Sodom & Gomorrah-revisited

It is a well known fact that I am a vocal opponent of the claim that Tell El-Hamman is Sodom and I will not change that opposition. In a new paper found at:  {second article on that page} I revisited the issue but instead of rehashing old points the focus was on what to do when supposed christian leaders go bad and lead people astray.

For believers, our work is not about our agendas, our pet projects, our search for fame. It is to bring glory to God and that cannot be done when people let their egos get in the way or they get lead astray in pursuing a project that has nothing to do with God, the truth or reality.

This is especially true when the evidence uncovered contradicts the biblical record. At Tell El-Hamman’s website, the evidence uncovered is well documented and it shows that the identification with Sodom is wrong even after the protests of its American director.

Tell El-Hamman is a good example of how not to use the Bible, not to use ancient author’s work, not to use archaeology. Given the fact that we have the proper evidence identified and investigates at the southern locations of Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira. Here we find the ash, the destruction layer exposed to this day and we have Arabic names pointing the fact that Sodom was located here. (Arabic names have been known to refer to ancient sites).

What this tells you is that the director of the Tell El-Hamman site doesn’t care about the facts and is battling uphill to fulfill some personal desire. It also tells you that he will not listen to reason and continues down his misguided path.

When that happens, believers should not step to his side simply because he is supposed to be a christian professor working t a supposedly christian school. No, they should follow the truth and stay on the correct path. it is okay to disagree with church leaders when they are wrong, God does not say to blindly follow them and the church has to start following God’s instructions not the denomination’s or the school’s. It also has to restart practicing proper church discipline as well.

Too much is riding on this to sweep God aside and follow after men. Even something little like an archaeological dig must be subject to God’s rules and ways or the work is wasted and the wrong message sent to the unchurched world.

Read the article and research the links to get more information on this issue and make up your own minds with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Carthage & Child Sacrifice

This is still a topic of debate today and it exemplifies one of the major problem with using archaeology to determine what took place in the past.

With archaeology being vulnerable to the personalities of ancient people we can never be sure if we have the truth about an event or topic such as this one. In the case of Cartage, their records are mute because the Romans did not have the foresight to leave the Carthaginian writings for the modern world to study.

Instead, they just acted like normal conquerors and destroyed the material remains of the conquered in hopes of destroying any ambition to challenge Roman superiority in the future.

The link below leads you to a paper re-examining the evidence and it is done so knowing that some books and articles may exist with further evidence than discussed; though during the research period nothing else came to light

It is the first article on that page and its focus is more on the abuse of the evidence and scriptural passage than being the definitive word on the issue. Christians really need to research well, research honestly and look to the Holy Spirit to guide them when they do their research and writing because we can’t give an answer if we just rubber stamp someone else’s bad work.

Red the article and the references to get a broad view of the issue and make up your own mind. One point not included in the paper is that God says child sacrifice is wrong, thus it is wrong but so are false accusations. The Carthaginians are defenseless and should not be judged for something they may not have done or approved of.

Other Bloggers & Forums

I have noticed something over the years and it is playing out on all the chat forums and weblogs I have visited. People like to scream for free speech, freedom of expression and they attack those who deny them such outlets.

BUT, when they decide to own and run their own forums or weblogs, those cries of protest disappear as they morph into a dictator imposing their own restrictions on what people can or cannot say. They turn a deaf ear to the very protests they chanted at others and maintain a very heavy hand on those who participate, if those wanting to comment can actually get through the signing process.

That last bit was what motivated me as I tried twice to sign in and comment on the NT Blog but both times it told me that I ‘did not own the i.d.’ I was using. That was news to me as I do own it and use it to sign in here. What is the point of owning a weblog if no one or a select few can sign up and participate?

What is the point of owning a forum or weblog if all you want is those people telling you what you want to hear? Good discussion needs opposing or differing opinions to be successful as other people may have some insight you have not thought of and it helps one’s own point of view when one is challenged by other perspectives.

On here, I do not mind if people disagree BUT I do mind the method they use and the method is not guaranteed any special rights. Say your point, say it well and you should be fine. Just do not cross into fanaticism or whacko territory in the process but make a coherent contribution to the topic you want to comment upon.

I will try not to be like the robert cargill’s, the jim west’s or even the mark goodacre’s and let your post stand even when it is something I do not want to hear.  With that said, I am wondering when God died and left jim west in charge of who goes to hell, what is moral or depraved and so on? His blog just turns my stomach and makes me cringe when he casts judgment upon those he doesn’t like.

The other thing I have noticed about weblogs is that many people feel that it empowers them and this new enrichment goes to their heads and the owners turn into bullies. I understand that will happen to non-religious people because they do not have Christ’s teaching to help them but when supposedly Christian owners turn into bullies, it is a sad day and more stumblingblocks to Christ are raised.

I guess keyboard bravery is not limited to the unchurched world but Christians should know better. Jim West posts a lot of foreign language content on his website and fails to provide any English translation and that is just ignorance as many people do not know Russian, German, Greek etc., and it is just rude and insenstive to those who do not have the luxury of knowing many languages.

I asked him a question about that and what did I get in return–a public post insulting me and a crass answer. In his comment section he writes: ‘I will not change my methodology unless God tells me to’.

Well God told him, when He wrote in the Bible, to ‘treat others better than yourself…’, ‘to speak the truth in love…’, ‘do unto others as ye would have them do unto you…’, ‘do not judge…’, then there is Gal. 5:22-23 and many more passage of scriptures which are to guide one’s blogging and posting habits.

Sadly, too many people who claim to be Christian pick and choose which passages they will accept and follow and that is wrong.  Christians, even when they have their own websites, their own businesses, their own homes do NOT have the right or freedom to do as they please. They are still subject to God’s rules, Jesus’ teachings and biblical guidance. It is unfortunate that the supposed Christians of the world have adopted the methodology of secular ‘interpretation’ and follow that instead of the Holy Spirit to the truth.

Biblical teachings are lost as they are replaced by a christianized existentialism. No longer do people want to live by God’s word as He wrote it but desire to do their own thing and they change scripture to fit those desires.

Jm West says he will wait till God tells him to change, well he should pick up his Bible and see what God has told him to do and change accordingly. God has told people how they are to act, write, speak etc., it is just too bad that they are not listening.

P.S. I do visit and read other people’s weblogs even when I do not like their attitude, point of view or bias simply because I am well aware that I do not get all the news of the world funneled to my doorstep. In other words, they have access to information I do not or do not have time to search for and reading other people’s content gives me points of view I do not have and allows me to think through topics so I can find the truth.

Ancient Life in Israel

It seems that Dr. William Dever has written a new book and it focuses on the life of the ordinary people of Israel. It is called, The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel and it runs for 446 pages. If it is anything like his work Did God Have a Wife?, then we can be sure that it is not an objective piece but a biased tome presenting Dr. Dever’s unobjective opinion.

One of the things that bothers me is this quote from Eerdman’s page giving the details of the book: “Dever relies on archaeological data, over and above the Hebrew Bible, for primary source material.”  This is not a good selling point not because it disagrees with the Bible, (if it does at all), but because the archaeological data is far too sparse to come to any real conclusions about the lives of ordinary people.

They just aren’t recorded in history except when something exceptional happens to them and the media or authority gets wind of it. It is unfair to take this little amount of evidence and create a whole culture from it for we do not have the whole picture nor can we be sure the modern construction of the past is correct.

Take for example the Biblical account of when the widowed woman met Elijah. She fed him and in return not only did she receive a reward but when her son died, he was returned to her alive. How can archaeology record such an event when there is little material remains left behind or even involved in the story?

Sure one can dismiss it as a legend or fable written to give hope to the downtrodden but there is no archaeological evidence to support such dismissal. To dismiss it without contrary evidence in support is hypocritical as opponents of the Biblical record demand archaeological evidence in support of Biblical accounts.

You can’t have it both ways. Getting back to the book, one thing that archaeologists ignore or forget is that common life is basically the same. Nothing monumental happens and to make claims that Dr. Dever does (see past lectures from him eg. Illuminating the Bible from B.A.S.) that the Bible is written by elites about the elites is just ignoring the purpose of the Bible.

Even in modern times, reporters and other news media do not focus on the commoner. Their interests are in the celebrities, the rich, the famous, the politician and rulers. Why? because the common public wants to read about them not someone who has the same life as their own.

The Bible does include commoners, it does state why some are elevated to higher status while others are not but the purpose of the Bible is not to detail the mundane life all civilizations experience but to reveal what God wants His creation to know. It provides lessons for all to learn and it is not highlighting the elites over the common folk, it is just that the events recorded are used because they are the best lessons to use so that all people get the message.

I will probably order the book and read it as I want to know what he is saying but again, it is merely his opinion based upon his predetermined ideas about the past. I would like to see what evidence he includes to support his theory but one thing is for sure I doubt we will get an accurate picture of the past because records have been lost and destroyed, the items that do remain and record bits an dpieces of ancient life do not cover all people who lived in Israel at the time.

Plus he is focused upon the 8th century BC which means that his opinion is narrowly focused and does not include the changes made throughout the centuries. I will also bet that he does not include any ‘fads’ the ancient created. 

Dr. Dever’s opinion is a small window, a very small window, into the past and it should not be taken as fact or the final word.

The Talpiot Tombs

Over the past few months a highly chrged debate has taken place about the supposed discovery made by Dr. James Tabor and his partner S. Jacobovici. This discussion has been documented here:  and there is no need to rehash old ground. Suffice it to say that the debate has dwindled down as the press releases by J & T have subsided.

One of the problems I have with this whole debate has been the silence of christian scholars and archaeologists on the whole issue. I have checked as many as I could and knew about and not one word has been said since Feb.29th.

This is a great opportunity for the believing scholars to point the world to the truth about the death and ressurrection of Christ, but, sadly, they do not speak. My role has been mainly to report what is being said and link to the most promising sites that have something of value to say in debunking this charade.

you can read their point of view here and follow the links to their other website that deals with Talpiot Tomb B for further information.

I should say something and it goes along with my post #3 on false teachers. Clearly Dr. Tabor and S. Jacobovici are preaching a different gospel than the one the apostles brought and their words need to be dismissed. They are not speaking the truth about Jesus and miss the point about the ressurection

I also do not agree with their conclusion that the image on the ossuary is of Jonah, the whale nor do I agree with their idea that the inscriber encoded the name of Jonah in the image. I also do not accept their contention that the ossuary contains early christian symbolism as Jonah would be a symbol for Judaism not christianity.

We believers do not need to put Jonah’s image anywhere to speak of ressurrection simply because we preach Christ, not Jonah, and we preach Christ’s ressurrection. We have no need to use Jonah at all except for lessons in disobedience and other theological matters.

But that idea , when posted on other scholars’ websites, has gone largely ignored.  But that is the way it is when you leave debunking of falsehoods to the unbeliever, the atheist and the marginally religious.

We do need more involvement from the true believer in proclaiming the truth and exposing false teachers, false information and they need to do it honestly, with as much evidence as we have (but not ignoring faith) so that the world get the truth accompnied by the right attitude.

T. & J. claim they are presenting this discovery to encourage discussion, well here is the opportunity for true believing scholars to discuss their belief in an academic setting that will benefit other believers.

Christian scholars can point out the fallacies T. & J. have in a spirit of 1 Cor. 13 as well as remain academic and they can point out the ramifications that take place if T. & J.’s theory were true. Why miss such an opportunity to spread the truth?  {Of course, some may have done so and I would not be aware of it but as I said, I have checked and found nothing}.

The only people that true believers need to please or be accepted by is God and if they stay true to His commands and teachings then they do not have to worry about their academic reputations. We need the truth to be broadcast not hidden because some are afraid of losing their jobs or acceptance by secular scholars.

Don’t let the glory God deserves for pointing out this or any fallacy be given to the unbelieving world. Many have taken a strong public stand aginst T. & J’s ideas concerning both Talpiot A & B and it looks like the believer is being left in the dust. It is important for true christian scholars to speak out with the truth so weaker believers and others can have their faith strengthened.