RSS

Category Archives: General Life

Topics That Deserve Comment

As a Christian website, we do not turn a blind eye when other believers do things that cause an eyebrow or two to be raised. It is not that we are perfect. Instead, these people usually have gone too far in their words or behavior to not say something. We strive to make our comments constructive and not insulting but we are not sure if we always succeed.

As usual, we are talking to ourselves first so we do not make the same mistakes.

#1. https://www.christianpost.com/news/anne-graham-lotz-nuclear-strike-earthquake-could-be-coming-to-unrepentant-america-214269/

Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz has warned that severe punishment is coming to America — anything from a massive earthquake to a nuclear strike — which she said will be a “game-changer.”

People like to sound like a prophet of God. To them, they look more spiritual and want to portray an image where they have God’s ear. But if a person doesn’t know anything about this punishment, or when it will happen or what it will be then please do not say anything. We do not like the Christian faith to be embarrassed or look foolish and that goes for Mrs. Lotz as well. She may want to be Jonah but she is missing a few key factors.

Jonah had a specific word from God; he gave a time limit; and he said exactly what would happen. Nineveh had 40 days to repent because their sins had reached God. They would be overthrown. Mrs. Lotz’s ‘prophecy’ seems to lack substance and God’s authority. She seems to want to sound spiritual, look spiritual yet… well we will leave that up to you to finish

#2. https://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-andy-savage-wont-face-charges-sexual-assault-janet-mefferd-says-he-should-not-be-pastor-213409/

Janet Mefferd, the popular host of a nationally syndicated Christian talk show, said the way in which Conlee and his church handled the sexual assault of Woodson made her sick. She also argued that Savage’s confession makes him biblically unqualified to be a pastor.

Sexual assault is a difficult topic to deal with and we are not going to deal with it here. There are just too many mitigating factors that take too long to discuss in the short format alloted for this post. What we are going to address is the last sentence in the quote. Some people in the Christian faith think that they know better than God on who is qualified or not to be a pastor.

They seem to overlook the fact that God used imperfect leaders, including at least one who made a sexual mistake. Peter lied, Moses got angry and disobeyed, and on it goes. It is wrong for those people to elevate themselves and place themselves in God’s position and say who can or cannot lead his church. Whether the church and pastors mishandled the issue or not, is not the problem here.

One’s emotional perspective does not trump overall spiritual leadership or God’s choice of leader. Remember Aaron and Miriam got punished for opposing Moses. The person in questtion, in that quote, seems to ignore spiritual rules, the facts, and the law, in her haste to impose regime change on the church. This may be due to the theory that some people think they are in charge of the church when God has not abdicated his position.

When pastors and other church leadership do sin, their sins must be handled God’s way. Only then will true justice and fairness will prevail.

#3. https://www.christianpost.com/news/church-of-england-advises-clergy-to-use-baptism-rite-to-celebrate-gender-transition-214672/

The Church of England’s House of Bishops has decided against creating a new service to celebrate a person’s gender transition. The bishops are advising that the church mark the transgender occasion instead with the existing baptism rite.

When leadership goes wrong, then it is up to the congregation to remove those leaders who err from their seats of power. BUT the people cannot think or assume there is an error; it must be a true error against God’s instructions. There is no room for blind following of church leaders. The Bible does not teach that behavior. When it talks about people committing sin and a person is to go to them and talk to the offender about their practices, it does not leave leadership out of the process.

They are to be scolded, reprimanded, (in love and using truth), and corrected, just like any normal believer. Leadership is not immune from God’s justice process. The above quote highlights a grave error on the part of the Church of England’s leadership. Their actions should not be ignored. They are perverting God’s rite of baptism. Baptism is not intended to celebrate sin, misguided thinking, or deception.

It is a rite to identify with Jesus and Jesus was not transgendered nor even taught that baptism should be used in this manner. Transgender is deception, not correcting a birth mistake. Baptism cannot be used to legitimize misguided thinking. If believers want to speak powerfully to the transgender population, then it won’t happen by perverting what God instituted for the church to follow.

#4.  https://www.christianpost.com/news/woman-threatens-daughter-in-church-with-blood-of-jesus-and-death-from-god-for-accusing-boyfriend-of-rape-214832/

Sophia Lawrence’s mother sat quietly in the front row of her small church and listened in silence with other congregants as her daughter testified how she was raped at just 8 years old. When her daughter told the church who her abuser was, however, Lawrence’s mother exploded from her seat and threatened her child with death from God and the “blood of Jesus.”

There are some topics that should not be talked about in public. Christianity is not a public spectator sport where believers need to hear every graphic detail or even who did what to whom. Some issues need to be dealt with quietly, privately and kept between God and them. The Christian faith is not about ruining other people. Then, do not think because you are the alleged victim, that you have permission or even the right to talk about what happened publicly.

The other people in the issue have rights as well and a victim’s rights do not trump those of other people. No matter what other people or government leaders claim, committing a crime does not remove the rights of the offender.

A second issue found in that quote and that needs to be mentioned is emotions. Emotions do not bring justice, they do not bring fairness and they do not bring level-headed thinking. It is best to keep a lot of emotion out of these controversial issues if you want to get to the heart of the matter and solve it. Emotions do not enable open-mindedness or constructive discussion.It also does not give people permission to call out divine penalties on the other person. Especially if you do not have the authority to call out those penalties.

One way to avoid these embarrassing scenes is to communicate properly in private before opening one’s mouth.

#5. https://www.christianpost.com/news/texas-judge-says-god-told-him-suspected-sex-trafficker-was-not-guilty-214684/

A judge in Comal County, Texas, could face disciplinary action after he was accused of trying to influence a trial by telling jurors that God told him a woman accused of trafficking her teenage niece was innocent.

“I apologize to you folks but when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” Judge Jack Robison reportedly told jurors about the case of 32-year-old Gloria E. Romero-Perez after trying to convince them that the Lord had vouched for her innocence, according to the Herald Zeitung.

These situations are embarrassing to the church and believers in general. Many mistakes are made by acting on what someone has said God told them to do. First, off to avoid these embarrassing moments, there are rules to follow:

  • make sure you are actually hearing God’s voice
  • make sure the instructions do not violate God’s word
  • make sure you do not sin or break a law you need to follow
  • make sure you know it is the right time to say something like this

Second, just because God said to do it, God does not always mean to do it at that moment or in a way that will bring embarrassment to you, the church, Christ or any other person involved. or humiliate the other person. God’s instructions at the moment do not mean you ignore his rules about being wise, saying things in love, being tactful, keeping things private and so on.

Justice Holmes made the same mistake in the Scopes Trial in Tennessee almost one hundred years ago. He looked like a raving lunatic and so does this judge. This is not the way to make inroads for Christ. There is a time and proper place to say that God told you to do it. Even if he did tell the judge, the jury instructions was not the place to make that known. He had the power to overturn the guilty verdict later after the jury came to a decision.

Unduly influencing the jury does not bring about fairness or justice. Ignoring God’s rules on how to do things right is not obeying God correctly.

Advertisements
 

The Church & Religious Rights

We have an organization that follows our posts that deals in human rights. It is hard work and sometimes a dangerous task. The key to fighting for human rights is to make sure everyone has the same rights without sacrificing right and wrong, morality and immorality, and the difference between good and evil.

When it comes to religious rights and the right to practice one’s religion, it is a different story. While we are free to champion the cause of religious freedom, there is no right to practicing one’s faith freely. There is no biblical promise stating that we have a right to freely practice our Christian faith (and we will limit this discussion to the Christian faith). The verse ‘do unto others…’ means believers cannot just fight for their own freedoms or supposed rights.

Unless you can find a verse, in context, that states otherwise, we have found no such promise. God did provide a promised land for his people but that can in no way be used as permission to fight for religious rights. God made a promise to Abraham and he kept that promise.  You will find that even under Egyptian persecution and slavery that God expected his people to follow his ways, enduring the torment sent their way by the Egyptian rulers. Joseph is a good example here of what happens when you obey even under duress, false accusations and other unjust acts.

What do we have if we do not have a religious right to practice our faith? We have our God-given ability to freely choose. Even if there isn’t a right to practice our faith freely, we can still choose to practice it, regardless of the penalties that come. We will point to Daniel here, who still practiced his faith even when the law was changed against worshipping, praying and living for God. Not having religious rights does not give any believer the right to stop practicing their faith.

When the issue of Christians being attacked for their faith rises around the world, we need to remember that Jesus did not promise us rights. He said to pick up your cross and follow him. What does this mean for believers? Are we banned from championing religious freedom and rights? No, we can still do unto others by fighting for everyone to have religious freedom. BUT when it comes to Christians, we should be teaching them to stay strong, let God get revenge, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who do evil, to forgive their oppressors, to pray for the right steps to take and much more.

We have the ability to choose how we will conduct our lives. We have the ability to choose to live like Daniel and Joseph. They did not cry and whine about rights or their religious freedoms. They stuck with God through it all and came out the other end better than they went in. BUT we must say that, not every believer who chooses this path will meet with the same success.

There will be martyrs for the faith. But Jesus also said, ‘greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend’. Jesus showed us this love when he laid down his life for us. We should not be so concerned about religious rights and freedoms if we consider Christ to be our friend. What we should be doing is making sure we are ready when it comes time to lay down our lives for him.

Yes, it is okay to be a little weak the first time or two one faces these situations. But one should learn from those experiences and see where they need Jesus to work in their lives. We do not live to seek martyrdom. We are to live as Christ & his disciples taught. Sometimes this means we stand alongside of those who do not have freedom or justice. We remember reading about Corrie Ten Boom’s father, who wore the yellow star the Nazis forced the Jewish people to don. He was not a Jew. He did not whine and cry about freedoms and rights. He saw an injustice and took his stand.

And that is what the church should be doing. Instead of fighting for religious rights & freedoms, it should be fighting for justice, mercy, fairness for all. It should be fighting that the standards of right and wrong, good and evil, morality and immorality be preserved. The problem with fighting for rights is that those standards are weakened, watered-down, and misleads the people.

Following those three standards is far greater than achieving rights or religious freedom. Believers and the Church are to live to obey God, even when rights and religious freedoms are denied.We have religious freedom because God has given us the ability to freely choose how we will live. We just do not have freedom from persecution and oppression.

 

When is a Lie a Lie?

We are sure you have heard all the accusations hurled at believers when discussing theological topics with unbelievers, especially atheists. They love to pull out the lie accusation as if they have caught the believer in a willful attempt to deceive. Before we go any further, we have to admit that there are those believers who do real lies. We are saddened by this fact and it needs to stop. Nothing is gained for God when a believer sins to meet their objective or hide their lack of education

But this situation aside, most of the accusations made by unbelievers are false. The believer is not purposefully telling an untruth. There are reasons for this as well. They are as follows:

  1. The believer doesn’t know– this is often the case given the level of historical and biblical illiteracy permeating the church today. But there is no shame in saying ‘I don’t know. ‘At least you were honest and represented yourself correctly. Instead of creating a stumbling block by making something up, you leave a door open in the unbeliever. If you do not know then you do not know. One key is you can always do some research and find the right answer. The honest is the best policy mentality is Christian and is supported by the Bible.
  2. The believer is misinformed- This is often the case when it comes to biblical knowledge. The pastors, youth ministers and other church leaders/teachers do not know or have been misinformed themselves. They pass on this erroneous information and set their congregations up to be embarrassed and the receiver of abuse or false accusations. This situation can be the product of two sources. Either the leadership has been misinformed or they just do not know and are giving the best answer they can. A third option is that they have never tried to know, which does take place.
  3. The believer is lied to– Believe it or not Christians (including church leadership) do lie to other believers. They also give bad or unbiblical advice. The passing on of faulty information is not lying, because the believer believes they hold the correct information and telling what they know. There is  no attempt to intentionally deceive here.
  4. The believer is never taught– This is often the case because too many churches focus on worship and evangelism only. While both are biblical and need to be done, they do not take priority over teaching the flock correctly. Jesus said “feed my sheep” not ignore the need for knowledge. The failure to teach the truth, to teach it correctly has been a problem in the church for generations. It is not a modern problem alone. We are not talking about intellectualism here but gaining knowledge and the truth. God wants his people to be knowledgeable and filled with the truth

We are not going to point fingers here. That would be too easy. But we are not perfect either. We are confident that everyone is aware of the problem and who is responsible. But it isn’t just a leadership problem. The Bible was written for every believer, not pastors, missionaries, youth leaders, and so on. When God says to study to be approved of him, he is not leaving the normal church member out of the edict. They are to study as well. They need to learn the truth, they need to be properly educated and they need to know how to answer the unbeliever (both their arguments and questions).

The common believer meets more unbelievers than pastors, etc., save maybe for missionaries. They need to be prepared to answer why they believe and that does not mean just quoting the 4 spiritual laws or Christian fad. Unbelievers have real questions which need real answers and real information. Good evangelists also need the right information. Billy Graham has often lamented his lack of training in theology.

When unbelievers accuse you of lying, it may simply be a way for them to hide from the truth or to try to get the believer to doubt their faith. It is a trick to get the believer to lose confidence in their church, pastor and God. To thwart this attack, a believer needs to study the right materials and follow the Holy Spirit to the truth. But even if a believer has the truth, it does not mean the unbeliever will stop accusing them of lying. It just means that the unbeliever has decided to adopt the lie over the truth.

The key for the believer is to find the truth, adopt it into their lives and stick to the truth no matter what the unbeliever does. It is only through the truth (and being honest using love) that the believer will succeed.

 

Why Study History?

As you may have realized by reading this site, we place a lot of history and archaeology information on these pages.One reason is that we love history and archaeology. They are fascinating subjects though not as fascinaing as genetics (which we also study) A second reason is that we can learn a lot from studying history.

Military officers study ancient and more recent battles to learn new techniques on how to condut warfare. Even the Indian wars of the American expansion has contributed to modern warfare. We came across the following quote from the book, Great Western Indian Fights by members of the Potomac Corral of the westerners. On page 24 it reads:

The primitive indian warrior made a contribution to the art of warfare. His swift, silent, harassing, small-scale operations were the forerunners of the commando raids in World War II. At least one description of western indian raiding tactics  was used in the training of American troops for action in the Pacific. General Douglas macArthur paid tribute to the indian as an efficient fighting man-  As a warrior, his fame is world-wide. Many successful methids of modern warfare  are based upon what he evolved centuries ago (Bold ours). Individually he exemplified what the line fighter could do by adaption to the particular countryside in which he fought.

The study of the past is not just for military leaders though. Modern farmers could benefit from studying ancient farming techniques to help them yield a better crop. We know of one example but the reference is lost for now. (That is due to the amount of reading and researching we do). But there was one civilization who elevated their crops and placed them in smaller sections, not too small. Their harvest yield was greater than if they had farmed using the traditional flat one large group method.

The second example is for believers and answers the question why should Christians study hstory. This example is already wel known as it involves Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. In studying archaeological discoveries we find that the wife giving her servant to her husband was a cultural act. It was not a biblically instructed method of having a child.

While the account is in the BIble, we learn that this act actually took place and that both Sarah and Abraham followed their current cultural norms. This does not mean that cultural norms are to be followed or are better than God’s ways.God allowed it to take place but he did not give permission for this chain of events.We have to be careful when reading ancient actions recorded in the Bible and not make the mistake that because it is mentioned, in the Bible, that we have permission to go and do likewise.

We must remember that God does not give permission to his followers to commit sin.

Why Should Christians Study History?

Besides the above two examples, there are plenty of reasons why believers need to study history and or archaeology. Here is a list of reasons why all believers should do some historical study:

  1. God wants us to study- he says so in I Timothy. He wants knowledgeable followers not ignorant ones
  2. We get to the truth- studying history and archaeology is but one way to get to some truth. It is not the only way and they do not hold all truth
  3. We learn that many cultic beliefs are not new but have ancient foundations
  4. We get information on how to refute cultic and other false religious beliefs
  5. We get respect from unbelievers- this is because we actually know something. One of the biggest complaints from atheists is that Christians do not know the Bible or their history
  6. We get information  to refute other unbelievers and their alternative theories
  7. We learn that the secular experts are not telling the truth
  8. We protect our faith- too many unwary and unprepared young believers lose their faith when they encounter those unbelieving professors who do not believe in God, accept that he exists, or believe the Bible
  9. We learn that the Bible is correct and that the secular experts, professors, etc., do not know more than God
  10. We learn how to follow the Holy Spirit to the truth (John 16:13)

These are only ten reasons why believers need to study history and archaeology, even as a hobby. You do not have to quit your job, etc., and go do a full-time advanced degree to learn these things from history and archaeology.

How Should Believers Study History & Archaeology

The how to is as important as the study. This is for the simple reason that believers can be sidetracked by evil and go off in the wrong direction. If this happens then they would be like the evolutionist looking for the truth by going down the wrong paths and looking in the wrong places for their answers. Here are some steps in how to study history and archaeology

  1. Ask God for help- you will not get to the truth by excluding the one who holds all truth
  2. Follow biblical instructions- Psalm 1 is one big key- do not follow the unbeliever or their counsel.Another is found in Ecc.- nothing is new under the sun.
  3. Read good books- we wrote on this recently. You will not find all the information you need in Chrstian books. You will have to read good secular works to get all the evidence and information you need. You will need God to help you not stray into adopting the secular theories or ideas.
  4. Remember that the bible contains actual history- there has never been a historical or archaeological discovery yet that proves the Bible wrong or disagrees with the Bible. What disagrees with the Bible is the archaeologists’theories, assumptions, leaps to conclusions, speculation and so on.
  5. Remember that God does not lie and the Bible is not wrong- the people who lie are those who do not believe in God or follow him
  6. Read the church fathers and other ancient writers- but again remember that they were human and may not have all the answers even though they lived earlier in history.
  7. Stick to the truth- never stary from it. Once you find th etruth, adopt it, keep it and adapt your life accordingly. Even in your discussions with unbelievers, do not stray from the truth
  8. Remember that the secular way is not God’s way- this includes the secular scientific method. Archaeologists want believers to be objective but that is impossible. Dr. WM. Dever said so in his book, Did God Have a Wife. God said it first in the Bible when he said you are either on his side or your not on his side. There is no grey middle ground. The secular scientific method only looks for the best explanation NOT the truth. There is a difference.
  9. Learn the different schools of thought and why they are wrong or right- Minimalist sometimes sound like the believe the Bible but they reject most of the OT.
  10. Learn the difference between credible archaeologists and bad ones- this includes bible scholars, historians and so on. Ron Wyatt was not a good archaeologist,There are many more of them out there. Be wary of S. jacobovici and a guy out there named Rude (he does a Rude Awkwning scheme).Just like every part of society there are frauds in history and archaeology who sound good but are way off the mark.

Why is it important to study correctly

We will give an example of why you cannot rely on Christian authors only. We continue to use this example even though we lost a 30 year friendship over critiquing this author. Erwin Luzter is a profilic Christian writer with many admirers and he wrote a book one time on Hitler and the Cross. We were just beginning our historical and archaeological studies, or a little ways into them, when we came across the book. Our first thought was, great now we will get the truth behind Hitler’s use of the Cross.

We were very disappointed. Mr. Lutzer did very poor research, did not discuss the issue correctly or deep enough and did not provide any real answers to the topic. He also provided no real information that could be used to help refute unbelievers when they used Hitler’s example in their arguments against Christianity. What we got was chapter after chapter of the gospel message. Yes he sacrificed the instructing believers for a continual repeat of what they already knew.

We threw the book away or gave it to someone else. It was useless for that topic. But this is not a rare event in Christian writing. Too often, and we know Christian archaeologists who do the same thing, the believer does poor research, ignores topics that need to be discussed, follow secular ways, use the gospel message far too often, and do not know what they are talking about. We tried to correct a couple of Christian archaeologists one time on their research but the response we got was not good.  You have to do good research and you have to know what you are talking about.

We can support our position here with a biblical example. While Jesus said to go out and preach the gospel, he did not say preach it to the believers all the time and keep them at square one. He did say ‘feed my sheep’, and Paul added to this by saying ‘grow up as a believer'(paraphrase). You cannot grow up and feed the sheep if you continually tell them the same gospel message over and over.

God said, as we stated earlier, to study and to study you need to do it right. Ken Ham and others state that you cannot divorce the gospel from the subject you are talking about. In feeding the sheep you are not divorcing the gospel if you do not mention it. You are building upon the gospel by giving the believer the food they need to grow up as a spiritual being. A choior leader does not keep having the choir sing ‘Jesus loves me’ and hope they will build musical talent. No he keeps giving them more music and more difficlut music so that they grow as a choir

The same goes for believers. You do not keep feeding them the gospel they have already accepted and expect them to be ready to be used of God. You need to feed them more information, more difficult information, teaching them how to use it so they will not lose their faith. Sticking only to the gospel only keeps believers vulnerable to evil. You have to know something. And that means going beyond square one and learning all that you can with God’s help.

God does not want child warriors. He needs soldiers who know something, know what they are talking about, so that they can be used more effectively to win souls for him.The enemy does not have child warriors. They study and they learn but what they study and learn is through deceived eyes and are led away from the truth.

This is why we lose so many young people to the secular world. they are not prepared to face what will come their way. Parents, church leaders, pastors, youth ministers fail their charges because they do not prepare themselves and other believers correctly. They do not give their people the right information or how to use it correctly.(we are being very general here).

Some Final Words

As we stated earlier, history and archaeology are but one way to study and get to a lot of truth. There are other subjects you can study and achieve a lot of the same results. The key is to make sure you are learning from God and not a demon disguised as an angel of light. Real, correct study is not easy and takes work. We understand that most believers do not have a lot of time. But that may be due to what was known as a problem in our undergraduate days- priorities.

How good a believer, how good a spiritual warrior we become depends upon our priorities. That is a decision only you can make for yourself. It is also a change that only you can make. We just put the informationout there so you can see that there is more to the Christian life than what some people think. Pleasing God is not about the number of souls who make a decision for Christ. It is about learning how to use faith correctly and obeying God. Studying is obeying God.

Growing as a believer is obeying God. Jesus said, ‘you will know the truth’, but he did not say it will always be handed to you on a silver platter. SOmetimes you have to study to find it. You may also have to wrestle with conflicting ideas before you get to it. But one thing is for sure, the truth is there waiting for you to get to it.

 

Just a Reminder

that we still have our information and resource site.

it was originally designed for pastors, teachers and missionaries but anyone can use the information to help their knowledge and faith grow

http://www.dakotascba.com/

 

 

Archaeology & Context

It is said by all archaeologists that archaeology is a destructive research field. This is partially true. An archaeologist has to destroy a site in order to harvest any information about it. The word ‘destroy’ needs a little context itself. The definition used is not the one employed by the Taliban or ISIS, where the building, monument, statue or other artifacts taken out of existence.

By using the word ‘destroy’, it is meant that the artifact or other moveable ancient remains, are taken out of their context. For archaeologists, context is everything. This is why they make such extensive field notes. they want to have all the necessary information about the position of the artifacts and other important factors that lend any information to understanding why the artifact, etc., was made, how it was used., why it was left where it was and so on. This information helps the archaeologist reconstruct the past.

But there are problems with this idea that context is everything. There is also a problem with the idea that archaeology is destructive. We shall discuss the latter first, then the former.

Archaeology is Destructive

This mantra, and there really is no better way to describe it, is stated often by archaeologist. As we mentioned above, the destruction is not the obvious form. In archaeologists’ minds, anything taken out of context is destructive. This is why they do not like any artifact that does not have a proven provenance. The word provenance simply means knowing where the artifact came from and its context. Usually, archaeologists like to know the other archaeologists involved, if it was an officially sanctioned excavation and so on. Grave robbers do not provide provenance. They just provide artifacts.

Being destructive in this sense cannot be avoided. If an archaeologist, bible scholar, or historian wants to know something about the past, sites have to be destroyed. It is the only way we can get information about the past. In our opinion, when archaeologists use this mantra, we think they are being drama queens, and not professionals.

It is part of the job, the nature of the work. Lamenting the loss is pointless. If archaeologists waited for decades for technology to improve before they dig their sites, then important information is lost..This is one reason we do not like the square system invented by Wheeler and Kenyon. That system leaves too much information in the ground unanalyzed. If we want a clear picture about the past, we cannot afford to leave potentially vital information buried.

Context is Everything

This is another big issue in archaeology. One that is rife with problems. In the archaeologists’ minds, where an item is found describes its function, purpose and so on. For example, if they find a bookshelf in a large building, chances are the archaeologist will say that the bookshelf held some religious purpose. To them the context suggests such an identification.

This is why so many figurines are given cult and fertility labels, when in reality, they could have been school projects, business items for sale and other options. This raises the reasons why we disagree with the archaeologists who say context is everything.

First, while context may be of some value and gives an idea what the ancients used when they lived. There are just too many variables that come into play to provide a clear picture of the artifact and its purpose. Were they contemporary, ancient antiques, family heirlooms, unused gifts, and so on. We just do not know.

Second, very rarely, if at all, do archaeologists uncover any written document accompanying the artifact describing its manufacturer, function, purpose when it was made and so on. In other words, just about everything about an archaeological context is read into the discovery not taken out of it. This is why there are so many different archaeological opinions on the exact same discovery.

In other words, there is no real context. Archaeologist can only guess at what that context is. They also can only guess at the function and purpose of an ancient building, its furniture and so on. This is why so many buildings are given a religious context. Religion sells and most archaeologists do not accept the idea that the past was almost the same as the present. For some reason, since temples are mentioned in the bible and in extra-biblical works, the archaeologist assumes that all large ancient buildings must be temples.

They do not accept the idea that the building could be a warehouse, prison, or some other alternative use building. We do know that prisons existed in ancient times. Peter and the other apostles spent enough time in them.

This brings us to the third problem with the concept of archaeological context. A lot of the stated context is dependent upon the personal beliefs of the archaeologist making the discovery. This explains why some archaeologists accept the identification of the modern discovery of Joshua’s alter and others do not. It is not for archaeological reasons but personal beliefs.

Sure, pig bones may have been found at the site. So may have other artifacts, but the presence of those items do not alter the orignal purpose for the construction of the ancient structure.

The fourth problem that arises out of the concept of archaeological context is the idea that each and every archaeological discovery is a virgin discovery. What we mean by that phrase is that the archaeologist believes that nothing and no one has touched the site they have uncovered since it was buried. It is a little naive to think that the artifact or site has lain untouched for thousands of years. Especially given the knowledge that grave robbing has taken place for that long as well.

Then the final problem to be looked at here, is the fact that archaeologists are only drawing their conclusions based upon roughly 1-5% of any given site. KA Kitchen recorded how little archaeologists examine over their excavations in his book The Bible in its World. It is rare for any excavation to go above 5%. This means that the archaeological context is missing 99-95% of the information it needs to be accurate.

One of the major factors in this loss of information is erosion. Erosion hits a site long before an archaeologist can find it and put a shovel into the ground.

In other words, there is no real archaeological context. If it is stated that there is one, then you know that the archaeologist is ignoring a lot of these variables (in most cases. Not all of them). We also have to take into account the effects of natural disasters and their influence on a given site. Earthquakes & construction do a lot of damage.

What archaeologists describe to be the past, then, is not the past at all.it is simply their version of what they think took place in history. Of course, not all archaeologists take that route but there are enough of them to muddy the waters and raise arguments against those who seek the actual historical record.

Some final words

You need to be wary when archaeologists try to hide behind these concepts. The truth is we know very little about the past. Solomon’s words in Ecc. ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ serves as a good guide when reading about history and archaeology. What we know today, was known in history, with a few alterations. for example, airplanes may or may not have been thought of, but flying was.

Of course, we would not be surprised if airplanes and other flying machines were thought of in Roman or other ancient times.

There really is no such thing as an archaeological context. This is due to the fact that too much information is missing and too much personal bias influences what evidence is uncovered. It is wise to examine the evidence, sans archaeological opinion, for yourself. But be careful, the evidence is vulnerable to conjecture, assumption and whomever is applying a context to it.

 

 

Two Different Topics

#1. https://www.christianpost.com/news/uk-council-responds-petition-ban-franklin-graham-hateful-lgbt-islam-views-212416/

Still, she added that if it’s proven that Graham encourages hatred and discrimination, the council “will not hesitate to terminate this booking.”

The Change.org petitioners, whose viewpoint has also been shared by some members of clergy in Blackpool, brings up a variety of complaints against Graham.

“He has stated that ‘Islam is ISIS,’ ‘a violent religion,’ ‘wicked and evil.’ These words wrongly implicate ordinary Muslims in supporting terrorist atrocities and fuel hatred,” the petition claims.

In the ongoing battle over what is discrimination, hatred and inequality, the information presented by the unbelieving side of the debate is not necessarily accurate. It is important for believers to make sure they know their argument well. The unbeliever will misrepresent the believer’s side. This is a given fact as is the unbeliever’s misrepresentation of almost any topic they feel passionate about.

In the case of hatred and discrimination, (we will talk about inequality another day), what the unbeliever calls hatred and discrimination is not the case. They use inflammatory language to distort the issue and make the debate about something else. The issue talked about in the article above is not about hatred and discrimination. It is more about the unbeliever not liking the rules of God and his kingdom.

They do not like the rules because it means that upon their refusal to convert, they will spend eternity in hell.The quote above also demonstrates the unbeliever’s unwillingness to label the points Christians make correctly. There is no hatred or discrimination in Mr. Franklin’s comments.There is a lot of truth and bringing God’s rules to those who do not believe.

To address the last section of the quote, the unbeliever really does not accept the reality of Islam. They refuse to believe that because the moderate Muslim exists, that Islam is violent and hate-filled. They also refuse to believe that radical Muslims are the ones who actually practice Islam correctly. The unbeliever also does not accept the reality that all Muslims want to change the world into an islamic state.

The Muslims on Mindanao have publilcaly stated that turning the island into a Muslim caliphate is just the first step. Their ultimate goal is to take over all the Philippines and turn it into a Muslim country. The unbeliever is grossly misinformed about Islam or they just want to ignore the truth. We know they want to ignore the truth. Their opposition to having the gospel preached in England is proof for that statement.

If there is any hatred and discrimination taking place in this issue, then it is on the unbeliever. They are refusing to allow free speech for the believer; they are showing hatred towards the beleiver and the rules of God plus they are trying to stop Christianity from being preached in their country. Describing the truth about another religion is not hatred or discrimination. It is accurately providing the real content of that religion.

No one is stopping a person from becomng a Muslim or practicing its principles. No one is stopping the Muslim from practicing their faith in England thus it is not Mr. Franklin who hates or discriminates. But because the unbeliever hates Christ, they will distort the issue and provide misinformation about a believer. Christians need to be on their toes and not fall into this misinformation trap set by evil.

#2. https://www.christianpost.com/news/evangelical-leaders-identify-poorly-formed-christians-among-top-5-challenges-facing-church-211858/

Tim Keller, along with the leadership of the Gospel Coalition, listed five main challenges and five main opportunities facing the Christian church in 2018. Among the challenges are “poorly formed Christians.”

We pretty much agree with what was said in that article. We just want to talk about a couple of their points here.

First, their second point, division, is on a lot of people’s minds. It is even on the minds of the unbeliever. They wonder why there are so many different Christian denominations in the world if Jesus is the only way to salvation. We all know the answer to that issue but division is not a new concept. It was present in the day of Jesus and the disciples. Remember the Gnostics, the Pharisees, the Essenes?

In fact, when Jesus taught difficult things, he lost followers. We should not be surprised or traumatized because there are divisions in the church. Not everyone is going to accept the truth. What we need to do is learn how to correctly handle the divisions that arise and gently turning those who are opting for more non-biblical beliefs back to the truth.

If they refuse to change back, then they should not be permitted to remain in the congregation. They are poisoning the church with their wrong beliefs and becoming false teachers. Tolerance on the part of the true believer does not mean they allow for false teaching to remain in the church. Some courage is needed by the church leadership to keep the wrong ideas out of the church.

Second, we are not so much concerned about the label – evangelical. We have stated our position on this before. What we are concerned about is the idea expressed in that article that Christians are poorly formed. This is a true statement but most of the blame falls on the shoulders of the church leaders and not the general congregation (although the latter are more responsible for the quality of their christian life).

we say blame because it is the church leadership that often fails its congregations. They do not provide great church service content, make God less of a priority, dwell on bad priorities and on it goes. For the youth of the church, their lack of quality in being a Christian leads to the unqualified people who take positions as youth minister. We are not just talking about members of the congregation who volunteer their time to work with the youth. It is great that they do that but sometimes they just do not know enough to lead the youth to a proper foundation in Jesus.

We know enough youth ministers to know that even the bible college & seminary trained youth ministers are not equipped to lead the youth correctly. They focus more on the superficial or the entertainment of youth than anything else. Rarely do they have the correct answer to the questions raised by their young charges. Rarely do they know the Bible well enough to teach their youth.

We could go on and point the finger at those bible colleges & seminaries who train professional ministers but the point is made. The leadership of the church is not always trained to be in leadership of the church. Unfortunately for them, the Christian faith is a top-down belief. Both God and Jesus set the example for us to follow. They do not learn from us but expect us to learn from them and follow their examples.

They tell us what to do. The reason we do not have properly formed Christians is because just about everyone fails to listen to the instructions of God. It is a group failure. Parents fail their children; youth ministers fail their youth; pastors and other church leaders fail their congregation and denominational leaders fail the church in general.

Now not everone in those positions fail but there are enough of them to warrant Mr. Keller and his friends to declare that mal-formed Christians are a problem. This complaint is supported by the atheists who know that most Christians do not know their Bible, their history or anything much about anything else. Christians do have a problem and it is with ignorance and refusing to learn.

What can be done about it? Well a believer does not have to wait till their pastors start teaching better. They can study on their own. God encourages it. But they must make sure they follow the Holy Spirit so they do not go off track and adopt nice sounding ideas but which are very wrong. There are a lot of attractive theories out there which sound Christian but are not. So before one gets started with their studying, they need to ask God for help and discernment so they can separate the good from the bad and go with the good.

To be a better formed Christian takes work. This means you have to take your Christian faith seriously and be flexible enough to change when God brings the truth to your doorstep. You also have to be dedicated and committed. You will face opposition because evil likes mal-formed believers.They are easy to destroy.

 
 
%d bloggers like this: