Deeper Waters Podcast 11/23/2019

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

Most any joke today about a Catholic priest is fair game. After all, everyone knows that they’re all secretly pedophiles. Never is this kind of joke made about the public school system, but with Catholic priests, all bets are off. Hasn’t there been a cover-up? Isn’t the Catholic Church defending these priests?

For those of us who are Protestant, it could be tempting to see this as a matter that the Catholics need to deal with, but we do as well. After all, this is used as an argument against Christianity in general as well. Second, it could be a case that if we don’t stand up for truth now, who is going to stand up when our opponents come after us?

Speaking of truth, if we’re talking about different relationships, maybe the priests should be out of that position if they can’t help it, but maybe homosexuals can’t help the way they feel as well. What if as the joke song says about it, that homosexuality is in your DNA and you’re just born that way? Does that mean that it’s okay if you’re gay?

These are important issues today. The second one definitely hits home to a lot of us. If someone has a genetic basis for homosexuality or even a disposition to it, is that something that we can blame them for? Are we not going against their nature?

To deal with these issues, I am bringing on a guest who has looked at both of them seriously. He is a Catholic himself and we will discuss how he handles the claims about the church that he belongs to. We will also discuss homosexuality and how we should discuss the question of if homosexuals are born that way. My guest’s name is Paul Sullins.

So who is he?

Paul Sullins SociologyTaken – 10/15/08 – 1:20:58 PMphoto by Ed PfuellerSullins_Paul_003.JPG

According to his bio:

The Rev. D. Paul Sullins is Research Professor of Sociology and Director of the Leo Initiative for Catholic Social Research at the Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate at the Ruth Institute.  He has written four books and over 150 journal articles, book chapters and research reports on issues of faith and culture.  He recently published  “Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse related to Homosexual Priests?” (National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Winter 2019); “Danish-like regulations may improve post-abortion mental health risk” (JAMA Psychiatry, January 1, 2019),” “Invisible Victims: Delayed Onset Depression among Adults with Same-Sex Parents (Depression and Research Treatment, Sept 2016)”, “Abortion, Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Early Adulthood: Thirteen Year Longitudinal Evidence from the United States”, available via Pubmed or at http://ssrn.com/author=2097328, Keeping the Vow: the Untold Story of Married Catholic Priests (Oxford University Press, 2015), and co-edited (with Pierpaolo Donati of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences) The Conjugal Family: An Irreplaceable Resource for Society (LEV Press, Rome: 2015).  Fr. Sullins is also the Director of the Summer Institute of Catholic Social Thought; a member of the board of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS), the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM), and the Natural Family Journal; a Fellow of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI); Associate Pastor of the Church of Saint Mark the Evangelist, Hyattsville, Maryland; and (not least) a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.  Formerly Episcopalian, Fr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest with an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.

I hope you’ll be looking forward to this episode. We are working quickly on getting new episodes up. Please also leave a positive review for the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Primal Screams

What do I think of Mary Eberstadt’s book published by Templeton Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Wolves are not solitary animals. They travel in packs. They form families. They have tribes. They work together in a community. People might have believed the lone wolf was typical some time ago, but today those who know animals know that that is a myth.

People also tend to travel in tribes. For most of us, the first tribe is the family, but what happens if the family isn’t a tribe? What happens if the family is in disarray? What happens if you don’t know who your Dad is and you don’t have siblings to relate to and Mom is bringing home a new man on a regular basis?

Our culture has changed drastically since the sexual revolution, which is what Mary Eberstadt is writing about in this book. In the past, it was the norm for sexual behavior to take place between a husband and a wife in marriage. Today, no more. In the past, you used to see a man and a woman go into a room in a movie and heard a lock click and you knew what was going on. Today, you have to see them taking each other’s clothes off because that’s the only way you can know what is happening.

This leaves men and women wondering what it means to be a man and a woman, especially our young people. Is it any wonder there’s so much confusion? If I don’t know who I am, I will jump at any chance to have a rock I can put my identity on. I need something stable. This also assumes that God is not there properly understood. We are alone in a universe adrift and we have to figure out how we’re going to make it.

So here comes individualism and identity politics. Why do we have so many people running to safe places and talking about being offended and cultural appropriation? Because they really feel unsafe, they are offended, and they do think their culture is being taken from them. We’ve heard them complain about this and we have called them snowflakes, but how many of us have considered that while we disagree with what they’re saying, they really are convinced of it?

After all, if your culture defines you, what happens if someone tries to take your culture for themselves? They are really attacking your identity. How can that make you you if I can take it for myself? You thnk you need a safe place because you think you as a person are under attack. You see yourself being offended because you think you again are being attacked.

In this culture, men don’t know what it means to be men. Men don’t really know how to approach women and how to treat them. Big shock that they’re trying to just demonstrate their manhood and they think the best way to do that is to conquer as many women as possible, which leads to women becoming notches on bedposts. Pornography isn’t such a big deal then if women are just bodies to bring about pleasure.

Women also don’t know how to handle men. What does a woman think is going to happen when any man invites her to a hotel room for the night? The MeToo movement has shown that many women are not aware of how to handle things. Could women have come forward en masse because women didn’t know they were allowed to do that? Did women think this is par for the course with men? Did they also think that because men failed to be protectors and instead solely became predators? After all, in many of these stories about women being assaulted in some way, where are the good men?

This thinking also leads to transgenderism. Why not? The lines between the sexes have blurred so much that there is now getting to hardly be any distinction between them. As it turns out, now men are truly superior at everything. Men are superior at being women.

So it is that we have a culture that does not know who it is and Eberstadt’s book is sounding the alarm. The wolves normally don’t travel alone. Sometimes they leave the tribe for whatever reason and then you hear their primal screams of abandonment.

The culture is screaming.

Let’s do something about it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/17/2019

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

The 60’s were a wild time in America. You had the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the space race and landing on the moon, and Woodstock. You also had a revolution that drastically changed society and that was the sexual revolution. This revolution has been on the move and is still in effect to this day. Unfortunately, while the American Revolution did bring about much good for us, the same cannot be said of this one.

Today, we live in a culture that is thoroughly confused about sexuality. Sure, we’re watching sex, we’re talking about sex, we’re dreaming about sex, and we’re just plain having sex, but we’re not really thinking about sex. We keep chasing after the god of Eros wondering why he flies away so often.

Maybe instead of moving forward on this path, we need to move backward. Maybe we need to undo the sexual revolution. Maybe we need to think more about what sex is and why it is so important to think about it.

To discuss the Sexual Revolution, I am bringing on someone who has written and spoken profusely about this topic. It is a field she never thought she would get into being an economics major, but it is where she has found herself. Today, she teaches from a Catholic perspective on the issues of sexuality and family. We are going to be talking about her new book, The Sexual State. Her name is Jennifer Roback Morse.

So who is she?

According to her bio:

Dr. Morse is the founder of The Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a Civilization of Love. 

Dr. Morse was a campaign spokeswoman for California’s winning Proposition 8 campaign, defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. She has authored or co-authored six books and spoken around the globe. Her work has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish and Chuukese, the native language of the Micronesian Islands. 

Her latest book is The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives and Why the Church was Right Along. (See below for a complete list of Dr. Morse’s books.) 

She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester and taught economics at Yale and George Mason Universities. 

Dr. Morse was named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013,” on a list that included Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.

Dr. Morse and her husband are parents of an adopted child, a birth child, a goddaughter and were foster parents for San Diego County to eight foster children. In 2015, Dr. Morse and her husband relocated to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where the work of the Ruth Institute continues. 

Complete list of Dr. Morse’s books: 

  1. Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village (2001) 
  2. Smart Sex: Finding Lifelong Love in a Hookup World (2005)
  3. 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage (2013) coauthored with Betsy Kerekes.
  4. The Sexual Revolution and Its Victims (2015)
  5. 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person (2016) coauthored with Betsy Kerekes. 
  6. The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives and Why the Church was Right Along. (2018) 

I hope you’ll be watching for this new one. If you’ve been watching for awhile, the episodes are being worked on and coming up. There have been some snags lately, but they are coming. Just please bear with us.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Jimmy Carter on Homosexuality

Should we take what Jimmy Carter said seriously? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have seen this meme going around the past few months or so and saw it again yesterday on Facebook. Chances are, you have as well. I always give the same reply. As far as I know, the quote is authentically from Jimmy Carter, but even if it isn’t, the message is still one that many Christians will find difficult to respond to and many others will treat as an unassailable argument.

Maybe you’re a Christian wondering how you should respond to that. After all, Jesus never said anything explicitly about homosexuality in the Bible. Also, it was very well known in the ancient world and this long before Jesus was born. Is it time to surrender this point? No.

Here’s what I initially post every time I see this.

Pederasty was well-known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born, and Jesus never said a word about pederasty. In all of his teachings about multiple things, he never said that pederasts should be condemned.

For those who don’t know, this was a practice where an older man would take a younger boy in and mentor him. That mentoring would often involve making the younger boy a lover. The boy would traditionally play the female role. This was a common practice in the ancient world at the time of Jesus and Jesus never said a word about it.

Now if the person posting this meme is going to be consistent, then they will need to approve of a practice that most of us would call child abuse or sexual abuse today. If they don’t, then they are just cherry picking. This shows the problem with the argument because if you just submit another term in that can apply equally, the argument doesn’t work.

If anything, Jesus’s silence should be seen as tacit approval of what the Torah said about homosexual practice. Jesus had no problem dealing with interpretations of the Law that He found to be problematic. On this one, He is incredibly silent on the matter. Could it because like pederasty, this wasn’t an issue in ancient Israel?

As for Jesus’s stance on sex and marriage, it was much harder than those around Him. Jesus looked at both of the schools of His day on divorce and at the Essenes in Matthew 19 and went beyond both of them. His response many Christians today might think perfectly natural, but His own disciples were shocked by it.

Jesus also spoke hard on lust, something that many of us guys would probably love to have taken out of the Bible. Committing adultery was wrong, but it is definitely just as bad to even look at a woman with the desire to fornicate with her. Why? Because on a cost-benefit analysis, if you can get away with doing it, you will do it.

Don’t let someone fool you with this kind of argumentation from Carter. Regardless of what I think of his politics, I can say he does not know what he’s talking about with the Bible. Contrary to what the meme says, the Bible is something I think real Christians should stand up for.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Sex. It’s Worth Waiting For

What do I think of Greg Speck’s book published by Moody Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If I’m not reading on apologetics, I’m often reading on sex and marriage. One topic that’s interesting in this is encouraging young people to wait for marriage, like my wife and I both did. The importance in this topic is to find the balance.

One clear memory I have is being at a church I attended when they had a Silver Ring Thing, which is like True Love Waits. The pastor speaking was saying if you have sex for marriage, it will be for selfish reasons. Okay. I can agree with that. Then he encouraged thinking about the consequences. What if you get pregnant? Get an STD? What will you have to tell your future spouse one day? What about shame? What about guilt?

And I’m thinking, “Those sound like selfish reasons to me also.”

This guy went on and on. He gave about a sentence about the joy of sex in marriage and kept going on about not having it beforehand. I started zoning out. Pastors. If you are teaching about sex in church and a college-age guy is in the audience and getting bored, you are doing it wrong.

Greg Speck’s book is written to teenagers so it is a bit odd for someone in his late-thirties to be reading it, but I want to see what is said. I liked a lot of what I said. Speck’s style is easy to follow. He writes in a way that teenagers will understand. (Okay. To be fair, I didn’t read the whole section on STDs. That was a bit gross.) He also writes with a pastoral heart.

There are many chapters. Speck wants the readers to first off know, sex is more than just intercourse. It can start off small, and then go on from there. Many times, we want to know how close we can get to the line without crossing. It’s a quite foolish stance, though understandable. It’s like we want to put ourselves in unnecessary risk. I personally recommend couples go no further past step eight in their relationship in The Twelve Steps of Intimacy until they marry.

Speck goes into Biblical reasons also for waiting until marriage, but then he also has testimonials from teenagers who didn’t. I think the last part is particularly worthwhile. Sadly for many young people, a few Bible verses will not be enough. If you’re sitting with your girlfriend on a couch, a random verse from Paul won’t likely stop anything. Now if you have a thoroughly thought out position of sex and know how it fits into a Christian worldview, that’s a different matter, but many young people do not. (And honestly, many adults don’t either.)

From there, Speck goes on to various other situations involving sexuality. These are ones that often aren’t talked about with teenagers, but they need to be. These include incest, rape, and the fear that you could be homosexual. There is also a section on pornography and masturbation and with the former, Speck does admit he had to struggle with that.

This is followed with sections for guys only and girls only. I found these a bit interesting, but I was curious. An unmarried guy wrote for the girls and an unmarried woman for the boys. I suppose that you could always look at different ways this could be done. Perhaps in a future edition there could be testimonials from married couples who waited.

While there is a section on God’s design for marriage, I would have liked to have seen something more at the end. I think too often we can give the negatives, but we definitely need to emphasize those positives. Yes. This is something great worth waiting for. This would be the benefit of testimonials of people who waited until marriage. There’s a saying that the devil will do anything he can to get you to have sex before you’re married, and afterward he will do anything he can to keep you from having sex.

Which brings me to one small criticism. As an Orthodox Preterist, I already think the devil is bound. This does not mean there are not demons running around still, but I think we give the devil far too much power. Speck does point to the devil being a cause of temptation many times. I am of the persuasion that often we don’t need the devil to be tempted, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. As the saying goes, “Lead me not into temptation. I will find it myself.”

Still, I think this would be a very helpful book for youth groups to go through together. Naturally, I think guys and girls would need to go through it separately. Having guys and girls together and talking about an issue like this in close quarters could have the opposite effect desired after all!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 7/14/2018: Abdu Murray

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

If we went back a few decades, we would find many debates still, though not as common likely, and all of those debates would still have each side thinking there is an objective truth and it is worth knowing even if we can’t know it for whatever reason. Today, it’s not the same. We live in a world where truth is seen as just a matter of personal opinion. Feelings determine what you believe more and more.

Go on social media and you will often see people sharing stories. These stories are not even checked for accuracy. Many of them have been hoaxes. Some of our government officials have even shared such stories before thinking that they were true. People have had to ask if the Onion or the Babylon Bee can be fact-checked.

This has also come over into the realm of sexuality. Sex has been reduced to something that is more feeling-oriented instead of having a real purpose in society. We have reached the stage where people think they can mutilate their bodies and do whatever to them to match the true identity that they feel.

I don’t know how many times I have seen the story of a person who is married with kids and then leaves it all and proclaims himself a homosexual. Stories suddenly come about saying that this person has found their true self. It’s strange that those stories never work in the reverse when a person goes from homosexuality to heterosexuality.

How do we handle this? To discuss this, I’m having on Abdu Murray. He has written a book recently called Saving Truth. He will be my guest as we discuss it and what can be done to restore the concept of truth.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Abdu is the North American Director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and is the author of three books, including his latest book, the bestseller, Saving Truth – Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World.  For most of his life, Abdu was a proud Muslim who studied the Qur’an and Islam.  After a nine year investigation into the historical, philosophical, and scientific underpinnings of the major world religions and views, Abdu discovered that the historic Christian faith alone can answer the questions of the mind and the longings of the heart.

Abdu has spoken to diverse international audiences and has participated in debates and dialogues across the globe.  He has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and televisions programs all over the world and hosts the podcast Embrace The Truth with Abdu Murray.

Abdu holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.  As an attorney, Abdu was named several times in Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyer.  Abdu is the Scholar in Residence of Christian Thought and Apologetics at the Josh McDowell Institute of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  

Abdu lives in the Detroit, Michigan area with his wife and their three children.

I hope you’ll be listening for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Please also consider going on iTunes and leaving a positive review. I really enjoy seeing them! Thanks for being fans of the Deeper Waters Podcast!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Mere Science and Christian Faith

What do I think of Greg Cootsona’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am not a scientist, but I am always interested in books about the intersection between science and religion. When IVP sent me this one, it was one I was eager to read. Cootsona’s book is different in some ways. It’s not so much because of content, but because of the approach.

Cootsona writes his book largely with emerging adults in mind, the kind of people we would call millennials. These are young people who have a lot of questions about science and religion. What is the relationship between the two? Is there conflict or dialogue or what?

Cootsona answers these questions and often shows information on the side about conversations that he’s had with young people and little statements that they say. People involved in youth ministry need to be reading something like this. These are the very issues that young people are dealing with and as Cootsona sadly shows at the end, many people walk away because they committed the great sin of asking questions.

Cootsona deals with questions not only about creation and evolution, but also about technology. What are the effects that it’s having on society? There is some good of course, but there is also some bad. Are we having too much screen time? Could we actually bear to put the phones down?

He also spends some time with the new atheists. For the most part, the new atheists aren’t really an issue any more, but the mind set is still there. Dawkins is still seen as being on the side of science and religion is seen as the opposite. This leaves many people wondering if they have to choose between science and religion. It doesn’t help Christians out when we tell young people that they just need to have faith and not bother with their questions.

Some of you might be wondering if in all of this if Cootsona has a high view of Scripture. He does. Cootsona upholds orthodoxy and upholds inerrancy in the book. He presents viewpoints to help people understand the questions such as evolution and the age of the Earth. It’s a snapshot in the book as it were, but in the back he provides resources for further study. Cootsona’s book is meant to be an introduction to the questions. It is not an end-all.

There is also a section on climate change and sexuality. Now I am a skeptic of the idea of climate change. I haven’t invested in the study, but I am skeptical. Still, there is good information to consider here even if I am not convinced. As for sexuality, our changing approach to sexual culture is going to need to be addressed. How do we answer questions about transgenderism and homosexuality? Is Christianity behind the times?

These questions about science and Christianity are entirely relevant today. I get many questions from Christians with doubt today. If there is any topic that seems to come up the most, it is questions about Genesis 1-11. It is amazing how many people contact me and say they’re scared that Christianity might not be true and yet they have no questions about the resurrection. It’s all about Genesis. We need better resources on this.

Youth ministers then should definitely read this book! If you’re not a scientist, that’s okay. It’s written in a style laymen can understand. Parents concerned about teenagers and college-age students should read this book. Young people themselves searching should also read it.

Cootsona has given us a good gateway book to the issue of science and Christianity. He has also sounded a clarion call that we need to be listening to the emerging adults today to know how to better reach them. We can answer all the questions we want to, but if we don’t answer the questions they’re asking, we don’t get them any closer to Jesus.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Whatever Happened To Tolerance?

Is tolerance no longer a virtue? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Remember about a decade or so ago that tolerance was all the rage? Books were being written about tolerance. Every apologist who spoke about ethics and political situations had to say something about tolerance. The tolerance being talked about wasn’t classical tolerance, which is always a virtue, but an idea that one must not just allow but accept and celebrate something.

Tolerance was the great virtue everyone celebrated. It was seen as the mark of a good person that they were tolerant. It was all these bigots out there that were intolerant and didn’t allow anyone to have an opposing viewpoint.

Somehow, tolerance seems to have lost some popularity. For all the time people spent preaching this gospel, the good news of it appears to be short-lived. It looks like the opposite is what is virtuous now. When someone does something you really disagree with, now it’s virtuous to call them on the carpet and demand that they repent.

Jack Dorsey is the CEO of Twitter. Earlier this month he stopped at a Chick-Fil-A and for some reason tweeted out his receipt. He was immediately taken to task for his awful action. He dared to stop at a place like Chick-Fil-A that supports only traditional marriage during June which is “Gay Pride Month”? Jack Dorsey eventually apologized for his “sin.”

Most of us also know about so many Christian bakeries and florists and photographers who will perform many other services for homosexual customers, but just say they cannot do something that would give a tacit endorsement to something they consider immoral such as a “gay marriage.” Instead of just going to the next person down the road who has the same business and will be glad to do it, the right thing to do now is apparently to take them to court and sue them for everything they have so they never dare do business again. Disagreement will not be allowed!

Looks like tolerance is just not what it used to be anymore.

Most of us are sure we know what happened. Tolerance is a great virtue when you think you’re the underdog, but as soon as you get into what you think is a position of power, it’s no longer needed. I don’t really think this is the majority opinion still as I do hold to the silent majority, something we saw on an event such as Chick-Fil-A Day. In the eyes of the media, which is apparently what really matters, tolerance is no longer the virtue that we’re supposed to uphold.

Years ago I and several others had been saying that tolerance is a sham. As far as I’m concerned, the way people are acting now demonstrates it. If tolerance was the virtue it was thought to be, it would be practiced now just as much as it was then. Instead, tolerance was used back then to silence the opposition. Now, one can go to the court of law or the media to silence the opposition so there’s really no need.

Our marching orders? Still the exact same regardless of what the world around us does. Fulfill the Great Commission. Stand for truth in our lives. Love our neighbors around us even when we disagree with them. Preach the true gospel, not just one of faux tolerance. Teach the one that says that God does not tolerate sin, but He gives full and loving acceptance to sinners and wants to reshape them to be like Jesus.

I can’t tell what will happen in the future. My thinking is that this will probably lead to a major backlash one day as more and more people get fed up with where society is going and as the other side keeps pushing the envelope, they will one day push it too far. The question is if the church will handle it properly. In America, I’m not so sure since we don’t have the best track record, but I can always hope.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Saving Truth

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

Murray is writing about a situation that I have thought for a long time has plagued the church. It is that we live in a post-truth society. Nowadays, the truth doesn’t even matter. How someone feels about a claim matters or how well it serves an end-game is what matters.

This isn’t the fault of the world alone. The church is also to blame. The church determines truths based on feelings just as much as the world does. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard about doing something as you “feel led.”

There’s also the fact that Christians can just as easily spread false information. Last night, I had to deal with a family member who shared a news story that I could tell in less than a minute was false. Going further, I found that the website also held to the idea that 9-11 is an inside job. Yep. Real reliable source there.

I get greatly bothered when I see something like this happen. We have the job of trying to convince people that Jesus rose from the dead, a fact that they cannot check the veracity of immediately, but we will so easily share stories that can be easily seen as fake? Doesn’t that damage our witness of the Gospel?

Murray also writes about our misunderstanding of freedom. We think by freedom that there is a certain something that has no hold on us. That is true to an extent, but it like saying being literate means that you can decipher symbols in an alphabet. Yes, you can, but you need to able to do more. You read so you can learn much more that there is to learn. You read so that you can be a better person.

In the same way, you are free not to pursue whatever you want to do, but you are free so that you can pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful. You are free to live for something greater than yourself. Freedom is not about you get to do whatever you want, but you are free to do as you should.

Murray also talks about issues of human dignity, what does it mean to be a human? Do we treat human beings as objects more in this day and age? What about issues of abortion?

Issues of sex and gender are definitely on the stage. Murray begins this chapter with a question a woman asked in an open forum about Christianity and homosexuality. It dominates the landscape in this chapter as Murray keeps thinking about it. Murray deals with the purpose of sexuality and questions relating to transgenderism as well. What does it mean to be a man or a woman?

Murray also deals with questions of science and of pluralism. Both of these are issues that strike our epistemology. Science is seen today as the only way to truth. Pluralism is seen as rude and exclusive.

There are many issues discussed in Murray’s book. Each of them in itself is worthy of a book-length work. Murray’s book is a good look at these topics and often shared from the perspective of an ex-Muslim who had to realize that truth mattered more than anything else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Bible Doesn’t Say That!

What do I think of Joel Hoffman’s book published by Thomas Dunne? Let’s Plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out!

Someone sent me an email about this book wanting me to look through it and shred it. I ordered it at the library and went through and really, there is some stuff in here that is pretty good. The author is right that the Bible does not condone slavery for instance, which is a breath of fresh air to hear since so many people get that one wrong. Some passages are quite interesting and there is much to learn from this.

One obvious downside from the book unfortunately is the lack of notes. There are none whatsoever. Other scholars are not referenced. There is no way of knowing where exactly Dr. Hoffman gets his information from. Sure, he holds a Ph.D., but that doesn’t stand alone. One is not infallible for having one.

So if there were any sections I would want to comment on, most notably would be the one on the Bible and homosexuality. Does the Bible say homosexual practice is a sin? According to Hoffman, no. One wishes we could have moved past the arguments by now such as mixed fabrics and such. Hoffman realizes the passages in Leviticus are sandwiched between bestiality and incest, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

Hoffman also looks at Romans 1 and says Paul doesn’t say the behavior that the people were doing was wrong. It was just the result of what happened. God punished people with unnatural sex, but we don’t know what the term unnatural actually means.

In reality, we do. Paul uses language from Genesis 1 quite regularly such as speaking of the creator and using terms male and female. This is all a way of saying Paul has Genesis 1 in mind without explicitly saying such. Paul says that from what is seen, everyone knows that there is a God. It is a denial of the vertical reality to instead worship idols and the creation. The best example of a denial of reality on the horizontal level Paul can come up with is homosexual behavior. Male and female go together and belong together.

Nowhere in this does Hoffman interact with Matthew 19 and Jesus talking about marriage Himself. Note that Jesus does not just go to Genesis 2:24, but He also goes to Genesis 1:26-27 where it talks about mankind being created male and female. That is the foundation.

Hoffman does say elsewhere in the book that the Bible never condemns polygamy. Explicitly, this is so, but it warns of the danger of it and when polygamy takes place, it leads to problems. Polygamy was a borderline practice that was allowed for the time being, but did not represent the ideal. Genesis 1 and 2 have the ideal. One man and one woman for life.

Hoffman then says we should consider that there are people who could only find companionship with the same sex and they didn’t know about homosexuality like we do today. I highly question both. The latter is quite simple. They knew about homosexual behavior. Just read the Symposium and see that some people are paired up with the same sex. This isn’t new.

For the former, we have this strange idea that the only way you can find love is through sex. Yet even between men and women, this is not so. I love my mother, my sister, my aunt, and my mother-in-law. There is no thought of sex there at all. I share a special love with my wife and that is the relationship that my sexual thought is supposed to go to.

The idea is that to have true companionship, one must have sex, and this is false. Who is the homosexual supposed to love? The same person as everyone else. His neighbor. That does not have to be sexualized. There are plenty of people who live fine and happy lives without having sex. Those of us who are married should realize the Bible’s prescription that we do have regular sex, but those who are not if they are submitting to Christ will accept a lifestyle of celibacy until they get married.

I also want to look at abortion. The passage used is Exodus 21. Nowhere does he go to Psalm 139. Nowhere does he go to Jeremiah 1:5. Nowhere does he go to Luke 1 with John the Baptist leaping in the womb.

Even still at Exodus 21, the passage doesn’t work. The man is not trying to kill the child. He is doing something on accident and the death penalty is not there for accidental death. Even in the cases of it happening, the man could always go to a city of refuge and stay there.

Hoffman also concludes the whole book saying there are no miracles in the Bible. Miracles are extra-scientific after all. It is true that they have wonders, but Hoffman describes wonders as freedom from slavery or a sense of the divine or beauty or family or anything like that. These are wondrous things, but not acts of God directly every time.

It also doesn’t mean we have to give up miracles as they are understood. We can have both. Can I not appreciate the former things while still holding that God acts in the world? I see no reason I cannot.

Hoffman’s book again is a hit and a miss. Some things are good, but some things are not. A reader could gain some wheat and let the chaff go its own way.

In Christ,
Nick Peters