Is The Internet Destroying Religion?

Does the net pose a danger? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, I saw someone share an article about how the internet is causing people to leave Christianity. On the face of it, let’s just accept the claim. Actually, I’m quite sure the claim is true. This was an atheist who shared it so naturally, the idea is the internet is showing people that religious claims are false.

Unfortunately for them, that’s the kind of simplistic thinking that is behind many such claims. You could say that the totalitarian regimes in Russia and China caused atheism to rise, therefore atheism is true. In all of this, I don’t want to assume that any one position is true. Hypothetically, atheism could be true and Christianity false. I just want to access how we’re approaching the claim.

The idea is that more information leads to more knowledge, which could in many ways seem like something obvious to say, but it’s not. More good information leads to more knowledge. There is plenty of false information out there. You can watch a documentary on Netflix called Behind The Curve about people who believe the Earth is flat.

Most New Testament scholars that are even atheists and agnostics would decry Jesus Mythicism as an utterly bankrupt theory. Unfortunately, if you went by what is seen on the internet, you would think that this is the main idea of such scholars. Atheists will go and treat this like it’s gospel and do so because they read something on the internet and never bothered to read anything else.

In all of this, I don’t want to say the internet is horrible. There is plenty of good information on the internet. The problem is most people don’t possess the skills in research necessary to sift out the good information from the bad. This isn’t just limited to atheists. There are plenty of Christians out there that believe stupid things because they don’t know how to sift out information.

One key problem of this is avoiding books. You see, the information you read on the internet is often free stuff and not the best material that you can find in scholarly works by people who actually want to get paid for their information because they have these strange desires like, you know, providing for their families and earning a living.

Many times when I present these books to people and ask if they want to read them, I get met with the strongest resistance. Whenever this shows up, mark it for what it is, a form of anti-intellectualism. If you are confident in your position, you should have no problem reading the other side. Don’t say the other side isn’t worth reading if you think it’s worth the time to go out there and argue against it. This also goes for those of us who are Christians who do need to read the other side.

So what we could say is that many people who are low-information are having their minds changed easily. I say this in light of realizing that as a Christian, I am happy much information is being put out about groups like the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses that they wouldn’t have access to normally, but even then that information needs to be sifted out. When we have had Mormons visiting us, I have found them to be just as credulous with material on the internet and even anti-Mormonism and anti-Watchtower material should be checked for veracity.

Two great offenders worth mentioning in all of this are Wikipedia and YouTube. When someone sends me a Wikipedia article on a serious subject, I don’t even bother reading it. Some might say the footnotes at the end are usually good, but then just go and read those sources and show me that that information is in there. Wiki is fine if you’re looking up pop culture references, like movies, TV shows, music, and video games. It’s not good for debatable positions.

YouTube is the second great offender here. Of course, there are plenty of great YouTube channels out there. Sadly, anyone can set one up and having knowledge and skill is not a requirement. It’s too easy to think that someone is an authority because they have a channel, but they’re not. You must look at the content that is being produced.

So the problem is not really religion. It’s low-information thinking. Again, nothing I have said here is about any particular worldview being true or false. I have simply made claims about how we access religious claims and any other claims and test them for validity.

The shout of victory that the internet is leading to more information and thus more people leaving religion is itself a low-information belief. It doesn’t bother to examine all possible reasons going on and just assumes that people are finding stuff on the internet and learning that X isn’t true, whatever it is. That could be, but there are other reasons and those need to be examined as well. To choose one automatically without examination or justification is to be the kind of person who does just believe whatever is read to them on the internet.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Problem With Phobic Statements

Why is it problematic to say someone is phobic of a position? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One way many people shut down a message today that they don’t like is to impugn the speaker in some way. A great way to do this for them is to say that someone is phobic. One example of this was back in the presidential race of 2016 when Hillary Clinton made her “Basket of Deplorables” statement.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables’. Right?” Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

So what’s wrong with this statement?

First off, ask anyone who has a phobia and it’s something entirely different. When I went to ETS one year, I got in an elevator that was a glass elevator and someone pushed a button that took us all the way to the top. I’m terrified of heights. I crouched in the corner, covered my head, looked away, and prayed it would end quickly. By the way, I think the top floor was the 47th floor. I get scared just thinking about it.

Also, as a small child, I was with my family at the beach once and in the ocean when I went straight under. That was the day I learned about the undertow. The undertow has always scared me ever since and being in water like that is still terrifying to me, one of the reasons I can’t swim to this day.

These are real phobias.

We can find some phobias strange and not understand them, but that doesn’t mean that we should ever insult them or make fun of them for it. After all, a phobia is a real psychological condition that can be very hard to get under control. What kind of person makes fun of someone else for that?

Yet when a person is accused of being homophobic, it really isn’t true. It’s often been said that such a person is really struggling with homosexual temptations themselves and doesn’t want to admit it. Could this be true? Yes. Is it always true? No. It would be very hard to verify such a claim.

And even if the person you are speaking to about the issue were someone who was secretly struggling with homosexual temptations, what of it? The parent who tells their kid to not start smoking while puffing away at a cigarette could be a hypocrite (Could be. They could be saying “I’m addicted to these things and I hate it so please don’t start), but it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. The real issue would be “Is there something wrong with homosexual behavior?” That’s not the point of this blog.

To turn this around, let’s suppose someone objects to the way Christians act on this issue. Would we say that they are Christophobic? Maybe they have secret desires to be Christians and don’t want to admit it. You see, if phobic just means “Disagreeing with a position” then we are all phobic of something.

But yet, here I think is the main goal in saying this every time. It’s sadly a way of shutting down discussion. It could be because too many people today are unequipped to handle it if someone disagrees with them or thinks that they’re doing something wrong.

You need to be informed of this. If you live in the real world, you’re going to meet people like this. If your happiness and personal well-being depends on what every single person thinks of you, you will always be a victim. You will never get everyone to agree with you. You will never get everyone to like everything about you.

For the last one, there’s an obvious example of that. Look in the mirror. Do you like everything about you? Do you think you’re just perfect in every way? If you’re a real person with an ounce of humility, you’ll say there are things about you that you don’t like. That’s okay. There should be. We’re not perfect, and yet we should strive to get along with ourselves. (And if you can’t, you need to get psychological help seriously)

Here’s a real shocker for some of you. Someone can think you live a lifestyle that is wrong and disagree with it, but they can like you anyway and value you as a person and treat you with kindness. Really! They can!

Oh. Let’s say something for my readers who are fellow Christians. That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to love like Jesus. That person is still someone made in the image of God that Jesus Christ loves and died for. Sinners weren’t scared to come to Jesus in His earthly ministry and really, they shouldn’t be scared to come to Him in His heavenly ministry. (That includes us. He’s still the same Jesus and if we think Jesus is peace and love but God is ready to smite us for anything, then we’re guilty of a sort of Marcionism then) If people are scared to come to us, perhaps we’re not being like Jesus.

If you are using this kind of tactic, stop it. It’s rude and shuts down discussion on important topics and is really making fun of someone for what you say is a psychological condition. If you are having this used on you, be the better person. A kind answer will turn away wrath in this case.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Faithful, A Theology Of Sex

What do I think of Beth Felker Jones’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book was recently for sale on Kindle and I decided to get it since as a married man, sex and theology are both great areas of interest for me. Jones’s book is short, but it is profound. There’s a lot of good material in here.

One thing she says at the start is that all of us should be theologians. In reality, we all are. The question is not if we will be theologians, but what kind of theologians will we be?

When she gets to the topic of sex, she asks what if it is not about us so much as it is about God and His intentions for creation. We don’t connect it with reality the way we should. As a married man, my having sex says something about the way I see God and reality. My friends who are single abstain (Or they should) which also shows how they view sex and reality.

Jones also says to imagine what if we said about food what we said about sex. “Eating has nothing to do with your health.” “Nothing you eat can hurt you.” “Food should always make you happy. Pleasure is the only purpose in eating.” It’s a wonderful analogy.

This also connects to the idea that sex matters to God because bodies matter and Christianity is a religion of the body. People will sometimes say what you do with your genitals is your business, but then change the rules when it comes to rape. If we say bodily actions matter from the get-go, we have no problem.

Sex in marriage is not a sin whatsoever, which some people in the Corinthian church would have thought. If anything, Paul says not only is it not a sin in marriage, it is a sin for couples to deprive one another of sex unless its by mutual consent and then only for a short time. Paul would not have had any patience for the idea of being married and purposefully abstaining from sex as if it’s the unforgivable sin.

Sex is really a gift. How many of us would like to be in the situation in the garden where the man and woman were both naked and felt no shame? Sex is a real gift from God and it is a good gift.

Part of the reason we see sex go wrong is because we don’t understand the body. Pornography is a symptom of this, but so also can many romance movies be. Porn can often give guys an unrealistic idea about how women should be, but romance movies and books can often give women an unrealistic idea of how men should behave.

Sex should be reserved for marriage and has the characteristics of fidelity, faithfulness, and an analogy of the relationship between God and His people. Sex properly understood in marriage is not for the self. It is for the other person seeking to please the other and express love to the other.

One line I really enjoyed in the book was about how sex is private, but there is something public as well. When you look around for instance, any person you see you know is there because of sex. (Barring some exceptions from IVF these days.) When we get married, part of what we say is “See this person up here? I’m having sex with them tonight.”

If there was something more I would like to see in this book, it would be more about sex itself. What is the symbolism in sex? A lot of the material is about ethics and the good of the body, but I would like future editions of this book to include more on the act itself. Overall though, I found this book quite helpful and encourage others to read it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/6/2019: Richard Averbeck

(The following is a repost from earlier since there was a time mix-up and why rewrite everything? More time for the Mrs. and such after all.)

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters to find out.

If there’s any dark spot in the history of America, it’s slavery. When we think about the Civil War, we think about slavery. While it was defended and sadly, even an organization like the SBC was founded to defend it, today, you will have a hard time finding anyone who supports the practice.

Yet we find so many people talking about it today for one reason. It’s in the Bible! When we read the Bible, it looks to many people like God approved slavery. Does that mean what went on in the Civil War had his stamp of approval? How are we to understand texts in the Bible about slavery?

After all, the text says at times that you can beat your slave if he is disobedient. It says that a person who leaves his master will not be able to take his wife and kids with him. It says that slaves can be bought from the surrounding nations and they are slaves for life.

Can we defend any of this? Is this what we can expect from the supposed loving God revealed in Jesus Christ? Surely God could have given us a better system than this couldn’t He?

To discuss these matters, I’m bringing on a specialist in slavery in the Bible with an emphasis on the Old Testament. We’ll be talking about the Bible and slavery. Did what happen in the Bible match the New World scenario? What was life like in the Ancient Near East? Does that make a difference when it comes to slavery? To discuss these questions, I’m bringing on Richard Averbeck to discuss them.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Richard (Dick) grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and came to know the Lord when he was 18 years old at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. About two years later (January, 1972) he transferred to Calvary Bible College in Kansas City where he began his academic study of the Bible, theology, and the biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew). It was there that he met his wife, Melinda.

 

After his graduation from College in 1974 Richard and Melinda were married and moved to Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. In 1977 Richard completed the Master of Divinity program at the Seminary and they moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pursue the Doctor of Philosophy program in ancient Near Eastern Studies and biblical Hebrew at the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning (now known as the Annenberg Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania).

 

In 1980 Richard completed his class work for the Ph.D. degree and they moved back to Grace Theological Seminary where he took a position as a professor of Old Testament Studies and taught until 1990. During that time Richard and Melinda became the parents of two boys, Nathan and Micah. They now have two grandsons: Jaycob 17 and Levi 4 ½. He finished his dissertation on the Gudea Cylinders, a long Sumerian temple building hymn (from about 2100 BC), and received the Ph.D. degree from Dropsie in 1987.

 

From 1987 to 1989, while continuing to teach full-time in Old Testament Studies at Grace Theological Seminary, Richard engaged in the study of biblical counseling under his colleague at the Seminary, Dr. Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr. He received the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC) degree in 1989, and is presently a “Licensed Professional Counselor” in the State of Wisconsin. From 1990 to 1994 Richard taught full-time at Dallas Theological Seminary in the fields of Old Testament Studies and Biblical Counseling, and carried on a part-time private counseling practice. In 1994 the Averbecks moved to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin for Richard to take-up his present ministry as a full-time professor in the Old Testament and Semitic Languages Department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), Deerfield, Illinois. In 2010 he also took on the Directorship of the PhD program in Theology Studies at TEDS.

 

Richard was the Director of the Spiritual Formation Forum for about ten years from 1997 to 2007. The major concern of the Forum was to assist in the development of spirituality and spiritual formation ministries in Evangelical Christian institutions such as Seminaries and Graduate Schools, Colleges, International Ministries, Campus Ministry Groups (on secular campuses), and Church Denominations as well as individual local churches. Richard continues to preach, teach, and publish in the field of Spiritual Formation.

 

Richard has published numerous articles in the fields of ancient Near Eastern Studies, especially Sumer and Sumerian literature, the relationship between ancient Near Eastern Studies and the Old Testament, the Old Testament Law, especially the ritual law and priestly theology of the Old Testament (Leviticus, the tabernacle, the sacrificial system, etc.), the latter in Walter Elwell’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology(Baker, 1996); Willem VanGemeren’s New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (Zondervan, 1997); and David W. Baker’s and T. Desmond’s Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch(InterVarsity Press, 2003). He was Chair of the Biblical Law Section of the Society of Biblical Literature from 2004 to 2010, and serves on several other professional society committees. Richard also co-edited and contributed to Crossing Boundaries and Linking Horizons: Studies in Honor of Michael C. Astour on His 80th Birthday (Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 1997), he was the main editor and a contributor to Life and Culture in the Ancient Near East (Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 2003), has published on the Gudea Cylinders and Sumerian Creation Texts in The Context of Scripture volumes 2 and 4 (the latter forthcoming), and has published numerous other articles in these fields.

 

In recent years, Richard has become engaged in the renewed scholarly discussion about the early chapters of Genesis. He was one of the five main speakers at the Bryan Institute symposium on reading Genesis 1-2, September 29-October 1, 2011, Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with Todd Beale, C. John Collins, Tremper Longman III, and John Walton. Richard’s chapter is entitled: “A Literary Day, Inter-Textual, and Contextual Reading of Genesis 1 and 2,” in Five Views on Genesis 1 and 2, ed. Daryl Charles (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, forthcoming 2013). He is also the author of “The Three ‘Daughters’ of Baal and Transformations of Chaoskampf in the Early Chapters of Genesis,” in Chaoskampf in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, ed. JoAnn Scurlock (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, forthcoming 2013). Most recently he has been appointed a co-director of the “Evangelical Theology and the Doctrine of Creation Project” funded by the Templeton Religion Trust through the Henry Center for Theological Understanding at TEDS.

 

Richard is currently committed to several book writing projects including: A Priestly Theology of the Old TestamentThe Old Testament Law and the ChristianA Rest for the People of God: Reading the Old Testament for the Christian Life; and commentaries on the books of Leviticus (in the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary forthcoming from Logos Research Systems) and Numbers (in the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation Commentary Series forthcoming from Broadman & Holman).

I hope you’ll be looking forward to this episode. If you’ve done any internet discussions on Christianity, you’ve probably come across this topic. May this episode equip you to better understand the Bible and slavery. Please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Married Guy’s Guide To Great Sex

What do I think of Penner and Penner’s book published by Focus on the Family? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Some people might be shocked to find out that a book with this title is written by two Christians. Others might be even more shocked to find out it’s published by Focus on the Family. Yet it has to be asked why should anyone be shocked. Our holy book as Christians contains the Song of Songs, a very sexual text indeed, and our God is the God who made the whole system of sex.

So now let’s get down to the details. This book is written for men and presumably, men in a Christian marriage. The book starts off with dealing with one of the great myths about men and marriage and sex. It is a great myth that most every guy will want to deny, but any married man will know is true.

We men are not sexperts.

Okay? Unless you’ve spent a lot if time in studying this area, you’re really not. We as men think that we have to automatically know everything about sex. We don’t. We grow up and get amazed by the women around us and our culture tells us that men are the people who know how to love a lady and that includes sexually.

Most of us who are married know that movies and TV shows are a sham in how they present sex. The man and the woman get together and it all just flows naturally. (Most men also know it’s a joke to think the woman is just as eager for the sex as the man is constantly.) You never see a movie or a TV show, at least I haven’t, where they say “We should put down a towel first.” You don’t see scenes of reaching for the lubricant. In movies, everything seems to flow perfectly and easily. That’s Hollywood fake sex. It’s not real sex.

So once we get past that idea, we can get to the work of learning about what it is we’re supposed to do. The Penners work on what kind of lover a man is. A great mistake that can be easily made is asking your wife how she likes a certain touch or activity. Stop it. It turns you into a spectator and makes you focus on a performance instead of an activity. If you talk, talk about what you yourself are feeling in touching and experiencing your wife and she will take the praise and enjoy it.

Ultimately, men need to let the woman lead. She is the star of the show. We’re just the supporting actors. Let her guide and don’t rush things which will make it even better because then, it’s not what you’re wanting but what she’s wanting. The women in our lives already know we want them. Let us show them how they want us to want them.

Remember also, your goal is to give her a good time. Give her a good experience and you will have a good experience. If you don’t think so, then you are just doing things wrong. By the way, ladies reading this. Want to make your husband really happy? Let him know if he does a really good job in the bedroom. (Or whatever room you happen to be in)

Also guys, remember sex doesn’t just take place in that room. Sex is an all-day thing. No. Not the way you’re thinking. It’s in romancing your wife constantly. If I go to the grocery store and Allie is just waiting in the parking lot while I shop, I’m busy sending her text messages and love songs on YouTube. Too many guys come home, show no affection to their wives, ask for dinner and a TV remote, and then expect their wives to be ready for a romantic evening.

Not happening.

Definitely included is to get rid of any pornography. Pornography will not enhance your marriage. Any benefits that are gained will be short-term. The long-term costs are far more serious.

Overall, the Penners would want you to remember that this is God’s gift for you. Sex should be enjoyable, but it will take work. You’re not naturally a sexpert, but you can learn.

And ladies, there’s a chapter at the end for you. This is a little not and guys can be benefitted by reading it. If you ladies want to read this book with your husbands, go ahead. You can say what you agree with and don’t agree with and if you desire, put it into practice, perhaps immediately.

This is a good book for married guys to read and not too long to read. The chapters are short and the lessons are easily learned. It could also be a good book for guys about to get married so they can learn what mistakes to not make ahead of time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Loving Him Well

What do I think of Gary Thomas’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes when you read marriage books, it’s good to read books written for the opposite sex. You can actually learn about yourself by doing that. Gary Thomas’s book in this category is not an exception, though I would encourage men also to read Cherish, which I have reviewed here, to learn about cherishing wives, and wives can learn how to cherish husbands.

Thomas writes starting off that marriage does not define a woman. The image of God does. Marriage is great and you should want to be loved by your husband and have a great marriage, but if you’re not, that doesn’t change your worth and value as a human being. That’s a really good message to those of us who are husbands who don’t always do the best as well!

He also tells women that if they want to influence their husbands (You can’t change him. You can only influence him.), they must be connected to God first. The relationship with Him is always primary. If a husband puts a wife above God or a wife puts her husband above God, it will only damage the marriage.

Thomas also shares in the book the main saying behind his Sacred Marriage. What if God didn’t create marriage to make us happy, but to make us holy? It’s too easy to look at the relationship and say you’re not happy anymore so it’s time to get out. Thomas encourages women to fill their heads with Scripture and be just as eager to be supportive wives of their husbands as they were on day one.

Thomas also shares a statistic that should surprise many wives. In a survey done, husbands said they love their wives more than their wives love them. While we can consider many men might exaggerate in a survey and how the question was asked, many men I know could say the same kind of thing. Husbands can often feel like we don’t matter.

Thomas encourages wives to realize as James 3 says, that we all stumble in many ways. No husband is perfect, and I fully confess that that includes me. Have grace for him. You are not going to find a husband who is perfect in every way. He’s going to make mistakes.

It could be tempting to look at his weaknesses and compare them to someone else’s strengths. This would be unfair to him. It undermines your husband’s strengths and the other man’s weaknesses. Let your husband be himself and have grace when he falls.

Also, we want you to be happy when you see us, as Thomas says. Thomas tells about a bus driver who the people are so happy when he shows up and they can finally get to their destination. The driver says in his account that he wishes his wife would look at him with such joy when he got home.

This gets us to Thomas’s first rule. Stop taking your husband for granted. Yes. We husbands can do this too. Marry the girl and then sit on the couch watching TV and don’t romance them. Yes. And you know what many husbands also say? Their wives could hardly keep their hands off of them when they were dating and they were fully excited about them, but after that ring comes on, they lose interest. Keep in mind, neither side is right in treating the other like that. Both of them changed. Thomas encourages women to love, accept, and honor their imperfect husband.

Btw, a little caveat here. In all of this, Thomas says he is assuming you are married to a good man who is really trying hard to please you. He is not talking about someone who is abusive to you or someone who is watching pornography and being unrepentant.

Thomas also says guys rise to praise. You build a man up by praising him. You tear him down by criticizing him. This isn’t just husbands and wives. This is also mothers and sons and other relationships between males and females.

Wives can also often stew privately with themselves asking why their men don’t do XYZ. Why don’t we? Simple. We don’t know what to do. Romance does not come naturally to a man and too many women have the Disney Princess or fairy tale fantasy of their guy being perfect. He’s not. We men just don’t know what do and we honestly hate that. Women. Please stop trying to hint to us what you want. Just tell us directly.

Sheila Wray Gregoire has written as an example on ten ways to indicate to your husband he’s going to be getting lucky this evening. The tenth way is to just say it. This way works the best. As an example of how hints don’t work, my own wife has told me about times when she’s been in the mood and I missed it and….

*Steps away from writing to go and mourn*

Okay. Where was I? Oh. Yeah. Don’t hint.

Thomas does say it’s a myth that the more your husband loves you, the more he’ll be able to read your mind. It’s a very sweet myth. It’s also total nonsense. It just doesn’t work.

Thomas also says husbands work hard to please their wives because we respond to praise and our wives adore us. Be disappointed around us and let down and we lose motivation. If we think we’re not impressing you, it kills our motivation to try. Should we try anyway? Yes. Still, women can make it far easier on their husbands.

He also tells about Laura Doyle who wrote The Surrendered Wife. Doyle went and asked husbands what they wanted from their wives. She figured her husband wanted the same things then. What did she do? Stopped nagging, cut out complaints and criticisms, let him lead in major decisions, and here comes the really controversial one, sex whenever he wanted it. Believe it or not, she got a fabulous husband out of the deal! Does it always work that way? No. Is it more likely that things will work that way? Yes.

Thomas also encourages women to not talk to their husbands the way they talk to their mother, sisters, girl friends, etc. If you want him to turn off the TV and just talk, good luck. At the end of the day, men can often want to turn their minds off. (Not an ironclad rule. I can do some great work at night, but usually if I’m watching TV, I don’t want serious discussion then.)

Bottom line here. Your husband won’t think or act like a woman. Don’t expect him to. Ironically, I also think we husbands tend to expect our wives to think and act like men. (Hey. Sex is free fun and bonding and we both like it, so why wouldn’t she want to? She doesn’t? Well, I guess she doesn’t really care about me. It really is amazing to read advice for wives and realize we husbands have our own counterparts.)

Thomas also says men don’t like to talk about painful feelings and emotions. Women like to work them out. Men don’t because the discussion themselves actually hurts them. They need time to process things. If you see your husband in pain over an emotion, just listen for the time being and give him a few hours to process things. Push and he will just react negatively. Why do men stonewall and such then? It’s self-defense. We avoid the talk because it is painful.

It’s also said that men when asked what they want, after sex and affirmation, said they want to have fun without feeling guilty. If a man asks for excessive time out, that’s one thing, but if he just wants one night a week to go hang out with the guys or just wants to watch a football game or play a video game some, let him. Don’t guilt him. I have actually said something I like is when my wife watches me plays video games and is supportive.

Sometime ago we had a friend over and he was working on my wife’s bass so I decided to play some Mega Man 11. Unfortunately, I kept having a hard time on a level and my wife loved to point it out. She asked why I was getting upset and my friend, a single guy, said, “Because you’re hurting his manhood.” Does that sound silly? Perhaps, but it’s also true. The message a man gets is “You’re incapable.” Men hate that message.

Thomas also has some sections on common concerns. The first is a husband who is angry. Now every husband has some anger and not all anger is wrong. Insult my wife on Facebook and watch that anger come out of me. When we do get angry with our wives, including me, we regret it. We’re ashamed. Help us out of that and you do a tremendous service.

One situation described is one my wife and I dealt with. My wife likes to go out to eat. I don’t care for it. Then sometime recently, my wife said “I like to do that because it’s something we do together.” That changes it. For me, I am not a food person and it’s kind of a necessary evil. My Princess had thought I saw this the same way. I don’t. Now that gives us something to work on. The example given in the book is shopping. A guy will normally not want to just go shopping, especially if he likes to make sure the money is secure. Instead, tell him you want to go out just because you want to be with him and you don’t have to buy anything. He’ll be much more open.

Thomas also says to properly challenge. Stand up to your husband not in disrespect, but in respect. “Honey. You’re better than this.  You’re hurting yourself and us. Be the man I want you to be here.” That will work so much better.

What about helping your husband become more involved at home? How many guys seem married to their work. Here’s one tip that comes to my mind immediately. Men tend to go where the respect is. If he thinks work gives him more respect than you, well guess where he will more often go. Again, that doesn’t make it right, but it does explain it. The same happens with hobbies. If a man feels a greater sense of accomplishment beating a boss on Final Fantasy than he gets with his wife, guess where he will more likely go to.

In this case, the wife changed herself and learned to be supportive and asked the husband what he wanted. One simple request was to prepare meals the kids like. Why? He wanted to come home to a peaceful home. The wife would just insist the kids eat what she gave them and that caused friction. A husband wants to come home to peace and not to more friction.

The wife also worked on being in a good mood around her husband. He also wanted her to be more fun. Go on fishing and hunting trips with him. I remember one story being told elsewhere about a guy who wanted his wife to join him on a hunting trip. They sat all day in one spot waiting for ducks to come. Nothing happened. Nothing. The wife considered it a waste. On the way back, the husband remarked how awesome it was. Why? They were doing something together he enjoyed and she wasn’t complaining. And no wives, they weren’t there having sex when the ducks weren’t coming. You can do things with your husband he will enjoy and appreciate besides sex.

All of this also came from a new commitment to Christ by the wife. What happened? Her husband wanted to come home. A husband will also change for a wife who shows commitment to him. If he thinks her commitment is growing lax, his tendency is to change his as well. Men want to know their wives will be with them in everything. If they don’t think that, it’s like a betrayal to them.

Also, if a man loves a woman and he realizes his actions hurt her, it causes him pain. Recently, a therapist told me that Allie and I weren’t emotionally connecting. It was hurting Allie. Allie told me the same thing when I asked her. I can assure you there was deep repentance for me. The last thing a good husband wants to do is to hurt his wife.

The third scenario is about pornography. Many men out there do not have this struggle, such as myself, but most all husband struggle with sex in some way. One simple statement made at the start is we are hooked and helpless in the face of female beauty. If I’m sitting on the couch minding my own business reading a book or watching TV, my wife can say “I’m going to get a shower” and my ears perk up immediately. If there is any beauty I will do most anything to pursue, it is my wife’s.

If you are a wife who has a husband who takes sexual integrity seriously, strives to avoid porn and compromising situations, and is faithful, be grateful. Don’t take him for granted. He really is trying and he may seem like a sex pervert still, but that part of his brain is really larger than yours and so it comes to his mind much much more often.

He also stresses that if a wife wants more of an emotional connection, she MUST supply the sexual. This is not an option. A man finds it hard to focus in many other areas if his sexual needs aren’t being met. It’s like cutting him off from his energy source and expecting him to perform still.

There are other benefits. Sex is a number one time that men release that oxytocin in their bodies, which is the bonding chemical. It will also make him see you more attractive and other women less attractive. Sexual coasting in a relationship and ignoring this part will ALWAYS damage the relationship. Shut a man down sexually and he will have a hard time being emotionally close to you.

Also, this is not just a physical need for a man. It may feel that way to a wife, but to him, it’s emotional and even spiritual. A man being told no to sex is not being told no to sex in his mind, but no to him as a person. He is rejected as a person every time. In our minds, our wives are irresistible and we would jump at most any chance to have sex. When we are told no, our minds tell us we’re not seen the same way. Wives. If you want your husbands to treat you differently, and they should want that on your own, do your part. Make sex a priority. For your husband, if sex is not a priority, HE is not a priority.

Also with this, do this with joy. A man doesn’t want pity sex. His pride can work in your favor. If you can work and enjoy the act, your husband will be delighted to see your pleasure and think to himself, “I did that.” If you’re exhausted and smiling, that is a huge boost to our honor. Just try and see if this makes a difference. A husband wants to be sexually satisfied, but he also wants to sexually satisfy his wife.

To go back to Sheila Wray Gregoire, she actually says that sex wards off many illnesses, including mental illnesses and cancers, can help relieve stress, and can help women sleep better. The question is not, “Do I owe my husband sex?” It’s “If God created something this great, why would I want to miss out on it?”

Thomas asks a question of wives. “How much are you helping your husband walk in sexual holiness?” If you are shutting him down regularly and blocking him off and not enjoying him, it is a battle for him. Do otherwise, and you will reap great rewards.

Pornography interferes with this and should never be an option. A wife needs to be graceful but firm. Realize that this is a struggle for your husband, but make it clear he can’t have both. This could be a rare case where sexual abstinence could be good. If your husband is watching porn, you fear he will be thinking of that actress instead of you and you won’t have it. You want to be the only woman on his mind.

And husbands, please understand this. Wives are devastated when they find out that you’ve been watching porn. They start questioning their sexual desirability and ability and then their own identities as women. If you are watching this stuff, please stop now. Even if you are single, please stop now. If you marry, it will be that much harder on her. If you are not, porn is still a dishonorable activity that dishonors all women.

Remember this can be a battle for men because we are visually oriented and just the sight of our wives’ bodies and we’re ready to go. If I walk into the bedroom sometime and my wife is changing and I didn’t realize it, I just stand transfixed for some time normally. I can totally forget why I came in there to begin with. It’s just like that. I am in awe of the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.

Thomas also says that if you are married, part of your responsibilities as a wife is regular sex. You don’t get married and then say you’re going to choose celibacy. That would be like your husband marrying you and then saying “I’m going to cut out all this romance stuff. I don’t need it and it doesn’t do anything for me.”

The next problem dealt with is an internet affair. The solution to this is similar to the porn situation. Take interest in what your husband is taking interest in and be there for him. People go after other relationships because they’re not getting what they want elsewhere. It’s not justified still, but we can make it easier. Never put your spouse on the shelf and leave them feeling ignored. Wives can make their husbands feel sexually ignored and husbands can make their wives feel emotionally ignored. Growint together is by degrees. So is growing apart.

The final scenario is a husband who is an unbeliever. In this case, the wife realized she was often needed and many husbands just aren’t emotionally expressive. The wife had to be patient and couldn’t do what I call Mission Impossible Christianity where she had to get her husband to Jesus then and there. Give him time. Amusingly, she once hated his obsession with fly-fishing until she went with him one time. Now she thoroughly enjoys it. Also, your husband can never meet all your needs, just like no wife can meet all of her husband’s needs. Go to God first.

This is an excellent book, but I do wish one thing had been added. That would be a message to wives about female beauty. So many wives can beat themselves up so much over how they look and we men are just standing there thinking “What are you talking about?” Wives. Please do not criticize your appearance. We adore how you look regardless of what you think. Just trust us with that. Try the risk. See if you share yourselves with us regularly what happens.

I do encourage wives to get this to learn about loving their husbands, but husbands like myself can benefit from it too. I found out many things about the way that I think. It seems that a good rule is most anything that Gary Thomas writes about marriage is good and this is no exception.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Christianity At The Religious Round Table

What do I think of Timothy Tennent’s book published by Baker Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In the past, a Christian growing up would likely never encounter a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Muslim, at least in a place like America. Now, you encounter them in a wide number of places. A church my wife and I attend has a ministry to Indian people in the area. Many Hollywood celebrities practice Buddhism. Oprah Winfrey regularly shares Eastern thought on her broadcasts. Islam seems to always be in the news and 9/11 has a permanent memory with many of us.

Even if a Christian lives out somewhere in the boondocks surrounded by Christians, if they get on the internet, they will encounter other worldviews. Nowadays, learning about other worldviews for a Christian is not just an option. It is mandatory.

Fortunately, Timothy Tennent has written a book where he does interact with other worldviews from the perspective of one who has spent some time in serious study of those worldviews. Tennent gives a brief explanation of major ideas in Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic thought. Then he has a dialogue with holders of those worldviews and lets us see how the interaction is to take place.

He also has three bonus sections at the end that aren’t dialogue, but do look at how one interacts with other religions and how some have done it in history. Anyone interested in interacting with this kind of thought needs to go through this area as well. There is also a section beforehand on different views of exclusivism and inclusivism so Christians can see where they fall on the spectrum.

The information in the book is certainly excellent. Be warned that when many of us read sections on Hinduism and Buddhism, self included, it is easy to get lost. This is because you really do get to see how different Eastern thought is from the way that we generally think and the terminology is terminology that we are not familiar with. I don’t think this is the fault of Tennent at all when it’s sometimes hard to follow. I think it’s just that we’re so far away from the system that we don’t know how to process it.

Some people might be surprised that the information on Islam doesn’t cover terrorism. The book was published after 9/11, but I suspect Tennent wanted to focus more on the doctrinal issues than that. That could be a good topic of further dialogue in the future if one is interested.

If anything would be changed, I would have liked to have seen some names attached to the participants in the dialogue and perhaps rather than just long pieces, have more immediate give and take like a conversation. Names would have made the dialogue seem more personable. Perhaps we should have some sections of longer parts and some of shorter parts. For shorter parts, I think of the writings of Peter Kreeft he has, such as those with Socrates.

Still, if you want some good information on these beliefs, this book is an excellent place to go. You will walk away with a better understanding of these worldviews. Again, you have to have this knowledge if you want to be effective today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Meal Jesus Gave Us

What do I think of N.T. Wright’s book published by Westminster John Knox Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

N.T. Wright has always been a favorite writer of mine and when I found for sale on Kindle a book he wrote on the Lord’s Supper, I had to get it. This has been an object of study for me lately. I do tend to hold to more of a symbolic remembrance view. My ultimate position is that it doesn’t matter for discipleship which view it is. Jesus said to come to the table and that’s it.

Wright begins his book by going back in time to the Exodus and the Passover meal there. From there, we go to about 200 B.C. where a Jewish family is celebrating and acting as if they were there for the Exodus. This is then tied into the Lord’s Supper.

We then go into much more of the history. I do wish some more had been said about the Church Fathers, but Wright mainly wants to focus on the meaning of the meal. For him, the meaning of the meal is to remind us of what Jesus did and to tie all of time together as it were. We take a past event, the crucifixion of Jesus followed by His resurrection, and then we look forward to His future return and our resurrection, and we celebrate both of those in the present moment.

We also come to celebrate our unity together as a body. We are all Christians and we are all thinking about Jesus and what He did for us. We are all becoming aware of our sins and how we need to live better for the cause of Christ and how He is the Lord of us. We are thinking about just as Israel was delivered from slavery under Pharaoh, so it is that we are delivered from slavery under sin.

When he does look at the Reformation, he does get to the debate between Luther and Zwingli and he brings out some interesting facts, such as the young scholar standing in the background of their discussion who knew Aramaic and knew both of them were getting it wrong. Had something happened that Luther and Zwingli could have worked together, history could have turned out very differently. Alas, it did not.

One final point he brings out is one that I have come to appreciate more and more. The table ought not to be a place of exclusion. It’s my conclusion that the only requirement for coming to the table should be that you are a Christian. The table is a place of unity and we should recognize our unity. If you are going to spend eternity with someone and are going to be at the wedding supper of the lamb with them, shouldn’t you be willing to come to the table with them?

Wright’s book is a good and short read as most of the chapters you can read in ten minutes. Wright writes in such a way that draws you in and really gets you thinking about the meal and yet he has a profound depth to him. I highly recommend this for those wanting to understand the Lord’s Supper.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 3/30/2019: Timothy Tennent

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you grew up in, say, the 1950’s, odds are you could go through life in America without ever really encountering a Buddhist or a Hindu. Fast forward to the 1980’s and you’re probably not as likely, but you will see ideas from the East having much more of a showing here in America. Now as the second decade of the 21st century comes to a close, it’s far easier. Not only can you encounter Hindus and Buddhists, but you don’t even have to leave your house to do so. Just get on Facebook and it’s easy to encounter people of a totally different religion.

When it comes to Islam and Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses, we might have an easier time understanding because we share a cultural milleu in that these share a lot in common with Western thought. Not so with Buddhism or Hinduism. These religions can be so foreign to our way of thinking that they are difficult to understand. It has been said you need a Ph.D. in philosophy to really understand Buddhism, for example.

A couple of months ago my wife and I visited a Hindu temple here in Atlanta. I did encounter a foreign world to me and as I left, I realized I needed to do a show on the topic of Hinduism and Buddhism as well. Few of us in apologetics really know how to approach the kind of thinking in these religions. I needed someone who understood both of these well and had a passion for teaching on the topics. I found that person in Dr. Timothy Tennent.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

President Timothy C. Tennent has served as president since July 2009. Prior to his coming to Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Tennent was the Professor of World Missions and Indian Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he served since 1998. Ordained in the United Methodist Church in 1984, he has pastored churches in Georgia, and in several of the largest churches in New England. Since 1989, he has taught annually as an adjunct professor at the New Theological College in Dehra Dun, India. He is a frequent conference speaker around the country and throughout the world, including numerous countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Not only will we be talking about these religions, but I also plan to talk about how to approach other religions in general. It is tempting if we’re apologists to seek to study a religion just to find out what’s wrong with it. Is there a better way to approach a foreign religion? Even if we know the facts about other religions, how is the best way to communicate this to those who hold to those religions?

Please be watching your feed for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Also, go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the show as well. It really means a lot to me to know that there are so many of you out there that appreciate the work that is being done here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Religious Epistemology

What do I think of Tyler McNabb’s book published by Cambridge University Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Epistemology, the study of knowledge, is an interesting field, but it will seem contradictory to many internet atheists out there to have such a thing as religious epistemology. You can have knowledge of religious truths? How can we know anything at all if all religion is nonsense?

McNabb’s main focus on this book is to explain what is known as Reformed Epistemology. This involves someone being justified in knowing that God exists even if they don’t necessarily have the best arguments for it. He is not opposed to arguments for God’s existence and it does not mean that God necessarily exists, but it does mean that if one holds to the existence of God, they can be justified even if they don’t have arguments.

I’m not sold entirely on Reformed Epistemology yet, but it is a serious field defended by even philosophical titans like Alvin Plantinga. William Lane Craig is also a fan of this kind of argumentation. If it’s true, it would also be of great benefit to the layman in the pew who will likely never seriously have to engage with internet atheists, but will just want to know if they are really correct in holding that God exists.

Something amusing about reading these kinds of books is all the illustrations that are used to make a point. In philosophy, one can have a powerful imagination and it works to one’s benefit. Where else are you going to read accounts about swamp men rising up to clone someone or about boys being kidnapped and taken to other planets all to make some justification for a point?

All of this leads to the other point of Reformed Epistemology. If theism is true, and Christian theism is included, then our brains are in essence designed in such a way to find out that God exists. We can contrast this to a position whereby if naturalism is true, our brains are the result of a cosmic accident. This could get us into Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Note that none of this requires arguing against evolution. It only requires that you argue against naturalism.

Yet this does not mean that natural theology is of no benefit. There is a way you can get from Reformed Epistemology to natural theology. After all, even if you can be justified in believing that God exists without explicit argument, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to reach the other people out there who don’t share that belief in the existence of God. This is another great reason to have good arguments so you can be better prepared to reach those who need to know the reality of God.

One final benefit. This book is short. As far as content goes minus endnotes and references and such, it’s less than 50 pages. You can get a good and quick guide from a well-respected publisher and know something about the issue in a single evening. Check it out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters