April 4, 2012
I was raised in a few different households. My mother was addicted to drugs and my father was running around on her. I was taken in by my father when my mom was deemed unfit to have custody of me. My stepmother was the woman my father had been seeing while he was married and saw me as a reminder of my mother, but played the part of caring mother to please my father.
I was beat, harassed, and ridiculed by my stepmother for the sole reason of not being her child. To her, I was a constant reminder of a burden that she had no intention to bear. I recall her taking me with her children to church on the “important days” of Easter and Christmas. She claimed she was a believer of God.
My grandmother, who had adopted my mother, got to see me every other weekend. I recall that she would take me to church whenever I was spending the weekend with her and worked hard to get me to see all that Christianity had to offer. She truly was a loving woman. When she was seven years old she was given 7 months to live and she lived to be 70, dying 7 days after being admitted to the hospital and 7 hours after I had last visited her. I did not see it then.
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April 4, 2012
I recently shared a previous post of mine in which I discuss my response to the atheist objection that God is a moral monster on Facebook. Referring to my comment that understanding the Levitical law requires an advanced knowledge of hermeneutics an agnostic/atheist responded:
Are you saying that a person can’t judge morality without some fancy education?
No, this is not what I’m saying at all. My point is that you don’t learn the hermeneutical approach to understanding the laws and commands in the Old Testament in a first year hermeneutics class. However, if one wants to have a deep knowledge of the material one does need an education on it. This doesn’t mean you have to get a degree in it but you do need to be well read on hermeneutics. Somehow Christians and non-Christians have a stigma suggesting that it’s offensive if a certain degree of knowledge is required to understand something. How is this offensive? Surely, the Bible can be understood without a degree in theology or biblical studies but to understand it with depth you will have to read and learn. We do we demand such simplicity? If a cosmologist says that I need an advanced knowledge of relativity theory and quantum theory to understand the early models of our universe should I be offended? No. There are certain antecedent conditions that must be met in order to really understand something with meaningful depth. It’s the process of learning and getting an education.
March 2, 2012
Tattoos, beards, and consuming blood is mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19.26-28. These verses prohibit tattoos, trimming the edges of one’s beard, and consuming blood. Christians often find themselves puzzled as to what we should do with these types of verses. Are we allowed to have tattoos today? Well, that’s important for me since I’m covered in tattoos. Are we allowed to trim the edges of our beards? Should we let them grow out? Have you ever had a medium-rare steak with just a little bit of blood in it? I’ve provided an exegesis of this passage of Scripture in hopes to help others understand how we should understand this passage and provide insight as to how the Old Testament Law applies to us today.
Leviticus is the sequel to Exodus. At the heart of Exodus is the Sinai Covenant, though it is rarely mentioned in Leviticus. Leviticus explains how covenant worship should be conducted (chs. 1-17), how the covenant people should behave (18-25), and then closes with a section of blessings and curses, entirely appropriate to a covenant document (26). The book enshrines the laws by which the religious and civil organization of the primitive theocracy in Canaan was to be regulated.  Leviticus is given in a treaty format consisting of naming the suzerain, giving a historical prologue explaining the background of the treaty, stipulations, a document clause (covenant context), blessings and curses, and the divine witness[es].
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February 29, 2012
The following is very brief outline of the book of Genesis.
Genesis: The beginnings (This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord made the heavens and the earth. Gen. 2:4 NASB)
Theme Verse(s): In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:1, 10b (NASB)
Author: Moses (Pentateuch Authorship: Ex. 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Num. 33:1-2; Deut. 31:9)
Date, Place, and Type of Writing: 1450-1410 BC, General Middle East, Historical
*A. Theological Significances B. Practical Applications C. Major Events —Multiple or None Major
1. The Creation—1-2
A. The Creator creates everything (anything not created is God—cosmological argument—c.f. John 1:3).
- There are supposed contradictory Creation accounts between chapters 1 & 2. Chapter 2 is another account in supplementation to the first account by adding details (i.e. we are told that God created man (a generic term here) male and female (v 27), but this does not mean that the first creature was a male-female combination. The details of that creation of the male Adam and the female Eve are given in 2:18-23. Likewise, verse 5 adds details about the creation of vegetation on the third day.
- Creation was good, untainted by sin (1:10b).
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February 12, 2012
The following is an outline of the book of Jonah I used for a Bible study group.
Question: When I say, “Jonah,” what do you think of?
Historical Background: Eighth century B.C.—Jonah was a prophet from Israel (Northern Kingdom) called to preach repentance to Nineveh (Assyrian). Instead, he attempted to flee to Tarshish (Spain?). Jonah had many reasons not to like Nineveh.
- During Assyrian captivity they would torture. Their methods would be cutting the skin on the side of the body and peeling it off a live person.
- They would place bodies on spears for display.
1.1-6: The pagans aboard the ship were better pagans than Jonah was a Jew
- The pagans called on their gods
- They sought help from their gods before help from man
- Jonah could care less about anyone perishing
1.8-17: Jonah is tossed overboard and is swallowed by a big fish
- How could Jonah live?
- Natural: It has been well established that the phrase “three days and three nights” in ancient Hebrew usage was an idiomatic expression meaning simply “three days,” and was applicable even if the beginning and ending days of the period were only partial days. Thus it could refer to a period as short as about 38 hours. There is always some air in the whale’s stomach, and, as long as the animal it has swallowed is still alive, digestive activity will not begin. Thus, Jonah’s experience could possibly have happened entirely with the framework of natural law.
- Miracle: Jesus uses a simile to compare His miraculous resurrection like that of Jonah in the belly of the fish. Its literary comparison likens the Jonah situation to be miraculous, c.f. Mt 12.40.
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January 31, 2012
There’s that one question that has plagued Christians on anthropological origins. Many young earth creationists claim there cannot be any gaps in the genealogy, which is what leads us to dating the time frame of the earth being young. Old earth creationists, like myself, believe that there are gaps in the genealogy. The question is whether it explains anything at all and how much does it explain?
The genealogies are adequate but not complete. No matter how you read the genealogies, you must concede that there are gaps. For example Mt. 1.8:
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah.
However, 1 Chron. 3.10-12 reads it differently:
Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, Jehoram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, Amaziah his son, Azariah [also called Uzziah] his son.
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January 4, 2012
The following is a guest blog post by Jeff G. Jeff is a 24-year-old student studying biblical theology at North Park University in Chicago. He hopes to go on to grad school and get a Ph.D. in the field of biblical theology, if that is where God wants him.
It was 7th grade biology class, and we began to learn the theory of evolution. The evidence seemed absolutely clear to me—evolution was an undeniable fact. I picked up my bible and compared what I read to what I learned in my biology class. The accounts seemed clearly contradictory. It didn’t take much time for me to conclude that all of Christianity was a sham. I will come back to this in a bit, but first, do me a favor and let me tell you another story…
In January of 2007, world-renowned violin virtuoso Joshua Bell took his 3.5 million dollar violin to the Washington D.C. metro station to play some songs as a street musician. Dressing modestly in a baseball cap, jeans, and a long-sleeved t-shirt, Bell left his violin case open for tips as he played 6 classical songs, one of which has been called the most difficult song on any instrument—J.S. Bach’s Chaconne. Of this song, the great composer Johannes Brahms said, “if I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”
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December 29, 2011
Norman Geisler has recently released a new addition to his “Licona Letters” condemning Mike Licona. Geisler is very emphatic that there be a differentiation between inerrancy and interpretation. Under this Geislerian understanding of inerrancy, interpretation and inerrancy simply have a formal distinction but are essentially conflated.
[Such] a disjunction of interpretation from inerrancy as Licona makes is contrary to the nature of truth itself…. So, a formal distinction between interpretation and inerrancy does not mean there is an actual separation of the two.
Additionally, Geisler argues contra Licona that the grammatico-historical hermeneutic is neutral. Geisler argues:
[The grammatico-historical] method does not approach the Bible with a historically neutral stance. After all, it is not called the “literal” method for nothing. It assumes there is a sensus literalis (literal sense) to Scripture. In short, it assumes that a text should be taken literally unless there are good grounds in the text and/or in the context to take it otherwise. As a matter of fact, we cannot even know a non-literal (e.g., allegorical or poetic) sense unless we know what is literally true. So, when Jesus said, “I am the vine” this should not be taken literally because we know what a literal vine is, and we know that Jesus is not one. Further, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not reject the use of figures of speech or even symbolic language. It only insists that the symbols have a literal referent. For example, John speaks of literal angels as “stars” (Rev. 1:20) and a literal Satan as a “red dragon” (Rev. 12:3). However, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not allow one to take a literal historical persons (like Adam) or events (like a resurrection) as not literal history.
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