Sunday, February 24, 2008

To 20 Bible Questions #6: Interracial Marriage

Q. What does the Bible say about interracial marriage?

A. The Bible has much to say about interracial marriage. Boaz's marriage to Ruth the Moabitess was a condemned practice; and according to prevailing customs, she should have been stoned. That was the rule for most pagan tribes near or far, but we know that Ruth was a Moabite, of whom Jesus was a direct descendant.

We also know that Rahab the harlot who lowered the string over the wall of Jericho was a condemned person but also became the great grandma of David.

Even Moses put up with gossip because he had married a Cushite woman. So much for Biblical injunctions and dogmas about mixed marriage.

Our concern is the social impact on today’s way of living. Obviously, the complications of interracial marriage take many forms, some easier to work out than others.

The impact on mixed children differs according to which part of the world you are reared. Folks in the southern United States have taken longer to accept children of interracial marriages than have residents in the North. Much of this is due to the influence of the Civil War on the South.

As far as this writer is concerned, interracial marriage is a matter of two people falling in love or what seems to be that state, and then subsequently working out problems as they arise.

There are some great movies on this subject like unto “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” with Sydney Poitier and a cast of stars. My suggestion is to talk it over with both sets of parents, who might bring some wisdom into the picture.

It is my experience that nothing but experience helps while we live with a changing society. And we have to work out problems as they arise, one at a time.

Top 20 Bible Questions #5: Masturbation

Q. Is masturbation a sin, according to the Bible?

A. The question of masturbation has been a curiously loaded topic for as long as my 83 years can remember. Some parents warned their sons that it would cause blindness. Others mentioned the terrible sin of “self abuse” and added guilt to the simple problem of helping a child grow into mature adults with a minimum of such guilt.

The underlying problem has to do with “As a man thinketh, so is he.” If, as a little fellow, you think that playing with yourself is a dreadful sin, and you happen to do that quite often - especially if you have been to the beach and have seen your girlfriend in a tiny bikini - then the problem of your turning into a pervert or a molester of cute little girls is certain to crop up in one form or another.

Some people suggest masturbation is a sin because it is promoted by lustful thoughts. I would suggest that the hankering to get into the pants of your girlfriend as soon as possible comes from the first kiss, an impulse was planted there by God Himself who takes great joy in our desire systems and could care less if the little lady gets pregnant and life gets complicated.

When David looked at Bathsheba and got his pants in an uproar, the outcome was that little Bathsheba got pregnant and David had her husband murdered. Mind you, this was "a man after God’s own heart." Were there consequences of that action? Of course. For all actions, there are consequences.

But to call masturbation a sin makes it a special contention that has little Biblical support. All sin is forever forgiven by the slaying of the LAMB. When was that accomplished? “Before the foundation of the world.” This took care of all sin from every man, from the cave man to present day searchers. Sin is never the question; consequence is.

In a future blog post, I will have much more to say on this matter of the absolute forgiveness of all sin, while holding fast to “what you sow, that shall you reap.”

Good question.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #4: Eternal Security

Q. What about "once saved always saved?" Is eternal security Biblical? Can a Christian lose salvation?

A. Writing about these questions has kept theologians busy for centuries. Any question of Salvation is predicated on the notion that we have a God who is always keeping score, watching every move and notion from his big white throne in the sky.

To most Christians and other religious sects, God is a extra-big old man with white hair. We must remember that according to Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man...”

Because God is not a man, we must suppose that he is a being, a force, an energy, a primal source or something of that nature. Paul tells us that God is ALL AND IN ALL. This is undefined and unrestricted. We do know that the Bible tells us in three places (Is. 45:23, Ro. 14:11, Phil. 2:10) that “At his name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess him as lord to the glory of God.” The word “every” is an unqualified word and means exactly that.

The word SAVED comes from the Greek word “SOZO,” meaning "to make whole, complete, unfragmented." It has nothing to do with an angry God.

There are many Christians living in pain that are on their way to heaven but are not saved in the Biblical sense of the word. It is clear from Revelation 13:8 and Ephesians 1:4 that the LAMB was slain before the foundation of the world. The lamb took away the sins of the whole world. This must include the cave men, the stone age men, the iron age men and all living being until this present age.

The “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is part of religions mythology. There is no foundation in that sort of Catholic and protestant theology. To predicate that God was so angry with His children that He could only get less angry by having his beloved son tortured and killed in the most painful way is a primitive, non-Biblical bit of pagan foolishness. God so loved the world that He lovingly gave us Himself in His Son to show us the need to die to physical things. This is called Calvary. Calvary precedes resurrection and ascension-consciousness. We can know this only by being still and knowing that God is God.

The doctrine of Hell is based on at least seven words that are translated "hell" in various translations. The foreknowledge of God precludes any concept of eternal punishment. That we reap what we sow is of good sense and is taken care of in the Scriptures in various way that I will talk about in a future blog.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #3: Tattoos, Body Piercing

Q. What does the Bible have to say about body piercings and tattoos?”

A. Good folks who are “literalists” and strict religionists have always had a bias against body piercing and tattooing, labeled as pagan by citing Leviticus 19:28: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”

The same commandment is also cited in Leviticus 21:5, although this time, the instructions also prohibit baldness and shaving. We don't usually hear that part.

To have the ear pierced by the owner of a slave was a volunteer process of love and commitment. For an Easterner to paint a small circle between their eyes is a sign of the "middle eye," which is a powerful chakra or power center.

The Blood of Jesus is the ultimate covering of all such decorations. We can assume that God - choosing not to see either the tattoo or the body piercing - looks at the heart.

To me, this is a mute question to all who walk in the light of the Kingdom of God, because we are marked with his name in our foreheads, for we have the mind of Christ.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Recommended: "A New Earth" by E. Tolle

Q. Each Wednesday, you have graciously agreed to recommend a book you have found helpful to your growth. Which book jumps off the shelf this week?

A. This week, the book I’d like to comment on is A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61).

Oprah is featuring it as her Book of the Month recommendation, and beginning March 3, will sponsor a 10-week webinar class with Tolle leading the discussions. The book is a deep, thoughful page-turner to read. It makes sense, giving good direction to help the reader get quiet in the mind and heart. It has my strongest recommendation, as do his other excellent books and DVDs.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Top 20 Bible Questions #2: Homosexuality

Q. “What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Is it a sin?”

A. Every social group tends to frown on deviation from the norm. According to Fuller Seminary writers, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was social blocking and had nothing directly to do with the so-called sin of sodomy.

Paul, in the first chapter of Romans says that men sleeping with men is an abomination. In 39 of 40 uses of the word sin, he uses hamartano, the word which means pain, fragmentation, struggle. He uses “missing the mark” in the only other use of the word sin.

It is important to understand that Paul starts a long argument in Romans, chapter one. By time he gets to chapter four, he asks the question: “What shall we say that Abraham has found working in man?”

By time he gets to chapter seven, he cries out in verse 15, “What I’m doing, I don’t understand; for that which I would, I don’t do, and that which I would not, that I do. If I do what I do not wish to do, and don’t do that which I would do, I find that I am not the one doing it, but the law of sin.” This is the law of pain and confusion we call sin.

Paul continues his argument by crying out in vs. 24: “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” His answer is simply: “I thank my God, through Jesus Christ."

He ends his argument with the first part of chapter 8. “There is therefore (You have to pay attention to the therefore, to see what it is there for.) no condemnation to those in Christ, for the law of freedom in Christ has set us free from the laws of sin and death. For what the LAW could not do, weak as it was in the flesh, the SPIRIT did for those in Christ."

When the LAMB was slain before the foundation of the world, that holy event took care of all sin. God can not see sin that’s covered. Certain kinds of pain (sins) are easier to focus on than others, but in the final analysis, any judging is of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We center in the Tree of Life and let God worry about so-called sin. It’s all covered by the Blood.

The answer to Question #2 is a strong no, the way I see it.