Americans Fail Theology 101

fail-theology

Church’s need to toss out shallow messages and focus on sound Bible study and doctrine, critical thinking, Apologetics, and a biblical worldview.

One thing is certain: Americans love the Bible. A recent report from The American Bible Society and Barna Group finds that two-thirds of the nation believe the Bible contains “everything a person needs to know in order to live a meaningful life.”

And a vast majority of folks in this country still consider themselves Christians. But just how deep does their Christianity run?

Not very, according to the results of a survey released late last month by LifeWay Research. The survey, commissioned by Ligonier Ministries, asked 3,000 participants a set of 47 questions about foundational Christian beliefs.
Many of the answers revealed a mishmash of heresy and confusion about Christianity’s most basic doctrines.

Seventy percent of Americans agree there’s only one true God–one in essence, three in person: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet almost the same number believe God accepts the worship of all other religions, even those that deny the Trinity or worship other deities.

Sixty-one percent correctly say Jesus is both human and divine, but half think that He’s also “the first and greatest being created by God,” rather than existing eternally, as Scripture and the ancient creeds of the faith teach.

More bizarre contradictions emerged: Over sixty percent of Americans say that God, Who cannot err, is the Author of the Bible. Yet fewer than half are willing to affirm that the Bible God wrote is “one hundred percent accurate in all it teaches.” Full article at PNW

Iron Age Toilet Is Evidence Of Judean King Hezekiah Religious Reforms

They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day. 2 Kings 10:27 NIV

An 8th century BCE toilet found at Lachish during the 2016 excavation by Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists.
An 8th century BCE toilet found at Lachish during the 2016 excavation by Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists.

A 2,700-year-old crapper is hardly the sort of object one would generally expect to be proof tying archaeology to the Bible. But archaeologists digging at Tel Lachish, a major city in the Kingdom of Judah up to its destruction in 701 BCE, point to the toilet as evidence of religious reforms carried out by the biblical king Hezekiah in the 8th century BCE.

The limestone commode was found inside a chamber of the Iron Age city’s monumental six-chambered gate that served as a shrine. At the time, Lachish was the second city of the Judahite kingdom, whose capital was Jerusalem. The gateway would have served as a meeting place, courthouse and administrative center.

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Sa’ar Ganor, who headed the excavation of Lachish’s massive portal (the largest yet excavated in the region), said Wednesday that archaeologists had found small altars whose horned corners had been smashed, and in the corner of the room a toilet had been erected.

The desecration of non-Yahwistic cult sites in Judah and Israel involves converting them into a latrine in at least one instance mentioned in the Bible. Recounting Jehu’s destruction of temples to Baal in the Israelite Kingdom to the north, 2 Kings 10:27 says the Israelite king’s men “broke down the pillar of Baal, and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a draught-house, unto this day.”

A few chapters later, the Hebrew chronicle mentions that King Hezekiah, who ruled Lachish but is better known for his Jerusalem waterworks, “removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah.” TimesOfIsrael

Joel Richardson: The Islamic Antichrist and the King of the North

Antichrist – Middle Eastern or a Roman from Europe?

Daniel 11

The Underground Episode 53: The Islamic Antichrist and the King of the North from Joel Richardson on Vimeo.

From Damage To Discovery Via Virtual Unwrapping: Scientists Reveal Biblical Text From Ancient Scroll

The scroll after it was virtually unwrapped. (Seales et al. Sci. Adv. 2016; 2 : e1601247)
The scroll after it was virtually unwrapped. (Seales et al. Sci. Adv. 2016; 2 : e1601247)

Amazing.

“Researchers at the University of Kentucky have used a new digital reconstruction technique to resurrect one of the earliest known versions of the Old Testament from a Hebrew scroll that was burned beyond recognition.” WSJ

In a significant archaeological achievement, an ancient Hebrew scroll that was burned in a fire in the distant past and was seemingly impenetrable has finally become readable— and scientists have discovered that it contains verses from the book of Leviticus.

The breakthrough was made through a high-tech process called “virtual unwrapping” and involved a collaboration between experts in the United States and Israel. While no one is sure of the precise age of the parchment, referred to as the En-Gedi scroll, radiocarbon dating suggests it is from about the third or fourth century. Discovered in 1970, it likely was burned in a fire that destroyed a synagogue in the year 600 AD.

“We’re reading a real scroll. It hasn’t been read for millennia. Many thought it was probably impossible to read,” Brent Seales, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Kentucky, said during a teleconference with the media on Tuesday.

Seales, the first author of the paper announcing the discovery in the journal Science Advances, explained that the breakthrough occurred after a scan of the fragile scroll was made in Israel using a micro-CT scanner; then his team digitally unpacked the rolled, charred object. They later corresponded with experts in Israel for the analysis of the lines of Hebrew text.

They first could see that the scroll contained writing when they examined the digital version of the document in the lab, which made them feel “elated,” Seales said in a response to a question during the news conference.

“The real joy came when [Pnina Shor, an expert with the Israel Antiquities Authority] sent me back the result of having read our first results, because then I knew not only were we seeing writing, but it was readable,” Seales continued, “because she and her team were able to identify it as a known text, and at that point, we were absolutely jubilant, I have to say.”

Seales also said during the news conference that their method may hold interest for those in security or intelligence who want to read something “noninvasively.”  FoxNews

Joel Richardson: Fethullah Gulen, President Erdogan, and Turkish Islam

In this episode, Joel reviews the history and development of Turkish Islam and explains why it is so dangerous.


Recommended Resource:

A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin available at Amazon.

USDA Ignores AFDI Petition To Require All Halal Meat Be Labeled As Such

Halal_shop_sign,_Rue_de_Patay,_Paris_13Since 2012 the USDA has been stonewalling a petition to label Halal meat.

Some consumers may not wish to consume ritually slaughtered products.  They have a right to sufficient labeling information.

Many consumers object to the methods used to slaughter the animal, finding it offensive to eat meat slaughtered according to Islamic ritual. One reason many consumers do not eat Halal meat is the meat is slaughtered in the name of Allah.  Muslims who follow halal rituals always pronounce the name of Allah on each animal that is slaughtered.

A great deal of meat sold in this country is halal but is not labeled is such. It’s a scandal — but an established practice: meat packers generally do not separate halal meat from non-halal meat, and do not label halal meat as such. We attempted to right that wrong. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has for four years now ignored, shelved, or just plain refused to rule on our petition.

As many Americans do not, for a variety of reasons, wish to eat halal meat, back in February 2012, my organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, asking that a regulation be enacted to ensure that all halal food be clearly labeled as halal. In April 2012, we agreed not to publicize our petition in order to give the agency some space to review the document without any pressure from the public.

On May 11, 2012, we had a face-to-face meeting in the USDA offices with top FSIS officials. We discussed this petition and the need for halal meat to be clearly labeled. Present at this meeting was Dan Engeljohn, a longtime USDA official who is now Assistant Administrator for the Office of Policy and Program Development (OPPD) in the FSIS. This position makes him responsible for FSIS regulations.

Engeljohn and company have now had four years to rule on our petition. They’ve done absolutely nothing.Breitbart

Butterball Turkey

Then in November 2011, I penned an article that caused a firestorm across the political spectrum, revealing that Butterball turkeys were all halal, but were not labeled as such.Heads exploded on the left – not over Butterball’s deception, but over my having the audacity to reveal it. And the clueless and compromised on the right were enraged as well:John Podhoretz tweeted, “I’d tell Pamela Geller to put a sock in it, but the sock might be halal.”

I was, of course, excoriated as a racist Islamophobic anti-Muslim bigot. In reality, however, we have no objection to halal meat being sold, as long as it is clearly labeled as such, and as long as non-halal meat is available. Meat that is halal must be labeled as such..Breitbart

The Petition ask that meat ritually slaughtered by clearly labeled.

Our petition regarding ritual slaughter was posted on the FSIS website on February 14, 2012. It was a “ritual slaughter” petition that applied to all types of ritual slaughter: kosher, halal, etc. Every type of ritual slaughter holds some type of concern for some segment of the consuming public. We were not asking the USDA to single out a specific type of slaughter when dealing with this issue; our petition did not single out one type of ritual slaughter over another, nor did it wish to discriminate against a specific religious group.

We just wanted all meat that had been ritually slaughtered to be clearly labeled to that effect. Kosher meat is routinely marked accordingly; why not halal meat?.Breitbart

Online: Difference Between Kosher and Halal

Discovery Of Philistine Cemetery May Solve Ancient Mystery

 Photo: Melissa Aja/Leon Levy Expedition
Photo: Melissa Aja/Leon Levy Expedition

The first Philistine cemetery ever discovered has been found outside the ancient walls of port city Ashkelon.  It may provide definitive proof of where the Philistines originated as several of the graves discovered contain well-preserved skeletons.

The Philistines were ancient enemies of Israel.   References in the Bible point to “Captor” (ancient name for Crete) as the origin of the Philistines who were not Semitic people. (Deuteronomy 2:23, Jeremiah 47:4, and Amos 9:7)

The Philistines are among the most notorious villains of the Hebrew Bible. This “uncircumcised” group controlled the coastal region of modern-day southern Israel and the Gaza Strip and warred with their Israelite neighbors—even seizing the Ark of the Covenant for a time. Among their ranks were the devious Delilah, who robbed Samson of his strength by cutting his hair, and the giant Goliath, who made King Saul’s troops tremble in their tents until a young man named David took him down with a slingshot. NationalGeographic

Askelon was a major city of the Philistines between the  12th and 7th centuries B.C.

“Archaeologists and scholars have long searched for the origin of the Philistines, and the discovery of the cemetery is poised to offer the key to this mystery,” the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon announced on Sunday.

“Findings from the cemetery, dated from the 11th to the 8th centuries BCE, may well support the claim – long inferred and recorded in the Bible – that the Philistines were migrants to the shores of ancient Israel who arrived from lands to the west around the 12th century BCE.” JPost

Burial Practices

Philistine burial practices were not like those of the Bronze Age Canaanites, nor were they similar to burial practices in later Iron Age Judea. The Philistines buried their dead primarily in pits that were dug for each deceased individual: male or female, adult or child. Later, more bodies were sometimes placed in the same pit, which was dug again along roughly the same lines, but the new remains were interred with their own grave goods. The cemetery was also found to contain evidence of cremations, together with pit interments and multi-chambered tombs.

After quelling Bar Kochba’s revolt in the Roman province of Judaea in 135 CE, Emperor Hadrian renamed the area Syria Palaestina, for the Israelites’ ancient enemies.

Research on artifacts found at the site, including bones, ceramics, jewelry and weapons, may connect the Philistines to related populations elsewhere in the Mediterranean Basin. Bone samples taken from the site are also being tested in order to ascertain the Philistines’ origins. BreakingNewsIsrael

Harved Researcher Who Discovered The ‘Jesus’s Wife’ Fragment Now Says It Is Likely A Forgery

For four years, Karen L. King, a Harvard historian of Christianity, has defended the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” against scholars who argued it was a forgery. But Thursday, for the first time, King said the papyrus—which she introduced to the world in 2012—is a probable fake.

She reached this conclusion, she said, after reading The Atlantic’s investigation into the papyrus’s origins, which appears in the magazine’s July/August issue and was posted to its website Wednesday night.

 

Provenance

When first published multiple scholars repudiated the text as a clumsy forgery based on its poor Coptic grammar.  There was one area of investigation that no one had looked at deeply – Provenance.  Karen King made no investigation, she took the owners word, and now admits that she knew little about the owner of the manuscript.

The American Association of Museums’ Guide to Provenance Research warns that an investigation of an object’s origins “is not unlike detective work”: “One may spend hours, days, or weeks following a trail that leads nowhere.” When I started to dig, however, I uncovered more than I’d ever expected—a warren of secrets and lies that spanned from the industrial districts of Berlin to the swingers scene of southwest Florida, and from the halls of Harvard and the Vatican to the headquarters of the East German Stasi.

Perhaps conveniently, every player in this story was dead. Peter Munro died in 2009, the colleague he had supposedly consulted about the papyri died in 2006, and Hans-Ulrich Laukamp died in 2002. King thus declared the scrap’s history all but unknowable. “The lack of information regarding the provenance of the discovery is unfortunate,” she wrote in 2014, in an article about the papyrus in the Harvard Theological Review, “since, when known, such information is extremely pertinent.”

Provenance Papers

Forensic specialists had told me early on that anyone with the technical skill to fake an ancient Coptic papyrus would have no trouble concocting modern-day provenance papers. But after reading a short history of manuscript forgery by Christopher Jones, the Harvard classicist, in last July’s New Testament Studies, I wondered whether they’d gotten it backwards. “Perhaps the hardest thing of all to forge is provenance,” Jones wrote. A manuscript is a physical object; to convincingly fake one, all you need are the right tools and materials. Provenance, however, is historical fact: a trail of dates, places, buyers, sellers. To convincingly fake provenance, you need to rewrite history—often recent history.

The Atlantic’s copiously detailed long investigative report  by journalist Ariel Sabar goes multi-state and international following a trial beginning with an  auto-parts company owner.  It would lead to Walter Fritz, a native of Germany living in Florida who had once studied at Free University’s Institute of Egyptology where he studied Coptic. He also was an owner of an erotic art company and a pornographer (with his wife in the lead role).  A wife who channels angels and had also written a book of ‘universal truths’.

How the scrap of papyrus was acquired, the history and credentials of the man who provided it to Karen King is evidence that presses in the direction of forgery.

Read the full amazing report at The Atlantic – The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife

 

The United Church of Christ Tips On White Privilege

The United Church of Christ (UCC), a major mainline Protestant denomination, published a Facebook post telling all whites that they are racist against non-whites, no matter what they do.

An infographic posted to the church’s Facebook page over the weekend gives white people a series of 10 tips on how to cope with their white privilege.  DailyCaller

cofcwhiteprivilege

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a link on the Church of Christ facebook post that goes to an article on the site New Sacred, a United Church of Christ blog “where progressive religion and progressive culture collide.”

God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).   Christianity is the first religion to disregard racial, cultural and national limitations.

As Martin Luther King Jr said we should be judged by the content of our character not the color of our skin.

The inflammatory term ‘white privilege’ is taken from a radical and divisive secular agenda.

The term is problematic for Christians, says Moody Bible Institute professor Litfin, because he believes white privilege implies that being white in America is sinful. That kind of collective sin doesn’t apply to Christians, his letter argued, as they are only responsible for their own actions.

“Collective sin was operative in the covenant community of Israel, such as with Achan (Joshua 7),” he wrote. “However, with the arrival of the New Covenant, individuals now stand or fall before God for their own actions (Jeremiah 31:29-30). …Therefore, an entire race should not be held accountable for the sins of individuals. It doesn’t work like that anymore.” CT

Christians should reject any movement that encourages an entire race of people to feel guilty for their existence.

There are too many variables other than race that determines individual success in America — two-parent family, American privilege, Asian privilege…

Instead of looking at the values that makes a person succeed in America, a race privilege card is played to encourage a victim worldview.  A victim view that America is racist. That a lack of moral self-control does not cause crime instead its the fault of poverty and racism.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Genesis 4:6-7

All the term ‘white privilege’ does is stop the real topic from being heard of the underlying issues.  Instead it turns the focus on an external problem: white privilege.

“Why employ terms that divide the body of Christ? As students of God’s Word, let us draw our terminology from the Bible, not the wisdom of man.”  CT

Flat Earth Fallacy

earth_nasaThere seems to be an upsurge in the flat earth movement.

Within days of my conversation with the people about the young man who espoused a flat earth, I had two additional, yet independent, conversations with people having similar concerns about two other Christian young people. However, while the first young man merely talked about a flat earth as an intellectual exercise, these two young men apparently had become convinced that the earth may actually be flat. With three conversations over less than a week, I wondered, “Is there something going on out there?” There had been a few warning signs along the way. During the previous six months I had been asked about the flat earth several times.   One was from the department that handles correspondences and questions directed to Answers in Genesis. It seems that people submit a question about this to Answers in Genesis often enough.

Lack of knowledge of the reasons we know that the earth is spherical.

Most people have not given this question any thought, because they have been taught their entire lives that the earth is spherical, so why worry about it? Consequently, with no idea of the reasons we know that the earth is spherical, most people long ago entered a complacent state of more or less taking someone else’s word for the matter. When someone comes along, such as this young man, who has given this some thought and begins to raise what appear to be simple objections to the earth’s spherical shape, it doesn’t take much to fluster most people.

How people in the ancient world knew the earth is spherical.

Earth’s Shadow

So how did people in the ancient world know that the earth is spherical? The earliest recorded discussion of a spherical earth is from Pythagoras in the sixth century BC. Pythagoras correctly understood that the cause of lunar eclipses is the shadow of the earth falling on the moon. This can happen only when the moon is opposite the sun in our sky, which coincides with full moon. The earth’s shadow is larger than the moon, so we cannot see the entire shadow at once.

However, during a lunar eclipse we see the earth’s shadow creep across the moon. Because the edge of the earth’s shadow always is a portion of a circle, the earth’s shadow must be a circle. If the earth were flat and round, similar to a disk, it could cast a circular shadow, but only for lunar eclipses that occur at midnight.  For a lunar eclipse at sunrise or sunset, the earth’s shadow would be an ellipse, a line, or a rectangle, depending upon how thick the disk was compared to its diameter. However, the earth’s shadow during a lunar eclipse is always a circle, regardless of the time of night when the eclipse occurs. The only shape that consistently has a circular shadow, regardless of its orientation, is a sphere….

Are flat earth people for real?

Are these people who believe in a flat earth for real? It’s hard to say. They could be well-intentioned but seriously misguided people. Or they could be attempting to discredit the Bible and Christianity….

At least some of the people behind this upsurge in the flat earth movement may be lampooning the creation movement. As such, they clearly are no friends of the church; rather, they oppose Christ and His kingdom.

Online:  Read Full Article – Is The Earth Flat? at Answers in Genesis

The Bible Project: The Torah Series

This animated short film series on the first 5 books of the Bible is fantastic.  It is an exploration of the story-line and message of the Bible and how it fits together as one story. I found this animated series fascinating, it shows the Torah’s themes and the connections between the stories.

Visit the Bible Project website to view this series. It is addictive!

Joel Richardson: Is Isaiah 17 soon to be fulfilled in Damascus?

Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city,
And it will be a ruinous heap.
The cities of Aroer  [Jordan] are forsaken;
They will be for flocks
Which lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
The fortress also will cease from Ephraim,
The kingdom from Damascus,
And the remnant of Syria;
They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
4 “In that day it shall come to pass
That the glory of Jacob will wane,
And the fatness of his flesh grow lean.
Isaiah 17:1-4

Screen capture from video
Screen capture from video

Joel tackles the oracle of Isaiah 17. This much talked about prophecy, which speaks of the destruction of Damascus, has been the subject of much discussion since the start of the Syrian civil war. Is this prophecy about to find imminent fulfillment as many students of prophecy are suggesting? Or does the text reveal something else? JoelsTrumpet

The Underground Episode 29: Is Isaiah 17 soon to be fulfilled in Damascus? from Joel Richardson on Vimeo.