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Showing posts from September, 2014

(Not) everything Biblical is Christian. Part 8 - Jesus and nocturnal emission laws

Not everything Biblical is Christian, part 8. See part onetwothreefourfivesix and seven to catch up. See the briefest of reviews at the bottom.

Dear Johnboy

I know if you read this ten years ago, you would write me off, because I am not dealing with one of those verses you memorized repeatedly through your AWANA childhood.
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. I want to clarify how I can agree with verse 16 and write a series called, Not everything Biblical is Christian.

As I tried to remind you of those topics and issues in the Bible that bothered …

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 7 - Slavery

Not everything Biblical is Christian, part 7. See part onetwothreefourfive and six to catch up. See the briefest of reviews at the bottom.

Dear Johnboy

Here is a short summary of the reasons American Christians before the Civil War believed slavery was biblical. They used Bible verses. They used Old Testament and New Testament verses.

Recall the previous letter, part 6. In Acts we see the church retaining a few Old Testament rules but shortly thereafter, dropping even those. Paul says to the church in Corinth, "look, if you want to eat food sacrificed to idols, fine, just don't flaunt it." As far as Paul is concerned, the loving your neighbor law is the one that matters. Otherwise, food is food. We see this principle in action - the church continues to figure out what loving our neighbors looks like.

After the apostles died, some people in the church realized that owning a slave is not the way one would love oneself, thus not fulfilling Christ's Golden Rule. …

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 6 - Ripping down the scaffolding

Not everything Biblical is Christian, part 6. See part onetwothreefour, and five to catch up.

Part one points out that the words of Satan recorded in the Bible are not Christian doctrine. Part two shows the Sermon on the Mount overruling the cursing of enemies exhibited in Psalm 137. Parts three and four show Moses getting overruled by Ezekiel and Jesus. Part five merely brushes the concept of source criticism.  Since the last post was technical, I will try to keep this simple if not short, Old Testament application in the early church: a brief summary of the book of Acts.

Dear Johnboy

It certainly is a good thing that the apostles agreed that baptism would be the initiation rite into the church instead of circumcision. This story is developed in the church history crafted by St. Luke. But let's back up a little.

In the gospels Jesus says the law is summed up in two verses from Deuteronomy, Love God with your all and love your neighbor as yourself. The other 600+ laws that …

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 5 - not all texts are equal

Not everything Biblical is Christian, part 5. See part one, two, three, and four to catch up.

Part one points out that the words of Satan recorded in the Bible are not Christian doctrine. Part two shows the Sermon on the Mount overruling the cursing of enemies exhibited in Psalm 137. Parts three and four show Moses getting overruled by Ezekiel and Jesus. Part 5 will look at another angle of this theme, that not everything Christian is in the Bible you have today.

Dear Johnboy (that is my younger self)

I am going to write you a short summary of this post then put all the technical stuff afterwards to see what I am talking about.

The way the author of Hebrews uses the Greek translation of the Old Testament, especially where it disagrees with the Hebrew version is an example of New Testament authors using a different OT text source than you do. Most Protestant translations today use the Masoretic Text as the basis of the OT translations. You learned that the OT we have today is so reliab…

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 4 - Turn the other cheek Moses

This is part four of the series Not everything Biblical is Christian. See part one, two and three to catch up.

Dear Johnboy (that is my younger self)

The previous letter shows God's position on punishment changes from the Ten Commandments era to Ezekiel's era yet in the New Testament Jesus is presented as unchanging. In the first letter, I pointed to the New Testament's assertions that Jesus is the full revelation of God and what was obscure in the Old Testament is clarified in, with, by and through Jesus.

Jesus interacted with the Old Testament in surprising ways. It shocked his original audience and still shocks today. One of the most shocking things he does is disagree with Moses, even when the teachings presented in the five books of Moses are presented as coming directly from God. Here is what Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say to you, Do not resi…

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 3 - descendant punishment

This is part 3 of the series Not everything Biblical is Christian. See part 1 and part 2 to catch up.

Dear John (that is my younger self)

Some Bible verses threw you for a loop when you read the Bible with equal authority front to back. You weren't able to resolve tensions like this one, so you shelved it in your brain, hoping that one day, before the afterlife, the back office would come up with something.

Your older self may have something, but let's look at one those Bible difficulties. It's in the 10 commandments. They show up twice in the Bible, in Exodus 20, shortly after the escape from Egypt, and in Deuteronomy 5, forty years later, before the people enter the promised land.

The second commandment, forbidding graven images (idols), comes with a threat and a promise, a stick and a carrot.

Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or wo…

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 2 - Bless your enemies

Dear John of years ago (I'm talking to younger fundagelical self), as you know Jesus is famous even outside of Christianity for his Beatitudes. Here is Matthew's version from the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute y…

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 1 - Devil Talk

I am beginning a series here called, Not everything Biblical is Christian. I need to identify the key terms, "Biblical" and "Christian" and my intended audience, the younger me an American Fundagelical.

Fundagelicals are the conservative wing of American Evangelicalism, the tribe I grew up in and still belong to. I know some of the most generous, compassionate people on this planet among my tribe. I have learned generosity and compassion from them. But I also know fear among my tribe, fear of other tribes, of other political tribes, of the end times, of being raptured while still a virgin, even fear of God. I have been learning the truth of perfect love which displaces all fear. I wish my younger self began learning that much earlier.

Here are my fundagelical credentials. I grew up in a Plymouth Brethren church and raised my children in a Calvary Chapel. Each sub-tribe is closer to the center than the tribes at large to whom they belong. This means that head coveri…

Book response: The Natural Building Companion by Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton (2012)

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I've been familiar for a few years now with the work of the Yestermorrow Design Build School in Vermont for a few years now. What I did not know is the publication of this work, The Natural Building Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to Integrative Design and Construction by instructors Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton.

Lucky for me, one of my local libraries had a copy available and I devoured it over the weekend. There is so much to devour, I did skim some parts, but I read intently much of it.

My favorite aspect of this book is it's written with a sensitivity to the crazy New England climate. There are so many great ways to build, but what works in California will not work well here. They also differentiate between natural building and green building. Natural building seeks to remain connected to the materials near the build location and minimize the carbon input required to transport a green product. For example, bamboo flooring is a green product, especially when compar…

cost analysis of American war participation, WW2 and the middle East

If the US did not ally with Stalin (killed 20 million), then the two mass murderers might have destroyed each other. Instead, Eastern Europe went from one totalitarian regime, the Nazis, to another, the USSR for another 40 years. If the US did not ally with China, then the mass murdering regime of Mao (killed 30 million) may never have come to fruition. Mao killed more Chinese than the Japanese ever did.

If the US did not feel the need to seek vengeance on Osama Bin Laden after September 11, 2001, when 3,000 died, then 21,000 Afghan civilians would not have died. If the US did not go after Saddam Hussein and his phantom weapons of mass destruction, then 133,000 Iraqi civilians would not have been killed as a result of our invasion. Additionally, 6,500 American service members and an equal number of military contractors would not have been killed either. The US would not have borrowed, nor lost economic investment and opportunity over the past 13 years to tune of $4 trillion.

Their are…