he is both king and general. He rules the state, judges the people, and is priest. This man is my father {Jethro} and theirs."

Also, “Scholars like Johann Michaelis and Rosenmuller have pointed out that the name Cush was applied to tracts of country on both sides of the Red Sea in the Arabia (Yemen) and in Africa. In the 5th century AD, the Himyarites in the south of Arabia were styled by Syrian writers as Cushaeans and Ethiopians.”

 I hate to say it, but you are repeating a common argument presented by opponents of polygamy, regarding Zipporah and the Ethiopian woman as being the same woman. They are not. And a little closer attention to the detail of scripture will demonstrate that these woman come from different countries and different lineages.

Not according to my research.

The first wife of Moses (Zipporah) is the daughter of the priest of Midian. It is important that we understand that she is a Midianite and the Midianites are descendants of Abraham.

Jethro is called a priest of Midian and became father-in-law of Moses after he gave his daughter, Zipporah, in marriage to Moses, not a Midianite.

Jethro, priest of Midian, and father-in-law of Moses, is "said" to have been a Kenite, but merely live in the land of Cannan and the Midianites. Judges 1:16.

Midian is located south of Israel in the west, on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqabah.

True, but so was Cush.

Ethiopia is south of Egypt proper in Africa.. The existence of the historical Kingdom of Kush in what is now areas of southern Egypt, and Sudan cannot be reasonably questioned. (Wikipedia)

Yes, but keep reading, “The existence of the historical Kingdom of Kush in what is now areas of southern Egypt and Sudan cannot be reasonably questioned, although the term may later have been employed with some latitude. Mike, if you research ancient maps you will certainly find Kush in parts of what is now part of Arabia. Go to and soak that information in.

 The Midianites are the descendants of Midian a son of Abraham and Keturah.

Really, what does that prove? Jethro only lived among them, he was a  Kenite.

The Kenites?

The Kenites are not pure Midianites. They only lived among them, as far as I can tell. Careful research will show that Kenite clans were distributed all over the ancient world. As far north as Syria and into Ethiopia. They intermingled with the people of the regions and kept their distinctive clannish name because of their language. Some were black and from Ethiopia, some were lesser shades, depending on where and how long they lived and intermingled with the existing population.

In Genesis 25:1-2 we read, “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.”


So? Again, what does that prove? Jethro only lived among them, he was a Kenite.

This is necessary to establish that Zippora is not confused with his Ethiopian wife in Numbers 12. Many assume that the numbers 12 wife is Zipporah. However, the Numbers 12 wife is clearly a Cushite or Ethiopian which was a descendant of Ham, whereas Midian, a son of Abraham, was a descendant of Noah’s son Shem. Thus, these would not be the same women.

Same o same o

“And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan” (Genesis 10:6).

Yep, that’s right.

Zipporah was not from Cush as you have erroneously repeated. The bible does not say she was from Cush. Since her daddy Jethro is a Midian priest, we must assume they are Midianites unless specifically told otherwise in scripture.

Well, since she was, I believe the same person we have been referring to as Moses’ wife, I believe she was. The point is Mike, you guys are straining at a nit to prove a point. I just don’t see it. It goes against solid historical research, only part of which I have given.

When we understand that Jethro and his daughters did not come from Cush/Ethiopia, but from Midian, two separate peoples and regions, we are able to understand that the Ethiopian woman of Numbers 12 is not Zipporah the daughter of Jethro a Midianite priest. She was clearly identified as a Cushite, a desendant of Cush.

Not so clear to me.

Are we looking for God's truth which causes scripture to fully harmonize?
Or do we seek the approval of those who expect us to believe as they do?

Far as I am concerned scripture does harmonize. There you go again, Mike, pointing a finger, questioning someone’s courage. Stop it! Quit playing God. Be nice. God is big enough to handle my conscience.

Accepting and teaching the truth of biblical polygamy would cost many ministers their ministries and their financial support. They have much to lose.

We all have the right to be wrong,,, and where shall we stand

What has that got to do with the price of tea in China? If you have me in mind, I ain’t got no money to lose.

Yeah, I have a right, but not a desire to be wrong on anything, particularly things pertaining to God.

At the bema seat, where all of our works are tried to see if they are wood hay & stubble, or silver and gold. I do not care if the majority want to believe and teach the same traditions of man. It takes man of God to stand for and preach all of God's truths, especially the truths that might cost a man his esteem and his following.

I think I lost all my fear of men when I was a kid preaching on the street corner with all of my class mates walking by jeering. I’ve got self esteem, but no following. Sad to say. And, if I did, I would turn them around and point them to Jesus and ask them to follow him.

I do not believe the New Testament teaches monogamy only. I believe that is a tradition of man based on misunderstanding of scripture. I believe Rome was responsible for twisting this truth and selling it to the Church. 

Huummmm. Guess we must disagree on that. No, I really think that what often happens is that we many times subconsciously try to justify our own idiosyncrasies or foibles. 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Question: How much of Rick Warren's "purpose driven life" philosophy is sound doctrine or just pop psychology that has been sanctified with a Christian appellative?

In an interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said: People ask me, What is the purpose of life?

In a nutshell, he responded, life is preparation for eternity. "We were not made to last forever," he says, "and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven." Then he continues:

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness..

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.
Now, the question remains: Does this philosophy rest on a solid Christian theology that is applicable to all generations in all cultural circumstances—in other words, is it essentially part of the eternal Gospel delievered for once and for all to humankind?