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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Another Archaeological Discovery

The Associates for Biblical Research have made an announcement about the items they have uncovered in their latest excavation in Shiloh

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2018/08/22/NEWS-RELEASE-ABR-Makes-Important-Discovery-at-Biblical-Shiloh.aspx

Associates for Biblical Research announces the discovery of a ceramic pomegranate from its second season of excavations at the ancient city of Shiloh in Israel. The pomegranate was among 500 other objects registered during the dig that was conducted in May and June 2018

This is all good and  fine. We are glad that there are some Christian archaeologists out there digging away and making discoveries. What bothers us though is the following words:

The discovery of the ceramic pomegranate is strong evidence that Shiloh was likely a temenos (a sacred, dedicated precinct) during the early history of Israel

It is not likely but a fact. We already knew that Shiloh was the place where the Israelites placed the tabernacle when they first settled the Promised Land. In fact, there has been written about long before ABR got there. Here is an interesting news piece from 2015

https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/48178/welcome-to-shiloh-where-the-modern-and-ancient-collide-judea-and-samaria/

Shiloh was established by Joshua, son of Nun, approximately 3,500 years ago, as the spiritual capital of Israel. The Tabernacle was placed there, and Jews from all over the land came to worship at the location (Joshua 18:1). The Tabernacle stood in Shiloh for over 350 years according to Jewish tradition, and its remains can still be seen today.

Th next link will get you some good pictures of the area:

http://www.generationword.com/Israel/shiloh.html

The next link provides an interactive map and a few words on the site including its religious heritage. The article dates to 2012:

https://waynestiles.com/the-tabernacle-at-shiloh-a-promise-person-place-parable/

Then wikipedia tells us that archaeological excavations at Shiloh began almmost 100 years ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiloh_(biblical_city)#Archaeology

Soundings were first made in 1922 by Aage Schmidt. A Danish team led by Hans Kjær (overseen by W.F. Albright) excavated for three seasons between the years 1926-32. A probe was done by Sven Holm-Nielson and Marie-Louise Buhl in 1963. An extensive excavation was done by Israel Finkelstein during the years 1981-84.

So when Christians talk about biblical cities, events and so on, they should be careful of the words that they use. It isn’t likely but reality that Shiloh was the religious center for the Hebrews until David and Solomon made their changes. Let’s not mislead people when we do our reporting. Let’s also not follow secular rules and expectations when we construct our reports either. present the facts, draw the correct conclusions and stick with the truth.

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The Sahara & Noah

If you can stop laughing at the ridiculous and hilarious theories, dating and speculation made by the secular scientists in the following video, you will find lots of evidence for Noah’s flood. You should, by now, be able to spot the faulty reasoning and bad leaps to conclusions made by the researchers They, of course, have no evidence to support their conclusions and theories.

Even the drill samples do not provide the evidence they need to make their ideas plausible. The blowing sand thinking is a stretch, as is the idea that the Sahara became green every 20,000 years. They do not get into how long the Sahara remained green at each of those times nor do they find evidence for more than one time the Sahara was actually green.

We do agree that the Sahara was not always a desert, but we do not agree with the researchers thinking or conclusions. We see evidence for Noah’s flood time and again, though. A topic the researchers noticeably avoid.

Here are a couple of links to web pages filled with evidence for Noah’s flood:

http://dakotascba.com/Flood-Myths.php

http://dakotascba.com/Evidence-for-Noah%27s-Flood.php

Enjoy the video

 

Ancient Cranes

There is a question of how were those mysterious ruins constructed. As you saw in the video no one knows. Not even the supposed experts. There is absolutely no information, no blueprints, no journals talking about construction methods and so on, extant today. When these sites were excavated and explored, not one ancient manuscript was found describing their construction or their purpose.

Everything about these structures is left to assumption and speculation. From history, we can use what clues we have to make educated guesses but some of those guesses can stagger a logical mind. For example, how could the ancient people lift 70-ton rocks and move them from one place to another? The Bible gives us one good clue about what was in existence prior to the modern world.

Solomon tells us in Ecc. that nothing is new under the sun. The word nothing is a completely inclusive word. it tells us that there are no new inventions or ideas. What we have thought to invent and have invented, has been thought of before and possibly invented prior to the modern age. The ancients may not have had jets and tanks but such inventions would have had crude predecessors.

The Greeks have a myth about a man who invented wings and flew from captivity, thus flying has been thought of since ancient times. The early inventors may not have been as successful as their modern counterparts but old ideas become new again when enough generations pass. We are reminded of that Mitsubishi commercial where they show a car with a back window going into the trunk, we are doing this from memory, and the company said new ideas for a new generation or something like that. Unfortunately for Mitsubishi, our uncle had a similar working car back in the 1960s.

Since we brought up the Greeks, we should mention that many scholars, etc., credit the Greeks with inventing just about everything. You can find lists of Greek inventions on the internet. They even credit the Greeks with discovering the Pythagorean Thereom. One reason for this confusion is that under Alexander the Greeks conquered the majority of the known world at that time and could easily adopt those inventions and call them their own. Who was to stop them?

Just so you know, the Babylonians had the Pythagorean Thereom 2000 years before the Greeks did (Pellegrino, Return to Sodom and Gomorrah). They also had a social security system,  time capsules and a lot more. The Greeks are also credited with inventing the ancient crane, a tool that would be vital in helping to construct those mysterious ruins we know nothing about.

Archeologists have uncovered evidence that the Ancient Greeks were the first to use cranes to lift heavy objects. They predict that they were first in use in the 6th Century B.C. When observing various archaeological sites, they noticed that there were distinct markings that created grooves and holes in some of the stone structures. They surmised that these grooves and holes were created by some kind of lifting device. At this time, they were mostly used to lift heavy stone blocks when they were making temples. In other words, the crane was invented because the Ancient Greeks needed a more efficient way to build their temples and other structures (https://www.greekboston.com/culture/inventions/crane/)

The key word is in bold and the evidence is not compelling. We will admit that the Greeks may have seen ancient cranes at work and set about to improve the design and lifting capabilities, but that is as much speculation as is used in that quote. The crane may have been around a lot longer than 6th century BC. Such a late date for their invention does not explain how the ancient societies moved large rocks.

The birth of the crane is inextricably tied with the birth of the pulley — first devised by ancient Mesopotamians as early as 1500 BC for hoisting water. The first compound pulleys were created by Archimedes of Syracuse around 287 – 212 BC, which he used to lift an entire war ship, along with its crew. (http://hbrown.com/cranes-rigging-blog/hydraulic-cranes/history-crane-got-hydraulic-cranes/)

We cannot state with entire certainty that Archimedes was the first. Archaeology does not present us with all the facts nor all the inventions made throughout history. Things just have a way of wearing out and disappearing over time. The immediately above quote makes more sense than having the crane invented at the time of Christ’s birth. The 6th century quote is contradicted by the following:

Archaeologists assume that cranes were used in Greece since 900 BC (although there is no direct proof) (http://greaterancestors.com/ancient-greek-cranes/)

Again speculation and assumption as well as no real evidence of when cranes actually were invented and came into use. What we do have is that the idea of lifting heavy objects with special equipment has been around for millennia:

People, since ancient times, have used different kinds of machines or devices to lift very heavy loads or materials. The so-called “shaduf” was one of the earliest types of a crane. The shaduf was used more than 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt to move water. The shaduf is still used today in some rural areas in India and Egypt (http://www.interestingreality.com/interesting-facts-about-cranes/)

What we are saying is that the pre-flood world may have been so far advanced that they had the special equipment, like cranes, to lift those heavy rocks and move them into  place. Another clue we have comes from the Bible. In Genesis 6 it tells us that there were giants in the world. If we can speculate a bit, we know that giants have a greater strength than normal sized humans. Their lifting capacity would help lift, move and position those large blocks of stone into place.

The advent of the compound pulley contributed enormously to the development of mechanical cranes. A single man pulling on a “Pentaspostos” (a crane with five pulleys), for example, has a mechanical advantage of 5:1. In other words, by exerting a force of 50 lbs, he can pull 250lbs. (http://hbrown.com/cranes-rigging-blog/hydraulic-cranes/history-crane-got-hydraulic-cranes/)

Again, the Bible provides us with the only credible clue to explain the construction of those mysterious ruins. We do not think that Archimedes was the first to invent that tool. More likely he was the first after many generations. Keep in mind that those ancient ruins are put together very tightly. There is no room for straps and other devices cranes use to hold their large cargo and be able to position the rocks as we have found them. Some human strength has to be involved and so far, giants provide the only credible explanation.

A large group of men using ropes cannot accomplish what we have found and they all can’t get their hands on the stones to manipulate them into place.

Some Final Thoughts

We do not agree with those experts that the Greeks invented everything including the ancient crane. We now better. We may not know who was the first to invent it or how powerful they were but we are sure that with nothing new under the sun, the pre-flood world invented cranes and pulley systems to help them construct their mysterious buildings.

The key lesson in all of this is God. As we explore this topic on ancient cranes, we can see evidence of how much intelligence God gave to man.it takes a lot of ability and brains to conceive of such mysterious buildings, plan their construction, draw blueprints, and then actually build them. Then what God gave ancient man we see that he gave the same intelligence and abilities to all humans throughout history.

The evidence is there by all the modern construction taking place today and throughout history. No matter who constructed the first crane and who built those mysterious ruins, the glory needs to go to God for he gave us the tools we need to accomplish such great feats. Secular man may think they are better than God but they are using God’s gifts to achieve their dreams. They need to give credit where credit is due.

 

 

Mysterious Ruins

We have probably discussed this topic before but we came across a very good youtube video that provides some good insight into the past mysterious structures. Before we ist that URL, we have a few words to say about this issue.

The Bible tells us that there was an early civilization. We do not get many details about them from the Bible except for the important facts like, all they thought of was evil’ (Gen. 6:5). We do get a few other details but those details are also very scant in the total development of the very ancient society. For example the Bible tells us:

20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; (Gen 4 NASB)

While we get the origin for ranchers, nomads, musicians and metalworkers we do not know how developed those and other industries became before that early civilization met its demise. Our only clues come from themany ancient ruins that no one knows anything about. Scientists, scholars and other researchers try to come up with some sort of explanation but when they leave the Bible out of their work and thinking, they are just stumbling aorund in the dark.

We all know what happened to that early civilization. God sent a global flood and destroyed it. Sin must be punished and God made sure that what was accomplished by those unholy people never made it into the new civilization that would soon spring up from Noah’s children. This brings us another clue about these mysterious ruins.

Since no one knows anything about them, since no ancient record talks about them, since no artifact or inscription provides any explanation for them, we can only see this as a clue that the Bible is correct and that a pre-flood civilization existed, pursued sin and was punished by God. {We do not buy into or accept any alien theory presented at any time in our history or modern age}.

There really is no other explanation for the existence of those mysterious remains. Over the years and as we studied archaeology and scholars, we have come to the conclusion that the Pyramids and the Sphynx are remains of this pre-flood society and do not belong in the post-flood construction categories. We cannot accept the Egyptologists’ conclusion that they were built by early Egyptians using stone or bronze tools.

Nor do we accept the idea that the Israelites built them as slaves since the pyramids are not near Pithom & -Raamses. It is possible that the Israelites could have been deployed to build those ruins but that is highly unlikely for a number of reasons we will not go into today. All the extant evidence that we have points toward the fact that these mysterious structures are the product of this pre-flood civilization.

Paul tells us in Romans that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. We see that fact displayed by the pre-flood world and its 8 survivors.God’s word is always supported by archaeology and history.  Enjoy the video, it is very informative

We have written on this topic at our sister site

http://dakotascba.com/Mysterious-Ruins.php

 

A Troubling Topic

We can be rough on pastors and church leaders at times, but that does not mean we do not have compassion for them. Even though there are a lot of men who occupy the position when they shouldn’t be there, we are still troubled and sad when we hear of their deaths by suicide. There are two articles in the Christian Post this morning talking about this issue, the first is titled

In Isolated World of Pastors, Churches Mum on Troubling Clergy Suicides

You can read it at the following link

https://www.christianpost.com/news/isolated-world-pastors-churches-mum-clergy-suicides-220763/

It is an isolated world as most pastors carry the burdens and sins of their congregations and struggle to make sense of why their people do not make the right decisions and live their lives according to what God has said in the Bible. They are overwhelmed sometimes by the petty nature of their flock and find that they have no one to turn to to talk with about their situations.

When we were pastors and also part of a church, we got tired of other believers learning of a problem and saying- well just pray about it and then walk away. Not being able to find constructive help is part of the problem that helps isolate pastors and keeps them alone in this world. We feel alone as well when we write this blog as we have no one to talk to either and while we appreciate the likes we get, they only go so far. Just like those comments to pray abut it only go so far.

I’m very surprised because he didn’t preach that. He preached totally against it. It’s something that the congregation don’t really understand,” Russell Rowland, a member of the Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia, where Parker was leader, said at the time.

“Everybody is just kind of stunned right now. I think a lot of people are just trying to understand why that happened. We’re just praying to the Lord for guidance on this,” he said.

Maybe it is the way the congregation views their pastors. They may get the idea that he is super spiritual and in need of no help from those who sit under the pastor’s guidance week after week. Pastors are human, they make mistakes and sometimes falter when the going gets tough. It is not easy being a pastor especially when the slightest mistake can cost them their jobs.

Moses made mistakes, he faltered but God had selected him to be the leader of his people. God did not use a zero tolerance policy on Moses but rebuked him when needed, taught him when it was appropriate and punished him with real justice and fairness.  The church should look to God’s example when handling issues that arise when pastors err. They are after all, God’s anointed and appointed to be the shepherd to look after his sheep.

Yet the shepherd needs care and compassion as well. He cannot be left to his own devices because that makes him an easy target for evil to attack. Even though a pastor is spiritually trained, they can still make spiritual mistakes and need help to overcome their errors and return to healthy spiritual living. The internet is full of websites of former pastors and missionaries who have been successfully defeated by evil. That should not be.

An alarming number of pastors have taken their own lives in the last five years. And despite the increasing prevalence of suicide nationally, and the troubling rates at which the epidemic has been affecting certain groups of clergy, many churches remain silent on the issue.

Neither should this but we are sure there are underlying issues that evil has used to further remove God’s men from their positions. This is why prayer for your pastor and other church leaders is so important. They may be in spiritual positions but they are still human and possess human frailties. The problems pastors face is spiritually based and they need the correct spiritual help to overcome them.

If you need a human example, medical doctors d not give pithy little statements to their unwell patients. They get involved, find the right diagnosis, and then prescribe the right treatment. Sadly, most Christians think that pithy little statements is going to cure a difficult spiritual problem. They do not get involved and pass the buck back to God. This is not biblical teaching. When confronted with problems we need to go to God to know how to handle it properly, but we do not give it back to God and walk away. Unfortunately, that is what the majority of believers do.

The second artilce is titled,

Inland Hills Pastor Andrew Stoecklein Takes Life After Battle With Depression, Anxiety

You can read it at the following link

https://www.christianpost.com/news/inland-hills-pastor-andrew-stoecklein-takes-life-after-battle-with-depression-anxiety-227028/

In his example we can find some reasons why pastors commit suicide.

It is also unclear how long the pastor had been battling depression and anxiety but in a blog post on the first anniversary of his father’s death he revealed that life had suddenly become much harder without the man who was his hero.

Their eyes are not on God. They have decided to look to humans to be their strength and inspiration instead of Christ. If you recall when Jesus walked on water, Peter began to fall when he took his eyes of Christ. Pastors are no different. if their eyes are not on Christ then they become vulnerable to the troubles that surround them.

This does not take away from  the shining example that pastor’s father set or the type of man he was. But Paul warned about placing our eyes on people for it causes division in the church. 1 Cor. 1 & 3 are the references for this point

11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 [a]Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized [b]in the name of Paul? (Ch 1 NASB)

for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking [a]like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.(ch. 3 NASB)

When men and women set great spiritual examples our eyes and minds should be on Christ and thanking God for the type of men and women they were. At no time should our eyes stray from Christ even when loved ones are involved.

By the time the second anniversary of his father’s death came around in October 2017, Stoecklein was in the hospital to undergo two surgeries to remove a mass from his chest, according to a post on Instagram. It is unclear if this mass was due to sudden illness or injury

Pastors are human and will succumb to different ailments. God has not promised anyone a life free from corruption and disease. One of our professors, a very beloved man, took his life many years ago because he could no longer handle the many illnesses that came his way. Pastors can handle only so much before it becomes overwhleming and they need an immediate solution to relieve their suffering.

While God provides the strength to endure, sometimes that is hard to get as the enduring takes so much out of a person and eventually, if it is allowed, helps takes the eyes of the person off Christ. Difficulties are a part of the Christian life. Learn how to handle them correctly and be prepared to teach those strategies to others who need help.

You guys, he loves this place so much. He didn’t want to stop. He would have kept on going, going and going and going. It probably would have cost him his life. That’s how much he loves this place.

Misguided or misplaced love opens up weak spots for evil to exploit. Each pastor should make sure that they are using the love that only Christ can bring so that they are well protected when difficulties in the congregation arise. Human love and its various definitions just won’t cut it and a pastor can burn out very easily. They also need to make sure that their love does not cause them to switch sides and go against God because they love their people too much.

By going against God we do not mean they lose their faith, but take the side of the people and their desires over God and his desires.

During this season of rest, I’ve asked him over and over. Are you sure? You don’t have to be a pastor. You could go be whatever you want to be. You could go live wherever we wanna live, we could go to Texas and buy a big house.

While that wife may not have been tempting her husband, pastors do get tempted to leave the faith, their profession and do something easier. The guilt they feel when they fail to resist helps bring them down into depression and subsequently leads them to depression which then can lead to suicide.

“In this tragedy, we encourage anyone who is hurting emotionally to ask for help. If you or anyone else is struggling, the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) is a potentially life-saving resource

If you are going to get involved, do not lead your pastor, church leaders and other believers to non-christian organizations or counselors. They do not understand the faith, they do not believe in God and they do not hold the answers for the troubles that plague believers and their leaders. We do not know if that organization is non-christian or not but if not, it better use God’s ways and not follow the secular world in their attempts to help others.

Getting involved properly will help restore pastors to their faith and hopefully save their lives.

One final possible reason why some pastors resort to killing themselves. It is pressure. The pastor already has instructions from God about how their family should behave and be raised. Members of the congregation do not help when they apply more pressure on the pastor and gossip about him, his wife, their kids and how good or bad their parenting skills are.

Also, many members of the congregation have their own ideas on how the church should be run, its direction and what programs need to be implemented. One way to relieve some of the pressure is to keep your ideas to yourself and let the people appointed lead the church correctly. Monitor their doctrine etc., but be nice about it when correction is needed.

Also, it would help if the same members who want different programs available in the church would go out and get the training needed to run those programs.Then come back to the church staff and say, I am available to help. Where do you need me? The pastor and his staff cannot do everything. They need help. That help can only come from the congregation.

It is difficult to assess why pastors commit suicide as their reasons vary. But if the congregations became more spiritual and less secular maybe that number would drop dramatically. Pastors need the right help. One last thing, outsiders should not interfere with the operation of the church. They have no say in who leads it. We disagreed with many outsiders when they sought to remove Mark Driscoll from the head of Mars Hill Church.

It was not that we were his supporters, or that we agreed with him doctrinally- we aren’t and we don’t. But it was Mars Hill’s problem. They get to determine who leads them not the outsiders who disagreed with Mr. Driscoll. It isn’t their call and relieving the pastor of this situation helps them mentally as well as spiritually. The church has to make sure their pastor is correct doctrinally before supporting him,but they do not throw him to those wolves who do not support the church in any fashion.

Pastoral care is a whole church issue and their lives are very important.

 

 

Our Christian Duty

We are reading this article

https://www.christianpost.com/news/over-750-faith-groups-leaders-trump-must-allow-more-refugees-us-226988/

and wonder why resettlement to another country is the answer to the problems refuggess face?

An interfaith coalition of more than 750 religious groups and leaders have demanded that the Trump administration allow for more refugees to settle in the United States.

We have looked at some of the verses, directly and indirectly, talking about foreigners residing in Israel’s lands and we do not find where the only solution to their problem is to relocate them to new nations. In fact, the bible verses we looked at,talk as if the foreigner made the decision to immigrate on their own and were not refugees. Though an argument could be made that these foreigners were also refugees but that would be an argument from silence.

You can read those verses at the following links

https://www.openbible.info/topics/refugees

https://relevantmagazine.com/god/what-bible-says-about-how-treat-refugees

One of the mistakes that western nations make is that they allow refugees to practice different laws once they settle in their new homes. But to God that is not acceptable as we read in Numbers 15

14 And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. 15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. 16 One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.” (NASB)

We do not agree with this push to resettle more refugees in western lands because we see that there are more ways to help relieve human suffering than by simply relocating them. Those faith groups said

Refugee resettlement is a critical tool our nation can use to relieve human suffering, and we urge the administration to fully utilize it,” stated the letter

Does the answer to relieving human suffering mean that we should put a heavy burden on our government and social services? Or that the refugees should cause religious conflict when they oppose the religion of their new homes and demand that they be allowed to practice their faiths? God talked about that when he gave instructions to the Israelites prior to the conquest after the Exodus. The Israelites were not to adopt the practices of those they were conquering. We think it is safe to say that if refugees want to enter a new land they need to give up their old ways and their old religions. One rule for natives and foreigners.

The example Jesus gave us through the story of the good Samaritan does not support the immediately above quote. You will notice that when the Samaritan found a fellow human suffering, he did not bring him to his house and made him a burden on his family. He took him to a temporary place where the victim could heal and gain strength before returning to his own people. The Samaritan then paid for his care and promised to cover any extra expenses.

We pray that in your process of discernment, compassion for the plight of refugees will touch your hearts. We urge you to be bold in choosing moral, just policies that provide refuge for vulnerable individuals seeking protection.”

We are not cold-hearted but we do not see that anyonr is failing in  their Christian duty by not allowing refugees to burden a western nation. We also see nothing wrong with providing these people with the right resources so that they can either return to their homeland and contribute to that society when they are strong enough to do so.

Faith communities in particular remain ready and eager to welcome refugees and decry the policies that are preventing refugees from receiving protection at this time. Many of our faith communities have made public statements of our commitments to offer hospitality to refugees,” continued the letter.

Again we ask, why is this the only solution offered? And why are only 75,000 allowed to come? Who draws the line and says which person is allowed and which person is denied access to a new country? What criteria are used that will be fair and just? In other words, who gets to play God? Surely there are better solutions that will be fair to everyone so that no one will feel deprived.

Nothing is stopping these faith communities from helping the refugee where they are. Some of those camps are in desperate need of aid as they are overcrowded, unhealthy and boiling pots ready to spill over into more conflict. Why remove only a few while leaving the majority to suffer continuously?

For decades, people of faith have welcomed refugees into our homes, houses of worship, and communities. Refugees are powerful ambassadors of our founding principles of equal opportunity, religious freedom, and liberty and justice for all.”

The problem here is, who are these faith groups loyal to? The western nation in which they reside or God? Part of God’s founding principles does not include religious freedom. These faith groups should be looking to God to see what he wants done not the constitutions of the western nations. How does God get the glory when secular rules and strategies are used to solve this issue?

We wonder if those same faith organizations are as eager to help their fellow countrymen to alleviate their human suffering as they are to relieve the suffering of those who live in other countries of the world? Western nations have not solved their own human suffering issues, yet they want to add to that burden by bringing more poor to the different western countries? Why should the poor of the western nation be deprived of the help they need in favor of those who have governments that are to look after their people?

One reason could be is that church people think differently about their own poor than they do of the poor in underdeveloped countries. It is possible they think the native poor can easily get jobs and access good resources whereas the poor of other nations do not have those opportunities. But if that is the case then the church is not seeing the sin problem and addressing it.

Another reason for the faith communities stance could be that they are looking for a new mission field and have ulterior motives behind their claims of wanting to help. It is hard to say. Doing good does not necessarily mean that we relocate them to a new land nor does it mean that we have to resettle large amounts of people. Helping 25,000 is still doing good.

What bothers us is that these faith groups do not seem to be representing God in their protest against the refugee reduction. They do not seem to be bringing God’s solution to the issue.  Whether 25,000 or 75,000 people are helped each year does not solve the problem. It leaves the problem in place and humans continue to suffer.

We do not need a band-aid application here where those that claim to be Christian can go to bed at night feeling good that they did something. These faith based groups should be bringing real solutions to the issue, solutions that come from God, so that all the refugees can be helped and have their suffering relieved.

 

 

Bible History 10

Constantine: The Christian Emperor

Where it all began

He was born in 280 BC to not so humble origins as his father, Constantine Chlorus, ruled as a sub emperor with 2 others and Diocletian. His mother was Helena who in later years established herself as an ancient explorer and archaeologist, so to speak.

Because his father was a ruler of a section of the Roman Empire, it was expected that Constantine would assume power once his father passed on. This scenario led to what may have been the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire.

The situation was not good

Even though Constantine was in line for a portion of the throne, his rise to the top was not an easy one. Diocletian was not a good ruler, not that he wasted money, resources etc., but that he sought to wipe out the Christian faith.

Galerius and Maximian, the other two sub rulers, followed suit and strove to destroy churches, persecute believers and so on. Constantine’s father did not participate and refused to be part of the persecution. This stand led to the final confrontation between Constantine, Galerius and Maximian.

The Christian conversion

It was the final battle between the sub rulers that led Constantine to take the seat as total emperor over the remaining Roman Empire. As he prepared for battle, he saw a vision of a cross and the words “with this sign you shall conquer”.

Constantine obeyed his vision and removed the normal Roman standard from all weapons, shields and standards and replaced it with the cross. After winning victory Constantine gave credit to the Christian God and is said to have converted to the faith.

A few months after his victory, he issued the Edict of Milan legalizing the Christian faith and Diocletian’s persecution era came to an end.

Constantine’s contribution to Christianity

The Edict of Milan was not the only favorable act Constantine contributed to the faith of Christians. In 325 AD, the church was in a bit of a pickle. While the biblical books of the Bible were being circulated independently from each other, there were also a few problems with those who did not subscribe completely to the Christian beliefs.

Their heretical writings were causing problems among the faithful. Constantine convened the council of Nicaea allowing the church leaders to put together the Bible as we know it, maybe with a few books missing, and remove or identify heretical teaching and have it removed from the church.

But that is also not all he did. At the same time, someone, possibly Markaros the bishop of Jerusalem, sent word to Constantine that the Tomb of Christ was found. Constantine immediately sent help to have the tomb excavated and a church built at the site.

His mother was sent to oversee construction. Parts of that church stand today and is known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Constantine’s Christian crisis

Constantine in a letter to the council of Arles did confess to being a Christian, yet scholars today question that declaration and his overall Christian faith. This questioning comes from viewing some of his actions throughout the course of his life.

While Constantine favored his mother, he took issue with other members of his family. He had his eldest son, second wife and the husband of his favorite sister executed. No one knows why he did these things.

Then he did away with the old Roman gods but delayed his baptism until he was near death. Some say that this was due to the ancient belief that sins could not be forgiven after one was baptized.

Also, even though he did do away with the old Roman gods, he continued to act in a pagan manner. These actions lead some modern scholars to the idea that Constantine may have used the Christian faith to further his own agenda.

Helena, his mother, was a very solid believer and she may have helped guide her son through his Christian life. But that is something that is not known. It is not even sure when she converted to the Christian faith.

As it stands, Constantine’s achievements greatly helped the church. As to his personal beliefs, these achievements help demonstrate where his faith lay but they do not tell us how solid a believer he really was.

 
 
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