Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Commentary on a Christianity Today Article

The Article can be Found Here - Me and My Dirty Mouth

First I would like to say that I do respect at least part of the staff of Christianity Today, as I am looking at Dr. Thomas C. Oden's Systematic Theology on my reference shelf. That said, I think that this article is incomplete, inaccurate and misleading.

That said I will air my issues and comments on the subject. The overall theme of the article was swearing is bad. Pretty Simple and straight forward. However, the theme is muddied with this issue of Blaspheme and it's relation to "swear words." The Author Lisa Harper, does do an excellent job at condemning Blasphemy, something that many Christians have swung and missed on in evangelicalism. Her Comments are as follows:
The original intent of the third commandment, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain" (Exodus 20:7, ESV), was to forbid the Israelites from attaching God's name to purposes that weren't his, explains pastor and author Andy Stanley. We do so when we use language like "God told me" to legitimize selfish motives. Or we employ phraseology like "so help me God" to mask a lie, abusing Jehovah's perfect character as collateral for deceit.

Misuse of God's name isn't merely an accidental, irreverent slip of the tongue, but a deliberate thumb of the nose at the Creator of the universe.

That said there are some problems. My Biggest problem is the lack of defined terms. She doesn't state what clearly what is and is not "swearing." She also failed to address expletives at all. The point that I am trying to address with this is twofold - First: What we consider 'swearing' is simply acronyms of the past, and/or legitimate technical terms that have been deemed 'Foul.' There is nothing ontologically within certain words that make them bad, instead people of the past have seen them as foul and we have continued to perpetuate that belief. Second: There are things within the pages of our bibles that could be seen as swearing if said by a modern person. Most are written by Paul, but I think that these statements need to be considered in light of other biblical commands of having pure speech.

The Statements:

Romans 6:2 By no means! -- the Greek phrase [...] is a strong expression of surprise and disapprobation. -- This Phrase was rendered very powerfully in the KJV as God Forbid.

Philippians 3:8 For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. -- The term Rubbish is most properally understood as "dung" In fact, the head pastor of the Church I attend, said it best when he explained that if this were a bumper sticker, it would read "Rubbish Happens." This is definitely akin to the terms that are seen as swearing today.

Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who put you under a spell? -- This is Paul Calling the believers of Galatia Idiots... Basically, according to Albert Barnes, Paul is saying that the Galatians are Remarkable Imbecilic.

Galatians 5:12 I wish that those who are unsettling you would castrate themselves! -- Need I say more, Paul is pretty clear on his feelings about those who are preaching circumcision.

All that as evidence, I think that there is a clear time and place for strong and even foul language. We should use foul terms to describe foul things.

As a caveat, I would say that this requires some defining on a personal level as to what is and is a foul thing, but what is foul language. I think that one must balance the foulness of the act/belief/event and the perceived foulness of the word used.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Devotional

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me a pierced ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
(Psalms 40:6-8)

As Christmas time draws near, I believe it is a wonderful time for all of us to reflect not simply on the miracle of the birth of the God-Man Jesus Christ, but also a time to reflect upon our total need for Him. One of the things that I love about this passage of the Psalms is that David is speaking directly about the desires of God. Verse six starts by telling us that God doesn't delight in the sacrifices made by Israel or even in the offerings that they have given. This is something that when we think about should make us step back for a moment and ask Why. I think that the answer is clear, when we consider the purpose of the sacrifices that the Levitical priests made. The overarching purpose and plan of God was that when a person sinned, by breaking Gods law (1 John 3:4) they were required to make a sacrifice of a specific type and kind. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22 ). The purpose of this sacrifice was to delay the wrath of God. I realize that the majority of you at this moment are shouting, “No!, the purpose was to atone for sin” and I will grant that you are in a sense correct, however, the problem we see is that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4).” So while they did have a forgiveness, it was neither complete nor permanent. Just imagine the feeling of the Jewish believer for a moment; imagine with me that you have really screwed up, you have violated the law of God. Now, you have to go and take one of your precious flock a flawless lamb, you take it to the place where it is to be sacrificed by a priest, the preist then kills the lamb and lets the blood cover the alter. He tells you that your sin has been covered, by the blood of this lamb. You leave, yet within you, you still have guilt, grief, sorrow, because you know that while your sin is covered is it has not been fully taken away. David said it this way in Psalm 31:10 - For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. The grief of his sin had never left him. This was the case for all old testament believers. How wearysome would that be? I would like you to consider the following questions, and consider if you still had to feel guilt. How many Lies do you think you have told in your life? How many things have you stolen? How many times have you used the name of God in a filthy way? Has God Always been first in you life? These are four of the ten commandments, part of God's moral law, that all mankind has to live under. This is the Law that is written in the hearts of men.
The next part of this verse talks about God piercing the ear of David. This is a reference to the concept of the bond servant. According to Deut. 15:16-17 if a Hebrew servant refused to leave the house of there master after 6 years, (during the year of Jubilee) they were to put an awl through there ear, and they were then consider a servant of the master for life. We should desire deeply that Pierced ear, we should desire God to have marked us, not with an awl, but with his Holy Spirit.
Finally, we then see that David is speaking in a prophetic manner when he says Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. As we now know, we do not need any Burnt or sin offerings, because of Jesus Christ. Jesus who is the center, the earmark of this holiday season, is the one who would become our offering. I would say that when we Celebrate Christmas this year, we don't think about simply the incarnation ( literally, becoming meat – the Status of Christ Jesus) but that we think of the reason of for the incarnation. The reason is our sin. It is that we are wholly unable to attain to the standard of God's Holiness. Because of this Jesus became meat for us, he became the something so low that it is literally uncompilable for us. God took on this body and through it “Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:12a).” This was not like the levitical Priests who killed animal after animal, but Jesus took care of our sin “not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).” This is why when Jesus approached John the Baptist, John cried out "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).” The primary purpose of Jesus ministry was to seek and save that which was us (Luke 19:10). If you have been sought and saved, Jesus' Call is for you to go then and make disciples. What better time this the Christmas season, when Jesus is already on peoples minds? Let us not be content this year to give simple gifts to one another, but let us share the Good News with a lost and dying generation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Thoughts from A .W. Pink

One reason why Christ was despised and rejected, was because He denounced religious traditions. Despite the Fall, man is essentially a religious creature. The peoples of the world pay homage to gods of their own devising; and there are few things on which they are more sensitive--than their religious superstitions! He who condemns or even criticizes the devotees of any religious belief or practice--will be greatly disliked. - A. W. Pink

What an amazing statement, and in a sense it is prophetic, in that today the greatest crime is criticizing another persons religion or religious beliefs. I mean today this criticizing is seen as intolerant. It was not long ago that Mitt Romney was calling Evangelicals intolerant for calling Mormonism a Cult... which it is, and has always been seen as, and will most likely always been seen as.

I mean it almost seems like we live in a world where I could say that my Wii is God and I could get a religious holiday just for it...

Calif. AG urges court to void gay marriage ban - You Have Got to be Kidding me!

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer Lisa Leff, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO – The California attorney general has changed his position on the state's new same-sex marriage ban and is now urging the state Supreme Court to void Proposition 8.

In a dramatic reversal, Attorney General Jerry Brown filed a legal brief saying the measure that amended the California Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman is itself unconstitutional because it deprives a minority group of a fundamental right. Earlier, Brown had said he would defend the ballot measure against legal challenges from gay marriage supporters.

But Brown said he reached a different conclusion "upon further reflection and a deeper probing into all the aspects of our Constitution.

"It became evident that the Article 1 provision guaranteeing basic liberty, which includes the right to marry, took precedence over the initiative," he said in an interview Friday night. "Based on my duty to defend the law and the entire Constitution, I concluded the court should protect the right to marry even in the face of the 52 percent vote."

Brown, who served as governor from 1975 to 1983, is considering seeking the office again in 2010. After California voters passed Proposition 8 on Nov. 4, Brown said he personally voted against it but would fight to uphold it as the state's top lawyer.

He submitted his brief in one of the three legal challenges to Proposition 8 brought by same-sex marriage supporters. The measure, a constitutional amendment that passed with 52 percent of the vote, overruled the state Supreme Court decision last spring that briefly legalized gay marriage in the nation's most populous state.

Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the attorney general's change of strategy "a major development."

"The fact that after looking at this he shifted his position and is really bucking convention by not defending Prop. 8 signals very clearly that this proposition can not be defended," Minter said.

The sponsors of Proposition 8 argued for the first time Friday that the court should undo the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters banned gay marriage at the ballot box last month.

The Yes on 8 campaign filed a brief telling the court that because the new law holds that only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized or valid in California, the state can no longer recognize the existing same-sex unions.

"Proposition 8's brevity is matched by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions or exclusions," reads the brief co-written by Kenneth Starr, dean of Pepperdine University's law school and a former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton.

Both Brown and gay rights groups maintain that the gay marriage ban may not be applied retroactively.

Starr's co-counsel Andrew Pugno said Brown's decision to challenge the voter-approved measure and the argument advanced by the attorney general was "totally unprecedented."

"His legal duty as attorney general of the state is to defend initiatives passed by the voters," he said.

The state Supreme Court could hear arguments in the litigation in March. The measure's backers announced Friday that Starr had signed on as their lead counsel and would argue the cases.


What does it take? The voters have spoken, Twice! Get it through your head California Liberals, Gays, and Mr. Brown - The People Don't want Gay Marriage.

This is where things get to be even more amazingly Stupid - - - This is a direct quote from Mr. Brown:

Based on my duty to defend the law and the entire Constitution, I concluded the court should protect the right to marry even in the face of the 52 percent vote.

The Gays already have the Right to Marry, they can marry Just like everyone Else -- You sir are talking about extending a Special Right, creating a new right... People already have the right to marry in California. No Special Rights for 'Special' People!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You Gotta Get Up

This is a first for me, as a blogger, I am posting a song that I think is Super Cool. It is a Christmas song, perhaps my favorite of all time. The song is called, You Gotta Get Up by Five Iron Frenzy. It Should be seen in the side bar.

*** Update *** I can't get this HTML code to work... any ideas?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Theological Terms - Theophany

This is an important term, that follows with some very important concepts; the term is Theophany, lets explore it a bit.

Basic Definition -

An Appearance of God that is perceptible to Human Sight.

Entomology -

From the Greek Theos meaning God, and phainesthai meaning to appear.

Biblical Examples -

Genesis 12:7, Genesis 17:1, Genesis 18:1, Genesis 32:30, Exodus 6:2-3, Exodus 24:9-11, Exodus 33:11, Exodus 34:5, Numbers 12:6-8, Isaiah 6:1, Luke 3:22, Acts 7:2, And of Course Revelation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

ADF Update - When Police Ignore the Law

I get seemingly random updates from the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization that could be compared to the Christian version of the ACLU. The last update I received was this afternoon, and it had a story that was frankly, scary. I will share it with you here.

December 2, 2008

Because Kevin Deegan loves the Lord and cares deeply for his fellow man, he likes to preach and hand out gospel tracts on the commons area of Ithaca, New York. He doesn't exactly stand out from the crowd. In fact, on any given day, on that commons, you can find any number of recreation activities, celebrations, demonstrations, rallies, musical performances, poetry readings, speeches, and other expressive undertakings underway. It's a lively, rowdy crossroads of the community.

Not too long ago, Kevin was preaching in that setting when some of the local constabulary approached and told him he'd have to be quiet. City ordinances, they explained, dictated that no sound could be made on the city streets and sidewalks if that sound was loud enough to be heard more than 25 feet away.

Kevin was understandably stunned. Under those restrictions, public sneezing would be illegal on the streets of Ithaca. So would almost every other activity then underway on the commons. Indeed, as a noise expert hired by the Alliance Defense Fund (which represented Kevin) testified, this city ordinance would outlaw even such everyday sounds as the clicking of boots, small children playing, a ringing cell phone, and normal-decibel conversations.

Not only was the law ridiculous, it was very selectively enforced – in fact, ADF attorney Nate Kellum couldn't find evidence that the city had ever invoked the ordinance against anyone except the evangelist. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit agreed and found in favor of Kevin's First Amendment right to free speech…even on the Ithaca Commons.

That was two years ago. Three months ago, a friend of Kevin's, Jim Deferio was standing at Kevin's accustomed spot on the commons, doing a little preaching of his own. He, too, was approached by police officers who told him he'd have to stop, since he was violating the same city ordinance their predecessors had invoked against Kevin.

The next week, Kevin went back to the spot with Jim, and the two of them were approached by police, citing the same law. Kevin produced a copy of the federal court order authorizing him to exercise his rights, but the officers told him – incredibly – that the order didn't apply to them – only to the specific officers who had confronted Kevin years earlier.

So, now ADF is representing Jim. We've filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Ithaca on his behalf, along with a motion asking the court to suspend the ordinance while the case moves forward.

"Christians shouldn't be penalized for expressing their beliefs, especially when a court has expressly upheld their right to do so, as is the case here," said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum. "Police officers cannot step beyond their authority and illegally suppress Christian speech in defiance of a court order."

The complaint in the lawsuit Deferio v. City of Ithaca filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York is available at The motion for preliminary injunction and memorandum in support is available at

Please pray for our lawyers, including ADF-allied attorney Bob Genant, who is serving as local counsel in this case. And pray for the judges who are hearing more and more of these kinds of cases, as First Amendment rights are being ignored with increasing frequency, especially as they apply to Christians sharing their faith.