I have a lot to blog about today. Sometimes there is a confluence of both ordinary secular events and cultist “antireligious” events that are reason to repeat ONCE AGAIN what I have taught previously, and today is one of those days.
Now, I don’t mind someone asking even the “dumbest” question (and remember, the only dumb question is the one that is not asked) over and over. In fact, that is a good sign because it indicates a mind and heart that is trying to understand and to change. I am annoyed, since it is based on alarm, when I have to repeat over and over what is IN THE BIBLE and plain for anyone to understand and see. I’m alarmed because never have I seen so many human beings have a willful refusal to understand even the facts of which they supposedly speak AND their doing so in a public forum in order to mislead others into error, sin, and ultimately damnation.
TV personality Larry King works my last nerve but I do watch him on occasion because I want to see specific people or topics that his show covers. The specific thing that annoys me about Mr. King is that even though he is a secular Jew (not a believer of God or his own faith) he feels informed enough to throw a damper on anyone else’s faith, should he be in a mood to do so. He, like most modern media false prophets, present an argument that sounds logical and erodes faith in his listeners, but is totally simplistic, ignorant, fallacious, and, frankly, in service of the prince of darkness. So this is why I MUST finally address in my blog this simultaneously whining and hostile “argument” that he makes regarding what the Bible says about homosexuality. By the way, I am not going to attack what he says about homosexuality (he thinks it’s great) because my views of tolerance are well known and articulated, even if people choose to ignore what I really feel. I have cited what Jesus himself has said on the matter, which many miss because he uses the term “eunuch” rather than homosexual. It is what Mr. King says about the nature of the Bible that infuriates me.
In a nutshell, Mr. King characterizes the Bible as an outdated book of “dos and don’ts.” He, with his usual self satisfied smugness, cites other Biblical law, such as prohibition from eating shellfish, as an example of an “out of date” Biblical law that no one pays attention to anymore, and argues that God’s prohibition against active homosexuality is likewise a law that is just out of date. If you haven’t watched him at work, let me describe how he thinks he has such a “killer argument.” Whenever he has a guest who is Christian and against homosexuality for Biblical reasons, he sneers at them, “Well, don’t you eat shellfish?” He thinks he has then done a slam dunk regarding 1) the person’s hypocrisy in their own faith and 2) the “fact” that the Bible is just a list of laws that no longer “apply” to modern people. Thus he thinks if a person eats shellfish they have demonstrated that the old Law of the Bible-ALL of it-no longer applies.
This is so arrogant and pig ignorant that I find myself clenching my teeth as I key this blogging.
Let me start with the first obvious point. The Bible is not “only” a list of dos and don’ts that are given at one point in time. The Bible was written by different authors over a period of many years and EACH author records what encounters Israel, and later both Jews and Gentiles, have had with God. In other words, the Bible records the ongoing conversation that God has with humans over hundreds, indeed thousands, of years. So it’s not like some old smelly guy wrote down the Bible in one sitting at one point in time and then as years go on the Bible “no longer applies.” Here’s a newsflash for people who mouth off about the Bible but don’t actually read it. Um, God actually NOTICES how people change and what they are doing and UPDATES what he tells them accordingly. Some law is absolute and fixed as being obligatory FOREVER and God confirms that periodically through his prophets. Other laws God RELEASES people from and CHANGES and that is recorded in the scripture.
Liberal secular unbelieving Jews are particularly frustrating to debate because they not only do not believe in God, or the divinity of the Bible’s word, as given by God through the Holy Spirit, but they “doubly” do not believe in Jesus and thus do not read and absolutely discard all that is in the Gospel, the New Testament. So here is how I’d like to wipe the smile off of Mr. King’s smug face.
Now the apostles and the brethren all over Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. But when Peter went up to Jerusalem, they of the circumcision found fault with him, saying “Why didst thou visit men uncircumcised and eat with them?”
[For readers who don’t understand what was going on, here is a quick summary. Jesus preached only to the Jews, and stated that he himself was sent only to preach to the Jews. However, many Gentiles listened to him in the crowds that followed him, so by his role modeling we know that while his personal ministry was to the Jews that God intended that all should hear. Now, understand that the way Jews had self identification as Jews was that males were circumcised and all observed the food law as given by God to Moses. Thus “they of the circumcision” means “Jews,” while uncircumcised means “not Jews” hence “Gentiles.” Also “eating with them” means that Gentiles, not being Jews, do not follow God’s dietary laws. This is the snickering Mr. King’s question, about why Gentiles eat shellfish yet follow the rest of the Bible. I bet you can see where the scripture is going more clearly now, huh? “The Gentiles also had received the word of God.” So it’s not like only Jews converted to Christianity and then decided to stop following the dietary law (and thus eat shellfish). God allowed the word to be heard and believed by those who were not circumcised or following dietary laws and indeed, those who never even HEARD of the one true God of the Israelites, to hear and believe. ]
Then Peter began to explain the matter to them in order, saying, “I was praying in the city of Joppa and while in ecstasy I had a vision, a certain vessel coming down something like a great sheet, let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came right down to me. And gazing upon it, I began to observe, and I saw the four-footed creatures of the earth, and the wild beasts and the creeping things, and the birds of the air. And I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Arise, Peter, kill and eat.’ And I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
[See, even as the Apostle of Jesus Peter hears God himself ordering Peter to eat food that is forbidden to them under dietary law and hence “unclean,” Peter replies to the Lord that he has never eaten anything unclean, and refuses to obey God to eat the unclean in his vision! Peter was sticking to the dietary law of the Jews, even as he had become the head Apostle, what Catholics call the Pope today, of Jesus Christ. Peter was sticking to the dietary law and even when God first tells him to eat the unclean in a vision, Peter refused, no doubt suspecting it was a temptation or a test by God of his fidelity to the Law.]
But the voice answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, do not thou call common.’ This happened three times, and then it was all drawn up back into heaven. And behold, immediately three men came to the house where I was, having been sent from Caesarea to me; and the Spirit bade me not to hesitate to go with them. And these six brethren also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen the angel in his house stand and say to him, ‘Send to Joppa and fetch Simon, surnamed Peter; he will speak to thee words by which thou shalt be saved, thou and all thy household.’
[See, Peter is traveling among the Gentiles, where people are hearing the word, both from Peter and other disciples, but also directly from God, and believing. So these are adult non-Jews who thus are not circumcised nor follow dietary law, nor who have even heard of, necessarily, the one God. Peter is thus relating to these Jewish Christians how Gentiles are flocking to him in belief.]
But when I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as it did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore, if God gave to them the same grace as he gave to us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should be able to interfere with God?” On hearing this they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, “Therefore to the Gentiles also God has given repentance unto life.”
OK, now do you see how ridiculous Mr. King is when he uses his favorite gay argument? If anyone actually reads the Bible before expounding on it, much worse, stating how inapplicable it is “today,” that would be a good thing. Mr. King would be able to read that God explicitly releases Christians from the dietary law so that they can belong and believe. Jews are FREE TO CONTINUE TO OBSERVE THE DIETARY LAW, SHOULD THEY CHOOSE. Thus many early Christians who were Jews, such as the original Apostles and disciples, continued to observe dietary law. However, they understood that they did not need to because God had explicitly opened the tent to allow in the Gentiles who never knew about God or his Law as given to the Israelites. So yes, duh, Mr. King, Christians eat shellfish, but they do so because God said it was OK to do so in the scriptures, not because they “felt like it” because they are “modern” and don’t need that old moth eaten “out of date” word of God (but oh wait, Mr. King does not believe the Bible is the word of God anyway).
I hope that this has helped those who are studying the Bible and hoping to better understand God to see this case study of how to actually cite the Bible and have a prayer of being accurate. God had continual dialogue throughout the time of the Bible’s historic events and he reaffirms Law and releases from Law according to his Will and what is the best for humans. God is mysterious but not in his interactions with humans. When it is his will that the Gospel be taken outside of the circle of observant Jews to now bring the Good Word to pagans and Gentiles, God released his people from required observance of law that would have excluded the Gentiles. Thus, blessed are Jews who continue to observe dietary law for love of God, but with the arrival of Jesus Christ, God released Jews from the dietary law in order to allow Gentiles, who had no God given Law, into the tent. However, through Jesus Christ God reaffirms the Commandments and other laws that continue to apply to all human beings, regardless of affiliation.
By the way, for brevity I just keyed in how Peter summarizes to the other Apostles and disciples what happened to him. His summary is Acts 11. You should read the whole events as they happened in Acts 10 for further understanding of what actually happened as they happened. It’s a chance to look over Saint Peter’s shoulder, all these years later, to see how God through the Holy Spirit guides him in reaching out to the Gentiles and discerning matters such as release from certain of the Law by God.