#1. Time off-– I will be taking a few days off as I have to go out of town for personal reasons. I need the break anyways.
#2. The Lawsuit, The Drama— http://jamestabor.com/2014/06/22/the-jacobovici-v-zias-lawsuit-why-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-freedom-of-speech/
Joe is desperate to cast things that way so he can appear the victim rather than the perpetrator–of slander and defamation–which he most surely is. If you are interested in the facts, here they are. I know only too well what is at stake here because I have been the victim of Joe’s slander myself, having been a close friend of his for over 20 years. The only difference is Simcha Jacobovici decided to sue Joe whereas I have chosen to ignore Joe’s ugly behavior as much as possible while providing those interested in the facts of the case as I know them
Here is James Tabor’s view on the lawsuit and his wordy explanation covers the drama as well. Archaeology isn’t always just boring digging in the dirt sometimes it can get exciting when two or more people disagree.
The truth is Zias has moved way beyond respectful academic critique into defamation, libel, and personal slander. I know this firsthand because I have copies of e-mail and letters he has written to my Dean, Provost, Chancellor, literary agent, and publisher–Simon & Schuster, as well as dozens of colleagues, charging me with “conduct bordering on the criminal,” “planting of evidence,” and calling for my dismissal for academic misconduct.
I never agree with trying to remove someone from their employment and it is a rare instance where I will even think about supporting such a move. It is a punishment in most cases that does not fit the supposed crime.
I also think that it is not the call of the offended person or his or her supporters. Discipline is not arbitrary, subjective or applied haphazardly. Nor is it applied to appease those people who demand blood when a slap on the wrist is called for.
We are not to be blood-thirsty when punishing those who commit crimes. We are called to be just and to use justice.
I don’t mind being criticized,” Jacobovici, 60, said in a recent interview. “People should be free to say what they want. But there’s a difference between free speech and libel. And when you make these kinds of allegations, you cross the line.”
This is one of the few times I agree with Jacobovici and he is right. Believers should not be hasty in labeling what is being said or how it is being said but they should make sure it is wrong first before reacting to the words spoken.
Criticism is not always persecution. Be wise and apply definitions of labels correctly in that way you can avoid a lot of anguish.
It is wise to learn from the mistakes of others, so read through that article and see what God would want you to learn.
#3. Making Accusations— http://news.yahoo.com/methodist-panel-overturns-pastors-defrocking-164904931.html?bcmt=comments-postbox
The church can appeal the decision to its highest court, the Judicial Council. Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, which brought the case against Schaefer, planned to issue a statement later Tuesday.
I find that quote both ironic and hypocritical, can you see why? Here is a person who is breaking God’s rules bringing charges against someone for breaking church rules. God’s rules for the ministry do not allow for women ministers yet here she is being a minister and ignoring what God has laid out for who leads his church.
She may use the culture of the time argument to defend her position but then she opens the door for the male pastor to use the same argument for his actions. She really doesn’t have a leg to stand upon in making her accusations.
If you are going to accuse someone of wrong doing, make sure you are not violating some law while making the accusation. What the accused pastor has done is wrong but he should be accused and tried by those who are actually obeying God.
Traditionalists say clergy have no right to break church law just because they disagree with it.
This is a very good point. If you agree to uphold the laws of the church and abide by them, then you do not have the arbitrary right to choose which ones you will or will not obey. You need to obey them as long as you are a member of that organization and obey them while you lobby to change them but you cannot disobey them and expect not to be punished.
The changes are not church or organizational law so they are not in effect. The unchanged laws are and if you violate them then you need to either repent and obey the current rules or willfully leave the church or organization.
If people are allowed to cherry pick which laws they will or will not obey then all you have done is created anarchy not order. Such people make the rules meaningless and there is no sense in belonging to any organization when that happens because right and wrong have been abolished.
God punishes people who do what is right in their own eyes and ignore his laws. Christians need to wake up to this fact and take the time to decide whom they will serve–themselves or God.
#4. Archaeology Is Not Always Safe— http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/very-sad-news-3/
I received word early this morning that Yuval Peleg, an archaeologist with the IAA, was suddenly killed while working in a cave which collapsed.
Even in archaeology, people need to be careful. Peleg is not the first archaeologist to die on a dig site and I doubt he will be the last. But one thing, even if you are careful do not cross the line into paranoia and let that fear stop you from doing what you believe God wants you to do.
We cannot stop death from taking place so put aside the fear and enjoy your work, your explorations and learn from the mistakes you make so that you can avoid needless injury to yourselves and others.
#5. Federal Judges Strike Again— http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2014/06/the-state-of-marriage-in-the-united-states.html
A federal judge struck down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriages yesterday. Fred Clark shared this useful map illustrating the impact that this is having on traditional heterosexual marriage in the United States:
I get both sad and disappointed every time I hear of a federal judge trampling the rights of people who have legally and democratically expressed their will on this issue. The federal judges use civil rights as their excuse to appease a very minute minority of people while denying those same rights to the vast majority.
Homosexuality does not come with marriage. It is not part of the package thus there is no civil right involved in this issue. All it is on the part of the homosexual is a money grab. It is not about obtaining denied rights like the black population had been denied for centuries.
The two issues are not the same. The federal judges are erring in a grave manner and all I can do is advise you to pray to God and seek his leading on how to proceed in fighting this travesty and trampling of the majority’s rights. The innocent people who will be harmed by these decisions are vulnerable children and teens as they will now be taught that homosexuality is good and that it is okay to be a homosexual.
Neither are correct and non-adults need to be protected form this false teaching.
#6. The Avoidance of Providing Evidence— http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2014/06/unreasonable-demand-of-antievolutionists.html
The above image comes from EvolutionEvidence.org, which has a whole page dedicated to intermediate fossils and the evidence they provide for biological evolution.
The image says it all. Evolutionists know they cannot prove their theory true so they will only provide a hodge-podge of questionably applied evidence to support their theory thus relieving themselves of the painstaking responsibility to actually prove their theory true.
In other words, they are trying to take the easy way out, escape their duty and still claim they are right. Why is it so hard for them to look at their theory, their supposed evidence and see that it isn’t true and that they cannot prove it true then be adult about it and admit they were wrong?
Instead, they have to be childish about it and hold on to a false theory when they can see they have no hope in proving it true. The evolutionist is unwilling to meet the same demands they place upon the creationist. This refusal to provide evidence only undermines their claims and demonstrates how false their theory really is.
It also shows how unscientific evolution is as they are only doing a half-baked job. It is inexcusable and I demand that the evolutionist ponies up the real evidence that proves their theory correct and stop using scientific experiments that have nothing to do with their claims as reasons for claiming their theory is true.
Time to put up or shut up, evolutionists.
#7. The ‘aha moment‘– http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/06/aha-moments-biblical-scholars-tell-their-stories-1-me/
Following on my last post, here is the first installment of a series–biblical scholars from evangelical backgrounds telling their stories about their “aha” moments that convinced them they needed to find different ways of handling the Bible than how they had been taught.
Maybe their ‘aha moment’ should be when they realize that scholarship does not over-rule God’s rules. Or maybe it should be when the realize that they are disobeying God by listening to false teaching over God’s commands.
One day in class, my professor James Kugel was lecturing on the creative ways that Second Temple Jewish interpreters handled these episodes.
If the ‘creative ways’ are not scriptural and produce false ideas then it is wise NOT to use them in your own studies. This is the problem with scholarship today. it is not looking for the truth nor is it following the Holy Spirit to the truth. Instead it is sinful man using their own ways to come to false conclusion sin order to have a discussion.
That is not good for the church or the church member. It is also disobeying God which makes it very wrong. Scholars who have these ‘aha moments’ are not smart as they allow such realizations to doubt God and the Bible opening a door for evil to work its destructive magic.
The passage, 1 Cor. 10:4, Enns is using as an example does not come close to what he and other scholars are saying yet he uses that passage to allow himself to stray from the truth. Coming to a conclusion then accepting/following that conclusion without verifying that it is true is not a wise thing to do. It may be scholarship but scholarship is not what God said to follow or practice.
This does not mean we do not use our God-given intelligence or check our brains at the door because believers need to use both to obey God and avoid false teaching. They need to know the difference between true and false teaching and that takes using one’s brain and God-given intelligence.
In reality, following scholarship and its ways is really checking your brains at the door and not using your intelligence because any real brain and any real intelligence would tell a person to obey and follow God’s teaching not man’s.
The trick is to learn the difference between the two and how to apply the scripture you read. Intelligence and brains are not the only tools a believer needs in biblical reading and the Christian life. They also need wisdom, understanding, knowledge and so much more to get what God wants in their lives correct.
#8. Misguided Thinking— http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/ask-brian-mclaren-response
I do not like to read Rachel Held Evans that much but today there was one letter she published in that group of letters that held some misguided ideas that the believer can learn from.
From Cindy: As my denomination (United Methodist) continues to tear itself apart over how we will or won’t receive LGBTQ people in our midst, I despair that the losers in our struggle will be the poor and other marginalized people, who Jesus called us to be in ministry with
The only way to receive homosexuals into the church is if they come repenting of their sins. The church cannot support sin nor allow it to be practiced in their midst. The church has to stand with God and his rules even when so many people claim to be Christian and want to be part of the fellowship.
Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice’ and Jesus’ voice did not say to include sin in his church or say that sin was good, normal and okay.
Not only that, but as more and more states legalize gay marriage, these churches will find themselves in the position of Bob Jones University, which distinguished itself as a holdout supporter of racial segregation until 2000.
This is part of Mrs. Evan’s response to Cindy and she makes a very grievous error in her analysis of same-sex marriage. Withholding marriage from homosexuals is not a racial violation, it is not discrimination nor is it even close to being on the same level as the abuses heaped against the black people.
Also, the different States are NOT legalizing same-sex marriage, most are being forced to do so by federal judges against the will of the people. The two actions are not the same. What Mrs. Evans forgets is homosexuality and same-sex marriage is sin and violates God’s laws. Being black doesn’t thus stopping homosexuals from marrying is not discrimination but keeping sin out of what God had sanctified.
People seem to be confused about this whole issue. It is not a civil rights matter but a spiritual one. Something most people refuse to acknowledge and allow into the issue. Even people like Mrs. Evans who claim to be Christian yet take such anti-God positions refuse to acknowledge this fact.
Stopping sin is not committing discrimination.
And I should add that “follow the money” applies in this situation too. Thousands of pastors know that if they accept LGBTA people as equals, key donors will stop supporting them. In the longer term, I think the opposite will be the case: more and more donors will refuse to support organizations that stigmatize LGBTQ people.
Mrs. Evans has become deluded in her support for homosexuals. people will stop supporting the church when they see it no longer practices and supports Christian teaching. Pastors and churches who accept and support homosexuals are not really of God for he clearly stated how wrong homosexuality is and that homosexuals will not see his kingdom.
If I were a Pastor of a church I would have to tune down donations from those people who wanted to have unrepentant sin part of the church because accepting such money and following that criteria means that God is no longer in charge and sinful humans are. That is a big mistake to make.
What Mrs. Evans forgets is that Christians are to serve God and proclaim his ways not serve culture or the sinful world and include in the church what God hates.
A. We accept LGBTQ people as equal, and accept that a significant percentage of people will leave, especially older and more dedicated donors, which will have results in closing seminaries, stopping mission to needy people, spending millions on lawyers, etc., etc.
It seems she is an ‘end justifies the means’ type of person. I wonder if she thinks God is in charge at all and if his rules matter? It seems she has forgotten whom she serves and how holy he is. Does she even care what God’s rules are?
I would be happy if she simply said, ‘I stopped being a Christian because I couldn’t agree with God on many issues’. At least that would be honest. Her ‘I am a christian but God is wrong’ mentality is dishonest and wrong.
B. We keep our conservative position but make allowances for congregations or conferences that differ, knowing that we will lose some people who will be against any compromise.
Mrs. Evans seems to have forgotten Jesus’ own words in John 3 when he told Nicodemus that to reach heaven ye must be born again. Does Mrs. Evans think she is greater than Jesus and can over-rule his criteria for salvation?
Does she think God and Jesus bow to her will? One would think so judging from the above comment. She forgets that if you compromise with sin you lose and are making deals with evil. Something Jesus nor God never did. The church doe snot compromise if it wants to be part of the kingdom of God. I guess Mrs. Evans forgot the teaching on the straight and narrow road and how few will find it.
C. We accept a progressive position but make allowances for congregations or conferences that differ, knowing that we will lose some people who will be against any compromise.
There is no such thing as a ‘progressive Christian position’. You find the truth and stick with that regardless of how many people, who claim to be Christian, alter their beliefs to fit in with the secular world.
D. We refuse to accept LGBTQ people as equal, and accept that a significant percentage of people will leave, especially younger and more educated people, which will have results in closing seminaries, stopping mission to needy people, spending millions on lawyers, etc., etc.
I actually find this point quite insulting as more educated doe snot mean more spiritual or possessing more of God’s truth. Her last sentence is purely fear mongering and speculation. It doesn’t even belong in the discussion.
Being accepted as equal has nothing to do with accepting sin as good. Mrs. Evans is changing her argument to fit her desires. She seems to forget that believers can accept others as human equals but they can also reject the unrepentant sinner from their congregations.
Rejecting the sin is not making the rejected sinner unequal. It simply means that the unrepentant sinner needs to be born again and give up sin to be part of the Church. What is the point of having rules, if people like Mrs. Evans refuses to abide by them?
God’s church God’s rules. if people do not like that then they need to stop calling themselves Christians and leave the church to start their own organization. God owns the church not the people and he sets the rules that need to be followed.
E. We allow current conservative regulations to continue and we create a mechanism for people to violate those regulations to remain, knowing that some people on both sides will leave because they disapprove of this option.
She is changing her argument again. It is not about conservative v. liberal regulations. it is about obeying God. If you cannot obey God then leave the church. The church is the light unto the world but it cannot be that light if those people who want sin in the church get their way.
If you cannot abide by God’s rules, don’t join the church or call yourself Christian. Now this may be a hard stance to take but it is tiring to continually face these sinful arguments and not lose patience.
People who call themselves Christians yet disobey God and advocate accepting sin as good are the biggest problem for the church today. They need to be weeded out of the congregation, the bible colleges, seminaries and other church organizations.
You cannot say you have the answer for the world and its problems when you accept those problems into the church and declare them good. You have nothing to offer the world. You have nothing to offer the world if you change the teachings of the Bible to fit secular culture. One example:
Many years ago I ran into an intern pastor at a local congregation who was put in charge of a coffee-house started to reach street youth. The sign used to advertise this coffee-house, written by the youth pastor, I believe, read in part, ‘we are just like you. Trying to figure this life thing out.’
I pointed that sentence out to the youth pastor who replied, ‘we are trying to identify with the world.’ Well he may have succeeded in identifying with the lost youth BUT he also told them that the church did not have the answer for their problems. If Jesus and the Bible aren’t the answer then you have nothing to offer anyone.
No one is going to go to a church who says they are just like the secular world. The lost want answers not someone identifying with them. We believers have the answers but we do not alter them to appease those who disagree with the regulations.
If people want homosexuals in the church then the homosexual needs to repent of their sins and give up homosexuality. We do not change God’s word to make the homosexual feel good and allow them to deceive themselves into thinking they can do both–be Christian and still practice homosexuality.
Cindy, people like you can make a big difference in all this. Keep positive. Love everybody.
This is in the last paragraph and it is a very misguided thought. Loving everyone does not mean one ignores God’s rules. Loving everyone does not mean loving and accepting sin. People love their children but they do not love their rudeness, their disobedience, their foul speech and so on. So why should the church have to accept and endure sinful, disobedient behavior and speech just because some alternative accepting ‘Christian’ demands it?
Parents correct their children and tell them the right way to live so does God. So we must ask why do so many people have a problem with God’s correction and his rules on how to live correctly?
The church isn’t a toy given to humans to play with as they please. Too many ‘progressive’ people fail to understand what the church is all about. They think they are in charge and get to set the rules– they are wrong. God set the rules long ago and it is up to the member to abide by them.
We do not change the rules simply because someone doesn’t like them. We do not have the authority to change the rules. We only have the authority to accept or reject them.