Saturday, April 29, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
Does God Repeal His Laws?
In a private conversation I was asked point blank whether God repealed some of the Old Testament laws. My answer was that in a way, yes, God did repeal some of the Old Testament ceremonial laws, but that none of the moral laws were abolished. Then, without much thought, added parenthetically the world "or more correctly, fulfilled the law". To be completely honest - I hadn't put much thought into the meaning of my words. I just knew that Jesus had said in Matthew 5:17 that he came not to abolish the Law, but instead that he came to fulfill them. Though I never would have said this out loud, subconsciously, I thought this was just a phrase that Jesus had used to kind of fill space. In short, I added the words so that I could sound churchy.
Suffice it to say, there are no words in the Bible that are there to merely fill space and since that email I have been thinking about this verse a lot and have become very excited about what this means to us today. The only correct answer to the question in the email is actually "No". God has not, and will not, repeal his laws because God is unchangeable. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. This gives great comfort to the believer as God has made some pretty amazing promises to us and we know that he will not go back on his word.
So, if God has not repealed any of his laws then why do we not sacrifice animals anymore? Shouldn't we all be refraining from eating unclean animals? And what about the priests? What happened to them? The answer lies in the words that I once thought were space filler. Jesus fulfilled those laws. For example, one of God's unchangeable laws is that without the shedding of blood (sacrifice) there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus completely fulfilled this law on the cross. It's not that the law has gone away, it's that the sacrifice of the one and only truly spotless lamb has occurred. Jesus' perfect blood was enough to cover us all and fulfill the law. Another law is that unless you are perfectly clean (holy) then you cannot approach God (i.e. not eating unclean animals, ceremonial cleansing, etc). This law has not changed, but now you have been truly cleaned from the inside and this law is fulfilled. My last example is about the role of priests. Only a priest was allowed in the most precious inner part of the Jewish temple. In other words only a priest was allowed to approach God. Again, this has not changed. Instead Jesus fulfilled this law by making you (if you are a believer) into a Priest (I Peter 2:9).
I don't know if this does the same for you as it does for me, but I am so excited about this idea. I hope that it helps me (and you) to be more obedient to our Lord.
Thanks for reading,
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Baptist School in Kentucky Upholds Their Stated Policy. Why Is This News Again?
These are the facts that were in the story. What I find interesting are the "extras". For example:
The news that his boyfriend, Jason Johnson, was expelled from University of the Cumberlands was still sinking in when Zac Dreyer sat at a computer to spread the news.What in the world is this about? The news piece starts off with nothing but emotional fluff. Facts please, just give us the facts.
But a copy of the student handbook provided by the university confirmed the policy was not spelled out in 2003-04, when Johnson chose to attend.Is this a new story or an indictment? It sounds an awful lot like a case is being made instead of a story being told. I went to a Baptist school and one year there were a couple of guys who broke a lot of rules - one of which being that they flagrantly displayed hardcore pornographic pictures in their room. Now, nowhere in the handbook could you find the words "students are not allowed to hang hardcore pornographic pictures on their wall", yet it was obviously against school policy.
Johnson, a sophomore majoring in theater arts, was expelled from the university Thursday because he declared online that he is gay.
The thing I like about this sentence is that is factual and correct. Throughout the story people are quoted as saying that Johnson was expelled for "being gay". Not necessarily true. What we do know is that he was expelled after declaring his homosexuality in a very public way.
I was, frankly, amused by many of the quotes that Johnson's fellow students made.
He is being asked to leave the university because he is gayI guess that I have already covered this, but again, he was not expelled for what he is he was expelled for what he did.
They're being hypocritical, by Christian standardsFirst of all, in what way are they being hypocritical? I could see if she had said that they were not showing mercy or were being hard-hearted etc., but dropping the h-word is the old standby that people use to criticize any institution that is simply holding to a standard. Secondly, are there any standards of conduct that the school can appropriately uphold? What if Jason was having a public affair with a married woman? Good money says that he would have been kicked out and nobody would have blinked an eye.
Johnson, who is considering legal action against the university, said students shouldn't question their faith, but they should question their personal beliefs.Huh?
The bottom line is that this is a private institution. If the state of Kentucky doesn't want to give money to private schools then so be it - pull funding from private institutions. But if the state has determined that giving money to private schools is a good thing to do then they shouldn't discriminate against schools because of their religious beliefs.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
It's OK to Govern Based on the Bible - Part 2
But what about those of us who don't subscribe to the Christian bible? The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and just over 20% of the country doesn't practice Christianity.
It's okay to live by the bible, but to govern based on the religious text of one particular religion, especially when that governance impedes the rights of others, is unjust and unconstitutional.
Not to mention, religious texts are vague and figurative and there are hundreds upon thousands of interpretations and very little consensus between denominations and even within them. I don't think it can be done. Certainly it can't be done in a way that is fair to all Americans.
And is it really fair to deny civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples on the basis of a text that also codemns tattoos, sex during menstrual cycles, and vegetable gardens? I don't think so.
I will respond point by point:
But what about those of us who don't subscribe to the Christian bible?
Those who do not subscribe to the Christian Bible have the exact same access to our political system as I do. That is the beauty of being self-governed. The fact that I vote my conscious, and that my conscious is based on the Bible, does not mean that your religious liberties are being infringed upon. In fact, telling Christians that they can't be a part of the political process because of their religous beliefs is the real discrimination.
Not to mention, religious texts are vague and figurative and there are hundreds upon thousands of interpretations and very little consensus between denominations and even within them.
You are correct - but that is why we each get to vote on who we think is the best person for the job of legislation. Just because you and I might disagree on the meaning of scripture does not mean that I shouldn't get a vote.
And is it really fair to deny civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples on the basis of a text that also codemns (sic) tattoos, sex during menstrual cycles, and vegetable gardens?
The question of whether this is fair or not is for the legislators (democratically elected) to decide. To govern is to choose - and that is what our public servants are voted in to do.
I sincerely appreciate the comments and hope that you will send some more my way.