RSS

Category Archives: politics

Controversial Issues 3

#2. http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-gay-christian-celibacy

You really have to wonder why someone who claims to be a Christian who has the word of God and knows what God says about certain topics, would seek to ignore God’s warnings and  alter his words all because they want to see unrepentant people be included in the church and the Christian faith. They are not doing the homosexual any favors by doing this and why they would want to bring sin into heaven is not logical.

Ms. Evans is one of these people. It boggles the mind that such fallible humans would attempt to go against the mighty God in this manner? Since I cannot participate in her ‘discussion’ she will have to visit this website to read my side of the issue.

#1. So, both Matthew and I are affirming, in the sense that we do no consider monogamous same-sex relationships to be inherently sinful

Her confession to supporting sin and calling it good.  God disagrees with her and Vines and it is God’s opinion that counts here. This is just an end run around scripture, trying to make a loop-hole where none exists.

#2. The predominant view among non-affirming Christians regarding gay and lesbian Christians is that if they wish to remain faithful to Scripture, they must pursue celibacy

This idea is probably a product of misunderstanding the work of Christ and the teaching on becoming a new creation. The option to marry an opposite sex mate is still there, as I said in point #1. above. They should not be forced to be celibate nor should they be forced to marry someone from the other gender.

BUT they cannot go back to their old lifestyle as clearly taught by Peter. There is no permission from God for believers to practice same-sex relationships.

#3. Non-affirming Christians generally argue that the creation of Adam and Eve reveals the limits of God’s blessing for sexual relationships: one man and one woman. As an opposite sex couple, Adam and Eve were best suited to fulfill God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”

So in Evans’ and Vines’ mind it is okay to be homosexual now  because there are enough people on the earth to keep the world full. The logic illustrated above is just dumb and makes no sense for no other book or passage later in the Bible provides instruction or permission for same-sex relationships.

There is no foundation for Evans or Vines to build their opinion upon. If they were correct, then God would have made that very clear in Leviticus and he would have given out instructions on how same-sex couples are to carry out their relationships just as he had heterosexual couples.

Every relationship passage concerns itself with heterosexual couples only. Not one word for the homosexual couple to guide their lives by.

#4. Celibacy is a gift, Matthew argues, and those who do not have the gift should feel free to marry.

The bad logic continues. It is amazing how much gymnastics Vines does to twist the word of God in order to support his decision to disobey God and pursue  a same-sex relationship. Just because you are not given the gift of celibacy doesn’t mean you have permission to ignore the passages of scripture barring same-sex marriage.

Vines is very desperate here as he looks for any fragment or silence that would open the door to his sinful desires, even it is just a crack. The rules of God still apply even if you are not given the gift of celibacy. Those rules do not change–homosexuality is an abomination to God and those practitioners are not welcome in heaven.

#5. It is better,” Paul writes, “to marry than to burn with passion.”

Their appeal to Paul is as illogical and naive as their appeal to Jesus was. They are taking a generic word forgetting Paul’s context for the word and applying their own ideas to his words.

Paul is not granting permission for same-sex couples to marry if they can’t be celibate with those words. His context has been and always will be God’s definition of marriage–between a man and a woman. There is no room in Paul’s words to shoehorn in same-sex ideologies.

#6. Matthew works in some solid research here, which suggests the tradition teaching on celibacy, for most of Christian history, is that it was a calling, not a mandate.

Appealing to church history is even more desperate as those men were not talking about same-sex unions but heterosexual ones. Also, even if they were including same-sex unions, that doesn’t mean that God changed his mind about homosexuality. The people in church history are fallible and make mistakes about God’s word just like modern people do.

They do not have greater access to God or his intent than anyone else and they do not have the authority to change what God has declared as sin and an abomination. The people in church history are not writing new scriptures. Their words are not inspired like the words of the Bible. We need to be careful about how we use their words, checking with the Holy Spirit to see if they are in line with what God has taught in the Bible.

#7. Matthew makes the case that— though broken and imperfect—“creation is good. The body is good. Sexuality, as a core part of the body, is also good.” Therefore, any doctrine that teaches Christians to detest their sexual desires is unorthodox, contrary to the most central teachings of the Church.*

If you want a good example of how a deceived mind works when it comes to scriptural issues, the above quote is it. Sexual desire is good only if the people abide by God’s rules. Adultery is not good because it violates God’s rules on how people are to have sex.

Homosexual desires and practice are not good because they violate God’s rules. The criteria for what is right and wrong do not include the idea that this is good, that is good thus everything is good.

We could go to the absurd and use his logic in this manner–man is good, woman is good thus rape is good. It is not what is good that makes something right or wrong. The rules determine right and wrong.

His conclusion is also off the wall and the mark.  He is saying that all sexual desires are good thus they all should be practiced. But I do not hear him make a case for polygamy, bestiality, incest and so on. He only wants HIS sexual desire to be included in Christianity and what is good.

He does not understand the word perversion at all or if he does he does not want that word applied to HIS sexual desire. The doctrine that says homosexuality is wrong and to be detested is not contrary to ‘the most central teachings of the church’. it is part of the central teachings of the Church and of God.

His reasoning and research is not very honest.

#8. Mandatory celibacy for gay Christians does not fulfill that purpose. It undermines it, because it sends the message to gay Christians that their sexual selves are inherently shameful. It is not a fulfillment of sexuality for gay Christians, but a rejection of it.”

He really does not understand the meaning or idea of sin. No one is to support sexual fulfillment for the gay Christian if it means that they return to pre-conversion sinful practices.

He just doesn’t get what sin and repentance are all about. He has a personal agenda and in pursuit of that agenda he refuses to look for the truth but ways to get around the truth. He has no desire to be honest, objective or even fair when he handles God’s word or this issue.

He appeals to teachings about celibacy but those teachings do not open the door for monogamous same-sex relationships. His work is called ‘doing eisegesis’ and that is reading into the scriptures what one wants to see and it is the  opposite of exegesis which is taking out of scripture only what is actually there.

In none of the teachings on celibacy is same-sex unions addressed or being alluded to as a correct option for the believer. None of those teachings even refer to same-sex unions or grant permission for them to be conducted. God does not say in one part of the Bible that same-sex relations is an abomination to him, then in another part of the Bible and another topic say same-sex relationships are okay, especially if they are monogamous.

God is not inconsistent. He doesn’t change what is sin because the nature of the sin is practiced like those actions he approves. Sin is sin no matter how it is practiced.

#9. Of course, let’s face it. There are also no examples in Scripture (or, to my knowledge church history) explicitly supporting same-sex relationships.  So it seems these are the two uncomfortable realities we hold simultaneously…at least for now.

Ms. Evans ends her article with these words. So we must ask, why is she supporting sin, calling it good and demanding that unrepentant homosexuals be allowed into the church? She ignores the truth because it suits her.

This chapter may say its issue is the act of celibacy but no one is forcing celibacy on any converted homosexual. At least they shouldn’t be. The option to marry an opposite gender mate is still available to them BUT the homosexual doesn’t want that option. They want their own sexual desires not the one that God says is good.

It is not the Bible’s nor the Christian’s fault that the homosexual refuses to embrace the truth. It is the homosexual’s  because they refuse to do things God’s way. I want to end my piece with the following words from 2 Peter 2

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (NASB) (bold mine)

I think you get the meaning of those words and how they apply to today’s subject

 

Controversial Issues

#1.  Tattoos

There are many people in the church today who think that many of the laws God gave to Moses for the Israelite people do not apply to today’s New Testament World and church. They consider themselves under a new covenant which releases them from many of the laws recorded in the Old Testament.

This attitude allows them to pursue different sinful activities and not feel like they have sinned or in need of repentance. One of these activities is the act of getting a tattoo to mark a special occasion, person or to simply adorn some sort of ‘art’ on their bodies. They think that since the word tattoo is not mentioned in the NT and only in the Old that the law governing tattoos is now null and void.

But these people error in their assessment of scripture as they fail to grasp the fact that while God does not use the same word more than once in scriptures he still talks about the topic and has not changed his mind about it.

For example in Leviticus 19:28 we read the following:

28 You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Le 19:28). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

I placed the bold and underlining to emphasize the words being examined and which are very clear about the issue of having tattoos on your body. God’s words are very clear there and there is no mistaking what is meant by them.

The people of Israel were not to place any tattoos on themselves and the reason given is simple—God is the Lord. He said it thus it needs to be obeyed. Does this mean that the tattoos placed upon the Jewish people by the Nazis made them sinners or disobedient of this law? No. The Jews were not the ones seeking the tattoos nor were wanting them placed upon their bodies.

They did not sin in receiving those marks. But if they willingly got those marks then they would have sinned and been disobedient. Now many people today would look at that verse and conclude that since the law was found in the Torah it no longer applies to them and they are free to get as many tattoos as they desire.
#2. Owning Weapons

This is another issue that can bring out the emotions in people as many are for owning weapons and just as many people are against gun ownership.  For some in the latter category owning guns leads to mass shootings like the many school massacres that have taken place across America in recent years.

They blame guns when in reality they should be blaming the sin nature found in every person and the ability to choose freely what one wants to do. This issue is also vulnerable to the distortion of scripture as each side wishes to make their viewpoint the biblical one. They misuse scriptures in hopes of convincing others of the legitimacy of their position.

A look at these different scriptures is warranted so that we get a clear view of what the Bible is actually saying on this issue.

1. Many people, Christians included, assume that Christ taught pacifism. They cite Matthew 5:38-39 for their proof. In this verse Christ said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” ( All the scripture references will be taken from the article “What Does The Bible Say about Gun Control” by Larry Pratthttp://www.gunowners.org/fs9902.htm)

While Jesus was teaching a non-violent response in support of ‘a soft answer turns away wrath’ this passage does not indicate that a believer cannot own weapons. It is telling us to not use our weapons or fists to respond to certain actions carried out by other people.

2. The reference to “an eye for an eye” was taken from Exodus 21:24-25 which deals with how the magistrate must deal with a crime. Namely, the punishment must fit the crime (Ibid) This passage reads: 23But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (NKJV)

Again we see a list of punishments corresponding to a list of crimes but this passage does not support gun ownership or gun collecting nor does it mean that pacifism is to be practiced or denied. Mercy doesn’t mean that we exact a pound of flesh for every crime committed but that we have leniency when it is warranted.

3. Exodus 22:2-3 tells us “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” (Ibid)

Again we see nothing about supporting owning any type of weapons here nor does this passage indicate that we should let people harm our loved ones when they force their way into our homes.

4. King David wrote in Psalm 46:1 that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. This did not conflict with praising the God “Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1). (Ibid)

Training for war and to learn how to fight just simply means one gets to defend their own country from invaders and to do that a person needs to know the art of war and how to combat the strategies used by their enemies.

This passage, like the rest, makes no implications on owning weapons nor is it saying that it is or it is not okay to own weapons. The weapons for war can be stored by the government in a central or strategic location ready for use when the time comes.

5. This has been delegated to the civil magistrate, who, as we read in Romans 13:4, “is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Ibid)

The word ‘sword’ here most likely does not imply a weapon but the authority to punish lawbreakers. I would have to double-check that but in any case, the fact that the government is allowed to punish and wield weapons does not grant anyone permission to collect or own weapons.

The permission for a country’s citizen’s to own and collect guns, or other types of weapons, is up to the discretion of the government of that nation.  They have been granted authority to govern by God and that authority extends to all areas of life. Governments get to say of their citizens get to own and collect weapons or not.

Such ownership is not a right unless the government makes it a right.
#

#3. Against Homosexuality

It is hard to know exactly where to start when talking about this issue as there is so much ground to cover. This article will not discuss the definition of homosexuality for everyone already knows what the word means and how it is practiced. Nor will it discuss whether homosexuality is right or wrong, it is a given that we all know that it is wrong and sin and that is the position of this magazine.

What will be discussed here will be key points made by Matthew Vine in a discussion on the legitimacy of homosexual relations made in a series of discussions on Rachel Held Evans website (rachelheldevans.com). There is no particular order to the points and we will start with what is probably the main point of Matthew Vine’s argument

1. Our question is not whether the Bible addresses the modern concepts of sexual orientation and same-sex marriage,” he writes. “We know it doesn’t. Instead, our question is: can we translate basic biblical principles about marriage to this new situation without losing something essential in the process?” (http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-and-the-gay-christian-discussion-week-6-conclusion )

This is a very good question and all we have to do is take a close look at the passage of scripture in question to find the answer. The verse most often quoted in this issue is found in Leviticus and it is the one verse which provides us with a definitive description of homosexuality.

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death (20;13 NASB)

The key words are in bold and if we examine those words we will see how a man lies with a woman. First, men lie with a woman in one night stands, casual sex, affairs, and other pre-marital and adulteress instances.

Second, men lie with woman in long term relationships, common law situations and they lie with a woman in a monogamous committed relationships, which include being married to the woman.

So yes, the Bible does address all forms of homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage in those few words. The homosexual preference is prohibited in all circumstances and there is no leeway or escape clause making any exceptions

2. In marriage,” writes Matthew, “we are called to reflect God’s love for us through our self-giving love for our spouse.” This is something same-sex couples can do just as well as heterosexual couples, he says (Ibid)

Same-sex couples may express a ‘love’ for their partner but they are not expressing God’s love because God has called us to repent and give up our sinful practices. Same-sex couples are not expressing God’s love because they are participating in sin and accepting sin as normal, healthy and wonderful. God hates sin

The main problem with same-sex unions is that they ignore what the Bible says about this love–30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. (Eph. 5 NASB)

It is impossible for same-sex couples to become one flesh and even though one of the members of those couples calls themselves ‘a wife’ they are not truly a wife in any definition of the word. The only way for a homosexual couple to meet the standard laid out by this verse is if they give up their same-sex partner and marry an opposite sex mate.

3. Matthew points out that the two terms consider here are malakoi [sometimes translated “effeminate”] and arsenokoitai [sometimes translated “abusers of themselves with mankind” or, more recently, “homosexuals” or “men who practice homosexuality”]…New Testament scholar David Frederickson has argued that, given the context, malakoi in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is best translated, “those who lack self-control.” (http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-and-the-gay-christian-discussion-part-5-i-corinthians-6 )

This point illustrates the extent that homosexuals and alternative believers go to  in order to get their non-biblical ideas and practices accepted by the church and to be considered normal. It doesn’t matter if the topic is same-sex marriage, women in ministry or church leadership or some other alternative the action of those alternative supporters is always the same—they seek to change the Bible in order to legitimize their false teaching and preferences.

They cannot produce alternative ancient texts with a legitimate textual record to support their point so they try to retranslate key words in order to make the Bible say something it has never said. Their work never succeeds because they have no historical foundation to build upon, only their modern sinful desires.

4. But here’s the key point to remember,” writes Matthew. “Even if Paul had intended his words to be a condemnation of all forms of same sex relations, the context in which he would have been making that statement would still differ significantly from our context today.” (Ibid)

We know this is not true because as Solomon wrote in Ecc. ‘nothing is new under the sun’ ancient homosexual preferences were the same as they are today. Yes some ancient authors wrote about experimentation, sexual excess and other forms of homosexuality that did not include same-sex unions or orientation but those writers did not write about all of the ancient world or its practices.

They simply documented only one part of the same-sex activities that was occurring at the time. To take a minute amount of written record and extrapolate that to the whole of the ancient civilization that those authors wrote about is dishonest and making an argument from silence.

Paul’s context came from God, who, as we saw earlier, addressed all forms of homosexual activity not just bits and pieces of that unnatural desire. We may not have ancient writings about all forms of homosexual practice in Paul’s time because, unfortunately for us, they did not survive the ravages of time.

Needless to say, even if experimentation and sexual excess alone were practiced in Paul’s time, it is still homosexual activity, it is still prohibited by God and it does not mean that Matthew Vine’s idea of committed, monogamous same-sex relations is permitted. Silence on the issue does not mean a prior prohibition has been lifted.

5. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about a threatened gang rape, not an intimate companionship. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were grounded in cultural concerns about patriarchal gender roles and religious ritual purity. Romans 1:26-27 refers to excessive sexual desire and lust and uses “natural” and “unnatural” to refer to customary gender roles, just as those words are used to describe men with long hair and women who cover their heads (Ibid)

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah was not about one single, solitary episode of gang rape and we know this because that action of the citizens of Sodom came after God had come with his angels to destroy the cities.

The citizens of S & G, and the other cities included in the destruction, had long practiced homosexuality and other sins. They had worn out the patience of God by this time and one act of gang rape would not have done this.  There was a long history of homosexuality taking place in these cities and most likely a multitude of gang rapes had taken place.

We know from modern examples that homosexuality breeds the practice of other sins, not godly behavior thus other passages of scripture do not need to specifically mention homosexuality, although Ezekiel does say ‘other abominations’ which would include that preference.

As for Mr. Vine’s reference to culture and patriarchal influences, those are weak excuses to justify modern practice of what God says is an abomination to him.

#4. Divorce: It Is NOT the Unforgiveable Sin

When you mention the word divorce, certain bias and attitudes invade the conversation. Believers tend to look upon divorce and divorcees with a certain degree of hatred, dislike, or look upon the people who are suffering through a divorce proceeding or have endured one as abnormal or that they are carrying some sort of disease like leprosy.

Divorced people are often deprived of Christian fellowship because they have broken their marriage vows for whatever reason they may have had. This prejudice against divorce and divorced people often comes from read Malachi 2:16 where God states he hates divorce.

Or it comes from reading Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:3ff where he says whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Or these attitudes about divorce simply come from the personal perspectives taught by the pastors or church leaders of the church.

The source doesn’t really matter here as the problem lies in not trying to be biblical about a difficult subject and in trying to obey and honor the wishes of God but in the failure to read these passages correctly and apply their whole meaning to the divorced person and their situation.

If you read the passages in Malachi or Matthew you will see both God’s and Jesus’ attitude concerning divorce but if you stop at the printed words then you will miss out on the complete picture being painted by them.

Yes God hates divorce and yes Jesus made getting one very strict and difficult but there are things they did not say that believers add into their views and words. When people stop the words ‘ God hates divorce’ or Jesus’ words in Matthew they are missing out on the whole divine point of view.

At no time do either God or Jesus state that divorce is the unforgiveable sin, that divorcees should be excluded from Christian fellowship that divorce is a sin in perpetuality or that the  verses talking about loving thy neighbor as thyself, or treat others better than yourself, (and similar passages), exclude divorced people.

Neither God nor Jesus say to make divorced people second class citizens, inferior to others, or lepers where they are to be separated from church fellowship and need to walk around stating that they are unclean. Divorce may be hated and banned in all but one instance but that does not make divorcees unbelievers or people trying to import sin into the church and get the members to adopt and accept sin.

Divorce happens for a number of reasons and we need to be discerning of those reasons in order to know how we are to act towards those who have to go through this painful procedure Bob Mayo in his book Divorce: A Challenge to the Church asks,

“The question I am asking is how the church might best be able to provide a consistent, well-informed, and pastorally sensitive response to those of us who have been divorced (pg. 17)

and

Is it possible for the church to be accepting of those who are dealing with the consequences while still being clear about the inherent wrongness of divorce? (pg. 17)

The answer to the second question is a simple yes and we can answer both questions with the following words. It is possible to be accepting of those going through divorce or have been divorced and the church can provide a sensitive response because we look at the reasons surrounding the divorce, the response of the parties involved, their perspective of divorce and so on.

If the people are using divorce in order to pursue sinful desires then we know that we need to respond with the message of repenting of their sinful actions and try to turn people away from committing sin. If the divorce has one innocent party then we know from biblical instruction how to provide compassion, comfort and so on.

Divorced people are not excluded from those passages which tell believers how to treat each other. For example, the Bible states that we ‘do unto others as we want to be treated’, it does not say ‘do unto others as you want to be treated except in the case of divorced people.’

or ‘treat others better than yourselves except in the case of divorced people.’  God does say he hates divorce but he does not say exclude divorced people from love, forgiveness, wise counsel, understanding and so on. As Jesus said:

12When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ £ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, £to repentance.”

The church is full of people who are spiritually sick and in need of a physician and divorced people fall into that category.  If we look at how Jesus treated the woman at the well, a person who have been married 5 times and living in sin with a 6th man then we get an idea of how we should be treating a divorced person.

#5. Abortion: It Is Not Just the Woman’s Body

Just the mention of the word abortion can spark the most extreme emotions from normally kind and peaceful people. It drives them to acts of protest ranging from walking picket lines to lying to people to actual murder. It is also one of the most distorted issues we face today.

The anti-abortion groups would have everyone believe that they are defending the innocent and while they are defending innocent babies, the term innocent is not restricted to just the unborn child. There are many other innocent people involved in this issue.

For example, many of the fathers of those aborted children do not want the procedure done yet are given no say in what happens to their child. Yet we see none of these groups defending the rights of these men.

Then there are many women who are forced to have an abortion, not only by the fathers of the unborn baby but also by their parents. These women want no part of abortion yet their wills are over-ruled by others more powerful than they. Yet again we see no defending of these women, just a blanket hatred by these groups towards all who are led to the abortion clinic.

Then the pro-abortion groups would have people believe that the decision to have an abortion is solely up to the woman because it is her body and hers alone. That is very unbiblical teaching as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7 that the bodies of the man and women belong to their mates once they have been joined together.

No Christian, man or woman, should be accepting the secular argument that it is the woman’s body thus it is her choice. The unborn baby is not the sole product of the woman but also the man’s and since her body now belongs to her mate’s it is his choice as well and not just the expectant mother’s.

Yet in all of this debate there is one forgotten fact that no one dwells upon nor mentions which upends the pro-abortion groups’ argument that abortion is up to the mother because it is her body that is affected.

What people do not realize or they simply ignore is that the unborn baby’s body does not belong to the mother and the mother has no authority to harm it. It is not hers to dispose of as she sees fit. That body belongs to the baby and not one scripture gives ownership of that body to anyone else.

There is no permission granted in the Bible to any parent to harm that unborn child thus the mother, or others, cannot decide to end that baby’s life. God has not granted them that right. While secular governments have made the decision to allow that choice to be made, secular governments do not trump God and his rules.

If you need another scripture to help you decide which side of the abortion issue you should be on, then we turn to the commandment, ‘thou shalt not kill’. No matter how you describe the unborn child, whether it is called a fetus, a virus, germ or whatever hate-filled term you want to or is used, one is violating that commandment because abortion is killing another human being.

We can label the unborn baby a human because humans do not produce any other type of baby and the unborn child is not magically transformed from a blob into a child seconds before birth. The born child is a human being from conception to birth and till it dies. No matter how the secular world addresses this issue, abortion is still a violation of God’s word.

The woman’s body is not the only body that is affected by this act. A part of the father dies along with the baby when the decision to abort is fulfilled. The woman does not have permission or the right to destroy part of the man either.

One of the biggest problems in solving this issue, on the church’s part, is the fact that people let their emotions distort their implementation of biblical verses. Many seem to stop at those passages which tell believers to protect the innocent and fail to include other passages of scripture which guide the believer to a better course of action.

We read in Matthew 5 the following:

44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (NKJV)

or

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be 2courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing (The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Pe 3:8–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)

Many anti-abortion groups, those that claim to be Christian, do much damage to the cause of Christ by ignoring these passages of scripture and only letting their emotions restrict their biblical adherence to those passages which direct one to protect the innocent. They also only apply those verses to the abortion issue and not the rest of life, which is included in each verse charging us to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.

#6. Racism

In my work I use a little book called Where To Find It In The Bible by Ken Anderson and for the most part it is a handy little tool to use as it speeds up the process of finding specific verses for each topic. But when it came to this topic, not one of the verses listed actually dealt with racism.

One label said ‘racial marriage forbidden’ but when one got to Genesis 28 all it talked about was Isaac giving instructions to Jacob on where he needs to go to find a wife. Another label reads ‘request to marry heathen’ but the passage in 1 Kings is only talking about Solomon’s half-brother making a request to marry a certain woman and we do not even know if she was a heathen or not. She was just of a different nationality.

These little errors and a host of articles reporting how Pastors talk about race tells me that the church really doesn’t know much about the Bible and how it speaks about race or how race applies. They tend to use modern secular ideas like ‘anti-semitic’ when such ideas were not present in the ancient or biblical world.

The Bible does not really talk about race as the idea of different races was a human invention due to the difference of color of skin and the difference in the features of many humans. Darwin opined that there were about 4-5 different human races yet he made this observation without any scientific aid or historical foundation.

Though science now demonstrates that there is no such thing as race

“Race is a social concept, not a scientific one,” said Dr. J. Craig Venter, head of the Celera Genomics Corp. in Rockville, Md.” {http://www.augsburg.edu/education/edc210/race-myth.html}

“It’s an old-fashioned, even Victorian, sentiment. Who speaks of “racial stocks” anymore? After all, to do so would be to speak of something that many scientists and scholars say does not exist.”  {http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Leroi/}

and

“The billions of pieces of human genetic code sequenced thus far are most notable for what they do not appear to contain—a genetic test to tell one race of people from another. All scientific finds point to the conclusion that race doesn’t exist” {http://www.africanbynature.com/newsletters/raceissocial.html}

this fact doesn’t stop evolutionists from saying that Darwin was correct or keep scientists from claiming that there were different human species in previous eras:

Earlier this month, scientists working in South Africa made an exciting announcement: They had discovered a new species of human ancestor. The species, which they named Homo naledi, may be among the first of the genus Homo, what the project’s lead scientist, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, described as a “bridge” between more primitive species and humans. National Geographic called it “one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century.” (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/do-neanderthals-have-souls/406246/?utm_source=yahoo&ref=yfp )

In spite of the secular world’s best efforts to ignore the truth and the facts about race, the church cannot. It must speak the truth and declare to the world that there is only one race of humans, and that there has only been one race of humans in all of time.

When the Bible speaks about race it only talks about there being one race of people and that the human race descended only from Adam and Eve.

#7.  Criminals & Their Records

When I first went to Korea to teach all that was required of the applicants was a university degree, a valid passport and a pulse. It was great as the situation gave people a chance to see if they were cut out to be teachers or not.

Then a few years later, due to the antics of many of those who came to teach, more regulations were added, one of which was the criminal record check. You now had to have a clean criminal record if you wanted to be in the Korean classroom.

I fought against the implementation of that regulation because I thought it was unfair and unjust as the criminal record only gave evidence of past deeds that could not be changed. The criminal record spoke nothing of the person’s desire or changed attitude in the present and for the future.

It also could not provide any guarantee that the person with the clean criminal record would not offend sometime in the future (which did take place many times in subsequent years after the implementation of the regulation).

Many people lose out on good opportunities to rehabilitate their lives and live as good citizens after learning the lessons that come from making criminal mistakes. This is because of the current attitude concerning those who offend and break the law. It is not fair, it is not just, it is not right to categorize people because of one or a few errors in judgment nor is it fair, just or right to remove opportunities or their rights simply because they committed a crime.

I am old enough to remember the days when the prevailing attitude was that once the person had did their time, they had paid their debt to society and were free to pursue a good life free from prejudice and discrimination. That attitude has mostly disappeared now as it is considered to be the right thing to hold a person’s unchangeable actions over their heads for the rest of their lives and deprive them of the chance to change and live like a good citizen.

This means that this magazine even considers the sexual offenders’ lists that governments employ these days are unjust and unfair as they make the person pay for their crime long after their sentence is over and their debt paid.

Forgiveness is no longer part of the equation nor is a second chance and for the believer we need to ask ourselves, ‘Where would we be if God did not give us second, or third or even fourth or more chances?’ or, ‘How would we feel if God held our sins over our heads throughout our lives?’

I am going to leave you with those questions to answer for yourselves and let you ask God to help you apply the answers to those who have committed crimes. The Bible tells us, as you have freely received, freely give’ and that verse (Mt. 10:8) does not exclude those with criminal pasts.

We are guilty of many crimes yet God says that when we repent, he will not remember our sins thus we cannot make ourselves greater than God by holding the sins of others over their heads when they repent of their crimes.

We need to emulate God’s attitude and make a better impact for God in this area of life by bestowing upon our repentant criminal element dignity, rights and another chance or three to get it right.

 

Issues of the Day

#1. https://www.mail.com/int/news/world/5388504-lgbt-outrage-trump-ban-transgender-military-servic.html#.1272-stage-set2-6

Leaders of major advocacy groups depicted Trump’s Twitter pronouncement as an appeal to the portion of his conservative base that opposes the recent civil-rights gains by the LGBT community. “His administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government — even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the LGBT-rights group GLAAD.

The only thing stopping LGBTQ community members from serving in the military are their own demands and desire to force their preferences upon others. There are many believers serving in the military who accept the rules and adjust their behavior according. They do not usually make outrageous demands nor force other servicemen to adhere to their rules or even accept them s they are. They simply obey the rules set out by the military. This is the major problem with the LGBTQ community. They cannot accept the rules demanding that everyone one bow to their perversion or else.

The LGBTQ community is not going to make friends under their current modus operandi. In fact they should expect a backlash as their chosen preference is not accepted as good, normal, etc. by a vast majority of the people. We agree with Trump’s decision here as it is high time the LGBTQ community be told ‘no’ and it is about time they realize that they are not normal, but sinful and violating God’s rules.

#2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ken-ham-sells-ark-encounter-land-to-himself-for-10_us_596e9e95e4b05561da5a5ba9

Creationist Ken Ham, the notorious owner of The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, has once again found a new way to swindle the good people of Kentucky out of their money.

Knowing HuffPost’s great dislike for and bias against Christians so here is another link to the same story

http://www.christianpost.com/news/kentucky-suspends-ark-encounter-18-million-tax-break-deal-192930/

While there is a lot we agree with that Ken Ham does and says there are a lot of public statements and actions we do not agree with and this is one of them. There is nothing wrong with a church or Christian theme park in investing in the community they reside. They should be setting the example how to be involved correctly with the community they are trying to reach not setting the example of how to screw the community out of much-needed revenue. The latter sets up stumbling blocks to Jesus while the former would knock those stumbling blocks down before they got started. The church is to reach the community not to make it more difficult to reach that objective. Paying property tax is not a big deal if the church or theme parks etc., are assessed correctly.

We disagree with Ham’s move here and feel that he is taking advantage of the community’s good graces. His actions are not Christian and we could point to the lack of biblical instruction that says avoid paying taxes to bolster our argument but  Ham and others already know that those do not exist. Being Christian does not mean escaping one civil responsibilities even when they are a church or christian organization

#3. http://www.morethancake.org/archives/29412

Does history prove science and Christianity are incompatible?

We have written long on this in other articles so we won’t delve into a long discussion here. Suffice it to say that the only way for science and Christianity to be compatible is for the former to repent of its sins and get to the truth. Since most of the scientific world does not believe God nor in God it is not God who is in error and lacking the truth. You can’t have the truth if you kick the only one who possesses it out the door and ban him from entry.

#4. http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/8304/is-the-bible-fake-news

The point here is actually not that God has changed or that there really was a flood or that we have to figure out how Noah’s family repopulated the world without committing incest. The compilers of Genesis included the flood story to change our minds about God.

What is fake about the Bible are all those people who forget when different rules were implemented.Incest was not banned by God till long after the flood. What is also not fake news are the different historical accounts starting with creation, moving on to the flood, then Sodom and Gomorrah and so on. You cannot have fake news if you are holy

#5. http://www.christianpost.com/news/christians-wont-be-punished-as-long-as-they-do-what-we-say-rolling-stone-reporter-responds-lgbt-193200/

Kroll’s attitude seems to be, “if those conservative Christians just become like those liberal Christians, they have nothing to worry about; so what’s the problem?”

In other words “do as i say or else’. It seems absolute power has corrupted this guy absolutely, absolute power over his money that is.  He needs prayer.  But this is the way it is with the LGBTQ community. They have spent decades whining and complaining about abuse, intolerance, hate crimes and many more negative things BUT when they get an opportunity to be different, to set the example of how they want to be treated, they opt to do to others as has been done to them. They will abuse others, they will be intolerant, they will commit hate crimes and on it goes.

The LGBTQ has no sympathy nor argument because they cannot do unto others as they would like to be treated. You cannot win friends and influence people when you are sinning to achieve your demands. Nor can you expect people to accept you when you act like the bully or be hypocritical. We all know that this guy attacks Christians but he does not attack any other religious group who defy his agenda. His actions and words undermine everything he says and does and makes him a laughing-stock. So he has money, whoopee, all he demonstrates is hatred, intolerance, and acts like a bully. He is just one more rich guy in a long line of rich guys who do the exact same thing for their individual agendas. He isn’t new, unique or even smart.

When will the LGBTQ community grow up and realize that there are more people in the world than them, all of who have rights and freedoms along with free choice to exercise those rights and freedoms as they see fit.

 

Governments Going Too Far

You have probably heard about this story already– Oregon Seizes Children From Parents Who Have Low IQ– and you may already taken sides on this issue. You can read about it here:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/oregon-seizes-children-from-parents-who-have-low-iq-192929/

While governments have a certain amount of rights guiding them concerning this issue there is a point where they can go too far.  I am not going to make this a Liberal thing for conservatives have been known to do the exact same thing here. They all think they get to decide for other people on different issues. That is not right. No laws were being broken here, the children were not in danger and no matter what opinion to the contrary any one holds, these people have the right to have and raise their own children.

We feel strongly that Christians should stand up for these parents because they are innocent people. Being mentally slow is not a biblical criteria to deprive anyone of having and raising their own family.  It i snot what the government thinks, it is not what some people think it is what God thinks that matters most and there are a host of verses that tell the believer how they should respond in this situation and those verses do not tell them to side with the government.  Obeying the government does not mean we ignore God’s words , commands or instructions. The government has to be held in account for their actions. If they are not then there is no telling how far they will go. One bad example is found in Ontario, Canada where the ruling administration has decided that it can pull children out of a home simply because the parents will not support the child’s misguided gender feelings.

That is evil at work not God’s government and we are to oppose evil not support it. The government does not have a divine right to go too far, even though they do. It was once said evil abounds if good men do nothing or something like that. Good people do need to stand up and oppose the government follow God’s leading when they do so. Not like the do in the emotional issues like abortion where they do picket lines and violent acts but with God leading the way. People like that couple need intelligent Christians to stand up for those parents’ rights and fight for them.

Christians have to lead the way to what is right not to blindly supporting the secular government who does not care about God, his people or his ways.

 

Exactly What Is Accreditation and How is it Different from Certification? by Dr. Dennis Frey

Accreditation is essentially a statement of approval.  In the United States, if it is to be meaningful, it must come from an independent association having attained its own approval from the United States Department of Education (USDE).  In the U.S., the government (USDE) does not accredit schools.  However, the USDE is in the business of approving the associations which do accredit schools (for the purpose of serving as gate keepers for Title IV Funding).  You must understand this if you are to properly understand accreditation. Title IV Funding is the nearly 60 billion dollar congressionally approved annual money stream that flows from taxpayers to educational institutions that are accredited by an agency approved by USDE.  The reason that USDE approves accrediting agencies is to assure quality control over the flow of Title IV Funds.  The greater part of accreditation requirements is geared toward satisfying the USDE mandated standards that are specifically designed to safeguard the huge taxpayer investment in higher education.

Accrediting associations in the U.S. are not required to seek USDE recognition, but without it, the value of such accreditation may be questionable, and schools they accredit are not eligible to receive Title IV Funds.  That is why schools promoting accreditation from sources not approved by the USDE are considered “unaccredited.”  BEWARE: There are dozens of so-called accrediting agencies (some with very official sounding names), that are nothing more than a fraud designed to deceive.

EXCEPTION: Accrediting agencies (just like schools), must first operate according to accepted practices and attract a sufficient number of clients before they can petition the USDE for possible acceptance.  Unrecognized agencies that are in a petitioning status with USDE, and are operating openly within the general parameters set forth by USDE (though still not considered recognized), ought to be considered valid, but their members’ schools are still not qualified for Title IV Funds.

The following quote is taken from the web site of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  “There are accrediting organizations that may not be recognized but are not accreditation mills. For example, the accreditor may be seeking recognition, but the process is not complete. Or the accreditor does not meet the requirements of CHEA or USDE for reasons that do not relate to quality.”

Certification is also essentially a statement of approval, but significantly different from accreditation in several important ways.  Most importantly, certification is not tied to Title IV Funding.  Only USDE recognized accreditation qualifies institutions to receive such funding.  Certification is not generally recognized as being equivalent to accreditation since certification criteria is not geared toward satisfying the requirements for Title IV Funding.  Therefore, certifying agencies are not as well known, and their value not as readily appreciated.

Legitimate certification is similar to legitimate accreditation in that it also involves voluntary peer review through private agencies accountable to their constituents and the public at large, but not to the federal government since Title IV Funding is not involved.  Much of the misunderstanding that arises between the two is due to the lack of consumer awareness, and the generally held belief that accreditation is the only standard for academic legitimacy.  This is one reason why accreditation mills thrive while certification mills generally are not popular targets for scam artists.

Furthermore, certification is a term more often associated with professions, products, and processes.  For example, there are “Certified Financial Planners”, “USDA Certified Agricultural Products”, and “Procedures Certified” by certain medical associations.  Of course, the term “accredited” is also used in many of these situations.  This is because the two terms often serve as synonyms.  However, when it comes to higher education, accreditation is tied to Title IV Funding and certification is not.  Schools may be accredited but not certified, certified and not accredited or both or neither.  The important thing is that the school not misrepresent itself.

Exactly What is an Accredited Degree?

This may come as a shock, but in point-of-fact, there is no such thing as an accredited degree.  Only schools or programs within schools are accredited.  Period!  Look carefully at any degree earned from an accredited school, and you will not find one word that even suggests that it is an “accredited” degree.

If it does, you may be certain that the degree is bogus.  That’s because degrees are not accredited.  You can earn a degree from an accredited school or program within a school, but you cannot earn an accredited degree from that same school.  It may seem like only a matter of semantics, but it much more.  You can earn a degree from either an accredited or unaccredited school, but the degree you earn is neither accredited nor unaccredited.

Here is an example (admittedly extreme, but it makes the point):  Sam Smith graduated from MYU before it was accredited.  His degree is from an unaccredited school.  Sam’s son (Sam Jr.) graduated from MYU after it received accreditation.  Sam Jr. earned a degree from an accredited school.  Sam’s grandson graduated from MYU during the time that it lost its accreditation.  Sam III earned a degree from an unaccredited school.

Sam’s great grandson earned his degree from MYU after it regained its accreditation.  Sam IV earned a degree from an accredited school.  Now let’s look back, the fact that MYU was accredited when Sam Jr. attended, was of no consequence to Sam.  His degree was still earned at an unaccredited school.

Why?  Because there is no such thing as “grandfathering” when it comes to accreditation.  The same is true for Sam Jr. at the time MYU lost its accreditation.  Sam Jr. still earned a degree from an accredited school.  Why?  Because even though a school may lose its accreditation (it happens), there is no reverse of grandfathering.  The school will always be considered accredited at the time that it held accreditation, and unaccredited at the time it did not hold accreditation.  The bottom line, there is no such thing as an accredited degree.  One either earns a degree from an accredited or unaccredited school.  All accredited schools in the U.S. were at one time, unaccredited, and all accredited schools are subject to the loss of accreditation (it does happen).

Are Schools Required to Obtain Recognized Accreditation?

No.  For the most part, accreditation in the U.S. is strictly voluntary.  Many states require, or provide for, a kind of “state approval.”  However, this is not the same as accreditation.  There are many schools in the U.S. that operate as top-quality institutions with high academic standards and yet have elected to not seek accreditation.

The following quote is taken from the web site of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  There are institutions that may not be accredited but are not degree mills. For example, the institution may be seeking accreditation, but the process is not complete. Or a legitimate institution may choose not to be accredited for reasons that do not relate to quality.

The following quote from the United States Department of Education makes the point. “It should be noted that some institutions have chosen not to participate in the federal student aid program and therefore do not have to be approved by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department. While these institutions do not appear on the Department’s list, they may be legitimate schools. Stroup encouraged consumers and employers to use the list as an initial source of information and to investigate further whenever an institution does not appear on the list.”  (February 1, 2005)

The former executive director of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education), as quoted in that agency’s September 2005 quarterly publication stated that “There are hundreds of Bible Colleges and Seminaries in the United States and Canada that are offering good solid theological training, yet they are not accredited.  This would be the case with our Affiliate institutions that take advantage of the programs and services that we offer.”

Of course, all schools in the U.S. attempting to seek recognized accreditation must first operate as an unaccredited school and provide sufficient proof of institutional credibility prior to applying.  All accredited schools in the U.S. were, at one time, unaccredited.  In fact, the common qualifying procedure for schools seeking recognized accreditation is the development of a “Self Study” through which the institution demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the accrediting agency, that it is operating in a manner sufficiently consistent with the criteria required for accreditation. On a practical level, this demonstrates that it is possible for an unaccredited school to operate at a level generally equivalent to that of an accredited school.  The very same logic can be applied to certification as well.

What Are Some Advantages of Recognized Accreditation?

Access to government sponsored or approved student loans and grants (Title IV Funds).

Easier recognition for transfer of its credits to other accredited schools.

Easier recognition of its degrees by other schools and organizations.

Greater likelihood of acceptance of its students by other schools for further study.

Greater probability of the recognition of its educational programs meeting the qualifications for some goals, requirements, and licenses.

What Are Some Disadvantages of Recognized Accreditation?

More difficult entrance requirements into its programs of study.

Program requirements which may limit certain individuals or prevent them from being accepted into its programs.

Significantly higher tuition and related costs for all programs of study.

Less accommodating schedules and course offerings.

Fewer options for the older or nontraditional student.

What Are Some Advantages of Not Having Recognized Accreditation?

Less difficult entrance requirements for desirable programs of study.

Lower tuition and related costs making it possible to graduate without debt.

More accommodating program schedules and course offerings making it possible for busy adults to study anywhere anytime.

Unaccredited schools are likely to be more innovative and liberal in the development of specialized courses, unique study concepts, the use of emerging technology, and the design of nontraditional certificate and degree programs.  In this regard they are often pioneers and early adopters.

Providing the school is properly dedicated to its mission, the student will have an opportunity to gain an education comparable to that offered at accredited schools for similar courses and programs, but at a fraction of the total cost.

What Are Some Disadvantages of Not Having Recognized Accreditation?

No access to government sponsored or approved student loans and grants (Title IV Funds).

Transfer of credits earned may be more difficult.

Acceptance of graduates by accredited schools for further study more difficult.

The recognition of educational qualifications earned for meeting some goals may be problematic.

Certain licenses and professional requirements may not permit the acceptance of degrees earned from unaccredited schools.

Does Recognized Accreditation Assure A Quality Education?

No.  Even though recognized accreditation is a very good indicator that a program meets acceptable standards, the quality of an education is still largely dependent upon the value of the course content, the background and competency of the instructor, and the willingness of the student to get the most out of the course.  It is quite possible to attend even a top-rated accredited school and obtain an inferior education.  No level of accreditation can force a professor to do her or his best, and no professor, however gifted and dedicated, can force a student to learn.  It’s always possible for a less than sincere person to beat the system.

Can A Program Without Recognized Accreditation Provide A Quality Education?

Yes!  Again, since the quality of an education is largely dependent upon the value of the course content, the background and competency of the instructor, and the willingness of the student to get the most out of the course, it is quite possible to attend a well organized unaccredited school and receive a first-class education.  In fact, there is no reason why the level of learning between an accredited and unaccredited program offering similar courses and programs should not be comparable.  The honest student truly seeking to learn, will quickly discover whether the program is meeting the need.  If the course of study is meeting the need, and the student is doing her or his best, whether the school is accredited or not may be immaterial.
Beware of those who suggest that there is “no reason to attend an unaccredited school.”  Such logic suggests that there is no need for new schools, or for the older and established schools to become accredited.  How so?  In order to become an accredited school, an unaccredited school must first demonstrate through a pattern of evidence [to the satisfaction of the accrediting agency], that it is operating in a manner sufficiently consistent with the criteria required for accreditation.  In other words, in order for any school to become accredited, there must be a sufficient period of time during which the school is unaccredited but operating as if it were accredited, before it can be accredited.  This cannot be done unless the school is enrolling and graduating students!  Furthermore, without the pressure from innovative and immerging institutions, competition would be stifled, resulting in fewer choices and even higher tuition.

Will a Degree Earned Through an Unaccredited School be Accepted and Considered Legitimate?

This depends upon what is meant by accepted and legitimate.  Here is the blunt truth.  There is a difference between a legitimate degree and a degree earned legitimately!  Depending on the law of any given state or country, even a cheap degree may be legally legitimate.  But was it legitimately earned?  A degree is legitimately earned providing the entrance requirements, course work, and completion requirements are appropriate for the degree awarded (whether it is earned through an accredited or unaccredited institution).

Will a Degree from an Unaccredited School be Accepted by My Church or Place of Employment?

While there certainly are some situations when only a degree from an accredited school can qualify one for certain positions and privileges, for the most part, you are judged and accepted on you, not the school from which you graduated.  Example: Are you already in ministry?  If so, when was the last time a member of your church asked you if you had a degree at all, much less if it was earned at an accredited college or seminary?

CAUTION!  Do not fall victim to the myth that earning a degree from an accredited school is a ticket to ministry success.  It is not.  Ministry is one of those places where what you do with what you know trumps everything else.  In fact, for those already serving in ministry, a degree from a highly credible though unaccredited school may be the most logical choice.  We ought never to forget that especially in the Christian tradition, academic freedom is considered a cornerstone of religious liberty.  Of course, so is academic responsibility!  Therefore, any program of study leading to a theological degree ought to be both Biblically sound, and academically honest.

However, if you are concerned whether your church or place of employment will accept you with a degree earned through a credible though unaccredited school, you are strongly urged to ask!  Even in the case of degrees earned from accredited schools, there may be restrictions on what kind of degree is recognized, and what kinds of schools are considered acceptable.  For example, in some cases, denominations and ministries may not accept degrees from secular schools, or schools not affiliated with the group.

Will a Degree or Credits Earned Through an Unaccredited School be Accepted  by Other Schools?

First of all, it should be understood that no school is required to accept credits ore degrees from another school (accredited or unaccredited).  However, generally speaking, degrees earned through unaccredited schools will often be recognized by other unaccredited schools providing the school meets the standards of the receiving school, and the learning discipline is relevant.  On the other hand, most accredited schools will accept only a very limited number of students from unaccredited schools.  Such acceptance, when granted, is usually based on degree or credit relevancy, the coursework and degree requirements, and the background and ability of the person applying.  The bottom line…an accredited school may accept credits and degrees from an unaccredited school, but don’t count on it!  If this is a real issue for you, ask first!

However, in the case of Master’s, because of our commitment to educational excellence, credits and degrees earned a MISD have been accepted at many regularly accredited institutions.  In addition, MISD has formal agreements with several faith-based institutions of higher learning regarding the acceptance of credits and degrees, and friendly relations with more than ninety others.  Names of these institutions are available upon request.

Why is Master’s Certified, but not Accredited?

Master’s is a relatively young institution (founded March 30, 1999), and is not financially endowed as in the case of institutions associated with denominations .  The process of seeking and obtaining legitimate accreditation is one that requires considerable institutional resources, and a sufficient number of years of successful operation in order to be adequately prepared.

Since our founding in 1999, we have pursued a policy of developing a Divinity School that operates in a manner consistent with Biblical guidelines, and have promoted and maintained appropriate academic and business standards.  Consequently, we have received a remarkable level of credibility among our ministry peers.

This affirmation of institutional integrity has attracted thousands of students from around the world.  Our alumni serve in practically every ministry calling within the denominational and independent structures of the church-at-large.  A careful examination of our Endorsements and Cooperatives bears witness to this fact.  Our goal is to remain faithful to our mission and purpose, to continue to promote appropriate academic standards, and to be vigilant in our pursuit of institutional development.

Nevertheless, we do recognize and honor the value of legitimate academic and institutional peer review.  For this reason, Master’s has achieved certification with the Council of Private Colleges of America. The mission of the CPCA is to serve private faith based educational institutions through quality standards and practices.  The purpose of the CPCA is to promote quality faith based education, and provide support services for faith based educational institutions to accomplish their individual purpose and mission.  The CPCA represents member faith based educational institutions before government or other educational agencies, and provides certification to member faith based educational institutions through quality peer review and onsite certification visits verifying CPCA standards.

In addition, understanding the value of USDE recognized accrediting agencies, Master’s has achieved affiliated status with the Association for Biblical Higher Education (a USDE recognized agency).   As such, we participates in and contribute to collegial and professional development activities of the Association.  Our affiliate status does not, however, constitute, imply or presume ABHE accredited status at present or in the future.

Does Master’s Have A Plan to Seek Recognized Accreditation?

First, let’s make something quite clear…one of the “tricks” of unscrupulous schools is to falsely hold out the promise of accreditation sometime in the near future.  No unaccredited school can promise students that it is going to be accredited (and no accredited school can promise that it will always remain accredited).  Even though Master’s is currently engaged in the process of  preparing for recognized accreditation, if we are successful, that will have no bearing on degrees earned prior to accreditation (see above).  Furthermore, the process by which recognized accreditation is achieved can take years.  If you are seriously considering Master’s, and do not need to earn a degree from an already accredited institution, then your decision should be based upon our currently achieved level of credibility.

OK, but How Can I be Sure That Master’s International School of Divinity is Really Valid and of High Quality?

Check us out for yourself. DO NOT rely on published guide books, Internet message boards, blogs or chat rooms for accurate information (this holds true for any other school you may be considering). Such places as message boards and blogs are often populated by one or more “self-proclaimed experts” whom only rarely possess any actual first-hand knowledge about the schools they suppose themselves to be competent to rate (or rant against).  These individuals seem to crave whatever attention they may get from their pontifications.

In addition, the few books and online guides that profess to give “expert” guidance, are too often out-of-date or just plain wrong, simply because it is physically impossible for these individuals to actually visit the schools they profess to know about.  Consequently, information is notoriously inaccurate, out-of-date and suffers from the fact the few if any of the schools rated have received an actual on-site visit or even been afforded the benefit of submitting a formal validation document.  Information is usually gleaned from the internet, school catalogs as well as second and third-hand sources.  One serious indication of poor research is the use of unprofessional language and the strongly worded personal opinions of the author or compiler.  While such sources may provide some useful information, caution should be exercised when accepting information as accurate.

Furthermore, be aware that some unscrupulous admissions recruiters often profess to have “inside knowledge” in order to berate competing schools as a way of convincing you to enroll at the school they represent.  The only sure way is to check it out for yourself.  In the case of Master’s, read everything on our web site, call and speak with anyone or any organization named on the web site that is of interest to you. Request an academic evaluation for yourself, and ask every question that you think is important.  Don’t settle for anything less than a satisfactory answer. After that, you will be able to make an informed decision.

IMPORTANT:  Please visit us in person if that is possible.  These days, legitimate schools are trying very hard to present themselves as best they can by having a first-rate web site (such as Master’s is trying to do).  However, easy degree mills and outright degree mills are also doing so.  That’s why a visit can be worth a thousand pictures!  Of course, you may not be able to visit, but perhaps you have a friend or a colleague from your church or business contacts who may be able to come on your behalf, if so, we would be pleased to meet with them in your place.  If none of these options are practical, you may wish to contact the Council of Private Colleges of America.  The on-site team that recommended our five-year certification will be able to answer any questions concerning the quality of Master’s.

Ten Commandments for  Degree Mills

1.  Thou shalt seduce them with ridiculously low tuition.

2.  Thou shalt boast of being accredited by a worthless agency.

3.  Thou shalt offer as many different degree titles as possible.

4.  Thou shalt give life-experience credit for everything.

5.  Thou shalt not require too much work for anything.

6.  Thou shalt not refuse anyone entrance into any program.

7.  Impress them with your “accredited” faculty, they won’t know that there is no such thing.

8.  Always appeal to their vanity by offering them what they “deserve.”

9.  Provide high quality printed degrees and transcripts to deflect questions about the  low quality of the program.

10. Encourage skeptics to visit your web site, discourage them from visiting your office.

 

Feminism

Introduction:

This is one of the most destructive false ideologies to enter the church. There are far too many women in the church adopting this way of life and disrupt the family, disrupt the unity of the church and teach the children the wrong ideas about life, women and their roles.

Feminism in any form is anti-biblical and goes contrary to biblical teaching. It is not of God even though many of its adherents claim to be Christian and spout bible verses to enhance their alternative views.

One of the problems with this ideology is that they claim that the ‘orthodox’ and ‘patriarchal’ members of the church changed God and the Bible enabling them to oppress women but there is no historical, archaeological or spiritual support for this position. Yet that does not stop these people from changing God and the Bible to fit their feminist views.

What follows are excerpts from different works providing some insight into this false ideology.

#1. Thomas Nelson, I. (1995). The Woman’s Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

FEMINISM: A SOCIAL IDEOLOGY

Feminism is somewhat difficult to define, for the term means different things to different people. Some who call themselves feminists are merely interested in promoting the dignity and worth of women. Others seek to promote a specific socio-political ideology that goes far beyond this. Feminists raise many valid concerns: the verbal and physical abuse of women, the degradation of women through pornography, and the attitude that women are of less worth or value than men.

Feminist philosophers propose that the solution to these problems lies in women’s claiming the right to “name” or decree meaning for themselves. They encourage women to decide who they are, what the world should be like, or who or what God is. Scripture stands against this solution. The Bible teaches that God—and God alone—has the right to define these things. God made the earth and created man and woman, and He has determined who they are and how they should live (Is. 45:10–13; Rom. 9:20, 21).

  Women are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27); therefore, they ought to be treated with the same dignity and respect as men. The Bible does describe, however, basic differences between men and women that are to be honored as part of God’s design (1 Cor. 11:3–16). The Bible does not support the degradation or abuse of women. At the same time, it does not support the right of women (or men) to put themselves above God’s plan and do as they please. Christians need to respond to the real problems that feminists identify, but they must do so without compromising the plan for male and female that God has revealed in His Word.

#2. Shanks, H. (Ed.). (2004). BR 08:05.

Feminist Interpretations of the Bible: Then and Now

The Bible has frequently been used as a weapon to oppress women

By Pamela J. Milne

Feminism—and the movement arising from it—may be the most important revolutionary development in human history. It seeks nothing less than the true equality of women. Some have compared the feminist movement to the Copernican revolution: Like the Copernican revolution, the feminist movement has already changed the way we view and understand the world.1 We almost forget that so many things we take for granted—like women’s right to vote or to get an education—were won only after a long struggle by many women and a few men committed to the belief that women are entitled to full equality with men.

Feminism is multifaceted and diverse. It has been called a movement, a political theory, an outlook, a worldview and a philosophy. Today its influence can be seen everywhere: in feminist legal theory, in feminist medical practice and in feminist approaches to science. Perhaps we should talk about feminisms to emphasize the range and diversity within the feminist movement. One central aspect, however connects the multiple visions of feminism: It is a response to women’s concrete experience of oppression in a male-dominated world. The goal of all feminisms is, ultimately, to change the world, to make it a place in which women are fully equal to men—legally, economically, politically and socially.

Not surprisingly, religion has also been the subject of considerable feminist attention. Most major religions are perceived as playing an important role in defining women as inferior and in sanctioning the oppression of women by men.

For women, undermining these scriptural “proofs” of male superiority was essential because the Bible was such an authoritative document. Thus the earliest feminist biblical criticism (or feminist hermeneutics) in America began in the 1800s in the context of the suffrage movement.3

Some 19th-century American feminists like Lucy Stone were unwilling to accept biblical injunctions that wives had to be submissive to their husbands, but they were also unable to abandon the Bible and biblical tradition. Stone was determined to attend college to study Hebrew and Greek so she could learn for herself whether or not the men who had translated the Bible had distorted the text. In 1843 she went to Oberlin College in Ohio, the first American college to admit women along with men. There she formed a deep friendship with Antoinette Brown, the first woman to be ordained a minister in the United States.

One feminist strategy countered negative feminine images with positive ones. When opponents of women’s rights appealed to Eve, Jezebel and Paul’s attitude toward women, feminists appealed to other texts that reflected the equality of men and women, for example, Joe 2:28 (“I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” quoted in Acts 2:17–18); Romans 16:7 (a reference to Junia, a woman, as a prominent apostle imprisoned with Paul) and especially Galatians 3:28 (“There is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”). They pointed to biblical characters like Miriam, Deborah, Jael, Huldah, Phoebe and Priscilla, as well as to Jesus’ own attitude toward women.

A second feminist strategy was to identify the perceptual bias of all-male biblical interpretation and to emphasize the need for women to be trained in biblical languages and criticism, to become actively involved in biblical interpretation. From this would come feminist reinterpretations of the very texts that had been used against women by the opponents of women’s equality. The most important of the texts needing reinterpretation was, of course, the Adam/Eve story in Genesis 2–3.

Not all feminists agreed that the Bible, even if properly reinterpreted, would support women’s demand for equality. Some, such as Matilda Joslyn Gage and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, contended that religious anti-feminism went much deeper than simple sexist interpretation of the Bible.

#3. Shanks, H. (Ed.). (2004). BR 08:05.

If The Bible’s So Patriarchal, How Come I Love It? By Phyllis Trible

Can women serve two authorities, a master called Scripture and a mistress called feminism?

The Bible was born and bred in a land of patriarchy; it abounds in male imagery and language. For centuries, interpreters have exploited this androcentrism to articulate theology; to define the church, synagogue and academy; and to instruct human beings, female and male, in who they are, what roles they should play and how they should behave. So harmonious has seemed this association of scripture with sexism, of faith with culture, that few have ever questioned it. Understandably, then, when feminism turns attention to the Bible, it first of all names patriarchy.

Evidence abounds for the subordination, inferiority and abuse of women. One has no difficulty in making this case against the Bible, it is the sine qua non of all feminist readings

Yet this recognition has led to different conclusions. Some people renounce Scripture as hopelessly misogynous, a woman-hating document with no health in it. Some reprehensibly use the patriarchal data to support anti-Semitic sentiments. They maintain that ascendancy of the male god YHWH* demolished a historic (or prehistoric) era of good goddess worship. A Christian variety of this view holds that whereas the “Old” Testament falters badly, the “New” Testament brings improved revelation. Other individuals consider the Bible to be an historical document devoid of continuing authority and hence worthy of dismissal. The “who cares?” question often comes at this point. In contrast, others despair about the ever-present male power that the Bible and its commentators promote. And still others, unwilling to let the case against women be the determining word, insist that text and interpreter provide a more excellent way. Thereby they seek to redeem the past (an ancient document) and the present (its continuing use) from the confines of patriarchy.

Reinterpretation characterizes this hermeneutic. It recognizes the polyvalency of the text but does not make the Bible say anything one wants. Between a single meaning and unlimited meanings lies a spectrum of legitimate readings. Some assert themselves forcibly; others have to be teased out. Reinterpretation also recognizes diversity. Despite attempts at harmonization by ancient redactors and modern critics, the Bible remains full of conflicts and contradictions. It resists the captivity of any one perspective. Even the winners who prevail bear witness to the losers. Understanding that every culture contains a counterculture, feminism seeks these other voices in Scripture. Reinterpretation exploits diversity and plurality.

Interpreting the Bible with a feminist hermeneutic does not mean, however, that every text turns out to be non-patriarchal, or at least less so. In some cases, analysis shows how much more patriarchal a passage is. The challenge to redeem Scripture must then be met differently from my handling of the creation account. Texts of Terror illustrates this procedure.2 It focuses on Hagar, Tamar, an unnamed woman and the unnamed daughter of Jephthah. Throughout history they have received scant attention. While the establishment prefers to forget its use and abuse of women, feminism wrestles with the meaning of it all. To accord these stories happy endings would be preposterous; yet to succumb to their suffering would be destructive. The demanding task is to retell them on behalf of the victims. In undertaking this project, I have endeavored not just to expose misogyny and certainly not to perpetuate crime but rather to appropriate the past in a dialectic of redemption. Reinterpretation remembers in order not to repeat. Its memorial calls for repentance.

#4. Feminism And Its Occult Connections Wimmin, Wiccans, And Goddess Worship  by Allan Turner

In a MS. magazine article, Karen Linsey, who rejects the God revealed in the Bible and who has, herself, dabbled in witchcraft, wrote:

The Feminist spirituality movement began to emerge in the mid-1970s and has become one of the largest submovements within feminism. It’s amorphous, blending radical feminism, pacifism, witchcraft, Eastern mysticism, goddess worship, animism, psychic healing and a variety of practices normally associated with the occult.2

In my library, I have an audio cassette entitled “Rebirth of the Goddess,” which consists of a talk by the prominent witch Starhawk (born Mariam Simos in Duluth, Minnesota) given on June 22, 1981 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Starhawk teaches that the Goddess is a “life force that’s immanent” (i.e., that dwells in all living creatures—male and female, human, animal, and plant). According to Starhawk, witchcraft is important to feminists because it represents the rejection of the authority that comes from a patriarchal God. Witchcraft, according to Starhawk, teaches women to listen to the goddess (life force) within. The God of the Bible, according to Starhawk, is an invention of chauvinistic males who sought to destroy the position, influence, and power of women in society. Starhawk’s talk was followed by a question and answer session after which most of those present joined in a “spiral dance” and “chanting circle” to celebrate “the Goddess within.”

On Sunday morning, in the tax-supported student union building, three worship services were conducted: an ecumenical communion service conducted by a woman minister, a feminist communion service, and a Wiccan (witchcraft) ritual conducted by two witches. What all the participants of these services seemed to have had in common was their determination to worship a female deity.

Between workshops, those in attendance could browse at a variety of booths and displays. There were tee shirts and bumper stickers bearing the slogans “I [love] the Goddess” and “Ankh If You Love Isis.” There were sample copies of Of A Like Mind, a newspaper published by a Wiccan network headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Prominent among the books it recommended as “must” reading were Starhawk’s Dreaming The Dark and The Spiral Dance. There was also Circle Network News, an occult/Wiccan publication from Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, and an accompanying Circle Catalogue advertising buttons with such messages as “NOT saved,” and “Nothing Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ From the Coven.”

According to Elinor Lenz and Barbara Myerhoff, co-authors of an interesting and informative book entitled The Feminization of America:

The cult of the Goddess is a dominant motif in the recovery of women’s religious roots. The Great Mother Goddess was for many centuries the chief deity of the ancient world throughout western Asia and Asia Minor. She was worshipped by many different peoples and by many different names: Ishtar by the Babylonians; Asherah and Astarte by the Canaanites, Hebrews, and Phoenicians; Isis by the Egyptians; Cybele by the Phrygians; Anahita by the Persians… As the goddess of fertility she held in her possession the potent, creative power of the universe. As the embodiment of the archetypal Feminine, she combined within her being both positive and negative aspects.

…the ancient female religions present a striking contrast to established Christianity: in the female theology, nature is sacred; time is circular; body and spirit are one; original sin is absent; THE INDIVIDUAL’S WILL IS EQUAL TO THE GOD’S; play, humor, and sexuality have an important place in rituals; and pleasure is a positive force, not a sin (emphasis mine, AT).5

One would certainly be hard-pressed not to see the connection between Satan’s Edenic lie (i.e., “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”) and the modern-day Feminist Spirituality movement. As a matter of fact, the Genesis account of Eve’s seduction remains the best explicator of Feminism. As one anti-feminist female points out, “We may not see a snake wound around a tree and a mesmerized young woman, but Satan speaks as of old to plant his anti-Word values in us…”6

Many modern feminists are dedicated to destroying patriarchy along with all its perceived “injustices” and “inequalities.” According to feminists, patriarchy is an interloper in the so-called Golden Age of Feminism: an age in which feminine qualities were predominant and the Mother Goddess was worshipped. This period, according to these radical feminists, was a wonderfully “egalitarian, decentralized, inventive and peaceful [one], without evidence of human or animal sacrifice or weapons of war.”7 In connection with such grandiose claims, it is only correct to note that these modern-day witches talk a lot about “being free to create [their] own myths.” Consequently, it should not surprise us to learn that this so-called Golden Age of Feminism never really existed. In fact, anthropologist Margaret Murray, who, in 1921, was the first to set forth the idea that witchcraft was the remnant of an old and extensive pagan fertility religion of Western Europe, has been accused by men like E.O. James and Geoffrey Parrinder of overstating her case.8 There is not enough evidence, they suggest, to state that a clearly defined witch sect existed in Europe, in a continuous form, in the early centuries of the Christian era.9

Furthermore, the patriarchy modern feminists are attempting to destroy is not the social by-product of an evil society of men who sought to subjugate women. To the contrary, patriarchy, despite all its undeniable abuses by imperfect and sinful human beings, is a part of the ordering of God and is designed for the nurturing and protection of feminine attributes and qualities. In a true, God-ordained patriarchy the woman is loved, honored, and respected. In such an environment, truly feminine qualities flourish.

According to initiates, Wicca, another word for Witchcraft, is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “to bend or shape.” Witchcraft, according to the witch, is a way of bending or shaping reality, by means of “magick,” which is defined by Starhawk as “the art of changing consciousness at will.” In turn, a changed consciousness creates a changed reality. This explains why, when Susan Saxe, a former member of the Weather Underground and a self-proclaimed feminist, was arrested and sent to Boston for trial, the feminist community there rallied to her support by forming “’energy circles’—sitting in a circle, holding hands, projecting empowering thoughts her way.”

Clearly, then, it is impossible to consider modern witchcraft and its ancient roots without seeing the footprints of the Serpent. Furthermore, witchcraft, goddess worship, neo-paganism, or whatever it is called, is on the rise in America and around the world. Its initiates consider themselves a part of the New Age movement. A mixture of elements of Eastern mysticism, Western occult traditions, and a Norman Vincent Peale style of “the power of positive thinking” is very much a part of modern witchcraft. Furthermore, it is the extreme example of the popular self-esteem, self-love gospel of the New Age. “Love of self for self,” according to Starhawk, “is the creative force of the universe.”38

The horror of great darkness is sweeping over the West today. Christians must be aware that when the moon is full, writers, teachers, nurses, computer programmers, artists, lawyers, poets, plumbers, and auto mechanics—women and men from varied backgrounds—gather on hilltops, beaches, in open fields, and in ordinary houses to invoke the mother goddess and her consort, the “Horned One,” by their varied names. The women involved in these rituals have made a pact in the presence of the “Mighty Ones,” and, by kneeling and placing one hand on the top of their heads and the other hand beneath their heel, have said, “All between my two hands belongs to the Goddess.”39 (If not these exact words, then something similar.) As such, they have become the enemy of the one true God who has revealed Himself both in “Nature” and the Bible. As Christians, we, too, are their enemies. Everything God has ordained, they are determined to overthrow and destroy: monotheism with polytheism; patriarchy with matriarchy; the nuclear family with the coven community.

#5. Wolcott, C. S. (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Feminist Biblical Hermeneutics. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

FEMINIST BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS A broadly applied term for approaches to biblical study that consider to varying degrees the relationship of the biblical text to women’s experiences. Most feminist hermeneutics fall into the larger category of socio-critical hermeneutics. Feminists work within a wide variety of theoretical approaches: sometimes feminist and theological hermeneutics are integrated; some feminists are concerned exclusively with applying the methods of reader-response theory; and other biblical feminists work within the bounds of historical, literary, or canonical criticism.

Overview

Feminist hermeneutics are informed by a commitment to the “critique of ideology” (Habermas, Apel). Feminist theology does not seek an objective, disinterested lens, but “in one way or another seeks to depatriarchalize not only the biblical texts but also theological traditions and systems that are based on patriarchal interpretations of the patriarchal texts” (Tate, Handbook, 158). A feminist biblical hermeneutic involves, to greater and lesser extents, a “reader-oriented perspective” (Dockery, Biblical Interpretation, 170).

Some branches of feminist theology react against the elitism of a feminist hermeneutic or theology that voices the concerns of the oppressed but still excludes the oppressed from interaction with the text, truths, and applications of Scripture. These branches include:

•      Womanist theology, initiated by African-American women;

•      the mujerista perspectives of Latin American women.

Despite variations within feminism, there are four common, consecutive features to feminist hermeneutics (Gutierrez, Theology of Liberation; Thiselton, New Horizons, 438–39):

1.      women’s experience is the starting point;

2.      women’s experience becomes a critical principle;

3.      the biblical text speaks liberation (and does not merely reflect on liberation); and

4.      the text is (understood to be) freed to carry eschatological hope from God.

Basic Feminist Approaches

Feminists tend to acknowledge the patriarchical nature of the Bible, but generally approach it from one of three perspectives (Mays, Old Testament Interpretation; Dockery, Biblical Interpretation, 170). Feminist biblical interpretations assign varying weight to women’s experience and tradition. This weight usually runs along these three generally categorizable streams and depends on the priority given to one or the other:

1.      Loyalist/Traditionalist/Acceptance (exemplified by Evans, Storkey): Feminist concerns of patriarchy within this perspective are given little weight. Instead, it is tradition that is upheld as the most influential voice in the interpretation of the text. From within this perspective, feminist concerns take on a heavily critical pursuit to defend the intended meaning. For example, this viewpoint argues that Eph 5:22–32 insists on mutual submission.

2.      Rejectionist/Substitution (exemplified in Mary Daly, Esther Fuchs): This approach is sometimes called a radical, post-Christian approach that is dismissive to the Bible (based on its patriarchal nature). The work of Daly and others is an attempt to deconstruct and rewrite what is understood by these interpreters to be an ultimately flawed text.

3.      Reformist/Reconstruction/Positive Action (exemplified in Ruether, Fiorenza, Tolbert, Russell): Sometimes understood as the middle way, the reformist approach to biblical interpretation is the one that considers an integration between the patriarchal overtones of the text, women’s experience, and the tradition from which the biblical narrative was developed. This approach assumes that though a patriarchal bias exists, a critique is possible and even essential to a proper biblical hermeneutic. These critiques vary between the empirical and the social-critical.

•      A more empirical approach directs feminists from their basic desire to retrieve women’s place in the narrative toward restoring those who have been relegated to silence.

•      Socio-critical approaches instead take cues from the fields of liberation and marxist hermeneutics and maintain a “critique of ideology” (Habermas), which asks suspiciously of the text whether women’s experiences are being properly considered (Thiselton, New Horizons, 437).

According to Juan Luis Segundo, these biblical hermeneutics suggest that “the only ‘finality’ or ‘universality’ which is available is one of action and not of thought” (Segundo, as quoted in Thiselton, New Horizons, 418).

Hermeneutical Perspectives

Although there is very little consensus among feminist approaches to the Bible and few fit neatly within any of the following categories, it may be helpful to consider three major hermeneutical perspectives, each with varying capacity to honor feminist concerns (Dockery, Biblical Interpretation, 170).

Author-Oriented Hermeneutics

Author-oriented hermeneutics (Hirsch, Stendahl, McKenzie) give priority to the original meaning of the text. Within this perspective, evangelical feminists are able to locate positive readings for women in the balance of acknowledging patriarchy and honoring authorial intention. For example, from this perspective Eph 5:22–32 is understood as an egalitarian passage and it is argued that this was the intention of the author. N. T. Wright warns against “a hermeneutic of paranoia.… Just because we are rightly determined to avoid a hermeneutic of credulity, that does not mean there is no such thing as appropriate trust, or even readiness to suspend disbelief for a while, and see where it gets us” (Borg and Wright, Meaning, iii—iv).

Reader-Oriented Hermeneutics

Reader-oriented hermeneutics (Gadamer) is the approach most associated with feminism: pursuing inexhaustible meaning in the text, while the original meaning is essentially lost to present readers. This approach allows for extensive reader-response textual readings, depatriarchalization, and the maintenance of a “restless hermeneutic,” which claims to de-center the reader and honor marginality (Chopp, Power to Speak, 43; Thiselton, New Horizons, 450). Schussler Fiorenza’s influential feminist approach argues for a “canon within a canon,” in which some texts are dismissed as representative of a flawed patriarchy and others are considered authoritative.

Text-Oriented Hermeneutics

Text-oriented hermeneutics (Ricoeur, Nicholson) aim for a synthesis of the above two perspectives in the search for the author’s “intention” rather than the author’s “results.” Ricoeur is credited with the phrase “hermeneutics of suspicion,” a principle incorporated into the biblical hermeneutical strategies of most feminist scholarship.

#6. Shanks, H. (Ed.). (2004). BAS Feminist Approaches to the Bible. Biblical Archaeology Society

Before going any further, I should take a moment to define the terms “patriarchy” and “sexism” because they will occur throughout my discussion of feminist approaches to the Bible. Feminists generally use the term “patriarchy” to refer to the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children. The term is derived from Greco-Roman law, wherein the male head of the household had absolute power over all other members of the household. Of course, this system of male dominance existed long before the Greeks and Romans.* They just gave it clear legal articulation.

The concept of patriarchy is closely linked to another concept, sexism. The term “sexism” refers to the ideology of male supremacy. Sexism is the set of beliefs that establishes and sustains patriarchal institutions and systems.* One typical manifestation of sexism and patriarchy is the separation of the public and domestic spheres. In a patriarchal society, men confine women to the domestic sphere, over which they exercise control, while they reserve the public domain almost exclusively for themselves. Believing themselves to be intellectually, morally and physically superior to women, men deem themselves better suited to hold all or most of the civil and religious leadership and decision-making roles that govern society. In this way, they exercise control over women as a group.

The desire to control women’s sexuality and fertility seems to be one of the central underlying goals of patriarchal society and is accomplished by limiting women’s freedom of access to the public sphere, as well as women’s legal rights as persons. (Women didn’t become persons in Canadian law until 1929.)

All the societies in the ancient Mediterranean world during the period in which the biblical tradition was formed were patriarchal. It is not remarkable or unexpected, therefore, that a document produced in that context expresses the view that men are superior to women and that women are the property of men. Indeed, it would be remarkable if this were not the case. If the Bible is remarkable, it is because the expression of patriarchy is more, rather than less, pronounced than what is found in religious texts produced by surrounding cultures. Were it not for the fact that the Bible, as a fixed collection of texts, has been regarded by so many people as divinely inspired, and thus authoritative, the contents would be a matter of historical and literary interest only.

Those who were responsible for declaring the Bible the authoritative word of God surely never imagined a world beyond patriarchy, a world in which women would claim equality as they are now doing. But such a world is in the process of emerging. The Bible, which seems to offer a critique of some other forms of oppression, seems to promote sexual oppression. There is certainly no lack of evidence to show that many people who oppose women in their struggle for equality appeal to the Bible for divine support of their views.

Although patriarchy was certainly not invented by the authors of the Bible, most feminists, including most feminist biblical scholars, now concede that patriarchy is deeply ingrained in the Bible. In the early stages of feminism, many feminist theologians and biblical scholars hoped that an essential Bible could be separated from its patriarchal dimensions, that a nonpatriarchal canon-within-the-canon could be extracted from the whole and reclaimed for use in the future egalitarian feminist world. Today, that hope has all but disappeared, and other strategies for salvaging a nonpatriarchal, authoritative tradition are being explored. In my view, these new strategies not only are proving unsuccessful, but they have intensified the dilemma for those who want to identify themselves as Jewish feminists and Christian feminists, rather than simply as feminists.

But, in addition to hostility from those who oppose feminism or critical biblical scholarship, or a combination of the two, feminists who work with the Bible experience an additional and unusual problem. Feminist biblical scholarship is looked upon with suspicion, even disdain, perhaps as much by other feminists as by traditionalists, though for very different reasons

Other feminists suspect that feminist biblical scholars subordinate the ideology of feminism to the sexist ideology of the Bible and biblical tradition when they acknowledge the Bible as religiously authoritative. So the issue of the authority of the Bible, I believe, needs to be addressed more directly. In order to see where we stand with this issue now, I want to examine what I regard as some of the key strategic developments in feminist approaches to the Bible.

#7. Shanks, H. (Ed.). (2004). BAS Feminist Approaches to the Bible. Biblical Archaeology Society.

For 70 to 80 years thereafter, the feminist task of reinterpreting the Bible lay dormant, as did feminism itself.

Understandably, when feminism turns attention to the Bible, it first of all names the document as patriarchal. To name it thus means more than putting a label or tag of identification upon it. It means investigating patriarchy and beyond that indicting the Bible for this sin.

Feminism has no difficulty making a case against the Bible. It has no difficulty convicting the Bible of patriarchy. One could say that this recognition is the sine qua non of all feminist readings of the Bible. And yet the recognition that the Bible is a patriarchal document has led to different conclusions.*

Some feminists—they may be secular or religious—denounce the Bible as hopelessly misogynous. It is, they tell us, a woman-hating document, and there is no health in it. Other feminists have reprehensibly used patriarchal data to support anti-Semitic sentiments. They may posit a prehistoric or early historic era of what they think was “good” goddess worship that was undercut, discredited and demolished by the ascendancy of the Hebrew God.

To bring together the self-critique that operates in the Bible with the concerns of feminism is to shape an interpretation that makes a difference for all of us—an interpretation that begins with suspicion and becomes subversion, but subversion for the sake of redemption, for the sake of healing, wholeness and well-being.

What are the elements of this approach? Reinterpreting familiar texts is one procedure. Reinterpretation does not mean making the Bible say whatever the reader wants it to say. It does not hold that there are no limits to interpretation and that the text can, in effect, be rewritten. But reinterpretation does recognize the polyvalency of the text: that any text is open to multiple interpretations, that between those who adamantly hold fast to only one meaning and those who breezily claim that the text can be manipulated to say anything is a wide spectrum of legitimate meanings. Some of these meanings assert themselves boldly, and others have to be teased out.

Reinterpretation also recognizes the diversity of Scripture. The Bible is not a single-minded document; rather it teems with diverse voices and points of view. Despite attempts to harmonize it, by ancient redactors working within it for canonization or by modern commentators working from the outside to establish and reestablish its authority, the Bible itself comes to us full of struggles, battles, contradictions and problems. It refuses to be the captive of any one group or perspective.

#8. Geisler, N. L., & MacKenzie, R. E. (1995). Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: agreements and differences (p. 466). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

RADICAL FEMINISM

Radical feminism is closely related to liberation. In addition to the impulses that influence liberation theology in general, New Age concepts also have been incorporated in radical feminism. This movement is especially active in Roman Catholicism. Concerning the make-up of one feminist convention: “A startling majority of the women in attendance appeared to be Catholics: nuns, ex-nuns, students and faculty members from Catholic women’s colleges, parochial school teachers.”17 A quote from the “godmother” of Catholic feminism, Rosemary Radford Ruether, immediately locates her on the theological spectrum: “A lot of evil had been done in the name of Christ, but no crusades or pogroms had been sent in the name of Ba’al, Isis or Apollo.”18 Small wonder that orthodox Roman Catholics are exercised about this movement.19

#9. Perdue, L. G. (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Theology, Old Testament. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Feminist Theology

Two major approaches have been used by feminist theologians:

1.      Social-historical processes of inquiry.

2.      Literary methods that involve the role of metaphor, rhetorical and new criticisms, and narratology.

The social-historical approach describes the roles and functions of women within the contexts of the larger social world reconstructed by cultural data. The literary approaches discover the roles of women in the Bible and noncanonical literature that were overlooked or misconstrued, usually by male interpreters

#10 Thomas Nelson, I. (1995). The Woman’s Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

WITCHCRAFT: SORCERY AND MAGIC

Witchcraft is closely associated with goddess worship and feminism. Witches claim the “goddess” as a model for the stages of a woman’s life. They maintain that the feminine life-force of the universe, the goddess, appears in three forms: the maiden, the mother, and the crone. This triple aspect of the goddess is supposedly intertwined with the cycle of the moon. The waxing moon is the maiden, the full moon is the mother, and the waning moon is the crone. Witches draw meaning from the fact that the moon’s twenty-eight day cycle is mirrored by the twenty-eight day menstrual cycle.

Witches characteristically belong to a coven—a small group of no more than thirteen members who meet to cast spells, conduct rituals, or raise a cone of healing energy at the full moon or solstice when the lunar or solar energies are considered to be at their high points.

“White” magic is somewhat related to but contrasted with “black” magic and blatant Satanism. Black magic attempts to produce evil results through such methods as curses, spells, and alliance with evil spirits. White magic tries to undo curses and spells and to use occult means (gods, demons, spirits, or “forces”) for what the coven perceives to be the good of themselves or others. Rituals are used in both black and white magic to bend psychic force to the will of those in a coven.

Witchcraft, sorcery, and magic are always condemned in Scripture (see Lev. 19:26; 20:27; Deut. 18:10–14; Judg. 8:21, 26; 2 Kin. 9:22; Is. 3:18–23; Ezek. 13:17–23; Mic. 5:12).

 

Other Books To Read

1. Much To Talk About Vol. 1
2. Much To Talk About Vol. 2
2. Archaeology and the Unwary Believer
 
 
 
%d bloggers like this: