Saving The World

Can you really make a difference? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

If you live in America, it’s not difficult to realize our country is in a place Christians aren’t too happy with. Immorality is all around us and not only being accepted, but in fact celebrated. Financially, we’re on the verge of collapse. We cannot trust our own government in many cases. Anything that implies Christianity with it is seen with great suspicion and as a threat.

In our own personal lives, we can look at the world and find concern. In an age where we don’t want to offend people, we often end up doing far more of it. We put on a face and say things we don’t really mean or believe just to avoid offending someone, only to hurt them later when the truth comes out. Families break apart regularly. I have said repeatedly that the biggest party to blame in the marriage debate is the church. We have not honored marriage properly. Divorce is rampant. Children born out of wedlock are more and more common.

We can see this as a dark if not the darkest hour. What do we do?

How about doing what our marching orders were from the beginning?

When Christ left, He gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. We are to go out into all the world and make disciples. Why? Because Jesus already has all authority. So let’s ask the questions then.

“Is Jesus in charge?”

“How can you think Jesus is in charge?! Do you not remember what you wrote just above about all the evil in the world? If Jesus is in charge, why is the world like this?”

I was not aware that people being evil had some power to knock Jesus off of His throne.

Jesus’s apostles ended up transforming the Roman Empire in the long run. Israel wanted to expel the pagans. Christianity sought to win them over. His apostles went out into a world that we could say was even darker. At least we have some background of Christianity here. They did not even have that. Furthermore, they didn’t even have the great technology today to get around and spread the message.

Paul wants to send a message to Corinth. What does he do? He writes it out by hand. Peter decides to head back to Jerusalem. What does he do? Well he can take a ship in some places or he can walk or at the best, ride a horse. It’ll still take several days. There’s no sending an email to them. There’s no making a phone call. There’s no flying a plane or driving a car.

They did so much with so little. We do so little with so much.

“Don’t you see the way Christians are treated today?!”

Yeah. We in America truly suffer. All the early church had to do put up with was being cast out of the marketplace, being thrown to lions, being hunt down regularly, and being lit on fire for Nero’s festivities. I’m not saying what we have here is good, but let’s not act like we’re really undergoing persecution. We’re nowhere near it yet.

So if Jesus is in charge, then what are we to do? Make disciples.

“I can’t talk to people!”

Maybe you can’t. I’d say I can relate to Paul in some ways. Paul said he was timid face to face but bold when away, that is, writing. Now I do love public speaking, but writing is the real joy. The way most people think of doing evangelism is nothing I could do. The thought of going up and speaking to a complete stranger is not in my blood. So what? I do what I can.

Maybe you can’t handle public speaking. That’s okay. I and others can. Maybe you’re not a writer. That’s okay. Others are. What can you do? Maybe you can support those of us who are with prayer, financial support, and even encouraging words.(Trust me on this readers. I hear this regularly from people in the field of ministry. It means so much when your work is appreciated.)

Maybe you can’t go out on to the front lines and fight. That’s okay. You can support those who do. David made sure the men who stayed with the supplies had just as much reward as those who went out to battle. For instance, I tell my own wife she has no idea what a huge support it is that she is standing by my side and affirming me in what I do. (Wives. If your husbands is in ministry, never underestimate how much he leans on you, even if he won’t admit it.)

Whatever you can do, do it.

“But God can’t use me.”

This isn’t a statement about you. It’s a statement about God. The problem is not your “self-image.” The problem is your theology. Your God is weak. Don’t ipso facto say God can’t use you. That’s for Him to decide. You do what He has already told you to do. Anything else is disobedience to Scripture.

And what are you doing when you do what He told you?

You are saving the world from the power of evil. You are bringing the message of light. Note that I am not saying any kind of force is to be used. Not at all. Those who choose Jesus must do so freely. Marrying Christianity with the government will only hamper evangelism.

Yet if you are sick of the world the way it is, then do exactly what Jesus said to do that worked so long ago. Do the Great Commission. We have more numbers than the early church did. We have more means than the early church did. In many ways, we have more evidence than they did. We even have a NT that the apostles did not have.

All we seem to lack is the will.

If we have so much more, imagine what we can do, if only we are willing!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Portraits of Paul

What was Paul really like as a person? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Portraits of Paul (POP) is a book by Bruce Malina and Jerome Neyrey, both of them NT scholars. The idea of the work is to help us get to learn what Paul was like. How can we really get to know Paul the man?

Or maybe that’s not really the idea.

People getting the book wanting to get a psychological profile on the apostle Paul will be disappointed. POP instead makes the case that a POP of the apostle makes no sense in the society he lived in. Paul lived in a collectivist society where persons were not known as individuals (It would be known that they existed of course, but you would not know one person on an intimate level) and not even to themselves! Your identity came from your group that you identified with. If anything, being an individualist standing out from the crowd would be seen as deviancy and a threat.

At this point, many readers are thinking “That makes no sense to me.” If so, that is because you are already thoroughly soaked in individualistic thinking without realizing that 70% of the world thinks differently. For those of us who live in America, we are tempted constantly to see our culture as the model and think that every culture must be like ours. (That having been said, politically, I do hold to American exceptionalism.)

Yet when we enter the world of the Bible, that world is not just like ours. Persons were not seen as individuals and when we try to look at them that way, we develop problems. We can too often throw the ideas of our own culture back onto the text. As with studying any text from another culture, we should seek to know that culture first.

At this point, the fundamental atheist reader is saying “Shouldn’t God have made it easier if He wanted us all to know His truth?” Yet the charge is just an example of what POP is writing about. It is the assumption today that study should be simple and plain and great truth and rewards should not require much effort. It doesn’t work with dieting. It doesn’t work with exercise. It doesn’t work with college. It doesn’t work with romance. It doesn’t work with a career. Yet somehow, we think it should work with religion.

The reader of POP will not learn necessarily much about Paul as an individual, but they will learn how someone like Paul would have been seen based on his group identifications. They will learn why he wrote what little he did write about himself and how he wrote appealing to his audience and how they would have seen it. They will learn about such truths as the word pistis, translated faith, really is used for a means of forensic proof (P. 87) and that saying “Let your conscience be your guide” would have mad no sense to the people back then. (P. 187)

Hopefully as well, they’ll emerge with a greater understanding of the NT.

In conclusion, this is another book I highly recommend. One of the greatest barriers to understanding the NT is the cultural one and this book will be a great addition to any library.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/27/2013

What can we do to stop the national holocaust? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Abortion has been the law of the land since 1973. On the 40th anniversary, the death toll is severe. A lot of Christians are also watching this issue with the Gosnell case coming to trial. What is it that Christians can do in order to address the silent holocaust killing our children?

My guest will be Megan Almon of the Life Training Institute. The Life Training Institute is a ministry of Scott Klusendorf dedicated to helping make the case for life. With Megan on the show, we will be looking at the various reasons that people give for having an abortion and why those reasons fall short.

Many Christians aren’t sure what to do to stop abortion. We will have that covered. There are some techniques you don’t want to use, but there are some that you do want to use. Megan will be instructing us on how she has recommended people make the case for life with LTI.

Naturally, we will be giving the reasons against abortion. How is it that it can be known that what is being put to death is an innocent human life? Can we say it is really alive? Can we say that it is really human? Even if we say those, can we say that it is really innocent? Each of those will be a topic of discussion.

What about all those women who decide to not get abortions? What will be done for them? How is it that Christians should respond to women who are pregnant and had considered having an abortion but decided to go against that idea. Are there any ministries that will offer support to a woman in need?

What about the women (and the men) who have allowed abortions to take place? What is to be said to them to help them? Can the body of Christ minister to people who are mothers and fathers of dead children, dead by their own hands? Can we show the forgiveness of Christ to those people while condemning the sinfulness of the action?

Also, this month as you know is Autism Awareness Month. We will be spending some time on the show talking about abortion and the disabled. Sadly, some babies are killed just because they’re not seen as genetically fit as others are. I am thankful that Allie and I were born to mothers and fathers who do not have that kind of attitude and believe that all human life is precious by nature of being human life.

Abortion is a debate that we need to be having today as so many babies are put to death regularly in what should be the safest place on Earth, the womb of their mothers. It would be fascinating to know just how different the world could be today if we had given those precious human lives just the simple chance to exist and grace us with their presence.

The link to the show can be found here. Call in number is 714-242-5180 from 3-5 EST on Saturday. I hope you’ll listen!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Allergic to Religion?

Does a tolerant culture really practice it? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, I wrote an article for the local paper on how a Christian is to live in a society where voting is a reality and still practice their faith. How do you integrate the two? What does it mean to say “Render unto Caesar”? For those who are interested, that article can be found here.

What has been much of the response? Immediately people assume that I want the Bible to be the law of the land much like a Muslim wants it for the Koran. It’s highly incorrect.

First off, when we speak about a theocracy, we often mean a generic idea since God is left undefined. If you want to know the kind of society a Christian would like to see most, well look at a society where Jesus is in charge. What would that look like? Look at what it was when He walked this Earth. What did He believe about how man should live? What did He believe about morality? If someone thinks that is what Jesus believes and this is the best leader we can have, why not vote that way?

Second, I am entirely for freedom of religion or non-religion for that matter. If someone wants to be an atheist, fine. He has no obligation to practice any religious belief. On the other hand, if someone wants to be a Muslim, by all means let them be provided they follow the laws of the land. If someone wants to build a mosque here, that is their right! If Muslims wants to raise up their children to be Muslims, let them do so.

How do we evangelize to such people? In the marketplace of ideas. That’s part of having a diverse society. We come together and we each present our claims at the table and why we believe those claims and we seek to examine them to see which claim if any is true.

Instead, the charges raised are well-poisonings designed to incite fear. “You want to force Christianity on everyone!” No. I seek no marriage between the state and the church. The authority of the church is to come from Christ Himself. It is not to come from government.

At the same time, they also don’t need to be on opposite poles where never the twain shall meet. The two are to work together. If we make them enemies as was the case with the Roman empire beforehand, it becomes just as problematic. Of course, it does fortunately get people to take Christianity more seriously.

Yet those in our society who are raising cries of Jihad, which is quite common, act as if any introduction of religion whatsoever into the public sphere will destroy society. The implicit understanding is that our culture must be entirely secular, yet if it is entirely secular, why should I think a marriage of secularism and the state will do any better than Christianity and the state? At least with Christianity there is an underlying moral framework with an objective basis. None for secularism so it will simply be a case of the moral preferences of the person or persons in charge.

The fear-mongering is a way simply to remove religion from the public square. You may practice religion and we are all for freedom of religion, but just don’t bring it out here for we want freedom from religion. You will no more get it without using force any more than I will get freedom from secularism. As long as there are those who want to not believe in God for instance, then I must let them have the freedom to have that belief in a society like America. Do they want to vote according to that belief? Let them! Does a Muslim want to vote in accordance with Islam? Let him! I have no problem with that. Naturally, I hope both sides lose when they disagree with Christianity, but I want them to have the freedom to vote what they think is right.

Instead, we get people who react to any mention of religion whatsoever in the public square the way Dracula reacts to a cross. It is as if having a drop of religion in the water supply of public thought will contaminate everyone. The best way to do that is to just eliminate it from public. Of course, those who do such are going against the tolerance that they often love to proclaim.

What is tolerance? Tolerance is simply the notion that while you may disagree with someone, which is essential for tolerance, they do have the right to hold and practice a belief that you disagree with. I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. Modern tolerance has been that you must agree with what I say, you must accept what I say, and the same extends to behavior. In fact, we often move beyond tolerance to acceptance and celebration. Not only must you accept what I say and do, you must celebrate it and desire that I do so.

I fully accept that the atheist wishes to live without God in his life and wants to practice an atheistic lifestyle. I can accept it in the sense that that is reality and I must go with it, but I certainly will not celebrate it. For the Christian, that is a tragic position and the best thing I can do is to try with reasonable arguments to show him the error of his ways. From his perspective, I’m throwing my life away on an illusion and he must try to show me the error of my ways. That’s fine! Then let us meet with open exchange and determine who’s right and who’s wrong.

We must debate the question. It is better to debate a question and never settle it than to settle a question without debating it. Whatever the question is, let us debate it. If anyone disagrees with a position, let the evidence be presented. Let it be examined. Let it be challenged.

Could it be the real reason for the allergy to religion is because those who want to have the main say in society are scared of any threats to their rule? From the evidence I see thus far, that’s what I must go with. In the past, we had a church priesthood that many deemed totalitarian. Now, we have a secular priesthood with its own method of inquisition. They have their own creeds and their own statements of faith. The secularism is just as religious as the religions that it seeks to diminish.

What can Christians do? Christians need to keep presenting their case and be as informed as they can be. I personally support meeting the secularists on their own grounds and showing that their arguments do not hold up. It is quite amusing to go to those who claim to be the champions of reason and demonstrating how unreasonable they really are. Like the church in earlier days was accused of not practicing what they preach, so it can be shown that today’s authority teaching supposed reason and tolerance, do not practice what they preach, as reason simply becomes “thinking apart from any theistic idea” and tolerance becomes “Not disagreeing with us.”

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Can You Do?

Does God expect something grand from you? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In our day and age of celebrities in the church, many of us can look at ourselves and wonder how much we can really give. We can look at so many preachers, apologists, scholars, teachers, etc. and wonder how it is that we could ever reach that level. Who are we? We are just the people on the bottom of the ladder here and the ones doing the work are up there.

If our contributions cannot begin to match what it is that others are giving, then should we really give at all? Why bother? Anything we offer is so small and tiny that it cannot make a difference. I can understand this kind of viewpoint, but at the same time, I cannot accept it. I think it goes fundamentally against what the Bible teaches.

While it is true that we do individualize the text, it does not mean that individuals do not matter. Some texts can apply on an individual basis. Some cannot. How do we know which is which? We must do study. There is no shortcut. There is no magic rule whereby you can recognize which texts do what.

I bring up the individualizing because it leads to us thinking things are all about us. We want to know that God has a wonderful plan for our lives. I can tell everyone that in fact, God does have a wonderful plan for your life! It is to conform you to the likeness of Christ so you can spend eternity in His presence. What better plan could there be?

“Yes. That’s great. But how will he do that?” Beats me. I don’t even have a clue how this computer I’m typing on begins to work and you want me to explain how God works that way? I don’t understand things my parents and in-laws do. I don’t understand things my wife does. I don’t understand things I do. How am I to understand what God does?

Instead of trying to figure out how God is working in your life, something I would seriously doubt you can know aside from hindsight, I would suggest instead trying to figure out how you are working in God’s life. The question is not what is the plan God has for your life, but what is it you plan to do in the life of God?

“Ah. But what I could offer the kingdom of God is so small.” Offer it anyway! The Bible is full of stories of people blessed by a small act of faith. The widow is seen to have the praise of Christ for she gave all that she had to live on. The young boy who gave his lunch to the disciples had it multiplied so that it fed 5,000 men plus women and children.

Do not look at what you can give God and determine that He can’t use it. That’s for Him to decide! Just give it to Him. Whatever it is, give it to Him. Perhaps you can’t put $100,000 in the offering plate! Can you put a dollar in? Do you think God is so weak that he can’t use a dollar for His glory? Perhaps you can’t give a year to someone. Can you give an hour? Remember, even a cup of cold water in the name of Christ will not go unrewarded.

“But what I have is nothing big.” So what? Do not worry about giving something grand. Just give something and let God do something grand with it if He chooses. It could be the fruit of your little action might not be seen for several years, perhaps long after you’re dead. So what? Do you give just so you can see the results? Giving to God is its own reward.

I have an internet radio show as readers of this blog know and I was told it would go out syndicated to 20,000 listeners. I have said that if each of those listeners gave one dollar to support Deeper Waters, we would not have any financial problems here whatsoever and I could better be freed to keep doing apologetics work here for you. That’s just my ministry! Imagine how many other ministries could be blessed by the millions of Christians in this country? Imagine how much we could do if we gave more of our time, money, and our abilities.

What will God do with you? That is for Him to decide and not you. For now, just give what you have and trust Him with the rest.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Old Testament Matters

Do Christians really need to read the Old Testament? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Imagine that you go into a movie such as Avengers, the one that came out not too long ago. When you walk in, you get to the part where you see all of the Avengers fighting off the alien invaders in New York. Now you could sit down at this point and quite likely figure out who the bad guys are and who the good guys are and a general idea of why the good guys are fighting the battle and still enjoy the movie. You would also see afterwards a spoiler of what’s to come in a sequel. Yet would anyone say you have really taken into account the whole film?

Too many Christians do the same thing with Christianity. We turn quickly to the New Testament and we see the story of Jesus and we gather quickly that Jesus is the hero of the story and the devil is the villain and sin is the problem and we get in the apocalyptic parts of the New Testament the hints of what is to come.

Now you will be a Christian if you do just this. If all you have is the New Testament, you can get the message of salvation, but you will miss so much more. You will not understand the world Jesus came into, you will not understand the back story, and you will not understand why Jesus is the solution to the problem.

How do you get that information? You read the Old Testament and we Christians need to read it and really think about it. For instance, what role does Abraham play? We look at a passage like Romans 4 and say “Abraham is an example.” Not at all. Abraham is not listed as the way we ought to live, although we certainly should follow his footsteps of faithfulness. Abraham is more the prototype. How is it that we are justified? We look at how Abraham was.

There is no one else that could have been used in Romans 4 but Abraham and the only way you understand that is if you know your Old Testament. How will the promise to Abraham come about? What is it that God is seeking to do by calling out Abraham? Does the story of Israel play any role in the New Testament?

Is Israel just this failed experiment and God moved on past it? When we say Jesus is the Messiah, does that really matter? Paul and the other NT writers certainly thought it was important to say Jesus is the Messiah. Why? Does it really make a difference if you know what the prophets said or what the history of Israel is?

If you go to the book of Revelation, it certainly does. Revelation is a book in the Bible that rarely rarely quotes the OT, which is a shock for such a long book. Yet Revelation assumes you have a thorough thorough knowledge of the OT. Remember that in the days of Jesus, most people had the OT well-grounded in memory and would recognize allusions constantly. In fact, the early church that read Paul’s epistles would have as well, and these would be churches that included Gentiles. Already, Paul was quoting the OT to them knowing they would find it authoritative.

In fact, one of the first major heresies was that of Marcion who sought to remove the OT God from the message of Jesus. Now we today will not say what Marcion said or do what he did. (Although some internet atheists would make the same claims about God in the OT) Still, we behave the way that he did by cutting the NT away from the OT.

I simply urge you to really think about the OT and make sure you read it like you read the NT. It is just as much Scripture as the NT is and essential for your understanding of the gospel. I’ve found lately at night that in going to sleep I will think about the OT and try to understand it for itself. I don’t mean just “What does this mean about Jesus?” I want to know first “What does this mean?” If I had been an Israelite living in the time of Moses as he was writing, what would Genesis mean to me?

We often look at the gospels and realize some writers chose to include some things and others chose to not include some things. Moses and the other biblical writers would have done the same thing. Moses surely had much information he did not include. Why did he choose to write what he wrote? What purpose was there in the story that Moses wanted the children of Israel to get? We can afterwards then ask, “And what did the divine author intend for us?”

If you want to understand the fullness of the Scriptures, you must understand the Old Testament and treasure it like the Scripture that it is. If you don’t, you can still have salvation, but you’ll be missing the deepest truths that can come from the knowledge of who Jesus is based on the story that came before Him and a deeper knowledge of what is to lie ahead in our own future.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

God’s Authority Outranks Government’s

How does one interact with government if Jesus is King? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

The following is an article that I wrote for the local newspaper in my monthly column.

In my last column I wrote about the gospels as campaigns with Jesus as king. What does that mean for the American political scene if Jesus is king? We are often told to render unto Caesar, but does that mean what we think it means, or have we imbibed some modern ideas into our thinking that are foreign to the 1st-century text?

In our enlightened time, it is common to think of the “world of faith” and the “world of reality” as separate. You can have your Christianity, but just make sure you compartmentalize it. Don’t bring it with you into the political sphere. Just keep it at home and go to church on Sunday and don’t interfere with education.

The Christian can have none of this. If Christ is Lord, He is Lord of everything. Jesus came on the scene essentially challenging Caesar. It was what British scholar and historian N.T. Wright called “fighting words.” Herod knew what Jesus was claiming. The priests in power knew it. Caesar would have known it as well. Jesus was claiming kingship.

Enlightenment thinking has said that faith belongs to a world above while man will rule the world down here. Now in essence, man has long ruled the world down here. Until the day when God is recognized universally as king, he has allowed men, even sometimes wicked men, to rule so there will be some order and justice.

Secularism, meanwhile, has decided that the old systems of the past must be rebuilt, and so we see an attack on everything the church has held to be sacred — be it Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox — throughout the ages. Any hint of religion is being removed to form a secular state, even now to the point where life in the womb has been killed and the world seeks to redefine marriage itself. The secular machine is on the march and is destroying all in its path under the label of “tolerance.”

What is a Christian to do? In a voting society, a Christian is certainly allowed to vote with what he believes to be true. A Muslim, an atheist and a Jew should all have the same right. If you think something is true, why should you compartmentalize it away from reality? Of course, I also hope more Christians would educate themselves on reality to get more than just “the Bible says” as to why they hold a certain moral stance. Our own Bibles tell us that moral truths are known apart from scripture and we need to be able to establish those moral truths, and if we can use the weapons of the enemy against them (weapons, by the way, that come from the Christian church and have been hijacked), then all the better.

Secularism has been tearing down the fences that have been built without asking G.K. Chesterton’s question: “Why were they put up in the first place?” Yet too many of us know that when man seeks to expel God from the world, he will have to put something in God’s place, and usually that something will be a mirror. If man thinks he has no authority that is greater than him that he is subservient to, then we can expect that his true colors will be revealed. If any doctrine of Christianity will be established then, as it can be today easily enough by watching the evening news, it will be that of original sin.

How do we follow Jesus’s advice, then? We give Caesar what is his due, but make sure we do the exact same with God, and keep in mind that God is a higher authority than Caesar. We are by no means to take up arms and seek to destroy Caesar that way, but we are also not to lie down and do absolutely nothing when Caesar comes after us. We must make our stand today and state that we are people of the true king of this Earth and seek to further the time when his rule will be completely realized on the Earth.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

David Instone-Brewer on Deeper Waters 4/20/13

What’s coming up on the next episode of the podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

On the next episode of the Deeper Waters podcast, my guest will be biblical scholar David Instone-Brewer, author of the book “The Jesus Scandals.” The book is a look at various items that are included in the gospels that would have been embarrassing to the writers, but they had to be put in anyway.

Why? Some cases like the miracles could not really be denied. Wait. Miracles would be seen as embarrassing? They would be. The general climate of the populace was to scoff at the claims of miracles. Perhaps the only exception would have been in Palestine, and even there there would have been some resistance.

Other claims had to be brought up to deal with the rumors that would have been passed around about Jesus. We would think the virgin birth would have been given to bring honor to Jesus. Not at all. It would likely remind a number of readers of supposed pagan parallels, of which there aren’t really any like Jesus, but the charge would have often been brought up that Jesus was illegitimate. The story of the virgin birth had to be given because it is the true story, even though it would have been easier to just say the father was Joseph or even a Pantera.

These are meant to address the criterion of embarrassment. By having embarrassing details in the gospels, it lends more credibility to them, and these are just two that I have mentioned that can be found in the accounts. I only bring them up because they’re the ones most people would have an opinion about without realizing that they were scandalous.

Also mentioned are the difficult teachings of Jesus. Why would the gospels have teachings of Jesus that his own followers had a hard time following and were quite out of sync with the rest of the community where He lived? Could it be that the real reason Jesus is recorded as teaching such hard teachings is that He in fact did teach them?

What about His having companions that were women? In the Jewish culture of the day, a rabbi was not to associate with women, but Jesus did so. They were among some of His followers as well. Why would a rabbi do this in Jesus’s time knowing it was out of kilter with the way that society behaved? Could it be not only that Jesus knew the heart of God towards women, but also that Jesus actually did associate with women?

Finally, we will be talking about the Asperger’s community in Cambridge where Instone-Brewer is at. This is relevant because it is Autism Awareness Month and also because Jesus gave a unique status to the disabled, and the fact that someone disabled is allowed to have a position in the Christian church and have a podcast and be liked by so many of you, to which I am grateful, is an influence of the work of Christ 2,000 years ago.

Please join us. The call in number from 3-5 EST on Saturday 4/20/13 is 714-242-5180. Link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Something Beautiful

What are some thoughts to keep in mind for Autism Awareness Month? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

This month, I haven’t written really on Autism Awareness Month yet, although it has shown up in the Deeper Waters Podcast, particularly on the episode of April 6th when I interviewed Jacob Alexander. He wrote the book “In the Belly of the Whale” about his son Joseph who has Asperger’s.

Last year, I did a lot of writing on the topic of Asperger’s this time of year so I figured I’ve covered most of it. Yet as I write this, I think about how a friend recently wrote somewhere about us having a ministry by Aspies for Aspies here and that it’s beautiful.

Now those who know us know that I’m the intellectual in the family. My wife is the artist in the family. I prefer to make a beautiful argument. She prefers to make beautiful art. We both prefer to be beautiful together. Both of us know the way the world can be and both of us know what rejection is like.

It’s something that makes our marriage unique. Both of us are surprised that they are not rejected by the other. Such thinking is a tendency that still has to be overcome. Old ways of thinking die hard. It’s with that kind of thinking that one can have a difficult time learning to trust someone else.

Fortunately, the way we are, we can better understand each others oddities. For instance, recently, I had to take Allie to a community center where she’s going to be taking a free sewing class. I’m the one carrying all her stuff and as we start to leave, she notices I have my eyes squinting. She and the teacher ask if I’m okay. I motion Allie to look a certain direction, seeing as when I get particularly nervous I don’t want to speak, and she sees that there is a dirty dish standing where I’m pointing, and she knows I can’t stand to look at a dirty dish. It’s like putting kryptonite next to Clark Kent.

Is that weird? You bet it is. Rational? Not a bit. But Allie understands it. In the same way, I understand the way she panics any time a bug comes on the scene. I can stand outside on our front porch with bumblebees out there and not worry a bit about being stung and she’ll be scared to step outside. It’s okay. I understand it.

For us, it can be difficult to do many things. We can be aloof in numerous ways. Each of us gets so caught up in our interests that basic housekeeping can be problematic. With each of us having obsessions, we have to work to balance those two together.

Yet there is a great benefit too in that we help each other where they are weak. For instance, if I am speaking too much in small group at church, Allie can put her hand on me gently and I know I need to start wrapping things up. When I think she is not catching on to something, I can explain it to her. After all, on the spectrum, it’s hard to know how things are experienced by outsiders.

Also, I find with her, I am more in touch with an emotional side. I can have far greater empathy with someone than I ever could before. For her, I find she is becoming much more in touch with a logical side. She’s seen me comment on a number of commercials as having bad arguments and has started seeing the way they work. On Easter Sunday, I heard her debating a small point with my own Dad and thinking that she did just stellar on her own.

We hope that what we have together is also a ministry in itself to other people on the spectrum and others that are disabled in other ways out there. It is possible to be loved and accepted on the spectrum and it is possible for Aspies to lead happy lives like other people. It’s possible for us to get married and have our own family. It does not have to be a life of rejection. The biggest limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves when we say we can’t do something.

We are God’s workmanship just like anyone else, Aspie and all. If anything, it makes our ministry all the more effective as we are the ones the world would look at and say that we can’t do anything and we need to let the “normal” (Whatever that means) people handle it. Why should we? We are just as much in the image of God as anyone else is and we are made to reflect Him too.

For us then, any success we have is not just ours. It’s a success for the entire community of people on the spectrum. It’s a slam as well to all the people in the past who told us to give up. As an example, I had in preparing for Bible College a piece of advice from the “experts” that I should not go into ministry because I could not handle public speaking.

I wish they had been there when I spoke to my college student body and professors which was around 1,000 people. Somehow, I handled it just fine. (If anything, speaking to that many people is easier than speaking to one stranger)

Also, when you support financially and prayerfully the ministry of Deeper Waters, you are agreeing that you are seeing something beautiful and you want to keep it going. While we do have an emphasis for people on the spectrum and those who are disabled, keep in mind apologetics, discipleship, and good marriages are for everyone! We want our neurotypcial (non-spectrum) friends to be blessed as well.

We thank the many people who have supported us throughout the years. To our critics, we ask you to wait and see what’s coming. We ask for those who read us to continue at least supporting us prayerfully and with your encouragement. It is a great blessing to us as we hope to bring you something beautiful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Levitical Layout

Does the case for the layout of Leviticus affect the condemnations of homosexuality? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A friend of the ministry recently sent me this item:

It’s a fascinating read on the work of Mary Douglas in interpreting the book of Leviticus. Douglas thinks that the book describes a layout of the tabernacle as it were. Chapters 1-17 deal with the common area. 18-24 deal with the priestly area. 25-27 deal with the Holy of Holies. Does that mean that chapters 18-20 would only apply to the priests?

Well first off, let’s look at some commands in these chapters that would not apply to the common folk then.

18:21 “Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.”

So priests could not sacrifice to Molech, but everyone else could.

19:4 “Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.”

Idolatry was only a no-no for priests. Not for everyone else.

19:11-18 “11 “‘Do not steal.

“‘Do not lie.

“‘Do not deceive one another.

12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.

“‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.

14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.

15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.

“‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.

17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.

18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

All of these applied only to priests? That includes lying and stealing and loving your neighbor as yourself?

19:29 ““‘Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.”

Only priests could not make their daughters prostitutes?

I hope the point is clear.

In fact, it is when we get to chapter 21 that we have a start with “Speak to the priests.” Before that, there is no reason to think the verses do not apply to the common man. In fact, since the end of chapters 18 and 20 tell of how the people in the land practiced these activities and thus were being cast out, it would follow that those people should have known that these behaviors were wrong.

Now could it be God is being more forward in holiness standards from 18 on? Sure. Let me also be clear Douglas makes no argument herself that the moral rules no longer apply that I saw, nor did the person who emailed me the information make any such statement.

If someone still disagrees, they’ll have to give reasons why only homosexuality should be excepted from the list. So far, the cases have just been special pleading.

Also, keep in mind that the argument is not “The Bible says so, therefore it’s true.” It’s just getting clear what the Bible says. (Although I do agree with it.) For the sake of argument, the Bible could be wrong on what it says, but let us be clear we are not wrong on what it is saying.

In Christ,
Nick Peters