We All Know What Payback Is.

How much do you give back for that animal? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Tonight we return to our look at the Law in the Old Testament and we will look at just one verse today, and that is Exodus 22:1.

“Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.”

Often, when we read about sacrifices in the Old Testament, we can often just glance over the passage without really considering what is going on in it. There is a sacrifice that is taking place. We often think of a sacrifice as giving up chocolate for 40 days for Lent. Once the time is passed, we go right back. Such is not the case here.

What did it mean to give up an animal?

Many of us are pet owners and we would certainly not want to do anything to our pets that would result in injury or loss of life. You can even find something you can put on your door so that if your house is on fire, the fire department will know that they need to rescue any pets that you have as well. You can find many stories of pet rescues on YouTube.

What about your livestock?

I’m not a farmer, so if someone reads this as a farmer they’re free to give some personal looks at this. For your livestock, that is your sustenance now and also your future. You didn’t have a Wal-Mart just down the street that you could go to and pick up a new coat. No. If cold weather was coming, you needed that wool from that sheep in order to make clothes.

You could not go down to the local grocery store and buy a slab of meat. No. If you wanted to get meat and you lived in the wilderness, you had to kill the animal. Of course, you could go out and hunt, but there were times you’d just need to kill an animal.

How do you get more animals? Breeding. This is why male animals were so much more valuable. One bull could easily bring about pregnancy in several cows. If all you have are several males and one female, you will not get the same results.

Thus, when an Israelite offered a sacrifice, they were offering up an enormous economic investment. Such would also make them take their sins more seriously. Do you think you’d be less prone to sin if it meant you had to give up the family pet or that you had to drop some more income into the church offering plate?

So what about this passage? That economic investment is valuable to God and the rates of exchange are huge in this one. Most people would not be able to do that, which tells us God is not going to tolerate theft. Quite likely, the thief would simply have to sell himself into slavery to pay such a debt, which might stop him from doing it in the first place.

Interestingly, when David is told the parable of the family who has a sheep taken from them to offer to a guest, he does say that the person who did this should pay back fourfold. David had this kind of law in mind, and keep in mind David himself did pay fourfold.

Today, we would understand the idea of making up for one’s wrongs with extra quite well. Such is the case with lawsuits today that not only cover cost of medical expenses, but also cover any future loss and economic loss during recovery. This is a principle we still have from our past.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Stonewall Riot

What happened at Stonewall for the homosexual movement? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Normally, I don’t really share the blog with anyone, but my wife has been making a study lately on the homosexual movement. Now for those who don’t know, she did have surgery yesterday for a deviated septum, so it could be awhile before she posts again. I myself could be posting later on today again. For now, all that follows comes from her.

June 27th, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in New York’s Greenworks Village, a deadly riot was created and lasted for several days. But before we get into what happened at the riot, let us go back to what life was like for the homosexual before the riot.

Homosexuality was illegal. If you were caught doing any homosexual activities, you were not only arrested, but you were also permanately listed on maps as basically a sexual deviant, and could not get a license for any sort of business or job. You were also often beaten severely and called very offensive names such as “faggot.” You had to live in secrecy. If anyone found out your sexuality, you would pretty much be cut-off of society. Homosexuality was even listed as a mental disorder. You would be taken to a special mental institute for gays and would get things such as electroshock therapy whenever you were turned on by an image of the same sex, or you were given a pharmacudical pill that would essentially give you the feeling of drowning, similar to waterboarding. Life as a homosexual was very difficult. When you’d finally find a place where you could be yourself as a homosexual individual, police officers would eventually raid those areas (such as gay bars) and make plenty of arrests. Again, you would often be severely beaten.

Now, let’s go to the Stonewall event. On the evening of June 27, 1969, six police officers raided a popular gay bar known as the Stonewall Inn, which like many gay bars, were owned by the Mafia. Many people were outraged by this and surrounded the Stonewall Inn. There was a huge crowd yelling and throwing objects at the police officers. Trash cans were also set on fire. The crowd surrounded the police officers. The police officers were then trapped inside the Stonewall Inn. More police officers then came to the site with helmets and shields. Drags known as “Queens” taunted to poilice officers doing the rockettes dance and singing,

“We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear no underwear
We show our pubic hair
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees”

Eventually, the police officers and the crowd were beating each other. The cops would beat people with clubs, while the people in the crowd would continue to throw things and even bite the officers. The police reports recorded this information on the first day of the riot:

David Van Ronk assualted Officer Gilbert Weisman by throwing an unknown object which struck the officer’s right eye, causing injury.
Raymond Castro, Marilyn Fowler, and Vincent Depaul assaulted Officer Charles Broughton by kicking him.
Wolfgang Podolski assaulted Officer Andrew Scheu by striking him on his left eye, causing him to fall and fracture his left wrist.
These are only a few of the reports. On the second day of the riot, more people began to join in the riot, including “straight” people, causing the rioting to become even more intense. People in the crowd were not only hit on the back, but also serious injury to the head. This lasted for six days when it finally ended. Many bodies layed on the ground. The crowd had consisted from hundreds of people, to thousands of people involved in the rioting.

One year later, Gay Pride week was created, where homosexuals would march around Christopher St in a parade, promoting their sexuality. This still continues every year to this very day, celebrating what the men and women did on that very day.

Now that we’ve taken a peak into history, let’s take a look at this at both point of views.
The homosexual community was being treated improperly. They were being exploited and beaten. It is no wonder they reacted the way they did. Does this make what they did right? Not at all. Beating people is never the right thing to do. The way how the police force treated homosexuals was wrong, but rioting and throwing objects at them and biting and kicking them, as well as taunting them, was wrong as well. Here’s another interesting fact to compare then to now. When these riots were going on, the homosexual community were not concerned with having same-sex marriages. In fact, they were trying to get away from the pressures of family and marriage. But today, they are pressuring not only to make it legal to have same-sex marriages, but for the rest of the world to also accept same-sex marriage. Why has this all of a sudden changed? Why is it that then they didn’t care about marriage, but now they’re arguing for same-sex. With my research, I am trying to only stick with the facts for both parties. This is only the beginning of my research and I hope you will follow along this journey with me, and that we will examine our hearts in the process.

For more information on the Stonewall Riot, here are some resources.


Getting Eschatological Facts Straight

Are we being people of the truth with prophecy? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Lately, I’ve been troubled when I have been looking at Facebook and seeing what people are putting up. First there was the report from prophecy watch of how Isaiah 17 is being fulfilled in Syria. Today, I saw a number of people putting up something stating that Obamacare has in it a plan to put microchips in people’s hands and that this is the Mark of the Beast.

I’m going to be upfront and state my viewpoint. I have not been dogmatic about it in this blog, but I am an orthodox Preterist in my eschatology. Now naturally I do not think any prophecies are being fulfilled in this way. I am just waiting for the return of Christ and the bodily resurrection of the dead. That is something orthodox Preterists agree with. None of this means that I have anything against futurists. I happen to have many friends who are futurists, including my own wife.

My stance is always the same. I would prefer that people have the views that I have naturally, but I also prefer that if someone holds a position, that they be informed on it. Whatever position it is, at least know what it is, why you hold it, and have some reason to defend it. I have as much a problem with someone who holds the position that I do and does not know why it is that they hold it. I have a problem with a Christian who wants to defend Christianity but do so without study. Whatever position you hold, hold it in accordance with information and know how to speak about it from an informed position.

Now looking at these two events, let me take the first one. I do believe the interpretation is false, but let’s look at something. Go to your local Christian bookstore and see how many books you have on who the antichrist is. Now consider how many books are sitting in the back shelves of Christian bookstores that proved conclusively that Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein were the antichrist? A friend of mine in apologetics told me on this topic that she has a book by an internationally known Bible scholar proving that Mussolini was the antichrist.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who can have several charts and graphs on how the tribulation will play out and when Jesus will come and how prophecies are being fulfilled, but when you ask them to make a historical case for the resurrection of Jesus, they don’t have a clue. Now if you can do both, more power to you. You are at least informed even if I do disagree with you. What we have is a case of majoring in the minors and minoring in the majors.

In all of this, keep in mind Jesus never once told us to spend our energy identifying who the antichrist is. In fact, he doesn’t speak about him. Jesus does spend much time talking about who He is. If you can pin the tail on the antichrist and not defend the deity of Jesus and His being Messiah and King, then you are spending too much time not focusing on the person Jesus told you to focus on and instead focusing on the person He never spoke about.

What about the second case? For this, all it took for me was just a few minutes looking at Snopes and TruthorFiction.com to find both sites said the email was false. For instance, the message on Facebook tells the section by number that mentions this document. The health care bill does not go by numbers for the section. It goes by letters. Now if I’m looking at the wrong bill, I encourage anyone to let me know.

What does that mean? It means one can do five minutes of research and see that a claim is false. What happens again when this is not done? Christians end up with egg on their faces. The rest of the world thinks Christians are gullible people who will just believe anything. Could it be that they will think that we are gullible about anything else?

Again, I don’t mind a different opinion really, but I do think we need to make sure that we are informed. We don’t want to embarrass the faith. The same goes for Preterism. I know as a Christian teacher my position could be taken more authoritatively than I attend. I would not want you to say “Well Nick seems like a smart guy and is a Preterist. I think I should be one too.” Please go and read up on it. Read up on the other viewpoints as well and come to your conclusion, and then it will be one that is your conclusion.

Zeal is good, but remember that we are to have zeal according to knowledge.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Is Christianity Exclusive?

Is it a problem if Christianity is an exclusive belief system? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I just started pondering this question as I was reading “New Testament History: A Narrative Account” by Ben Witherington on how Luke wrote to show an inclusive faith and that today, we are told that Christianity is an exclusive faith.

This is often seen as a mark against Christianity. If Christianity is true, why is it so exclusive? Some could want to support universalism in this case. I don’t doubt that many of us would like it if universalism is true. We would love to empty out Hell. Wanting it to be true does not make it true and at the start, we need to realize that just because we want something, there is no requirement that we get what we want.

Let’s start by comparing Christianity at the start to other religions. What was required?

To be a good Jew, you needed to observe the Torah and you needed to be circumcised. I think most men today in considering whether to choose a religion would be quite thankful if they did not have to undergo something like that.

Paganism also had its requirements. You had to practice the rituals in order to learn the secrets of knowledge to keep going forward. You would often have to offer sacrifices. (Aren’t you glad you don’t have to sacrifice an animal regularly to please god? It’d sure change the pet industry) On the other hand, some might consider it a benefit that to be a pagan in some cases, you had to have ritual sex.

There is no doubt that Christianity called for a life of holiness, but at the same time, the initiation rite was quite simple. You simply had to believe in Jesus and get baptized. Baptism could even be put off.

Friends. I have been hydrophobic all my life and I had my baptism years after I had surgery, a surgery that involved putting a steel rod in my spine. Despite having dread about going underwater and despite having a steel rod, I was able to be bent long enough for a good traditional baptism. Don’t give me excuses about why it couldn’t be done. (And I do not doubt that in some cases it could not be done that are extreme, such as paralysis)

Did it matter if you were a Jew or a Gentile? Nope. Did circumcision matter? No. Did you have to keep the Law? Nope. Did you have to offer up sacrifices? Nope. Did you have to look after secret knowledge? Nope. Did it matter if you were male or female? Nope. Did it matter if you were free or slave? Nope. Did it matter if you were rich or poor? Nope. Your social status did not matter one iota.

But yet Christianity is still claimed to be exclusive because we believe we are right on religion and everyone else is wrong.

So does everyone else who has an opinion on religion!

Even if you are an inclusivist, you think that people are exclusivist are wrong! They’re just included in the blessings of your system as well. It will not do to say “Christians think other opinions are wrong!” It boils down to saying “Anyone who thinks a religious opinion is wrong is exclusive.” If that is the case, then to say that someone’s opinion on religion is wrong is also a religious opinion and that is exclusive!

This is just the way that truth is. If you believe something is true, you are automatically excluding all that disagrees with that opinion. If you think 64 times 64 = 4,096, you are automatically excluding all answers that are not 4,096. Saying that that equation is exclusive will not change reality.

This is problematic if you want to go after Christians for believing that their belief system is true. What other reason should they have for believing it? Now some Christians could have dumb reasons for thinking it is true, but that will not change the fact that if it is true, then it simply is true.

“But why should it be that only Christians get the benefits of being Christians?”

Now in our society, you can get some benefits you have not invested in, but those are benefits equally given to everyone and not specifically given to you because of who you are. In the Roman society, everyone was allowed to use the Roman roads, but everyone knew who paid for those roads and built them. Today, we can all use the road system or systems like a public library. However, if there are some systems that you have to pay into, then only paying members get those privileges because they are the ones making the commitment.

This is the case even with instances that we don’t necessarily pay for. For instance, if somebody decided they wanted my wife sexually, I would not allow that at all. Why? I’m the one who has made a lifelong commitment to her and I’m the only one who can have that privilege. No other person no matter how close they are can have that. The same for me. I do not give myself to any other woman. Only my wife can have me sexually.

Does that mean I hate other women? No more than it means that she hates other men. It means that we recognize the commitment and what benefits come with the commitment. It would be cheapening to our lifelong commitment to say that other people can enjoy the privileges of the commitment without the sacrifice.

For the person on the outside of Christianity looking in, what good does it do to say Christianity is exclusive? You are not going to get Christians to change their belief system or the Scriptures just because you don’t like it. Christianity will always teach that Jesus is the only way a man can be justified. That would be for us an insult to the sacrifice of Jesus if we said otherwise and to the dignity and honor of God.

So you complain that you do not get the blessings of Christianity? Bear with this thought. If Christianity is not true and the Christian deity does not exist, then you definitely don’t get the benefits because there is no one to give the benefits. I see Islam as an exclusive faith, but I do not complain about not getting my seventy virgins when I die, simply because I do not believe Allah really exists as thought in Muslim thought and therefore, there is no one to give me those seventy virgins.

Likewise, Christian revelation to be true must come from the Christian concept of God, but if that concept is not true, then there is no blessing that can truly be given. If they are not given, then you are missing out on the blessings of Christianity to begin with.

Do you think you should get the blessings of Christianity without being a Christian? Upon what basis? Should you get the benefits of exercise without exercising? Should you get the benefits of study without doing study? I could bring up the benefits of marriage but several already think they should get all the sex they want without commitment. Still, I hope most would agree at least with the first two.

Our entitlement society often says otherwise so much so that we think the laws of the universe ought to alter in order to make sure that we’re happy. If you are one who thinks that God owes you the benefits of being a Christian without having to be a Christian, then on what basis are these benefits owed to you? State your case! Why should God have to do this for you? What obligation to you is He under? (Keep in mind, it won’t do any good to say He doesn’t exist since you don’t get the benefits any way then.)

In all this complaining about Christianity being exclusive, sadly there is one question that is not asked and it seems that the question of exclusivity is often raised to avoid this question. That is the question of if Christianity is true. If it is true, then asking it to change will not have any effect. One must accept truth as it is. If it is not true, then what do you care? Why complain that a false system is not giving you any blessings? Just forget it and move on.

But if Christianity is true, it is your duty to believe in it. To not believe in it when it is shown to be true is to live in a denial of reality. It shows that you are definitely one who Christianity would say shows what the nature of Hell is, reshaping the world so that your will and desires are paramount. If you come to the belief that God has spoken, you will have to decide if His will and way are better or if yours are. If you think yours are and that you want to live a life without the way of God impacting it, then He will grant you your wish. If you want to live a life that thinks His way is most important, He will also grant your wish.

At any rate, let us cease talking about attitudes of a system and instead just discuss the fundamentals of the system. Is it true?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Two Years Today

Two years of what? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In the past, I kept to myself, but around two years ago, I did make a personal announcement that people who did not know me were probably very surprised by. I announced then that I had met someone very special and I would be out for about a week as I was getting ready to tie the knot.

Today, that has been two years.

It’s really incredible all that we’ve gone through. We’ve had deaths in the family. I had a gallbladder attack that resulted in my needing surgery. We’ve had to move. I’ve lost a job. I’ve been unemployed (And still am.). In two years, we’ve faced a number of crises, some of which we’ve probably forgotten.

And we’re still going strong.

It’s not to say it hasn’t been work at times, but should we expect anything less? In our world today, to learn to love the other and put your own needs and desires second place is extremely difficult, especially in an individualistic culture that looks at each person as the center of their universe.

Let’s face it. The old man can rise up in us all and needs to be put to death and marriage is one of the best ways to find out what your nature is really like. It reminds me even of how someone at my last job once asked me the best way to learn forgiveness. I answered “Get married.” Why? You spend a lot of your time either giving forgiveness or asking it. In my case, it’s asking.

As readers know, we haven’t had much and that’s been difficult. It’s not just paying for basic necessities in this tough economy, but I do have a very generous side that would love to give more gifts to my wife than I can afford to do and I hate to have to say no.

Something else you learn about marriage is that love grows every time. My wife is more beautiful today than when I was dating her. She means more to me today and half the time I find myself stunned at the things I think and believe because I had no idea that such a commitment was possible.

Noteworthy also for my friends is to see the change that has come. Aspies usually don’t have the best of diets, yet I’ve had increased diversity there ever since my Princess came along. Doctors today be they physicians or mental doctors have been stunned since they had given up hope long ago. A good woman can just be a great incentive.

Study has also been more important now. My wife has greatly caused my confidence to increase and while I’m unemployed, I’ve been making the most of my time with vociferous reading from the local library. I have high hopes of winning a kindle in their summer reading contest. I even already subscribe to the free list of books on Kindle and get those emailed to me.

As for the apologetics field, I hope to see it grow. I believe we are on a great quest right now and there’s no telling where it’s going to go. I realize things are hard, but being a theologian, I realize who’s in charge of the story as well and trust that He will guide us to a good outcome. While my resume may not be getting many bites, I will still try to no end.

Any way, to my Princess, you are the love of my life! Happy Anniversary from your Phoenix!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

General Mills Vs. Boston

What does a cereal company have to do with the capital of Massachusetts? Find out on Deeper Waters.

We’re taking a break from our look at the law to discuss a hot topic going on today. Not too long ago, some companies like General Mills came out in favor of homosexual marriage and this caused an outcry from several Christians and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) leading to a boycott of General Mills and other companies.

Immediately, the blogosphere was ablaze with the imbecility supposedly of Christians doing something like this. Even on the Failblog one would see entries asking about how many other things would be boycotted because of the position of General Mills. Obviously, Christians were just dumb for doing what they did.

The reality of this situation is that Christians who want to do this are simply living according to their principles. Most people who believe in tolerance would agree that it would be wrong to force someone to do something that they deem to be immoral. Of course, if they say otherwise, one wonders what kind of tolerance they have when they believe they should force their opinions on others.

Enter Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A is known to be a company built on Christian principles. You will not find a Chick-Fil-A open on a Sunday. Chick-Fil-A has also been accused of being in support of traditional marriage. Before going on, let’s take a look at the way the debate is framed.

Chick-Fil-A is said to be in opposition of marriage equality. If you oppose homosexual marriage, you oppose said equality. This is fallacious however as it assumes that the opponents are people who oppose equality and we see equality as a good quality to have. Who would want to oppose it?

Now when I meet someone who claims an inequality, I ask how my marriage rights differ from someone who is homosexual. This is the response I get.

“You have the right to marry the person you love!”

Well, not necessarily.

Before some of you might start panicking, let me assure you I have not made a statement that says anything about the love I have for my Mrs. I have made a statement rather about the rights that I have. Let’s see what my rights are as a heterosexual.

I can marry someone of the opposite sex.
I can marry someone who is of age.
I cannot marry a close relative.
I must marry a human.
I cannot marry more than one person.

As it stands, the person I love falls into that criteria.

Here are the rights of a homosexual.

They can marry someone of the opposite sex.
They can marry someone who is of age.
They cannot marry a close relative.
They must marry a human.
They cannot marry more than one person.

Looking at the lists, the rights are identical. Now the homosexual community says that they are not allowed to marry the person they love, which is someone of the same sex. I agree. They cannot. The reality is that I cannot marry someone of the same sex either and I cannot force a change just by saying “I love them!” If I claimed to love my mother sexually, it does not mean that I should therefore have the right to marry her.

So the idea of marriage equality is just wrong. There is a different right that is desired. At this point however, we can just ask why we should not change any of the other rights. It could be that we will be told no one is campaigning for those rights now. So what if they are? What do we do then? By what criteria do we not grant them those rights that allows for homosexuals to marry someone of the same sex?

Anyway, to get back to where we were, some who think Chick-Fil-A has taken a wrong stance have also decided that they want to boycott Chick-Fil-A. Upfront, I think that is just fine. That is what their moral belief is and they have the right to act according to that belief. If they think Chick-Fil-A deserves to be condemned in this endeavor, then by all means let them speak with their pocketbook. We can speak about the rightfulness or wrongfulness of such a position, but we cannot say the action of a personal boycott is automatically wrong.

Now recently, Dan Cathy, president of Chick-Fil-A has come out with a statement in regard to their stance of being for traditional marriage and has said that they are guilty as charged. I find it interesting in this that someone who believes in traditional marriage is meant to automatically be seen as a bigot. He is not speaking out against something so much as he is speaking for something.

Now because of this, a different factor has entered the equation. Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, is moving to block Chick-Fil-A from opening a restaurant in Boston. Now when NOM went against General Mills, it was a personal boycott. Right now, Menino is doing a political action to make his case.

What do I not expect to see happen? I do not expect that the people who mocked Christians for their boycott will go after Menino for not just boycotting but actively blocking the business of Chick-Fil-A. A look at Twitchy shows that there are comments that have this. (For those who don’t know, Twitchy is a service that shows comments on Twitter in response to various news items)

Instead, what we are seeing is that Menino is proudly standing up for those who are being discriminated against. This is in fact Menino’s reason. He does not want a business that discriminates in his city. The problem is Menino is confusing persons with behaviors and in fact, his position is dehumanizing.

You are not a behavior walking around. You are a person. You are a person who happens to do whatever behaviors might be discussed. Menino’s actions instead define persons by their behaviors. It claims that persons must perform with such and such a behavior and they cannot avoid otherwise. With regard to homosexuality, a person must perform sex in a homosexual manner and they cannot do otherwise.

Now we could write endlessly about whether someone can change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. I’ve read of enough stories of that happening that I think they can, but let us suppose for the sake of argument that they cannot. Does it follow that a person who is homosexual must partake then of homosexual sex? No more than a person who is heterosexual must partake of heterosexual sex, unless you want to make the case be that heterosexual people have self-control and homosexual ones don’t.

Can that be difficult? Of course, but would someone deny that it is also difficult for a heterosexual person to not engage in heterosexual sex outside of parameters they believe that it is permissible, such as within marriage? (If anyone does not think it possible, I can tell them my wife and I were virgins until our wedding night) Sexual temptation is difficult for most anyone.

Now if someone does not eat, that someone will starve. If someone does not breathe, they will suffocate. If someone does not drink, they will dehydrate. There are things we have to do individually to survive. Sexual behavior is not like that. You will not find an autopsy anywhere that lists cause of death as “Did not have sex.”

Now of course, as a whole, the species must engage in sexual intercourse to survive, but we are quite fortunate that it seems that most men and women don’t really need encouragement to get together and make babies. We don’t see any reason to think the human race will soon die out due to a lack of babies coming, although abortion might make us wonder in the future.

And to be even more specific, no one needs to engage in homosexual sex in order for the species to survive. If no one ever had homosexual sex, the species would still get along just fine. It is something like this that makes me wonder why it is that so many atheists want to rush to defend homosexuality? One would think that from an evolutionary perspective, it doesn’t do much to bring about the fitness of the species.

At any rate, we can think of terms that describe our behavior like vegetarian or homosexual or baseball player or anything like that. We would not want any of those to be our whole identity. Behavior is an aspect of persons but not a definer of persons.

Hence, Menino’s position is really dehumanizing as it makes homosexuals be identified by their behavior. If saying marriage should not be changed is discriminatory, then what is anyone to say about people who are homosexual as well and want marriage to stay the same?

Furthermore, for all his talk about discrimination, Menino’s position is discriminatory. He has set up which businesses he will allow in his city, those who agree with him, and has set up which ones he will not allow, those who do not agree with him.

Of course, he could be right in his position, but let us not make the mistake of saying that he is not discriminating. In fact, he is also discriminating against a population, something he says he is against. He is discriminating against the population that believes marriage should stay what it is and that we should act to protect it.

Now we often hear from the homosexual community about how we should be tolerant and open of other opinions. Apparently, that means people who believe in traditional marriage should be open to being wrong, but people who are for homosexual marriage do not have to be open to being wrong. Tolerance in this case is never a two-way street. Will we see tolerance coming from the other side? Doubtful. This decision will be celebrated while at the same time the decision to boycott General Mills will be mocked.

Ironically, it is the marriage side that is practicing true tolerance. We are saying General Mills has every right to say what they think is true. Meanwhile, we have every right to not buy their products if we choose. Menino on the other hand is saying that not only is Chick-Fil-A wrong, he will not have a discussion with them. He is just going to block them and use the force of his political power to not let anyone in his city enjoy their products.

Ah. The loving tolerance once again that is being expressed. But what do we know? We’re just bigots who need to be more tolerant.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Bunch of Bull

What to do with a dead bull? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In our look at the Old Testament Law, we’re going to be looking at the last few verses of Exodus 21. Many of these will be relatively straight forward, but they are important to cover. The verses are as follows:

“28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. 30 However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded. 31 This law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter. 32 If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death.

33 “If anyone uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the one who opened the pit must pay the owner for the loss and take the dead animal in exchange.

35 “If anyone’s bull injures someone else’s bull and it dies, the two parties are to sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal equally. 36 However, if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring, yet the owner did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay, animal for animal, and take the dead animal in exchange.”

Looking at the start, when a bull gores someone to death, the bull is to be stoned and the animal must not be eaten. This is a society where meat would not be as abundant as it is here. Surely you can put that dead body to use? Not at all. The idea is that an animal that dies for the death of a human being should not profit anyone. No one should be able to have a blessing come in that way when a human being dies. It is not because God is wasteful, but because Israel was to have the highest regard for human life.

As for the idea of if the bull gores and has had that habit, we can understand this more for much the same reason we often chain up dogs that are dangerous. If someone does not tie up a dog that can be dangerous and that dog does act that way, then the owner is to be held responsible. In this case, there is a way to redeem human life. One can pay for the act of the animal since the animal could not really be accused of malicious intent. Why the difference for a slave? There’s no indication that the death of a slave would not be punishable by death as well. This is talking about the price of redemption. The slave himself is under the care of another so the master would determine the value normally. In order to be fair to all workers, one universal price is given.

For the case of the pit, one should warn one’s neighbors about such an enterprise to catch an animal in hunting. You would be responsible for not giving adequate warning.

Finally, with a bull goring another, no one keeps the live bull because there should be no profit in the case of something like this. The one who has the live bull will lose income with half going to the other owner. Once again, this changes if the bull had a habit of goring as the owner of the dead animal gets all the money.

These laws are practical for a good working society in the ANE. We also see there are many principles that we still apply today, and that’s something major to look for in the study. It’s not just the law to look at but the principle for the law.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

My Freedom For A Tooth

Slavery sure comes with an interesting dental plan! Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In our look at the Old Testament Law today, I’m going to be discussing Exodus 21:26-27 which reads as follows:

“26 “An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27 And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.”

We earlier looked at a passage where it talked about the disciplinary features of the rod for a slave. This was the usual form of punishment in that time. In the Israelite society, you would not build a prison out in the wilderness. You had to have other systems of justice set up that were easily portable.

We saw how the Law talks about beating a slave and that if that slave dies, one is punished, which would be the death penalty. If the slave lives for a few days, the owner of the slave is to be given the benefit of the doubt since one could not as easily prove malicious intent, one would assume no slave owner would want to lose the extra help that he bought and pays for.

Let us return to that discipline. Even then, the well-being of the slave is still being looked out for. Note that there is nothing in the text inherently unkind about using the rod. The rod was also to be used on one’s own children and certainly one was to love their children, so let us avoid at the get-go the very idea that a physical form of punishment to bring about pain was meant to be ipso facto unloving.

So now we have a slave who is misbehaving. What is the standard? Any serious injury will result in freedom for the slave. This is a high-context society so not every case will be spelled out, but we are not to think that knocking out someone’s tooth will result in their going free but if you break their leg, then that is okay.

Not only that, but when a slave was to be set free, as we saw above, he was to be supplied with from his master so that he will have enough to start out on his new life and hopefully not have to go into slavery. There would even have to be more abundant supplying of goods in this case since one has given a heavy incapacity to the slave’s ability to work in the future.

Notice that nothing is said about the well-being of the master in any of this. Instead, it is all about the well-being of the servant. This is the one God is looking out for. Before God would say anything about slaves who misbehave, he chooses to focus on the lives of the masters beforehand and makes sure that they’re on the right track.

Once again, none of this is the ideal situation, but it is an institution in the midst of reforming. Passages like this should show us that God did not support an abusive system but was taking a system that is less than ideal and planting within it the seeds of its own defeat.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Premature from Combat?

Whoa. What’s the child in Exodus 21? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Tonight in our look at the law, we will be looking at Exodus 21:22-25.

“22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

There are some people who approach this text and use it as an argument that the fetus in Exodus 21 was not a human and that the Bible does not uphold a teaching consistent with the pro-life position. I do think that the pro-life position can be known without the Bible, however, I also do think that the Bible is pro-life and so the position needs to be defended.

Meredith Kline in looking at this passage has said that it is striking that there is no mention of abortion specifically in Hebrew law. The idea would be unthinkable since children were one’s livelihood. Meredith Kline is a Hebrew scholar who does not see anything about abortion in this passage. What it instead is about is a case where two men are fighting and when they hit a woman, she ends up giving birth.

This is the case of a premature birth. If there is no injury, then there is no penalty. If there is injury, then there is a penalty and the reason for this is because of that which the abortion side does not want to say is the case. There has been a human being hurt in all of this. If the human being dies, then it is a case of life for life. The punishment must equal the crime. It is the case of one human being given over for what it is that they have done to another human being.

Thus, we in fact have a high view of the child in the womb in this passage. This is something consistent with other passages of the Bible such as Jeremiah 1:5 and my own wife’s personal favorite of Psalm 139.

Of course, I do believe one needs other facts to make the case and fortunately, we live in an age where there is much information on the life of human beings in the womb. In fact, for those who are interested in reading other blogs, I think one of the best can be found at the blog of my friend David as he has written at RayadoRiver. There is a link in the sideroll of this blog and I recommend you become followers of his blog as well.

In conclusion, we find that the Bible does uphold the pro-life position in this passage that that which is in the womb of the woman is a full human being and if one murders that which is in the womb, then they are just as accountable as if they had killed an adult.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Rod For The Backs of Slaves

You could use the rod on a slave? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Now we’re getting into some stuff that people really consider problematic in the Old Testament Law. We’re looking at Exodus 21:18-21. Let’s see what it says.

“If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist and the victim does not die but is confined to bed, 19 the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however, the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time and see that the victim is completely healed.

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

The first scenario we might not have much problem with. If you support the death penalty, it makes sense. Two men fight and one hits the other so hard that it kills him? Then that first one dies since he took another person’s life. This is also consistent with Genesis 9 where an attack on man is an attack on the image of God and the life of the attacker is to be given back to God.

What if he doesn’t die? Well the man is unable to provide for his family then. Many of us today have missed work and know how hard it can be when that happens. Imagine how much harder it is in a society where your daily bread did depend on working. You didn’t have refrigerators to store the food in. Now imagine losing that income. Who will provide?

Furthermore, what if you were the one who had to pay up for losing your temper? Where will your income come from? That which you’ve worked to earn has to go to someone else to pay for your lack of self-control. You can be sure the Mrs. would not forget about that and neither would you. It would be a costly reminder of sin.

All well and good. Now we come to this.


Let’s start with something as we’ve said. The slavery was not exploitation. No doubt, sometimes it was used that way, but that was not the view of Israel here. Slavery was done so people could provide for their family. Some readers might think the idea of selling your labor to someone else to provide for your family sounds ridiculous.

This is said right before you go to work for your boss who takes you on so you can do a service for him, to which he’ll pay you so you can provide for your family.

Are the two identical? No. You don’t usually make contracts with your boss, he usually doesn’t give you a place to live, and there are not likely to be situations where you will be beaten.

However, there are still enough similarities that we can grasp what is going on and understand some of how the system worked. The idea was the poor would go to the rich for a job so they could provide and when hired, they were expected to do the job.

In the time of Israel, physical discipline was a common form of punishment. We still use it today. Some do debate it and there is no doubt that it can turn into abuse, but some readers of this blog will likely be people who were recipients of physical discipline when they were growing up and sometimes, they’ll admit they deserved it and are the better for it.

But notice that if the slave dies as a direct result of beating, the master must be punished. Considering this came right after punishment for the taking of another life above having the death penalty as the punishment, there’s no reason to think that there is suddenly some other punishment. Note then that this means murder was treated exactly the same whether the person was a slave or not.

Okay. So what explains the other difference? What if the slave gets up after a day or two? Why is the owner not punished?

Note above the punishment was paid money for the loss of services. In this case, the master himself is losing the service of the slave and is suffering as a result. He will not be punished, but he will get no monetary relief for his actions. When he sees how badly his income suffers in comparison to his competitors, that should be enough.

What happens if the slave dies a few days later which would be an indirect result? This is where we get the principle of the benefit of the doubt. The idea is to assume the slaveowner meant to discipline but unfortunately, something went wrong. It was not his intention to kill. In other words, it’s accidental death much the same for any other event of accidental death.

In other words, the penalty would be exactly the same regardless of who was killed.

Once again, none of this is meant to be an ideal utopian society. What it is meant to be is a society in reformation. It is God working with the culture as it is planting little seeds of reform. When it comes to the eventual abolition of slavery, one will see that this is also what happened there.

At this point, the skeptic must simply show that ancient slavery in Israel was like modern slavery in America. That will be difficult, but he is welcome to try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters