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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Voyage to Antartica

This is probably one of the cooler (literal and figurative) videos I have watched in a while. A time lapse journey a ship of Russians took to the South Pole. It's worth the 10 minutes or so to watch.



Original link for a bigger pictures is HERE

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Musings from Atheist Dan

dress2Every great once in a while, an atheist will stop by my blog and bless me with his encyclopedic knowledge and expertise on such subjects as the Old Testament, Ancient Near Eastern religions, and Semitic languages. I sometimes marvel at how much the atheist will know. He's like so smart. A genuine Good Will Hunting. In a way, I am envious. Where could he possibly find the time to devote to such in-depth study? I mean, just one atheist will seem to know a lot regarding a wide range of subjects. In addition to ancient near eastern religions, he’ll know stuff from such fields as biology, archaeology, geology, psychology, all the biblical languages, and history.

Take for instance a comment from atheist Dan (whose profile is conveniently unavailable) left under this post.

He writes,

There are a lot of comments in the article about how atheists don't understand and take liberties with the bible. However research shows that atheists and agnostics score higher than the religious when it comes to knowledge of the "scriptures."

Wow. Research. Like a team of graduate students spent a couple of years meticulously documenting the knowledge Christians have of the Bible and compared it to the atheists' knowledge. I wrote about this "research." It's a survey quiz given by the PEW Research people, and it is a bit of a stretch to classify it as "research." With the questions they asked, I expected the average "church" goer to fail it. But hey. What do I know about genuine research in the light of this atheist's dizzying intellect.

Moving along, he continues,

I personally have never heard a religious person say anything but supportive things about the bible, when in fact the bible is filled with completely off the wall stuff that would make most people very uncomfortable.

Yeah. I've heard that complaint about the Bible. Especially the making people uncomfortable part. But honestly, I am uncomfortable with atheism, too. I mean, all that genocidal killing over in France, Cambodia, Ukraine, and China is pretty off the wall and discomforting. And don't get me started about that creepy Darwinian eugenics thing.

The next comment is interesting:

Atheist Dan cursed the Bible with a expletive in his original comment,

As a work of literature, the bible is a piece of #$%!.

He must had gone back and read my guidelines posted above the combox where I basically stated that if you use profanity to articulate yourself, you're pretty much an idiot. He deleted this comment and submitted an edited version, but prefaced his re-posted comment with these remarks,

Note to moderator: I had one use of "profanity" which I removed in this comment so you can approve it. By the way, I have witnessed much more stupidity from any religious person I have met than people who use profanity. So your heuristic on stupidity is a bit ironic considering the fact that you are religious. For a person who loves a document that supports genocide, slavery, sexism and many forms of offensive material, your distain [sic] for profanity is inconsistent.

The word "heuristic" for those who aren't brilliant, free-thinking atheists, means, involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods. I think what atheist Dan means to say is that he didn't appreciate me pointing out how the use of profanity demonstrates a shallow, lazy mind.

He wraps up his intellectual remarks by writing,

Religious people, particularly the more religious simply have lower intelligence levels than atheists and agnostics. In fact, religious individuals lack reasoning skills because they have been retarded by following unprovable mysticism. It is no coincidence that George W Bush and Sarah Palin, both love Jesus. The stupidity applies equally to all religions, Christians complain about Muslims, but really, its all pretty much the same thing. Low intelligence individuals tying [sic] to figure out the world based upon fantasy and mass delusion.

musicI am guessing he is saying atheists must be more evolved than religious people. Yet according to evolution, all life is a product of its genetics passed along from one generation to the next. Only the fittest survive. Additionally, evolutionary scientists speak about a “religious gene” being passed from parent to offspring. If this is true, as I am sure atheist Dan will have to admit, what exactly can I do? I mean, I am genetically predisposed to be religious. How could I possibly be anything but religious according to my genetic make-up? For atheist Dan to chide me for lacking reasoning skills because I have been retarded by mysticism and Sarah Palin is like beating a chimp for not pronouncing the word “heuristic” properly.

As I noted, only the fittest survive. The religious, according to the article I link, reproduce more than the non-religious. That is usually because the non-religious, particularly hardcore atheists, are consumed with their self-interests that they don’t have children. Children have a way of gnawing at a person’s selfishness. The only recourse for the atheists like Dan to survive is to eliminate all the religious. But here he steps into a conundrum. In order to do such a thing requires for him to support the genocide and other offensive material he objects to.

Man. Consistency can be hard for atheists.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Words We Say Wrongly

My wife said I should post this and that I should take careful note of the "ly."

I didn't learn this stuff in seminary, regrettably.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Tornado Train Spectacular

In case you haven't seen it yet.

I understand the Tornado was okay.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gleanings from Daniel [19]

danielsvisionGod Answers Prayer (Daniel 9:20-24)

I have come to Daniel chapter 9 and the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel. I provided a brief introduction to the particulars some may wish to visit in order to get an overview of the two basic interpretative approaches to the prophecy.

The first portion of Daniel 9 finds the prophet Daniel contemplating Jeremiah 25:11, 12 where Jeremiah spoke of Israel going into captivity for 70 years. Daniel realized those 70 years were coming to a completion and so was moved to pray on behalf of his people, specifically that Israel would experience a restoration. The one important note about Daniel's prayer: It is filled with Scripture. Daniel's mind is saturated in the promises and the certainty of God's revelation. His prayer confidently brings those revealed truths to God.

We considered Daniel's prayer, so now we turn our attention to the answer he receives. The answer comes in the revelation of God's continued purpose for Israel as spoken from the mouth of the angel Gabriel. The answer the angel supplies provides us with some of the most problematic verses in all of Scripture, verses 24-28. In fact, how one understands the unfolding of these verses shapes how one understands the unfolding of later, biblical prophecy, particularly Christ's words on the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation.

I. The Answer Delivered (20-23)

It is while Daniel is still making supplication to God that an answer to his prayer is sent. That word should be an encouragement, because it demonstrates how God cares for His saints. Note also that Daniel was confessing his sin. Meaning that Daniel was just like us with his personal struggles and temptations.

The Deliverer: While Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel came. He is called a "man" because he came in the appearance of a man. Angels typically appear as men in the Bible, for example Genesis 19. Gabriel seems to be appointed as the chief angel for communication, especially Messianic revelation. For example, he appeared to Zechariah, John the Baptist's father and Mary the mother of Jesus in Luke 1.

He comes to Daniel to relay a message. Daniel says that Gabriel was "caused to fly swiftly." Some study Bibles may have a marginal note here in the text that reads, "wearied in my weariness." The Hebrew phrase, depending upon which stem of the Hebrew is used, can be rendered "to fly" or "to faint." The language suggests that it is the idea of weariness rather than swift flying. The point being that Gabriel came to Daniel at a point of extreme weariness during his fasting and praying.

The Message: Gabriel informs Daniel that he had been sent to "give Daniel understanding." The "skill to understand" carries the idea of imparting spiritual wisdom. The phrase speaks to the Spirit of God opening one's mind to understand spiritual truth. Additionally, Gabriel states he was dispatched at the moment of Daniel's praying. God, then, had anticipated Daniel's request before he even started praying.

II. The Answer Detailed (24)

Gabriel calls Daniel to consider the matter and understand the vision. This is what the vision is about:

Seventy weeks are determined. The answer centers around what the angel describes as 70 weeks, what could literally be translated as "seventy sevens." The question then is: seventy seven of what?

Seeing that Daniel was reading Jeremiah 25:11, 12 and possibly 29:10 ff., I believe what is in mind are the seven years from Sabbath rest to Sabbath rest the people of Israel were to give to the land as outlined in Leviticus 25. Consider for example Jeremiah 25:11, which states, And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. The desolation is related to the land. The only land that can be in mind here is the Promise Land of Israel. 2 Chronicles 36:20, 21 elaborates upon the concept of the 70 year captivity and the Sabbath years in Israel: And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath to fulfill seventy years.

I will discuss the Sabbath years in a later post, but for now, I believe it is clear that one "week" of years equates 7 years as it relates to the Sabbatical rest for the land. Hence, the seventy sevens would be 70 periods of 7 years, or equal 490 years.

These 490 years have been been determined or decreed. This particular word for "decreed" is only found here and it means "to cut, determine, divide." The idea for these "490" years is a determined, prophetic destiny. The question however is what exactly are these years determined for? The angel tells Daniel: for the people and the Holy City. It is at this point where the disagreement between various eschatological camps tends to begin when interpreting this passage.

Those of an amillennial/postmillennial perspective believe the greater understanding of "people and the Holy City" is all of God's redeemed throughout the history of redemption. What would be considered the "remnant" of believers. E.J Young is representative of this view when he writes in his commentary on Daniel,

It is true that the primary reference is to Israel after the flesh, and the historical Jerusalem, but since this very verse describes the Messianic work, it also refers to the true people of God, those who will benefit because of the things herein described.

But it is fairly clear from passages like Nehemiah 11:1, 18; Isaiah 48:2, 52:11, and even Matthew 4:5, that the "people and the Holy City" are the Jews and Jerusalem. A spiritual dimension pointing to a spiritual "remnant" transcending both the OT and the NT is not in view here. It is the Jews in captivity, the nation of Israel, and the real, geographical Jerusalem.

The purpose of the seventy sevens is further defined by six statements. The six statements are broken into two groups: The first group is made up of two word units in Hebrew. The second group, three word phrases. The first group has to do with Israel's sin, where as the second group has to do with God's righteousness.

The First Set:
1) To finish transgression: "Finish" has the meaning of "to end” or “accomplish". The word transgression is definite. It is THE transgression, thus a specific transgression. In this case, I believe Israel's rebellion against their covenant with God.

2) To put an end to sin: "To put an end to" means what it says, to end. What is ended is sin, or what is defined as revolting against authority. In the case of Israel, God's covenant authority over them.

3) To atone for wickedness: "to atone" simply has the idea of biblical atonement which is "to cover over wickedness" or iniquity.

The Second Set:
4) To bring in everlasting righteousness: Everlasting or eternal. In other words, never-ending righteousness.

5) To seal up vision and prophecy: "Seal up" means to "close a document." The idea could mean that it is the consummation of all divine revelation and prophecy. It closes because God has finished or fulfilled what was necessary to reveal His purposes.

6) To anoint the Most Holy: "Anoint" speaks of consecration. "The Most Holy” or what is understood as, the temple in Jerusalem. Some take this to mean when Jesus Christ finished the work on the Cross and founded the ministry of the NT Church. But Most Holy is reserved for the Temple, not a person.

Each of these infinitives answers exactly what Daniel prays in 9:5, 7. His prayer had to do with Israel's sin and God's righteousness. God's answers by providing a revelation of how He will accomplish His answer to Daniel as His purposes lead up to the coming of their Messiah, the ultimate deliverer from sin and rebellion.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Evolution of the Cosmos

I had the opportunity last Saturday to watch an interesting video at our Bible science association.

It was hosted by a fellow name Spike Psarris, and his video had to do with a biblical perspective on the formation of our solar system with the primary emphasis being upon the scrutiny of the naturalistic, evolutionary interpretation of how our solar system formed.

Spike's website isn't as up-to-date as I would like it to be, but he does maintain an email newsletter he sends out on occasion. There are a handful of blog articles available to read. The more amusing one is him interacting with the "Bad Astronomy" website maintained by atheists who make it their mission to "debunk" any view point that doesn't drink their particular kool-aid version of the cosmos. One of them complains that astronomy has nothing to do with the concept of "evolution" even though, as Spike points out, several key books on the subject of astronomy bear titles like "The Evolution of Stellar Space."

I will also say I found the repeated appeal to asteroid bombardment by the secular community as a deus ex machina explanation for unexplained anomalies in our solar system to be a bit humorous. The blind faith appeal to asteroid or comet impacts is especially funny in light of how scientists will decry any so-called "design" or "created" arguments for similar unexplained phenomena.

The video is available for purchase at his website: Creation Astronomy

Clips are available for viewing on his site as well so a person can get a feel for what the overall video is about.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Jumping the Theological Shark

Rick Warren and his Daniel Plan

...Now Eglon was a very fat man (Judges 3:17)

I do believe I have come to the conclusion that Rick Warren has jumped the theological shark, and I say that at the risk of incurring the combox wrath of Richard Abanes.

Some may quibble and tell me he jumped the shark a long time ago upon the publication of his multimillion dollar best seller, The Purpose Driven Life. Others will say it happened in 2008 when he interviewed the then presidential candidates John McCain and Barak Obama at his church. Others may say it happened when he endorsed a document for Christian environmentalism. But I am convinced it for sure happened this past weekend (Jan. 15, 2011) when he invited three alleged quacks to speak on health and dieting.

Called The Daniel Plan, (The folks associated with the Daniel Fast must be gnawing their wrists) Warren and his three gurus have developed a 52-week health program designed to reshape a person's diet and health routine so he or she can be a better "you" at the end of the year. The plan, as explained in a video by Rick Warren, is based upon Daniel 1 when Daniel and his three friends asked if they could be excused from eating the food given to them by Nebuchadnezzar's men as they went through their wisemen training in Babylon.

Now.

I am all for better health and eating sensibly. The good Lord knows I can lose some weight and have an overall better diet. As I get older, I recognize how my metabolism is slowing down. For a person like me whose natural metabolism is that of an Amazon tree sloth, I do my best to stay active. In fact, when I can, I ride a bike 12 miles to and from work about three days a week. When the weather is favorable in the evenings (in So.Cal, that's above 60 degrees) my family and I take a walk around our neighborhood. But I am not going to pursue health and eating a proper diet because a group of food pharisees egregiously misapply a biblical text.

Rick Warren explains on his video introduction to his Daniel Plan program that the plan comes from Daniel chapter 1, when a young Daniel proposes a contest between him and his Babylonian overlords. Daniel and his friends would eat a healthy, vegetarian oriented diet, where as the Babylonians would continue to eat their diet of rich, fatty foods high in calories. At the end of the contest, they all will come together to see who was more healthy, and of course Daniel and his friends won the contest.

If I may be blunt: Daniel chapter 1 is not about making a bet to see which diets are the most healthy.

Daniel and his three friends were captives of the Babylonians. They were being groomed to be Babylonian "wisemen" who would be part of a larger group advising the governmental officials in the ways of the Chaldean religion. Part of the training for this role included being fed from the king's table. In other words, Daniel and his friends would be given a special diet of the choicest foods available in the kingdom. The food was a means to assimilate the young men into the roles of Chaldean wisemen and break them from their previous cultural background. The text specifically explains why Daniel would not eat the food: it was so as not to be defiled (Dan. 1:8). The word "defile" here has a spiritual definition attached to it. To eat of the king's food would violate the Levitical dietary laws. Daniel's choice had nothing to do with eating right and maintaining a 33 inch waste line; it had to do with honoring God as a faithful, covenant keeping Hebrew. He and his friends looked "better" than the other trainees because God blessed their obedience to his law, not because they ate specific foods.

This horrendous abuse of Daniel 1 is bad, and if Warren had stopped there we could all just roll our eyes, say "whatever," and return to eating our shredded BBQ pork sandwiches while we watch Man Vs. Food. But it doesn't stop there.

In order to kick-off the year of The Daniel Plan, he invited three health experts to his church to speak from his pulpit: Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. Glancing over what information I could find on these men, none of them are Christians from what I could tell. Now does a doctor have to be a Christian in order to develop a plan for you to eat better and improve your health? No. Just want to make sure I'm clear on that. I would imagine everyone reading this has visited doctors who were not believers. The problem, however, is context. Visiting an unbelieving doctor in his office is one thing; inviting him to speak from the pulpit, to the church, from an authoritative position about a person's spiritual and physical health, is quite another.

What is even more troubling is how all three of these doctors are controversial in the medical field and have come under heavy scrutiny from other medical health experts. From the brief review I made of their controversies, I hear a certain conspiratorial tone resonating through their material. I mean, once you start saying ADD and autism is linked to the food parents feed their children and the lack of vitamins, you'd better be prepared to back up your research.

And granted, doctors critique each other all the time and I will say a good amount of the criticism of these men comes from the peanut gallery of atheist cranks supposedly debunking quacks. Yet, if one were to do a search on each one of these doctors, there is enough legitimate concern as to their research and practice to raise red flags. There is enough that I certainly would not welcome them to my church to teach from the pulpit about health.

Of the three, Dr. Oz definitely is the most problematic. He has new agey sympathies, has been promoted heavily by Oprah (and we all know where she stands on things), and he claims to be influenced by Swedish pseudo-Christian mystic, Emanual Swedenborg who believed a connection existed between one's spirituality and the food he or she eats. Swedenborg's modern-day followers even claim he was an early promoter of vegetarianism.

Obviously, Dr. Oz didn't go to Saddleback and preach about Swedenborg - at least I hope he didn't. None the less, with this Daniel Plan being pushed by a well-known Christian celebrity like Rick Warren, I have to wonder about its overall influence among Christians. Does Warren not consider the fact that his popularity will expose Dr. Oz, and his two buddies, to countless numbers of Rick Warren/PDL enthusiasts? Has Rick Warren thought about how those countless numbers of individuals will more than likely look up Dr. Oz on the internet and see "Emanuel Swedenborg" attached to his name and think, "hmmm. What's he all about? I mean, if he had such a wonderful impact on Dr. Oz..." Because the way I see it, with these endorsements, there is a serious lack of discernment on Warren's part. He has truly jumped from being a pragmatic, mega-church pastor to being the peddler of serious theological error.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Youts in Revolt

A friend of mine passed along an article providing a garment rending analysis as to why teenagers and college aged kids leave church:

Why Teens, Young Adults are Leaving American Churches

After explaining how within the last decade more and more young adults are leaving churches, and listing some books that explore the reasons why this is happening, the author provides her own list of reasons:



1) Churched kids and teens spend six of seven days each week hearing other people say how judgmental Christianity is, and that the Bible should be taboo.

2) Churches use outdated methods of Sunday School, rotating the same Bible stories year-in and year-out without relating the morals to daily living. When kids want to know why someone like Gabrielle Giffords was shot, they don't need another lesson on Noah's Ark.

3) Teens can only eat so much pizza at church social events before they see through this thinly veiled attempt at keeping them occupied and out of trouble.

4) Those surveyed say there aren't enough good reasons given for holding Bible beliefs other than "the preacher says so..." or "your parents say so."

5) Sometimes kids are routinely kept out of "grown-up church." From infancy to four years old, they're in nursery. Then they get "children's church" with a short Bible lesson, crafts and refreshments. For teens, a separate youth service geared to "their" music. By eighteen, they've never been expected to sit through a whole Sunday service. It's culture shock.

6) Young people can see that the Church in general hasn't yet been able to conquer racial reconciliation, domestic abuse and the rampant church divorce rate...sometimes in their own families.

7) Older generations won't blend a moderate amount of contemporary music with traditional hymns, to show young people that newer ideas are respected.

8) Or, the Church feels pressured to impress their younger members with new technological avenues. So they discard all the old hymns that were written out of peoples' struggles with life, pride and suffering. Thus, the newer generations don't hear about how God can help them through hard times.

9) Parents are expecting the church to teach what may fall within their own responsibility.

10) But then, young parents raised in the last twenty years have themselves grown up under the new pop psychology of never receiving or deserving any discipline or criticism. They've seen church become irrelevant. Now, as parents, they're hesitant to make (or even ask) their kids to go to church or develop a backbone in faith.

11) Lastly, everyone's too busy for church. There are too many other attractions in life.

A few thoughts of my own:

- Though it may be true that more young adults are leaving churches these days than in previous generations, young adults leaving churches really isn't a "new" phenomenon. I was a regular youth group attender, both in high school and college, during the 80s. My family was members of a typical, small town church with strong evangelical, fundamental leaning. I imagine probably 20 percent of the people who attended those groups with me are still actively involved in a local church somewhere. The other 80 percent don't have any significant church involvement, and probably for some of the reasons this author outlines in her article.

- Now that is not to say these individuals are outright hateful toward church, like some internet atheist crank. They even may be politically conservative and watch Hallmark television movies; They just don't attend church regularly. If they do attend church, it is primarily for their kids' involvement or it is just a squeaky-clean, social club atmosphere they enjoy. Their faith as a Christian isn't real, so there isn't a genuine display of that faith in their personal lives.

- From what I can see, a major reason many young adults leave church is that churches don't have anything substantial to offer, especially in the area of solid biblical teaching. I fault the leadership for the most part, because they have reduced church services to two basic approaches that appear different on the surface, but in actuality are quite similar in the shallow handling of Scripture:

On one hand is the old-fashioned style where a preacher delivers an evangelistic sermon for thirty minutes. Of course, there is nothing wrong with evangelistic sermons, but every Sunday morning and evening? Additionally, there is no consistency with teaching the Bible. One morning he is in Judges 10, during the evening, Matthew 26. The next week in the morning it is Colossians 2, the evening, John 9. Basically three points and a poem are given (or he does what many preachers do these days: plagiarize a message from the internet), the preacher gives an invitation to the church members, the pianist plays a couple of stanzas from Just as I am, and we go home. A steady diet of this mediocrity every week, every month, and every year, will drive anyone away from church, let alone disillusioned youths.

Yet on the other hand is the modern style where church has become like attending a stage show in Branson, MO. There are lots of bright lights, contemporary music, church services start late in the morning or a person can attend the Saturday afternoon service so as to have Sunday mornings free for family stuff like baseball. The preaching, or better, motivational messages, are meant to be "relevant" but they generally cover the same themes over and over again for a few short weeks. Subjects like marriage, finances, raising kids, relationships, and overcoming stress and worry. That is not to say those are important topics, but if the leadership wants to be "relevant" in these societal areas the speaker must devote in-depth time to them, not 22-minute sermonettes punctuated with video clips of slum children in Brazil. A person must actually teach the Bible in order to make the Bible relevant.

- Lastly, the author is a bit off target with point #2. While I certainly agree with her that lame Bible teaching extends into even the Sunday school classes with simplistic, prefabricated curriculum from whatever denomination, she misses the much larger tragedy with this approach when the infallibility and authority of God's Word is undermined. If she means kids "don't need another lesson on Noah's ark" in the sense of a flannel graph image of a floating house with giraffe heads sticking out of windows, then I couldn't agree more. But the larger reason why kids don't take the faith seriously and leave church is because they don't take the Bible seriously as a divinely inspired revelation of God's redemption on display in real history. Contrary to what our author implies, I personally think the lack of lessons defending Noah's ark as a real, historical event rather than just a myth about a zoo on a boat, has profound ramifications on how young adults will perceive the authority of Scripture.

If the Bible is reduced to being a collection of ethical ideas to which we look to explain why a woman is shot by a crazy man, this nullifies its claims upon the lives of sinners. It's just a collection of morals competing with other collections of religious morals. It is no longer a divine revelation from the only true and living God who has clearly, and without doubt, put Himself on display in real human history and demands our submission to the Gospel He has established as the only means of reconciliation.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The KJV-only He-man Woman Hater's Club

A Hip and Thigh Classic

The week has me smothered in work and family obligations, so it has been difficult finding a moment to write substantively. Monday's post was linked by both Challies and Phil. I was mildly surprised it would gather such attention, but I am guessing many folks who run between those two blogs know what it is to read a Chick tract. Anyhow, at a wedding over the weekend, I saw an old roommate and he and I began chatting and before we knew it, we were talking about Fundamentalist wonderkid sensation, Steve Anderson, founding pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ. That drew my attention back to a post I did on one of his You Tube videos. It was an awesome spectacle to behold. A transcript is available in the comments. I figured if any of the first time readers from Phil and Tim's places who stopped by over the last couple of days enjoyed my rant on Chick, they'll enjoy this one too, so I'm giving it a re-post.



WARNING: The following post contains language, even though many would call "biblical," others with weaker constitutions, like home school mothers and spiritualized, finger wagging goody-goods, would consider low-brow and inappropriate. Some may even say bathroom talk. Just so that every one understands I am not going emergent with my blog, I present to you this warning as a caution. Thank you.












*See update at bottom

There is an unique You Tube video floating around the community of former hardcore, fundamental KJV-onlyists, where I frequent regularly, and it has stirred up conflicting feelings of both overwhelming laughter and despairing sadness.

See HERE.

Basically, the video is a section from a message delivered by a KJV-only preacher/pastor in Tempe, Arizona by the name of Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church.

In the section, preacher Steven seizes upon a Hebrew idiom translated in the KJV as "He who pisseth against a wall" and proceeds to argue that the KJV is a more manly translation because many of the modern versions, rather than giving the literal rendering of the phrase, simply translate the meaning of the idiom something like, cut off every male. One of my favorite lines in the entire rant is when preacher Steven, with index finger firmly tapping the top of his podium for emphasis, says "They may be males, but they're not men."

Preacher Steven then goes on a 4 or 5 minute tirade against the emasculation of today's man by the feminization of our modern culture. The highlight is when he recounts his demoralizing time in Germany where in every public restroom, as well as in private homes, there are signs prohibiting men from standing when relieving themselves. Poor Steven had to sit to pee. Such is the way of our feminized societies in which men have not only forgotten about God, but they have forgotten to stand up for themselves.

Amazing, huh? How should we stand against this astonishing buffoonery that masquerades as biblical preaching? A couple of thoughts.

First, the phrase, He who pisseth against the wall, is a Hebrew idiom that is meant to describe male descendants or heirs in a generation. It is not at all describing masculinity, especially as this pastor is defending it. The phrase is used 6 times in the KJV, 1 Samuel 25:22, 24; 1 Kings 14:10, 16:11, 21:21; and 2 Kings 9:8. In each of these instances, the phrase is employed as a curse describing how the heir to a family line will be cut off so that the family generation will cease to have an inheritance in the land of Israel. Looking at each one of these verses in their context clearly demonstrates this. It has nothing at all to do with men being men.

Thus, not only has this guy mis-interpreted this idiom, he is mis-applying it in his application defending masculinity and crying against a feminized culture.

Second, preacher Steven definitely represents a fringe element within fundamental KJV-onlyism. However, anyone who is familiar with the apologetic literature of KJV-onlyists knows one of their foundational talking points is that the KJV, as a translation, has been translated by the greatest Christian scholars who were expert in the original languages. No modern version can match the KJV in scholarship. This is certainly the argument made by D.A. Waite, David Cloud, and other "mainstream" KJV-only Fundamentalists. D.A. Waite even makes the scholarship argument one of the 4 points to his "four-fold superiority" of the King James Bible.

Shortly after an individual on an email discussion group where I participate on occasion posted a link to this You Tube video, KJV-only gadfly Will Kinney, sent out an article addressing the idiom, "he that pisseth against the wall." He concluded his email by saying,
Those versions like the RSV, ESV, NASB, NIV, NKJV and Holman that read "against A MALE" are the ones that are not following the literal Hebrew readings. This is what GOD wrote and inspired in His words. God knows perfectly well how to say "pisseth against the wall" and how to say "male", and He said "pisseth against the wall". Look it up for yourself.

Later, in response to criticisms of his conclusion, especially the notion that modern versions are emasculating the biblical text by not translating this phrase literally, Will continued to insist that to not translate the phrase as it is originally written in the Hebrew introduces not only an error in the biblical text, but most certainly feminizes the Bible.

Just a couple of thoughts:

First, I repeat my questions I asked Will for the benefit of other KJV-onlyists: How exactly is the word "piss" more masculine than the word "urinate" or "pee?" How is the meaning changed in modern texts? I personally like the idiom to be translated as it stands in the KJV, however, how exactly is the meaning of the text changed if the translators intentionally translate just the meaning of the idiom and not the literal wording of the idiom?

Secondly, his claim exposes classic KJV-only double-standards. Let me explain what I mean:

Everyone knows that language will change over a period of time. A word or phrase that has a primary meaning in one generation can take on an entirely new meaning in the next. For example, no one in our modern society thinks of the word "gay" as meaning "happy." In fact, when we hear those old time songs from 70 or 80 years ago sing about being "gay" we snicker, because what they understood as being "gay" in the 1920s and 30s does not mean what we understand "gay" to be in the first decade of the 21st century.

Idioms are also a good example of this. In the 17th century, the word "piss" didn't carry the crassness that it now carries in our culture, so the translators didn't have a problem translating the phrase as literal as possible. Modern readers tend to cringe at such word usage, and modern translators, recognizing this change in culture, chose instead to translate the meaning of the phrase, rather than a word-for-word translation. It means the same thing. Nothing is "taken away" as KJV-onlyists attempt to argue.

Now, what most folks don't know is that the KJV does the same thing with idioms as modern translators do. A relevant example is Matthew 1:18, which in the KJV reads, "to be found with child." This is not, however, what the original states. The word "child" isn't in the verse. Literally, it reads something like, "found to have put it in her." Now why didn't the KJV translators translate that literally as it is found in the text? Is it not, as Will argues, what God wrote? His inspired word? Yet here, we have an instance of the translators considering the sensibilities of the readers of their translation who would think such description of child bearing was crude and certainly non-poetic, providing the meaning of the idiom rather than a literal word-for-word translation. The only difference, though, is when the KJV translators do it, they're considered the greatest scholars the world has ever known, but if modern translators of the ESV do it, they are corrupting God's Word.

With all of that aside, however, I believe there is much more at stake here. I said the video produced conflicting emotions of both laughter and sadness. I laughed at such nonsensical reasoning of this passage. But, I am saddened that this man is allegedly shepherding the souls of men and women who look to him as a spiritual leader. It is gross negligent incompetence at its worst. At the website of this church, there is a page with photos of new members being baptized. I am grieved that all these smiling faces, excited for their new found faith in Christ, have identified themselves with a church that will only ensnare their souls with the most absurd legalistic ideology, while calling such behavior "being holy" and "separated." These poor folks are going to have a warped understanding of the Bible and God Himself, and will more than likely be spiritually traumatized for sometime to come because of this man's deplorable teaching. I can only hope that because God is sovereign that I can confidently trust He will deliver His people in due time.

UPDATE (2/15). A thoughtful reader wrote out a transcript of this guy's message from the video and posted it in the comments. The impact of how deplorable this man's preaching comes out more when you read what he said.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

No Liars in Heaven

liarsCartoonist, Jack Chick, continues to peddle his tin-foil hat revisionism of Church History illustrated with pictures of stern faced angels, glowing titanic faceless images of God, and bad guys with exaggerated Semitic features like thick eye-brows and hooked noses.

I was alerted to one of his recent tracts called No Liars in Heaven by a passionate evangelist who sent our ministry a copy. For this paranoid outing, Chick has enlisted the aid of fellow KJV-only conspiratorialist, David Daniels, (not to be confused with the Tyndale scholar or the tenor with the similar sounding name). Together they have produced a new tract providing an introduction to the deluded world of KJV-only textual criticism.

The tract opens with a scene set at a Christian radio station. A banner above the picture tells us the following really took place. A sinister looking talk show host, with an evil scowl, is taking questions from callers. One caller asks, “When is it okay for Christians to lie?” The Bible answer man of darkness responds by telling the caller that of course it is okay for Christians to lie, Jesus lied to his brothers. (Cue ominous music). When the caller asks where it says in the Bible Jesus lied to his brothers, the reference it is given to John 7:8-10

At this point, a cartoon version of our intrepid KJV-only advocate, David Daniels, illuminated with a righteous, soft glow, interjects and says “Yep, because of only one little missing word,” that word being “yet.” A contrast is given between what one of many modern Bible versions supposedly says at John 7:8-10 and what the King James Version says.

Unnamed Modern Bible Version: You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time is not fully come. After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.

KJV: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet fully come…

The deletion of the word “yet” makes Jesus to be a liar, because after he tells his brothers he is not going up to the feast, he goes up anyways. Oddly, no where in the entire tract is the KJV named as the one Bible that contains ALL of God’s Words. It is quite a subtle ploy on the part of Chick to avoid mentioning the KJV, or any other modern Bible translation.

Anyhow, after this stunning comparison is revealed, we are told that 20 (count them!) popular Bibles are missing this one little word. A picture of horrified people ask “What should we do?” to which Daniels responds, “Get a different Bible” and again, the correct Bible isn’t named. The cartoon narrator then explains to us how publishers, illustrated with the exaggerated Semitic features I mentioned, have been removing words out of the Bible down throughout the centuries. We are asked, “Which Bible would you trust?” and a few more examples of textual editing are provided along with more horrified people. Such verses as Luke 9:54-56 where Christ’s answer to His apostles is said to be removed, and Acts 8:37 where the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch is supposed to be taken out.

The David Daniels character pops back in and says how he has spent nearly 30 years comparing Bible versions. God warns us throughout Scripture, Daniels says, to “not add to or take away from my words.” No examples of “adding to” are noted, however. More characters with exaggerated Semitic features are shown confusing pastors and lay people with the “latest and greatest” modern Bible translations, all of them missing hundreds of individual words that supposedly alter the text to such a profound degree no one truly knows what God’s Word says. The tract ends with an advertisement for Daniels’s book. There is a link to an on-line video where you can actually see him explain all of this in person: See here.

It truly is sad such buffoonish deceit is passed off as Christian apologetics and evangelism. Jack Chick and David Daniels are in danger of being labeled liars themselves. Not only are they misrepresenting the reason for these so-called "missing" words, they also impugn the character of generations of faithful Bible translators and textual critics who would recoil at the notion of dishonoring God's Word.

Consider the first two examples:

Does removing the word "yet" make Jesus a liar? Daniels conveniently ignores the entire context of Christ's interaction with his brothers. If one were to begin reading the account before the alleged removal of "yet," John makes it clear that Jesus' brothers did not believe in Him (7:5) and that they were chiding Him to go and make Himself public in Jerusalem as Israel's Messiah. Jesus tells His brothers, who had it wrong about the intent of Christ's ministry, that His time had not yet come (7:6). In other words, His purpose in going to Jerusalem for the annual feast was not to declare Himself publicly as Israel's Messiah. That is the whole point of the discussion and Him saying "I am not going up to this feast." It wasn't that he purposely misled his brothers, but that He wasn't going for the reason His brothers wanted him to go.

There is a similar discussion Jesus had with Mary in John 2 at the wedding of Cana. Did Jesus lie to his mother after she asked Him to help when the party ran out of wine? He responded to her, "What do I have to do with you woman? My hour has not yet come" (2:4). It is almost the exact same wording as He gave to His brothers in John 7. But then Jesus turns water into wine. Did He just lie to His mother according to Daniels's absurd notions?

Secondly, did Luke eliminate Jesus' response to His disciples? No. Daniels is misstating the facts of Luke 9:55, 56 (dare I say lying?) when he says that the missing words eliminates Christ's answer to His disciples. The text, with the so-called, intentionally deleted words, says: And when His disciples James and John saw this they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? But He turned and rebuked them. (9:54, 55). Notice that Jesus did answer them contrary to what Daniels alleged in the tract. He answered them with a rebuke. Luke just didn't record what Jesus specifically said when He rebuked them.

What Daniels and Chick fail to tell their readers is that there is a good possibility that well intentioned copyists ADDED to the text in order to save Jesus embarrassment in these instances, rather than DELETED the words to insert heresy into the Bible. Just as Daniels preaches that we are not to take away from God's Words, we aren't to add to them either, especially with wacky conspiracy theories.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Koga’s Zero

I received the following story from a friend who is a part of the “Greatest Generation.”  I love this kind of stuff.

This post is edited from the story original which was written by Jim Reardon and appeared in the fall, 1997 edition of Invention and Technology magazine.

 

An Enemy Plane that Saved American Lives

clip_image001AT FIRST GLANCE THE PICTURE RESEMBLES A photo of a pile of junk. Look closer, however, and you will see a propeller, a wing, and a belly tank. Far from being junk, it is a Japanese “Zero” fighter plane from World War II that went on to be of inestimable value to the United States. Aviation buffs and historians know it as Koga’s Zero, for the name of its pilot, or as the Akutan or Aleutian Zero, for the crash site. The photo was taken in mid-July 1942 by a Navy photographer’s mate named Arthur W Bauman on Akutan Island in Alaska’s remote Aleutian chain.

Koga’s Zero, rebuilt, was the first flyable Zero fighter acquired and tested in the United States. A scant two months after Bauman took the photo, the plane had been shipped 2,800 miles to North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego and repaired, and it was revealing profound military secrets in the air.

The information it yielded was vital to the U.S. War effort because in 1941 and most of 1942, the Zero outflew virtually every enemy fighter it encountered, primarily because of its agility. During the previous several years many Zero pilots had seen aerial combat in China, so unblooded Allied pilots in less maneuverable planes usually regretted any attempt to fight Zeros flown by the experienced Japanese—if they lived long enough.

For example, in April 1942 thirty-six Zeros attacking a British naval base at Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), were met by about sixty Royal Air Force aircraft of mixed types, many of them obsolete. Twenty-seven of the RAF planes went down: fifteen Hawker Hurricanes (of Battle of Britain fame), eight Fairey Swordfish, and four  Fairey Fulmars. The Japanese lost one Zero.

Five months after America’s entry into the war, the Zero was still a mystery to U.S. Navy pilots. On May 7, 1942, in the Battle of the Coral Sea, fighter pilots from our aircraft carriers Lexington and Yorktown fought the Zero and didn’t know what to call it. Some misidentified it as the German Messerschmitt 109.

A few weeks later, on June 3 and 4, warplanes flew from the Japanese carriers Ryujo and Junyo to attack the American military base at Dutch Harbor in Alaska’s Aleutian archipelago. Japan’s attack on Alaska was intended to draw remnants of the U.S. Fleet north from Pearl Harbor, away from Midway Island, where the Japanese were setting a trap. (The scheme ultimately backfired when our Navy pilots sank four of Japan’s first-line aircraft carriers at Midway, giving the United States a major turning-point victory.)

IN THE RAID OF JUNE 4, TWENTY BOMBERS blasted oil storage tanks, a warehouse, a hospital, a hangar, and a beached freighter, while eleven Zeros strafed at will. Chief Petty Officer Makoto Endo led a three-plane Zero section from the Ryujo, whose other pilots were Flight Petty Officers Tsuguo Shikada and Tadayoshi Koga. Koga, a small nineteen-yearold, was the son of a rural carpenter. His Zero, serial number 4593, was light gray, with the imperial rising-sun insignia on its wings and fuselage. It had left the Mitsubishi Nagoya aircraft factory on February 19, only three and a half months earlier, so it was the latest design.

Shortly before the bombs fell on Dutch Harbor that day, soldiers at an adjacent Army outpost had seen three Zeros shoot down a lumbering Catalina amphibian. As the plane began to sink, most of the seven-member crew climbed into a rubber raft and began paddling toward shore. The soldiers watched in horror as the Zeros  strafed the crew until all were killed. The Zeros are believed to have been those of Endo, Shikada, and Koga.

After massacring the Catalina crew, Endo led his section to Dutch Harbor, where it joined the other eight Zeros in strafing. It was then (according to Shikada, interviewed in 1984) that Koga’s Zero was hit by ground fire. An Army intelligence team later reported, “Bullet holes entered the plane from both upper and lower sides.”

One of the bullets severed the return oil line between the oil cooler and the engine. As the engine continued to run, it pumped oil from the broken line. A Navy photo taken during the raid shows a Zero trailing what appears to be smoke. It is probably oil, and there is little doubt that this is Zero 4593.

After the raid, as the enemy planes flew back toward their carriers, eight American Curtiss Warhawk P-40s shot down four VaI (Aichi D3A) dive bombers thirty miles west of Dutch Harbor. In the swirling, minutes-long dogfight, Lt. John J. Cape shot down a plane identified as a Zero.

Another Zero was almost instantly on his tail. He climbed and rolled, trying to evade, but those were the wrong maneuvers to escape a Zero. The enemy fighter easily stayed with him, firing its two deadly 20-mm cannon and two 7.7-mm machine guns. Cape and his plane plunged into the sea. Another Zero shot up the P-40 of Lt. Winfield McIntyre, who survived a crash landing with a dead engine.

Endo and Shikada accompanied Koga as he flew his oil-spewing airplane to Akutan Island, twenty-five miles away, which had been designated for emergency landings. A Japanese submarine stood nearby to pick up downed pilots. The three Zeros circled low over the green, treeless island. At a level, grassy valley floor half a mile inland, Koga lowered his wheels and flaps and eased toward a three-point landing. As his main wheels touched, they dug in, and the Zero flipped onto its back, tossing water, grass, and gobs of mud. The valley floor was a bog, and the knee-high grass concealed water.

Endo and Shikada circled. There was no sign of life. If Koga was dead, their duty was to destroy the downed fighter. Incendiary bullets from their machine guns would have done the job. But Koga was a friend, and they couldn’t bring themselves to shoot. Perhaps he would recover, destroy the plane himself, and walk to the waiting submarine. Endo and Shikada abandoned the downed fighter and returned to the Ryujo, two hundred miles to the south. (The Ryujo was sunk two months later in the eastern Solomons by planes from the aircraft carrier Saratoga. Endo was killed in action at Rabaul on October 12, 1943, while Shikada survived the war and eventually became a banker.)

The wrecked Zero lay in the bog for more than a month, unseen by U.S. patrol planes and offshore ships. Akutan is often foggy, and constant Aleutian winds create unpleasant turbulence over the rugged island. Most pilots preferred to remain over water, so planes rarely flew over Akutan. However, on July 10 a U.S. Navy Catalina (PBY) amphibian returning from overnight patrol crossed the island. A gunner named Wall called, “Hey, there’s an airplane on the ground down there. It has meatballs on the wings.” That meant the rising-sun insignia.

The patrol plane’s commander, Lt. William Thies, descended for a closer look. What he saw excited him. Back at Dutch Harbor, Thies persuaded his squadron commander to let him take a party to the downed plane. No one then knew that it was a Zero.

Ens. Robert Larson was Thies’s copilot when the plane was discovered. He remembers reaching the Zero. “We approached cautiously, walking in about a foot of water covered with grass. Koga’s body, thoroughly strapped in, was upside down in the plane, his head barely submerged in the water.

“We were surprised at the details of the airplane,” Larson continues. “It was well built, with simple, unique features. Inspection plates could be opened by pushing on a black dot with a finger. A latch would open, and one could pull the plate out. Wingtips folded by unlatching them and pushing them up by hand. The pilot had a parachute and a life raft.”

Koga’s body was buried nearby. In 1947 it was shifted to a cemetery on nearby Adak Island, and later, it is believed, his remains were returned to Japan.

Thies had determined that the wrecked plane was a nearly new Zero, which suddenly gave it special meaning, for it was repairable. However, unlike U.S. warplanes, which had detachable wings, the Zero’s wings were integral with the fuselage. This complicated salvage and shipping.

Navy crews fought the plane out of the bog. The tripod that was used to lift the engine, and later the fuselage, sank three to four feet into the mud. The Zero was too heavy to turn over with the equipment on hand, so it was left upside down while a tractor dragged it on a skid to the beach and a barge. At Dutch Harbor it was turned over with a crane, cleaned, and crated, wings and all.

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When the awkward crate containing Zero 4593 arrived at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, a twelve-foot-high stockade was erected around it inside a hangar. Marines guarded the priceless plane while Navy crews worked around the clock to make it airworthy. (There is no evidence the Japanese ever knew we had salvaged Koga’s plane.)

In mid-September Lt. Cmdr. Eddie R. Sanders studied it for a week as repairs were completed. Forty-six years later he clearly remembered his flights in Koga’s Zero. “My log shows that I made twenty-four flights in Zero 4593 from 20 September to 15 October 1942,” Sanders told me. “These flights covered performance tests such as we do on planes undergoing Navy tests. The very first flight exposed weaknesses of the Zero that our pilots could exploit with proper tactics.

 

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“The Zero had superior maneuverability only at the lower speeds used in dogfighting, with short turning radius and excellent aileron control at very low speeds. However, immediately apparent was the fact that the ailerons froze up at speeds above two hundred knots, so that rolling maneuvers at those speeds were slow and required much force on the control stick. It rolled to the left much easier than to the right. Also, its engine cut out under negative acceleration [as when nosing into a dive] due to its float-type carburetor.

“We now had an answer for our pilots who were unable to escape a pursuing Zero. We told them to go into a vertical power dive, using negative acceleration, if possible, to open the range quickly and gain advantageous speed while the Zero’s engine was stopped. At about two hundred knots, we instructed them to roll hard right before the Zero pilot could get his sights lined up.

“This recommended tactic was radioed to the fleet after my first flight of Koga’s plane, and soon the welcome answer came back: ‘It works!’” Sanders said, satisfaction sounding in his voice even after nearly half a century. Thus by late September 1942 Allied pilots in the Pacific theater knew how to escape a pursuing Zero.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Peer Review and Tin-foil Hat Theology

issues Hebrew expert, Michael Heiser, claims to have a high regard for peer review. He noted this in a post in which he smuggly explained why he doesn’t respond to amateurish, ill-informed apologists like James White who bring criticisms against his heretical views of the word elohim,

The Psalm 82 paper was also prompted by criticisms posted in 2009 by Alpha and Omega Ministries (AOM). That I really don’t consider these criticisms serious is indicated by the fact that they have existed on the web since 2009 with no online response on my part (though many have emailed me the link and asked me to respond). Rather than engage people on the internet on these matters, my choice was to submit my views to public peer review at an academic evangelical conference (and I’ve actually done that several times now at ETS in a piecemeal sort of way via other papers).

He further reiterated his commitment to the high scholarly peer review process of academia when he offered his admonishment to my critical remarks I had left in a comment,

Hey Fred, maybe you’re unfamiliar with the way scholarship works – scholars go back and forth all the time, critiquing each others views. But after you’ve been through the literature and those substantive interactions for years, you really *can* recognize when a critique comes along that is uninformed. AOM’s fits that description, and the content (by its own wording) shows that this is an issue they lack familiarity with. That isn’t the case with peer-reviewed work that goes back and forth. If I get labeled as arrogant for saying “this argument goes nowhere” or “this argument shows the one making it is under-informed” so be it; I’m not afraid to tell the truth when an argument is lame. It is a disservice to others to pretend it isn’t, that it has equal merit with respect to another argument. Shading the truth isn’t a virtue.

Oh yes. I was sort of clueless about how real scholarship works, so thanks for straightening me out there, Mike.

Well. Being a big believer in the peer review process that Michael Heiser claims he is, I have to confess my surprise and confusion upon seeing Michael's name listed among 20 "experts" on one of those tin-foil hat, conspiracy potboilers.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine brought in some books she was getting rid of. She asked me if any of them interested me. One of them was thick and the title screamed at me:

HOW TO OVERCOME THE MOST FRIGHTENING ISSUES YOU WILL FACE THIS CENTURY.

According to the title page, twenty experts were going to offer their advise on how I could overcome such frightening issues as nuclear Armageddon, nanotechnology, cloning and eugenics, transhumanism, the wars in the Middle East, and the Antichrist.

My interest was piqued. I certainly was curious, so I turned the book over to read who some of these twenty experts were and can you believe it? There, nestled among the names of such individuals as American Voice Radio Network host, Dr. Gianni Hayes, nuclear war survivor expert, Shane Connor, and RaidersNewsNetwork founder and supplier of discounted survival gear, as well as the editor of the book, Thomas Horn, was Dr. Michael Heiser.

I did a double-take. Michael Heiser? The academic editor for Logos Bible software? [Let me say that again in case you missed it: the ACADEMIC EDITOR for Logos Bible software] Contributing to a "theological" conspiracy book? I was left a bit bum fuzzled. I mean, after that blistering pronouncement about how great the academic peer review process is and how he only submits his material to the finest, peer reviewed scholarly journals, why would he contribute to a New World Order, end-times conspiracy book? Does Michael think that Pentecostal preacher and KJV-only wacko, Joe Chambers, is an academic peer? I find that hard to believe seeing that Chamber's bookstore carries some of Gail Riplinger's stuff.

His article is titled Panspermia: What it is and Why it Matters.

The article provides the basic definition of what panspermia is, the idea that all life on earth began in outer space. He briefly outlines the various theories of panspermia like simple bacteria from other planets being the evolutionary building blocks for life on Earth to advanced ETs physically coming to a prehistoric Earth and creating life. Once he defines the particulars of panspermia, Heiser philosophizes as to what should be our response as "Christians" if "proof" of panspermia was ever demonstrated. For example, if extra-planetary microbes were for sure discovered, or ETs encircled the Earth in city sized motherships.

Of course, according to Mike, the worst response to that possibility comes from biblical, young-earth creationists who are simple-minded in their whole reading of Genesis 1 to begin with. They don't realize that the Hebrew syntax allows for alternative readings of the creation week other than a literal, 24-hour week of time. He even mentions in a footnote that while he was a graduate student, he attended a "conservative reformed" church in Wisconsin where many Ph.D.'s scientists were actively involved and none of them were brainless, young earth, literal creationists.

After he blasts young earth creationists, IDers, and even the random, natural selection Darwinians, he explains that Christians should not worry about discovering intelligent ETs in UFOs out there in the galaxy, because evangelicals are all wrong about what makes mankind unique; that being, created in God's image.

Being created in God's image does not mean men are necessarily the only intelligent beings in the entire universe. If we understand the Hebrew, we are "in God's image" in that mankind is God's imagers, or better, representatives for overseeing the Earth. Since no other beings both terrestrial, as well as extra-terrestrial have been given this unique status on this planet, the existence of Klingons or Wookies presents no theological problems for Christianity. It is important to note that Heiser doesn't get into any discussions about man's sin, Christ's death, or eternal life as it relates to the potential ETs.

To be fair, Mike doesn't come out and say he believes in aliens, just that the Church faces a real, scientific possibility of panspermia being proven. And that is where he concludes his article. Really.

I should also point out that Heiser lists this article contribution under popular, non-fiction rather than published peer reviewed articles, but still. I would think a guy who argues for such a high premium on academic credibility and wishes to be taken seriously as a Hebrew scholar who presents for the Evangelical Theological Society meetings wouldn't want to be anywhere near an outfit that publishes books advocating the existence of Stargates.

But what do I know as a blogger hack. I guess I'm just unfamiliar with how scholarship works.

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