Deeper Waters Podcast 9/30/2017: Don Veinot

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

Cults. We know all about them. Most of us probably know someone in one. Many of us have learned how to answer the objections of cults and we have learned about the history of the cults, but there is something many of us have not learned about. We have not learned about cults themselves. What is a cult? How does one get involved in a cult? What happens while one is a cult? A more important question could be, how does one get out of a cult, especially if one wants to get out? Related would be how do you get your loved ones out of a cult?

For this, you need someone to come on who has a mind for good theology to recognize the cults, and also a heart to care about the people involved in them. When I meet someone who wants to escape a cult or get a loved one out of a cult, I always send them to the same place. That place is actually a person and that person is my guest this Saturday. His name is Don Veinot. Who is he?

Don Promo picture 02

L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr. is co-founder and President of Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc., a national apologetics ministry and mission to new religious movements based in Wonder Lake, IL., with a branch office in Quincy, IL and Cape Coral, FL. He, along with his wife of 47 years, Joy, have been involved in discernment ministry as missionaries to New Religious Movements since 1987. He is a frequent guest on various radio and television broadcasts including The John Ankerberg Show as well as being a staff researcher and writer for the Midwest Outreach Journal and is co-author of, A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life, contributing author of Preserving Evangelical Unity: Welcoming Diversity in Non-Essentials, as well as articles in the CRI Journal, PFO Quarterly Journal, Campus Life Magazine, Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, Midwestern Journal of Theology and other periodicals. He was ordained to the ministry by West Suburban Community Church of Lombard, IL, at the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, Israel in March of 1997. Don is a charter member of ISCA (International Society of Christian Apologetics) and is also the current President of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR), a consortium of Counter cult/apologetic and discernment ministries from around the country.

If you are in a cult and you are wanting to get out, then you need to be listening to this episode. The same would go if you think you could be in a cult. We’ll discuss how you can tell. If you know someone who is in a cult and you want them to get out, you need to listen to this episode to learn what all you can do. If you want to know if that group in your area is a cult, you need to listen to this episode. I hope you will be. Be watching your podcast feed and leave a positive review please of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/12/2017: Michael Bird

What’s going to be on the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night I recorded the latest episode of the podcast and on it, I discussed the adoptionist position with a leading scholar. Why record last night? Because my guest is all the way in Australia and due to time differences, we had to handle things differently.

Adoptionism is the idea that Jesus hasn’t always been the Son of God. He was adopted at one point in His lifetime be it at His birth, baptism, or resurrection. My guest has taken a look at the arguments scholars put forward for this and has put forward a brief but powerful book on the topic. His name is Michael Bird.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Michael grew up in Brisbane before joining the Army and serving as a paratrooper, intelligence operator, and then chaplains assistant. It was during his time in the military that he came to faith from a non-Christian background and soon after felt a call to ministry. He graduated with a B.Min from Malyon College (2001) and Honours and Ph.D from the University of Queensland (2002, 2005). Michael taught New Testament at the Highland Theological College in Scotland (2005-9) before joining Brisbane School of Theology as lecturer in Theology (2010-12). He joined the faculty at Ridley as lecturer in Theology in 2013.

Michael describes himself as a “biblical theologian” who endeavours to bring together biblical studies and systematic theology. He believes that the purpose of the church is to “gospelize,” that is to preach, promote, and practice the Gospel-story of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remembered by students for his mix of outlandish humour and intellectual rigor, he makes theology both entertaining and challenging.

As an industrious researcher, Michael has written and edited over thirty books in the fields of Septuagint, Historical Jesus, Gospels, St. Paul, Biblical Theology, and Systematic Theology. His book Evangelical Theology is an attempt to develop a truly gospel-based theology that promotes the advance of the gospel in Christian life and thought. He is the co-editor of the New Covenant Commentary Series, an associate editor for Zondervan’s The Story of God Bible Commentary, and an elected member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (the international society of New Testament scholars).  He speaks often at conferences in the Australia, the UK, and USA and is currently working on a New Testament Introduction co-authored with N.T. Wright. He also runs a popular blog called Euangelion.

Michael is married to Naomi and they have four children.

We talk in this show about the Jewish context of the Gospel accounts and how Jesus fits into them. We look at passages like Romans 1, Acts 2:36, Philippians 2, and the baptism of Jesus in Mark 1. We also cover the importance of the understanding of the Old Testament and look at ideas such as Jesus being based more off of Greco-Roman imagery instead of Jewish thought.

The show was only an hour long, so that leaves plenty more for those interested in getting the book. I hope you’ll be looking forward to this episode. Please also consider going on ITunes and leaving a positive review for the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Knock At Your Door

What do you do when the other side comes knocking at your door?

Wednesday as my wife and I were heading out, we saw some women standing near our car. Now I’m not normally an outgoing type, but I push myself at times and I did this time because I could recognize by the way they were dressed and that they were carrying books that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I asked them about their books so they could confirm my suspicions. They told me that they were Bible Students and waiting for some others. Bible Students is often another way of saying Jehovah’s Witnesses so I had my findings confirmed. I invited them to stop by.

This morning, they did just that.

This is also why you study your Bible and why the church needs to have people studying their Bibles. If these people knock on your door and you are not prepared, they will turn you inside out. These people know several several verses that you probably do not know. These are verses that are not taught in your average church service.

When was the last time you heard a sermon in church on the Kingdom of God? Yeah. That’s what I thought. That’s especially sad since this was one of the greatest emphases of the historical Jesus. When was the last time you heard a message about the Trinity? How about the nature of the resurrection?

Well guess what. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a lot to say about all of those and if all you have is what you usually hear in churches on Sunday, unless your church is the rare exception, you are not prepared. Think you’ve got those pet verses you like to use to show the Trinity? Well guess what. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an answer to those. Now I think the answer is wrong and is based on poor hermeneutics, but it is still an answer and if you don’t have a reply ready for them, it will not go well for you.

And you know what? You can’t get that answer right when they knock on your door. You have to have it ready then.

I had my answer ready then. Many passages they brought out such as Psalms 37 with the meek inheriting the Earth and such, I agreed with. When they asked about miracles and that we don’t have them going on, I was ready to point them to Craig Keener. My favorite was to talk about the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught and tie it in to Matthew 24 with my understanding of orthodox Preterism. They didn’t really care for that and it was quite a problem for them.

Now you might think some of my responses are wrong, but I want to point something out. These people are going around doing evangelism, like we’re supposed to be doing. These people are studying in their evangelism, like we should be doing. These people are confronting those who disagree with them, like we should be doing. These people are being more serious about a false gospel than we are often being about the true gospel and you know who they want to reach? You and your family and your neighbors.

Some of you might want to study when they show up, but that’s like preparing for combat when the enemy shows up at your house. You have to be ready then. You have to be prepared at all times. If you are not being prepared, start. If you do not have a well-grounded theology that can handle the objections that are presented, start.

One point I did stress is that I read books that disagree with me. They wanted to avoid saying that they did this and just pay some lip service to the idea. This is a great weakness of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are very selective in what they’re allowed to read. Don’t be like that. Read what you can. That’s just good humility.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and others should be a lesson to us all. We need to prepare. Imagine how the church would be if we were as true to the true Gospel as Jehovah’s Witnesses are to a false one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Can Christians Celebrate Birthdays?

Is it wrong to celebrate someone’s birth? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was thinking of doing a book review today, but then someone sent me an article about birthdays wanting my response to it. I decided to write something to first off be of service to this person and second, because as someone who responds to mythicists, this article is full of the exact same kinds of mistakes that they make. I figure it’s a good illustration of how not to do this kind of thing. The article under question can be found here.

Of course, the question right at the start is “Do birthdays have pagan origins?” Now I think this is something that in fact really doesn’t matter a bit. Who cares if the pagans came up with an idea? What matters is why I am observing that idea. For instance, suppose you convinced me that wedding rings had their origin in paganism. Would I take mine off? Absolutely not! Why? Because I don’t wear a wedding ring to honor a pagan deity. I wear a wedding ring to honor my wife.

The article begins this way:

Although many who profess Christ celebrate birthdays, did you know that birthdays were simply not celebrated by those in the early church? Interestingly, there is no hint in the Bible or early writings that Jesus, the apostles, or any true Christians ever celebrated birthdays.

Okay. I get that.

And?

We could just as well say “Did you know the early church didn’t have a commandment to gather books and call them the New Testament?” And yet, that is exactly what we did. The early church did not use air conditioning or drive cars or anything of that sort, and yet we have no problem doing such today, and how many of our cars have names that could be called “pagan” as well?

Like many mythicist arguments, this starts with an argument from silence. It is as if because Jesus and His followers never did this, we shouldn’t as well. We have to ask why they didn’t do this. Was it because they thought it was immoral? Was it because they thought it was pagan?

Consider a parallel on the opposite end. Jesus said we ought to wash one another’s feet. As someone who has moved multiple times in the past few years, never did I go visit a church for the first time and have someone offer to wash my feet. Never. I don’t hear of that going on period. What are we to say? Are we disobeying Jesus? Should we all repent and get buckets and go clean each other’s feet now?

No. Jesus in that passage did the position of the lowest servant in the household. He washed the feet of his disciples. The point is not to do exactly what Jesus did, but to serve exactly as Jesus did. That could be something entirely different today.

Another example can be found in the Biblical admonition to greet one another with a holy kiss. (Although to be fair, I remind my wife during the greeting time at church that this is how we are to greet one another.) How many of you guys have kissed another dude in church? How many of you have kissed another man’s wife in church? I suspect it’s a very low number. Are you being disobedient to the command? No. The principle behind the command is what matters and today it could often be a handshake instead.

The article goes on to say the following:

“Originally the idea [of birthday greetings and wishes for happiness] was rooted in magic. The working of spells for good and evil is the chief usage of witchcraft. One is especially susceptible to such spells on his birthday, as one’s personal spirits are about at that time. Dreams dreamed on the birthday eve should be remembered, for they are predictions of the future brought by the guardian spirits which hover over one’s bed on the birthday eve. Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day. Good wishes bring good fortune, but the reverse is also true, so one should avoid enemies on one’s birthday and be surrounded only by well-wishers. ‘Happy birthday’ and ‘Many happy returns of the day’ are the traditional greetings” (The Lore of Birthdays, Linton, p. 20)…

The giving of birthday gifts is a custom associated with the offering of sacrifices to pagan gods on their birthdays. Certainly the custom was linked with the same superstitions that formed the background for birthday greetings. “The exchange of presents… is associated with the importance of ingratiating good and evil fairies… on their or our birthdays” (ibid.).

The traditional birthday cake and candles also have their origin in ancient pagan idol worship. The ancients believed that the fire of candles had magical properties. They offered prayers and made wishes to be carried to the gods on the flames of the candles. Thus we still have the widely practiced birthday custom of making a wish, then blowing out the candles. The Greeks celebrated the birthday of their moon goddess, Artemis, with cakes adorned with lighted candles…

“The Egyptians… discovered to which of the gods each month and day is sacred; and found out from the day of a man’s birth, what he will meet with in the course of his life, and how he will end his days, and what sort of man he will be” (Herodotus, Persian Wars, Book II, ch. 82)

Since it was believed that the positions of the stars at the time of birth influenced a child’s future, astrological horoscopes came into being, purporting to foretell the future, based on the time of birth. “Birthdays are intimately linked with the stars, since without the calendar, no one could tell when to celebrate his birthday. They are also indebted to the stars in another way, for in early days the chief importance of birthday records was to enable the astrologers to chart horoscopes” (The Lore of Birthdays, p. 53). Rawlinson’s translation of Herodotus includes the following footnote: “Horoscopes were of very early use in Egypt… and Cicero speaks of the Egyptians and Chaldees predicting… a man’s destiny at his birth”…

When we examine the principles of God’s law closely, as they relate to birthday celebrations, we can understand why neither Christ, nor His Apostles, nor their true followers, observed their birthdays. As noted earlier, the practice has its origin in idolatry and the worship of the sun, moon and stars…Some may view birthday customs as purely secular, lacking any religious significance. Yet we need to be aware of the broader perspective of their origins, and the religious significance they have had—and still have—for vast multitudes of people. (Reynolds, Rod. Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays? LCN, May-June 2002. pp.16-18).

The religious significance they still have for vast multitudes of people? Seriously? I haven’t seen many birthday parties that take place to honor pagan deities lately. Maybe I’m missing something.

Let’s suppose that all of the above was true? My question is “So what?” Seriously. So what? Ancient people took the opportunity of birthdays to celebrate pagan deities. Okay. That means that I take the opportunity for the same reason? Ancients lit candles in honor of their deities. Okay. That somehow means that if I light candles on a birthday cake that I’m necessarily honoring a pagan deity? No. I know why I do what I do.

Let’s also keep in mind another reason why birthdays would not normally be celebrated. For one thing, most people did not have the resources to know when their birthday was. They could give a general idea, but in their calendar, dates of important events kept changing. (This is why your mythicist friends who make arguments about astrological dates have particularly weak arguments.) The main way you could find this out is if you were extremely wealthy. Most were not.

Also, a lot of this talk about birthdays is not about an annual celebration but about finding the date of when the original birth was. Again, this was for the wealthy so that they could determine their destiny by astrology.  Most of the people in the world were just trying to survive. (For that matter, most would not have the money or resources to get gifts.)

As we go through the article, we get to Judaism and the announcement that Jews did not celebrate birthdays. Again, much of the reasoning of above would apply here. Still, there is one comment worth sharing from here.

The tradition also holds that your birth alone is not as significant as the way you live your life. After all, King Solomon is thought to have said, “The day of death is better than the day of one’s birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1). As a midrash explains, ‘When a person is born, it is not known what he will be like when grown and what his deeds will be – whether righteous or wicked, good, or evil.

And who would disagree? Of course how you live your life is more important. That does not mean that the birthday cannot be celebrated. When people celebrate your birthday, they are saying that they are happy that you are in their life and you are a part of it. They are thankful for your existence. Are we not supposed to give thanks?

From here, let’s look at some Scriptures that they present.

Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. Then he restored the chief butler to his butlership again, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. But he hanged the chief baker (Genesis 40:20-22).

Pharaoh did something evil on a birthday.

Therefore, birthdays are evil.

Okay. Let’s see how this applies. Pharaoh did something evil at a feast. Therefore, feasts are evil. Anyone want to go that route? I didn’t think so. That Pharaoh did something evil does not mean that the day he did so is ipso facto evil. Every day belongs to the Lord and we can use it for good or for evil.

There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, And the monthly prognosticators Stand up and save you From what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble, The fire shall burn them; They shall not deliver themselves From the power of the flame (Isaiah 47:13-14).

I’ve done many things for my wife on her birthday, but I think I’m good here. I don’t think I’ve ever hired or a soothsayer or a medium or consulted stargazers about her birthday. I suspect many of you have never done such a thing. Therefore, there’s no reason to think these verses apply to us because none of us are doing the actions mentioned.

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job spoke, and said:

“May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, ‘A male child is conceived.’ May that day be darkness; May God above not seek it, Nor the light shine upon it. May darkness and the shadow of death claim it; May a cloud settle on it; May the blackness of the day terrify it (Job 3:1-5).

Job cursed the day of his birth, therefore we should not celebrate birthdays….

Are you kidding me? Seriously?

Job is in a time of lament. He is not making a statement about birthdays. He is making a statement about how miserable he is in life right now. If the writer wants us to be consistent, perhaps we should all curse the day of our birth. Does he really think that this is the way Christians should be acting? Keep in mind, God had some pretty tough words for Job in the end for his attitude.

Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away–indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”…If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression (Job 1:13-15; 8:4).

Although, I have heard some say that the “day” referred to in Job 1:13 was a birthday celebration, the passage in Job is not explicit and Job himself indicates he was more concerned with what his sons might have said, than done, in their other celebrations (Job 1:4-5). However, it should be noted that there are no positive statements in the Old Testament related to birthdays.

Indeed, some think his sons and daughters met on their birthdays and celebrated. Keep in mind Job would have the resources for that. He had abundant wealth. Yet this is something the article gets right. Assuming that it was a birthday, Job says nothing about the fact they are celebrating one. He is more concerned with their behavior than the celebrations. Would that the article writer had followed through consistently!

The prophet Jeremiah wrote:

14 Cursed be the day in which I was born!
Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!
15 Let the man be cursed
Who brought news to my father, saying,
“A male child has been born to you!”
Making him very glad.
16 And let that man be like the cities
Which the LORD overthrew, and did not relent;
Let him hear the cry in the morning
And the shouting at noon,
17 Because he did not kill me from the womb,
That my mother might have been my grave,
And her womb always enlarged with me.
18 Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow,
That my days should be consumed with shame? (Jeremiah 20:14-18)

And this is exactly like the prior Job passage. It’s incredible that the author takes this and says that this is to be our example. Of course, we do like Jeremiah have the freedom to complain to God and be heard, but that does not mean we should take this as a statement on birthdays.

The Hebrew calendar itself makes the celebration of birthdays somewhat difficult when one attempts to superimpose it on our modern (essentially Roman-derived) calendars. And the reason for this is that it is about 11 days shorter than the annual orbit around the sun, and hence it adds a thirteenth month seven times in every nineteen year cycle. Thus, one’s “birthday” on a modern calendar will vary 11 or so days from year to year–and the positions of the constellations in the sky would always to some degree be different. Therefore, from an astrological perspective, one’s alleged “sign” would often be different. If God wanted birthdays celebrated, He probably would have given the children of Israel the type of calendar which would have made it possible to for the “birthday” to fall on the same solar calendar day each year–instead that basically cannot happen but a relatively few times in a life. (Bold mine)

I’m sorry, but the bold part has to be one of the most ridiculous arguments in all of this. If we follow this to its conclusion, matters get absurd.

If God wanted the text to be handed down faithfully, He would have given the Hebrew children Xeroxes.

If God wanted people to know Jesus was the Messiah, He would have had Him appear to everyone and write Jesus Saves on the moon. (And yes, people make this argument.)

If God wanted the Great Commission to be completed, He would make us all like Superman so we could fly everywhere and give the good news.

If God wanted ISIS to be stopped, He would rain down fire from Heaven on them.

You can come up with your own, but this kind of argument is one that we should never be making. We can justify not doing any sort of action by saying “If God wanted it done, He would have.” Well who are you and I to tell God how He should run His universe?

A lot of the next stuff is still more arguments from silence and such, until we get to Herod.

There is, however, one birthday celebration mentioned in the New Testament, and it was not a good one. Actually, it was so bad, that the one Jesus had called the greatest “among those born of women” (Matthew 11:11) was killed because of it:

But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.” And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother (Matthew 14:6-11).

Once again, the same argument applies. Herod did something evil on a birthday, therefore all birthdays are evil. What do we do with the fact that another Herod killed thousands at Passover? Does this mean that Jews should have stopped celebrating Passover because something evil happened on it? Of course not.

Originally, even as more and more Gentiles began to profess Christ (so much so that they outnumbered those of Jewish heritage that did), the early Gentile leaders also did not endorse the celebration of birthdays. No early church writer endorsed the observance of birthdays by Christians, nor are they ever listed in the early observances of the Christian church.

Therefore, the celebration of birthdays, was clearly not part of:

… the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Well no. Of course it isn’t, but neither is air conditioning part of the good news. Neither is the idea of forming the New Testament. Neither is using deodorant or any number of things that we do today. The faith once and for all delivered to the saints is about the content of the Gospel. Why should we expect to find birthdays mentioned in that?

We next get to a statement of Origen.

…of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below (Origen, in Levit., Hom. VIII, in Migne P.G., XII, 495) (Thurston H. Natal Day. Transcribed by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to Margaret Johanna Albertina Behling Barrett. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

And yet the exact same reasoning given above applies here. Considering that we have to go to the third century to find someone, we could just as well say this wasn’t a major issue in the early church. (And of course, Origen probably wrote something on everything.) Again, the question is why do we do what we do?

The writings of the late third century Catholic theologian Arnobius show that, even that late, Catholics objected to the celebration of birthdays as he wrote:

…you worship with couches, altars, temples, and other service, and by celebrating their games and birthdays, those whom it was fitting that you should assail with keenest hatred. (Arnobius. Against the Heathen (Book I), Chapter 64. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

I bring this one up just to be complete. The same argument applies. Why do we do what we do?

As we go on, things get worse. The writers want to tell us how birthday celebrations began.

Wikipedia notes:

History of celebration of birthdays in the West It is thought that the large-scale celebration of birthdays in Europe began with the cult of Mithras, which originated in Persia but was spread by soldiers throughout the Roman Empire. Before this, such celebrations were not common; and, hence, practices from other contexts such as the Saturnalia were adapted for birthdays. Because many Roman soldiers took to Mithraism, it had a wide distribution and influence throughout the empire until it was supplanted by Christianity (Wikipedia. Birthdays. July 12, 2007 version).

Yes everyone. Wikipedia. The abomination that causes misinformation raises its head again. Of course, I want to key in on the first major part. “It is thought that the large-scale celebration of birthdays in Europe began with the cult of Mithras.”

Okay. Let’s suppose it’s thought that. It’s also thought that the medieval church thought the world was flat. (They didn’t.) It’s thought by many atheists on the internet that Jesus never existed. It’s thought by many YECs that evolution is a grand conspiracy by scientists. It’s thought by many that Reptilians are in Congress and the Illuminati is controlling everything.

Which beliefs do we have evidence for?

For Mithras, good luck. We don’t have any writings of Mithraism. We pretty much have artwork, temple remains, and the critiques of the church fathers. That’s it. One would think if Mithraism was big on celebrating birthdays, that that would have been mentioned by the church fathers above, but I see no connection with Mithraism there.

Christmas is also relevant because December 25th was the day of celebration of the birthday of the sun-god Mithra. Perhaps it should also be mentioned that one of the key features of Mithraism was Sunday observance. The reason that this seems to be relevant is that the Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Roman Emperor to make a profession of Christ, was also the first Emperor to make Sunday laws–which he began to do on March 7, 321. Also, a few years later, the Council of Nicea that Constantine convened in 325 A.D. declared Sunday to be the “Christian day” of worship

Yes. Everyone’s favorite whipping boy. Constantine. If you want to blame someone in church history for Christianity going wrong somewhere, you always have to drag out Constantine. By all means, Constantine was not a saint, but to read articles online, you would think he was practically the spawn of satan himself sent to destroy Christianity. Let’s look for instance at the Sunday claim. Really?

The First Apology of Justin, Chapter 67
“And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things … But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.”

That Constantine! He influenced Justin Martyr even though Justin lived a couple of centuries before the events! How horrible! Or wait. Maybe Christians just met on the first day of the week because that was the day that Jesus rose from the dead? Could that be it? But hey, it’s a lot easier to point at Constantine and say “pagan!” and have that be the end of it.

For all the material on Christmas, I recommend my ministry partner’s book here.

Let’s go on to some more Scripture.

Actually, the Bible is clear that God does NOT want His people to make up additional religious days to celebrate, especially if they have any ties to paganism:

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 12:29-32)

And yet, the Bible itself contains the establishment of the feast of Purim. Many Jews celebrate Hanukkah today. The writer also acknowledged that many modern Jews have no problem celebrating birthdays. To add to the Law meant to add no more requirements to the Law and to take away meant to not remove any commandments. No one took the feast of Purim or the celebration of Hanukkah and put them as Law.  You were free to celebrate what you wanted. In fact, Paul says this for us in Romans 14 and how we honor days.

The Apostle Paul warned Christians to NOT combine pagan observances with Christian ones:

20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? (1 Corinthians 10:20-22)

This is also in the very section where he was telling people it was okay to eat meat offered to idols because those gods are no gods at all. What was he against? He was against participating in a service to an idol. What does this mean? Well it means that if at your birthday party or the one you’re throwing, you’re offering a sacrifice to an idol, then you are doing something wrong. Okay. So please, at your birthday parties, don’t offer sacrifices to idols. Avoid that and you’re okay!

Now our authors want to put the real fear in us by going to satanists.

THE highest of all holidays in the Satanic religion is the date of one’s own birth. This is in direct contradiction to the holy of holy days of other religions, which deify a particular god who has been created in an anthropomorphic form of their own image, thereby showing that the ego is not really buried.

The Satanist feels: “Why not really be honest and if you are going to create a god in your image, why not create that god as yourself.” Every man is a god if he chooses to recognize himself as one. So, the Satanist celebrates his own birthday as the most important holiday of the year. After all, aren’t you happier about the fact that you were born than you are about the birth of someone you have never even met? Or for that matter, aside from religious holidays, why pay higher tribute to the birthday of a president or to a date in history than we do to the day we were brought into this greatest of all worlds?

Despite the fact that some of us may not have been wanted, or at least were not particularly planned, we’re glad, even if no one else is, that we’re here! You should give yourself a pat on the back, buy yourself whatever you want, treat yourself like the king (or god) that you are, and generally celebrate your birthday with as much pomp and ceremony as possible.

After one’s own birthday, the two major Satanic holidays are Walpurgisnacht and Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve).

(Lavey A, Gilmore P. The Satanic Bible.  Avon, September 1, 1976, p. 96–note it is on page 53 of an online version I found also).

Okay. And?

I suspect satanists also drive cars and use air conditioning. I suspect they take showers regularly and tend to eat three square meals a day. So what? Again, it comes down to how you celebrate your birthday. When I celebrate mine, I am giving thanks to God for letting me make another trip around the sun and looking back on how I’ve lived my life and planning how I will live it in the future and celebrating the people around me who make it special.

There is really nothing more to respond to. Let’s look at the question of my post. Note how I phrased it. Can Christians celebrate birthdays? I am not saying you are obligated to. If you think that it would be wrong to do so, don’t do it. You have that freedom. If, on the other hand, you are simply wanting to acknowledge and celebrate people you care about, then don’t worry about it.

Overall, I encourage people to not worry about something being “rooted in paganism.” I’ve come across the charge so much that I just don’t pay attention to it any more. It looks like paganism is trumped out any time people want to condemn any practice. I serve a God who redeemed not just humanity but the calendar as well and what others might intend for evil, He uses for good.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Paul’s Divine Christology

What do I think of Chris Tilling’s book published by Eerdmans? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For some time, names like Bauckham and Hurtado and others have been dominant in discussions of Christology as we have seen more and more movement to what is called an early High Christology. In fact, this Christology is so early and high that it has been said that the earliest Christology is the highest Christology. Jesus from the resurrection is said to be seen as within the divine identity and is fully God and fully man. This alone is a powerful argument for the reality of the resurrection as it would take something quite remarkable to convince devout Jews that a crucified Messiah figure was not only really the Messiah, but God incarnate.

Chris Tilling is also a voice in this debate. Tilling was one of the people who contributed to Michael Bird’s project of How God Became Jesus. Tilling is an enjoyable scholar to read who I think is serious in everything he does. Why? Because when you see his Facebook page and his own blog, he is often quite humorous and there is no contradiction between being humorous and being serious. Yet when it comes to the New Testament, Tilling is a force to be reckoned with and knows the material very well. In fact, a look at his argument for an early high Christology is a way of saying that we have missed the forest for the trees.

One of my favorite shows that unfortunately has not only gone off the air now but has had the book series come to an end was the series Monk about the obsessive-compulsive homicide detective. My parents always wanted me to see if I could solve the case before Adrian Monk. The episodes can be enjoyable to watch again and when you do, you can look back at the cases that are solved and see all the clues you missed the first time through and think “Why didn’t I see that the first time?” Reading Tilling’s book can be like that. It can make you think about passages in the NT and say “Why didn’t I think of that the first time?”

Tilling relies not on a philosophical idea such as the God of the philosophers, but notes that the identity of God in Jewish thought was based on His covenant relationship with Israel. Only God was said to be in that covenant. If that is the case, then what about seeing if someone else suddenly shows up in this relationship and has a similar relationship to Israel? What if they have a similar relationship to the church, which is pictured as in the covenant of Israel as well. What if we find analogies from the OT that are used of YHWH and Israel and yet when we find their counterparts in the NT, it’s Christ and the church?

It really is a simple idea, and yet it’s a remarkable one as the Christ-relation shows up all throughout the NT. Just look and see how Paul, who Tilling is focusing on, speaks so highly of Christ and never even really a hint of holding back. You never see Paul giving a warning about saying to not go too far in your adoration of Christ. Instead, Paul speaks as if it was his natural language of his devotion of Christ and His role in salvation history. We have phrases like “To live is Christ”, “I sought to know nothing other than Christ crucified”, and “Live to the Lord” with Christ as the Lord. This is not even counting the references that seem to explicitly make reference to the deity of Christ like Romans 9:5 or the maranatha in 1 Cor. 16.

In fact, thinking along these lines, just recently I was pondering marriage as it’s a topic I read up on a lot more now that I have my own Mrs. and was pondering the idea of how Christ loved the church and then thought along the lines of Tilling about why Paul says that. Paul could have easily said “As God loved Israel”, but he didn’t. He chose to use Christ and the church and in effect is saying that Christ is the supreme example of love and it’s not the love of God, but just the love of Christ. The Christ-relation is indeed a huge impact and it should be one that the scholarly world is looking at for some time.

Now for some criticisms. There were times in the book that I thought it looked like Tilling was going more for quantity than for quality. You’d have a shotgun approach I thought of several different passages but they weren’t engaged with as much depth as I would like. There were times I would have liked to have seen a few passages explored in greater depth and then you could find several analogous passages that are like that one.

Also, there are times a layman could get lost at a few passages. It would be good to see something like this reproduced on a more popular level especially for those laymen in the field who will be meeting groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christadelphians. An argument like Tilling’s would be an invaluable reference for the furtherance of the Gospel and answering those who wish to challenge the deity of Christ and the fact that the argument is simple and powerful and has loads of verses in support of it is extremely helpful.

Overall, this is a book well worth your time to read and I suggest you do so.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/2/2015: Cynthia Hampton

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For those who are concerned, I have started working on the podcasts for putting up. It has just been a few stressful weeks here, but I take full responsibility. Please understand that I am looking to get them out as soon as I can.

But this week, we’re going to have a show I’ve tried to have twice in the past and both times something has happened to stop it from happening. Let’s hope that doesn’t hold this time. We are going to be talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses. My guest is going to be Cynthia Hampton. She is in a unique position to talk about Jehovah’s Witnesses because she herself used to be one and has now escaped and is a strong orthodox Christian. She has also come to be a strong friend of our family and we are thankful that she has been there many times when we have needed someone to talk to or offer advice.

So who is Cynthia?

CynthiaHampton

And according to her own autobiography.

I attended Pima Community College in Arizona received an A.A. in Accounting. Also attended University of Arizona, but did not graduate (Long story). I actually graduated (finally!) from University of Phoenix with my B.S. in Accounting in 2011. I currently serve as Treasurer at my church. I never studied theology or apologetics formally. All my knowledge is self taught because of trying to find the truth about Christianity after leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses. My first exposure to apologetics was listening to Walter Martin every day on the radio and sending for materials written at the CRI.

While she is self-taught, that self-teaching has gone a long ways. I really hope you’ll learn a lot more about Jehovah’s Witnesses and especially from one who has been in the mindset. In order to interact with this group you need to know more than what they think about Jesus and God and the Bible. You need to know how they think. I had my eyes opened to this years ago when my roommate at the time and I actually went to a Kingdom Hall to see what goes on in a Jehovah’s Witness service. We were thoroughly stunned and to this day I say that it is one of the creepiest events that I have ever been to. Indeed, it is the closest to brainwashing that I have ever personally seen.

Cynthia from her perspective will tell us how it is that a Jehovah’s Witness thinks and will hopefully open your eyes to this world. These people could one day come knocking on your door after all and you need to be ready to say what needs to be said. Jehovah’s Witnesses do also know their Bibles very well and if you are not prepared, as former CRI president Walter Martin would say, you will be turned into a doctrinal pretzel in 90 seconds or less. Don’t become a doctrinal pretzel. Listen to someone who has been there and learn how to answer the witness that comes to your door.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: Died

Did Jesus die on the cross? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

There are some theories that should have died several several years ago and never did. Unfortunately, they keep rising up despite being put to death by the people that would have been their ablest defenders had there been any truth whatsoever to them.

One such idea is the swoon theory. This is the idea that Jesus never died on the cross.

In fact, it was Strauss years ago, who was beyond most liberals today in critiquing the NT, who put to death this theory. Strauss said that someone like Jesus who was half-dead could hardly have come out of the tomb and managed to just a few days after crucifixion appear to his disciples and proclaim that He was the Lord of Life who had conquered death. The apostles would not have called it a miracle. They would have called a doctor instead.

Yet this theory never seems to die. What are some reasons for it?

First, a large number of Muslims hold to this view saying that according to the Koran, Jesus did not die on the cross. Now since I am not an authority on the Koran, I will not comment on this point, but one does not need to be an authority to know that many Muslims make this claim.

Second, this is a popular claim that is popular on the internet and with conspiracy theories with such ideas as that Jesus never died but instead got up and went who knows where. There is even a group in Japan that thinks Jesus went all the way there and married and died.

Third, some people do look at the claim that some people were brought down from the cross and survived. This number could be counted on one hand and even more numerous would be the people who did not survive even when taken down. In fact, right off, I only know of one person who survived. This was when Josephus asked for three of his friends to be removed from crosses. All three got the best medical care Rome could provide. Only one survived.

In fact, several years ago, the Journal of the American Medical Association wrote an article where they stated firmly that based on medical knowledge we have today, that Jesus did indeed die on the cross.

At this point, I also think a certain objection must be added from some of the more unitarian bent who want to say “If Jesus is God, how did He die on the cross? Gods can’t die!”

The problem with this statement lies in what is meant by the word “die.” If you mean that God ceased to exist when Jesus died, then yes, God cannot die. God cannot cease to exist. Yet no one arguing for the resurrection claims that God ceased to exist on the cross.

What does it mean? It means that some aspect of Christ, perhaps His soul, left His body on the cross. Many of us don’t think we cease to exist when we die. We just go to live in another state. If this is the case for Christ, then Christ did the same thing. His soul experienced a separation from His body. A reuniting took place on Sunday morning in a new and glorified body.

It is a shame that the conclusion needs to be spelled out. Jesus did indeed live. Jesus was indeed crucified. Jesus did indeed die. Unfortunately, in our age of people often relying largely on internet searches and wikipedia instead of real scholarly research, this needs to be spelled out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Putting Jesus In His Place

Have we read the deity of Christ into the Bible? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Written on a popular level, Ed Komoszewski and Rob Bowman’s “Putting Jesus In His Place” is an excellent look at the biblical testimony to the full deity of Jesus Christ. The writing is clear and accessible with several charts that will help the reader with seeing the comparisons that the writers frequently make.

Also, the writers regularly go with the best in New Testament scholarship. We’re not talking about just reading popular authors. (Although the people they reference should be popular in the church and it’s a sign of our weakness that they’re not.) We’re talking about scholars like Bauckham, Hurtado, Witherington, and Wright. That’s just a small sample.

The writers also do not go too technical which will be a benefit. At times, there is Greek terminology used, but I suspect those who have no grasp at all of the Greek language would still manage to find their way through this work.

At the start, the book explains as well the importance of honor in the ancient worldview, a point that I like to see repeatedly emphasized as so many people today think the biblical culture was just like theirs. This only leads to a further misunderstanding of what we find in the Bible.

The book has the advantage as well of going through the New Testament and not just going to the main texts usually used like John 1:1-18 or Hebrews 1 or John 20:28, etc. Of course, they do go to these texts, but they bring up several points where the Bible implicitly has in the background the full deity of Jesus and that these passages do not make sense unless you see that.

The book focused on comparing Jesus in five areas to make a cumulative case. The acronym used is HANDS. Jesus shares the honors of God, the attributes of God, the name of God, the deeds of God, and the seat of God. This is a powerful case combined together and goes beyond just finding texts where Jesus is explicitly called God.

However, while this case is powerful, I do have some concerns that I would like to see if the writers decide to write a second edition of the book in the future.

First, I would like to see more interaction with the other side. One of my rules for reading a book is to beware of the sound of one hand clapping. A case sounds powerful if you don’t interact with the other side.

Now this book does interact with the other side, but it should be more frequent. For instance, I don’t think it was until I was 100 pages into the book that I came across the first mention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. For the writers addressing a popular audience, this is the group they will come across the most that is arguing against the deity of Christ. Their arguments need to be taken more seriously and need to be referred to more often.

Second, I would like to see more of an index. There is an index of Scriptural passages, but it would be nice to see something like an index of writers or even people like Jehovah’s Witnesses or people like Greg Stafford. (I know who Stafford is, but it would have been nice to also seen who he is explained in the text since many people might not check notes.)

Third, I do think some cases could have been stronger, but I suppose that is the same for every work. For instance, Revelation 5:13-14 was used repeatedly, which is good, but I never saw mentioned how it says that all creation worships Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb, which differentiated the Lamb from creation. I think Matthew 28:17 could be strengthened when you noticed that the people in the text grasped Jesus’s feet and worshiped him. Jehovah’s Witnesses often tell us that the Greek word proskuneo, means to bow down and do obesiance. That would be problematic here since if the feet of Jesus are already being grasped, then it’s quite likely that they were already bowed down.

I also think some examples could have been improved upon as well. For instance, we are told Jesus was omnipresent in that He saw Nathaniel while Philip was talking to him. Yet could not the Jehovah’s Witness say Elisha knew about what Gehazi was doing while Gehazi was out? Mind you, I do not think that is a good objection, but it is an objection and I can easily see a Jehovah’s Witness using it.

Of course, in any work, there are always ways to improve and that would require volumes and volumes. Still, the main improvement I would like to see would be more interaction with the other side. I think every chapter should deal with some counterarguments to the position or reasons to doubt it.

Also, a caveat, this book is written on a popular level for Christians. You will not see arguments generally for the historicity of the text or the textual reliability of the text. Numerous books have been written on those areas already and I do think it would be too much to ask that everyone who is writing a book like this also have to write a book defending historicity and textual reliability. Those who want to argue on other grounds against the deity of Christ must go elsewhere.

Still, despite the caveats and ways of improvement, I do recommend this book. It is the best book I know of on a popular level dealing with the subject, but I hope those who read it will also read the scholarly books that deal with the subject.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

4/13/2013 Someone’s Knocking At Your Door

What will be on the Deeper Waters Podcast on 4/13/2013? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Tomorrow on the Deeper Waters Podcast, we’re going to be talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses. The link to where you can listen to the show can be found here. Many of us have had these people come by. In fact, I’m having them come by on a regular basis right now. To some of us, they can be just nice but overzealous people. To others, they’re those annoyances that lead us to lock the doors and lower the blinds on the windows. Yet who are they?

My guest for this will be my friend Mike Matuszewski. (I hope I get that name right on the air!) If you haven’t heard of him, it’s because he’s a friend I know through Facebook, but part of the purpose of Deeper Waters is to get out there in the public people who I think should be out there more. In this community, it’s important that we build up one another so that we can better be able to do ministry in the body of Christ.

I plan tomorrow on not really focusing on the Trinity. That is a big issue, but we just had Robert Bowman come on to discuss that so this time, I plan on talking about the Witnesses themselves. Who is this group? How did they get started? What is the status of them today? Are they Christian? If not, why? (And no, they’re not)

We will also be discussing how it is that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society works. The Watchtower does an incredible amount of publishing. What does that have to do with Christians today? How fast is the Watchtower growing? What threat does it pose to Christians today?

The Watchtower is also well known for many of its predictions on when the end is going to come and as it is, like the Bible, they have a perfect record. Unlike the Bible, their perfect record is perfectly wrong. How has the organization been affected by all of these false prophecies?

Also, is it really a good idea to bring up those prophecies when the Witnesses come by? What is the best method one can go about reaching a Jehovah’s Witness that can break through the thinking that one is taught by the Watchtower? Should we focus on the Trinity? The Prophecies? Salvation by grace through faith? Where exactly should we go?

Of course, there are many other issues that could come up that make Jehovah’s Witnesses a fascinating topic of discussion. What is it like at a Kingdom Hall? What is the point of the “no blood” cards that one sees in their wallets? Why do they not celebrate birthdays and holidays? Why is it that they take no part in anything that is political?

Please join me tomorrow then from 3-5 EST as I discuss with Mike Matuszewski the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you want to call in and be a part of the fun and ask a question, the number will be 714-242-5180. I hope you will be tuning in tomorrow!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Doomsday

How does a dialogue go with JWs on this topic? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

As I was sitting in our living room recliner doing some work on the laptop, my wife said she heard someone outside. I look and notice a car has pulled up and coming out are two nicely dressed women carrying books and bags.

“Honey. I think we have Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

So I watch and when they get to the door open it and say that my wife thought she heard someone. When they identify themselves, I ask them if they’d like to come in. They tell me they can only stay for a minute and then hand me a copy of their “Awake” magazine talking about Doomsday. Let me warn you at the start that in my recount of the exchange, that you will see my Preterist understanding of Scripture.

So their first passage they go to is Psalm 37:29 which reads as follows (All verses are being read from their own New World Translation, NWT):

“The righteous themselves will possess the earth,
And they will reside forever upon it.”

I told them I agree with that. I do think God has a plan for the Earth and that we are meant to inhabit it into all eternity. This was a surprise to them so they asked me what I thought it would take for that to be brought about. I answered that I think the gospel has to be preached everywhere and believed majority worldwide. They said they disagreed with that and first indicated where they thought I was correct in Matthew 24 which they said they think talks about the end and how in verse 14 it says:

“And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”

But in Matthew 7 we read:

“13Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it;14whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”

I replied by turning to Matthew 13 and showing them this first in verse 33:

Another illustration he spoke to them: “The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three large measures of flour, until the whole mass was fermented.”

And then before that in 31-32.

31Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard grain, which a man took and planted in his field;32which is, in fact, the tiniest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the largest of the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and find lodging among its branches.”

I pointed out to them that in each of these cases, something starts off small and goes through the whole of what it starts to penetrate. With the mustard seed, we can remember that in Daniel 4 there was a prophecy about a tree filling the whole Earth. I finally took them to Matthew 16. Verse 18 reads:

“Also, I say to you, You are Peter, and on this rock‐mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha′des will not overpower it.”

Gates are defensive. The kingdom of God is on the move and it will never be the minority. They were stumped at this point to which I said “Let’s go back to Matthew 24. You say you think it says the end is coming. The end of what?”

“Oh. The end of the Jewish system which happened in 70 A.D. (I was surprised that they had that right) and the end of this system of things since it says that this is the great tribulation and that no time has come like it or ever will come again.

I asked them in response if they thought Jesus was the wisest king who ever lived. They told me He wasn’t a king on Earth. When I told them He is one now, they agreed He is the wisest. With that, I turned to 1 Kings 3. In verse 12 we read the following promise to Solomon from God.

“look! I shall certainly do according to your words. Look! I shall certainly give you a wise and understanding heart, so that one like you there has not happened to be before you, and after you there will not rise up one like you.”

So I told them that if they take that text literally, then Solomon is wiser than Jesus which is a problem. It is better to read it as hyperbole and how instead, what is being said in Matthew 24 is that this is an example of the worst possible thing.

At this, they asked me if I believe anything big is coming. I said I certainly do and it’s the event that’s not talked about in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, which leads me to think that that passage is not about this event. That is the bodily return of Christ and the mass resurrection from the dead.

At this point, they told me that Jesus laid down His body. Why would He take it up again? I responded that I saw no reason to think that He did not rise bodily. I pointed out that we are told that our bodies will be like His body and if we rise bodily, then it is because He did. They agreed that we do rise and live in perfect bodies on Earth, but flesh and blood does not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. (I do realize they have a different idea about who goes to Heaven based on the 144,000)

I pointed out that that is a euphemism and gave the example in Genesis. When Noah’s nakedness is seen by his son, it doesn’t mean his son just inadvertently walked in and saw his dad naked. That might be awkward, but no great sin. It means that his son did something to him that should not have been done while his Dad was naked and in a drunken stupor. It was a euphemism. The same is the case with flesh and blood which just means sinful human nature.

At this point they did have to go as they had indicated earlier. Let’s pray they return and are open to having their views examined and following the evidence where it leads.

In Christ,
Nick Peters