Friday, December 08, 2017

Archaeological Evidence for the Old Testament

I am completing a book that provides an introductory level analysis of the evidence for the Old Testament and New Testament from archaeology and history.  Lord willing, the book will be complete in a number of months.  Its intended uses include:

1.) Providing an overview of this important subject for lost people who have intellectual objections to the Bible.

2.) Strengthening the faith of believers through a presentation of the historical evidence for the Bible, that they might in a greater way love God with their minds.

3.) Equipping believers to be able to deal with objections to the historical accuracy for the Bible that they encounter in evangelism.

My intention is to get the book in print after it is completed.  At this time, however, I have posted online the section on the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible and archaeology.  I have sought to write at a level the average believer and the interested unconverted person can understand, and have included many interesting pictures of historical finds that validate the holy Scriptures.  If you want to know the answers to questions such as:

1.) Does archaeology support the Biblical record about the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.)?

2.) Is there historical evidence for Israel's exodus from Egypt?

3.) What are the earliest references to Israel in the land of Canaan in extrabiblical documents?

4.) Are there references outside the Bible to figures such as King David by name?

5.) What evidence exists for the Biblical period of the divided monarchy and the exile?

6.) Do the accounts of the Biblical prophets, like Isaiah and Ezekiel, receive validation from archaeology and history?

7.) Does archaeology demonstrate that Biblical prophecies are genuine supernatural predictions, so that the Bible is necessarily true?

I would encourage you to check it out.  If you watched my debate with the Freedom From Religion Foundation President Dan Barker, "Archaeology and Prophecy Validate the Bible as the Word of God," I would also encourage you to check my new work out, as it covers a great deal more than what could be examined in the debate.

I have also included some very recent information that, as it receives continuing validation, could revolutionize debate on the historical character of the Old Testament, including the 15th century B. C. reference in early Hebrew or the proto-consonantal script to "Moses" by name.


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Apostle Paul and Ethics in Evangelism: Exposing the Corruption of Modern Methods

What method is required to "preach the gospel to every creature"?  One, go to every creature.  Two, preach the gospel.  Done.  Of course though, we've messed this up for various reasons that are worth exploring more in other posts.  People haven't received the gospel because the church won't do either one or two or both.  Some would say, "It doesn't work to do one and two."

Christian leaders have discovered that Christians don't like one and two.  They want something else.  Jesus left heaven's throne, but they might have to leave their living room.  Since they won't like those two and they won't work, new methods are concocted, one of which I encountered again recently.  I say "again" because I remember seeing this as a teenager, the survey method.

You go to a door and you say, "We're taking a survey in the neighborhood on religion in America."  Genius, huh?  Is it really a survey?  You've got to get past that point, I think, to continue.  Is it right, is it ethical, to call something a survey, when you know it isn't one, no matter how you try to spin it?

Many of Paul's epistles contain a defense of his ministry.  False teachers attacked Paul's teaching and methods every where he went.  His opponents tried to hurt his reputation so his audience wouldn't listen to him or turn away from what he had already taught.  He had to defend himself to stop that from occurring, for the sake of the glory of God and eternal souls.  An ancillary benefit to Paul's defense of his ministry is an explanation of how Paul did ministry, providing authoritative guidelines for what to do and how to do it.  Since these defenses are God's Word, they are to regulate what believers are to continue to do.

The first part of Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians provides one such defense of his ministry.  In 1 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul writes:
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile.
These three words communicate three categories of attack from the false teachers.  They had said his exhortation was deceit, uncleanness, and guile.  He says they weren't and then he goes into a more detailed explanation of how not on each of them.  They relate to his content, his motive, and his methods.  He could be preaching the wrong thing for the wrong reason and in the wrong way.  He defends himself in all of these.  As a preacher, Paul himself believed it wasn't just what he preached, by why and how as well.

What I'm writing about relates to ethics and ethical systems, such as utilitarianism, pragmatism, relativism, etc.  I was reading something over at 9Marks on this in the last few days with an exposure of the ethics for firing or releasing a particular pastor in the late 19th century because he wasn't filling the balcony with people.  Motive relates then to methods, because if the motivation is wrong, the method most often is then wrong too.

Paul wrote the following about his method later in 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12:
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:  As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
I want to give credit to Jared Stager, one of our adult Sunday School teachers, for bringing this to my attention, while sitting in his class.  Besides managing two plants as an engineer, he's also doing an MBA and writing a paper on ethics, so they have dovetailed, this passage and his class.  Paul judges what he does, so he uses three adverbs:  holily, justly, and unblameably.  People like to judge motives, but Paul judges actions, which is a good lesson to learn.  He asks them to judge how he did what he did, something they could see.

I'm not going to go into depth on the meaning of the three adverbs that characterized the ethics of Paul in his work.  That is a worth endeavor, but I'm going to leave this at a simpler point, that is, he was concerned how he did what he did and could defend his methods.  Paul's methods were above board, transparent, sacred, and true, themselves honoring to God.  They mattered to him.  They should to you too.

Someone might say, "At least people are going door to door and preaching.  Why do you have to be so critical of how they do it?" Perhaps even further, someone might say, "There are far worse methods than giving a survey that really isn't a survey, so why not start by criticizing those methods?"  If you've been reading here for awhile, I do criticize worse ones.  To answer the first concern though, believers have to accomplish their preaching in the right way, an ethical way too.

Paul didn't say, "Stop judging methods; they don't matter!"  Preachers today might just say, "Stop being critical."  Paul didn't say that.  He could defend what he did.  If methods didn't matter, Paul could have said, "Go ahead and judge my methods; they don't matter."  He defended his methods.  He obviously implied that if he actually had the methods they said he did, they would have been right.  He didn't.  We should be able to defend what and how we do too.  When you are out preaching the gospel, you are not taking a survey on religion in America.

You should be happy to say, "I'm out talking to people about Jesus," or "I'm out preaching the gospel."  If people don't want to hear that, then you find out and move to the next person, just like Jesus did.  That is holy, just, and unblameable ministry, which matters, as Paul taught.

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Dishonesty over the Version or Preservation of Scripture Issue

In my experience, someone like myself, who believes what scripture says about its own preservation, must answer every possible gotcha question about textual variants in the handwritten copies of the New Testament.  I have to give an honest answer, knowing that these are gotcha questions.  Among these are, "Which printed edition of the TR (textus receptus) is the perfectly preserved text?" and "What about the few words in the King James that translate no known original language manuscript?"

At the same time, I don't hear honesty about the doctrine of preservation coming from the other side.  I see and hear tactics in an attempt to win.  What does the Bible say about its own preservation, regardless of what you think about manuscript evidence?  What have Christians believed, said they believed, about the scriptural teaching of preservation?  Are you guiding your position on the teaching of the Bible on its own preservation by your interpretation of manuscript evidence?  Where does our faith lie and where do our doctrines come from?

There is no developed doctrine of scripture, no historic doctrine of preservation of scripture, that precedes the critical text, modern textual criticism, and the modern versions.  Those who support the critical text and modern versions don't start with biblical presuppositions.  Can't they just be honest and admit that they conform the biblical teaching to what they see as the reality or the science of manuscript evidence?

There is other dishonesty, but the above is the start and the crux of it.  Can't men just admit that Warfield set up an all new concept of inerrancy in the late 19th century to conform the understanding of biblical inerrancy to manuscript evidence?  Can't they be honest that textual variants do change doctrine?  Not only are doctrines changed in individual passages, but doctrines change overall.  An example is the textual variant in Matthew 18:15.  You can't find that exact teaching anywhere else in the Bible, so the variant changes the doctrine of the whole Bible.  The biblical and historical doctrine of preservation doesn't clash with the "translators to the readers" in the original King James Version.  They were advocating for future translation improvements, not a continued tweaking of the underlying text.  Those are not the same.  There are many, many more examples.

James White complains about how bad he has been treated by King James Onlyists.  You will have a difficult time finding anyone who will treat you worse than James White.  Bad treatment of him is an argument for him.  His bad treatment of others is not.  The assumption seems to be that how he treats others is always deserved and to the extent that he regularly lectures his opponents on their poor style.  Let's be honest:  no one has a corner on bad style and poor treatment.  I go door-to-door evangelism almost every week of the year and James White treats his foes worse than 95% of the bad treatment I get from unbelievers at the door.  The same goes for many other critical text proponents.  Everyone needs to be honest about poor style.

Daniel Wallace wrote one article about the doctrine of preservation.  It only deals with what he says that others believe on the doctrine.  He will point you to that article if you want to know his thoughts on preservation.  He has made no attempt to improve upon it.  There are numerous problems with the article.  He doesn't deal honestly with legitimate criticism.  He calls it cherry-picking or the like.  He's not honest about it.

Many fundamentalists say they believe scripture is preserved in the preponderance of the manuscripts.  They are saying every Word is found among all the manuscript evidence -- we just don't know what those Words are.  They don't even believe that.  Can't they just be honest about it?  They believe that in certain incidences, there is presently no extant manuscript that contains particular words in the original manuscripts. So they don't even believe in the preservation of every Word of God in the preponderance of the manuscripts, even though they haven't showed from the Bible how that is even a scriptural position.  They've just made up that belief or teaching.

When someone has the truth, they don't have to make things up and be dishonest about what it is.  They let the truth speak.  They want the truth.  I don't find that with the version or preservation of scripture issue.  The norm is dishonesty in fitting with an age of political correctness.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Abiding in Christ: What Does it Mean? part 4 of 9, the Lexica

The significance of abide as a synonym of remaincontinueendure, or persevere appears clear from an examination of the texts. While continuing with a person may often be connected with fellowship, the word itself does not signify any necessary personal communion. This fact is confirmed by an examination of the lexica.
The standard classical Greek lexicon provides the following definitions for various constructions of meno:
I. stand fast, in battle . . . of soldiers . . . 2. Stay at home, stay where one is . . . b. lodge, stay . . . c. stay away, be absent from . . . and so abs., to be a shirker, . . . 3. stay, tarry . . . loiter, be idle . . . 4. of things, to be lasting, remain, stand . . . having no proper motion . . . b. remain in one’s possession . . . 5. of condition, remain as one was, of a maiden . . . generally, stand, hold good . . . of circumstances . . . of prosperity . . . remain contented with . . . be content with . . . of wine, keep good . . . 6. abide by an opinion, conviction, etc. . . . the party which observes an engagement . . . 7. Impers. c. inf., it remains for one to do . . . II. Trans., of persons, await, expect . . . esp. await an attack without blenching . . . of a rock, bide the storm . . . reversely of things, awaits him . . . 2. c. acc. et inf., wait for, . . . [as in] wait ye for the Trojans to come nigh? . . . they waited for evening’s coming on . . . why wait to go? . . . I wait, i. e., long, to hear (Liddell, H. G. & Scott, R. Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed., New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996).
One notices that there is no definition for meno as “hold communion with” or the equivalent out of the many significations listed.
BDAG reads:
me÷nw(Hom.+) impf. e¶menon; fut. menw◊; 1 aor. e¶meina, impv. mei√non (Hv 3, 1, 9); pf. ptc. pl. memenhko/taß 2 Macc 8:1; plpf. memenh/kein 1J 2:19 (on the lack of augment s. B-D-F §66, 1; W-S. §12, 4; Mlt-H. 190).
      1. remain, stay, intr.
a. a pers. or thing remains where he, she, or it is.
a. of a location stay, oft. in the special sense live, dwell, lodge . . .
b. in transf. sense, of someone who does not leave a certain realm or sphere: remain, continue, abide . . . a pers. or thing continues in the same state
      2. to continue to exist, remain, last, persist, continue to live, intr.
      3. wait for, await, trans.
BDAG gives many objective definitions and analyses of the word, along with the interpretive statement that the word “is a favorite of J[ohn] to denote an inward, enduring personal communion.” While meno is unquestionably associated with communion, personal relationship is not an inherent part of the word itself. For example, when the disciples abode in a house on their evangelistic journeys (Luke 9:4) or the Lord Jesus abode in Zaccheus’ house (Luke 19:5), there doubtless was fellowship with the owners of the respective places of abode. Nonetheless, the word itself does not directly require the fellowship.
One thus notes that other lexica, such as The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains by Johannes P. Louw & Eugene A. Nida, define meno as “to continue to exist — ‘to remain, to continue, to continue to exist, to still be in existence. . . . to continue in an activity or state — ‘to continue, to remain in, to keep on.’ . . . to remain in the same place over a period of time — ‘to remain, to stay. . . . to remain in a place and/or state, with expectancy concerning a future event — ‘to await, to wait for.’” (13:89; 68:11; 85:55; 85:60). No definition of the word as fellowship or communion is listed. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon[3] defines the word as “1. to remain, abide . . .1a) in reference to place . . . 1a1) to sojourn, tarry . . . 1a2) not to depart . . . 1a2a) to continue to be present . . . 1a2b) to be held, kept, continually . . . 1b) in reference to time . . . 1b1) to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure . . . 1b1a) of persons, to survive, live . . . 1c) in reference to state or condition . . . 1c1) to remain as one, not to become another or different . . . 2) to wait for, await one.” Here again, no definition of the word as a synonym for fellowship is listed.
 
See the complete study on meno or "abiding," which includes the passages not only in the KJV but also in the Greek NT (not present in this series of blog posts), by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Everyone Justified by Faith Has the Unction and the Anointing

When you receive Jesus Christ, you have "an unction from the Holy One" (1 John 2:20).  Every truly saved person also has "the anointing" mentioned in 1 John 2:27.  These are not blessings received of God some time after justification by faith, that is, second blessings, that might bring someone to greater spiritual power.

"Unction" and "anointing" translate the Greek word chrisma, which is found only three times in the New Testament, all three in 1 John 2:20 and 27, the above two verses.  A word that is related is christos, translated "Christ," which is "the anointed one."  True followers of the Christ are christianous, Christians.

The point of 1 John is that someone who has received the Holy Spirit, and that is the unction or the anointing, will continue to abide in Christ. He won't depart into damning doctrine.  He won't deny that Jesus is the Christ, won't deny the Son, and won't be deceived by an antichrist.  True believers will pass a doctrinal test.

The indwelling Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the life of a believer by the believer holding to true doctrine concerning Jesus Christ.  He won't leave that.  He doesn't need a second blessing to get up to speed on the doctrine foundational to his salvation.  He is already there.  He already knows those things.  He has already been taught those things.  He doesn't need someone to teach them to him.

Unction and anointing are not higher planes of spiritual existence.  They are not special kinds of dedication and unique empowerment or enabling by God.  They are the normal existence of every genuine Christian.  This is why someone will not eject from the Christian faith, because he will be kept by the Spirit of God, who indwells him.  Someone who does not believe the true doctrine distinguishes himself as having never been saved in the first place and as someone who does not have the unction or the anointing.

Recently here, Thomas Ross suggested some materials on sanctification and asked for other good writing on that subject.  Someone said that John R. Rice had written well on sanctification.  John R. Rice did not take a biblical view of sanctification.  He preached second blessing or keswick theology.  That came to mind immediately when the individual commented about Rice and sanctification.  I remembered a long time ago reading The Fulness of the Spirit by Rice, a book he had written about sanctification that clashes with what Thomas Ross had suggested.

I was reminded of the Rice view of sanctification when I saw the latest edition of The Sword of the Lord (November 3, 2017) and the article published by Rice, entitled, "Anointed with Fresh Oil."  He said, "'Anointing' is a sign of the gift of the Holy Ghost or special anointing with Holy Spirit power.  He wrote that the "anointing" was "an obvious picture of an enduement of power."  Rice said "that would be a good thing for a Christian to claim and pray for."

Rice teaches in his article that the apostles had received the Holy Spirit in John 20, when Jesus said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," but that they were anointed with fresh oil on the Day of Pentecost, "a new anointing."  He ends the article by writing, "Will you pray for a fresh anointing for yourself and for me?  Will you pray for a fresh anointing for yourself and for the rest of us?"

Someone who receives Jesus Christ also receives the Holy Spirit, who indwells him the rest of his life and can never be lost for the believer.  The anointing or the unction manifests itself in continuing in the right doctrine.  The Holy Spirit keeps believers in the truth, so that they cannot apostatize, no matter what false doctrine a false teacher brings.  If someone does turn from the faith, 1 John 2:19 and 3:6 say he was never saved in the first place.  No one needs to pray for that anointing.  He cannot lose it.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Gospel Doesn't Change What God Expects

Paul in his letter to the Galatians dealt with a serious problem, the perversion of the gospel in the churches of Galatia.  In confronting the main corruption, Paul exposes other defilement too.  No doubt the big problem was adding works to grace, essentially expecting Gentiles to become Jews before they could become Christians, as seen in two practices:  circumcision and dietary restrictions.

Circumcision and dietary restrictions were both unique, ceremonial laws to the nation Israel.  God wasn't requiring circumcision or dietary restrictions for the whole world.  Circumcision had to do with God's covenant with Abraham, which applied specifically to him and his physical descendants (Gen 15 and 17).  Keeping ceremonial laws kept you in good standing in Israel, but it didn't mean you were saved, as seen in multiple places in the Old and New Testaments.  Dietary restrictions had been lifted by God's communication to Peter in Acts 10.

Peter also got in trouble with the James gang for eating with Gentiles (Galatians 2:12). They weren't eating right, so even if he was eating right, he shouldn't eat with them when they were eating wrong.  Peter knew the dietary restrictions were lifted and that Gentiles were not unclean, but this had not been fully accepted by all the professing Jewish Christians, so he stopped eating with Gentiles, confusing the gospel.  Did you have to keep ceremonial laws to be saved or not?  Paul confronted him to his face over this (Galatians 2:11).

According to Galatians 2:3, Paul brought Titus to Jerusalem because he was not circumcised, so he was a good example of the requirements of the gospel.  Titus was not expected to be circumcised, because Christ had fulfilled the ceremonial laws on the cross.  So did the gospel change God's expectations for how one of His were supposed to live?

Later in Galatians 2:17, Paul writes:
But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
This is very similar to Romans 6:1-2, also by Paul:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
The argument of the Judaizers or the Galatianists, leading to Galatians 2:17, was that the rejection of circumcision and dietary restrictions meant that justification by Christ made Christ a minister of sin.  If that were the case, then in Galatians 2:18, Paul said that he would also make himself a transgressor, if what they were saying were true.  In the next verse, 2:19, Paul writes:
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Gill writes concerning this:
The apostle further replies to the objection against the doctrine of justification, being a licentious one, from the end of his, and other believers, being dead to the law: he owns he was dead unto it, not in such sense as not to regard it as a rule of walk and conversation, but so as not to seek for life and righteousness by it, nor to fear its accusations, charges, menaces, curses, and condemnation: he was dead to the moral law as in the hands of Moses, but not as in the hands of Christ . . . .  the apostle by the doctrine of grace was taught not to seek for pardon, righteousness, acceptance, life, and salvation, by the works of the law, but in Christ; by the doctrine of the Gospel, which says, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved; he became dead to the law, which says, do this and live: or through the books of the law, and the prophets, the writings of the Old Testament, which are sometimes called the law, he learnt that righteousness and forgiveness of sins were only to be expected from Christ, and not the works of the law; things, though manifested without the law, yet are witnessed to by the law and prophets: or through the law of his mind, the principle of grace formed in his soul, he became dead to the power and influence of the law of works, he being no longer under the bondage of that, but under grace, as a governing principle in his soul.
As is most often the case with Gill, that's a long paragraph.  I've drawn your attention to a few points with underlining.

Paul would not become a transgressor and Christ would not be a minister of sin through justification by grace through faith.  Paul would still obey God's moral law, but through Christ who lived in him, as Galatians 2:20 reads:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The gospel does not change what God expects.  God still expects morality.  He still expects righteousness.  It is not the change in expectations, but a change in capability.  It wasn't Paul living it, but Christ in Him.  The expectations stayed and the means by which he lived those expectations changed.  He could do it now by the grace of God.

Later in Galatians, Paul reminds of this in Galatians 5:13:
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
The liberty Paul found in the grace of God was not for an occasion to the flesh.  The expectations didn't change, but the empowerment and motivation changed through conversion and the indwelling presence of the Lord.

Legalism is both left and right winged.  You can act like the Judaizers from Jerusalem, who added to the expectations and nullified God's grace with works.  That's right winged legalism.  You can shorten the list of expectations so that you can live them on your own.  Both are human effort and rejected by God.  The gospel doesn't diminish God's standards, but it enables them.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Samaritan Ministries Election: My Vote

Readers of this blog are likely aware of my posts Dangers in Samaritan Ministries part 1, part 2, and part 3, as well as Health Threats from Samaritan Ministries part 1 and part 2.  Samaritan Ministries ought to cease promoting quack nonsense that is dangerous to the health of Christians and, if followed, will lead to the early death of many of the precious saints of God and their inability to work to advance His kingdom because only their grieving spouses and children are left alive.  I was wondering whether people who were seeking to be on the governing board of the organization were in favor of the quackery being promoted in the newsletter, against it, or neutral towards it, that I might vote accordingly.

Looking at the testimonies given with the Samaritan Ministries voting information, I was able to locate the ministries where the people running for the board are serving and contact them. I have not received permission from them to post their responses to me, but based on what they told me I will vote, Lord willing, as follows:

1.) Robert (Bob) Douglas:  Yes

Lord willing, I will definitely vote for Bob Douglas.

2.) Daniel Michael: No

Lord willing, I will definitely not vote for Daniel Michael.

3.) Joseph Musser: Undecided

I am not sure yet whether or not to vote for Mr. Musser.

If you are a member of Samaritan Ministries, I would encourage you to read (or re-read) the posts above, and then contact the candidates for the board yourself.  If you share the concerns that I express in my posts above, I would also encourage you to vote in a similar manner to the way that I am planning to vote, even if you do not take the time to personally contact the candidates.  However, personal contact and your also sharing your concerns with them would, I believe, also be very appropriate.

TDR

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

All Audio and Video Up for 2017 WORD OF TRUTH CONFERENCE

The 2017 Word of Truth Conference, which was again on the theme of The Gospel and November 8-12, has all the audio (here) and video (here) available.  Please watch and listen.  Enjoy.  Next year's conference, Lord-willing, is November 7-11, Wed-Sun, and will again be the theme of The Gospel, probably the fourth and final installment of this theme.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Do Women Bring It On or Ask for It?

As more and more men have lost their careers through accusations of sexual harassment, molestation, or assault, I wanted to enter the danger, high voltage area of whether women bring it on or ask for it.  Before I do though, I should declare my standard on these matters, whether I've kept that standard perfectly or not through my life.  I see it as a scriptural standard, however, and it differs from what is expected of men.  What I'm saying is that the contemporary standard that women expect and that men violate is still below the scriptural standard for men.  Men should be fine at least keeping the standard they've been currently violating.  At the same time, I express that I understand why men seem confused as to the standard, which I'd also like to explore.

Men are required in scripture not even to look at a woman in a sexual way, unless they are married to that woman.  If men would not even look at women this way, I think they can keep the lower standard related to touching women.  The touching of women is also laid out in the Bible.  I'll briefly deal with both.  In the teaching of Jesus in what is called the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus laid out God's standard in Matthew 5:28:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
It seems like He may have been mirroring what you can read in Proverbs 6:25 in instructions to young men to stay morally, sexually pure:
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
When Job explained how he had stayed a righteous man, he wrote as a start in Job 31:1:
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
In the realm of touching, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:1:
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
I know that commentators have said that "touch" is a euphemism, but I take the position that touch is touch, which is why Paul says, "It is good for a man not to."  He would prohibit what it is said to be euphemistic of, and he does prohibit it elsewhere.  Men might come into contact with a woman not his wife, but it would be good for him not to do that, not even to touch.

A couple of other good arguments can be made, first, from Colossians 3:5:
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Paul says mortify, put to death, starting with the worst, fornication, but everything leading up to it too, starting with covetousness, which is idolatry.  The other is Paul's command in 1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee fornication."  Furthermore, outside of marriage, someone or many, God says, have been defrauded (cf. 1 Thess 4:6).

I don't think I need to break down all of the above.  There's enough there to say what needs to be said.  If men had obeyed those verses, they would not be in trouble right now.  I think the women screaming the most about the violations would be against what the Bible teaches in those verses.  They want a certain amount of violation of those verses.  They don't want to be judged by the Bible in most cases and hate it.

Again, I start by saying the above scriptural teaching is my standard.  It's what I believe in, so I think what almost all of these men have been accused of is wrong.  They have transgressed scripture and without repentance and faith in Christ, they are in trouble with God, which is their worst trouble, not their ruined careers.  However, I think we should go to the area of whether women have responsibility too, and also the fathers and brothers and husbands, who should be leading and protecting them.

Are women asking for it?  I think most people in the secular world would at least frown on, or worse than frown, any censure of Beyonce, the female pop singer, when she proclaims the following in her piece, called Check On It:
Ohh, boy you looking like you like what you see
Won’t you come over and check up on it
I’m gone let you work up on it
Ladies let em check up on it
Watch it while he check up on it…
If you got it, flaunt it, boy I know you want it
While I turn around you watch me check up on it
Ooh, you watchin’ me shake it, I see it in ya face
Ya can’t take it, it’s blazin, you watch me in amazement. 
I picked these lyrics because they were more tame compared to others.  There are numerous similar or worse lyrics from the most famous and respected female pop singers in the world.  These are the people, let alone women, with the most twitter and instagram followers on the planet.  They are "asking for it," quite literally.  Do women invite the supposedly forbidden attention they receive.

Women want outstanding men.  I read that from them in certain places in complete contradiction to Beyonce's lyrics.  They often bemoan the lack of good men.  However, in many cases they don't act like it themselves.  We see in scripture numerous examples of women, who are bringing it on or asking for it.  I can take you through all the examples, that include Jezebel, the strange woman of Proverbs, and Delilah, among many others.  The idea here is that women can dress and act almost any way they want, and men are supposed to do nothing.  What's the point of wearing what they do (or not wearing) and acting as they do, if they don't want what they say they don't?

I've explained to young ladies that the allurement is like fly paper.  They can attempt to lure or seduce the one they want, but it's only going to attract all of the other flies with it.  You also keep what you've attracted just how you got it.  The ante will keep being upped until nothing can satisfy.  Whatever way you got the man is the kind of man he is.  We live in a society that rewards this in women, and women oblige the reward.  They don't have to, but they do, and then they say, you can't do that.  Almost everything about them says someone can do that, except for later, when they say they didn't really want it.

What are men supposed to do?  Once they've seen it the first time, they aren't supposed to look one more time. They are supposed to look away.  Don't look at these women who want men to look at you.  Don't reward them.  They are not good ladies.  They are not.  These women though are saying one of the following:  'look at me, but don't lust,' 'look at me, lust away, but don't touch,' or 'look, lust, touch, but not too much, just the amount of touching I want from you.'  This is where the confusion lies for men, who really don't have a standard, very often until the deed is done.

The women today also say they are in a quandary.  They can't get a man unless they seduce, but if they seduce, they usually don't get a good man.  It's a tough balancing act, when the culture has abandoned the Bible and God's way.

"Seduce" comes from the Latin, seductio, which means to lead. The sexual appearance of women relates to seduction and to a modern form of feminism.  It might seem contradictory.  Men allow women to lead when they follow a woman's seduction.  On the other hand, a woman wants a man then who isn't leading.  She finds he is either not much of a man or not a man at all.

I wrote recently that men don't know how to act.  If women are going to be the instructors, which there isn't grounds for them to be that, then men should know what the standard is.  This, however, is where is the most major trouble on all this, as Al Gore once said, "There is no controlling legal authority."  Or as Judges 17:6 says, "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes."  Or maybe like before God wiped out all of mankind except for eight people, in Genesis 6:5-7:
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.
We either have a standard or we don't.  We judge and condemn on what we accept, not ex post facto on what we wish would have happened.  The rules need to be laid out and some kind of authoritative explanation needs to be made for them.  Can we do that in an age when there is no acceptable authority?  This is what happens when a nation turns away from God.

Church Autonomy, Pastoral Authority, Closed Communion, and the Gospel: The Means Becoming the End

I believe scripture teaches church autonomy, pastoral authority, and closed communion -- all three.  I think I'm strong on all three, because scripture teaches all three.  If you lose the gospel, none of the three matter any more though.

Church autonomy, pastoral authority, and closed communion are about protecting and propagating the truth.  They are a means to an end.  The end isn't church autonomy, pastoral authority, and closed communion.  Those are tools in the toolbox, so to speak.  They are tools by which the truth and a sub category of that, the gospel, can be protected and propagated.  If the truth and the gospel aren't protected and propagated, then those three don't matter any more.  You don't even have a church without the truth and the gospel.

As I say that, my first questions for you aren't, what do you believe about the nature of the church, church autonomy, pastoral authority, and closed communion?  I'm asking you first what you believe about the gospel, because you don't even have a church without the gospel.  I'm saying that I believe some churches are more concerned about their own autonomy and pastors, their authority, then they are the gospel itself.

The three and perhaps a few others -- whether you use the King James and what's the nature of the church -- in practice seem to take preeminence over the gospel among some professing Baptists, including unaffiliated Baptist churches.  I'm asking you to think about it.

I'm glad our church is autonomous.  It is again because the Bible teaches autonomy.  Autonomy allows the Bible as our authority.  We are not subject the compromise and corruption of hierarchical authority.  The certain means of purity God gave to individual churches can have their full effect on the preservation of the truth and the gospel.  God designed for the truth to be kept by a church.  You get it outside of individual church authority and the means are diminished for protecting the truth.

I'm glad for pastoral authority.  The point of pastoral authority isn't to make it easier for a pastor to corrupt the truth and the gospel.  Pastoral authority is not a divine right of kings.  It has a purpose and is effective for that purpose.  The pastor feeds, leads, and protects.  He feeds the gospel and the truth.  He leads in the gospel and the truth.  He protects the sheep from diversion from the truth and corruption of the gospel.  It's not about not being questioned.

I'm glad for closed communion.  If communion was supposed to be close or open, I'd go with that.  If you practice closed, but you allow truth to be perverted and the gospel altered, then you've missed the point of closed.  Closed allows for separation.  Separation is intended for purity.  Purity is purity in the belief and practice of the truth, including the gospel.  If you are not protecting your church from a false gospel, but you do protect your church from close and open communion, then you are missing the point of being closed.

I know people who are close in their communion, whose church is far more pure than those who are closed communion.  I know those with closed communion with false worship.  Communion with God is more important than communion with other church members.  If you are not aligned with God in worship, the qualities of your worship are ungodly, then you've got a bigger problem the wrong practice of communion.  I know those with closed communion, who allow in those who preach another gospel.  They won't allow someone outside of their church to join them in communion, but they have communion with someone who preaches a false gospel.  In as simple terms as possible, that's messed up.

Church autonomy, pastoral authority, and closed communion are the truth.  However, I would rather fellowship with someone who emphasizes the truth, all of it, except for those three, than the one who treats those three like they are more important than the truth and the gospel.

Let me close this with a car metaphor.  Your acceptance of false worship and a false gospel is like having a blown engine.  Your acceptance of close or open communion is like having some dents on the body or fenders, maybe a crack on the windshield.  With the latter, at least you can still drive the car.  The former you can't and you won't.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Divorce, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Remarriage, and New Testament teaching

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is an important passage relating to the Biblical teaching on divorce and remarriage.  The text reads as follows:

1 כִּי־יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה וּבְעָלָהּ וְהָיָה אִם־לֹא תִמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינָיו כִּי־מָצָא בָהּ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתוֹ׃
2 וְיָצְאָה מִבֵּיתוֹ וְהָלְכָה וְהָיְתָה לְאִישׁ־אַחֵר׃
3 וּשְׂנֵאָהּ הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרוֹן וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתוֹ אוֹ כִי יָמוּת הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרוֹן אֲשֶׁר־לְקָחָהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה׃
4 לֹא־יוּכַל בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר־שִׁלְּחָהּ לָשׁוּב לְקַחְתָּהּ לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר הֻטַּמָּאָה כִּי־תוֹעֵבָה הִוא לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וְלֹא תַחֲטִיא אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה׃ 

The four verses constitute one sentence in Hebrew, which could be translated as:

When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: and he will write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house; and she will go out of his house, and she will go and be another man’s wife; and the latter husband will hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; her  former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God gives you for an inheritance.

The sentence consists of a large series of clauses connected with "and."  Verse four contains the only commands:  "her former husband . . . may not take her again to be his wife," and "you shall not cause the land to sin" by this action, for it is an "abomination to the LORD" that "cause[s] the land to sin" (v. 4, cf. Eze 14:13).  Everything except these two commands in verse four is merely permissive, not commanded. The text contains no command at all to divorce, much less to remarry.

How does Deuteronomy 24:1-4 relate to the plain New Testament teaching of Jesus Christ that remarriage is adultery?  Consider Christ's commentary in Mark 10:1-12 on Deuteronomy 24:1-4:

1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.  9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

The Lord Jesus Christ teaches that God's plan from the very beginning of the Old Testament was one man for one woman for life, and that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was allowed for the hardness of men's hearts. (See the essay on "The Bible and Divorce" here.)  Furthermore, Christ teaches that remarriage while one's first spouse is alive constitutes the wicked sin of adultery.  This is actually clear within the text of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 itself.  Note that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 clearly indicates that the remarriage has caused the woman to be "defiled."  The Old Testament text itself denies that the remarriage is acceptable to Jehovah--it is evil and defiling.  However, civil law in Israel's theocracy was different from God's perfect standard about the nature of sin.  Some things that are sin were not illegal in Israel and should not be illegal now--they are legal even though they are sinful because of the hardness of men's hearts.  Covetousness is forbidden in the Ten Commandments, but there was no civil penalty for coveting.  (Nobody would be left.)  Drunkenness is forbidden by God in many verses, but it was not illegal in Israel.  Similarly, divorce is a sin--God hates it (Malachi 2:16)--and remarriage is defiling, but both were legal in Israel.  The civil government's permission to divorce is different from the fact that divorce and remarriage are outside of the perfect moral will of God.

Clearly, then, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 does not by any means constitute a permission for divorce or for remarriage in Biblical New Testament churches.  Christ's teaching against divorce and remarriage in Mark 10:1-12 brings out the true sense of the Old Testament text from Genesis to Malachi.  In Mark 10, however, Christ does not address the question of whether the political system should make divorce or remarriage illegal. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 demonstrates that the civil government should allow divorce or remarriage to be legal (along with covetousness, drunkenness, laziness, and many other sins) because of the hardness of men's hearts.

Furthermore, Deuteronomy 24 teaches that if one has committed the sin of divorce and the further sin of remarriage, he should not sin a third time by divorcing his second spouse and returning to the first one.  Some extreme advocates of the (Biblical) no-divorce, no-remarriage position argue that one should leave a second spouse and return to the first one because one is (allegedly) engaging in repeated and continual acts of adultery when one engages in marital relations with a second spouse.  Deuteronomy 24:1-4 makes it clear that this extremist position is false and dangerous.  Divorce is a terrible sin.  Remarriage is a terrible sin, and the initial consummation of the second marriage is an act of wicked adultery.  Believers who commit an act of adultery by remarrying should repent of that horrible sin. Church members who remarry should be subject to church discipline like other adulterers. However, once one has married a second spouse and committed lifelong fidelity to him or her, going back to the first spouse is an "abomination to the LORD" (Deuteronomy 24:4) that defiles the land.  Everything in the Old Testament that is an abomination to Jehovah (versus, say, an abomination only to the Egyptians, Genesis 43:32) is a permanent moral prohibition, not something that changes by dispensation.  Consider (from the study of Deuteronomy 22:5 here, dealing with the abomination of violating gender-distinction):

Abominations to Jehovah are always moral law, always evil. These are the sins [and Deut 22:5] that Scripture says are an abomination TO THE LORD (there are other verses where the sins below are called abominations, but these are the categories):
Idolatry and false worship:
Deut. 7:25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. (cf. 1 Ki 14:23ffDeut 17:1)
Stealing:
Deut. 25:13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
Deut. 25:14 Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
Deut. 25:15 But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Deut. 25:16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Seven sins here listed:
Prov. 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Prov. 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Prov. 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Prov. 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
The worship of a wicked man:
Prov. 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
Adultery:
Deut. 24:4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
The occult:
Deut. 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
Deut. 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
Deut. 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
Deut. 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
Rebellion:
Prov. 11:20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
Human sacrifice:
Deut. 12:31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
Homosexuality:
Lev. 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Thus, the Bible clearly teaches that divorce is a grave sin, and remarriage is adultery (Mark 10) which defiles (Deuteronomy 24:4).  Likewise, rejecting a second spouse, committing a second sin of divorce, and going back to a first spouse is not godly repentance, but an "abomination."  Sometimes when a certain sin has been committed there is no going back.  Israel sinned when the nation failed to inquire of Jehovah and made vows to Gibeon (Joshua 9), but once the vows had been made, there was no going back.  In the same way, once one has made life-long vows to a second spouse and married him or her, there is no going back--to do so is an abomination to the Lord.

In summary:

1.) Do not divorce.  God hates it.
2.) Do not remarry.  It is adultery.
3.) If you remarry, do not go back to your first spouse.  It is an abomination.

Bro Kent Brandenburg's study on the Biblical way to obtain a life's partner (assuming, of course, that one has the new birth and conversion, the first and greatest prerequisite) is a great preservative against committing the terrible sins of divorce and remarriage.  One who starts out right is, by the grace of God, much more likely to continue right than someone who starts out wrongly.

An addendum: I cut and pasted the Hebrew text in at the start of the blog post, and I do not endorse the only partially pointed Tetragrammaton found in the Hebrew critical text. See footnote #1 in my essay on the history of the debate over the Hebrew vowel points here.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bock and Wallace, Reliability of the New Testament

Dallas Theological Seminary with Darrell Bock has what they call a table podcast, which looks like a decorated room with a table and a couple of microphones to do a video podcast.  I like the format and would like to do something like it myself -- stay tuned because in the next year, I think we might do this.  There's carpet in the room and it looks like Wallace has socks on.  That's fun.  You can see him rubbing his feet in the carpet.

I didn't watch the whole podcast.  I watched starting at 16:28 until the end.  The format is that Bock is an interviewer and he looks like he is winging it in an intelligent way, as well as Wallace in his answers.  I think they are fairly standard and common questions that these two must address all the time as professors in the New Testament department of a seminary.  This is not technical.  It's obviously done for lay people to provide what might be considered some basics.  There are some pastors that don't know this basic material, so they should at least watch and at least understand the answers.  You could learn something.  I learned at least three things from watching, and I'll let you know.

I'm posting this and commenting on it because it really is a standard presentation in defense of the critical text.  A lot of "King James Only" (textus receptus supporters actually) comes into the program.  Bock and Wallace are defending the reliability of the New Testament, which for them is a testimony for the critical text against criticisms from the left or the right of them over the same concerns about reliability.  The left would say that there is some doubt about the reliability because of the huge number of variants between manuscripts.  The right would say that this level of certainty isn't what believers should expect.  I think they do a very good job of answering the left, but a bad job of answering the right.

What I'm writing here about their podcast is motivated by the negative, but I want to start with some positives, not because I think I need to do that to be fair.  I mean it when I'm positive.  I'm actually positive, not using the sandwich method of criticism. I want to thank them.  Bock and Wallace are arguing for the reliability of the New Testament.  They are arguing from a naturalistic point of view, but even arguing with naturalism, depending on so-called science, the New Testament stands up to criticism.  I'm happy about that.

Bock and Wallace don't want people ejecting from the New Testament for textual reasons.  That's good.  Hurray for them!  Bravo!  They want people believing the Bible.  I think they mean it.  I'm happy that Wallace is taking pictures of every Greek manuscript and putting it online.  It provides a service.  I'm glad someone is funding that.  It is a gigantic, monumental task, that someone should do.  It's the Bible!  It's God's Word!  We should know what we have in the way of manuscript evidence.  When people challenge us on these means, which they do all the time where I live in our evangelism, we can point to something that debunks their lies, and they are lies.

The condition of the New Testament from a purely naturalistic viewpoint is very good.  Wallace is physically proving that by putting up all the textual evidence.  It hasn't been corrupted like the Moslems and atheists and others, who just want to discredit the authority of scripture, would say.  They are lying.

Within the talk between Bock and Wallace on reliability of the New Testament, they testify to faith in Christ as well.  At one point late in the interview, while talking about a short ending of Mark, Wallace says:
I think his intention is to get the readers to put themselves in the sandals of the disciples, and now what am I gonna do with Jesus? If I want to accept him in his glory the way Peter did in his confession of Jesus as the Christ, I must also accept him in his suffering, and I must carry my cross daily and follow him. 
That’s what Mark I think is doing is, “You’re persecuted Christians. You’ve gotta own this and not just read this and casually be a Christian. If you’re gonna be a follower of Jesus, you really better follow him, and that includes suffering.”
I was happy to read that testimony.  They were not rejecting the truth about Jesus Christ.  Bock says,
We’ve got the declaration of the resurrection. We’ve got the empty tomb. We’ve got those elements. Now I call this the “you make the call” part of the New Testament, and that’s how Mark’s ending. What are you gonna do with this? You’ve got an empty tomb. You’ve got witnesses to an empty tomb. You’ve got a declaration that Jesus is raised from the dead. What are you gonna do with this?
I'm happy they are saying these things.  This is not liberalism.  This is exalting Jesus.

I said I learned three things.  One, Wallace quotes an updated edition of Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, admitting the following.
“I don’t disagree with Dr. Metzger. There is no cardinal doctrine that is jeopardized by any of these variants.” And that’s on page 252 of the paperback version of Misquoting Jesus.
That was news to me, and helpful.  The other was this statistic from Wallace.
There’s about two-and-a-half million pages of Greek New Testament manuscripts, which means if we have only photographed 20 percent, it’s great job security for me.
Three, Wallace said this.
Now when you actually think about these variants, the other thing I would say is people who make this claim have not compared it to Greco-Roman literature. We have maybe half a dozen manuscripts for the average classical author, and let’s say we had as many as 15 manuscripts for the average classical Greek author that still exist. 
You stack those up, and they’d be about four feet high. If you stack up the New Testament manuscripts, the Greek ones as well as early translations which all count as manuscripts in Latin and Coptic and Syriac and Georgian and Gothic and Ethiopic and all that, it’ll be about a mile and a quarter high, four feet versus a mile and a quarter.
OK, so now I come to the negative.  When it comes to the reliability of the New Testament, Bock and Wallace, as is so often the case, argue in a naturalistic way.  They don't begin with theological presuppositions, which we should expect from conservative apologists of scripture, who are defending the reliability of the New Testament.  Our expectations for the New Testament find their trajectory in the promises of the New Testament.  What we should expect of the New Testament comes from the New Testament.  Bock and Wallace settle for something less that what believers should expect.  They don't even mention this.

Bock and Wallace argue against the teaching of the New Testament when it comes to what Christians should expect.  Why should anyone expect word for word perfection?  They don't deal with that.  They leave it alone.  Why?  Is it really that assumed?  The extent of their theological argument, biblical theology, is maybe four points.

To start, Bock and Wallace don't really say in this portion of their conversation what or who they're arguing against.  I guess it's supposed to be obvious.  They are burdened by something that motivates them to answer.  They should have a burden, because the basis of the criticism of their position is legitimate.

The four points are not necessarily in this order, but, one, the critical text doesn't diminish teaching on the deity of Christ.  Two, all the doctrines are preserved in the critical text, not in every individual passage of scripture, but all of them are in the critical text of the New Testament.  Three, the absence of "chunk portions" in the critical text, namely Mark 16 and John 8, is defensible theologically and textually.  Four, you've got more text than is in the Bible between all the manuscripts, so you aren't missing anything overall that you need, because it's all in there somewhere.  These four points are supposed to alleviate angst, provide calm, and really just be good enough for someone.  Question though:  is this what we are to expect when we read what we are to expect?  Absolutely not.

The textual problems are good enough for Wallace and Bock to deny a doctrine or preservation.  Is this a liberal position.  Usually this isn't associated with liberalism, but liberalism comes when doctrines of scripture are rejected for naturalistic reasons. The miracles of Jesus, He did them, but since someone hasn't seen them, they are rejected.  This is conforming the preservation of scripture, and also the degree of reliability, reliability of every word, to just reliability of "doctrines."  This changes the nature of scriptural teaching on reliability.  It is against historic doctrine of the church. Their defense is inadequate.

Scripture has a doctrine of preservation.  Our views of canonicity are guided by a trajectory that proceeds from expectation from biblical teaching, not naturalism.  What we consider scripture comes from scripture.  What we believe on preservation should also come from scripture, and Bock and Wallace just ignore that in this interview.

Men expect a perfect text, which is why they defend the textus receptus.  At one point, you can hear at least a little concern from Bock, when he says,
[I]t’s a question that does hang over this conversation, and that is the view of the fact that this has been a part of the passing on of Scripture for as long as it has. That actually applies to lots of texts, but this one is probably one of the more prominent ones to which that question gets pursued.
Notice he says, "a part of the passing on of Scripture."  This motivates a continuation of this kind of presentation from them.  Believers, true churches, continued to pass this along as scripture.  Moderns now reject this.  Their grounds are naturalistic, not theological.  Scripture doesn't teach a loss and then restoration of scripture, based on naturalistic grounds.  They need to go there, but as is so often the case, they don't.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How Are Men Supposed to Act?

Men don't know how to act today.  I admit that.  I believe it 100%.  I also believe that women don't know how they want men to act.  So what do men do?

More and more news arises of men treating women different than, it seems, how they want to be treated.  Is it different than how men want to treat women?  I'm not sure.  Men don't know how to treat women.  They don't know what's right.  There isn't a standard for how to act as a man and there is no standard for how to treat women.

Don't get me wrong.  There is a standard for how men should act and how they should treat women.  It's in the Bible.  But the Bible is ignored as a standard.  That leaves us men with what?  If we have no absolute truth or no standard for how to act as men or how we are to treat women, how can anything be expected of us as men?  Unless we're going to bring the Bible back.  Do women want that?

Let's say that Roy Moore, the Senate candidate in Alabama, is a hypocrite.  With hypocrisy, you've got to have a standard, one that you advocate, but that you don't keep yourself.  Is that standard, the one you're advocating, the correct standard? We might say that Roy Moore is a hypocrite, but what standard was he supposed to keep and why?

Roy Moore was a 32 year old assistant district attorney.  The most egregious example I read of his misbehavior was that he molested a 14 year old girl under the guise of "dating" her.  It is alleged behavior, which is enough to convict him the court of public opinion.  However, he is also said to have attempted to "date" a number of other teen-aged girls.

What's bad about the whole story of Roy Moore?  He stands as perhaps the most prominent enthusiast of the ten commandments in the United States.  So, while he was busy carving a wooden plaque of the ten commandments as a 32 year old assistant district attorney, he was lusting after teen-aged girls.  If it's true, it's creepy, but it doesn't disobey in corporeal way any of the ten commandments.  The ten commandments are not the end all of moral behavior.  Jesus said, if you lusted after a woman in your heart, you've committed adultery already.  Women today would scoff at that standard of behavior for men.  They wouldn't say that's how men are supposed to act.  Lust away, just don't touch when we don't want it, is more like it.

Women don't like how they are being treated by men.  They are talking about it.  They are marching against it.  Where do we go from here?  We know some things women don't want.  Many of them sat listening to Louis C. K. tell masturbation jokes, laughing away, returning for another comedy show, watching the next one, joining him in his productions.  Now he's a pariah, worse than one.  Untouchable.  He did things awhile ago and in a continuous way, but now, while it's expedient, he's being called on them, ruined, and getting battered further for his bungled apology.  Why wasn't he being punished when he was telling those jokes?  Women were a large part of his audience.  He was considered a great dad.  If the goal is to help men with their behavior, this isn't helpful.

The Bible has a standard for how men are supposed to act and with a lot of examples, both positive and negative.  It is clear.  It also has the standard for female behavior.

I'm contending that among the chief reasons men misbehave is that they don't know how to act.  If you give up your standard, you can't expect men to know how.  Lines have to be drawn far in advance of assault and molestation.  You have to know what respect is, who women are and how to treat them.  You have to know that as a man.  It's taught by men.

What I get is the following so far in the latest protest by women.  "Don't assault us."  Don't molest us.  Don't harass us.  Don't use positions of power to subjugate us."  Men shouldn't do any of those.  We know what men shouldn't do.  So they won't do that, right?  I don't know.  I doubt it.  I think men need to know what to do, how to act, not just what they shouldn't.  I think, if men don't know what to do and are not taught what to do, because it's the right thing to do, they won't stop doing what they're not supposed to do.

Roy Moore is a little more than one month of a Senatorial election and the Washington Post of all papers exposes him as a child molesting hypocrite.  Not a moment sooner.  Let Roy Moore shrink off into oblivion.  How men are supposed to act?  It will still be an issue.  Will the Washington Post show the same interest in male Democrat candidates?  I'm predicting even greater confusion and chaos for the future.  Women can tell men how they want them to act, but men will decide how they will act.  The bigger issue will still exist.

March 30 of this year, the Washington Post wrote a piece, Mike Pence and the Temptresses.   There the Post laid out unacceptable behavior for men, for the Vice President of the United States.  He was being careful.  That was a no-no.  He was treating his wife with respect.  That wasn't right.  Again, we find out what men are not supposed to do.  Have a low standard, just not too low.

We need male role models.  First, we need a male role.  We've got to start with a standard.  Men don't know how to act, because there's no standard for how men are supposed to act.  We know what women don't want.  Perhaps we can find out too what they do.