Christian Statues

So I was catching up on the news this morning and ran across an article titled 50 Christian Statues Defaced and Decapitated in Germany (Heatstreet by way of The Drudge Report 12/15/16). My first reaction was “Huh? Christian statues?” My next reaction was, “This is supposed to be bad news?”

Vandalism is not good, but why do we have “Christian” statues? I mean, there are statues, and then there are “Christian” things, but not Christian statues. God specifically tells believers not to have statues. So you would think we wouldn’t have “Christian” statues in the first place, or the destruction of them would be good news.

I hate to say it because of all the wrong things about Islam, but this is one of the very few things that Muslims have right. They really detest images such as statues or idols. This they borrow from the Law of Moses, and you would think the real “Christian” thing would be to do the same. Most Muslims stick to their laws, however twisted, way better than “Christians” ever thought to do themselves with their Law. But Christianity has become so watered down that God’s Word is just a distant echo in many of the sound rooms of church.

If we were as loyal and zealous about our true God as Muslims are about their false one the world would be a much different and better place. Our young people would be trained up to know the Word of God instead of the words of American Idol. If we stuck to the Christian law (actually the Law of Christ, Moses or God) then we wouldn’t have any such thing as “Christian” statues, we wouldn’t be losing kids to the strictures of Islam, and we wouldn’t be losing families to adultery and divorce. Among the many things that are wrong about Islam, they’ve got a point about the mushy “Christians.”

Shalom
Bruce

Gay Marriage Debate Reframed

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the gay marriage thing. Well, I can’t hardly NOT think about it since it’s being shoved in my face every day in a variety of ways.

My basic attitude is one of “live your life like you want, just keep it to yourself.” I know that sounds a little different than the standard Christian approach of beating people over the head with the Bible (or more usually selected texts of the Bible). I’ll tell you what is right, and what the Bible says. But I really don’t care if you want to be homosexual or whatever. I don’t care either that you want to live with someone of the same gender and call it marriage. What I object to is being forced to recognize anything you are doing as good or acceptable. I object to using government to force recognition of your perversion. Go ahead and pervert all you want, but keep me and society at large out of it.

To reframe the debate over gay marriage I propose defining marriage properly. Definitions like a “commitment to one another” or a civil union or even “one man and one woman” miss the boat as far as I’m concerned. Marriage should be defined according to its nature, that is, monogamy. Marriage is actually a sexual commitment. One sex partner, indefinitely. Adultery then is still defined as straying outside of that commitment, and worthy of divorce. This not only hits at the heart of the subject, it also hits at the nature of homosexuality without really trying.

Why? The entire homosexual lifestyle promotes serial adultery. Monogamy is anathema to them. Homosexual authors, writing about homosexual marriage, stress that a homosexual marriage is only healthy if there is no “sexual ownership of each other.” Each partner must be free to engage in sex with as many partners as they wish. And they do. The average homosexual has anywhere from a little over one hundred partners to as many as 1,000 in a lifetime. The average is estimated at about three or four hundred.

So if we properly define marriage as sexual fidelity that would probably make most homosexuals shut up about marriage. If they want marriage, let ’em have it. They just have to stay dedicated to one sex partner indefinitely. Equally, like everyone else.

Shalom,
Bruce

A Whole Bible, Paul’s Teachings: Stepmother, Passover, Circumcision

We are now up to 87 videos on our Youtube channel and over 1,000 views (total) covering nine chapters of our book Whole Bible Christianity and a few other topics. Yay! We’re working on the tenth chapter scripts now, which will be longer than just what is in the book and include more helpful biblical information on application of the Word to daily living. In the meantime, take a look at this video we are highlighting today.

Usually we hear that Paul converted to Christianity, except there was no Christianity such as we know it today in his time. He was a model of a Law-following Jew. He never stopped abiding in His Messiah’s Word. He taught the Law, filled with the Spirit and love, as it was intended – a lifestyle and discipleship method. See our video Whole Bible Objections: Paul Says It’s Okay, Can’t Do, It’s A Curse. Many of his teachings have been sliced and diced and taught differently. But when we just read the Word, we can see he held to the ancient, unified message of the Father and Jesus.

Paul doesn’t make up any new commandment for stepmoms in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2. He certainly doesn’t cherry-pick nor does he apply only the law he chooses. Not only does he say that the Corinthians should be following this Law, he implies it is a natural fact everyone (even the non-believing Gentiles) knows. In other words, God’s people should at least have the sense God gave a pagan. He also gives the punishment for the sin outlined in Torah – “purge the evil from among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:5, 17:7, 12, 21:21, 22:21). Later, it looks like they were “obedient in all things” (2 Corinthians 2:1-11) although they didn’t stone the guy with the stepmom wife because we don’t have the power of capital punishment. Our alternative is from Matthew 18 – confront for repentance and cast out if we have to.

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 it is obvious that the meal is the Passover (verse 23 “the night (our Lord) was betrayed”). The misnamed “Lord’s Supper” is in reality the Passover before His crucifixion (Matthew 17:7; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:8, 15). It is not communion. This is a problem for those who insist on separating the Law into civil, ceremonial, and moral sections. The Passover is clearly ceremonial in their view. But the Corinthians (and probably the rest of the “church”) are celebrating the feast. The reason we don’t spot this is because it is taught wrongly that they are celebrating some sort of “communion” ceremony.

The issue with circumcision is the same as other places, which is that circumcision doesn’t save anyone. Never has, never will. Becoming a Jew or following some Laws does not save a person and never has. A person follows the Laws because they are saved. In other words, a person following God by faith is justified. Circumcision is a sign after the fact (as in Genesis 17).

Keep three things firmly in mind as you are reading Paul’s writings. One is that he doesn’t downgrade or speak negatively about God’s Law. Ever. But like his Messiah he’s not so fond of man’s laws. Two is that the Law was never meant to save anyone. Law was added as a guidepost because of transgressions increasing (see our video A Whole Faith: Continuous through Generations). Israel was “saved” first then given instruction on living a saved life. Three is that the word “law” can mean any law including natural law, Roman law, God’s Law, man’s traditions especially Jewish ones, and physical laws. Law is improperly thought of as a legal relationship to earn merit which can be traded for salvation.

If you don’t like the Law and have been trained to reject it, then Paul’s writings will look anti-Law. However, if you have a heart of flesh with His Law written on it, then Paul’s writings are easy to understand and completely fit in with the rest of Scripture.

Shalom,
Bruce

Deadly Affirmation

Six times greater chance of suicide.

Average life expectancy 8 to 20 years shorter.

Nearly 100% cheating ratio.

Eight times more likely to contract hepatitis.

Fourteen times more likely to contract syphilis.

5,000 times more likely to contract AIDS.

Above average alcoholism and drub abuse rates.

Almost 100% regression into steadily increasing violent actions including sadism, masochism, pedophilia and murder.

These are some of the statistics. They are the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the truth about the homosexual lifestyle. When we “affirm” this choice, either by remaining silent or openly supporting the choice of a friend or relative, we literally condemn the person to vastly increased torture, pain and suffering.

I know. I’m not supposed to say things like this in a blog post. I’m supposed to write stuff that makes you feel good. Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. God will make everything better. There’s nothing really wrong with you – it’s the environment or your parents or your pastor or that pork you ate in your burrito last night. I’m supposed to continue making comfortable, soothing, encouraging music like those guys did on the deck of the Titanic, playing my heart out like there is nothing wrong, all while people are hanging on railings by their fingernails or clawing at the deck to avoid plunging into the icy embrace of death. But hey, as long as you can hum a tune as you’re going down it’s okay, right?

While only 2% of the population, homosexuals have much greater incidences of pedophilia, abuse, and murder. About 30% have had over 1,000 partners, about half of which they are with only once. A little fewer than half have had over 500 partners. This induces much callousness and indifference to the treatment of others. It hardens the heart and makes repentance extremely difficult. It also makes a mockery of marriage.

The reason more people don’t condemn the homosexual lifestyle choice and would rather “affirm” it? Because generally the behavior is a result of sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, divorce and other sins coming from heterosexuals. We are the ones creating the homosexuals with our own hateful behavior. But we don’t want to renounce our sins, and we don’t want to be identified as the source of further evil. So we “affirm” the fruits of our own destructive lifestyle choices which in turn affirms our own sin.

The church has been the leader in backing away from God’s Word in order to “affirm” our own lifestyle choices. We have been giving ourselves permission to sin since sin entered the world. We don’t like the Law, and we call it “old” or “ceremonial” or at best for Israel only, so we can merrily indulge ourselves in whatever makes us feel better.

The gospel is not “God loves you” (though He does). It’s not primarily a message about you, it is about Him. The gospel is “God with us.” When God is with us so is His Word. We can’t have His love without also making the choice to affirm His lifestyle by living His Word. When we refuse to affirm the homosexual lifestyle, we affirm His lifestyle. We also affirm the fact that we are the ones responsible. We are the ones who divorce at the drop of a hat and will usually drop it ourselves. We are the ones abusing our children in hatred and thus encouraging them to turn to even more hateful lifestyle choices than our own. We are the ones who have abandoned His lifestyle. We have cut ourselves loose from the anchor of His Word in the bay of His love to drift out onto a sea of hate.

For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. (Obadiah 15, ESV)

We are the ones who have to examine our own choices, confess and repent of the wrong ones, and affirm His ways over ours. There is hope and restoration available, but only in repentance, not affirmation of death.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. (Micah 7:18, ESV)

Shalom
Bruce

Daughter’s Wedding

Watching a little bit of my daughter’s wedding video as I transfer it from tape to a computer file. It was a happy occasion, but I was a little sad in the watching. We couldn’t afford a huge wedding ceremony or reception, so it was pretty simple. Just a quick exchange of vows in the base chapel (he was a Marine at the time) and a “reception” at the local buffet. One set of their friends, and my wife’s side of the family were all that could make it. My brother-in-law (Dan) earned a great deal of my respect then because he made sure that his family was there, and the others followed.

 

But the sadness is only a tiny bit. I take solace in the fact that while the wedding was simple a lot of times those are more lasting than the multi-thousand dollar ones. My own wedding was not much fancier, but we’ve been married over 30 years. I’m very happy my daughter and son-in-law are going on 12 years with four beautiful children. The start might’ve been no-frills, plain, and lacking in an ostentatious display of wealth (like mine), but the marriage has been strong and will get stronger. I remember I told them at the beginning, “It’s not the wedding that counts. You will forget a bunch of that over time. It’s the marriage that counts. Commit to God and each other, and all the rest will work itself out.” If I had to depart this physical plane this would contribute to my peace, knowing they are established on a good foundation. Even if it is a simple one.

Day of the Awakening Blast

Coming up next week on Thursday the 5th is a day of blowing otherwise known as the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah (day of the awakening blast). Oh boy. Wednesday night as a family tradition we will be having gyros with tzatziki (zot zee kee) sauce. It’s worth eating the gyros (year-ohs, a mixture of lamb and beef with nifty spices) just to eat my wife’s tzatziki sauce (yogurt, garlic, cucumber mostly). I like to chop it up, others like to make sandwiches out of pita bread, onions and tomatoes.

 

We will be blowing shofars a lot. If you don’t already know, shofar is Hebrew for trumpet. Traditionally it is a curved animal horn (goat or ram’s horn for smaller ones, big ones are from the African Kudu), although some Bible trumpets were made out of silver. We’ll probably also have a fire in our fire ring and make s’mores or something. Or maybe we’ll skip the s’mores to avoid going into sugar shock. My wife likes to call this the “Feast of Sugar.”

 

We like the three fold principal involved in celebrating the feasts of God centered around the word “remember.” Remember in the biblical sense often means to speak or act on behalf of something or someone. That’s why we can not only remember the past (what God has done for His people) and remember the present (practice as a testimony), we can even remember the future (rehearse what God is going to do for His people).

 

Trumpets has themes associated with it including the coronation of the King, waking up from the sleep of sin, marriage (for us it’s associated with the marriage supper of the Lamb), concealment (on the day of wrath), and warning to repent before the day of Judgment/Wrath also known as Yom Kippur or day of atonement.

 

There are some articles on www.wholebible.com including Christian Faith and Practice through Cycles http://www.wholebible.com/Biblical_Feasts.htm and Christian Faith and Practice through Yom Teruah http://www.wholebible.com/trumpets.htm for more information. The Yom Teruah article has a flash video at the bottom where you can hear us sounding the shofar.

 

Shalom
Bruce

Suicide Silence

I’ve been quiet for a while (no pun) because I’ve been struggling with writing an article about suicide. Recently a nephew went out this way, and this brought back memories from a few years ago when an acquaintance went out by her own hand also. It has taken some time to put down my thoughts on paper (okay, a word processor) and arrange them in a readable format. The article has some very personal testimony, and is very blunt. The connecting subjects of divorce, homosexuality, depression and anger are part of it, so exercise caution in reading. There will be many who do not like the truths I included, and I will be attacked. Here are some of the opening paragraphs, and there’s a link at the bottom for the whole article on wholebible.com

 

Her name was Theresa, a woman who killed herself at the end of December 2004 by jumping from a cliff on a hill near my home. She left behind eight kids, a broken marriage, and saddened friends. I knew Theresa a little because a few years before she died I answered an ad she placed at a local music store for people to form a band. We played together a couple of times; she was gifted with writing songs and playing keyboard and guitar. It didn’t work out for us to keep playing together because she lived in a town about 45 minutes away, so I mostly lost touch with her except for a couple of emails. Once she attended a Bible study we had in our home but as I remember the distance again was too great so she didn’t keep coming. I was reacquainted with her when I saw the newspaper article telling of her death.

 

I thought at first that she could not possibly have committed suicide, because the last I knew she seemed to be well adjusted if melancholy and bitter over her divorce. She had, I heard, solid relationships with a Baptist church she attended after she moved to our town, loved her kids, and had various friends. I suspected foul play; she couldn’t have jumped; she must have been pushed. But as the details were related to me, they found her footprints at the top of the cliff showing she was running towards the edge, and she had to jump far enough to clear a ledge just below the lip of the cliff. What sort of pain and anger, I wondered at the time, drove her to run toward her own destruction like that?

 

More recently a nephew of mine also decided to end his life. I didn’t know him at all, really, because he lived in another state and he’s the son from a previous marriage of my sister-in-law’s second husband. I met him a couple of times when he was a teenager. He was a likable, quiet kid who was into computers and was an amateur astronomer. According to friends he was smart and had two astronomy magazine articles written about some of his work. Like Theresa, he also seemed stable and there was no warning that he was feeling suicidal. Neither left a note, so we can only guess at the final straw that caused them to self-depart this physical plane.

 

As I understand it, for a few days before Theresa killed herself she wore duct tape over her mouth. One of her kids asked her why, and she said “no one was listening to her anyway.” She was right, in a way. We don’t want to hear it when someone is contemplating their own demise. After they’re dead we wonder why they didn’t seek help, but before they go it’s too uncomfortable to consider. Even if they did talk people have difficulty with answering. We can’t even talk about it very well after our loved ones are gone, so how much harder is it when they’re alive?

 

Read more online at www.wholebible.com