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Showing posts from September, 2016

Does the Bible Encourage Rape?

The Bible encourages men to rape women.
Or so I’m being told by confident atheists on social media.
These secular prophets are basing their denouncements on the NIV English translation of Deuteronomy 22.28 which reads,
If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
So… does the Bible encourage or condone rape? Does the Bible command rape victims to marry their rapists? Or have we misunderstood something?
Sadly, the NIV did – in the estimation of many – translate this quite poorly (as did the HCSB and NET). Many other solid translations – such as the ESV, King James, Geneva Bible, the NLV and the NLT - do not use the idea of or the word ‘rape’ here. Why? What’s going on?
What is Lexical Range?
Let’s get technical for just a moment. The confusion has to do with the Hebrew verb that the…

What is a Harvest Service? (and who cares?)

To readers who, like me, are of the urban variety - or those in outside the UK - this may require some explanation. What exactly is ‘Harvest’?
Harvest services here in the UK are when rural churches celebrate the agricultural harvest which affects the surrounding farming community. The closet thing Canadians and Americans have to this is holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s a time where thanks is given for what we have.
Now-a-days many may see such services as dated - as few of those who live in even rural settings are farmers anymore. Perhaps. But though some of the trimmings and trapping surrounding Harvest may be antiquated or nostalgic, it brings us to a too little discussed Biblical doctrine: gratitude.
Now this is more than just a small, side dish issue. Paul puts this at the very centre of the Gospel. He writes that the chief qualities of those who are lost is that they ‘don’t want to glorify God or give him thanks’ (Romans 1.21). Elsewhere, in Ephesians 2, Paul contrasts the heart tha…

How to Handle the 'Sinners will be Destroyed' Verses

Trying to get good theology on Facebook is like trying to get good relationship advice on daytime television – you’ll be lucky if it happens.


Yet many of us – when asked about the essentials of the faith we profess – give answers that sound as if they were read from a meme on our newsfeed.  Pop-culture Christianity is producing Christians who are high in enthusiasm but who handle their Bibles about as well as they do a unicycle on an oil slick.
This is understandable when someone is a new Christian – learning takes time and effort. But it should not stay this way. We're commanded to ‘correctly handle the word of truth’ (2 Tim 2.15) – so this is not just an unfortunate situation, it’s a matter of disobedience.
Our Biblical ignorance is no more evident than when we come face to face with the ‘destroy the sinner’ verses. We have some of these in the New Testament, but the bulk and the best known are in the Old. Some Christians manifest all the backbone of a gummy worm when challenged …

'So What?' - How Christians waste Conversations

He informed me that he didn’t like what the Bible had to say about sex.
Now he didn’t specify what he meant by that. Perhaps he was thinking that if he became a Christian he would have to stop knocking boots with his girlfriend. Either that or marry her – and he didn’t seem inclined to do either.
Ignorant of whatever his exact objection may have been,  I ventured a response,
‘So what?’

He seemed surprised.
Forgetting our Orders
We Christians are easily distracted. We’ve been given our marching orders from Jesus – our Commander-in-Chief. He commanded us to give the world around us the message he entrusted us with. Paul summed it up this way:
‘I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.’     -1 Corinthians 15
Christianity is a unique in a number of ways. One of the things that sets the Bible apart from other …

Where I Turn Down a Gay 'Wedding' Invitation

Dear Katie,
I hope this letter finds you well. You’ve been on my mind lately as it’s been a few weeks since we’ve met up. We’re overdue to grab a coffee – I hope we can soon. I also want to thank you for thinking of me as you sent out invitations for what I know will be a big day for you and Joanna. I’ve known you since before you met her (two years ago now, is it?) and I appreciate all you’ve shared with me about how meaningful that relationship is to you. It was especially kind of you given my Christian faith. You've never directly asked me my views on gender or sex in much detail. But I think our conversations must have touched on it enough times to at least make you a bit unsure of my reaction when you sent the invitation. I have to say 'no' to your kind invitation. You know that I care for you and that I value our friendship. You know I don't reject you because you are gay. So, would it be too much to ask of you if I explain why my faith would make attendance at your…

The Problem of the Old Testament God

I have three polite atheists who are among my aquaintances and with whom I have respectful and enjoyable dialogue. It can actually happen. Not all atheists are like the ones I encountered last week on Twitter. 

These are the ones who sport the spirit of secular jihadism as they gallop their cyber, social media sands – furiously wielding their weary and well-worn one-liners at the slightest hint of those who express gratitude towards a kind Creator.
When feeling the verbal tone of these bombastic blows, it seems difficult to deny – here are those who simultaneously disbelieve in God and yet hate him. ‘Science has PROVEN God doesn’t exist!’; ‘There’s not even a small shred of evidence that God exists!’; ‘The God of the Bible is nothing but evil and cruel!’; ‘No rational person can believe in God!’
God's Old Testament Issues
But one of these aggressive atheists inspired me. He saw something I posted and initiated this conversation:
Mr. J:If God exists, he must be cruel. Me: How do you arri…