Thursday, January 24, 2008

No Tricks Up My Sleeve...

"And another sidenote for those who have been involved in my anti-missionary discussion: Coincidentally, the Canadian head of 'Jews for Judaism' gave a speech at my synagogue the other day so I know all of the typical missionary tricks." - BK

(NOTE: I can't speak for the others who are my brothers and sisters through Yeshua, I can only speak for myself, here, but I will refer to the community on my side of these debates in trying to get my point across. )

BK, why do we debate these issues? These debates serve purely as an intellectual exercise for you, do they not? If so, why get offended and/or caught up in name-calling and hurling accusations? If all of these debates and discussions have been in the order of intellectual enlightenment, then why bother getting caught up emotionally and communicating your disgust for others who hold to a different takeaway or understanding of the shared knowledge? You have assumed all, or some, of us are intent on “missionazing” you.

I initially approached you in defense of a lovely Messianic Jewish woman whom you had criticized in a not-so-nice manner; it was not my intention to “missionize” you. As we know, Karin is perfectly capable of standing up for herself (and regardless of her husband’s beliefs, he surely stood up to protect her heart) – she is smart and strong by all means – but I’ve always been one to defend others when I see them being mistreated or dealt with harshly, I was being true to character… no hidden agenda, no tricks. So, please, remember I did not come to you in a dishonest fashion with the intent of “missionazing” you. However, in all honesty BK, based on what I know and believe, I inherently/ intrinsically/ naturally have a concern for your eternal disposition! However, why should the revelation of my unspoken concern (to this point) bother you if you're sure about what you believe?

What is the purpose of these debates and discussions? Why are you so offended by Christians outside of the history we had no control over? Why be concerned about non-Jews “sinning” because you think we believe in errant, pagan theology? According to Orthodox Judaism, we will all get a chance to correct our misguided and errant beliefs after death, Jews and non-Jews alike, right? Why bash Messianic Jews, Karaite Jews, Reform Jews, and atheistic Jews when they will get the chance to ascend from Gehinnom after an adequate period of introspection and remorse? Why bash Christians and Messianics for their beliefs? According to your community’s belief about the after-life, even Adolph Hilter and Eichmann get a second chance if they are truly remorseful during their 12-months in Gehinnom, right? Why are you so worried about Christians stealing the souls of Jews? Apparently, their souls will be restored after they have felt the pain of their wrong-doing and are truly remorseful… then they will ascend from Gehinnom, right?

Wait a minute… is there a possibility that their heretical Jewish souls and our pagan Gentile souls might not make it out of Gehinnom or that the essence of our lives will be snuffed out all together according to your belief regarding the after-life? If your answer is “yes” to either of those questions, then you have treated me most egregiously! I thought there was a higher purpose to our debates other than intellectual enlightenment. I thought you cared about my eternal disposition! If you believe I may be forever stuck in Gehinnom in an unending, deep state of remorse, void of any sense of joy, or my life’s essence will forever cease and you have not been proselytizing, then you have failed in your calling to be a “light to [this] Gentile!” If you’re not proselytizing in any way, shape, or form… you continue to fail at every opportunity to ensure I understand the truth of the Torah and Oral Torah, and you could cost me my life, and at the least, any sense of eternal joy (Ezekiel 3:18-21).

If the above is an adequate rendering of your belief, how awful of you to not have it in your heart to see me convert to Judaism while there’s still hope! You see, I really don’t know what you believe, but how can I fix what I don’t know unless you teach me about the Torah, right? Most sincerely, I don’t ever foresee denying Yeshua, but you don’t know what may or may not happen, right?

BK, again, my intent is not to “missionize” you. My intent is to learn more about the Hebraic/Jewish roots of my faith and the Hebrew language in an effort to correctly understand my Jewish Messiah in the context of His Judaism, His Tanakh, and His culture. I don’t mind that we disagree about the translation of pivotal Scriptures; I am learning, none-the-less. You do need to understand, though, that I have an inherent concern for your eternal disposition based on what I believe. (I wish you had the same concern for me.) Do I pray for you based on what I believe? Yes, but have I ever expressed my belief and concern for you, "missionazing" you, in any of our debates absent of you asking me what I believe about the after-life and how my belief applies to you? No, I have not. I have only answered your questions regarding such.

Do you want to know why I have not explicitly stated my belief without being prompted by your questions?

(1) Yeshua said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:44-45)

(2) I haven’t said anything because I know you’ve been inundated with the knowledge of Yeshua and our belief that He was G-d, veiled in flesh, the Messiah – the rescuer and redeemer of our souls. He was the formless G-d who draped Himself with flesh, not a mortal man that He should lie.

Yet, you choose not to believe Yeshua is who He claimed to be – and you have every right to choose not to believe Him!

I’ve never gotten upset with you for teaching me about your perspective and beliefs regarding the Scriptures we both adhere to, even though our interpretations are different regarding the Messiah. I may argue passionately, but I'll not purposefully insult you. (I did inadvertently insult you the other day, but I didn't know it was going to insult you! I wasn't trying to use a derogatory term... now, I know better.)

You think I'm a pagan and a heretic because I do not rely on the Oral Torah, although, a lot of it is beautiful and meaningful to me, but not where it flies in the face of G-d's written Torah or the rest of the Tanakh. The only thing that bothers me in your posts or comments is when you make erroneous or derogatory blanket-statements about Christians or Messianic Jews, such as "...I know all of the typical missionary 'tricks.'" Is that really necessary when we’ve all entered these debates based on wanting to teach each other and learn from each other - its an intellectual exercise that has enlightened the lot of us. Like Karin used to tell us, “As iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17.) (G-d bless you, Karin!)

But really, in summary, shouldn’t I expect you to be proselytizing me if you care about my end? The thought of you intrinsically proselytizing me during these debates doesn't bother me in the least. I wish you would flip that notion around and apply it to me and others so we can enjoy our debates. Besides, if someone explicitly tells you that you're in error based on their heart-felt beliefs, you should be honored that he/she cared enough about you to want to inform you. You shouldn't feel "tricked." I felt honored when you shared the Noahide Laws with me when we first started debating, even though I believe it takes much more than living in accordance with the Noahide Laws to stand rightly before G-d.

You haven't offended me, by the way, I just wanted you to know that I don't have any tricks up my sleeve!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Historicity of Yeshua

The Fate of Christians at the Hands of Romans
(see Polycarp)

Dear BK,

"And we're off...!" This isn't where I intended to start, but I don't blame you for forcing the issue! Had you given me any more time to research, I might have come away with an honorary degree in Judeo-Christian History. :-) (It's good you forced me to the table.)

In reading through some of the persons you presented below, it is worth quickly noting that Philo-Judææus [sic], though a Hellenized Jew, helped Christians apply the understanding of the Greek word "logos" as found in the book of John chapter 1, and that Pliny [the] Younger officially complained about his Christian subjects and asked the Emperor Trajan of Rome how he should deal with them.

It occurs to me that in my readings of my favorite poet, Emily Dickinson, she never mentions the U.S. President who was in term during the height of her writing years, Franklin Pierce (March 4, 1853 - March 4, 1857), nor did she mention Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1861 - April 15, 1865), the most famous and controversial U.S. President of his time who held office and was assassinated while she was still writing; even so, she makes no mention of him. Nor did another favorite author of mine, Edgar Allen Poe, mention famous U.S. Presidents, James Madison and John Quincy Adams, who served during his lifetime. Nor did Harvard historian William Leonard Langer mention Emily Dickison in any of his historical research and publications. Therefore, it is safe to assume that not all of the men you mention had their attention rivited upon Israel - not upon its politics nor upon its religious debates.

I also noticed when reading through the profiles of the men you presented below (not all of which were historians, by the way, but authors (of fiction in some cases), poets, and philosophers) that none of them mentioned the great Rabbis who lived just before or during their own lifetimes. Nor did any of them mention Israel or the Great Sanhedrin. Perhaps you can produce as many non-Jewish contemporary sources as proof that these Rabbis and the Sanhedrin actually existed. Here's a list to start. Please add you own Rabbis if you come across non-Jewish sources regarding any who lived between 100 BC and 100-150 AD.

1. Sanhedrin

2. Shammai

3. Hillel the Elder

4. Rabbi Eleazer

5. Rabbi Gamaliel I

6. Rabbi Akiva


You presented the following:

"The following historians all lived around the supposed time of JC, or a century later and not on of them makes a mention of him at all." - BK
6. Dion Pruseus - no Wikipedia reference
7. Paterculus - no Wikipedia reference
20. Hermogones Silius Italicus - no Wikipedia reference
25. Phæædrus - no Wikipedia reference
39. Appion of Alexandria - no Wikipedia reference
**References made to Christians or Christ in writings
Suetonius was a secretary and historian to Hadrian, Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138 AD. Regarding Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) and the Riot of Rome in 49 AD, Suetonius wrote: As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christ], he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.
Interestingly, Acts 18:2 relates that Paul met Aquila and his wife Priscilla just after they left Italy because Claudius had expelled them. Later, Suetonius wrote about the great fire of Rome in 64 AD: Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.
Mara Bar-Serapion, a stoic philosopher from Syria, wrote this letter to his son from prison sometime after 70 AD: What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from their executing their wise king? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: The Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.
This letter refers to Jesus as being the "wise king." The writer is obviously not a Christian because he places Jesus on an equal level with Socrates and Pythagoras. Without bias in his reference to Jesus and the church, this letter is a valuable historical reference regarding the historicity of Jesus.
Lucian of Samosata was a 2nd century Greek philosopher.
This preserved text is obviously satirical, but it's a powerful "extra-biblical source":
The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day -- the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account... You see, these misguided creatures started with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.
This piece is unflattering at best, but it absolutely supports the person of Jesus Christ ("the crucified sage") and the survival of the Christian Church into the second century. (
Pliny the Younger
Pliny the YoungerPliny the Younger (c. 62 - c.113 AD) was the Roman Governor of Bithynia (present-day northwestern Turkey). Around 111 or 112 AD, he wrote the following letter to Emperor Trajan of Rome asking for advice on how to deal with Christians.
It is a rule, Sir, which I inviolably observe, to refer myself to you in all my doubts; for who is more capable of guiding my uncertainty or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials of the Christians, I am unacquainted with the method and limits to be observed either in examining or punishing them. Whether any difference is to be allowed between the youngest and the adult; whether repentance admits to a pardon, or if a man has been once a Christian it avails him nothing to recant; whether the mere profession of Christianity, albeit without crimes, or only the crimes associated therewith are punishable -- in all these points I am greatly doubtful.
In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have denounced to me as Christians is this: I interrogated them whether they were Christians; if they confessed it I repeated the question twice again, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed. For whatever the nature of their creed might be, I could at least feel not doubt that contumacy and inflexible obstinacy deserved chastisement. There were others also possessed with the same infatuation, but being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried thither.
These accusations spread (as is usually the case) from the mere fact of the matter being investigated and several forms of the mischief came to light. A placard was put up, without any signature, accusing a large number of persons by name. Those who denied they were, or had ever been, Christians, who repeated after me an invocation to the gods, and offered adoration, with wine and frankincense, to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for that purpose, together with those of the gods, and who finally cursed Christ -- none of which acts, it is into performing -- these I thought it proper to discharge. Others who were named by that informer at first confessed themselves Christians, and then denied it; true, they had been of that persuasion but they had quitted it, some three years, others many years, and a few as much as twenty-five years ago. They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, and cursed Christ.
They affirmed, however, the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food -- but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. Even this practice, however, they had abandoned after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your orders, I had forbidden political associations. I judged it so much the more necessary to extract the real truth, with the assistance of torture, from two female slaves, who were styled deaconesses: but I could discover nothing more than depraved and excessive superstition.
I therefore adjourned the proceedings, and betook myself at once to your counsel. For the matter seemed to me well worth referring to you, especially considering the numbers endangered. Persons of all ranks and ages, and of both sexes are, and will be, involved in the prosecution. For this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread through the villages and rural districts; it seems possible, however, to check and cure it.
This is quite a letter preserved from antiquity. I reproduced a great deal of it here, because it was so powerful for me in its entirety. "Pliny the Younger" speaks of Christianity spreading throughout the Roman Empire and he addresses the procedure for persecuting followers out of this "superstition." Pliny also mentions Christ by name three times as the center of Christianity and describes Christian practices, including the worship of Christ "as to a god." (
Tacitus, writing about the fire in Rome in A.D. 64. Tacitus (A.D. 55- c.120) was made governor of the province of Asia soon after Pliny’s appointment to Bithynia, and something of his reputation as a historian may be discerned in part of the letter written to him by his friend Pliny:

Thank you for asking me to send you a description of my uncle’s death so that you can leave an accurate account of it for posterity. . . . I know that immortal fame awaits him if his death is recorded by you. (Epistles 6.16)

In his Annals of Imperial Rome written at about the same time as Pliny wrote the above letter, Tacitus describes how the emperor Nero attempted to divert blame from himself to a new and detested religious sect for lighting the fire that destroyed three-quarters of Rome:

But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a deadly superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but also in the City [Rome], where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world meet and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who confessed; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of arson, as of hatred of the human race. (Annals 15.44.2-5)

It appears that Tacitus, like Pliny, despised but perhaps also feared this new movement. He describes the Christians as “a class hated for their abominations . . . a deadly superstition . . . evil . . . hideous . . . shameful.” He accuses them of “hatred of the human race,” which may refer to the Christian refusal to acknowledge Caesar as a god and the Roman state as divine.
In one sentence from the above passage Tacitus confirms six details mentioned in the New Testament:

1. The public career of Christ occurred in the time of the emperor Tiberius (Lk 3:1).
2. Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor when Christ died (Mt 27:2; Mk 15:1; Luke 23:1; Acts 3:13 and 13:28).
3. Christ was executed as a criminal (Lk 23:2).
4. This occurred in Judea (Mk 11:16).
5. The movement did not die with Jesus, but “broke out” again.
6. The movement spread from Jerusalem to Rome (Acts 1:4 and 28:14).

This sentence agrees, in a broad sense, with the geographic sweep of Luke-Acts, a two-volume work that begins with Jesus in Judea (Lk 2:4) and ends with Paul in Rome (Acts 28:14). Tacitus confirms both the existence of Christ and the spread of early Christianity. (
Benediction Twelve.
After the disastrous war with the Romans from A.D. 66 to 70, the Jewish Sanhedrin (or Senate), ceased to exist as a political and administrative body. The emperor Vespasian brought Judea under direct military rule, leaving the Sanhedrin with a purely religious role. Most of the sects and parties within Judaism perished with the war. Two that survived were the Pharisees, representing the mainstream of Jewish religious life, and the Nazarenes, or Christians, who by then were regarded as heretical. In the eighties the Pharisee-dominated Sanhedrin meeting at Jamnia, a town to the east of Jerusalem, formulated the following synagogue prayer:
For the renegades let there be no hope, and may the arrogant kingdom soon be rooted out in our days, and the Nazarenes and the minim perish as in a moment and be blotted out from the book of life and with the righteous may they not be inscribed. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the arrogant.

References in the Talmud indicate that the “minim” and the “Nazarenes” usually refer to Christians. This bitter prayer clearly attests the existence of Christians in Judea in the post-70 period, and it represents a tragic contrast with the frequently happy relations of Christian Jews with their fellow Jews in the period before the war. From Christian sources we read of Jewish Christian priests (Acts 6:7) and Christian Pharisees (Acts 15:5) and of “many thousands . . . among the Jews . . . who have believed . . . all zealous for the law” (Acts 21:20). Opposition there may have been from Sadducean high priests (Acts 4:1-3) and Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:1-3), but the Pharisees appear either to have been neutral, as was Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39), or well-disposed like those who protested at the unjust death of James brother of Jesus (Josephus Antiquities 20.197-203). The grim sentiments of Benediction Twelve reflect the thorough separation of synagogue and church after the end of the war in A.D. 70. (
The Talmud.
The Talmuds were compiled in Jerusalem and Babylon in the fifth and sixth centuries. Their late dating raises questions as to the authenticity of references to Jesus. Of various possibilities the most likely mention of Jesus is this:

It was taught:
On the day before the Passover they hanged Jesus. A herald went before him for forty days [proclaiming]. “He will be stoned, because he practised magic and enticed Israel to go astray. Let anyone who knows anything in his favour come forward and plead for him.” But nothing was found in his favour, and they hanged him the day before Passover. (b. Sanhedrin 43a)

This rather bitter reference is more likely to have arisen in the centuries after Jesus than closer to his times. We note the apologetic detail that since no one defended him he must have been guilty. Here Jesus is a magician and a deceiver of the nation and for this the Jews executed him. According to the Gospels and Tacitus (Annals 15.44), however, the Romans executed Jesus for treasonably claiming to be “king of the Jews.” Apart from the timing of his death to the Passover season there is little else here that coincides with other information at hand, including the manner of his death by hanging. (
Josephus, an aristocratic Pharisee, was born in A.D. 37. During the war with the Romans from A.D. 66 to 70, he was captured by the Romans and later was paid a pension by successive emperors for services rendered to the imperial family. Early in the nineties he wrote the Jewish Antiquities. Pharisees were not always bitterly opposed to Christians, as the Jewish historian clearly shows. Before the war, in an interregnum between Roman governors (A.D. 62), the high priest Annas (son of Annas of the Gospels) convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned. Those of the inhabitants of the city who were considered the most fair-minded and who were strict in observance of the law were offended at this. (Antiquities 20.197-203)

Those who were “strict in observance of the law” must refer to Pharisees, which suggests they showed a degree of sympathy to James, brother of Jesus, who was leader of the multitudinous Jerusalem church. The members of that church, Paul had been informed, were “all zealous for the law” (Acts 21:20), which explains why the Pharisees were favorably disposed towards
James. James’s reference to “many thousands” of such Jerusalem believers (Acts 21:20), while possibly an exaggeration, nevertheless confirms the impression given elsewhere of large numbers of people involved in Christianity, and that it was a worldwide movement.

In this extract, the authenticity of which is not in doubt, Josephus confirms two important pieces of information from the New Testament.

1. Jesus was “called Christ” (cf. Acts 2:36).
2. James was his brother (cf. Gal 1:19).
Josephus indicates no doubt as to the genuine existence in history of either Jesus or James. (
Josephus (continued)
Flavius Josephus (37 - 100 AD), a Jewish general and member of the priestly aristocracy of the Jews, turned to the side of the Roman Empire in the great Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD. Josephus spent the rest of his life in or around Rome as an advisor and historian to three emperors, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. For centuries, the works of Josephus were more widely read in Europe than any book other than the Bible. They are invaluable sources of eyewitness testimony to the development of Western civilization, including the foundation and growth of Christianity in the 1st Century.
Remarkably, Flavius Josephus mentions New Testament events and people in some of his works. For me, this was some of the most significant evidence against the legend theories that plagued my view of early Christianity. Here are some excerpts I found fascinating:
  • At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders. 1
  • After the death of the procurator Festus, when Albinus was about to succeed him, the high-priest Ananius considered it a favorable opportunity to assemble the Sanhedrin. He therefore caused James the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, and several others, to appear before this hastily assembled council, and pronounced upon them the sentence of death by stoning. All the wise men and strict observers of the law who were at Jerusalem expressed their disapprobation of this act...Some even went to Albinus himself, who had departed to Alexandria, to bring this breach of the law under his observation, and to inform him that Ananius had acted illegally in assembling the Sanhedrin without the Roman authority. 2
  • Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. 3
These three quotes from "Josephus" really speak for themselves! Professor Shlomo Pines, a well known Israeli scholar, discusses the fact of Jesus' historicity and the references to Jesus by Flavius Josephus:
In fact, as far as probabilities go, no believing Christian could have produced such a neutral text: for him the only significant point about it could have been its attesting the historical evidence of Jesus. But the fact is that until modern times this particular hare (i.e. claiming Jesus is a hoax) was never started. Even the most bitter opponents of Christianity never expressed any doubt as to Jesus having really lived. 4
1 Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3 (translated from 4th century Arabic manuscript). An even more phenomenal Greek version of this text exists, which many scholars declare was "doctored" a bit in a few places. However, this version was quoted as early as 325 AD:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
2 Antiquities, Book 20, chapter 9, paragraph 1.
3 Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 5, paragraph 2.
4 Shlomo Pines, An Arabic Version of the Testamonium Flavianum and its Implications, Jerusalem Academic Press, 1971, 69. See also,

Monday, January 7, 2008

Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy, Learns A Lesson...

A remarkable phone call from a 12-year old boy to Houston radio station, KSBJ FM 89.3.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Here's What "Makes Me So Mad!"...

My friend, Isaiah, has posted two excellent articles in his blog that in my estimation relate to the failure of modern theology and the doctrines derived therefrom. I'm providing links to Isaiah's articles below since I can't say it any better myself and find no need to try to rephrase words already well spoken - thank you, Isaiah!

Isaiah addresses the issues of "prosperity teaching" and "hating sin." But before linking you to his blog and in keeping with the themes of his two articles, I wanted to share one of my own frustrations with a modern day belief that is has been pervasive within most denominations of Christianity and has now been carried over into evangelical Christian sects.In addition to prosperity teaching and the rising tolerance for sin, there is an insidious but rarely mentioned sin that is increasingly taking place beneath the noses of careless shepherds (pastors) that "makes ME so mad!": sexual immorality. Not necessarily their own sexual immorality, but the sexual immorality within their evangelical congregations.

I can tell you from experience that the vast majority of 30-50'something single men and women sitting in Christian congregations have bought into the lies that tout: God is not so cruel as to require people to marry to have sex, single people can't possibly be expected to go without sex for an undetermined period of time, and people shouldn't be expected to get married without knowing if they're sexually compatible. These lies are further upheld by the erroneous application of "none of us are good, we're all sinners saved by grace" so God readily forgives such indulgences. This is where Isaiah's article, Hating Sin, deals spot-on with that lie!

As a 43-year old single woman, I can tell you that I am unable to attend singles groups in good conscience for the lack of teaching about being chaste and doing all to avoid sexual sin. I don't attend singles groups anymore because of the increasing expectation to engage in a sexual relationship when dating the professing "Christian" men I meet there. Leadership doesn't teach its singles about sexual immorality any longer because they don't want to offend or 'make a row hard to hoe,' so-to-speak. Why, if they did, attendance will drop... and we can't have that now, can we?

By not addressing sin for fear of offending, it sometimes appears that leaders have forgotten that God said, “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:20-21.) They have also forgotten that "narrow is the way and few there be that find it" and that God perserves for Himself a remnant who are faithful while the majority of people are left to their vices and their enemies. These types of leaders are more concerned about drawing in the masses for their own personal gain rather than teaching the truth (see Isaiah's article, Ooh, This Just Makes Me So Mad). May God remind them that He has always dealt severely with corrupt or uncaring shepherds and false prophets/teachers.

If God does someday bless me with a godly husband who desires to hold-the-line against sexual sin so as not to sin against God and his own body, I will know God truly blessed me with such a man and brought us together by a miracle. Too many so-called Christian men nowadays are able to enjoy sex without committing to marriage since as many so-called Christian women and/or pornography accommodate their lusts and ungodly fears regarding intimacy and commitment.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves .... unloving .... without self-control .... lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Some of you may be thinking "What a prude. What a Polly Anna," but allow me to attest to God's truth: I've walked the path of compromise and I can tell you from experience, "God is not mocked for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption." (Galatians 6:8a.) Too many years spent running from God and living in rebellion yielded nothing but corruption and death in relationships along the way, which left nearly intolerable pain in their wake. The rest of Galatians 6:8b and 9 says, "...But he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." 'Tis the 'truth' I know, I live... and I've lived on both sides of this truth!

There is liberty and joy in loving and obeying God! Even if it mitigates my chance of marrying again, I will no longer compromise and willfully sin against God - I love God more than I love corruption and pain! I am no longer a glutton for self-induced punishment nor for the discipline of God. I know God disciplines those whom He loves, but discipline is DISCIPLINE (been there, done that... I have the t-shirt) so as much as I can help it, I do not want to dissappoint Him and I desire to remain in good standing with my Heavenly Father so as not to incur His discipline.

If you can't relate to what I'm saying and feel like you're getting along just fine in having sex outside of its rightful boundaries of marriage, well... hummm... I'd be very concerned if I were you! God only disciplines those whom He loves, while punishment on Judgment Day awaits those who turned their backs on Him and denied Him the opportunity to love them.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Frank Family

Traveling home from an out of town visit last week, my daughter and I stopped to eat dinner. I thought about Mr. and Mrs. Frank and girls when I saw the restaurant's sign and couldn't resist taking the picture.
Looks like the Frank(s) family in Texas had made it home safely.
Just had to share... obviously, the sign put the Jason Frank Family in my thoughts and prayers! :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Tell George W. Bush...

..."And We Thought You Were Our Friend", by Ruth and Nadia Matar

Dear Friends of Israel,
We cannot allow the Israeli government to maintain the illusion that it is acting in the interests of the Jewish People. The Olmert government no longer even feels obliged to safeguard the lives and property of its own Jewish citizens.

The population of Sderot and the Western Negev remains under constant missile attack, and the Jews expelled from Gush Katif continue to languish in refugee camps. How does the government respond?

It releases from prison Arab terrorists to continue their ‘War against the Jews’. It arms them and grants them international legitimacy! In addition, the government plans to abandon to the Arab enemy large parts of Biblical Israel, i.e. Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. Most unbelievably, it persecutes those Jews who try to oppose these policies.
Blogger Friends of Israel,

We have only few precious days to respond to this call made by 'Women for Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green).' This call must be answered by January 7, 2008, to make a difference!
This is an awesome initiative by a movement that comprises the Hadassah's and Deborah's of this day and age, who are making an appeal right now to men and women to assist in delivering Israel and the Jewish people from the hand of their enemies, which now includes Bush and, sadly, Olmert.
You can actually do something to speak loudly to George W. Bush during his visit to Israel on January 8th. No matter how small, no matter how crazy it may seem, this is an opportunity to bless Israel and stand behind your belief! Let's pray that George W. Bush will undoubtedly hear God's voice in the 'whisper' of this seemingly insignificant gathering as seen in the eyes of the secular and misled, mis-educated population. Please continue to read "Tell George W. Bush 'And We Thought You Were Our Friend'" above to see how you can speak loud and clear to George W. Bush regarding you stance on Israel and Jerusalem. Please do what you can... great or small!
Genesis 12:3 - God bless you for doing this!