What Shall We Do with Moses?

A couple of weeks back Bob Jones University made the news by apologizing for statements made a generation ago suggesting that homosexuals should be subjected, like they were during the Mosaic economy, to capital punishment. This mea culpa was a welcome one insofar as the offending statement was insensitive, vindictive, even hateful. But among the tweets and chatter that ensued, it was surprising to see how many bloggers (critics and defenders of BJU alike) made no apparent differentiation between the words spoken in 1980 and the words written in the 15th century BC. Moses is apparently guilty of hate speech, too!

This is a troubling sentiment, I think, and one that seriously erodes Old Testament credibility and authority. Surely as inerrantists we must conclude that Moses was right to write what he did! It is in view of this fact that I ask today, What should we do with Moses and his copious assignment of capital punishment for seemingly trivial crimes (or in some cases, perhaps, for no crime at all)? Shall we defend him? Blush for him? Distance ourselves from him by denouncing the Law as inherently evil and, to our great relief, dead and gone? Read more about What Shall We Do with Moses?

Book Review - 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution

Image of 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution (40 Questions and Answers Series)
by Kenneth Keathley, Mark Rooker
Kregel Academic 2014
Paperback 432

Of the many contemporary debates pushing and pulling on the Church today, the Creation and Evolution debate is perhaps the most alarming. The New Atheists like Richard Dawkins try to lump any Bible believer in with the crackpots and loonies, while some of the most high-profile creationists spare no punches as they condemn the vast majority of Evangelicalism for any of a number of compromises on this question.

For folks in the pew, the situation is tense: Science continues to raise large questions, and the Church often seems to provide few answers. Many of our youth are pressured to abandon the faith as they encounter new arguments against creation. With at least four major views in Evangelicalism, there is not a strong unified position to lean upon. Most books on the topic defend their particular view and often take aim directly on other sectors of Christianity. These books do more to perpetuate the polarized nature of the debate than provide a clear way forward. And meanwhile it seems that the scientific consensus only continues to become an even larger stumbling-block to Christian faith.

In this context, a variety of new attempts to integrate science and faith have been proposed. Yet for conservative Christians this only raises new questions: How far is too far? What are the limits of integrating faith and science? How important is the age of the earth? Are all forms of evolution out-of-bounds for Christians? What about the Flood—must it be universal? Could animal death have preceded the Fall? What are we to think about Adam and Eve? Read more about Book Review - 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution

Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 2)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read Part 1.

The question remains to be resolved: how shall we define textus receptus? It has been customary in England to employ the 1550 text of Stephanus as the exemplar of the textus receptus (just as an Elzevir text was so adopted on the continent of Europe), and so we will follow this custom. For our purposes here, the term textus receptus means the 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament published by Robertus Stephanus.

The Westcott and Hort text is much simpler to define. This is the Greek New Testament edited by B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort and first published in 1881, with numerous reprints in the century since. It is probably the single most famous of the so-called critical texts, perhaps because of the scholarly eminence of its editors, perhaps because it was issued the same year as the English Revised Version which followed a text rather like the Westcott-Hort text. Read more about Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 2)

Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 1)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

Note: This study was first composed in 1996 and published that year by Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute as research report no. 45, a thirteen-page booklet (ISBN 0-944788-45-9). It was an attempt to clarify issues in the “Bible texts and translations controversy” by carefully defining and explaining terms which are often bandied about by those who seem to have limited understanding as to their actual meaning. It has not previously appeared in As I See It and is presented here with minor alterations. It is supplied with extensive notes, which should be read.

The New Testament was inspired by God, and came from the pens of its writers or their amanuenses in infallible form, free from any defect of any sort, including scribal mistakes. However, it is evident from the facts of history that God in His providence did not choose to protect that infallible original text from alterations and corruptions in the copying and printing process. Scribes, and later printers, made both accidental (usually) and deliberate (occasionally) changes in the Greek text as they copied and propagated it. As a result, the surviving manuscript copies (as well as printed editions) of the New Testament differ among themselves in numerous though usually trivial details. Read more about Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 1)

Graves, Landmarkism and the Kingdom of God (Part 3)

(Part 3 considers more of the implications of Graves’ doctrine of the church. Read the series so far.)

Implication #3 – All Non-Baptist Ministers are False Ministers

Graves wrote, “If Baptist preachers are scriptural ministers, Pedobaptists certainly are not, and vice versa, since two things unlike each other cannot be like the same thing—scriptural.”1 One should not be surprised that Graves made this leap. After all, if local Baptist churches are the only “true churches” which accurately represent Christ’s Kingdom, then it naturally follows that only the Baptist ministers of these “true churches” are legitimate ministers of the gospel. Graves wrote:

Nothing could be more inconsistent than to admit those preachers into our pulpit who hold and teach doctrines, on account of which we would exclude both from our pulpits and our churches, any minister of our own denomination.2

This is a startling proclamation by itself, but Graves was even more explicit elsewhere: Read more about Graves, Landmarkism and the Kingdom of God (Part 3)

Revival and Revivalism (Part 2)

(From Think on These Things. Read Part 1.)

Biblical Basis for Revival

If the Scriptures do not encourage us to seek revival, what does it say on the subject? In the Old Testament we find several references to being revived. The word that is sometimes translated “revive” or “revived” is found two hundred thirty-four times in the Old Testament and it means to give life, make alive, and give new life, depending upon the context.

In Psalm 119 we find this word for “revive” used several times in the context of spiritual renewal. On at least twelve occasions the psalmist prays to be revived. That is, an invitation to renew or make alive the spiritual passions and desires of a believer. By studying these examples we can find the biblical marks or characteristics of a spiritually alive person: Read more about Revival and Revivalism (Part 2)

Revival and Revivalism (Part 1)

(Originally published at Think on These Things, January 2001)

Revival is hot right now. If you read any Christian literature, especially magazines, listen to Christian radio or watch Christian TV, you know this is a subject that is on the front burner of evangelicalism.

In doing research on this topic I turned to the web site of Christian Book Distributors to run down a couple of books on the subject that I had been wanting to purchase. I was a bit surprised to discover that CBD listed 156 books on revival. These are books that are currently in print, and are being sold by this one outlet. This does not include many books that they do not carry nor the many hundreds that are out of print.

Revival is hot and it is easy. Who could say a word against fit? It is like putting down motherhood. Go into any Christian circle and declare that we need revival and you will get a hardy “Amen.” Tell people that you are praying for revival and expect a lot of admiration.

But what exactly is revival? Do people know what they are praying for? Would we know revival if it came, and would we like it? Should we even desire revival? Read more about Revival and Revivalism (Part 1)

Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 8)

The Church in the Seventieth Week?

Of the several options on the timing of the rapture only the pretribulational view keeps the Body of Christ entirely out of the Seventieth Week of Daniel 9. But that fact says little if in fact the Church is said in Scripture to go through some or all of it. To my mind, it is no good trying to place the Body of Christ in the Seventieth Week unless there are solid reasons for doing so and appropriate excuses for diminishing the very Jewish emphasis in passages which do concern this period.

We have seen that God had in mind “Your [i.e. Daniel’s] people” in the prophecy. It also focused in on “your holy city”—Jerusalem. It is within this same period that the Olivet Discourse is situated. And there, as we have seen, Jesus is talking to Jews about Israel. We get the same story when we look at Daniel 12 or Jeremiah 30. In the Revelation the Church is not mentioned after chapter 3 and the stress is mainly upon all things Israel (7:3-8; 9:4; 11:1-2, 7-8; 11:19; 12:1, 13-14; 14:1-4; 15:3; 16:16), which is just what one would expect from reading earlier texts. Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 8)