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

Monday, December 29, 2008

MacArthur's Millennial Manifesto - Rejoinder #5

The Commonwealth of Israel

Continuing with another rejoinder to Sam Waldron's book,
MacArthur's Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response

I have been providing a number of brief rejoinders to Sam Waldron's critical review of John MacArthur's 2007 Shepherd's Conference message, Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist.

The last two rejoinders in this study addressed Sam's view of Galatians 6:16 and Romans 9:6. In short, Sam believes the name "Israel," as it is often used in the NT epistles, is a synonym for the NT Church. In other words, the NT Church has replaced, or in Sam's view, fulfilled the OT promises God made to the people Israel in which He says He will make them a great nation and establish them in an everlasting kingdom. Those promises are understood to be fulfilled in the Body of Christ, a spiritual people of God who comprise both Jews and gentiles believing in Christ alone by faith alone. Hence, those promises are taken to be spiritual promises fulfilled in the salvation by faith in Christ.

Now, there are a few other NT passages Sam says supports his position of a NT spiritual Israel equating the NT Church, but I want to zero in upon his study of Ephesians 2:11-20.

In his opening paragraphs introducing his study, Sam make this bold statement concerning Ephesians 2:12, The use of Israel in Ephesians 2:12 cannot be regarded as anything but an explicit reference to the church (MMM, 61). He then proceeds to build his argument with an examination of the passage.

Beginning in Ephesians 2:11, Sam draws attention to the description of the Ephesians as "gentiles in the flesh." The description, argues Sam, is significant in two respects: Paul is concerned with contrasting ethnic gentiles and ethnic Israel, and then secondly, the phrase, "in the flesh" strongly implies that in the spirit they are not gentiles, but Jews or Israelites (MMM, 62). Then moving to vs. 13, Sam points out how Paul says the believing gentiles are brought near, but the question can be asked, near to what? The context, Sam answers, insists these gentiles are brought near to, or become participants in, the commonwealth of Israel. The gentiles are made near to all the things from which they were formerly excluded ... According to verse 12, they were excluded from Christ, the commonwealth of Israel, the covenants of promise, hope, and God (MMM, 63). Thus, Sam concludes that if the gentiles are made participants in the "commonwealth of Israel," that clearly means (at least to Sam) that gentiles are now Israelites.

He goes on to explain how the root word translated in 2:19 as fellow citizens is the same as the word translated as commonwealth in 2:12. So Paul then is saying that these gentiles who were formerly aliens and strangers to Israel are now fellow citizens in the same commonwealth as the Jewish saints mentioned in verse 19, and they are now considered Israelites.

These grammatical factors, Sam confidently argues, provide clear reason as to why he can say the NT church has taken upon itself the title of the New Israel. He even states emphatically that he has seen no one commentator who has interacted with his precise arguments for Ephesians 2:12-20 as he has laid them out in this chapter. Moreover, even though he is aware that dispensationalists have their own opinion as to how they handle this passage, he smugly notes that the text is fraught with many difficulties for the dispensational system and suggests most dispensational commentators pass over the section quickly without fully dealing with the difficulties often straining the grammatical bounds of the passage in order to save their system.

Before offering my response to Sam, allow me to note a couple of things.

First, like with so many of his arguments presented in his book, Sam simply assumes some theological factors are true without warrant when appealing to his proof texts. For instance, he seems to want to spiritualize many portions of this passage when such a hermeneutic is not necessitated by the context. His understanding that "gentiles in the flesh" has an implied "gentiles in the spirit," thus concluding they are spiritual Israelites, is being read into the passage not derived from it.

And then secondly, I find his claim that he has found no one who has interacted with his precise arguments for his interpretation of this passage to be a bit incredible in light of so many commentators who have written on this passage. He does interact with one Internet article by dispensational theologian, Michael Vlach, of The Master's Seminary where MacArthur is president. But even with the brief comments he offers, they are reacting to a small section of a much larger article that does not have as its focus the whole of Ephesians 2:12-20. A better dispensational commentator to have interacted with would have been Harold Hoehner who has published a massive 900+ page commentary on Ephesians. He provides almost 64 pages of detailed exegesis of 2:11-22 and he interacts with many of Sam's arguments for his position. Perhaps he picked Dr. Vlach because he teaches at a seminary affiliated with MacArthur, but if he is going to make such a bold assertion it may lend more credibility to his claim if he picked a disagreeing representative who has provided substantive research to consider.

Now, with those thoughts in mind, does Sam's take on Ephesians 2 stand up to scrutiny? A lot of my response to his will draw from Harold Hoehner's work, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary in order to demonstrate that his precise arguments have been answered.

In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul discusses the great gulf that once existed between Jews and gentiles and that now both Jews and gentiles in Christ (the operative phrase) have been united in one new humanity, or "New Man." This idea of "new" isn't a new title for what was called something different in the OT, but it is an entirely unique creation on account of the finished work of Christ.

Originally, the gentiles were called "uncircumcision" by those who were "circumcised" meaning the Jews took great pride in their practice of circumcision as it related to the seal of the covenant God made with Abraham. Contrary to Sam drawing spiritual inferences in verse 11 with the phrase "in the flesh" as a contrast to "in the spirit" (MMM, 62) which he thinks makes the gentiles "spiritual" Jews, all that Paul is doing is pointing out the deep separation that existed between the Jews and the gentiles before either group were in Christ. He is not using the phrase "in the flesh" to infer that gentiles are now spiritual Jews.

In verse 12, Paul notes the lack of privilege the gentiles had formerly. Such as being without Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Two comments in response to Sam regarding this verse:

First, Sam sees the phrase "without Christ" as referring to the gentiles being without salvation, or without saving faith in the gospel of Christ. Hoehner points out that the gentiles were not only separate from Christ personally, something true of all Jews as well, but that it was a separation from the national hope of the Messiah. That is what Paul means when he says the gentiles were "without Christ." Whereas Israel had a national hope of a coming Messiah, the gentiles were without that revelation, (Hoehner, 355-356).

Then secondly, the phrase "citizenship of Israel" or as the NASB translates it, "commonwealth of Israel," is not a spiritual entity as Sam supposes in his argument that now makes the gentiles spiritual Israelites. Hoehner notes two possible interpretations of the phrase: either reference to a citizenship of a political state (or spiritual state as Sam suggests) or citizenship in belonging to a group (Hoehner, 356-357). The last one is to be preferred because the whole context speaks to the privileged community of Israel chosen by God as the recipients of His favor and promises. God fearing gentiles would desire such citizenship, but would be limited to their participation in such a group due to their gentile status.

Ephesians 2:13 then goes on to state that these gentiles have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Sam asks, near to what? and proceeds to verse 19 skipping the five verses in between by just given a quick mention of what Paul says in them. Obviously it is correct to ask, near to what? and verse 19 explains the answer as being near as fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's household. But there needs to be an explanation as to why Paul can give that answer in verse 19 and that is explained in verses 14-18.

In verse 14 Paul begins his explanation of his answer by saying how Christ is our peace, the one who tears down the middle wall of partition, alluding to the dividing wall between the court of the gentiles and the court of the Jews in the temple compound, and how He unites both Jews and gentiles together in one. This unity is further accomplished by Christ when He in His death rendered inoperative the law of commandments in decrees, or those Mosaic ordinances which kept the Jews separated from gentiles. The reason this has happened, notes Paul, is because in Christ God has created out of the two groups one New Man.

It is important to keep in mind here that Jews, in spite of their privilege as Israelites, were just as separated spiritually from God as they were from the gentiles. This is a point Sam seems to miss in his discussion, or at least he glances over it. When both groups are made one, as Paul goes on to say, it is as a unified new humanity. This isn't a new title for an entity that had previously existed that now just includes gentiles, but it is an entirely new body. That is why it is theologically inaccurate to say the gentiles are now spiritual Israelites, or the NT Church is a "new Israel." God wasn't adding gentiles to Israel and He wasn't creating a new Israel. He was creating an entirely new man comprised of believing Jews and gentiles who share in the redemption of all saints in the household of God through all ages (2:19, 20).

As much as I commend Sam's efforts in an attempt to present his view on the NT Church being a New Israel here from Ephesians 2, I don't believe it holds up under examination. Thus, in my opinion, MacArthur's original statement about Amillennialists only having Galatians 6:16 and Romans 9:6 as the only places were they can try to say the Church is a New Israel is correct.

Moreover, I believe Sam's position is hermeneutically driven, which I am sure Sam will readily admit, but the hermeneutics are driven by the engine of Covenant Theology, something I don't believe an honest study of Ephesians supports. Now, others may say my take on this passage is driven by my "dispensational" theology. Perhaps that is true, but I think I have shown that 1) the so-called dispensational take on Ephesians 2 is not fraught with many problems as Sam claims, and 2) I think the more correct handling of the exegesis yields my conclusions on the passage rather than Sam's.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Forty Years ago this Week

I received this in an email today from a friend,

In one of the greatest events and achievements of all time, the Apollo 8 spacecraft left Earth's orbit and headed for the Moon on Dec 21, 1968. This was the first time humans had left the bounds of Earth and headed for another heavenly body.

On Dec 24, 1968 astronauts William Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell were the first human beings to view earth from the Moon's orbit. Many of us will remember that they sent a special message to the rest of us on Earth which was televised to the largest TV audience in history....over a billion people. The astronauts read from Genesis 1...'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...'

The Apollo 8 mission is considered to be the most flawless mission in NASA history.

This Christmas, think of all of the blessings you have received over the course of your life....this was certainly one of them.

Here's the actual video (I still get goose-bumps, and a tad weepy watching it),


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rick Warren, Compromiser?

Distinguishing between God and mammon...

According to Little Green Footballs, the websites affiliated with Rick Warren and Saddleback church are being edited for content. What is being removed?

All content addressing the subjects of creationism and homosexuality.

Homosexuality I guess I can understand seeing that he has come under fire from the crazies in the pro-gay lobby. But creationism? The bigoted atheists and anti-creationist are gleefully blogging about it in their corners of the web.

Assuming such removal of content is true, and there isn't a normal explanation for reviewing and editing the web content, something all organizations both secular and religious who maintain a website do now and again, I would find it a bit troubling.

It demonstrates the danger the Christian faces if and when he or she dares to venture into the secular realm of politics at a significant level and wants to be loved by the masses. The masses, however, hate biblical truth and if the person stands for biblical truth in what appears to be an unyielding way, then the masses take that to be the sign of a person who is "narrow-minded" and "intolerant" and all those other yucky P.C. terms people never want applied to them. A person is no longer cool. Right now, homosexuality is thought to be cool by secular masses. Hence, to say anything too incendiary against homosexuals is off putting with the masses. You're perceived as a Fred Phelp's, God Hates Fags kind of person.

There is a deeper principle with Jesus' words in Matthew 6:24, "You cannot serve two masters..." More than the love of money is at stake. In this case, the convictions of the Christian faith and the adulation of the world.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Why I Love LA #2

Pretty much speaks for itself.
I bet Neil has to contend with this like everyday. It's why insurance is so high in Canada.

HT: Pyro son #1


Just in Time for Christmas

Need some holiday gift ideas,

In a continuing effort for evangelicals to mimic the world let me introduce you to...

God's Girlz (make sure to roll that 'r' sound)

Yep, nothing says God's love more than modest, yet fashionable dolls packed with meaningful content, like, "I really love Jesus!"

One of my personal favorites,

It's a Jesus Mii from Wii. You know, the video game. Get it? Hii saved me?
I think it looks more like Travis Tritt, but that's just mii.

Now, for the loved one in your life who is an obsessive compulsive control freak, check out the following items,

A banana protector case. It keeps the banana perfect. No one else touches it with their hands, it doesn't touch anything else on the table or in the fridge. Prevents bruising for the perfect banana eating experience.

It's a butter cutter. Put in a stick of butter and it is cut evenly into perfect little squares, and so that you know you will have perfectly toasted bread,

A see through toaster so you can see how perfect your bread is toasting.

Then, for the hypochondriac obsessive who worries about touching a toilet with bare hands,

Of course your shoes actually touch a part of the toilet, so there will need to be found a way to keep them from being soiled. But, this is also handy for the ladies of the home who have a bad habit of leaving the seats down. It will remind them to put it back up when they are finished.

Then, no longer do you need to waste rolls of wrapping paper attempting to cut the absolutely perfect straight line,

Laser-guided scissors. Now that is genius.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Debunking Gay Christian Apologetics [pt. 4]

The Abomination of Sodomy

Considering Leviticus 18 and 20

Briefly re-introducing the topic...

Earlier this year during the summer, I posted three articles interacting with gay "Christian" apologist, Rick Brentlinger, who maintains the Gay Christian 101 website. He had sent me an email challenging some things I had previously written against gay "Christian" revisionists who re-interpret the scripture to teach that God affirms homosexual relationships rather than condemns them.

At the time, I had one more post I wanted to write in response to Rick's email to me, but other interests came to the front; and honestly, there is only so much error a person can deal with in a period of time that one becomes quickly tired of messing with it. However, the current reaction of homosexual activists against proposition 8 in California, along with the many attempts by the media to paint the opponents of gay "marriage" as ignorant bigots and the Bible as being out-dated and problematic as a rule against homosexual sin, has compelled me to finish my initial thoughts against Rick.

After the passage of California's Proposition 8 which limits marriage as being only between a man and a woman, homosexual activists and their willing supporters in the national, mainstream media, have launched a full scale attack against supporters of Prop. 8 in order to smear them as being hateful and anti-progress. Moreover, homosexuals are attempting to equate their cause with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. That those individuals opposing the normalization of homosexual orientation, behavior, and the sanctioning of same-sex marriage, are the same as those racists in various areas of the south who refused equal rights to blacks.

Two examples come immediately to mind demonstrating these efforts. First, an insipid Hollywood produced musical available as a video on the internet. The musical features actor Jack Black as Jesus who asserts Bible-believing Christians have cherry picked and twisted various biblical citations condemning homosexuality. Christians are further mocked as being backward and small minded, foolishly believing the Bible which is really an old book with no relevance to our modern day culture.

Then secondly, a December 15th, 2008 Newsweek cover article that also attempts -- though poorly so -- to paint Bible-believing Christians as wrongly abusing scripture to justify their dislike for homosexuals. In fact, Newsweek editor, John Meacham, clearly lays the blame for anti-gay sentiment upon those who take the Bible way too seriously. He writes,

No matter what one thinks about gay rights—for, against or somewhere in between —this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism ... Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.

In other words, anyone who claims to be a Christian, yet genuinely believes the Bible is an infallible revelation which clearly reveals that homosexual orientation and behavior is sinful against the God who gave us the Bible, is a person who is anti-modern culture and worse still, unworthy to be called a Christian. I guess in John Meacham's thinking, Christians throughout church history had never taken the Bible seriously as forbidding homosexuality until Focus on the Family went on the air some 30 odd years ago. What is even more galling about the article is how Lisa Miller, the primary author, and Meacham, neither who are biblical scholars, lecture Bible believing Christians from the very Bible they know absolutely nothing about from a lopsided perspective of liberal scholarship.

At any rate, among all the incendiary rhetoric Gay activists and their fawning allies in the mainstream media hurl toward evangelicals, the one portion of scripture always, without fail, complained against is Leviticus 18 and 20. In these two chapters of this OT book, homosexual behavior is described as a man lying with a man like he would a woman (meaning sexual intercourse) and God condemning the activity as being an abomination.

Generally, the objection raised against these two passages argues that since eating lobster and wearing clothing made of both wool and cotton is also considered an abomination in the book of Leviticus, and none of the Christians now-a-days abstain from eating lobster or mixed fiber clothing, it is then hypocritical of them to pick one abomination, homosexuality, as being sinful, yet cheerfully engage in other things that are an abomination, like eating shell fish. It is considered hypocrisy. Of course, one thing to notice about this objection is those who usually raise it are secular Jews who separate their misunderstanding of Leviticus from the commentary the NT provides on this section of scripture.

Rick also raised these similar objections to me in his email, so what I want to do is turn my attention to the gay "Christian" apologist perspective of Leviticus. Let us examine their arguments to see if they are legitimate. One thing to bear in mind as I work through the gay apologist arguments: Rick claims to be an evangelical. At least I see that clearly presented in various articles posted at his website. In other words, he claims to believe the Bible is a true, infallible, and a reliable source of authority for a Christian. So he would actually fall into that category of Bible believing Christians Miller and Meacham criticize in the Newsweek article who are intellectually bankrupt and unserious as a Christian. I find that a bit ironic. But moving along...

Introducing Leviticus

Before we even begin a review of the gay apologist revision of Leviticus 18 and 20, it may be a bit helpful to offer a brief overview of the book of Leviticus itself. Leviticus is certainly one of the more foreign books to our modern era because there is lots of descriptions of animals being slaughtered, people having to heave chunks of meat over their heads, boiling hunks of meat and stabbing it with a flesh hook, and burning animal fat and hair. PETA certainly wouldn't like this OT book. However, the book has a significant purpose. That being, proclaiming God's holiness and the requirements of holiness God demanded of His people Israel. Professor of the OT at Master's Seminary, Dr. William Barrick, provides a helpful summary outline of Leviticus,

Leviticus reveals that God called the Israelites to holiness in their worship and daily living as His chosen people. Chapters 1-7 present a sacrificial system that established an outward manifestation of individual and corporate covenant communion consistent with the divine standard of holiness. The sacrificial system facilitated the preservation of fellowship between the people of the covenant and their holy covenant God.

Next, chapters 8-10 define the priestly ministry. The priests were the caretakers of the covenant relationship. Chapters 11-15 move on to describe the purity of Yahweh requires of His people so that surrounding nations might recognize Israel's identification with Him. He summons His covenant community to a holy lifestyle distinct from that of neighboring nations. The annual renewal of this covenant relationship takes place on the Day of Atonement (chap. 16). That high holy day focuses on the sovereign rule of Yahweh over the nation of Israel. On the Day of Atonement the divine Suzerain blesses His covenant people by granting them His continued presence among them (16:16; cf. 1-2).

To ensure the covenant community's holiness, chaps. 17-24 prescribe obligatory ordinances. This legislation affects their diet, social relationships, religious leadership, calendar, and center of worship. The calendar (chap. 23) focuses on the seventh month with its three major observances (vv. 23-43). Eschatological overtones in the realm of kingship and kingdom are especially prominent in the New Year celebration (also known as the Feast of Trumpts, vv. 23-25). Then chapters 25 and 26 emphasize the monotheistic and sabbatical principles that comprise the two pillars of the Sinaitic Covenant (cf. 25:55-26:3 and Exod. 20:2-11). [William Barrick, The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26, TMSJ, Vol. 16, Num. 1, spring 2005, pp. 95-96].

Chapters 18 and 20 that specifically describe the proper behavior of sexual ethics among God's people fall into the section of the book prescribing community holiness. Personal holiness concerning individual sexual morality is emphasized in chapter 18, where as congregational holiness in the worship of Yahweh is emphasized in chapter 20. So the prohibition of homosexual activity, along with a few other illicit sexual activities, is needful for preserving the purity of Israel's covenant holiness on a personal, individual level, as well as in their corporate worship of Yahweh. God demands holy worshipers, and the reason a man lying with a man is an abomination is because it violates God's holiness.

In order to press how serious He is with expecting holy living and worship from His covenant people, God contrasts his demands for Israel with the illicit lifestyles of the pagan nations and the worship they gave their false gods. Dr. Walter Kaiser describes these pagan religious customs,

The formal introduction (18:1-5) repeats the solemn words of Israel's covenantal relationship three times, "I am the Lord your God" (vv. 2, 4, and in shorter form, v. 5). Obviously, the writer is alluding to Exodus 3:15 and 6:2-4 where God revealed his character in his name Yahweh, and to Sinai where God had called his people to be a "holy nation" and a "kingdom of priests." But this introduction also warned about the customs of the pagan nations Egypt and Canaan. The Canaanite Ugaritic texts even speak of gods copulating with animals, much less referring to bestiality among men. In fact, in Egypt, Rameses II claimed to be the son of the goat-god Ptah. Moreover, incestuous relationships abounded, as the Hammurapi Code and the Hittite laws indicate by the fact that it is necessary to prohibit some of the relationships banned in Leviticus 18. Homosexuality was also attested in Canaan (Gen. 19) and in Mesopotamia. [Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Toward Old Testament Ethics, p. 114]

What is clear in Leviticus 18 and 20 is the strong connection between the moral behavior of individual worshipers and the object they worship. Their religious worldview shaped their personal ethical conduct. False gods acting with depravity by engaging in sexual acts with men, or women, or even animals, will certainly beget followers who will likewise do the same. Yahweh, on the other hand, is the direct opposite from such false gods. Where as they are morally bankrupt, God is holy in character. Whereas the pagan nations who followed Molech and a host of other false gods led lives filled with illicit sexual behavior even apart from their worship of these gods, all Israel was to be separated unto the holy service of God in their personal conduct.

The Gay Revision of Leviticus

The typical way gay "Christian" apologists interpret these two chapters condemning homosexual behavior is that the prohibition against male same-sex intercourse written about in 18:22 and 20:13 is in the context of Molech worship. The men describe here are not lovingly committed same-sex couples who truly want to worship God, but are perverts involved in sexual prostitution commonly found in many false religions during that time. Thus, it is inaccurate to conclude this is merely homosexuals and same-sex intercourse being condemned in these two passages. What is an abomination is men giving themselves to sexual prostitution in the worship of a false god

Rick raises this argument in his initial email to me. He links me to a handful of articles on his website in which it is stated that loving, same-sex partnerships are not being condemned in these two passages, but it is specifically shrine prostitution that was perverting true worship of God. Rick even appeals to the word sodomy as it is used in other passages of scripture and directs his readers to some language studies -- albeit, by liberals who deny the infallibility of the Bible -- of the Hebrew word qedesh, which is the word translated in the KJV particularly as sodomite or sodomy. A truly faithful Bible student, argues Rick, will clearly see that no where in scripture does God condemn in any fashion lovingly committed same-sex partnerships.

The true re-interpreters of the Bible are misguided and bigoted evangelicals of the Focus on the Family stripe. In fact, Rick claims the modern day attempt to equate the abomination of shrine prostitution with the garden variety homosexuals of committed same-sex partnerships is something that never happened up until about a 100 years ago. So, according to Rick there is no historical precedent for the teaching God condemns homosexuality in the good sense as he has outlined on his website.

So How Does One Respond to This Argument?

Allow me to offer up five thoughts in response.

1) First, it needs to be noted that gay apologist rarely, if ever, present a positive defense for a biblical, sexual ethic. Their polemics are for the most part reacting to plain biblical texts like Leviticus 18 and 20, and re-interpreting them to justify their chosen lifestyle. As I outlined in the first response to Rick, in the whole of scripture, God has given clear, direct, and sufficient revelation as to who the participants are in a marital relationship. They are one man and one woman. Moreover, the Bible is clear as to what behavior constitutes sexual sin and what behavior doesn't. All illicit sexual activity mentioned in scripture like premarital sex, adultery, bestiality, and homosexual sex, is always described as being unholy and detrimental to the community of believers. For example here in Leviticus 18, a man lying with a man as with a woman is connected to a lifestyle as defined by a false god.

2) Along those lines, the scriptures never contrast ungodly same-sex behavior with what would be God honoring committed same-sex partnerships. Scripture always directs the standard for marital relationships back to God's creation of man and woman in Genesis 2. A marriage between one man and one woman is the God ordained pattern. Christ affirms this to the Pharisees in Matthew 19, and Paul reiterates it to his readers in Ephesians 5. Thus, all sexual sin discussed in scripture like fornication, rape, incest, adultery, homosexuality, etc., is shown as a departure from that ordained pattern. It is extremely telling to see a complete absence from the Bible of God defining the a so-called lovingly committed same-sex partnership as Rick calls it, and that model being contrasted with the perverse idol worshiping shrine prostitution Rick says the Bible is really condemning in Leviticus 18 and 20.

3) There is also a significant internal inconsistency with the gay apologist argument from Leviticus. Now, according to gay apologetics, what is considered an abomination in Leviticus 18 and 20 is the fact that the homosexual sex act is performed in the worship of the false god Molech. This homosexuality, claims Rick, IS to be rightly condemned because it is shrine prostitution. It is then concluded that homosexual sex between a God honoring, committed same-sex couple is not to be condemned.

However, listed with homosexual sex in Leviticus 18 and 20 are the sins of bestiality, adultery, incest, and other degrading sex acts. Are we to conclude then, that what makes these other listed activities sinful is because they are performed in the worship of the false god Molech? That anywhere else these sins are condemned, say for example adultery by Jesus in Matthew 5:27, 28, that what is in mind is adultery performed during the worship of a false god? In other words, as long as a person isn't copulating with an animal or committing adultery in the worship of a false god, that such behavior is fine with God? In this instance, the gay apologists are cherry-picking which sins are truly sinful and which ones are not. In a manner of speaking, they are doing exactly the same thing they accuse evangelicals of doing with the book of Leviticus.

4) One major troubling part of Rick's argument for Leviticus 18 and 20 is his dependence upon liberal, higher critic scholarship by individuals who certainly do not consider the Bible inspired, inerrant, or infallible in any fashion. In fact, liberal scholarship is commonly appealed to by gay revisionists who wish to make the Bible say something entirely different than what it is saying. Rick claims he is a Bible believing Christian and in the one interview where I have heard him defend his position, he confirms his commitment to the scriptures as an authoritative revelation from God. But in the process of building his pro-gay apologetic, rather than considering the vast body of research and literature on the original biblical grammar and the history of the interpretation of the Torah by both Jews and Chrsitians who would be conservative and evangelical in their convictions, he appeals to "scholarship" from people who, a) don't believe the Bible is reliable to begin with, and b) produce contorted linguistic studies which conclude the opposite of what the Bible really teaches regarding homosexuality and human sexual ethics in general.

5) Then lastly, Rick's gay revision of Leviticus does not seriously consider the emphasis of holiness of God presented in the entire book. As I cited above, Leviticus establishes God's holy character. His holy character is revealed by describing those behaviors and actions He deems as an abomination, or odious to His person and the attributes which define who He is as God. On account of God's holy character, He demands holy worship from His people. Being the creator of humanity, God has determined through the creation ordinance the expression of human sexuality in a marital relationship between a man and a woman as the first book of the Torah, Genesis, describes. Thus, any expression of sex that falls outside these divinely determined parameters violates God's holiness. Whether or not the abomination is temple prostitution is really irrelevant to the overall picture of God revealed in the book. God has determined the participants and the boundaries for a true sexual relationship. Homosexual sex, either in the context of shrine prostitution, or in a so-called committed same-sex partnership as Rick explains, is a departure from God's ordained creation of men and women.

Rick and other gay revisionists diminish the significance of God's holiness as presented in Leviticus. They further diminish the discussion of these sins in light of God holiness in other sections of scripture like Romans and 1 Corinthians by attempting to apply a similar interpretation to those NT passages as well. But, homosexual sex is still an abomination to God because even though much of the legislation which governed the OT theocratic nation of Israel has been laid aside at the coming of Christ, God's holy character transcends both testaments, and those sinful actions that were described as an abomination to His character in Leviticus are still an abomination today.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's beginning to look way too much like Christmas

So much for that man-made global warming thing.

Tuesday evening of this week I heard news reports on the radio that a winter storm was coming to the area and would arrive early Wednesday morning and continue throughout the day. "Winter storm" in L.A. means cold rain, with the temp dipping down to the bone chilling low 40s. If snow does fall, it is generally way north of me in the mountains right below the Mojave and maybe the mountains around my valley will have snowy tops.

By midday on Wednesday, two of our major freeways were closed northbound out of my valley because of heavy snowfall and wisps of snowflakes were blowing in the gusts of wind around where I live. I had to pick up my mother at the Burbank airport and it was snowing really good through the pass over into the San Fernando valley. My children thought that was a delight, though it took them a few minutes to see the snowflakes in the air rather than on the ground.

To give you a picture of what I mean, here are a couple of news photo I snagged off the internet. both of these areas are about 10 miles or so up the freeway from where I live.

My mother had left cold, icy conditions in Arkansas thinking she would be in much warmer weather. She was sorely disappointed. I guess this is as close as I will get to living in Canada, or maybe New England, or even Alaska, where people have to deal with this stuff, like, every day for 10 months.


Monday, December 15, 2008

She'll make someone a good wife one day

I believe there may be something in Prov. 31 about a godly wife being able to field strip a rifle in under a minute

HT: Impacted Wisdom Truth


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Critiquing Newsweek

Dr. Robert Gagnon, my favorite P.C.U.S.A. higher critic and defender of a biblical sexual ethic in light of gay "Christian" revisionism, responds to Newsweek's recent Fundamentalist bashing cover article.

More than "Mutual Joy": Lisa Miller of Newsweek against Scripture and Jesus


Creation Apologetics Articles

Jonathan Sarfati is one of my favorite apologetic writers defending biblical creationism. I have three of his books. Two that are excellent introductions to biblical creationism and refute evolution at the same time, and a massive work exposing the erroneous apologetics of Hugh Ross and long age models of creation.

With in the last month, Dr. Sarfati has been interacting with an extensive article published by New Scientist called Evolution: 24 Myths and Misconceptions.

His rebuttal articles are on going, but there is a main index page cataloging all the additions Dr. Sarfati writes on a weekly basis or so.

The first one goes into more detail about the historical connection Darwinian eugenics had with Nazi Germany. Additionally, there is an extensive article refuting an 88 page booklet published by the National Academy of the Sciences here in the U.S. that is also worth the time printing out and reading: Science, Creation and Evolutionism.

As I occasionally note here on my blog, the Darwinians world wide have stepped up efforts to tharwt any attempts at challenging their secular extremist views. Darwinianism being the religion which fuels their worldview, anyone exposing the errors to this system will be met with verocious mockery and ridicule. A biblical view of creation is the main challenger and thus receives the brunt of most of these attacks. Bible believing Christians can never be under prepared to meet those challenges.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Robots and Rubic's Cubes

It this really excites you, I would imagine you spent way too much time hassling Armin Shimerman at Star Trek conventions.

Tilted Twister

The video at the bottom says it all.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Why I Love LA

I would imagine this is an everyday thing for Neil

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Eugenics Deniers

A Quick Review of Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

(I truly wasn't going to post anything until next week, but I was inspired.)

Conspiracies of all sorts abound in our culture specifically on the internet. Two of the more insipid are the ones claiming the Holocaust never happened or there are no Jews alive in our modern world and the "Jews" we know today occupying the land of Israel are really of Turkish decent. The first scenario can be located in the putrid propaganda of racist, KKK, neo-Nazi anti-Zionists, where as the other is primarily the product of radical, anti-Dispensational replacement theologians.

However, in recent months another group of historical deniers has begun to publish on the internet: those who want to minimize or ignore entirely the role Darwinian evolution played in shaping early 20th century eugenics policies in the United States and eventually the master race goals of Nazi Germany before World War II. Charles Johnson, curator of Little Green Footballs, is the one eugenics denier I am most familiar with. I have been tracking and on occasion noting on my blog how he has become a full on Dawkin's stooge ridiculing creationist and ID supporters to the point of falsely accusing the Institute of Creation Research of being in league with Islamic "creationist" groups funded by terrorist organizations.

Probably the main source of his irrational response to the conflict evolution has with creation is Ben Stein's documentary from earlier this year, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. I did not see the film when it was originally released, though I did post a bit on the reactions it was receiving from bitter atheists who hate any one attacking their faith. Now that it is has been released on DVD, and I have the free time vacationing as it were at the in-laws, I had the opportunity to sit down and watch it on a gigantic LCD 50 inch flat screen TV.

Thus I wanted to offer my thoughts.

The film is extremely well made and Stein brings a charm to the various interviews he has with the scientists expelled from their jobs for questioning Darwinian theory. The basic premise of the documentary is to expose the censorship and black listing happening to a number of qualified, multi-degreed scientists who had the courage to put down the Darwinian kool-aid and ask penetrating questions of the main tenets of Darwinian theory. As a result, a number of them, particularly the ones Stein interviews, have lost their teaching positions, grants for research, or experienced any number of black listing tactics to shut them up. Stein even interviews a reporter in New York who talks about how the black listing even extends to secular journalists willing to give ID a fair shake in their reporting.

In addition to critics of evolution, Stein even interviews Darwinianists like Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, and Daniel Dennet, to get their perspective on the expulsion of these scientists on account of them questioning Darwinian theory. Of course, they either deny such a thing is happening or believe the purge is necessary. The most ardent denier of any censorship happening is Eugenie Scott. One of the more amusing parts of the film is her boasting no such thing is happening, then the film switching to the fact it is. The documentary crescendos to an interview Stein had with Richard Dawkins in which the famed atheist attempts to argue that advanced alien lifeforms (who evolved themselves according to Darwinian means) could have seeded life on our planet so it too could evolve like them.

However, the most controversial feature of the film, and the reason for the title I gave this post, comes when Stein traces the history of Darwinian thought as it influenced eugenics policies in the U.S. and eventually Germany which led to Hitler's death camps. In spite of the anger this portion of the film has inflamed, I personally thought more could be shown in this section, because the film makers didn't even begin to touch on the history of the eugenics movement. Most notably, the influence U.S. scientists and politicians had on Germany and Hitler's use of their research.

Though the history of eugenics in the U.S. is briefly mentioned, the film skips over the first 20 years or so of eugenics being practiced in the U.S., and instead focuses upon Stein touring a German mental facility from the WWII era where the mentally ill were experimented upon and eventually killed all in the name of eugenics. One disturbing note is the young German gal giving Stein the tour. She believed she could not rightly judge what had happened in that place, even suggesting it was a right thing to do. Her responses to Stein's questions showed how generations throughout the world have succumbed to postmodern thought.

At any rate, it is this part of the movie which has brought it the most controversy and criticism even by friendly supporters of ID. But the hostile reaction to Darwinianism influencing Nazi eugenics policies is baffling, because critics are reacting negatively to historical fact. It is just an historical fact that the Nazis justified their eugenics policies by appealing to evolutionary theory. Anyone who would do any serious research would discover this reality. Yet, it is denied by Stein's critics to the point he has been ridiculed for even suggesting evolutionary theory played a significant role in the German Holocaust.

I personally believe this hostile reaction is because eugenics was an attempt by modern societies to take evolution out of the realm of just being a theory explaining the emergence of life on earth way in the past, and employed it in a practical manner in which humanity is controlling its evolutionary destiny. This troubles normal thinking folks, because the weak and helpless were the primary victims of these policies. What happened in Nazi Germany is the logical conclusion of Darwinianism, and people are so uncomfortable with that fact they make the absurd claim Stein is distorting the truth, or they argue there was no connection between Hitler's madness and evolution, or deny eugenics existed at all, or down play its influence in the U.S. during the early 20th century.

The film is certainly worth the rent and people uninitiated to the intellectual debate between atheistic naturalism expressed in the form of Darwinianism and those who believe in a creator will be startled such censorship is taking place in the scientific academy. Even more startling are the large host of individuals, like Charles Johnson, who would be the first to decry the leftist censorship of conservative ideas taking place in the university these days, yet justify and even applaud the censorship of Darwinian dissenters in the name of keeping "science" pure. Let's hope Stein's film will be a help in opening their eyes to the truth.
The first commenter asked about further resources on the history of eugenics.
There are a few books on the subject:
The War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black
The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism by Stefan Kuhl.
The Unfit: The History of a Bad Idea by Elof Axel Carlson
G.K. Chesterton was a co-author of the book called, Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State.
And the book mentioned on the Expelled documentary, From Darwin to Hitler by Richard Weikart. A review of it can be read here.
All these books can be found at Amazon.
Answers in Genesis published a briefer, introductory work on the evolutionary foundation for eugenics called, Darwin's Plantation: Evolution's Racist Roots. It is currently being featured at their website. The introduction to the book can be read here. Of course, the eugenics deniers will complain the book is written by creationists, so it doesn't really count. I would just remind them of how illogical that objection is and exhort them to check their research before passing judgment.
Since many folks don't have immediate access to these books, there are some shorter technical articles on the subject available on the web:
There are many more articles at Creation on the Web located here.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


The family and I are going on a short visit to see relatives, so there will be no blogging until next Wednesday the 10th.

By the way, anyone who thinks they know where we live and wants to take this opportunity to break in and steal my Franklin Mint presidential yard gnome collection, we have asked some big people who can swing a pipe to house sit.

See ya next Wednesday...


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Great Scott!

Answers in Genesis writer, Peter Galling, gives a good run down review of a lecture by atheist champion, Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, on the subject of religion and science.

Great Scott, Eugenie! Secular Humanist on Science and Religion

Dr. Scott is sort of a self-appointed grand inquisitor high priestess of evolutionary education in the U.S., who has made it her life's ambition to hunt down, expose, and expel any and all dissenters who dare raise questions against evolutionary theory.

Galling does a good job responding to her main points of contention, and if anything his review shows, there is yet to be any individual Darwinist opposed to biblical creation who honestly deals with the arguments of creationism. All they do is speak to made up cartoonish characters erroneously labeled "creationists." It is a worth while read through.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

What will those eugenicists at Planned Parenthood think of next...?

Planned Parenthood offering gift certificates

Use them to commit infanticide or if you happen to know someone who is feeble minded who needs to be sterilized...

ht - la shawn