Marriage equality

Marriage began when God created Eve to be a wife for Adam.

Then the man said,  “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman,because she was taken out of Man.” 

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:23-24

The first marriage was a union between the first man and the first woman that God created.  Ever since then, marriage has been considered a union between a man and a woman.  This isn’t just a Christian belief but a practice by all religions and all cultures throughout history.  There have been different beliefs about some aspects of marriage.  Some cultures consider marriage a permanent union while other allow a person to divorce his spouse and marry someone else.  Some consider it a union between one man and one woman while others allow a man to have more than one wife.  But until recently it has universally been a state that can exist only between a man and a woman.

Now there is a movement to establish “marriage equality” between gay and straight people by legalizing marriage between two people of the same sex.  Is the restriction of marriage to a man and a woman just an arbitrary rule or is there some fundamental reason why two members of the same sex can’t marry each other?

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King Joseph

The Bible says nothing about any king named Joseph.  The Jews had 23 kings, beginning with Saul and ending with Zedekiah.  The ten tribes that broke away had 20 kings, beginning with Jeroboam and ending with Hoshea.  Many foreign kings are mentioned by name.  None of these kings is named Joseph.

But there is one person in the Bible who had the right to call himself King Joseph.

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Immigration and evangelism

Every year large numbers of people come to the United States looking for jobs.  Because of laws restricting immigration most of these job seekers aren’t able to enter the country legally but their need is so great they come here anyway.  As a result there are millions of illegal immigrants in this country and one of the major problems facing the government is what to do about them.

It is unlikely that any government leader will ever think of looking in the Bible for a solution to the problem.  That is unfortunate because the Bible does have the solution.

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Open Doors

Some of you may have read a book called God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew. In it the author described his work of helping persecuted Christians in Communist countries by smuggling Bibles into their countries. The book was published in 1967 but Brother Andrew is still very much involved in helping persecuted Christians. He has founded an organization called Open Doors for the purpose of carrying on the work he began.

http://www.opendoorsusa.org/

Here is how Brother Andrew’s work began.

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Scientific evidence for creation

The Bible tells us that God created the earth in six days.  Many scientists who have studied the earth and tried to measure its age have reached the conclusion that is approximately 4.5 billion years old.  Most people accept the second view as being correct; they believe that scientists examine the evidence with an open mind and believe only those things which have been proven.

The late Carl Sagan wrote many books proving that the present state of the earth and the rest of the universe is the result of processes that took billions of years.  He helped to produce a television series called Cosmos that was broadcast in 1980 and claimed to show how the universe developed.

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Back to the Bible

As long as I can remember I have believed that the Bible is the word of God but in the early part of my life I didn’t understand it because I wasn’t taught about it at home and I attended a church that wasn’t always Biblical in its teachings.  When I was 14 I believed that the way to be saved was to be baptized and then live a good enough life so that I would deserve to go to Heaven, so I got baptized and set about trying to finish earning my salvation.

A little more than two years later I had a Sunday school teacher who was saved and who listened regularly to a radio program called Back to the Bible.  She recommended it to the class and I began listening to it.  As a result I realized that I was on the wrong path in trying to earn my salvation.  I finally understood that salvation is gift of God and I received that gift by putting my faith in Christ.

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Don’t be afraid

When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 20:1

When the Israelites invaded Canaan they faced enemies who were stronger than they were.  They won only because God helped them.

Israel was a nation and like any other nation it sometimes waged wars with other nations.  The church isn’t a nation but is a body of people from all nations who have put their faith in Jesus Christ.  Because we aren’t a nation we don’t have an army and we don’t engage in physical wars but we are involved in warfare of a different kind.

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Stay where God puts you

No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.
Luke 8:16

The kind of lamp Jesus spoke of provided light by burning oil.  A lamp placed under a jar would be extinguished for lack of oxygen.  A lamp placed under a bed could set the bed on fire.

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The prayer that might have been

Jesus once told a parable about a Pharisee and tax collector who went to the temple to pray.  Here is the Pharisee’s prayer.

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”
Luke 18:11-12

The Pharisee wasn’t praying; he was boasting about how good he was.  At the conclusion of the parable Jesus said that his prayer was not accepted and when he left the temple he was not justified.

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Delays for the glory of God

If you heard that someone you cared about was sick and was about to die wouldn’t you immediately go to see him if you could?  And wouldn’t that be even more true if you were able to prevent him from dying?  Jesus didn’t react this way when he heard that one of his friends was near death.

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”

But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
John 11:1-6

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The sinner’s prayer

One technique used by evangelists is to ask those who respond to their message to pray what is called the “Sinner’s Prayer”.  The wording of this prayer varies; here is one version.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.
Amen.

This practice isn’t found in the Bible.  There are several accounts of people believing the gospel and being saved but there is no record of any convert being asked to say this or any other prayer.

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Living stones

The stones used in Solomon’s temple were carved at the place from which they were taken, not at the place where the temple was being built.

When the house was built, it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built.
1 Kings 6:7

Imagine that these stones were alive.  How might they have felt about what was being done to them?

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Choose your battles wisely

In the past Christianity has had a strong influence on American culture.  That influence has grown much weaker and that fact is reflected in our laws.

Because humans are created in God’s image human life should be protected.  Today abortion is legal and there is a movement to legalize suicide by the terminally ill.

God established marriage as a permanent union between a man and a woman.  Almost all states have no fault divorce laws which make it easy to end a marriage and many of them allow marriage between two members of the same sex.

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Should Adam and Eve have eaten the fruit?

God told Adam he could eat the fruit of every tree in the garden of Eden except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Of course everyone knows what happened next.  The serpent persuaded Eve to eat the fruit of the tree; she gave some of the fruit to Adam and he ate it too.  As a result they were expelled from the garden and eventually died, and all of their descendants experience suffering and death.

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The Semmelweis reflex

Imagine that you are a physician on a hospital staff and another doctor at the hospital discovers a procedure that dramatically reduces the death rate of its patients.  Wouldn’t you and the other doctors at the hospital eagerly adopt the procedure and practice it  yourselves?  The answer is so obvious to most people that it seems stupid to even ask such a question.  But a doctor name Ignaz Semmelweis did discover such a process and the other doctors rejected it.  Here is Wikipedia’s description of what happened.

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Luke and the Wise Men

Every year before Christmas we see many displays of the birth of Jesus.  The display normally consists of a baby in a manger with Joseph, Mary, some shepherds, and the Wise Men gathered around him.  The birth of Jesus was an important event in history and it is appropriate that we should remember it but our traditional picture of how it happened is inaccurate.  The Wise Men were not there.  They were probably  still in their home country and hadn’t even started their journey to Bethlehem.

Most of the elements in the traditional manger scene are taken from Luke’s gospel.  He tells us why Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem in the first place and that they had to lay Jesus in a manger because there was no room in the inn.  He describes the visit of the shepherds to see the baby.  But he never speaks of the Wise Men here or anyplace else. Read the rest of this entry

The theology of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is famous for his writing in several different fields.  He is well known as an author of horror stories.  He is famous as poet.  He wrote detective stories that have had such an influence that the Mystery Writers of America honors him by calling its award for best mystery writer the Edgar.  But I doubt if anyone associates him with religion or theology.

I recently came across a review he wrote of Incidents Of Travel In Egypt, Arabia Petræa, And The Holy Land by John Lloyd Stephens.  You can read the review here:

http://www.eapoe.org/works/criticsm/wrks4002.htm

In this review he expressed his opinions about Bible prophecy.

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A blessing or a curse?

There is an Irish blessing, “May you be in Heaven half an hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.”

The apostle Paul was someone whom God blessed very much.  Do you suppose he was in Heaven half an hour before the Devil realized he was dead?

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Blogs

The purpose of this blog is to share with others some of the things I have learned from studying the Bible.  I have also learned a lot about the Bible by reading other people’s blogs.  Here are some blogs that have helped me and I think they can help you too.

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Naaman’s slave

Naaman was a Syrian general who was also a leper.  He came to Elisha for help.

So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”
2 Kings 5:9-10

He followed Elisha’s instructions and became clean.  This convinced him that the God of Elisha was the true God.

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.”

But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.”

And he urged him to take it, but he refused. Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD.”
2 Kings 5:15-17

He came to Elisha for physical cleansing but he received spiritual cleansing as well.

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