Tag Archives: Christian

The Curious Silence of the Christian Left

Concerning ‘gay marriage’ one of the things which seems most sorely lacking among the people of the left is any sort of attempt to base their views of support in Scripture historically-critically exegeted.

Now to be sure there have been some faltering attempts but none of them have been what anyone could call ‘persuasive’.  Sure, Leviticus isn’t taken in full seriousness among Christians today and we do in fact ignore lots of the laws in that book.  But when you arrive at Romans it’s another story altogether.  1 Corinthians 6 also is fairly self disclosing.

Bits and pieces of other texts are removed from their contexts by the ‘left leaners’.  But these snippets really are nothing more than slogans but sloganeering can hardly be called exegesis.  Of late, for instance, Acts 10:28 has become beloved as it suggests that no one should be called common or unclean.  Fair enough- no one should be called common or unclean- but that isn’t the same thing as saying no act should be called sin.

Decontextualized texts aren’t any sort of foundation upon which to build an ethical position.

I’ve read a lot of papers, essays, and discussions about Christian support of gay marriage but I have yet to see a single one base its views on a text properly exegeted (and by properly, I mean using the tools of historical criticism).  Shouldn’t, even for liberal left leaning Christian folk, actions and behaviors rest upon a biblical foundation?  They’re quick to cite the Bible when it talks about love (and justifiably) but why be so silent when it speaks so clearly on the topic of sexual behavior?

That silence isn’t just curious, it’s bizarre.

[When it comes to what the agnostics and atheists and Buddhists and all the rest think about the subject, I, frankly, just don’t care.  Their views aren’t my concern and really aren’t all that interesting.  My interest is with the Christians asserting the propriety of both gay sexual activity and gay marriage.  Where’s the exegetical reason?]

What Luther Thought of the Jews

I would request and advise that one deal gently with them [i.e., the Jews] and instruct them from Scripture; then some of them may come along.

Instead of this we are trying only to drive them by force, slandering them, accusing them of having Christian blood if they don’t stink, and I know not what other foolishness. So long as we thus treat them like dogs, how can we expect to work any good among them? Again, when we forbid them to labor and do business and have any human fellowship with us, thereby forcing them into usury, how is that supposed to do them any good?

If we really want to help them, we must be guided in our dealings with them not by papal law but by the law of Christian love. We must receive them cordially, and permit them to trade and work with us, that they may have occasion and opportunity to associate with us, hear our Christian teaching, and witness our Christian life. If some of them should prove stiff-necked, what of it? After all, we ourselves are not all good Christians either.*

*Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II,(229).

Paul Ryan: Another ‘In Name Only’ Christian

His speech last night was riddled with lies and half truths, demonstrating once more that politicians will say anything to be elected.  Even so called Christian ones.  Christians, you see, have a problem with deception.  They don’t approve of it and they certainly don’t perpetrate it merely to fulfill their personal goals. It’s easy enough to call oneself a Christian.  Acting like one – that’s another story altogether.

The Next Time You Decide You’re Going to Skip Sunday School…

Think of the Christians in China, who would LOVE to have the opportunities that we Americans toss aside with reckless abandon-

Police in China’s far western region of Xinjiang raided a house church Sunday school, rounded up 70 children and their teachers for questioning, and locked up seven women teachers in a local detention center, ChinaAid has learned.

The children were attending special summer classes arranged by the house church in the regional capital city of Urumqi when the police action occurred on the morning of July 2.  Police from the Qiangfanggou police station and agents from the Sha district Domestic Security Protection Department rounded up all the children and Sunday School teachers and took them to a school where they were questioned. Some of the children’s parents and school principals and teachers were also summoned and questioned.

It’s always amazing to me that we American Christians can’t be bothered with so much of what our brothers and sisters around the world pine for and die for.

The Exodus: of Palestinian Christians

Israel Today describes the painful fate of Palestinian Christians and the unjust treatment they’re receiving at the hands of the Israeli government (because it is ultimately in control of the Palestinian territories) and their Muslim neighbors.

Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the city of Beit Jala — located on a hill adjacent to Bethlehem — still boasts a large number of worshippers. This fact makes the town unique among Palestinian towns, which have generally seen their Christian populations decline.

“People are leaving Palestine [sic] in droves. Jenin, Aboud, Nablus — these cities have lost much of their Christian population, some villages and towns have no more than two to three families,” said Peter, a 25-year-old resident of Bethlehem who agreed to be interviewed for this article on condition that his real name not be used.

Statistics show that more than 60 percent of the Arab Christians born in Palestinian areas over the past several generations now live abroad. Totaling some half a million people worldwide, 360,000 of them currently reside in dispersed communities in Canada, Chile, the United States, Germany, Australia and other countries. 154,000 remain in Israel and the Palestinian-controlled territories, with about 35,000 living in the West Bank and less than 3,000 in the Gaza Strip.

And moreover

As experts look for different ways to explain the phenomenon, Peter has his own answer: “We enjoy religious freedom but I still feel like a second-class citizen,” he told Israel Today. “We are allowed to pray in churches and are given religious holidays but I’m constantly reminded of being a minority in a Muslim land,” he continued, referring to instances of discrimination against Christians.

“Christian women are very often harassed, insulted, or simply not given due respect only because they refuse to cover their hair,” he pointed out. “Muslims will not think twice to express their dissatisfaction with a Christian listening to religious recitations in his cab. Had Christians dared to do the same, massive wrath would surely follow,” Peter told us.

According to Peter, the problems for West Bank Christians started in 1993, the year the area was handed over from Israel to the Palestinian Authority. With the eruption of the Second Intifada in 2000, the situation deteriorated even further.

Most distressingly

But even after the uprising was over, Christians have reported numerous cases of illegal seizure of their property by Muslims from Hebron and other parts of the West Bank. Khaled Abu Toameh, a prominent Arab writer for the Jerusalem Post, reported in his article from June 2012 that the property-related complaints of West Bank Christians — filed with the Palestinian Authority, the Vatican, and European leaders — have fallen on deaf ears.

I suppose if there were Jews in New York whose property was being seized and they were being driven from their homes by Arabs the entire world would have heard about it.  Loudly.   But since it’s ‘just’ Christians who happen to be neither Jews nor Europeans, who cares, right?

What incredible injustice and inequity is practiced in the ‘Holy’ land.  It’s thoroughly disgusting.

Alienating Still More of My Friends…

Pretty soon I won’t have any at all. I’ve already made the fundamentalists, gay rights advocates, angry atheists, homeschoolers, cat lovers, and Zionists mad. And now I’m about to make the Student Loan Forgiveness Act crowd mad too.

My take on the issue is simple:

1- If you agree to a loan, you agree to pay it.
2- If you don’t wish to pay your loan back, don’t take it out.
3- If you don’t pay it, exactly who do you expect will? And why should they?
4- Christians are bound both by morality and ethical duty to act honestly.
5- It is dishonest to renege on one’s debts.
6- Therefore, Christians, of all people, should reject any choice which cheats others out of what they’re due.

I realize that lots of people think that student loans are burying many of the young. And in some respects I’m sure they are. But there are always alternatives. If you can’t afford the payments, live in a smaller house, drive a smaller car, abandon the luxury items which you have come to expect should be handed to you on a silver platter.

The ‘entitlement’ mentality doesn’t just exist among welfare recipients and society’s deadbeats. It also, tragically, abides in the hearts of too many of our young people, who have neither work ethic nor sense of fairness. With their hands out, they come begging for things they neither need nor must have. And they want someone else to pay for it. What is Christian in that?

Quote of the Day

Preaching at the Fraumunster

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” The Christian community should be recognizable by the fact that its members are not like others who seek what is below, that they are not like the others who chase after the goods of this earth as if everything depended upon them, that they are not like the others who lose themselves in the world. That, Christians of all times have heard, read in the Bible, and therefore also known. But they obviously have not given others this impression. — Emil Brunner

Things Have Gone Wrong…

When a Muslim has to tell British and European Christians to be more resolute in their faith!  This provokes the Telegraph to ask Is Britain Losing its Religion?

A High Court ruled banning prayers from council meetings and Muslim Conservative MP Baroness Warsi has suggested that a ‘militant secularisation’ is taking hold of our society, but is Britain losing its religion?

Warsi suggests

You cannot and should not extract Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can or should erase the spires from our landscapes. We are so afraid, and rightly so, of going backwards in history to the dark days when religion was imposed by despotic regimes that we have got to the stage where agressive secularism is being imposed by stealth.

And secularism is being imposed- but it isn’t by stealth! It’s manically aggressive.  Britain, and Europe as a whole, has adopted a course of action that can only be called anti-faith.  Except, of course, for ‘faith in humanity’ (the stupidest sort of faith imaginable).

Britain, and Europe, have replaced real faith with an idol.  And America isn’t far behind.

Jewish Cursing

There’s another good one at Bible & Interpretation

I suggest that we need to address this evidence with immense caution, admitting that while it is abundantly clear that the birkat haminim eventually was, in its medieval forms, a curse of Christians, we simply cannot document this in the period of its putative origins in the late first or early second century CE. It therefore cannot be identified with any certainty as a player in the “partings of the ways,” although it certainly served later to reinforce the boundary between the two communities.

So writes Ruth Langer.  Take a look.

The (Republican) Evangelical Dilemma Nicely, Succinctly Summarized

Which will you choose?  The adulterer or the Mormon?  Which will you set aside, your morality or your theology?

For South Carolina conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, the 2012 campaign season is the year of magical rethinking. Look at the frontrunners:  If you want a president with a legacy of marital fidelity, you’re going to have to work around Newt Gingrich’s adultery.  If you believe that Mormons don’t really qualify as Christian, you may find yourself struggling with Mitt Romney.

So what will you surrender this election cycle?  Your morals or your beliefs?

[It’s times like these I’m glad I don’t vote for politicians, incumbents, or special interest candidates].

More Barbaric Violence Against Nigeria’s Christians

Al Jazeera reports

Gunmen have stormed a church service in Nigeria, killing six people and wounding 10, the church’s pastor said, the latest in a string of attacks that has raised fears of sectarian conflict in Africa’s most populous nation.  “It was around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT),” Pastor John Jauro told AFP news agency of Thursday’s attack in the city of Gombe.  “I was leading the congregation in prayers. Our eyes were closed when some gunmen stormed the church and opened fire on the congregation. Six people were killed in the attack and 10 others were wounded.”  He said there was confusion as worshippers sought to flee at the Deeper Life Christian Ministry Church.  Local police spokesman Ahmed Muhammad confirmed the attack, but declined to say how many people the gunmen killed and wounded.  The attack comes after a purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram on Sunday issued a three-day ultimatum for Christians living in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north to leave the region or they would be killed.  There was, however, no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile in America on any given Sunday (not to even raise the issue of the miserably low attendance for services on other days of the week), most Christians much prefer to forego worship altogether, fearful that they might have to wait too long in the buffet line at the local eatery if they trouble themselves with church stuff.

Did You Know That Atheists Have their Own Country?

It’s called North Korea.  I think committed angry atheists ought to go there.  They would be happier and so would we all.  Let’s all pitch in and buy the angry atheists we loathe a one way ticket to the land of little food but lots of propaganda!

South Korea will allow Christians to light two more Christmas tree-shaped towers near the tense border with North Korea despite strong opposition from Pyongyang, an official said Sunday.  The South Korean government allowed a Christian group to light a massive steel Christmas tree near the border last year for the first time in seven years as tensions flared in the wake of two deadly attacks blamed on the North.

Here’s the best part-

Earlier on Sunday, North Korea’s state-run Uriminzokkiri website said that lighting the first tree was a form of psychological warfare and would trigger an “unexpected consequence.”

Sounds like the angry atheists in the West.  I think they would be very happy in North Korea.  Let’s see if they’re really willing to ‘practice what they preach’ and trundle off to the one country where they’re most welcome.  Otherwise they’re just big fat hypocrites who talk the talk but who won’t walk the angry atheist walk.

Anti-Christian Violence in Cairo

UPDATE:  The death toll is now 23.  Earlier it was reported…

The Associated Press reports

Riots erupted in Cairo Sunday night as Christians protesting a recent attack on a church came under assault by thugs who rained stones down on them and fired pellets. Two soldiers were killed in the melee, according to state television, and a number of military vehicles were burning on a scenic street along the Nile.

Further details at the link above. Will Christians be driven from Egypt as they have been from Iraq as radical Islamists gain their ‘freedom’?

one of the Coptic churches in Cairo I visited when we were there

Palestinians, You Don’t Advance Your Cause When You Write…

The first recorded human settlement of the Jerusalem area, known as Yaboos [Jebus], had its core in where Silwan now lies some 5,000 years ago. The Egyptian, Persian, Besantian [Byzantine], Christian and Islamic civilizations followed, leaving their finger prints on the area. The most famous was the caliphate of Umayyad era, which is connected to the recent discoveries in Silwan.

Be serious for a minute.  Even if you deny the existence of a Davidic Kingdom you can’t possibly suggest that there were no Jews in Jerusalem in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, which you completely leave out.

Such absurd historical ignorance or deceptive ideologically driven denial does no one any good.  Not even you.

It’s Important to Remember…

That BEING a Christian is so much MORE than just BECOMING a Christian.

Brutal Islam

A 14-year-old girl in western Uganda is still unable to walk 10 months after her father tortured her for leaving Islam and putting her faith in Christ, according to area Christians.  Susan Ithungu of Isango village, Kasese district, has been hospitalized at Kagando Hospital since October 2010 after neighbors with police help rescued her from her father, Beya Baluku. He was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released, sources said.

Anyone know of any Christians who torture their children if they convert to Islam?

We Must Stop Telling Teens To Abstain From Sex in order to Avoid Pregnancy

For Christians, for the Church, such a reason is totally inadequate and totally inappropriate.  More correctly, teens and unmarried persons should abstain from sexual activity because such activity is contrary to the purpose and will of God and is in fact sin.

When we tell people to abstain in order to avoid pregnancy we make the commandment of God of no account.  This is utterly inexcusable for Christians, theologians and the Church.

The ‘practical’ reason for abstinence, the avoidance of an unwanted child, is a reason completely foreign to the biblical revelation. Not once will anyone read anywhere in any Scripture in any legitimate translation that the reason to avoid sexual activity is pregnancy.  Rather, the reason is simpler and more profound: God commands it.

And why does God command it?  Because the human body is made for more than just the satisfaction of desires.  We are made to glorify God, yes, even in our bodies.  To degrade that high calling and to behave as nothing more than a dog on the street in heat is to demean ourselves and treat contemptuously the image of God.

So, instead of telling teens (and unmarrieds) to avoid sex so they don’t have a child to care for- we are supposed to tell them to refrain from sexual activity because God wishes it.  And his wishes supersede yours.  Always.

Very Unpleasant News from Egypt

Out of Egypt reposts a news essay, claiming

The number of Christian girls abducted and coerced into converting to Islam since the Egyptian “January 25 Revolution” has skyrocketed, according to Father Filopateer Gamil of St. Mary’s Church in Giza. “More than two to three girls disappear everyday in Giza alone,” he said. “The cases that are brought to public attention are few compared to what the numbers actually are.”  Many Christians blame the military council for not intervening to put an end to this problem, which has escalated after the Revolution because of the “emergence of Muslim Salafists,” says activist Mark Ebeid, “who believe strongly that converting a Christian Infidel is in some ways like earning a ticket to paradise — not to mention the earthly remuneration they get from the Saudis.”

This is perfectly unacceptable.  The US State Department needs to exert whatever pressure necessary to bring an end to this barbarism.

Still more Christians Arrested in China

Baptist Press has reported

In a show of solidarity, Shouwang Church’s illegal outdoor public worship service welcomed members of other house churches June 26, and 15 of them were arrested in the 12th straight week Shouwang has defied the Chinese government’s demands not to meet.

It was not year clear how many of the arrests were members of Shouwang Church and how many were members of other house churches, but it was yet further proof that the confrontation is spreading to other house churches. ChinaAid, a group that monitors religious freedom in China, reported the latest figures.

In America most Christians don’t need the threat of arrest to absent themselves from worship. A cloud in the sky suffices.

Tensions Between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians are Rising

In Ägypten ist es erneut zu Spannungen zwischen Muslimen und Kopten gekommen, wie die Online-Zeitung «Al Masry Al Youm» am 24. Juni schreibt. Am 23. Juni belagerten mehrere hundert Muslime eine Kirche im mittelägyptischen Dorf Bani Ahmed und protestierten gegen den örtlichen Priester. Die Polizei habe die Versammlung aufgelöst. Menschen wurden dem Bericht zufolge nicht verletzt.

Read the whole sad report here.