Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Quick Review of John MacArthur's Appearance on Larry King Live 8/23/05

I meant to post on this LKL episode the week it aired, but I didn't get to see the recording until a few days later. We don't have cable in the Butler family home. We have a big TV, but no cable. Television is a major time sucker and the regular programs have generally become more and more insipid over the 5 years I have been without cable. In short, I don't miss it. However, I am behind a few days on commenting upon important events like my pastor being on Larry King Live.

For some reason, John has endeared himself to Larry King. He has made a handful of appearance since his first time way back in September 2001 right after the terrorist attacks in New York. Some suggest it may be due in part to some likeminded Christians on the production staff for Larry's show who listen to John's radio ministry. What ever the case, when there is a need for a token right wing Fundamentalist, Larry turns to John to fill the spot. Thankfully, John is sound of mind and not only a Fundamentalist, but a clear thinking, gracious and articulate Fundamentalist.

His most recent excursion onto the Larry King Show was to address the creation and evolution debate, specifically the Intelligent Design movement among many of the top academics in American universities. The issue of teaching ID along with criticism of Darwinian Evolution in public schools has reached the federal level at the House of Representatives. That sort of publicity panics materialistic atheists, because their primary religious faith is being challenged. Hence, the fine folks at Larry King Live believed this discussion would make for some tremendous on-air debate.

Tony Capoccia of the Bible Bulletin Board has a transcript of the program in big readable font for those who missed the airing. It can be read here. I won't give a point by point review, but just note some highlights from the program.

First, let's meet the cast of characters. John was on with five other participants:

Dr. Barbara Forrest who is the co-author of an anti-God book, Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. She was sort of a hoot to watch. She had the condescending bobble-head shaking going on in response to the other participants and the shrill, nasally voice, reminiscent of Lilly Thomlison's telephone operator character was an extra bonus. I kept expecting her to say "one ringy dingy; two ringy dingies." She also maintained a tight, wrinkled face through out the entire program, as if there was a flatulent Great Dane sitting at her feet.

Right at the outset, there are two black marks against her as being a credible critic of the ID movement. First, she is professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University. Note the title, Professor of Philosophy. Why is a philosophy professor being asked to comment upon something the world considers to be a scientific debate? Granted, I do believe the heart of the debate boils down to philosophical worldviews and how those worldviews interpret scientific evidence. The problem with Dr. Barbara is her appeals to science, when in point of fact, she is not an expert in any scientific field and she is making just as many "faith" commitment as those she attacks.

Second is what she does as a hobby. In addition to being a professor of philosophy, she is on the National Advisory Council of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. They're one of the worse anti-religious organizations making the public rounds in these sorts of debates. Moreover, it is interesting to note that Dr. Barbara is a contributor for Infidels.com, an atheistic website. So, for her to even question the motives and intentions of ID proponents as she does constantly during the program is flat out hypocritical and disingenuous on her part. She is driven by her own motives, as well.

Senator Sam Brownback a Republican from Kansas. He came across as a sound and reasonable supporter from Intelligent Design to be taught along side of Darwinian evolution. I was grateful for his overall demeanor, because usually, programs like LKL find some Foghorn Leghorn sounding backwoods bumpkin Republican from Mississippi explain why "evaluchon ain't cyence." Senator Sam was a good guy. I would request, however, that he expunge the word "robust" from his vocabulary. I think he used it at least a dozen times to describe the nature of the debate.

Congressman Chris Shays, Republican from Connecticut. First off, what was up with the powder blue backdrop behind this guy? He looked as though he was sitting for his 5th grade yearbook photo. Whoever it was on his staff who set up this interview location needs to be slapped about the head. The congressman was one of the adversarial Republicans who thinks this issue should not be addressed by the federal government and the president was wrong to even bring it up in a recent speech. One one hand, I can understand his point: why is it necessary for the federal government to tell local and state schools what sort of curriculum to teach. However, on the other hand, he struggles with a self-imposed myopia to the much larger issue of academic freedom for high school teachers to even present opposing argumentation that may be both critical of traditional Darwinian evolutionary philosophy and supportive of ID theory.

Dr. Jay Richards, vice president of the Discovery Institute. Dr. Richards reminds me of a young Ed Begley Jr. before he transformed into the freakish eco-pantheist that he now is. He had a lot of good things to say; more so than what I expected.

Deepak Chopra. Woah! take it down a notch, Hadji. Just like John is the token Fundamentalist, Deepak is the token horses's rear. Anyone who watched the program understands the reason for my snide remark. Every time Deepak is on with John, he must believe it is his mission to challenge everything John says. He contradicts, rudely talks over, and speaks of John in the third person, even though he is sitting right next to him in the studio. His churlish behavior only demonstrates how fake his hearts and flowers, cosmic group hug and tolerant collective conscience nonsense really is. Everyone is included in Deepak's world, except Christians who believe Jesus is the only way.

I personally do not understood why he was even asked to be on to address this subject seeing that he was utterly unprepared to discuss intelligently any of the key issues underlying the debate. Bob "Gilligan" Denver, America's favorite castaway, could had brought better understanding to the debate. I am beginning to believe the only reason he is scheduled is because John was going to be on. I guess King's people believes it makes for better ratings to have a self-appointed guru attacking a pastor.

Generally, the program went well. All three defenders of Intelligent Design, John, Dr. Richards, and Senator Brownback, did a fine job focusing the discussion around the important, key elements. That being:

0 The need for ID to be allowed a place in the class room for discussion, rather than censorship.

0 Academic freedom for high school teachers to present ID in class without fear of reprisal.

0 The debate centers around two philosophical methods of interpreting evidence.

0 ID theory only detects the existence of intelligence.

0 And John reminded everyone that ID does not explain the intelligence, only religion does.

Some highlights from John's overall comments:

MACARTHUR: Well, I think intelligent design is the only possible scientific position to hold, because we have intelligence in the universe. It has to come from intelligence, because we have complexity, it has to come from complexity. The silver bullet, Larry, is DNA. Before our understanding of DNA, there was a lot of confusion and a lot of belief in evolution. It was like the emperor's new clothes. It was really naked but thought it was dressed up. DNA has, I think, spelled the end of traditional naturalistic evolution, which essentially says complexity comes out of simplicity. It can't happen. The silver bullet is not a single example of reproduction leading to an increased amount of genetic material necessary to produce a more complex organism has ever happened.

MACARTHUR: I accept the Bible as the source, the authoritative source that tells me it was God, and something or someone has to be eternal, and the Bible says it is God who is the eternal one.

MACARTHUR: I don't particularly care whether Adam and Eve is taught in a public school, because I'm not sure that the person teaching it or mandated to teach it would be able to teach it correctly or with conviction ... When it comes to origin, nobody was there. We can't reproduce it. It's not repeatable. So it's a faith base, even an evolutionist is putting faith in the eternality of matter or some natural element. It's all faith at that particular point. We choose to believe in the God who has revealed himself in scripture and his account of creation.

Then, there was an interesting interchange with John and congressman Shays on the authority of Genesis:

MACARTHUR: I would just like to encourage the congressman, because at the beginning he said that, in his faith, he believes in the "Genesis" account, and I think...

SHAYS: First Chapter.

MACARTHUR: First Chapter, sure, I'll stick with that first chapter, six days of creation and God rested. That's what the scripture says.

SHAYS: And made -- and made everything perfect.

MACARTHUR: That's right. And then the fall, you've got to get to Chapter Three sooner or later.

SHAYS: Well, I don't want to get to Chapter Three.

MACARTHUR: Well, you have to. I mean, you are trying to...

SHAYS: You think I have to. See, that's the problem, and that's my point. That's my point.

MACARTHUR: I want to know why he's a congressman if he isn't in there trying to help -- reduce the effects of what happened in Chapter Three, which is the story of the fall?

SHAYS: No, but see, this is, Larry, this is the key point. I believe in God deeply, and already now I'm being questioned, and that's the danger, because the gentleman who just spoke has his religious view and questions mine. You are going to raise such a huge challenge if we start getting into this debate, because it's intolerant, and I think that's what this discussion is leading to.

MACARTHUR: I just need to defend myself. I certainly didn't intend that. You said you believed in Genesis I. ... and I just said you should stick with the conviction about Genesis I, and you have the creation account right there.

I certainly appreciated the gracious manner in which John handled himself with the congressman in light of his weird response. Doesn't want to get to chapter 3? What was that all about? But, in all honesty, I cannot believe Congressman Shays started bawl-babying about having his beliefs challenged. I think that only shows he is ignorant of what he believes, or if anything, he has an extremely superficial and shallow understanding of the Bible and what he should believe as a professed Christian.

Some of the non-sequitur, hand scratching questions asked by Larry King:

"So all this other proof of millions of years, cavemen, don't mean anything?"

"Dr. Forrest, your concept of how can you out-and-out turn down creationism, since if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?"

"Dr. Richards, if there's intelligent design, who designed the intelligent designer?"

"Who created the creator?"

Related Hip and Thigh articles on ID, Creationism and God:

Does ID = Creationism

On Evidence and Anthony Flew

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Materialistic Naturalists and Their Morally Twisted Philosophy of Darwinian Evolution

The London Zoo recently opened a holiday exhibit called "The Human Zoo," in which 8 volunteers lounged around in black bathing suits and bikini's with fake fig leaves attached to cover the appropriate parts of the human anatomy. Apart from one, pasty white flabby guy (who can be seen confidently displaying his endomorphic roundness in the photo), all of the participants were shapely and athletic. They spent their time pretending to "groom" one another, waving at passers-by and sitting around in a large bear enclosure.

The purpose of the exhibit is explained aptly by the title paragraph from the London Zoo website:

The August Bank holiday welcomes an extra special exhibit to London Zoo as a flock of Homo sapiens gather on the world famous Bear Mountain.

Presented to the public with only fig leaves to protect their modesty, the humans will become an important feature of zoo life as they are cared for by our experienced keepers and kept entertained through various forms of enrichment.

The four day event aims to demonstrate the basic nature of man as an animal and examine the impact that Homo sapiens have on the rest of the animal kingdom.

London Zoo spokesman, Polly Willis adds, "Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate." And one of the participants in the human zoo, Tom Mahoney, had this to say, "A lot of people think humans are above other animals. When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we're not that special."

Basically, the London Zoo is simply affirming the typical idea most people sadly believe about human beings: we're just a bunch of evolved apes. However, if a person would take the time to serious contemplate the statement from Polly Willis as well as the one from goof ball volunteer, Tom Mahoney, the intellectual inconsistency and irrationality on the part of the entire exhibit becomes clear.

Does this Willis lady genuinely believe the absurd fraud she is pushing on the London public? Does she sincerely think human beings are just another primate?

The first and most stunningly obvious inconsistency is the fact the folks have on clothing. That in and of itself should make it clear that human beings are not "just another primate." Modesty is one key indicator distinguishing humanity from other animals. Who has ever seen a primate putting on clothes in order to express modesty? Animals are not modest and don't care if anyone stares at "their business" to put it discreetly. I can remember as a child during one visit to the St. Louis Zoo, I noticed a chimp sitting by himself fidgeting with something that looked like a whistle. I pointed and shouted, "look mama, that monkey has a whistle in his mouth!" My dad sort of hurried us away and said, "that's not a whistle son."

There is a very non-evolutionary reason why humans are modest: we have an inherent sense of shame. That shame, according to the Bible (Genesis 3:6-8) is due in part to man's sinfulness. Modesty is a constant reminder of mankind's separation from God and his need to be redeemed from his sin and restored to a proper relationship with Him. The fact that the London Zoo exhibit had clothed human beings on display proves this biblical truth. When did the sense of shame over personal nakedness evolve if we are just another primate?

Also, animals don't have a problem with relieving themselves in public. I will venture a guess and say these "human animals" went indoors to urinate and defecate. And I bet they weren't throwing feces at anyone as many of the primates I have seen had a habit of doing. Additionally, I am quite certain they did not engage in any public mating activity if you know what I mean, wink, wink. In fact, as a pubescent teenager, one of the great delights when visiting the zoo was stumbling upon some animals engaged in mating, if you know what I mean, wink, wink. I particularly found the giant tortoises the most fascinating because even though they mated in slow motion, it was loud and punctuated with much gurgling and hissing.

Ms. Willis's claim that human beings are just another primate reveals the complete irrationality of the naturalistic materialism of those who promote Darwinian evolution. Of course, if the reality of this worldview would only stop at some bizarre exhibit that simply left people scratching their heads and then moving on to real life, we would all be fine. However, Ms. Willis's ideas have severely impacted the thinking of nearly every industrialized culture on the planet and those ideas have worked themselves out in some horrific detrimental consequences.

For example...

In one case of historic irony, there was once a human zoo exhibit. The difference was that this exhibit was quite real and not played off as some ecology awareness goof.

Most people are probably completely unaware of Ota Benga, an African Pygmy who was brought to the United States and presented to the Bronx Zoo in 1904 where he was on display in a cage in the primate house. He was later taken out by a group of Christians enraged by his capture, and tragically took his life some 6 or 7 years later due to increased depression. The entire Ota Benga episode is one of those rancid fruits of evolutionary thinking that says human beings are just another primate.

Also, this evolutionary worldview can be seen in how the Australian aboriginal people were hunted down, killed and their skeletons prepared for display in various museums around the world. It was the common belief among evolutionary biologist, that the aboriginal peoples were a "missing link." They were treated with utter contempt as some lower than human lifeform who represented unevolved man, or to put it another way, "just another primate."

This attitude toward the Australian Aboriginal continued into the 20th century as a governmental policy that took half-caste Aboriginal children from their full blooded aboriginal parent. There was an entire "stolen generation" of children who were separated from parents all in a "virtuous" attempt to protect them from being harmed by the "less than evolved" aboriginals.
Rabbit Proof Fence is a recent movie about this forced separation and tells the story of three young girls, Molly, Daisy and Gracie who were taken from their mother, but managed to escape the institutional home where they were relocated and trekked 1500 miles back home using the rabbit proof fence as their guide.

We may think the London zoo is having a spot of fun, but this "Man is just another primate" belief advocated by the promoters of this "human zoo" exhibit can easily lead us down some dark roads. The record of history tells us that this philosophy has ended in sorrow and death for a multitude of people considered to be "just another primate."

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Friday, August 26, 2005

A Few Random Odds and Ends To End the Week

As my week draws to a close, I thought I would throw out some random odd stuff I have been mulling over in my head.

My Favorite bumper sticker I saw this past week:

I Want to Die in My Sleep Like My Grandpa, Not Yelling and Screaming Like the Passengers in His Car.

Most Angering Newspaper article I Read:

I don't know which paper it was from (maybe the Santa Clarita Signal) or what day it appeared exactly, but I was scanning the news rack waiting for the doughnut lady to finishing putting together my three dozen assorteds when I came across an frontpage article saying something about Internet porn being available at the local county library in Valencia.

Apparently, the story goes on to talk about this mother visiting the library with her kids when some pervert was surfing a hardcore porn site in full view of the kids section of the library. Upon alerting the librarian to what is really "mental molestation," the mother was told, with no uncertain terms, could the person be troubled because such Internet "experiences" fall under the 1st amendment rights clause of the constitution. So let me see if I have the logic straight: Essentially, a pervert can sit at a computer in view of children and get his jollies on knowing he is exposing them to full on naked people doing sexually explicit things and a magical shield called the 1st Amendment clause creates a force field that prevents the librarian from approaching the person and asking him to turn it off; however, if that pervert was to actually perform in person the exact same sex act being displayed in the image on the computer screen, he is hauled off to jail and charged with a sex crime or indecency? Please. And this in our hyper-sensitive age of children being abducted and sexually exploited. I am truly amazed.

Favorite Website for this Week: I Drank What?

Jonathan Johnson has a brand new website, I Drank What?, and even though he has been blogging for about a week or so now, he consistently puts out quality blogs on stupid subjects that make me laugh my self sick. His John Tesh handshaking post is already legendary.

I envy his talent.

Little, punk squirt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Please Don't Get Angry With Me If I Can't Take You Serious.

I have always figured if I have a blog and regularly make critical remarks against a particular religion, belief or philosophy, that I will gather my share of dissenters. I am fine with people taking issue with something I may have written. That is part of the game here in blog world when you keep the screen door unlatched to your comment page so that anyone can wander in, sit down and yell at you. I'm totally fine with that. Hey, if you disagree with my opinion, you disagree with my opinion; and what is more, I welcome your negative opinion by allowing you to post it on my comment page.

However, please don't expect me to take you serious if you are unable to formulate a coherent argument against me. I know for me personally, if I take the time to leave a comment on someone's blog with whom I disagree, I do my best to articulate the reason why I disagree with that someone. That takes a bit of noggin' use, because I have to formulate a reasoned response and maybe interact with any challenges or questions the person might have mentioned in the original blog I am responding to. Maybe it is just my love for excellence, as well as my general good will toward my fellow man, but I expect the same from disagreeing commenters. The same also goes for people emailing me privately. Just saying things like, "you're an idiot," or "stupid heretic," and "religious imbecile - neener, neener, neener" just doesn't qualify as an intelligent, articulate challenge to a disagreeing point.

Let me share two recent examples to illustrate what I mean.

The first one comes from a gal named "Tara" who emailed me privately through Fred's Bible Talk to inform me of my "poor thinking." Our email exchange could be summarized as follows:

Tara - "Fred, you have poor thinking. You believe science equals religion. Your Christian faith is subjective."

Fred - "Thanks for the note, Tara. Could you please provide me with an example from something I have written that demonstrates poor thinking on my part? Where have I stated that science equals religion?"

Tara - "You Christians are all alike. I have heard this religious mumbo-jumbo before. Besides, your Bible is all messed up."

Fred - "Again, Tara, what have I written that brings you to the conclusion I have poor thinking? Could you provide an example?"

Tara - "*sigh* Fred, you are so hardheaded. I can't believe how blind you are to the truth. You're brainwashed. And don't even think about responding to me again because I blocked your email."

Okey Dokey.
My second example is from commenter Jeff, who responded with typical KJV only flair to my post, Nachimson's Nasty Name-calling. In his short rant, Jeff proved the truthfulness of my thesis that KJV onlyists tend to have a scant amount of substantive argumentation and must resort to belittling ridicule against their non-KJV only detractors. I am told by no uncertain terms that I am "arrogant," "puffed up with great 'swelling words,'" "humanistic in my thinking," equated with "atheism," and I am a lazy slug when it comes to "soul winning."

By the way, if I may be excused to digress for just a moment. For those who have never encountered the terms, "Soul winning" and "Soul winner" are phony, Fundamental Baptist expressions used to describe a person, or persons, who goes out into various public venues carrying big signs with Bible verses and religious slogans scrawled across them and thrusts gospel tracts into people's hands. As if being out in public is bad enough, the "Soul winners" also feel a liberty to interrupt supper time in order to bore a family to death with a canned gospel presentation. It doesn't really matter if their witnessees pray a prayer, as long as they are doing their duty to hand out tracts and "share the gospel" they are called "Soul winners." And if per chance some poor hapless person is strong armed into praying a prayer, it doesn't matter if there is no genuine spiritual change in the person's life, or if the "soul winner" even bothers to disciple his "converts," he is still considered a "Soul winner" because it is quantity of work produced in the effort, i.e., numbers; rather than the quality of the time spent with the individual and the message shared. Of course, this is a post all its own.

But, moving back to Jeff's comments. I believe the most charming put down used by Jeff is when he wrote, "your manuscripts are Catholic in origin and proven to be corrupt so even if you were competent enough to translate you would still be in error." The cut against my "translating" skills aside, it may be helpful information for Jeff to know in future attacks against non-KJV folks, but the Textus Receptus, the Greek text from which the KJV is translated, was put together by Erasmus, a Roman Catholic priest. The very Greek text Jeff claims to defend is Roman Catholic in origin. Interestingly, Erasmus's Roman Catholicism only forces the KJV apologists to re-write the biography of Erasmus to make him into some proto-Fundamentalist.

So, please, with these two examples in mind, if and when you do comment against something I wrote, give me the honor of taking you serious. Know what you are talking about.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Summertime Reading Review

The sweet summer time is quickly coming to an end and this summer afforded me with the opportunity to read some fine books. I would love to do a more comprehensive review of each one, but I just don't have the time, so a brief book report will have to do.

Here are three of my favorites I have read this summer:

Alien Intrusions: UFOs and the Evolution Connection
by Gary Bates

The world has been engrossed with UFOs and alien abductions throughout much of the 20th century until now. Radio programs like Art Bell and George Noory's Coast to Coast AM treat UFOs and aliens with utter seriousness and regularly entertain guests who are alleged experts on the subject. One re-occurring guest, Richard C. Hoagland, believes human life began on Mars and some catastrophe in the distant past drove our Martian ancestors to Earth to live. He believes photographs from Martian surveyor satellites reveal ancient cities and other geometric structures designed as markers to remind humanity from where they came.
How does a Bible believing Christian even begin to address these claims? Most folks in the Christian community just wave a dismissive hand and say the devil is behind it all; but that is rather specious thinking.

Gary Bates has spent a good deal of personal research on the subject of UFOs and alien abductions. He has visited MUFON conferences and interviewed dozens of alleged UFO abductees. His book, then, is a record of his research and the conclusions he has drawn as a Bible-believing Christian. Bates sees three main things driving the UFO/alien phenomenon in our world:

1) The popularization of science fiction literature and movies. Blockbuster sci-fi themed movies help to shape our mental image of what aliens and UFOs are to look like.

2) The proliferation of materialistic naturalism through the philosophy of Darwinian evolution. In other words, life evolved here on Earth, so surely it happened elsewhere in the universe.

3) And the human fascination with the occult. In fact, what Bates discovered is that testimonies from individuals who claim to have been abducted by aliens is almost exactly the same type of testimonies from individuals who have encountered "spirits" during seances and other occultic rituals in a pre-science fiction society. Interestingly, Bates further notes that the great majority of alien abductees, especially repeat abductees who are taken over and over again, were already involved with occultic new age practices before the abduction, or come from families who were involved with such practices. One other additional factoid Bates uncovered: Genuine, Bible believing Christians have never experienced alien encounters with abduction. Even the secular UFO researchers are mystified by the fact "serious Christians"are the one group never experiencing abduction. (I have always wondered why Calvinists never talked about being abducted).

This was probably the most fun book I read this summer and the reason why I am so excited about it. I believe Mr. Bates offers a good apologetic for a biblical worldview and UFOs and provides some excellent material if and when Christians have to engage UFO believers.

The Divine Challenge: On Matter, Mind, Math and Meaning
by John Byl

This book, too, was another fun read for me, as well as one of the better introductions to presuppositional apologetics I have seen in sometime. Dr. Byl is head of the department of mathematical sciences at Trinity Western University in British Columbia, Canada. As Dr. Byl explains in his introduction, his book is simply about the war of man against God, specifically, the rule of competing worldviews. Man desires to challenge God's supremacy based upon his own pride and envy, and as a result, men seek to reinterpret the universe by assigning it new meaning and transforming it to suit his own standards. Dr. Byl's thesis is that the mystery of mind, matter and math and how these three things inter-relate can only be explained adequately with a Christian theistic worldview. In fact, Dr. Byl argues that a person's worldview - what consists of our faith commitments that help us interpret our world - stands or falls with how it explains the three mysteries of mind, matter and math. He then goes on to examine how the three prevailing worldviews of today, naturalism, theism and relativism handle these trio of mysteries and demonstrates why Christian theism is the only one that can.

The book has some mathematical jargon in it, but Dr. Byl makes it easy to follow - and I say that as a kid who maintained a low C average in math class throughout grade school and still has trouble dividing fractions. I particular appreciate that Dr. Byl is well read on this subject, because he quotes from a variety of top authors and philosophers who are expert in their fields and yet hostile to Christianity. Some of the quotes Dr. Byl provides are stunning in their admission. One fellow quite pointedly states that he would rather believe an irrational worldview because the only other option is to believe in God and that is something he is repulsed by.

Sinners in the Hands of a Good God: Reconciling Divine Judgment and Mercy
by David Clotfelter

I just recommended this book to a friend, because it is probably one of the best studies on the theology of Calvinism that has been published in recent years. The book is basically Clotfelter's study in exploring the biblical teaching of God's divine judgment and grace. The author is heartfelt, because he writes from a position of one who sincerely wrestled with the thought of God sending people to hell for an eternity never to stop suffering for their sin, as well as his struggles with the doctrines of election and salvation in which God chooses some to salvation but leaves the rest to their sin and final judgment. The book is not written as a typical defense of Calvinism like Thomas and Steele's classic work, but Clotfelter approaches the subject in a rather unique way. First, he speaks to his struggle with the divine justice and shares how he moved from like the writings of annihilationalist theologian, George MacDonald, to Jonathan Edwards, the 18th century American Puritan. MacDonald, according to Clotfelter, despised Edwards and he uses this contempt MacDonald had for Edwards to frame the differences between the two traditional ways of understanding God's justice. The book then moves into an excellent defense for the eternality of suffering in hell and why the doctrine is necessary and biblical, and then moves to addressing God's salvation and the doctrines of orthodox Calvinism. Clotfelter spends a good amount of time interacting with objections to his position and just writes with a sensitive clarity that is rare with books on heavy theological subjects.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Nachimson’s Nasty Name-calling: Exposing the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of King James Only Apologetics.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (2 Timothy 2:24) KJV.

On Monday, August 15th, I mentioned how I had recently come under fire from self-proclaimed Internet champion apologist for KJV onlyism, Jeffrey Nachimson, the fine curator of the AV Answers Association site. Mr. Jeffrey posted a blistering screed entitled, Butler's Bumbling Bunk that highlights an email exchange we had back in May of 2005.

I finally had the opportunity to review Mr. Jeffrey's article, and boy, what an article it is. He lives up to every expectation I have come to know and love from the advocates defending the King James English translation as the only Bible in the world to be the final, never to be revised, updated or corrected, pure and infallible authority for God's people. The slanderous ad hominem; the gross misuse of textual criticism; the appeal to pseudo-academics; the proud, condescending arrogance; and of course, let's not forget the snide, personal taunts. Mr. Jeffrey certainly didn't disappoint.

I would think a good number of my friends and other folks who drop by Hip and Thigh or FBT have never encountered KJV onlyism before in their lives. I would imagine for you all, KJV onlyism is a totally alien form of thinking that exists for the most part in a distant American Fundamentalist mythos. I just recently finished an updated lecture series on KJV onlyism and the good portion of my listening audience were shocked and amazed that such a strange belief even exists is the Christian world. Many of them had never encountered anyone believing the King James translation is the only final authority for a Christian. A handful of folks were even somewhat annoyed I was addressing the subject, because it had no relevance for them as spirit filled Christ loving Christians.

The fact of the matter is that KJV onlyism is quite real and it is a belief system that is pernicious as it is ridiculous. It primarily infects independent, fundamental Baptist Churches running across the Mid-West of the United States, down across the South and along the Eastern seaboard from Florida up through the Carolinas; however onlyism can also be found in other scattered areas in the United States and a various places in the world wherever "Bible belt" Fundamentalism has gained a foothold. Before a pastor even knows it, a handful of his congregates, or a Sunday school teacher or two, under the influence of KJVO propaganda, can cause divisive havoc in an otherwise spiritually healthy Church, even to the point of splitting it. This is a doctrine that must not be lightly dismissed.

The first thing that strikes most people when they pick up KJVO literature is the crudeness the KJV apologist takes with those who disagree with his or her position. KJVO advocates are notorious for assailing their detractors with demoralizing words of churlish ridicule. Seldom does the KJVO apologist engage in any substantive argumentation leveled against his opponents, just contempt piled upon scorn. His objective is not so much for the purpose confronting genuine error on the part of the non-KJV individual or even helping the person discover the truth concerning the real history behind the transmission of the biblical text. Rather, it is to make any non-KJV only position appear to be so stupid that a person not holding to the KJV as the "final authority" has a sub-standard salvation, if he is truly saved to begin with.

Now let me pause right here and state up front so that no one is confused with what it is I am saying. I believe anyone teaching error must be confronted, and sometimes confronting error, especially gross, biblical error, involves a firm handed confrontation. Our Lord Jesus did this, as did His apostles. I do not have a problem, for example, of calling groups like Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses heretical and even Satanic because they teach soul destroying doctrine clearly opposed to orthodox, biblical Christianity. Additionally, I also believe it is important to reserve strong words against a person who may well be an otherwise sound, Bible believing Christian, but distorts what I know to be the truth, either ignorantly or intentionally. For instance, if a Bible teacher misrepresents an author by selectively citing from his work so that he is made to be saying something different from what he really believes, then I have no problem pronouncing that Bible teacher a careless researcher after documenting his mistakes, or exhorting people to beware of him if he refuses to hear correction.

Additionally, anytime I confront deceptive false teachers or misguided evangelical Christians with pointed firmness, I make it my obligation as a follower of Christ to be not only fair and accurate with my criticism, but also humbly respectful with my firmness. This is not the approach utilized by the KJV advocates, however. KJV onlyists, on the other hand, rarely present themselves with Christ-like behavior. No serious minded reviewer who reads their literature or hears their sermons would believe they are fair and accurate with the criticisms they level against their non-KJV only opponents and he certainly would not think they are either humble or respectful with their personal behavior. If anything, a person would believe he was watching some perverse fundamentalist impersonation of Triumph, the insult comic dog.

When I accuse KJV onlyists of assailing their opponents with cruel mockery, I know I can back up my claim. It is a matter of record that any person who dares to challenge KJVO presuppositions, like doing something as simple as offering an alternative translation to the KJV reading of a particular verse, risks having KJV defenders seize upon his personal character by naming him an apostate, heretic, Satanist, Bible corrector, liar, or any other number of demeaning pejoratives.

I have personally confronted the shameful rhetoric of many KJV onlyists in my dialogues with them, and sadly, they are so blind to their attitude that they either deny it all together, or even more disgracefully, believe they are biblically mandated to behave with this type of crassness, because they are confronting apostasy that must be rebuked by what ever means they determine necessary.

Turning, then, to Mr. Jeffrey's article, here we have a fine illustration of what I speak, because it contains some of the worse spiritually bankrupt polemics employed by KJV onlyists. His article is saturated with many baseless ad hominem slurs directed against me personally. Throughout the whole of this arrant fiction, I am called an apostate or heretic three times, a liar and deceiver seven times, and at least twice I am identified with satanic activity. Furthermore I am called an embarrassing back peddler; a sly word changer; a rambling, confused man; a would-be intellectual; a fool; psychotic; and of course my favorite, "Fred Butler's Alexandrian clone number 666,666,666."

Now let the reader stop and drink in those remarks. Why is it even necessary to write in such a manner? What is the point to calling me a confused dolt and a foolish psychotic? What purposes does this lowbrow name-calling serve in Mr. Jeffrey's overall argument? Moreover, does Mr. Jeffrey even take the time to think of how he will comes across if he were to use these libels? I imagine he doesn't really care, but the Bible he purports to defend does care. How does he reconcile these mockeries with the biblical mandate to not be quarrelsome in disputes? How do these words display the meekness a servant of Christ is to have with those opposed to God, assuming of course that my non-KJV stance is opposed to God? Does Mr. Jeffrey truly believe he is free to address me in this manner, a person he has never met except through a handful of challenging email? And, what does he think Ephesians 4:29 means when Paul writes, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, [or in this case, from your keyboard] but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (KJV)? Does his calling me a charlatan and fool fall under the category of corrupt communication or is Mr. Jeffrey under the impression he is free from the Word of God in the instance of hurling scathing insults against me?

Finally, I find it disconcerting that Mr. Jeffrey feels he is at liberty to post our private correspondence on a public website, including my genuine, personal email address. Does he not see that as a bit unethical? Just to provide the reader with a little background to what perpetrated our exchange. My friend Will alerted me to the fact that my website, Fred's Bible Talk, was listed under Mr. Jeffrey's page entitled "Alexandrian Apostates." I not only found this an honor to be named an Alexandrian apostate with the likes of James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and Doug Kutilek, James May and the other fine writers of The KJV Only page, I also found it to be amusing. So much so, that on a lark (and to poke a little at him) I sent Mr. Jeffrey a "thank you" note for this "award" and asked if he could let Peter Ruckman know about me so I could maybe get a plug in his monthly fundamentalist tabloid, The Bible Believer's Bulletin. Surprisingly, he wrote me back and the rest of our exchanges can be read in his article, pretty much unedited as far as I can tell.

Now, I am not the least bit offended, mind you. I could really care less if he published our emails or my email address. I am certainly not at all afraid of emails from his toadies. Nor am I embarrassed by what I wrote. I will stand behind everything I said to him and even defend my words, as I will do in forthcoming reviews. However, regardless of whether or not I was offended, what he did by posting our private correspondence without asking my consent first is just uncool, and to put it bluntly, reveals a severe lack of discretion on Mr. Jeffrey's part.

If I had made my comments about having my website listed on his site first and joked about Peter Ruckman naming me in his tabloid, then he would had every right to criticize me publicly. The truth of the matter is that this is not what happened, and when I went to Mr. Jeffrey's website to find his contact information, there were absolutely no disclaimers posted anywhere announcing that any private correspondence he receives may be re-printed with out prior consent. And, just in case Mr. Jeffrey may read this and then add a disclaimer and accuse me of lying against him, as of August 22nd, 2005, there is no such disclaimer on his website alerting any person that his or her email may find its way on Mr. Jeffrey's website as the butt of some venomous diatribe. Where are his manners?

As I draw this to a close, I would imagine many who have read this far are thinking, "Why do you even bother with clowns like him?" Certainly there are many more profitable subjects to address. Yes, of course there are many more profitable issues in life to give time to. However, I have a special passion for this subject because I was held in KJV onlyism's grip for nearly 10 years and in my opinion, I can see how it stunted my spiritual growth. Now that I know the truth, I want to warn others, regardless if KJV onlies like Mr. Jeffrey think my illumination to the truth is conceited self-promotion. But most importantly, I have received many notes of encouragement - too many to be counted - expressing thanks to me for helping individuals free themselves from the quagmire of KJV only fundamentalism, or provided the right information that helped with shutting down a KJV onlyists who had commandeered a Sunday School class. It is for these that I do what I do.

[ADDENDUM] Right as I was about to post this up to my blogspot, I received an automated email from Mr. Jeffrey and his website alerting his list members of my August 15th post concerning his article. How thoughtful of Mr. Jeffrey to think of sending me a copy of it. Once again, he demonstrated his kind heartedness by ridiculing what I wrote and offering the following "corrections" to my post:

1) Apparently his website AV 1611 Answers Association has been on line since March 2005, so when I stated that his personal testimony page has been carrying the same message "Will be posted soon!" it has only been really 6 months, not a year. My bad. It has only been saying the same thing for half a year, not a full year.

2) Peter Ruckman's Preaching mill does not do correspondence. Apparently, a person has to actually up root and move to Florida and subject himself to personal one on one training with the KJV pope himself to earn a "degree." Sorry for that "mail order" comment Jeffrey, wouldn't want to put down the keen learning you're getting there.

I did find out that Mr. Jeffrey is a busy, busy boy. According to his email, he has a rigorous preaching schedule, much of his time is spent writing up tracts and lecture notes, and amazingly, preparing cirriculum for college level classes, including teaching Greek and writing a book on the subject. I find that to be interesting seeing that according to his own KJV only propaganda there is no need for learning the biblical languages. At any rate, the way he carries on about himself, it seems as though I am such an unworthy opponent. I am just an intellectual tyro compared to the genius that is Jeffrey Nachimson.



Friday, August 19, 2005

60 Years After the Bomb

I am a week or more late commenting upon this; but better late than never I guess. Victor Davis Hanson wrote an excellent apologetic for the use of the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki posted on the week that marked the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. Originally published in the National Review Online, it has been re-posted on Hanson's site.

60 Years Later Considering Hiroshima

The summary is brief, but compelling as if all of Hanson's writings.

Some of the considerations he explores:

- As to why the Americans didn't explode the A-bomb out in the ocean for demonstration purposes, Hanson writes,

Planners thought that using one for demonstration purposes (assuming that it would have worked) might have left the Americans without enough of the new arsenal to shock and awe the Japanese government should it have ridden out the first attack and then become emboldened by a hiatus, and our inability to follow the attacks.

- And as to the amount of single day casualties for civilians, Hanson reminds us,

Hiroshima, then, was not the worst single-day loss of life in military history. The Tokyo fire raid on the night of March 9/10, five months earlier, was far worse, incinerating somewhere around 150,000 civilians, and burning out over 15 miles of the downtown.

- And then as to the complaint by pacifist minded P.C.ers that we have falsely painted WWII Japanese as slant-eyed monsters, Hanson points out,

The Imperial Japanese army routinely butchered civilians abroad - some 10-15 million Chinese were eventually to perish - throughout the Pacific ... the Japanese army was killing thousands of Asians each month.

The article is short and worth the quick lookover. Hanson certainly places a proper perspective on the use of nuclear force to finish the war.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Crazed Mob Scrambles for Crappy Used Computers

Yesterday, I watched the video of this shameful display of stupidity and greed colliding into one big moshpit of insanity- quite literally - on FOX News. I wasn't paying attention at the moment the commercial break teaser flashed up, so I didn't catch what the feeding frenzy was all about. All I saw was a clip of a massive throng of people pushing and shoving their way to some building, cut to a couple of chubby girls sitting on the ground and sobbing uncontrollably, followed by pictures of bruised legs and smashed baby strollers. When the actual story was played, I found out this embarrassing melee was over - get this - the sale of 4 year old, used IBook laptops! I belched out a snorty laugh. You have got to be kidding me? Risking life and limb and even your family (many folks had infants in their arms) for used Macintrash laptops? Good grief. Its like a 1,000 people elbowing their way through a narrow hall way like some geek version of a roller derby to buy up the few remaining Commodore 64s that are out there.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a funny slide show giving the moment by moment as the whole sordid event unfolded. I think there may be video, too.

(Look at the fanatical desperation in the eyes of that one fellow in the blue shirt in the foreground of the picture above. You'd think the fate of all humanity depended upon him).


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Just Past Monday; Not Quite Mid-week - In between Tuesday Musings

Lightning Storm. Early Monday morning - I mean early, like around 3 AM - we were awakened by a lightning storm. That is something of a rarity in Southern CA. Thunderstorms with lightning take place out in the high desert areas of CA, but hardly ever down in the LA basin. My oldest boy is about 3 years old and this was his first encounter with lightning and thunder. I knew there was going to be trouble the moment I heard the approaching thunder and saw the flickers of light. I got up, shut all the windows with hopes that the two boys would sleep through it, at least the oldest one. Those hopes were dashed as soon as the storm got on top of us and lightning hit a power pole down the road a piece and knocked the electric out for about a minute or so. It became pitch black and that is when Caleb, the oldest, began hollering for mama. He spent the rest of the night with us in bed, which meant I couldn't get back to any solid sleeping. Children believe they have the freedom to sprawl out and hog up the bed. The youngest boy, Josh, was like a corpse. He pretty much sleeps through anything.

While researching lightning pictures to upload, I came across some cool links:

Mark McEuen's Lightning Page He provides further links, along with the science of how lightning works. And safety tips.

Cori's Lightning Links Nice background music.

WV Lightning.com

Driving home Sunday after Church service, my wife and I spotted a brand new, cherry red Mustang with a personalized license plate reading: NO MORLS. I am not sure if the gal driving the Mustang meant to convey to the world that she has no scruples and is an easy pick-up for any willing guy, or if it was a general description of her philosophical outlook on life. I commented to my wife that I bet if I were to bop her on the head and take her Mustang for a drive that she would totally forget about that message on her plate. People can be such hypocrites.
Classic school yard put down becomes living reality. The classic school yard insult, "If I had a dog as ugly as you I'd shave its butt and make it walk backwards," meant to demoralize flabby asthmatics whose parents dressed them in granimals clothing and buster brown shoes, became a living reality in Santa Barbara recently. Sam, a 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese crested is a three-time champ in the World's Ugliest Dog Contest.
Owner Susie Lockheed is dedicated to the freakish pooch which reminds people of some hellish ghoul from a Clive Barker novel. Lockheed, 53, began taking in unwanted dogs suffering from skin allergies. Sam was one of them.

Among other things, Sam enjoys having his fleshy, thin, potato-chip ears massaged and Susie's fingers running through the small patches of white hair on his head. He also is fond of having her kiss his hairless, wart covered body that sheds flakes of skin regularly.

Upon winning the Ugliest Dog contest last month, in addition to a large cash prize, Sam's owner was awarded a razor and backward walking training classes.

For further info visit: Sam, The ugliest dog in the world.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Giddy with Eager Excitement

I don't believe I have felt this excited since taking that first monorail ride into Disney World when I was in second grade!

I have been loosely following the rambling diatribes of KJVO apologist Jeffrey Nachimson off and on now for about a year. Like most KJV onlyists, Jeffrey is unoriginal and basically repeats the same mantra rhetoric and hoots and hollers the same tired and refuted argumentation banged out by every KJVO quack to come before him.

I took an interest with Jeffrey because with him it got personal. He declared me and my website, Fred's Bible Talk, as being Alexandrian Apostate and cultish, linking me on his apostate page. I in turn found that accusation to be absolutely comical. The reason for Jeffrey's slur is I have posted a series of audio lectures along with some specific articles refuting the claims of KJV onlyists. I have to state that I am not offended one bit. I mean if Jeffrey was a serious student of scripture and the Christian faith, I might feel the need to talk with the guy to iron out our differences. If anything, I wear Jeffrey's libels with a badge of honor; in a way, I feel all apostolic inside. Like I have finally hit it big time as an Internet presence.

I don't really know much about Jeffrey, because he has a scant amount of personal information on his site. There is a "personal testimony" page that has maintained the same message "Will Be Posted Soon!" for nearly a year or more. I figure the academic rigors of Peter Ruckman's mail order pastoring school keeps Jeffrey too busy to update his site regularly.

At any rate, I would venture a guess based upon his untamed zeal and bold proclamations against real Bible students, who are real scholars who do real apologetics, that Jeffrey is a young squirt in his 20's? The kid's writings are so sophomoric in substance and style that one has to conclude he is a college age lad. I wouldn't think a mature man in his 50s would write the profound tripe that characterizes Jeffrey's work, but I am sure that is a possibility.

What ever the case, I think he believes he is the front runner to replace Peter Ruckman as KJV Pope when ole' Ruckman kicks the bucket and is hauled off bound and naked by a brutish angel before a giant glowing outline of Jesus like in some Chick Tract nightmare.

All of that to say that Jeffrey has honored me by writing up an article deconstructing some email exchanges we had a while back. The title of the article is precious: Butler's Bumbling Bunk Concerning Final Absolute Authority. I just love the alliteration. I am disappointed, though. Why is it only the first three words? A much better title would had been: "Butler's Bumbling Bunk" and then insert the colon and put the subtitle "Concerning the Final Absolute Authority" in italics. You maintain a more consistent alliteration that way. Or he could expand the alliteration to include: "Butler's Bumbling Bunk 'Bout the Bible." That title is more crazy eyed fundamentalist sounding, especially the abbreviated "'bout," rather than "about." Oh, Well.

I am so dismayed that I have no time at the moment to interact with the article. I have a big project here at work to prepare for this week, as well as some lessons to teach, so a response will have to wait. I have to confess my struggle with the temptation to neglect my duties and begin the joyful process of dissecting his article, however. I mean, I have been called a liar and an apostate on KJV discussion boards, but this is an entire Internet article dedicated to rebuking my heresies. A person can now google my name and be directed to this article. Whew, I got the glory bumps crawling up my arms!

Maybe I should go ask Phil Johnson of PyroManiac about how to cope with the excitement. He is called an apostate almost daily.


Answering Some More Gay Activist Revisionist Claims

A little bit ago I posted an entry highlighting the erroneous argumentation gay activist use in order to re-interpret the Bible so as to affirm a homosexual lifestyle. Much of the argumentation involves distorting the Bible to explain away specific passages clearly condemning homosexual behavior as a violation of God's moral law. I provided two illustrations of this in my entry: their reinterpretation of Leviticus 18 and 20 and Christ's words in Matthew 19.

Shortly after I posted my article, a defender of the so-called "gay Christian lifestyle" left a negative comment critical of my argumentation. Normally, I will leave my responses on the same comment page; however, this anonymous poster raised some additional objections I thought would be worth turning into an entry of its own.

I am not sure who this person is because whoever it was left anonymous comments, so I don't know whether it is a she or a he. Whoever the person is, he/she was the catalyst for penning rule #3, "Don't be a coward," on my posting guidelines. For the sake of time, I will just assume it is a he. "His" comments will be marked in blue, with mine following. I will also edit "his" comments for brevity sake, hopefully hitting the salient points.

Moving along....

The commenter begins by stating, "The Levitical law...remember it's all about CONTEXT" I couldn't agree more. The context of any Bible passage is key to establishing the truth being conveyed. I believe I took great pains to establish the context of Leviticus and Matthew in my initial evaluation. Mr. Anonymous didn't think so, but as soon as I started reading the critical comments of our unnamed visitor, he completely ignores this rule.

Let's consider his objections and provide a response.

Our commenter begins...
...the only way we can remain consistent as Christians in the treatment of the Biblical text is to do the same with all the surrounding passages. To carry one prohibition across the centuries requires that we carry all the prohibitions along with it. This raises a problem for many Christians since most ignore the prohibitions against eating pork or shelled fish, shaving their hair near the temples, not marking their bodies with a tattoo, not touching a pigskin, wearing blended fabrics or having sexual relations between a husband and wife during menstruation among a long laundry list of other requirements and prohibitions.

(Fred) This is the common objection raised by gay activist revisionists. I pointed this out in the previous article. Just so as to remind the reader, the claim goes along the lines of this: If you are going to say the prohibitions against homosexuality as recorded in Leviticus are still operative today, then you have to say ALL of the restrictions and prohibitions in Leviticus are operative. Any Christian, then, who does not observe all of what the book of Leviticus restricts and forbids is being hypocritical. As Mr. Anonymous stated, it is the only way we can remain consistent as a Christian.

Allow me to review once again the straightforward (no pun intended) answer which has the tendency of being ignored by these biblical revisionists.

First, the primary reason why we can disregard some of Leviticus while at the same time maintaining other portions has to do with the coming of Jesus Christ. I also noted this in my original article, but it seems to have escaped our commenter's attention. We no longer observe the dietary laws from Leviticus, along with other such restrictions like the mixing of seeds and fabrics, because God has repealed those restrictions at the coming of Christ. Those types of restrictions where placed upon the Children of Israel as a covenant people so as to serve to evidence a distinction between Israel and the other nations. Under the New Covenant made with Christ, such distinctions have been abolished between Jews and Gentiles (See again Acts 10; Ephesians 2:11-22; Galatians 3:28-29).

However, the prohibition against homosexuality was never repealed and in fact is reiterated in the New Testament. This is another important observation we must keep in mind. Where OT teaching is reiterated and taught in the NT by either Jesus or His apostles, that teaching is still binding upon God's people. That is why gay activist revisionists must also find clever ways to reinterpret the NT passages condemning homosexual sin.

Moreover, the book of Leviticus is selectively quoted in the NT. Jesus quoted from Leviticus 19:18 in Matthew 19:19 and 22:39, Paul quoted directly from Leviticus 18 and 20, and Peter provides an exposition from Leviticus 20:7 in 1 Peter 1:14-16. All three of these NT citations are taken directly from the Leviticus chapters condemning the sexual sins of adultery, bestiality, and sodomy. The holiness that must be expressed by the Christian in the NT is the same holiness expected from the OT believer in the book of Leviticus in two chapters directly renouncing perverse sexual behaviors.

Our commenter continues...
Not only do we need to be consistent in treating all the law equally but we need to be consistent in applying the prescribed penalty for disobedience to the law ... How can the church decide the prohibition is in place and yet not the penalty for its violation? If they insist that this passage is still in place within our world then so must the penalty be, including death for those who engage in homosexuality as well as stoning for children who curse their parents.

(Fred) One typical response against the biblical condemnation of homosexuality is to exaggerate the enforcement of the prescribed death penalty in these two chapters in Leviticus. The activist will suggest that any Christian who believes homosexual behavior is inconsistent with a Christian lifestyle equally desires to kill all homosexuals by stoning. Additionally, if a person wishes to condemn homosexual behavior yet at the same time doesn't call for their execution by stoning, he then is deemed a hypocrite, like our Mr. Anonymous here deems me to be.

It needs to be stressed that not all homosexual behavior received the death penalty. In 1 Kings 15:11-12, King Asa "put away" or "banished" (NKJV) the perverted persons or male religious prostitutes from the land of Israel. His son, Jehoshaphat, also "banished" the sodomites that were left in the land during his father Asa's reign (2 Kings 22:46). Yet, in spite of these exception, it is true God did command the death penalty to be enforced for His covenant people, a theocratic nation, against sodomy and other homosexual perversions, which clearly demonstrates its affront to God's stated holiness and it being a breach of His moral law expressed in the 10 commandments. But again, that was the law for a theocratic nation at the time. The government of Israel had the authority to execute practicing homosexuals; Christ never gave the Church the authority to carry out the death penalty against homosexuals or any violator of God's moral law.

One last thought, the dietary laws and regulations against mixing seed and so forth were regulations and precepts temporarily in effect and designed for the worship of God by Israel as a nation. A person will note when reading the OT that never were the pagan nations condemned and judged for not obeying the dietary laws or missing Passover, but they were condemned for sexual perversion, hence the reason why God describes those abominable acts in Leviticus 18 and 20 as being how the Canaanites defiled themselves. That shows once again the stark distinction between how God's moral laws against sexual perversion transcend both testaments, where as regulatory laws to keep Israel distinct from the nations, have been abolished.

Mr. Anonymous continues further...
"Thou shalt not lie with a man AS with a woman; it is an abomination." (KJV) ... some may say, this law forbids men to "lie with", or have sex with, other men. This interpretation is flawed as it entirely ignores the phrase "as with a woman." These four words cannot simply be understood to refer to lying sexually, since that is already indicated in the Hebrew word yada, translated "to lie with." "As with a woman" must have been added for some reason, and we must understand the context of this law to understand it fully.

(Fred) I am not sure what Mr. Anonymous's expertise is with the original Hebrew language, but here he demonstrates that it is woefully deficient if not totally ignorant.

Two things to be noted:

First, the word yada is not used in either one of these passages in Leviticus. The Hebrew phrase is mishkab ishah and is the Hebrew idiom that could be translated "bedding a woman." This same idiom is used in Genesis 19:33, 35 when the Bible describes Lot's two daughters getting him drunk so as to have sex with him. There we know for certain what the phrase means, and it would certainly be the same in these two passages from Leviticus. There is no mistaken that the issue at hand is two males have sexual relations as a man does with a woman.

A second instance of his lack of knowledge with the Hebrew text is his insistence that the phrase "as with a woman" has been added to the text. The phrase is part of the original and there are no textual critical indicators suggesting it was an added gloss to the text. His objection is pure fiction born out of a lack of respect for God's Word and desperation to affirm his beliefs.

Mr. Anonymous continues...
...The status of women in that time was much lower than that of men, and women were even considered property of the men. Rabbi Arthur Waskow explains, "The whole structure of sexuality in the Torah assumes a dominant male and a subordinate female." In other words, women were obedient to men, and men in that time would have been dominating and controlling in sexual encounters. The woman did what the man wanted and how the man wanted it.

(Fred) Here is another typical canard argument used to take off the edge of these two chapters in Leviticus. Mr. Anonymous even quotes a rabbi as some sort of authority on ancient near eastern cultures. But, if he is not being misrepresented by our revisionist commenter, he is also wrong. The argument presents a false perspective of ancient Jewish culture. Though it is true the surrounding pagan cultures were misogynistic in their treatment of women, it was not the same for the Jewish culture. In fact, a thorough study of the OT would reveal the opposite of Mr. Anonymous's claim: women were treated with fairness and equity and were valued members of Jewish society. Take for example the words of Proverbs 31, a poetic description of a truly godly woman. Also, women were involved in leading worship, military victory, taking of Nazerite vows, and so forth. To suggest across the board that all women were viewed as property shows me this person has little knowledge of scripture and OT history.

Moreover, it is not true, at least from several biblical passages, that only men were controlling in sexual encounters and dominated the women. Take for example Tamar's pursuit of Judah in Genesis 38, Potiphar's sexually aggressive wife in Genesis 39 and of course the warning passages of Proverbs 5 and 7 of women looking to use young, unwitting men for sexual pleasure.

Our commenter goes on...
Romans 1:26-27: It's about an ORGY filled with LUST, LIES, IDOLATRY AND DISHONORABLE PASSIONS. Think about a heterosexual orgy...men and woman not partaking of homo sex, only hetero...get the concept?

(Fred) Nope, I don't get the concept. Romans 1:26-27 is so clear a passage speaking to homosexual behavior that it is easy to see, if you are a revisionist wishing to make the Bible affirm your chosen lifestyle of sodomy, why there is such an effort to make this chapter say anything but what it truly says. Just a cursory reading of verse 26 will tell a reader that the vile passion to which these individuals were given over to was the practice of same sex intercourse. There is absolutely no mistaking this, and hence the reason revisionists offer so many alternative intepretations of this passage.

Moving on...
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:10,11: Have you ever heard of pederasty? Paul is rebuking the young male prostitute, and the man who sleeps with him. Again...PROSTITUTION, just like hetero prostitution isn't cool.

(Fred) Here is another common objection: The description is one of pederasty (adult/child sex) not loving, intimacy between two consisting adult men. I hear this one all the time. However, Paul specifically describes the homosexuality with the Greek word, arsenokoites, a compound word taken from arsenos - male and koiten - intercourse. Together, the word means simply, "male intercourse." In the context of both 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:10,11, it is clear Paul is referencing homosexual sex acts between two men. If he had meant pederasty there is an appropriate way he could have describe such a vile practice.

Even more striking is the reading of Leviticus 20:13 in the LXX, the Greek translation of the OT, the translation Paul would had most certainly been using during his ministry to the gentiles. The LXX has at Leviticus 20:13 the words, arsenos koiten. Paul is basically adapting the two words to make one word describing a behavior condemned by God that excludes the practitioner from the Kingdom of God and from which he or she must be redeemed.

Then finally...
Creation: God knew there would be homosexuals, and homosexuals are a small fraction in relation to the world population. I don't think there was EVER a threat to the world and it being fully populated.

(Fred) The Genesis narrative is clear that God created marriage between a man and a woman to be the bounds where human sexual intimacy is to be experienced. Jesus fully establishes this truth in Matthew 19 as I pointed out in my last post. My commenter seems to have completely ignored my argument along these lines. By the mere fact Jesus reminds his audience that marriage is defined by one woman and one man eliminates any and all options. There is an exclusivity to singularity, ONE man and ONE woman, along with an exclusivity of gender, one MAN and one WOMAN. No other combinations are allowed and any thing deviating from this normal order is condemned as fornication, peversion, adultery and sin. The issue is not the population of the world, as our commenter suggests, but obedience to what God has established as His norm for His creation.

One concluding note. I meant to highlight this in my previous post, but Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries debated Barry Lynn, a former lawyer for the ACLU and now full time advocate and spokesman for the Americans for the Separation of Church and State back in the spring of 2001. For nearly 2 hours or more, Dr. White so eviscerated the arguments of Lynn with careful exegesis and logic, that Lynn threatened to sue Alpha and Omega Ministries if they released the audio and video tapes of the debate. It was only after Lynn realized he had no grounds to sue that the debate was released for viewing. The transcript of the entire thing can be obtained here. There is also a Dividing Line, Dr. White's weekly webcast, available highlighting the controversy with Lynn here, and another debate with a pro-homosexual pastor who utlizes much of the argumentation I have interacted with, here. Both are recorded in Real Audio.


Friday, August 12, 2005

A shot of our international luncheon

Bill Fickett took this picture of our Grace to You international director's luncheon we had on Thursday, August 11th. I was at the end of the table in the foreground, but out of camera range. These are the wonderful volunteers who give their time to serve our ministry and whom I have the honor of courageously leading on a weekly basis

Comment Posting Guidelines

1. Keep in mind basic, common courtesy. That should be a given. Think of yourself as a guest at a neighbor's house. Or even better, how do you like guests to behave in your house?

2. I will not tolerate cursing. This isn't a postmodernist, emergent Church blog where the use of profanity is viewed as virtuous and even needful when deconstructing truth. Honestly, regardless of how sophisticated you may think yourself to be or well-versed in the writings of such and such fad philosopher/theologian, if you can't articulate your passion without the use of cussing, you're an idiot. Posts with cussing will be deleted immediately. In fact, just to annoy the cusser and his misapplied use of the 1st amendment, I may repost his comments with the cussing bleeped out.

3. Don't be a coward. Please identify yourself by signing your name, or if you insist upon a screen name, at least have something written about your real self on your bio page. Though I won't delete anonymous posts, I tend to discount comments posted by "Profile Not Available" as someone who doesn't have the courage of his or her convictions to truly say who he or she is.

4. No canned overload. Canned overload describes the work of those individuals who post 7,000 word comments that are essentially cut and pasted from multiple sources. The post is "canned" in the sense that it isn't the person's genuine work, but a cut and paste job from a variety of articles with which he or she agrees; and it is called "overload," because the cut and paste post is so large and covers so many issues that it is just impossible for anyone to truly interact with it in any meaningful fashion.

Moreover, because it is a cut and pasted post, the poster can post faster than anyone else can respond. In fact, one of the sure signs of a canned overload presentation is the fact that the posts are so large and come so fast it is clear they had to be cut and pasted together because it is more than can be written by a normal person. In the end, the poster is sadly cemented in his error and falsely assured of believing he is correct, because "no one can answer his objections."

5. Please refrain from posting only links. In other words, make a comment with a paragraph or two, and if you happen to think another website may add some supplemental material to the discussion here, then post your links.

6. Stay on topic.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mid Week Musings

Adda boys and back pats for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president, Al Mohler Jr., for his thoughtful comments in the August 15th edition of Time magazine. This week's edition explores the terrible casualties caused by the Evolution Wars. The little blurb on the cover asks, "The push to teach "intelligent design" raises a question: Does God have a place in science class?" then spends seven pages exploring the ins and outs of the question. Creationists are mentioned but are treated, as always, like the red-headed step child, and all of the ID proponents make sure they are distant enough from any mention of God so no one will come away thinking they are "religious."

On the last page, there is a Time Forum box where four experts are asked this penetrating question: "Can you believe in God and Evolution?" Two of the experts seem to suggest yes, one doesn't believe God is competent to be a designer, and only one, Al Mohler, answers right:

Given the human tendency toward inconsistency, there are people who will say they hold both positions. But you cannot coherently affirm the Christian truth claim and the dominant model of evolutionary theory at the same time.

Personally, I am a young earth creationist. I believe the Bible is adequately clear about how God created the world, and that its most natural reading points to a six-day creation that included not just the animal and plant species but the earth itself. But there have always been evangelicals who asserted that it might have taken longer. What they should not be asserting is the idea of God's having set the rules for evolution and then stepped back. And even less so, the model held by much of the scientific academy: of evolution as the result of random process of mutation and selection.

For one thing, there's the issue of human "descent." Evangelicals must absolutely affirm the special creation of humans in God's image, with no physical evolution from nonhuman species. Just as important, the Bible clearly teaches that God is involved in every aspect and moment in the life of His creation and the universe. That rules out the image of a kind of divine watchmaker.

I think it's interesting that many of evolution's most ardent academic defenders have moved away from the old claim that evolution is God's means to bring life into being in its various forms. More of them are saying that a truly informed belief in evolution entails a stance that the material world is all there is and that the natural must be explained in purely natural terms. They're saying that anyone who truly feels this way must exclude God from the story. I think their self analysis is correct. I just couldn't disagree more with their premise.

A Christian version of Napster. Some one from my Highway discussion group linked us to this new and interesting site. It is called the Bible Centre and the inverted "e" and "r" is a dead give away that the curators live in England somewhere. If anyone was to give the site just even a quick look over, a person would be overwhelmed by the amount of tremendous online resources the site offers. Full commentaries from a variety of older authors, including one of my favorites on Genesis, H.C. Leupold. There are also full books dealing with apologetics, theology and Church history.

The problem, however, is one of legality. Is this site breaking copyright law by posting full length books, especially books with publishers still holding a copyright? As much as I am taken by the amount of material and resources this site offers, a nagging feeling tells me there's something stinky here that could lead to a whole mess of future legal problems.

After the one person posted the link and a gushing note about the vast amounts of wonderful content made available for free use, another shrewd person sent an email to James White of Alpha and Omega ministries, because his book called, The Forgotten Trinity, is featured on the site for free use. James quickly wrote back and stated rather emphatically that what they are doing is wrong because they did not have the permission to post it. I guess we'll see. I personally would like to see James participate in some sort of congressional hearing like the rock stars did with the whole Napster fiasco a few years back. I am sure he would look cool wearing his Oakley's and a fractal tie on C-SPAN.
Leave the poor girl alone. I saw yesterday various news clips of Jennifer Wilbanks, the infamous "runaway" bride from earlier in the year, paying her dues to society by mowing grass around the court house in her home town of Lawrenceville, Georgia.
I can recall all of the jokes made about her when she turned up in New Mexico after an extensive manhunt across the nation. In light of all the other husbands killing their wives stories from the last year, everyone suspected her fiancee of doing her in. Of course, there was always the prospect of her being kidnapped by some freakish cult guy who wanted to add her to his harem. At any rate, I remember there being something fishy when on the Thursday night before our Julia Roberts wannabe turned up in New Mexico, the marrying pastor goes on national TV to proclaim how they all had faith in God that she would turn up and "we are gonna have a big weddin' this Saturday." Both my wife and I grimaced when we heard that.
I say "fishy" because the pastor's bold confident and unfulfilled statement struck me as something I would hear from the "I don't have peace with God about this" crowd. You know the types. These are the individuals who believe you must have absolute peace (whatever that is) about making a big decision, like marriage, or you are out of God's will. I have to confess right up front that I have never had peace about anything. The still small voice inside me must be a deaf-mute. Now I realize this is total speculation and conjecture on my part, but I have always wondered if the reason this gal ran was the whole "peace with God" theology she had probably been taught at her Church. Granted, there was more than likely a lot of pressure by obsessive folks, especially mothers - been there, done that; and there were rumors she had an old boy friend she was attempting to run to for one last fling, or maybe to see if God's will would be found with him, who knows. Even though I am shooting from the hip into the dark with this one, knowing those quirky evangelicals and the screwball ideas about God they readily embrace, I still have my suspicions. In the meantime, is it absolutely necessary for a herd of reporters and camera men to chase after her as she pushes a lawn mower? Come on, let her alone... in peace.
If what I am reading about Air America is true, Al Franken's ship is doomed. Michelle Malkin has a good round-up.
Finally, my lame attempt to get a blogspot from Phil Johnson at Pyromaniac by bribing him with graphic medical pictures of one of my volunteer's re-attached severed toe, failed this week. One reason for being overlooked was that my offer came at the exact time Phil was transferring his old computer files onto his new laptop. My offer still stands, however, so I will be on the outlook for that blogspot.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Good Inerrancy Conversations

I am not sure how many (probably a scant few seeing I am a small, unknown blogger) have been following my discussions on the doctrines of scripture with Steve Jones, the curator of Free Thinking Faith. Our primary discussion centers around the doctrine of inerrancy and all it entails: identifying the original autographs, the reliability of the copies, the veracity of the message contained in those copies, etc. During the course of our interchanges, there have been some good comments posted by Steve and others from his errancy position that have helped to further fame the overall discussion.

I believe these doctrines pertaining to the nature of scripture are vitally important for Christians to understand and articulate, because they have such a strong bearing upon our faith and the truth claims of Christianity. Though errantist would disagree, I believe the certainty of Christianity as being the only way to be made right with our creator stands or falls upon the trustworthiness of the revelation our creator has given in order to reveal how we are to be made right with Him. If this revelation, which is said to be the breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16) does contain factual mistakes or contradictory information, then our creator can be accused of any number of character flaws: God was mistaken when He gave the revelation; He is inconsistent or confused, because the revelation seems to be confused; He lacks the ability to maintain the purity of His revelation over time. In the end, as I have argued in some of my back and forth with Steve, how can we call people to submit to the commands of the gospel message if we are not sure if it has been accurately conveyed to us?

Hopefully, the fine believers who pass by Hip and Thigh on occasion will take the time to read the debate. I would also exhort them to participate by adding any relevant comments which may be helpful. To show you how important I believe this issue is, I will be placing the articles in a permanent link in the side column so they can be accessed easier and read by some who may stop by a long time after the discussion comes to an end.