Showing posts from April, 2010

Does the soul sleep at death?

Recently someone was trying to convince me that when we die we don’t go immediately to heaven, but that our soul dies along with our body. Is that true?

This position is often referred to as the doctrine of “soul sleep.” It is a position which is held by Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a few otherwise orthodox theologians. The view is that soul has no conscious existence apart from the body, so that when the body dies, the soul dies too, and both body and soul remain dead until the time of the resurrection, at the second coming.

Those who advocate the position base their argument on the fact that Scripture often speaks of the dead as sleeping (e.g., Mk. 5:39; Jn. 11:11; 1 Cor. 15:20; etc.). But this hardly proves the point because this kind of figurative language is consistent with both their doctrine and the traditional view, that the soul survives the death of the body. And if it’s consistent with both, it is proof of neither.

Those who advocate of the doctrine of …

Mozart like you have never heard him before

The Bible and Slavery

Why does Paul in his letters urge Christian slave-owners to treat their slaves well, rather than urge them to free their slaves? Isn’t slavery sinful?

Like so many other things in life…it depends. It depends upon (among other things) how the person came to be a slave. The Bible in no uncertain terms condemns the practice of kidnapping for the purpose of turning free men into slaves. In Exodus we read,

Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him [the stolen man], shall be put to death (Ex. 21:16). And Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:8-10, also condemns “man-stealing” or “kidnapping” for the purpose of making slaves.

But is being kidnapped the only way someone might be made a slave? The answer is no. The Bible recognizes several forms of lawful slavery. The first is as a means of paying back a debt. Let’s say a man has borrowed a sum of money and is unable to repay what he owes. Should he be allowed to default on the loan? No, because that would be a form of theft. He’s …

The Koran's Distortion of the Bible

The Koran alludes to or retells (with varying degrees of accuracy) many of the stories of the Old Testament. It also presumes to give additional details to many of the stories. In one of them, for instance, Allah enables Solomon to understand the speech of birds and ants (Sura 27:16ff.).

There are allusions to the New Testament also. Jesus is mentioned numerous times. He is said to be a virgin-born prophet and a worker of miracles, but he is emphatically not the Son of God.

It is doubtful that Muhammad ever had the opportunity to know orthodox Christians or to read from the New Testament itself. Many of the stories about Jesus that appear in the Koran are derived from the writings of heretical Christian groups. For instance, the Koran has the boy Jesus fashion birds of clay and breathe into them the breath of life so that they become living creatures. This is taken from the second-century apocryphal Gospel of Thomas.

Spencer gives numerous other examples in chapter 3.

The Conquest of Canaan

Why did the Israelites exterminate the Canaanites, killing all the women and children, along with the fighting men, as we read in Joshua? That doesn’t seem right.

The short answer is that God commanded them to do so.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. (Deut 7:1-2)So the Israelites did what they did to the Canaanites at God’s command. I should be quick to point out, however, that this was not to be Israel’s usual policy in war—the wholesale slaughter of every man, woman, and child.

In Deuteronomy 20 we read that whenever there was a just occ…

Guam to capsize?

Because I knew you wouldn't believe me unless you saw it for yourself, I've embedded the video below. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) fears that if the U.S. increases the number of troops on the island of Guam, the island might tip over and capsize. Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Robert Willard, should be given a medal for not laughing! (Thanks to James for bringing this to my attention.)

Paul who?

There's no doubting that God used Saul of Tarsus - better known by his alias: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus - in a very remarkable way to establish his church among the Gentiles. He is a fascinating figure for many reasons, and a man we would do well to know at more than just a superficial level. Michael F. Bird has helped us in this task with his book Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message.
He concludes his first chapter, "What is Paul", by saying: Paul was regarded by many Jewish Christians as a meddlesome nonconformist, by Jews as a blasphemous apostate, and by Roman authorities as a mischievous nuisance... The chief legacy of Paul is his claim that Gentiles can be part of the Israel of God without becoming proselytes to Judaism. He also claims that there is another "Lord, one who rivals Caesar and who will establish an everlasting kingdom that will overthrow all despots and self-divinized pretenders (Phil. 2:10-11; Acts 17:7).Paul is not given…

The Koran: A perfect book?

Spencer explains what Muslims believe concerning the origin of the Koran:
Muslims believe the Koran is not only perfect, but that it's uncreated. What's that mean? The Koran says that Allah has in his possession the "Mother of the Book" (13:39). And Allah made the Koran "in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand" (43:3) and tells Muhammad that "it is in the Mother of the Book, in Our Presence" (43:4). The "Mother of the Book" is, according to Islamic tradition, the Preserved Tablet, the copy of the Koran that has existed for all eternity with Allah (85:21-22). (pp. 25-26)One wonders, then, how it is that changes could have been introduced in the text.
Muhammad received Koranic revelations from Gabriel piecemeal-or, as the Koran itself says, "in slow, well-arranged stages, gradually" (25:32) - for twenty-three years. But Muhammad himself was "unlettered" 97:157), and did not write down his revelations. Before he died …

Conservatism that doesn't conserve

R. L. Dabney was a Southern Presbyterian theologian who had remarkable insights into the consequences of ideas. In an article entitled "Women's Rights Women" he chastened Northern conservatism as being wholly ineffective at conserving anything.
This is a party [Northern conservatism] which never conserves anything. It history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting [pretending] to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to to bedenounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retard…

More on the Koran

Quite some time ago I posted my first installment of a review of Robert Spencer's The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran in the PIG series (Politically Incorrect Guides), published by Regnery. At the time I said there were more posts to come. (You thought I forgot, didn't you?) Here's the second in the series.

Chapter 2 is entitled "What is this Book anyway, and What's in It?" Spencer does a good job of giving an overview of its contents and a history of its transmission.
The word Koran means "recitation" in Arabic - a title that refers to Muhammad's reciting of the eternal divine words that were delivered to him by the angel Gabriel beginning in 610 AD. The first divine command that Gabriel delivered to Muhammad was to "recite" (sura 96).This is why there is an emphasis on the oral recitation of the Koran. Many Muslim males in fact have large portions, if not the whole of the Koran memorized. It is too bad that Muslims show more …

What about civil disobedience

The Bible says that we are to obey those who are in authority over us. Does this hold true in every situation?

This is a very good question. You are right in saying the Bible teaches that we are to obey those who are in authority over us. Children are to obey their parents. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands, church members to the officers of the church, employees to their employers, and citizens to civil magistrates.

It should be pointed out, however, that the only one who has an absolute claim to anyone’s obedience is God. It is never permissible, under any circumstances, ever to disobey God. Under certain circumstances, however, it is permissible to disobey human authorities. In fact, I would go even further. In some circumstances one has not only the right, but the duty to disobey authority.

Now, let me be very clear about this. The general posture of the Christian ought to be one of joyful submission to authority. This ought to be one of the distinguishing characterist…