Showing posts from July, 2014

Elisha the Israeli prophet and excessive force

Elijah was a great prophet in Israel's history. After he was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, his successor, Elisha, steps into the role and does even more miraculous things. Many of his miracles are recapitulated a thousand years later in the ministry of Jesus: lepers are healed, children are raised from the dead, multitudes are fed from a small amount. But there is one supernatural story that Jesus did not emulate.
2 Kings 2:23-24  He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”  And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. (ESV) In my religious tribe, American Christian fundagelicalism, I never read any criticisms of Elisha in the commentaries I read, or the websites offering answers to hard questions. Google's front page hits to the …

book response: The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage by Mark Achtemeier

All Christians wrestle with applying Jesus' second highest commandment, the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. The conservative church in the United States, has felt this is overruled by other passages in the Bible when it comes to homosexuals among them and outside. But some of us within the conservative church have challenged that hermenuetic. Mark Achtemeier is one respectable voice within the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) who used to argue within the church nationally against full inclusion but has repented of this stance and now wants to help the church become fully inclusive of homosexuals. He uses all the familiar tools, methodologies and principles of conservative Bible scholarship to assuage those who cannot fathom how full inclusion is possible in his new book.

He writes, "The result of this encounter with the Bible has been a growing conviction that the church’s condemnation of same-gender rela…