The Influence of Christian Parents

How important is a Christian education to a child? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I recently read J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity in Conflict. This is being read for school and if I read something for school, I don’t really want to do a book plunge on it for the most part. Machen in his day was one of the most influential New Testament scholars and was revolutionary here in America.

Machen wrote about the virgin birth, which I do affirm, especially and so much that even a 100 years later, we’re still talking about what he wrote. He was a man of great learning and one of the great Princeton Theologians. He also went and studied abroad in Germany.

The book is largely an autobiography of his and he does touch lightly on the education he got in the secular schools growing up, but if there’s one aspect of his life that was influential on him remaining a strong Christian, it was his parents. His parents were devout Christians and also very learned Christians. His father was a lawyer who in his 80’s started learning Italian and reading Italian authors just for the fun of it. I don’t think as much was said about his mother, but her character shone through and through.

Both of them encouraged Machen to read and learn and both of them encouraged him to ask questions. They were not people who shied away from doubts and Machen did often times have doubts. However, as time goes by, he gets more and more help in getting a higher education, but one can see throughout his life, the great influence his parents had.

When he studied abroad in Germany, he was not in a conservative environment at all. He was in one where he was challenged every day and yet, he held on and argued his case well and read all he could of his opponents. What really helped him so much? The preparation he had at the feet of his parents.

Christian parents. This is for you. Please never lose sight of the influence that you can have on your children. For all you know, you could have another Machen growing up in your household.

That means that you do take them to church regularly, but don’t just do that. Educate them in your home. Make Christianity something you live seven days a week and not just on church days. Do not be afraid of your kids having questions and if you don’t know the answer, go and find it.

I am sure some atheist readers could say something about indoctrination, but the reality is I expect most parents will somehow raise their children up with their values. I suspect Muslim parents, Mormon parents, Jewish parents, and atheist parents all do this. You don’t really want to force your kids, but if what you believe about ultimate reality really matters to you, you will pass that on to your children.

If you’re wondering some on how to do that, I have a resource for you. I recommend you check my friend Elizabeth Urbanowics’s program Foundation WorldviewHer work is aimed to help extremely young children start to learn about the Bible and how to think and about what it means to be a Christian.

Raise your children well. Welcome their doubts and questions. Be there to support them. Our world is not a safe place and you will have more influence than anyone else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Eve In Exile

What do I think of Rebekah Merkle’s book published by Canon Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw a quote from this book, and I do not recall which one it was, and I immediately went to Amazon to see if I could order it. Turns out, I had already ordered it. So off I went to find it in my Kindle library and enjoy it.

The main point of this book is how feminism has destroyed femininity. The #1 area that this is talked about in is in the area of being a wife and how being a mother is seen as a sort of letdown in life. Yeah. You could go off and have a career and make a lot of money and build up a name and do something good for the world, or you could become a mother. It’s as if being a mother is a lesser position. After all, all you’re doing is bringing a new human being into the world that could spend eternity in the presence of God.

The sad part is some people will then think that Merkle is automatically against women working at all and wants all women to be in the kitchen making their husbands sandwiches while pregnant. Not at all. Merkle never forbids a woman getting a job or an education or anything like that, but she does say to make sure your family comes first.

She also gives a history of feminism and who the major players have been in it. They weren’t Christians for sure. At the start, there were a lot of noble intentions, but it has gone more and more downhill so much so that feminism is often anti-feminine. However, there is a mistake conservatives can make.

Our mistake is we can look back on the past and think the 50’s were a paradise and have an Ozzie and Harriet type of family. Part of the problem was women were too complacent as technology was more and more doing everything for us and there was that desire to go out into the world and do more. We could say women wanted to be a lot more like men.

Merkle regularly makes it clear in the book that she is writing to Christian women and assumes her audience is female, which is fine, but men should read this too to understand feminism better. As she says in the end, most all of our negative major events have been led by women. Abortion? Women. Redefining marriage? Women. Transgenderism? Women. Now guess who’s being replaced in sports? Yep. Women.

If there is one more thing I would like to see in this book, it would have been more on how if women are to be wives and mothers and display the beauty of God in their lives, how should they relate to their husbands? Perhaps Merkle will write another book someday focusing on this on how the feminist movement has damaged marriage as well and how women are the worse off for it.

Either way, this book is a good book every woman should read and it couldn’t hurt the man to read it. Want to have a good book for a women’s Bible study at your church? Go with this one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Is Holston Home Practicing Hate?

Was a Jewish family the victim of hatred? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In a news story, a Jewish Couple went to Holston United Methodist Home for Children. They applied to adopt a child, but they were turned down because of their Jewish faith. Immediately, the conclusion was hatred and discrimination. Is this what’s really going on? Is the home anti-Semitic?

No, actually. Let’s suppose a family came that was Messianic Jewish and this included being Jewish by birth. They had come to embrace Jesus as the Messiah and agreed with the statement of faith of Holston. Would they get to adopt? Yes.

It’s not about being Jewish in the sense of genetic, but about is the child going to be raised in a home where their spiritual needs will be met, including being raised to believe in Jesus. The Holston group doesn’t want them to be put in a family where they will be told something false about Jesus and risk having their soul be lost forever. Whatever you might think of their actions, that is not a bad motive.

Now some secularists might complain, but that is misunderstanding the way a religious faith operates. Meeting the material needs is good, but meeting the spiritual needs is absolutely essential. A Christian organization cannot in good conscience deny such needs.

Suppose it was a Jewish organization that wanted to insist children be adopted into the Jewish faith and would not let anyone who believes Jesus is the Messiah or disbelieves in God adopt a child. That is their freedom. Suppose a Muslim organization didn’t want to give a child to a family that denied that Muhammad was a prophet. That was their freedom. Suppose an atheist organization didn’t want to have a child placed in the home of a crazy religious fanatic. That is their freedom. No adoption agency is obligated to give you a child because you want one.

This is also not denying that the families could be good and loving families. It is just saying that the belief system is the most important aspect. Rightly or wrongly, that is how it is and Holston should not be forced to act within their statement of faith.

In another link about this story, there is an interesting quote.

“The Tennessee Constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, promises religious freedom and equality for everyone. Tennessee is reneging on that promise by allowing a taxpayer-funded agency to discriminate against Liz and Gabe Rutan-Ram because they are Jews,” said Alex J. Luchenitser, associate vice president and associate legal director at Americans United. “Laws like House Bill 836 must not stand when they allow religion to be used to harm vulnerable kids and people like Liz and Gabe who want to provide those children with safe and loving homes.”

It’s amazing that within the first two sentences, Luchenitser contradicts himself. The Tennessee Constitution promises religious freedom. Then he says because of that, the Holston agency cannot turn down a couple because they are Jews. However, that is part of the religious freedom of Holston, to see that children are raised in Christian homes.

No one’s religious freedom is being denied except for Holston’s honestly. They are being told they have to put a child with a family even if it goes against their statement of faith. The Jews are allowed to be Jews still and there are plenty of other organizations they can adopt from.

I’m also unsure what is meant by religious equality? Is this saying that all religions are equal? All one needs to do is study them to see that isn’t the case. Is it saying that all religious beliefs don’t matter? That’s something the state should have no say on. What it is doing now is essentially saying “Yes, Holston. We understand you think a child needs to be raised in an environment where they can grow up to embrace Jesus, but we don’t think that matters and you must agree with us.” The people complaining that Holston is discriminating are wanting to push a discrimination of their own actually.

In reality, discrimination is to some degree unavoidable. We all do it. We all have to do it. If I drive somewhere and I don’t think the area is safe, I lock my doors. (I do that anyway, but I definitely make sure my car is locked if I think there’s danger.) When we choose where to go to school or who to marry or who to babysit the kids, we discriminate. A person could show up at your door and say “I want to babysit your kids for you” and you have no obligation to let them do it.

Imagine being an atheist and hearing someone wants to tutor your elementary school children. Okay. You might be interested. Then you hear that they’re a young-earth creationist who wants to teach them science. Do you accept that? Are you being discriminating if you say no? Are you denying a child an education?

The problem with a story like this is it pulls at emotional heartstrings way too easily and most of us think on how we feel about the story instead of how the story is. When you hear the story, it’s too easy to assume anti-semitism at the start. When you look, it makes sense why Holston is doing this, and you could think they are wrong in their beliefs and/or actions still, but I would hope you would at least understand it.

Also, whatever faith you are or lack of faith you are, remember that as soon as the state takes a side on any religion whatsoever, they could just as well do the same to you. Do I want the state to determine that all atheist households are unfit homes and no one can let a child be adopted into one? No. I want every organization to have the freedom to choose who they want the child to adopt to barring some physical exceptions, such as registered sex offenders definitely can’t adopt.

Some have said the state should cease funding the Holston Home. If they want to, they are free to do so. The state can tell them that unless they adopt to all, then they can’t get federal funding. I don’t think I agree with that, but the state doesn’t owe them anything. Technically, we could even say it should be up to the state taxpayers since they are the ones who are providing the state with the money anyway.

There is no doubt this is a complicated issue hinging on personal and religious freedom. One thing to avoid is accusations of moral turpitude. I can understand why the Jewish family wants to adopt. I can understand why Holston only wants to adopt to Christians as is clear from statements on their website.

That’s also the first step in resolving this. Truly understanding where everyone is coming from.

Too bad we never seem to get to that step.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Isaac and Rebekkah and Parenting

What was a big mistake in the marriage of Isaac and Rebekkah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re quite sure Isaac loved Rebekkah. Even when he was lying and saying she was his sister, he was caught in public showing husbandly affection to her. When she was not having children, Isaac prayed for her and she conceived. However, after the children came, that’s when trouble came.

The mistake each of them made was that they each had a favorite. Isaac favored Esau who was into more of the things that would be deemed manly and Rebekkah favored Jacob who was more of a homebody and today we would likely consider a Momma’s Boy. This is always a recipe for disaster.

As someone doing online dating, I wonder when I see women whose profiles say that their children will always be #1. Really? Does that mean that if I married you, your children would come first? Husbands and wives are to love their children, to be sure, but the spouse must come before the children and be the first priority.

As the story progresses, we see where this leads. Jacob becomes a trickster who lives up to his name that means deceiver. He ends up tricking Esau out of his birthright, but then the situation gets worse. He apparently inherited this deception from his mother who not only helped Jacob secure the blessing, she did so by being an accomplice to Jacob in tricking her own husband.

Let’s also mention that Isaac was going blind at the time. Rebekkah decided that she would take advantage of her own husband’s disability and incapacity to see and use it to get her favored son what he wanted and what she wanted for him. Nothing is said here about any love that she has towards Esau. In her mind now, it’s okay to neglect him because she has to make sure that her favorite is taken care of.

Today, the same mistake can be made. If a couple gets married, no matter how many children they have, the children should not become the focus of the marriage. After all, you’re not raising those children to hold on to them forever. You’re going to let them go out into the world at some point. Someday, you are going to have an empty nest and what are you going to do then? Your spouse will be a stranger at that point.

One of the best ways you can actually bless your children is by showing a deep love for your spouse. Don’t be afraid to kiss in front of them or show affection and when they get older and you send them to their grandparents for date night and the older kids know what that means, that’s okay. What you are doing in this is modeling a biblical marriage for your children where they will learn how to love their future spouse and how to be loved by their future spouse.

Kids are a gift, but don’t let them become a means of separation and that can easily happen by making them the focus. They are to be a focus, but your first duty in marriage is to your spouse. Don’t replace them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Oprah Winfrey on Divorce

What do I think of Oprah’s message on divorce? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We have been going through the story of the Bible to see what it says on divorce and marriage, but I’m going to interrupt that again to talk about Oprah some. Oprah recently interviewed the popular singer Adele. I didn’t bother watching because I don’t care for Oprah or Adele, but I did see Rebecca McLaughlin share a tweet about what happened in this interview.

Yes. What a great message this is. Women. If you are not 100% happy in your marriage, then you need to know you can get a divorce.

I can’t imagine that her husband feels the same way. Of course, I did see something that indicates he might have got a lot of money from the deal, but that might not matter. Many of us would gladly give up money to get love.

The couple also has one child together, a son named Angelo, who was born before the couple even married, big surprise there. As of now, Angelo is nine. The couple married in 2016 and divorced in 2019.

However, here a few lines from this interview about the divorce. See if you notice any common theme.

“I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy,” she told journalist Abby Aguirre.

“Neither of us hurt each other or anything like that. It was just: I want my son to see me really love, and be loved,” she continued. “It’s really important to me I’ve been on my journey to find my true happiness ever since.”

“Meanwhile, she told Giles Hattersley in British Vogue that she and Konecki “kept their split “to ourselves for a very long time. “We had to take our time because there was a child involved. I’d trust him with my life. I definitely chose the perfect person to have my child with. That – after making a lot of knee-jerk reactions — is one of my proudest things I’ve ever done,” she explained.”

“That said, Adele has had a hard time reconciling the fact that their divorce affected their son. “If I can reach the reason why I left, which was the pursuit of my own happiness, even though it made Angelo really unhappy — if I can find that happiness and he sees me in that happiness, then maybe I’ll be able to forgive myself for it,” she said of the family dynamic.”

It’s not hard to miss the common theme. I, myself, me, etc. Adele is all about what she wants here. The last quote is the saddest. Angelo is unhappy. The child is the worst victim in all of this and many children of divorce grow up to blame themselves for it. In what could be some self-realization, at least Adele seems to have some clue that she did something wrong, well if he can eventually come to see her as being happy, then all will be okay. After all, he needs to see her being loved.

Oh sure. She wants him to see her really love, but she hasn’t done a great start by destroying her own first marriage. If anything, she has sent Angelo a powerful message. Love is temporary. You can’t put your total trust in anyone. People will break your heart. Marriage is not meant to be a lifelong covenant. The focus of marriage is supposed to be your happiness.

If Angelo can’t even trust his own mother, who can he trust?

Now Oprah instead looks at this and sees this as an empowering message for women. Here you go women! Here’s your power! If your man isn’t making you 100% happy, then by golly, go ahead and destroy that relationship because the purpose of the man in marriage is to make you happy and the reason you marry a man is to make you happy.

Now to some extent, we do marry for our happiness. However, it is a different happiness. We are happy making the other person happy. We marry not just so we can be loved by the other person, which is a gift indeed, but so that we can love the other person.

Also, unless you’re talking about Jesus Christ, no one can make you 100% happy and when we are not 100% happy in Jesus, the flaw is not in Him. It is in us. If Adele was not happy, she should have asked herself “Why am I not happy?” She could have instead gone on to ask “What can I do to make my husband and son happy?” and found joy in that. She instead said “I don’t care about your happiness. I only care about my own.”

The article states that she is dating Lebron James’s agent, Rich Paul, now. If Rich is a smart man, he will leave right now. If she did it to her first husband, there’s no reason to think she won’t do it to you. Adele has already shown she is all about her and believe it or not, really passionate sex, while good, is not going to seal the deal on a covenant. If anything, both people could just be using each other. I can’t speak for Rich since I don’t know anything about him, but I think we’ve already seen what Adele is like.

Speaking as a man wrongfully divorced, I can easily say Oprah’s message is a horrible message. It does not empower women one bit. If anything, it makes them more victims. Oprah is telling them that their happiness is dependent on the man that they are married to. Why can’t they find happiness in how they love that man more? Sure, the man is to bring her happiness and a good man will want to, but if a woman is not happy, the first person to look at is herself.

Please keep in mind I am having in mind a normal marriage here also. A  marriage involving abuse and infidelity is a completely different animal. There are cases of rightful divorce. I was told before that I could have easily filed for divorce. Even an Orthodox priest told me that. In my case, it was my ex-wife who filed for the divorce.

No one should listen to Oprah on anything related to morality. Actually, we could cut out “related to morality” and it would still be a true sentence. Unfortunately, Oprah is the high priest of our culture and having a lasting impact on it. What she says here fits in just fine with an anti-family agenda that many people have today.

Oprah is creating more narcissistic women like Adele. These women might be able to provide men temporary joy in sexual passion, but they sure won’t be the wives that they will find joy in. They sure won’t be the mothers that their sons and daughters can admire. Sons won’t want to marry a woman like their Mom and daughters won’t want to be like their Mom, at least let’s hope they won’t!

It is often said that if you want change, be the change. Now that would be an empowering message for women. Tell women they have the power to bring joy and happiness into a marriage even if it seems dead. They have the power to fight for the promise that they made to their spouse and to show their children what a loving family is to be like. If a woman leaves a husband just because of her own happiness though, it will happen again with the next guy. Marriage is not about living for yourself. It is about dying to yourself and living for the good of those beyond yourself.

Men. Stay away from Adele and women like her. Women. Don’t be like her and don’t bother listening to Oprah please. There are plenty of good and godly women you can listen to instead. Show Oprah and Adele what real women are supposed to be like and how they are truly powerful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Abraham and Hagar

What was the point of concubines? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Our next look will be further ahead at the life of Abraham as we study what the Bible says about marriage. Abraham is told by God that he will have a son through him he will bless the world. I had a pastor once who said you can picture Abraham going home that evening, turning on some Barry Manilow, and telling Sarah that they had to do their part in faithfulness to the promise of God.

Yet despite whatever might have happened, that promise didn’t seem to be being fulfilled. So Sarah decided she needed to help God fulfill the promise. Isn’t that nice of her? Technically, God had said Abraham would have a child. That doesn’t have to be through Sarah. Here. Take my concubine Abraham and have your way with her and let the promise come through her.

Now in the biblical account, this doesn’t end well. Some people claim that Ishmael’s descendants became the Arabs and that led to Islam, but I don’t know if we have any hard data on that one so I won’t accept it now, but there was still enmity many times between the Ishmaelites and the Israelites. The home life at the start was also disrupted as Ishmael was hardly friendly to Isaac.

But why would God allow concubines?

Something we see in Scripture is that people fell and they fell and often seemed to hit rock bottom immediately. God is a gentle teacher and sees that they are progressing so He allows certain borderline practices that He does not consider ideal as they go on their journey. I consider Israelite slavery to be better than the surrounding nations, but still a practice God tolerated but never considered ideal.

We also need to keep in mind that in those days, infant mortality was high. Not only could children die at a young age, before the advent of better medicine, but mothers could also often die in childbirth. That can still happen today, but normally, expectant mothers don’t worry that they will die in the delivery room as they are giving birth.

In those cases, it was often thought that this was a way of keeping the wife alive and increasing the number of children that could come about. Later in the history of Judah, we will see, for example, that Joash is given two wives when he becomes king, which makes sense since most of the Davidic line had been wiped out by his grandmother, even if it wasn’t ideal.

Does this constitute a change in marriage? No. You still have the man-woman unit being central. What we do see is the numerous problems that develop. Fortunately for Hagar, Sarah’s concubine, the story works out for her. After all, she is the innocent party and was just doing what she had been told, although there was the exception of her possibly being rude to Sarah. God indeed blesses her and she is actually the first person in Scripture to see the angel of the Lord specifically.

Concubines will show up later throughout the text, but there is no need to discuss their role further, though we will mention at times when they show up.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

More Than Heaven

Is there more for Christians to talk about than Heaven. Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s the time of year where Vacation Bible School is going on and the emphasis is to try to get children to make a decision to follow Jesus. I don’t have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with how it is done and what we are telling them. We get them in the classroom and then we tell them that they need to accept Jesus to make sure that they can go to Heaven when they die.

I do realize that tragedies can happen and children can die. From my class of 99 in high school, we have already had a few deaths. Some were to suicide and at least one was to a car crash. It happens. However, if we were betting on the odds, we would say that these kids are likely to live a few more decades.

And we’re to tell the youngest among us that the goal of life to focus on is to focus on what will happen to them decades in the future?

What do they do now? Why are they here for these decades that they have? What is the point of living?

Our “Christian” influence would have them think that the only point of life is what happens when you die. They need to know this life matters. Christ told us that He came that we might have life and have it in abundance. There’s no indication that He meant that you will have that life when you die. One of the fruit of the Spirit we are to have now is joy. Nothing indicates that you will have joy when you die, but you won’t in this life.

What are we teaching children about the hear and now? Eternal life doesn’t begin in Christianity just when you die. It begins when you trust Jesus right now. You are to begin holy living right now. Are we teaching the children about the resurrection of Jesus, or is that doctrine only a means to talk about Heaven? Are we teaching them about holy living now, especially when they will face temptation in the future and bluntly, our children will especially face sexual temptation in the near future? Are they ready for that?

This isn’t just for the kids either. We do this with adults. Adults are taught intentionally or unintentionally that the whole goal of Christianity is to get to Heaven. They are not taught about the hear and now. The overwhelming majority of people I fear could tell you about Heaven but they will also confuse that with the Kingdom of Heaven. They don’t realize the Kingdom of Heaven is a teaching for here and now.

If this is the case, we should not be surprised if people aren’t excited about their Christianity or know what to do with it. All they have to do here is to be a “good person” because we know that absolutely no one else in society has that goal at all. For many, it’s like this life is just a sort of trial run and the real purpose of life comes when you die. This life isn’t a trial run, but it is a trial in a sense and it is here we determine if we are really focused on the matters of God or not.

So what do we teach children? I am not saying don’t teach them about Heaven and I am not saying don’t teach them to live good lives. Teach them why. We are to live holy lives here because Jesus came and by His death and resurrection revealed Himself to be God’s King. We are to live our lives as servants of the King and how we live them will reflect how we see the King and in turn how people will see the King through us.

Salvation is not a one-time decision. It is a lifetime. When you marry someone, you make a decision that you publicly announce at once, but it is a lifetime decision to be faithful and true to the person you have committed to. Why do you then go out and live a life of faithfulness to that person? It is not so that you will be married. You do it because you are married. In the same way, salvation is a decision made at one time, but it is also a lifetime decision. You don’t live a good life before the King because you want Him to take you to Heaven when you die. You do it because He is your King and it is not about what the King does for you, but it is about what you do for Him.

I would like to hope that someday the church will realize this, but I keep fearing that our future focus is getting us so caught that we don’t realize what we are to do in the present and we are not giving our young people anything different for the here and now than the world has. If anything, we feed into their individualism and selfish mindsets where the goal of Christianity is all about them and what happens when they die. Christianity is about every facet of your life, and that includes the here and now.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Letting Kids Be Kids

Are we robbing children of their childhood? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Over the weekend, I went to visit a friend for some dinner and gaming together. My friend’s wife was away for her job and one of his daughters was home with him who is ten years old. As we are having dinner, I don’t remember what led to it, but somehow, she started talking about pride month. She excused herself for some reason and I turned to him and said “I wouldn’t have been able to tell you a thing about homosexuality when I was ten years old.” Heck. Most of us were just then starting to learn the facts of life when I was that old. Today, I suspect many kindergarteners already know.

When I was ten, my great thought I had when coming home was what video game am I going to be going through today. Today, if kids need to be making difficult choices at all, it really should be something like “Which Pokemon is going to be my starter Pokemon?” Of course, some of us still ask that question today.

Kids are being raised now to take a side on certain issues when they don’t know enough about the sides to make an informed decision. A child’s youth should be spent on playing games and having fun and getting to enjoy being a kid, something that they can only do once. Why should we steal that from them?

Let’s be fair. It’s also not just pride month that is doing this. Heterosexuals are doing the same thing. What does it do when we see ads with women pretty much in their underwear on TV during shows that kids could be watching with parents? Imagine a kid riding with his parents in the car hearing radio ads and saying “Mom. What’s erectile dysfunction?”

C.S. Lewis once wrote about a book called The Green Book by him in his book The Abolition of Man. His first chapter in it was called Men Without Chests. No. He is not referring to guys like myself who are physically small. He has something different in mind.

Lewis wrote about a boy and his dad walking together and seeing a beautiful waterfall and the boy saying it was sublime. The authors want it to be known that there is no such thing as a sublime waterfall. Instead, the boy feels small compared to the waterfall and says it’s sublime, but he is really making a statement about his personal feelings and not about the waterfall.

Lewis said the boy learned very little English that day, but he learned a lot of philosophy. He was drafted to take a side in a war he didn’t even know was going on. If we extend this further, it will be a world where we all go by feelings alone and those feelings are really just glands secreting juices in us and there’s no ultimate reality out there to them. It would lead to moral relativity eventually. The result then would be a generation of men without chests, no heart.

Now we have gone a different route where we listen to our feelings on everything and children are told to trust their feelings. Hardly good advice. Now instead of a generation of men without chests, we have a generation of women without chests where women are having top surgery to remove their breasts not because there is something unhealthy about them, but because they want to think they’re really men. That is not a decision that can really be reversed. Oh you can make something with plastic surgery, but it’s not the same as the real thing with several intricate nerves.

Kids are being told to try to find their gender identity and being enlisted in the battle the adults are having. None of us need to really be doing this. If we have to teach them ideas, teach them on a child’s level. A child in Sunday School does not need to be learning adult lessons on sexuality. Start off with basic truths that you want to teach them and then proportion it as they get older. The number one thing we need to teach any child though in all of this is how to think. We spend too much time teaching them what to think instead.

While many of us in debates on Facebook and other places will have our sides and debate them vigorously, I hope we can agree that we really should be keeping the children out of it. Let them grow up and make their decisions in the proper time, but let’s not steal their childhood from them to meet our own desires. Children only have one shot at being children. Let them have that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Pulling Back The Green Curtain Part Two

What do I think of Jim Hall’s first arguments? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jim Hall’s book begins with a list of facts that you’re not supposed to know about. Let’s start with the first one which showed me what I was getting into. The early church had female clergy.

Yeah. I get it. You all are about to apostasize right now.

Yes. The church did move much more against the direction of female leadership of any kind, but the leadership is right there in the New Testament. Nothing said here was a shock to me and I seriously doubt Hall has done any reading on the debate in Christian scholarship.

The next one is the tried and true trope of God approves slavery. God forbid that Hall ever read any sort of scholarship on the issue. He could do what I did and talk to a scholar on the issue, but that won’t happen. We eagerly await Hall’s brilliant solution on where Joe Israelite in the past was supposed to go to be able to provide for himself and/or his family, but Hall has never thought past that.

Sadly, as Mark Noll says, Hall reads the text of Scripture the exact same way the slaveowners he condemns does.

“On the other front, nuanced biblical attacks on American slavery faced rough going precisely because they were nuanced. This position could not simply be read out of any one biblical text; it could not be lifted directly from the page. Rather, it needed patient reflection on the entirety of the Scriptures; it required expert knowledge of the historical circumstances of ancient Near Eastern and Roman slave systems as well as of the actually existing conditions in the slave states; and it demanded that sophisticated interpretative practice replace a commonsensically literal approach to the sacred text. In short, this was an argument of elites requiring that the populace defer to its intellectual betters. As such, it contradicted democratic and republican intellectual instincts. In the culture of the United States, as that culture had been constructed by three generations of evangelical Bible believers, the nuanced biblical argument was doomed” – Mark Noll, The Civil War As A Theological Crisis.

The next thing to cover is Elisha and the two bears. Hall refers to this as just teasing and name-calling. Not at all. These boys were boys old enough to be wandering around on their own away from their families. They also weren’t just teasing Elisha, but they were teasing YHWH and mocking Elisha as a prophet of His and telling Him to go away just like Elijah. The text also says 42 were hurt by the bears. Bears can be fast, but they could not hurt that many unless some of them stayed around to fight. Again, this is not mere toddlers teasing someone. This has the makings of turning into assault and is outright rebellion against the covenant.

Another one to comment on is a howler about the Gospel of Andrew. Hall says there were some sixty Gospels that weren’t included and many of them were older than the ones we have. These include the Gospel of Thomas, Perfection, and Eve. Good luck finding any scholarship whatsoever that will back Hall on this. If he finds anything, it’s the fringe. We can be sure he will never pick up a work like Who Chose The Gospels? by Charles Hill either.

Naturally, we have something about believe in me or burn in hell is not an act of love but compulsion and somehow violates free-will. First off, the Christian claim is not to believe or burn in hell. Most evangelical scholars don’t even believe the flames are literal. It’s also not about demanding love. God rightly is owed our honor and if we don’t want to give it, God honors our free-will and sends us away from Him.

We also have Isaiah 45:7 with God creating evil. Hall apparently doesn’t realize that the word there refers better in this case to chaos and disaster in the lines of Hebrew parallelism. Nope. That would require Hall might have to pick up a book of scholarship he disagrees with and read it. Maybe Hall wants to avoid “cognitive dissonance.”

Hall also says that Jesus taught the end of the world was at hand in saying “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” 2,000 years and we’ll still waiting. Except Jesus never mentions the end of the world. He’s talking about the Kingdom of Heaven and Hall would need to demonstrate that is what is meant. As an orthodox Preterist, I am convinced Jesus was right on in this claim.

Hall also says Christians couldn’t decide for 300 years if Jesus was created or eternal and it required Nicea. Nonsense. All of the early church held that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Nicea was there because someone was saying otherwise and that was the unheard of part. Again, Hall just demonstrates his own ignorance in this kind of topic.

Let’s also look at a list of references he gives on how fathers should murder their sons.

The first is to eat them according to Ezekiel 5:10, but the Ezekiel passage is a judgment passage. It’s not YHWH prescribing this. It’s Him saying that these are the consequences that will happen if repentance doesn’t come in line with the treaty Israel accepted in Deuteronomy. God will withdraw His hand of protection and Israel will have to live under a siege. Cannibalism happened then.

The same is happening in Lamentations 4:4. YHWH is not telling parents to not feed their children. He’s saying in a siege there’s nothing to feed them with. This can be seen just by simply reading the passage within the chapter, something Hall doesn’t do.

The next is to strike them dead referring to the angel of death in Exodus 12. Of course, this was after nine judgments had been established and a way had been told to directly avoid this one. It’s also not fathers killing children in that passage anyway. It’s YHWH, who has a right to all life, taking back a life if He chooses.

Next is stoning in Deuteronomy which we have dealt with here.

The next one is from Joshua on the conquest saying to smite them with a sword. Naturally, Hall hasn’t bothered interacting with the work of people like Copan on this question. After all, Hall has to stay in that bubble to avoid contrary thought.

Nahum 3:10 is next with kids being smashed in the streets, but this is also a judgment motif. It’s not recommending this. It’s a shame Hall needs this spelled out so much.

Next he goes to Matthew 19:29 and says that this is about abandoning children. Keep in mind Peter was said to have left everything and followed Jesus and yet has a wife later on when Paul writes about him in Corinthians. All Jesus is saying is that Kingdom loyalty comes before family loyalty.

Next is Revelation 2:23. Hall says the text says kill them with death wondering what that means. Naturally, he’s going by the KJV still sticking with his fundamentalist roots. At any rate, the passage is a judgment passage on one particular person and the children mean here followers. Again, this is basic reading comprehension that Hall fails at.

No list would be complete without Psalm 137 and dashing them against the stones. In this passage, Israel is rebuking Babylon and saying “May someone do to you what you did to us!” It is not saying they will do it at all or prescribing it. It’s a common Middle Eastern motif of trash talking with your opponent and letting all the rage out at the start.

Deuteronomy 32:24 about poisoning is also the judgment motif again. Nothing more needs to be said.

Hall goes on to say Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Let that sink in for a moment. Sure. He also never said anything about rape or pederasty or anything like that. That’s because no one was debating these issues in Israel. The Law was clear. If anything, Jesus’s silence would indicate agreement with the moral stance.

Hall then says there are two creation accounts in Genesis and they don’t agree. Hall will not dare interact with John Walton’s work on this topic nor any of the scholarship that has come out to address this supposed problem. We can guess it’s because the books don’t contain pictures.

Hall also says that six of the Pauline epistles are known forgeries. It is true that these are debated and some scholars do think that, but Hall provides no sources and gives no arguments. He also doesn’t interact with the scholarship on the other side at all.

Hall also shows his fundamentalism with a howler about Christmas trees being forbidden. His reference is Jeremiah 10, of course. This is one that has already been dealt with ad nauseum. For someone who says there is no such thing as too much information, Hall never seems to want to go out and get that information.

This has been a lot, and really, we’re only scratching the surface. Hall’s book thus far is filled with error after error and with very little if any research. I keep thinking there seems to be a competition among atheists to see who can write the worst book and do the least research. Hall is trying to be a strong contender.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy.

What do I think of Rhonda Stoppe’s book published by Harvest House Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I make it a point to read books on marriage regularly and though this one was meant for the wives, I found it on a Kindle sale and decided to pick it up. I want to understand matters from a woman’s perspective after all. Rhonda Stoppe is writing from the perspective of a pastor’s wife to women who are believing very foolish things about marriage.

I know very well that we men are just as guilty, but this book is for the women. Each chapter also ends with a note from her husband Steve. There are also references to their website so you can see a video of her and Steve talking about the issue under question.

She emphasizes at the start that the way to love your husband best, and anyone else for that matter, is to love God first. If you are in a marriage and you and your spouse are both loving God first, loving each other will come much more easily. It’s a sort of win-win. You have a good walk with God and you have a better marriage as a result.

She also rightly says that if you make it about your feelings, then you’re going to suffer for it. Feelings are something that change and are unstable. We all know this. Strangely enough, so many of us still like to base reality on our feelings. Your marriage is not about a promise to have good feelings towards one another. It’s about a promise to love one another and do good to one another.

She’s also correct that men tend to thrive on respect more than they do on love. A man does not want his wife to be another mother. He wants someone who relies on him, believes in him, and who celebrates his accomplishments. In essence, he wants someone who will look at him and say “You are my man.” (Yes women! We would love to hear that and even more to have it shown to us!)

She also notes that your husband isn’t perfect, and this mainly in a chapter about how women believe their marriage would be better if they were prettier. Your husband cannot do for you what only God can. I’d also like to say at this point that we already find you beautiful anyway. That’s one reason we married you. As much as you might think you’re not beautiful, we think about that body of yours that you don’t think is beautiful much more than you realize and we think it’s much more beautiful than you realize.

This is followed by the chapter on sex, a chapter I was certainly very eager to get to as a man. In this, she says

“So why are wives so resistant to minister to their husband’s need for sex? The most common reason is selfishness, plain and simple. Because of our sin nature, the basic problem all people have is a preoccupation with self. In short, every sin results from this preoccupation. (Yes, I just implied that not having sex with your husband is a sin that stems from selfishness.)”

At this, most every Christian man in the world wants Rhonda Stoppe to come and give a talk at his church. One of my favorite Family Feud clips is of Steve Harvey asking the question that was asked to 100 married men. I would blank for sex. Every guy who answers, except for the final one who listened to the women, nailed it. The women always missed. As Steve says in it, “You don’t know how deep this runs with us!”

This often shows a disconnect that Rhonda understands. Sex to a man is far more than getting his game on for a physical release. It is the way we feel desired and adored and wanted by our wives. It is the way that we know we are the man. Duty sex itself won’t do this. The more passion you give a man, the more you will empower that man. This is an honest need in a man’s life.

The problem I think is that too many women do think that a man is just wanting a physical joy with his wife instead of realizing that this is often how he connects emotionally as well. Dare I say it, but it’s a prideful attitude just like Rhonda says. Too often women expect their men to be more like them and thus more “refined” as it were and that their husband is a lowly and filthy creature for wanting sex. Not at all.

Rhonda also says that to remember your kids won’t always need you. Your husband will always need you in his life. Don’t replace the husband with the kids. Too many marriages have the marriage centered around the children. This should never be.

She is also right in saying that a husband wants a joyful wife. Be someone that your husband enjoys being around. Be a source of joy. That doesn’t mean never ever be sad and come to him in pain if you really are that way, but it does mean try to have joy around him.

For housework, most men don’t care about a house being spotless. They would much rather that the house just be livable. To go back to what was said above, many men would be far more happy if women who are so eager to make sure the house is perfect would spend more time working on the areas that they’re concerned about the most.

Rhonda will deal with many myths in the book. Most every wife would likely hold to a couple of them at least. There are many myths that men believe as well, but this is for the women. I appreciate Rhonda’s book here and it is one I can easily recommend to wives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters