My Personal Christian Blog

Thanks for sliding into my blog site. This blog bog is a spin-off from my website at Call me a Night Owl, as my full-time mission and hobby are jabbering from midnight until 8 a.m.ish with chatter bugs across the world. Hoot, hoot! Being a retired newspaper guy and a Curious George, I've written and assembled a whack of stuff that I hope you'll find interesting and thought-provoking. Check out the Stories bar on the right side, below, for all my articles - from my web site and this blog.

August 22, 2008

A Response To Barack Obama's Questions About Scripture

By Paul Tatham

During the run-up to the 2008 Democratic convention, Barack Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.

He added, "Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?
"Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination?

Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?

"So before we get carried away, let's read our Bible now," Obama said, to cheers. "Folks haven't been reading their Bible."

Good eye, Barack. The answer to the issues he raised lie not so much in reading the Bible as understanding its order.

The Old Testament (OT) in the Bible contains some procedures, practices, and prohibitions that we no longer believe are at least fully applicable today, if at all:

Some of these involve food (Ex 34:26; Dt. 14:8; Lev. 11:7), clothing (Lev 19:19; Dt. 22:12), respect (Lev. 19:32; 24:16), farming (Lev. 19:9, 19, 23).

How do we distinguish which are and which apply for today? The explanation is that there are four categories of OT law:

1. Moral laws - timeless truths such as the Ten Commandments, “love your neighbor,” etc.
2. Civil laws - Israel’s legal system such as Sabbatical Year, taxes, interest, punishing sin, etc.
3. Ceremonial law as in Israel’s religious system such as sacrifices, priests, feasts, etc.
4. Dietary laws - Israel’s food guidelines and prohibitions such as dealing with pork, cooking, etc.

Most evangelicals believe that only the first category applies today. The thinking is these laws are still in effect, because they are a reflection of God’s moral character, and that does not change. The other three categories apply only to Old Testamnent Israel.

Categorizing can sometimes be difficult. For example, the command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” in Lev 19:18 - a moral law - is followed, in the very next verse, by “do not wear clothing woven with two kinds of materials” - a civil law. These laws are not always neatly arranged.

The following guidelines may clarify what in the OT is still applicable today:

Was the OT law validated in the New Testament (NT)?

If something from the OT is reiterated in the NT, it is likely still in force, at least in principle.
This is illustrated by the Ten Commandments. All but one of the ten - the Sabbath - were reaffirmed in the NT.

The early church met on the first day of the week (Sunday), not Saturday, out of deference for the resurrection of Christ.

The NT concept that the “workman is worthy of his hire” is based on the analogy of the unmuzzled ox (Dt 25:4).

The NT injunction to love our enemies (Mt. 5:44; Rom 12:20) is a reaffirmation of the same OT principle in Ex. 23.

The NT indictment of homosexuality (Rom 1:26-27) reinforces its condemnation in Lev. 18:22; 20:13.

Christ validated a number of OT commands, thus endorsing their legitimacy for today. Furthermore, sometimes an OT law is not only reiterated but embellished.

The act of adultery, for example, is now not only wrong, but thoughts of it are also (Mt. 5:28). Not only are we to love one another, but we are to do it “as I have loved you.”

2. How do we know what OT law is invalidated in the NT?

Wisdom suggests if something from the OT is abrogated in the NT, or at least not reiterated, it no longer applies.

Israel’s dietary laws were done away with in Acts 10 (Peter’s vision of the sheet), which confirmed the words of Jesus in Mark 7 when “He declared all food clean.”

Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law. The OT sacrificial system was fulfilled by Christ’s sacrifice (“it is finished”).

And since we now have direct access to God through Christ, we no longer need intermediary priests.

Israel’s civil law was meant only for OT Israel, the world’s only true theocracy.
All world governments today are secular, including modern Israel, which ceased to exist as a theocracy when it repudiated its Savior at Calvary by declaring “away with him . . . we have no king but Caesar.” The Jews are still God’s chosen people, but they have been temporarily set aside until their restoration during the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom.

3. What is the principle behind the law?

Although a specific law or procedure itself may be defunct, there could be a timeless principle behind it that is still alive and well.

Many of the strange OT co-mingling prohibitions, or those that deal with ceremonial defilement, for example, have at their core the overarching principle that believers should not soil themselves with “the things that are of the world.”

Although some of Israel’s dietary laws were mandated for health reasons, the underlying point was that Israel to was to be distinct people within a decadent society.

Their dietary regulations were part of their special identification. Modern believers, likewise, are to be a “peculiar people” (I Peter 2:9).

The fact that a rebellious teenager could be stoned in the OT under Israel’s now obsolete civil code carries with it the principle for today that God takes rebellion seriously and unsympathetic punishment may be its only cure.

OT justice was swift and, by today’s standards, unarguably harsh. Although ancient Israel’s approach to dealing with society’s transgressors does not directly apply to modern cultures, the principle behind it does.

Any nation today that is serious about reigning in rampant lawlessness may need to reconsider the fact that extreme problems require extreme measures.

August 20, 2008

Will A Good Life Cut It?

QUESTION: If I live a good, clean, respectable life, will I not surely be

ANSWER: This is the common belief. According to an easy understanding of the Bible, that belief is wrong.

Proverbs 14: 12 says, "There is a way that SEEMETH right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death."

Salvation is not something we merit or earn. It obligates God. He then owes it to us. The Bible says salvation is by grace (God's undeserved favor) - Eph.2: 8, 9.

When God looks at that kind of person He sees their past sins. "God requireth that which is past", says Eccl. 3:15. God does not look at us as we presently are, but He sees our life from the cradle to the grave.

We are without strength to save ourselves, according to Romans 5:6. It cannot be by works. If we could save ourselves, the Bible would not state in Ephesians 2:3, "Not by works lest any man should boast."

Attempting to quit all ones sins is noble and it will make us better people, but it will not take away our past sin we have committed.

These sins must be taken away before we can be saved. According to the Bible, the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin. See 1 John 1:7.

People who depend on their good lives to save them will never make
it to Heaven.

Are we depending on ourselves or Christ for salvation? Only He alone saves. That is why He is called "Savior."

Most people are going to Heaven, right?

By NiteOwlDave

The suggestion that most people will NOT wind up in Heaven upon death may sound outrageous to a rational-thinking person. After all, the good Book declares that God is love.

A loving God would not relegate a good person - or even a bad person - to an eternity other than Heaven, would He? And, horrors, Hell can’t be a real place!

The Heaven-Hell thing prompts much confusion between those who consider themselves Christians and those who haven’t darkened the inside of a church in 40 years.

Harold Smith, who authors an Internet The Bible Answers site, suggests the confusion over eternal destiny is the result of man’s own opinion. And, he correctly points out, our opinion counts for zilch.

It’s what the Bible says that counts, and the Bible speaks loudly about a very, literal Heaven (and Hell) and suggests strongly that most will not wind up in Heaven. Ridiculous?

Read these pointed Matthew 7: 13-14 verses.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth unto destruction, and many there be which go in there at. "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

So, a wide road to Hell; a skinny one to Heaven. Gulp. The truth and the narrow road are Jesus Christ who says in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." In John 10:9 Jesus says, "I am the door; by me if anyone enter in, he shall be saved..."

In Acts 16:31, Paul and Silas told an anxious jailer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
The word "believe" means to put one’s trust in. Believing is a personal action. We don't inherit Heaven through our parents.

The Bible points out that we are separated from God until we repent of our sin and ask for His salvation made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Most people think our Christian salvation comes automatically if we attend church and live a good life. According to the Bible, it doesn’t. And woe unto a pastor or priest who says it does. And what we think has no bearing on the absolute truth of God. To the contrary.

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death," Solomon writes in Proverbs 14:12. Jesus is the way and the only way. Have you invited Christ into your life?

If not, you are on the broad road that leads to destruction, or eternal Hell. Reset your course now before it is eternally too late. How?

E-mail me at I will respond.