Archive for May, 2010

Does the Bible teach violence? If one holds to the doctrine of Eternal Hell for the crime of unbelief, which is to be an enemy of God then the Bible does indeed teach violence.

Rom.5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

If the Greater Good is to love our enemies and to do good to those that hate us as the Bible teaches, how can God do any different? Jesus said that in order to be called children of God we must not only love our neighbors, but we must pray for and love those who persecute us….if that is the case then how can the doctrine of Eternal Hell be true? For if it is, God would be violating His own Word!

Matt. 5:39-40 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also….43- 45 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Can you think of anyone who would willingly choose torture over love? In my book, loving ones enemy does not include sending them to Hell….so how do we reconcile the teaching of Eternal Hell with Eternal Love?

As I was studying the Parable of the Good Samaritan an interesting question came to mind, it was: What compelled the Samaritan to manifest the Greater Good by showing compassion and mercy to the wounded man, whereas the Priest and Levite did not?

Luke 10:29-37 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spends more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinks thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

In the story Jesus does not tell us who this wounded man is or what his religion is, but we do know the religious and tribal affiliations of the Priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan. Both the Priest and the Levite were Jews of the tribe of Levi, whereas the heritage of the Samaritan was connected to their common father Jacob (Israel) before they split over religious doctrines around the 4th century BC, and chose Mt.Gerizim as their place of worship. The Samaritan did not allow his religious beliefs to keep him from showing compassion on a stranger, whereas the Priest and the Levite did….the point that Jesus is stressing is that every living soul is our neighbor

Why Jesus chose a Samaritan to be the man who had mercy and compassion we can only surmise from the context of the Parable. The Samaritan showed by his action the Greater Good of loving his neighbor, this is the message that Jesus is espousing here….when we are confronted with a choice of which path to take, our pledge should be to always choose the path of the Greater Good.

As fellow citizens on this planet that God has given us to call home for the years of our lives…let us continue to raise up the standard of freedom and strive to make it be an equal home for all.

The Focus of this rant is on a specific teaching, promoted by certain religious doctrines, which by their very nature strips from many their freedom to live up to their “God given” human potential. This Teaching from Hell as I like to call it promotes rulership of men, placing them in positions of authority, and leadership (using the Bible as their weapon) simply because their gender is male. These men (being born and nurtured of women) who use their freedom to rise up in power, thus fulfilling their own God given potentials and desires, all the while using their power to strip others of that very same freedom, need to be made aware of the hypocritical lives they are leading….for it is only because of the men and women who have come before them that they are able to walk in their positions of authority.

A good case in point is the teachings of a certain religious leader by the name of Dr. Paige Patterson, current President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This man using the freedom given him by God to fulfill his dreams and desires (and helped by many women along the way in his life) of becoming a teacher of his faith, used and abused that position to strip from another fellow citizen of God’s Kingdom her freedom to teach simply because of her gender.

I can’t emphasize enough the harm that this Teaching from Hell has done. It uses the Bible as a weapon with which to rob women of their individual freedom to reach their potential and fulfill their desires given to them by God, simply because they are female.  How can a man justify taking that which God has given to him to fulfill his dreams, and using it to deny another of that very same thing?

It is time for women of faith to rise up and reject these religious teachings passed off as doctrinal truths and assert their place as equal citizens in all ways in the Kingdom of God. Women were not created equal in the eyes of God only to be denied that equality by men who think they are superior to God. In every way women possess the same capabilities for knowledge and spiritual understanding as men possess, and have been used by God in many powerful ways throughout history.

There is a prominent teaching among some Fundamentalist Christians stating that  women are in a subordinate position to men in the Church, thus relegating women to a place of only receiving instruction from men, and being unable to give teaching to a man. I would like to counter that teaching with some examples from the Bible where God explicitly chose women to carry out His will….speaking directly to these women without using men as “go betweens”, and using those women to affect the lives of men, thus being their teachers.

The most outstanding examples are manifest in the three women who were in the direct lineage of Christ. First, I will start with the harlot Rahab, whose name in Hebrew means “wide or large”. God spoke to Rahab to hide the spies sent out by Joshua. This woman of ill reputation to whom God spoke to without the intercession of a man, became the wife of Salmon….

Rahab:

Josh.2: 1-4 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:…9)And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

Heb.11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

….and Salmon, who married the harlot Rahab was the father of Boaz, who became the husband of Ruth.

Ruth:

Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.

Ruth 4:21-22 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Mat.1:5 And Salmon begat Boaz of Rachab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

Ruth, whose Hebrew name means “Friendship”, was the daughter-in-law of Naomi. Once again, we see a woman (Ruth) directly guided by God (without the intervention of a man) causing her to return with her Mother-in-law Naomi, to Naomi’s home town of Bethlehem. While living in Bethlehem, Naomi guides Ruth to meet with her dead husbands relative Boaz. Ruth marries Boaz and bears him a child whose name is Obed. Obed was the Grandfather of King David, whose lineage leads to Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Mary:

Luke 1:26-32 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

Mary, the Mother of Jesus (in the lineage of King David) was directly contacted by the angel Gabriel who was sent from God (again without the intervention of a man), and told she would bear a child named Jesus who would sit on the throne of His father David.

From the three examples I have given, one can explicitly see God’s direct line of communication to these Women of Faith, whose lives changed the world by their obedience to Him. Since God did not deem it necessary for these women to first get approval from men in order for them to carry out His calling in their lives, neither do I see the need for women to first get approval from men in the Church before they can teach men what God has put on their hearts, whether it be prophecy or knowledge….of course if a man is unwilling to be taught by a woman, it is his loss.

Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Exo.15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Luke 2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

If the words of men like Paige Patterson (President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), and many others like him are true, then I see a dilemma of the greatest proportion in my being able to cling to the words of Scripture and view them as having veracity: let me elaborate. Paige Patterson is one among many fundamentalist preachers who assert that a women’s place is first and foremost a Mother and Grandmother, if one holds that to be true then is can be equally asserted that a mans place if first and foremost a Father and Grandfather. God created men and women with an equal capacity to pursue knowledge and an equal desire to fulfill their God given potential whatever that may be. Who do these men think they are to stand in judgment over what a women’s role should be and what her potential is?

If God can appoint a woman to be Judge over Israel (Judges 4 & 5), but men such as Paige Patterson cannot suffer a woman to “teach a man”! What is wrong with this picture?

Deborah: Judge of Israel

Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

The potential to fulfill the desires of our hearts is something God has place within each one of us….be it man or woman, and what right has a man to stand up in the position of God and deem how a woman should fulfill that desire.

Continuing on with the idea that our journey through this life is about Shaping our Souls for Eternity, let me introduce the concept of comparing Soul Shaping to Forming our Minds through focused learning in schools of education. As we grow in understanding of who we are and the world around us by the continued process of expanding our minds through learning, we are forming ideas that shape our personality and our understanding of who we are. The world around us is like a mold, shaping our minds by experiences we encounter throughout our lives.

We are born with minds like the empty canvas of an artist, the colors that make up our pallet are life’s experience, which we apply to our canvas….when our journey in this life ends….a portrait of who we were remains imprinted upon our soul. In the same sense our souls are shaped and formed by the mold of our life, creating a unique individual by the forces of the experiences that make up our lives. Could it be what this life is all about? To shape a souls for eternity, or to begin the process of shaping our souls….like the predetermined plant contained in the seed it springs forth from, which is then shaped by its environment determining how big it will grow by how much water, fertilizer, and sunshine it gets, or how much fruit it will produce. All these factors of growth depend on its life experiences in much the same way as a human life (whose earthy form is beyond our control) is shaped by their positive and negative experiences.

When we leave this life, I believe what we will carry with us into eternity is the essence of our life that was imprinted upon our souls….conditioned by this earthly experience. In this life we have little control over much of our existence (where we are born, what we look like..ect), but the one thing we can change is our attitude towards others. Whether or not we choose to function as a supporter, friend or companion to others will determine how we grow and who we become.

If salvation for all is the “Greater Good”, and God’s will is that all be saved….then can God do anything less than Save All? If God has spoken even one time that all men shall be saved, can He do any less then save all men and still remain true to His Word?

1Tim.2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

John 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

John 17:2 As thou hast given him (Jesus) power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Luke 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Rom.11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

If the Apostle Paul, being but a mere man desired the “Greater Good” for all men, and that is to be saved, can any less be expected of God?

Rom.10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

1Cor.10:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

1Cor.10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

We know with God all things are possible, and God works all things according to His own will, so if it is God’s desire that all men be saved….it must be so.

Eph.1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

If one can be saved….two can be saved, all can be saved!

This section of my Blog  called the Hall of Praise is dedicated to those individuals who have by their words and actions chosen to make this world a better place by finding injustice and exposing it. The first example I wish to share that is worthy of much praise comes from a Website called: Grace and Truth to You…by Wade Burleson.

Wade relates the story of a woman named Sheri Klouda who from 2002-2006 was a Professor of Hebrew, at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here is a quote from Wade’s Blog on Sheri Klouda:

“This post is written for the purpose of drawing attention to a brilliant theologian who served Southern Baptists as a professor of Hebrew at Southwestern Theological for a total of seven and a half years, three and a half as an adjunct professor and four as full time elected faculty, establishing impeccable credentials and an extraordinary track record, only to be forced out from the job of her dreams for solely one reason — her gender.”

Sheri Klouda was forced to find another job when she was denied Tenure at SBTS simply because she was a woman. This story began to unfold when SBTS hired a new President by the name of Paige Patterson. In June of 2004, 1 year after Paige Patterson was appointed President of the College, Sheri Klouda was informed that she would never be granted Tenure….and why is that you might ask: simply because she was a women and Paige Patterson deemed that no woman was going to teach a man at the college he was President of….using the Bible, as his weapon to strip from Sheri Klouda her much deserved Tenure.

“In that June, 2004, precisely a year after Patterson had been appointed President of the school, Sheri was told that it was ‘the President’ who would never recommend her for tenure. Why? It had nothing to do with her professional performance or collegiality, but simply her gender. She would not be given tenure by the President, because she was the only female teaching biblical studies in the school of theology, and that was not the proper place for a woman. There were many qualified men that could fill that position and it was the President’s desire to replace her. Southwestern would give her two to three years to find another position at a reputable school, but she was to do her best to find another position as quickly as possible.”

Wade Burleson has done an outstanding job of exposing this egregious act of discrimination that was allowed to happen under the cover of a Christian College. Not only has Wade brought to light this injustice, but he has also put his words into action by working with his church to give Sheri financial support in her time of need. His complete article on Sheri Klouda can be found here.

I would like to take this opportunity to get something off my chest that I’ve thought about for a long time, and that is the struggle of women through the ages to free themselves from the oppression of self-serving men. First I want to give abundant praises to the many men (my husband included) who throughout history have made it a priority to make women’s lives easier and to fight for their freedom. And to equally on the other hand pile shame upon more shame for those men who have chosen to heap burdens of oppression, ridicule and derision upon women whose lives already have burden enough. If those men had to walk one day in the woman’s shoes who they have burdened they would probably have collapsed under the load.

Women are born into this world with a big disadvantage from the start, in just the natural functioning of their bodies alone. From the time of puberty till menopause women suffer (with their monthly cycles) what is equivalent to that of a 3 – 7 day illness of varying severity every month (headaches, cramping, bloating, and mood swings just to name a few), with hormone levels rising and plummeting. Even the gift of pregnancy is usually a very uncomfortable and painful experience, and a potentially risky undertaking besides. Though death in childbirth is a rarity in this country today (not in others), that has not always been the case.

After our monthly cycles end in middle age there is the joy of menopause with hot flashes, night sweats, and decreased sexual desire, along with a myriad of other discomforts. If all these handicaps of natural inconveniences women suffer isn’t enough….there is added to the pile, the horrible hardships wicked men (in positions of authority) have imposed upon the very women who are their Mothers, their Sisters, their Wives and the Mothers of their children. Sad to say the worst offenders are those in Religious Institutions (headed by men who are suppose to be examples of Godliness) and their interpretations of “God’s Word”, which they twist, pervert and use to impose their self-serving will upon those who are at their mercy.

Women have had to fight tooth and nail, struggling for every freedom they’ve gained over the ages….fortunately there have been many men who have made tremendous strides with woman in their journey to live their lives with the same freedom that men of equal standing experience. While these self-serving men, who have lived their lives in pursuit of their dreams and desires, somehow think women should be denied the fulfillment of those same dreams and desires because of their gender. God has bestowed upon women the same capacity to learn and the same desire for knowledge as men, but men begin with the advantage of starting off experiencing none of the inconveniences in their naturally stronger bodies, only having fleshly desires they seek to fulfill, abuse the position of strength God has given them using it to overpower woman, and imposing their twisted perversions on those who are smaller and weaker because of their gender.

These are strong words, but nothing compared to the havoc wreaked in the lives of those women who have and are living under the oppression of power hungry, self-serving men who chose to inflict suffering on their fellow human beings instead of support. I speak from having had first hand experience with these self-serving men (starting with my father), who used their positions of authority to take advantage of women merely because they could. I have chosen this opportunity to purge my soul from this weight….allowing my butterfly the freedom to soar higher, and see farther then ever before, speaking out against those who stand in the way of the potential of each human life.

Truth triumphs with grace

As an upright warrior….

Standing invincible

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