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Category Archives: education

Let’s Ask a Question

Trinity Western is getting famous for its Community Covenant. This covenant tells students that to be part of the Trinity Western family, they must abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and woman” (https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/july/secularism-and-diversity-lessons-from-canada.html).

Our question is- is it right to make such demands of students who are merely attending the university in order to get a proper education? A follow-up question would be, is it right to force the university beliefs on its students? When we ask these questions we are not denigrating TWU although we have concerns about their demands because of possible hypocrisy in the ranks.

We know that some of their professors teach that evolution is true, at least in the micro sense of the application of the theory. Why is it so important for TWU to ignore one part of the Bible while holding to another? We have a problem with that position. Why is sexual intimacy more important than knowing how God created and how creation works correctly?

We had one pastor friend tell us that God sees sexual sins as more important than other sins. Yet after an examination of how God punishes sin in the OT and the NT, we found that is not so. Solomon had over 1200 women in his harem yet he was allowed to lead the people of Israel. Homosexuality and other sexual sins are listed equally with lying, stealing etc., when God tells people who will not make it into heaven.

So obviously, what that pastor said is not true and does not explain why TWU would allow sin in one area of life but not another. We must ask, is it right to deprive anyone of an education simply because they do not believe the same or have the same sexual preferences as the institution? After all, the makeup of the student body does not stop TWU from teaching Law and other subjects from a Christian point of view.

Allowing Muslims, Hindus and other religious believers as students also does not stop TWU from being a Christian University and providing a Christian education. They just have to let each student know where they stand and that they will not change their perspective if the students do not like it. The student acknowledges that they are attending a Christian University and understand the focus of the education.

If the education brought by the university is top-quality, sound, and on par with other academic institutions then there should be no complaint. The Christian university is free to teach Christ, the gospel and actually bring up the level of teaching with their perspective. It is not wrong to require students to not act in a manner that brings disrespect or disrepute to the institution.

We abided by that rule when we taught in Korea. The rule didn’t change our lives or alter our faith in any way. We do not think that allowing LGBTQ students will harm the school if the former conduct their lives in the same respectful manner. Of course, when it comes to leadership positions the school should be free to limit those opportunities to true Christians only. After all it is a Christian school and its leadership should remain Christian.

You cannot be a Christian school when you allow non-Christians to lead. It just can’t happen.

Now to address a couple of quotes or more from the article above:

First, it shows how a country’s top court can render a verdict in favor of human rights but biased against religious freedom. When the two ideas butted heads, religious freedom was the loser.

We disagree. This is not an attack on religious freedom but a decision questioning the legitimacy of an item in the community covenant. TWU’s religious faith was not on trial and they were not ordered to give up their faith. If TWU offers on-campus student housing, we could understand that rule. But off-campus students should not be made to adhere to the rule.

Second, it makes short shrift of the model that within a diverse society a plurality of ideas and beliefs can exist together. This is a huge loss. And when Canada, known for its democracy and public fairness, takes this road, we lose an important example of how pluralism functions.

Again we will disagree. We have looked through the Bible and have found no place where God instructs his people to force his ways on those who reject him. If those outside of the people of Israel wanted to live with the Hebrews, they had to follow God’s rules but no society was forced to live by the Mosaic law. The secular societies had the example of the Israelites and could use their free will and choice to adopt God’s ways or not.

When Jesus was here both Hebrews and non-Hebrews brought their sick to Jesus and he healed them all. Should we deprive those who do not believe as us of a quality education and the opportunity to see the difference Christ makes? Should we create stumbling blocks and turn people off of Christ by demanding that they act like believers or they get nothing? That thought seems opposite of what Christ did.

Jesus fed and ate with sinners but still maintained his holiness. We can do the same with education. Nothing in the Bible tells us that if we educate LGBTQ students we will lose our holiness. We will lose it if we walk in their counsel

.Third, it keeps faith from being public. I hear the justices saying something like, “Live out your faith within your churches, institutions, and private communities, but if you try to bring it into civic life, if we don’t see your beliefs as being inclusive with our values, we will prevent your faith from influencing our public spheres.”

Of course we disagree here because that is that author’s subjective interpretation and not fact. Again, the justices did not stop TWU from being Christian, they just objected to an unrealistic demand made by TWU. Why would TWU object to removing that clause when God can use that removal to bring the mission field to TWU? It is possible that the students God brings can still be redeemed and have an open mind and heart to Jesus.

Is TWU thinking that God only operates in one way and that they will not be blessed if they allow all students to atend their college? Allowing LGBTQ students into TWU is not supporting or legitimizing the LGBTQ position or preferences. It is allowing humans to be students and giving them a solid education from a Christian perspective. There is a difference.

Secular academic institutions upon allowing true Christians as students on their campuses does not change the secular institution into a Christian one.

Fourth, it assumes that Christian standards and beliefs for an institution are not essential to its identity, self-definition, or existence, but a preference.

This conclusion is just not true. No Christian standards have been attacked or demanded to be altered. TWU’s standard is under fire and questioned but not Christian standards. Jesus had a thief and betrayer as a disciple for 3 years, yet those facts did not stop him from teaching Judas his ways. Christians should pick their fights and for TWU changing this rule is not telling them to change their faith. The leaders of the school can still practice it and set an example for their students to follow.

It is wrong to force students to be a certain way just to get an education.

Canadian universities that provide training for other kinds of professional vocations may now be under scrutiny if they don’t also adhere to what the court considers “values.”For those outside of Canada, Paul Marshall, professor of Religious Freedom at Baylor University in Texas, notes that this ruling may present a challenge for Americans who want to practice law in Canada. Grads from socially conservative universities such as Baylor and Brigham Young may run into a headwind if provincial law societies disallow them from practicing law if they too have similar community standard such as TWU’s.

This is nothing but fear mongering.And Baylor should not talk right now as their scandals leave many questioning their Christian position. Christian standards include not lying, not stealing, not committing financial fraud, and so much more. Making a covenant rule to target one sin is not upholding Christian standards. Failing to teach the truth is more of an attack on Christianity, the Bible and Christ than letting students practice their preferences off-campus.

Besides, the covenant does not stop LGBTQ practices. They just go somewhere else and continue to live their lifestyle. But their hearts will be hardened to the gospel when they do. Christian academic institutions and other organizations need to re-examine what they consider to be Christian principles. They need to make sure that their rules line up with biblical teaching and not trying to force something God does not want to be forced.

Remember Jesus did not force anyone to follow his teachings. That attiutde did not grant permission for the people to sin. It worked with God’s rule that we humans have free choice to obey him or not. Christian organizations should also re-examine their lifestyles to see if they are without sin before they demand unbelievers to follow their ways.

Jesus lived as he and God taught, we can do no different.

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Public Breastfeeding

We have stated our views on this topic in another post-

https://theologyarchaeology.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/breastfeeding-in-public/

and we haven’t changed those views. But we have been part of the crowd when a couple of women have decided that was the right time to whip out their breast and feed their babies. Our personal response to the situation was not one of joy where we see a mother being natural or doing something intimate. Rather we were feeling quite uncomfortable

Both times were at a restaurant so we could not get up and walk away,  One time we did change our seats so we would not intrude on such a private moment or be accused of being a pervert or some other negative adjective that would apply if we did not turn away. Another time we just turned our heads. Both times were very uncomfortable for everyone in the restaurant except for the mother and nursing child. And no they did not cover up or be discreet.

Those two experiences and the words found in another article by a woman who said “I could not feed my baby where I wanted to” have led us to rethink some of our views and include one that is talked negatively in the Bible. We have come to the conclusion that public breastfeeding is very selfish on the part of the mother. Basically, because they are not thinking of anyone else in the room, how they will feel and it shows no respect for those who think differently about public breastfeeding.

Notice we used the word public in there. We are not against breastfeeding just that it should not be done where it is a spectator sport. We come to the conclusion about this act being selfish in part because of what the Bible says. Here are a few verses {all scripture is taken from the NASB}

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Mt. 7:12; Lk. 6:31)

Notice the first two words, they include breastfeeding.

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. (Romans 15: 1-2)

This verse goes both ways and those who are caught breastfeeding should be treated better than most are in the current prevailing attitude towards public breastfeeding. Also, women should think of others before they whip it out.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Phil. 2:3-4)

Women should be provided with a safe, quiet, private place to breastfeed and women should look for private places to feed their babies.

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men (Romans 12:17-18)

It is not living at peace when you demand that you get your selfish way and do what you want in someone else’s place of business or residence.

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Gal. 5:14)

Is demanding or doing what you want to do in spite of the feelings of others loving your neighbor as yourself?

All these verses can go both ways. Public places should have clean comfortable areas where women can breastfeed in private. It should not be the washroom and women should not be made to feel inferior because they need to feed ther babies.  BUT women should not be demanding that they be allowed to breastfeed wherever or whenever they want. That is a very selfish and unbiblical attitude.

God has given women brains and intelligence so it should not be a very difficult task to know when their baby will be hungry and plan their schedules accordingly. Christian women should take the little extra time and apply biblical teaching to their breastfeeding schedule. Remember the Bible says to do all to the glory of God and that includes breastfeeding.

It is hard for public breastfeeding to be done for the glory of God when so many people do not want to see it done. Also, by not making selfish demands and humbly breastfeeding out of the public eye can lead to evangelistic moments where you can tell other women why you do it in private. You have a moment to share your faith and show the secular world a better way to live.

People will see that you are living by your faith and respect you more, hopefully, and if not at least you were able to plant a seed or water one already planted. Yes, even breastfeeding can be used to further the kingdom of God. But if you let selfishness rule your behavior you will miss out on those opportunities. Christian women need to take a moment and think before they demand. They have more at stake than just feeding time with their child.

It is not about rights. That is a secular ideology from people who do not want to obey God or do what is right. It is about obeying God, not sinning and doing what is right in all situations, even breastfeeding.Think about it. Sometimes it is the little things that garner the most results. Obeying God in the little things goes a lot further than you think.

Breastfeeding may not be a big deal to nursing mothers but if done right, with the right spiritual motives, the right humble, obedient attitude, it can cast your Christian light a long way. Nursing mothers can be a mission field if Christian women get rid of the sinful attitudes, the selfishness and other negative reasons they breastfeed in public.

We show the world the right way to live. The secular world does not show us.

 

Speaking of Honesty

There have been a couple of articles about how Christians use honorary degrees. The first article is found at

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/ravi-zacharias-case-christian-credential-inflation.html

and talks about Ravi Zacharias and his organization’s use of the honorary degrees he has received. We are not going to talk about the right or wrongness of giving or being given honorary degrees as that is up the institutions and the individuals involved.

Their reasons for giving or receiving these honors are varied, with many legitimate and some…well you know. There are other reasons why these degrees are handed out. The same reasons apply to the secular academic institutions as well.

Up until earlier this year, the RZIM bio had not used the phrase “honorary doctorates;” instead, it had stated that Zacharias had been “honored with the conferring of six doctoral degrees.” The site also previously referred to him as “Dr. Zacharias” through 2014, as did multiple press releases, news features, and event postings.

Our topic is not about Mr. Zacharias’ use of his honorary degrees, it is about honesty. While Christians want to be seen as more credible, more legitimate and accepted more by their secular peers it seems that their credentials are inflated a bit and that is a problem.

“There’s a long and not very edifying tradition of Christian evangelists and speakers inflating their credentials,” said Stackhouse. (from the above link)

One does not lose credibility or legitimacy by being honest about their credentials or their courses of study. They do lose both when others uncover that certain facts have been over-stated or embellished. Also, ones’ Christian work can suffer or the church in general faces the fallout as unbelievers tend to hold everyone at fault when these issues take place.

“Ravi Zacharias is the biggest name in apologetics currently,” said Stackhouse. “As he goes, so goes apologetics so it’s really important that he be scrupulous in everything he does.”

Yes, Mr. Stackhouse is correct. One’s witness, testimony or apologetic presentation is called into question when embellishments are discovered. Then when caught in a lie, it does not help to try and lie your way out of the sticky situation.

Nor does it help to provide a weak defense. We know of one creationist who has done this and he is now only credible to a faithful few. But there are problems everywhere with the handing out of these degrees.

https://www.tnonline.com/should-colleges-stop-handing-out-honorary-degrees

They are seen as rewards for stellar behavior, dedication to a cause or some other high achievement. Sadly, the lives of some who have received these honors failed to be as stellar and have caused some to call for the ceasing of these handouts.

But for Christians, the cost is much higher. They can lose souls over these mistakes. They can turn people permanently off the gospel and Christ when they are dishonest about the honors they are given.

Now most of us will not have to worry about this particular problem. Most of us are not in a position to receive honorary degrees as our work is not well-known, and so on. But we honesty s not limited to the use or reception of honorary degrees.

All believers have little areas in our lives where we need to be honest or our credibility, our legitimacy, our witness and so on is lost. It can be our behavior in athletic competition, taxes, lies to our children and on it goes.

We need to be honest because it is not just God who watches what we do. Even without knowing it we can turn someone off of Christ and the Christian faith. Because all our observers do not let us know they are evaluating our words and actions.

Sometimes those we have been in contact with in less than honest ways tell their friends and families who tell their friends and family and on it goes. The ripple e effect does take place.

BUT do not get into a tizzy or think you will have a nervous breakdown. There will always be people turned off of Christ no matter how honest or good we are. Plus, we believers will make mistakes. It happens. We are not going to be perfect.

The key is correct those mistakes properly and deal with the situation as God directs. One way to help cut down on these mistakes in honesty is to ask God to help you. It may mean a little less money, it may mean not getting everything you want but it is better to live the Christian life right than to gain those desires.

Of course, honesty begins with God and how we treat him, his instructions and commands. How can we be honest with the secular world if we are not honest with him, the author and finisher of our faith?

God is honest with us and keeps things simple. We need to return the favor and be honest with him.

 

Bible History 6

The City of David: The City of Controversy

A little background

The city of what is now called the City of David, was first established somewhere in the 3 millennium BC. It was Canaanite and though few archaeological discoveries have illuminated this history, it remained Canaanite until David conquered it in the 10th century BC.

The Amarna letters have scholars and archaeologists thinking that Jerusalem was a mighty city prior to David’s conquest. Joshua did defeat an alliance of Kings, one from Jerusalem, but he did not overthrow the city itself.

Archaeologically it is said that the original City of David lay on a small patch of land no bigger than 12 acres in size. This can be contested as archaeology is incapable of uncovering every building from the past. This stated size is part of the controversies surrounding this city

Controversies galore

 It goes without saying that anything connected to the Bible or showing its contents correct will face opposition. Whenever a 10th Century BC discovery is made, the Minimalists object to the identification of the artifact and refuse to link it to David’s or Solomon’s reign.

Israel Finkelstein is a leading opponent to 10th century identification and has written that David and Solomon were not rulers of a large empire but small tribal leaders.  Eilat Mazar has spent most of her career excavating in the City of David.

Ms. Mazar has found the Solomonic walls and also possibly the palace of David. Both discoveries have been highly contested by Mr. Finkelstein and other Minimalists. Her reasoning for her identification stems from the geographical topography surrounding the city. The Bible says David went down to the citadel from his palace.

These words indicate that David’s and the Jebusites’ stronghold could only be north of the City of David. Ms. Mazar’s identification and location go in contrast to Kathleen Kenyon’s conclusions who did not dig outside of the old city’s walls.

Part of the controversy surrounding archaeological work in the City of David comes from the fact that excavations have intruded on the homes and property of Arab residents in the Kidron Valley and Silwan Village.

It is a well-known fact that Muslims in medieval times built over key Christian and biblical sites to hide the history of the area. This causes a lot of problems when excavating the City of David.

Military Importance of the City of David

As the biblical record shows, both Joshua and David had a difficult time in overthrowing the city of Jerusalem. The Jebusites actually taunted King David when he tried. That is because the Jebusite stronghold had a lot of natural defenses helping to make the area very difficult to attack. The north side was the only vulnerable side as it had to depend on human fortifications for its defense.

But two other things helped make the City of David very difficult to overcome. First, the stronghold was high up. It commanded a very clear view of the surrounding area. Early warnings would help the residents prepare to defend themselves.

The second vital influence on military strategy was the location of the Gihon spring. The Jebusites built guard towers to protect their water supply, then they used a tunnel system to make sure they did not have to go outside the city to get their water.

These two things made the city almost impregnable.

Other discoveries

The City of David is not just known for its relationship with King David and the conquest of the Promised land. It holds many other secrets as well. In recent excavations, many clay bullae were found which held the names of a variety of biblical figures. Over 50 of them date to the Babylonian conquest in the 6th century BC.

Another discovery records the name Bethlehem which is the first mentioning of that town outside of the Bible. Then there was the discovery of an edifice from the second temple era, dating to Queen Helena of Adiabene’s time. She was a lady who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and converted to Judaism during her visit.

Some Final Thoughts

While its actual size may be in doubt, the city holds many secrets to Israel’s past. Most of those uncovered secrets show that accuracy of the Biblical record.

 

Going Too Far

We were going to take it easy today as we are not fully recovered but this one story stuck out and we feel it needs to be addressed. You can read the full article at the following link:

https://www.christianpost.com/news/harvard-sorority-shuts-down-over-sanctions-on-girls-only-boys-only-student-groups-226681/

Harvard Sorority Shuts Down Over Sanctions on Girls-Only, Boys-Only Student Groups

The headline is bad enough as the school implies that having single-sex organizations is wrong, illegal, violates God’s word and so on. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes God made two genders. Yes, he divided men’s clothing and hairstyles from women’s and so on. But you will notice that the Bible does not restrict humans from holding single-sex meetings, creating single-sex organizations or attending either.

The only real opposition God may have with those organizations is if they promote and practice sin/evil and refuse to do their activities for his glory. God made both men and women and gave them certain needs. Part of those needs is the desire to congregate with other members of the same gender without the presence of the opposite sex.

To violate that sanctuary is worse than excluding certain people who refuse to accept the fact that they have been deceived and led wrongly to reject their birth gender. There is something wrong with forcing single-sex organizations to open up to those people who refuse to live by the rules of right and wrong. It leads those organizations to violate God’s warning in Isaiah about calling good evil and vice versa. Leading people to sin is never a good thing to do.

We now look at some specific comments made in that article:

Single sex spaces are now regarded as “discriminatory.”

The word discrimination  is defined by the Oxford dictionary as follows:

The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

(https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/discrimination)

The problem can be seen in many ways. While technically one can say that single-sex organizations are discriminatory, they are not in reality. Society traditionally has accepted certain exceptions to the rule like the Boys and Girls Scouts. These type of organizations were not set up to discriminate and bar the opposite sex from participating, but to give boys and girls a chance to just be with their own gender. There is nothing wrong with that separation. It is good for people and society in general as long as they do not teach sinful practices.

Another problem that is seen in the case of that sorority is that the sorority is not discriminating against the male sex but keeping a mentally ill person from joining their ranks.The person they are being forced to accept is a person who is being deceived or is actually thinking they are not the male gender they were born as.  Instead of enabling this thinking and letting create more problems, it is not wrong to keep such people out of female only organizations.

Those people have a problem which needs proper treatment. They do not need help in keeping their fantasy alive. Psychology is not that well tuned to be able to say when one person truly thinks they are a member of the opposite gender and  when one is faking it to gain access to areas that should wait for marriage. Keeping the those with mental issues out of a single-sex organization is not discrimination. It is a wise move to protect those members from a predator, a dangerous situation and so on.

You will find no biblical instruction telling believers to enable those who are mentally ill or under deception. Loving our neighbor does not grant permission to let others violate God’s standards of right and wrong, etc. or let them live in sin.

these organizations propagate exclusionary values that undermine those of the larger Harvard College community.

There is such a thing as common sense. God gave it to use for a reason- so we avoid doing stupid things like letting men pretend they are women so they can have access to a department store’s changing areas. Common sense is not specifically mentioned in the Bible but as we see by the Mosaic laws, it is certainly a talent that God expects us to use to stay in obedience with his instructions.

Common sense does tell us that it is more wrong to open the doors of sororities and fraternities to those who wrongfully reject their birth gender than it is to get the latter some treatment and explain to them why they cannot join. Common sense also tells us that no matter how much you mutilate your body, you still are the same gender as you were when you came out of the womb. There is no such thing as gender assignment surgery. That is a label thought up, probably, by some doctors who want to take advantage of these mentally vulnerable people and make money off of them.

Common sense a then tells us that it is not a wise move to make to place a man in a woman’s single-sex organization or a woman in an all  male organization. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure these things out. We would go as far as to say that those who advocate otherwise should be removed from their positions of leadership and retrained, until they see the light and error of their ways.

One Harvard sorority has already complied with the new rules to avoid the sanctions, agreeing to become “gender-neutral.”

Capitulating to idiotic thinking is not going to help anyone nor will it keep the standards of right and wrong intact. Nor will it protect anyone from any harm that may come by opening up single-sex organizations to the mentally disturbed. The American Armed Forces is a good example of what takes place when combining two genders under the wrong circumstances

https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=Awr9Du3DdGtbCw4AxRJXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGZyA3lmcC10LXMEZ3ByaWQDZWhRWkNqbWxSOGFaanVYMTJJZG5BQQRuX3JzbHQDMARuX3N1Z2cDMARvcmlnaW4Dc2VhcmNoLnlhaG9vLmNvbQRwb3MDMARwcXN0cgMEcHFzdHJsAzAEcXN0cmwDMjgEcXVlcnkDbWlsaXRhcnklMjBzZXh1YWwlMjBwcm9ibGVtcwR0X3N0bXADMTUzMzc3MDc2NQ–?p=military+sexual+problems&fr2=sb-top&fr=yfp-t-s&fp=1

Tiana Menon, Kappa president said at the time that the sorority was excited to contribute to a “healthy campus social life” at Harvard and believed that gender neutral organizations committed to empowering “female-identifying persons” have a place on campus.

How can you have a healthy campus life when you allow people to act out their gender issues and enable them to further fall into their fantasies? It is not empowering anyone by violating the sanctity of single-sex organizations. It is possible you could ’empower’ them by giving them their own sorority or fraternity chapter or that may just open those mentally deceived and ill people up to more ridicule and trigger some hidden desire to harm others.

But you do not empower people by placing others at risk of harm or embarrassment.

Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane told The Harvard Crimson in response to Delta Gamma’s closure that the school “seeks to build a community in which every student can thrive, and it does so on the foundation of a set of shared values including belonging, inclusion, and non-discrimination.”

The problem here is where do you draw the line? The words ‘every student’ means every student, so the rapist,, the pedophile, the thief and so on must be able to thrive as well. You can argue that those elements are against the law but so was homosexuality and transgender behavior. Those elements got the laws changed to be legitimate and accepted by a few in authority, why can’t the same be done for the other criminal element in the world? They need to thrive as well on  campus.

Then the above thinking becomes discriminatory because there will be people excluded from the enlarged group. Who gets to draw the line? It is unfair to single-sex organizations if a person who doesn’t like them or has a grudge against them gets to make rules governing their association and practice. Then inclusion should not be so intrusive that it destroys a healthy and constructively contributing single-sex organization.

We could point a lot of fingers her but let’s just leave it with that those who are supporting this inclusion are not thinking the situation through very well.

Thus, the school reasoned, fraternities and sororities that intend to remain single-sex do not align with the educational philosophy of the school. Dane added that the school is “offering [those groups] supportive pathways as they transform into organizations” that do align with Harvard’s mission and values.

So we must conclude that Harvard’s mission and values do not include protecting right from wrong and that wrong behavior is as valuable and acceptable as those behaviors that follow the rules. We must also conclude that Harvard’s mission and values include the idea that the rules do not matter. If that is the case, then why does Harvard have admission rules and deny many people from attending their institution?

Fighting to break down certain rules only leads one to undermine their own position and regulations. Not all rules or laws but as you can see, violating or forcing the violation of the rules of a single-sex organization leads to undermining Harvard’s own rules and legitimacy to enforce them. This is not right.

In conclusion, God has rules. He has implemented them for humans to follow so they can find the right way to a holy life and be worthy of entering his kingdom. Those rules are not going to change. Belief in Jesus as one’s savior will always be the only way to salvation. Giving up sin will always be a requirement to live the Christian life and be part of God’s kingdom.

You can have inclusion if you disallow the very thing that ruins inclusion–sin. Harvard is not excluding sin from its campus but allowing it to be practiced more openly. There are three things to  learn  from God’s example. One, his rules will not change just because someone does not want to follow them or they want their particular sin, mental issue or deception to be practiced in his kingdom and church.

Two, God follows his own rules. He does not  lie, he does not lust, he does not murder, and he observes the sabbath, and so on. Three, he also does not let deceived, sinful, fallible, and blind culture or people influence his rules or their observance.

The church has the best example to follow and the church should protest Harvard’s and other educational institutions’ sinful practices once it gets its house in order and in line with God and his example.

 

Bible History 5

we are getting better but we will continue this series for the rest of this week

The Mystery Of King Solomon’s Temple

The Temple Mount is probably the most fragile place on earth.

It is also the most incendiary site as well. Managed by the Islamic Waqf, the Temple Mount holds the Dome of the rock which itself stands on the probable site of Solomon’s and Herod’s temples

Any disruption to the site and its Islamic heritage could start a holy war of enormous proportions. Yet archaeologists still say that Solomon’s and Herod’s temples were built there in preceding millennia.

Herod’s Temple was not Solomon’s

If we want to get technical, Herod’s temple has been seen as the 3rd temple. Solomon’s was first, then it was destroyed by the Babylonians when they conquered Jerusalem in 587 BC.

Zerubbabel rebuilt it around 520 BC, (see Ezra 4 & 6), and then in the last years of the 1st century BC and the beginning years of the new millennia, Herod rebuilt Zerubbabel’s temple. Herod’s version was the one in use during the life of Jesus.

The temple area supporting Solomon’s temple was enlarged by Herod. It should be mentioned that Solomon had to build a special area to hold his temple when he started construction. That location was near or on Mt. Moriah, the mountain Abraham went to in order to obey God and sacrifice Isaac.

The mystery surrounding Solomon’s temple

The greatest mystery that comes with Solomon’s temple is that no one knows what it looked like. The Bible does contain descriptions of the building but through the years those architectural terms have lost their meaning.

Then there are a lot of details absent from the biblical text. While we get great detail on some of the contents of the temple, generalities prevail when it comes to the overall size and dimensions of the building.

The closest example of what his temple may have looked like comes from Syria. The temple Ain Dara is the only building known today that resembles the description given in the book of Kings. Sadly, the archaeologist who excavated this site was Syrian and he wrote in German. This may be the reason why it has received such little attention.

Two difficulties that arise

Some people may ask, why not just go and dig up the temple and see for yourselves? But that is impractical and also highly dangerous. As stated earlier, Solomon’s temple lies underneath the Islamic holy site, where they claim Mohammad ascended into heaven.

Any digging at the site would contaminate the sacred nature of the Dome, undermine its foundations and anger the Muslim people worldwide.

The second difficulty is that Herod changed the temple area and it is not known exactly where Solomon’s temple stood. Plus, the renovations and rebuilding would alter how Solomon’s temple originally looked.

The scholars are not sure if Solomon’s temple had one, two or three rooms. It would be difficult to assess what was uncovered and attach it to Solomon, Zerubbabel or Herod.

All is not lost

Writing just before she died, Kathleen Kenyon stated that no part of Solomon’s temple survives today.  She may be right as the wailing wall is from Herod’s temple not Solomon’s.  We say may because there is a scholar who disagrees with her.

Ernest-Marie Laperrousaz does agree that the north, south and west containment walls originally built by Solomon are deeply buried under Herod’s construction and extension work.

But he points out that Herod could not touch the eastern wall because it Solomon built it on the edge of the steep hill leading down to the Kidron Valley. It would be impossible for Herod to bury this part of the wall.

A portion of Solomon’s work and temple may yet survive.

Archaeology makes interesting discoveries

Due to the work of the temple sifting project, many items from the first temple era have been uncovered. Most of these discoveries are broken pottery, animal bones etc. The most highly debated of all the discoveries is the ivory pomegranate.

This 1 ½ by 1-inch scepter top may be the only surviving relic from Solomon’s temple. But its authenticity has been debated since the 1980s. This discovery may not solve the mystery surrounding Solomon’s temple, but it helps prove that the structure did exist.

 

Bible History 4

Jezebel – Wicked Wife of Ahab and her evil rule:

Jezebel’s origins

She was the daughter of a king and high priest. Her father, Ethbaal, was king of the Sidonians who worshipped Baal as their god. Her people were the Phoenicians, the great ancient maritime people after the Minoans. They considered the Hebrew God just a local deity and had no time for him and his ways.

Jezebel’s father rose to power through the murder of his predecessor, so it is not hard to see where Jezebel received her evil training. It is hard to say where Ahab met Jezebel, the Bible only says that he took her to be his wife.

The Bible also says that Ahab was well on his way to being the evilest king prior to marrying Jezebel. We are not sure how much of Jezebel’s influence had on Ahab, but she certainly did nothing to change his ways.

Jezebel and Elijah

It seems that Jezebel and Elijah never met personally.  It is hard to say as the biblical record only has Elijah speaking directly to Ahab. Whether Jezebel is there or not cannot be ascertained. The first thing Elijah is recorded to say to Ahab is that God would send a drought for three years.

This drought ended up in a showdown with the Prophets of Baal on one side and Elijah, alone, on the other side. Prior to this event, Jezebel had the prophets of God killed except for the hundred Obadiah saved (see 1 Kings 18).

What made Elijah the enemy of Jezebel was Elijah’s extermination of the 450 prophets of Baal, that Jezebel had her husband import from her native land. Jezebel sent a messenger with the threat that she would do to Elijah what he did to her prophets.

Even prophets of God are human and have emotions. Elijah became afraid when he heard the threat and fled the area where Jezebel knew he was living.

Jezebel is not finished with her evil deeds

After a couple of successful wars, Ahab becomes infatuated with a vineyard owned by Naboth. Even as King, he becomes depressed because Naboth would not trade his vineyard for another and let Ahab take his.

Jezebel started to scheme and committed forgery as she sent letters to the elders of Naboth’s city. She also committed murder by instructing those elders to have Naboth falsely accused and stoned to death. Once this act was done, Jezebel told Ahab to go down and take possession of the land.

This act is what brought God’s prophecy against both Ahab and Jezebel. God sent Elijah to give the death sentences to Ahab. Ahab would die in the place where Naboth died and Jezebel would be eaten by dogs.

All because the royal couple had led the people of Israel to sin. (See 1 Kings 21).

Jezebel reconstructed

Jezebel is not seen as a woman of evil in everyone’s eyes. US News and World Report once wrote that modern day feminists view her as a politically astute, strong willed woman who was very courageous.

Mary Joan Winn Leith wrote in the Bible review that Ahab’s and Jezebel’s marriage was an ideal marriage, one that was a role model for those younger couples in need of a role model.

She also writes that Jezebel and Ahab were the victims of a smear campaign of the anti-northern kingdom biblical authors. Janet Howe Gaines who also wrote a scholarly piece for the Bible Review concurs.  She says that Jezebel’s rise to Queen of the Northern tribes was an opportunity for anti-northern biblical writers to teach a moral lesson about idolatry.

Ms. Gaines also says that Jezebel was not as evil as the Bible portrays her. Yet any reconstruction fails as the Bible clearly points out, in 1 Kings 21:25, that Ahab continued to do evil at the urging of his wife Jezebel.

Jezebel’s Responsibility

There are no redeeming features or qualities possessed by Jezebel. She may not have done evil to him directly, but her influence certainly brought evil to Ahab and his life. Without her influence it remains a possibility that Ahab could have been redeemed and had a more positive reign.

As it stands, he is known for the evil that he and his wife did.

 
 
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