Bible Gateway's Verse of the Day


Welcome to my blog, MB's Theological Thoughts. If you have a question you'd like me to answer, feel free to ask, either in a comment or an email. If it's a legitimate question, I'll do my best to answer it. Might take some thinking and some time, but again, I'll do my best.

23 August, 2014


I would like to preface this by saying this. In an era of chintzy, cookie-cutter Christian music, Gungor is a breath of fresh air. Their music is creative, and their musicianship is superb. And I have no doubt that Michael Gungor loves God. But I thought I would write a short, unpolished editorial on the recent controversy surrounding not only his comments on the book of Genesis, but the boycotts that have resulted.

The problem

"So, as to the question, I guess I’ll have to come out of the closet and admit…no, sorry kid, I don’t believe in a literal six-day creation" ("A Worshiping Evolutionist?").

This is what's causing all the trouble. But let's not belabor the point. I'll continue to let Mr. Gungor explain his position: "[In] my Christian school growing up, we’d all snort and chuckle when a scientist in a documentary would mention evolution or talk about how this sort of animal existed millions of years ago. [...] But now that I am a songwriter, I see this whole thing as absolutely absurd.
Genesis is a poem if I’ve ever seen one" ("A Worshiping Evolutionist?"). But one of the things that's causing the most uproar is this assertion: "Because NO REASONABLE PERSON takes the entire Bible completely literally. It’s not possible." ("I'm With You") And finally, to explain why the Genesis account in particular is under fire: "BECAUSE SCIENCE SHOWED US THAT THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE." ("I'm With You").

Those emphases are Gungor's. I'm not trying to give him a tone of voice he didn't strike himself. The original blog post, A Worshiping Evolutionist?, and its more defensive sequel, I'm With You, both struck me as almost antagonistic to literalist creationism. In I'm With You, Gungor, in no uncertain terms, accuses those who believe in a literal six-day creation of being either ignorant of science or outright opposed to it. He also insinuates that those who believe in a literal six-day creation week have yet to see the light, so to speak. But that mindset is born of his personal experience. In A Worshiping Evolutionist, Gungor says that the reason he and his friends would snicker upon hearing references to evolution and millions of years was "so [they] knew [their] life wasn't a lie."

But that is not the same for every six-dayer. I do believe in a literal six-day creation, but I am not anti-science. I acknowledge that science forces young-earth Christians to answer tough questions, or to just say, "I don't have an answer." But unlike Michael Gungor, I also acknowledge that old-earth science has a certain bias. Outside elementary mathematics, nothing is indubitable. And my problem with theistic evolutionism is the compromise it requires.

Theistic evolutionism is, in my opinion, a dangerous compromise. It places science, particularly science that is biased against theism, in an exalted place above the infallible word of God. It requires the rejection of the first seven chapters of Genesis as either metaphorical or outright fiction. Now answer this. What does that say about the origins of Sin? What does that say about the plan of redemption? Is Sin just a product of Nature, the very Nature that God declared perfect (or did He?), then why is there any need for a Savior?

The solution?

What are people doing with this "coming out of the closet", as Gungor himself describes it? Boycotting. Removing support. Excluding. They are not trying to reprove; they are trying to punish. They are doing exactly what Gungor is accusing them of, creating a dichotomy where either you're a part of the six-dayer club or you're the enemy. My honest opinion? I sympathize. I understand. I think that people who place Science on a pedestal above the Bible are walking an extremely dangerous path. But does that mean we should shun them? Absolutely not. I cannot stress this enough.

The conclusion.

Do I think Michael Gungor is mislead? Yes. I think he's rationalizing and placing Science before the Bible, which is a dangerous thing to do, even if it is becoming more mainstream. Gungor claims that this compromise does not jeopardize his salvation, while many of his critics do. But neither one knows for sure; only God can decide that. My opinion is that Gungor and his band are doing God's work. Again, I have no doubt that he loves God; he himself asserts this.

While I am against Gungor's position on creationism, neither do I support the boycotts. I understand why people are boycotting, but honestly, I think boycotts are stupid. These divisive actions won't change anybody's mind, and they aren't representative of the character of God.

If you're a theistic evolutionist, for Pete's sake, don't belittle those who do believe in a literal six-day creation week. And if you're like me and think that theistic evolution is dangerous, for Pete's sake, don't be presumptuous and turn this into a binary decision that decides salvation, and don't adopt a mentality of exclusion.

Works Cited

1. Gungor, Michael. "A Worshiping Evolutionist?" Gungor. Gungor Music, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. Accessed 23 Aug. 2014.
2. Gungor, Michael. "I'm With You." Gungor. Gungor Music, 06 Aug. 2014. Web. Accessed 23 Aug. 2014.

03 March, 2012

The Importance of the Bible and of the Criticality of Proper Interpretation

One of the tenets of the Christian faith is that the Bible is the Word of God, right? It would seem not, at least not in today's world. See, the Bible is full of hate, as it were; the Bible is staunchly anti-gay, saying that gay people are going to Hell no matter what they do. It's also very misogynistic; it even authorizes men to beat their wives! To make matters worse, it condones slavery. What is this document, if not a tool of the Christian Right to further oppress those with whom they disagree?

Is it just me, or do these arguments sound like horrible accusations against Christianity? Could they be true? Well, upon hearing these arguments, I was shocked and indignant that these atrocities could possibly be in the Bible. After all, God is love, is He not? So what I did was I dug.  I sought out these offensive texts to see what I could find.

GOD HATES FAGS! Wait, what?!
First, I've long known that the Bible said homosexuality is an abomination, and that those who practice it (such as the NAMBLA-esque ancient Greeks) are not welcome in the Kingdom of heaven (just like anybody who doesn't repent from their sins). The most cited passage is found in Leviticus 18:22, and is quoted thus from the Contemporary English Version, which I have found to be one of the clearest translations: "It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man." Could it be simpler than that? But hey, this text doesn't condemn gays to hell! So what's the problem? Well, let's see if we can find another text in the same chapter. Oh, here's one, Levicitus 20:13, which says, "It's disgusting for men to have sex with one another, and those who do will be put to death, just as they deserve." Oh... So the Bible says to kill all gay people. Joy in the morning, I'm going to have a hard time explaining this to the judge.

But wait, let's see if we can find another text about homosexuality, one from the New Testament. After all, the ceremonial law in Leviticus was thrown out when Jesus died on the cross, right? And for that matter, didn't Jesus say that calling somebody an idiot (or a racist, homophobic, islamophobic, white supremacist, gun-toting, Bible-thumping right-wing whackjob) was the same as murdering them? Jesus would never have supported this genocide! Okay, I have a text here. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Let's see what it says.

Don't you know that evil people won't have a share in the blessings of God's kingdom? Don't fool yourselves! No one who is immoral or worships idols or is unfaithful in marriage or is a pervert or behaves like a homosexual will share in God's kingdom. Neither will any thief or greedy person or drunkard or anyone who curses and cheats others.

So there it is. The infamous text that says gays will burn in Hell. Wait a minute! There is no mention of eternal torment in Hell here! Nor is there anywhere in the entire Bible, for that matter. It just says that gays won't be able to share in the Kingdom of God. But it also mentions that there won't be any thieves in heaven, either. What about the thief on the cross who repented? Jesus said to him, "Surely you will be with Me in paradise." This doesn't make any sense! Let's try to find another text from the New Testament, hopefully one that vindicates the gays rather than damning them. Here's the last text I could find about homosexuality, found in Romans 1:26-28.

God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds. Since these people refused even to think about God, he let their useless minds rule over them. That's why they do all sorts of indecent things.

What is this text saying? Is it saying that the gays are going to burn? No. It's saying that they had desires that were against God's will, and because they chose to think upon their desires instead of thinking about God, He let their desires take them over. The same goes for any sinner: if we choose to have nothing to do with God, then God lets us have our way. It's been like that throughout the Bible.

But (I say with sarcastic indignation) science says that homosexuality is natural! It can't possibly be wrong, or be a sin! Well, folks, it can. Why? Because the Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination in God's eyes. It is unnatural in that God's original plan was for Adam to wed Eve, not for Adam to wed Steve. It is sinful in that it is a deviation from God's original plan. In fact, any sexual deviancy is considered adultery in the Bible, which states clearly in Exodus 20:14, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (KJV). The Bible rails against homosexuality, but even more extensively against things like incest and bestiality. Yes, Abraham, Solomon and Jacob were at least bigamous, but people discount that these polygamous lifestyles were against the will of God.

One mistake people make all the time is to say, "The Bible heroes did it; why isn't it wrong?" for things like incest (drunken Lot and his instigating daughters, who essentially raped him, or Amnon, who raped his half-sister Tamar) or the aforementioned polygamy. They use this to demote the Bible as a moral authority, when the problem is not with the Bible, but the way they are reading it.

So what does the Bible say about salvation for homosexuals, thieves, and so on? It's easy: all they have to do is be like the woman at the well, and answer Jesus's call to "Go and sin no more." The Bible is plain that homosexuality is a sin. And yes, denying one's homosexual desires seems like a deal breaker, but to be totally honest, celibacy isn't as bad as it's made out to be. Paul said that it was better never to get married than to fall into sexual sin. And that is why I cannot and will not support same-sex marriage in any way, shape or form. (I cannot, will not, Sam I Am.) But that is also why I will pray for strength for those who happen to be homosexuals, why I will pray that they will find acceptance as followers of Christ, should they so choose. I know it hurts to be told that something about who you are is inherently sinful. It's actually human nature to be sinful. But that is the beauty of the cross: anybody who wants to be a part of the Kingdom can, so long as they love Christ. And as Christ said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15, KJV). That means all ten of them.

Christian Wifebeaters
No, I'm not talking about a certain style of tank top emblazoned with a cross and a Bible verse. I'm talking in fact about the second issue about the Bible. In all my reading, I had never come across a Bible text where it condones man-on-woman spousal abuse. After all, spousal abuse is a plague that needs to be eradicated. But could the Bible possibly condone this barbarism? Let's see...

Wait a minute.... I can't find a single passage that specifically condones the beating of wives. Could it be that this passage doesn't exist? Pardon my shouting, but OF COURSE IT DOESN'T EXIST! The Bible would never condone something like that! (Don't talk about slavery yet; that will come in the next section.) The hateful atheist internet commenter that told me about this particular gem didn't have a text on hand, and he said, and I quote, "I'll get back to you when I find one." Hopefully his searching the Bible will make him see exactly what Christianity is supposed to be, rather than his skewed image of an exclusive, judgmental God that likes to burn evildoers in Hell forever.

The only passage that I seem to have found in all my research is a call for marriage to be a partnership, found first in Ephesians 5:22-24:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (KJV)

Seems pretty misogynistic to me...wait a minute, why is everybody leaving out the next few verses?! Let's start with verse 25:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (KJV)

Wife beating my foot! Male oppression? Hogwash! This is a call for a marriage to be a partnership, where a man loves his wife, and a wife loves her husband. Those who take this text to mean that a man has the authority to do whatever he wants to his wife are, in my opinion, radical, misandristic (hateful of men) feminists who want nothing more than to make men pay for the atrocities they've committed throughout history, true love be damned.

The text is echoed in Colossians 3:18-19, but it adds more guidelines for the creation of a functional family: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged" (KJV). Hey, that sounds a lot like my family. My folks have been together for 23 years, and they will never split up. My siblings and I love and respect our parents, unlike half of the current generation. And it's because our family is founded in God rather than on the shifting sands of emotion and hedonism.

Again, the problem is not with the Bible, but in how people read it. They look for buzz words and pull out individual texts that they then twist so that the Bible will seem offensive, when the Bible is still the best moral authority. There's a reason that following its guidelines just makes things work!

On the Driving of Slaves
Now for a look at the Bible's command for us to enslave others. Well, actually, the Bible's condoning of slavery. Slavery as we know it is a barbaric practice, where people are bought and sold like possessions, treated worse than dirt. Slavery in the United States was abolished by Abraham Lincoln (side note: the Republican party was created for the purpose of abolishing slavery. Make note of that next time you think to baselessly accuse a conservative of being racist). But its wounds are still great; many black Americans still blame the white man for keeping them down. Some of them self-segregate, wanting nothing to do with white Americans. It's all a shame, really; after all, aren't all men (human beings, you feminists!) created equal? Thomas Jefferson thought so. He despised slavery, no matter what anybody said.

In my research, I stumbled across a site that I think addresses this issue much better than I could in this blog post. In essence, slaves in Genesis were treated more like family members than property. Slaves in the Bible had rights; they were considered human beings, but indentured servants.

Let's say you run up a tab at a local grocery store because you can't pay for what you need to eat. You work out a deal with the manager where you will work for free stocking the shelves as payment for your debt. Sounds reasonable, right? Well guess what, you are his slave until your debt is paid. That's how indentured servitude works.

Not only were slaves treated like humans in the Bible, but they could not be kept in bondage for more than six years! Every seven years, all debts were forgiven, all Hebrew slaves were freed, and everybody had a massive party. Singing "every day I'm shufflin'" wasn't just the Party Rock Anthem; it was a way of life for them during the Jubilee Year.

Now, what's this about the Bible authorizing the beating of slaves? It does nothing of the sort! It does, however, make provisions to give protection under the law from mistreatment. The text in question, the only one where it mentions the beating of slaves, is found in Exodus 21:20-21: "If a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shale be surely punished. (Most likely put to death.) "Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money." Verse 21 in paraphrasis: If the slave gets up after a day or two, the master shall not be punished, for the slave is the master's property (or investment).

Does this say that the beating of slaves is acceptable? Absolutely not. It merely says that if a master beats his slave and the slave dies, the master will be punished, and severely, I might add. The punishment for the murder of anybody during this time was death, so why should a slave be any different? And should a slave's master be put to death if he beats his slave into a coma? Some would argue such a punishment be in order, but it would violate the eye-for-an-eye policy as outlined in verses 23-25. Most people interpret this policy to be that retribution should equal the injury. While this is true, the policy is also a protection against exorbitant punishment. For instance, if one man should put out another's eye, the injurer should receive no greater punishment than the injury caused the injured. Would it be fair to put somebody to death as a punishment for putting out another's eye? Absolutely not.

The Importance of the Bible
The fact that the Bible is the cornerstone of the Christian faith cannot be changed. I myself am a Biblical apologetic, but not in the modern usage of the word. The original meaning of the word "apology" was "explanation". And that's who I am, somebody who explains why the Bible is the basis for my faith.

The first reason that the Bible is the basis of my personal faith is that the Bible is the word of God. Why else would people have given their lives to protect it? And they are still giving their lives today in Muslim and Communist countries! People gave their lives to correct the Catholic Church's oppression in the Dark Ages. People gave their lives to translate the Bible into the hundreds of languages that exist in the world. Why should we cast it aside as a book of fairy tales?

The second reason I hold the Bible as a cornerstone of my personal faith is that without the Bible, it is impossible to know God's character. The Bible is a complete portrait of God in addition to being a manual of sorts for life on this Earth. If we keep just the New Testament and throw out everything else, we lose a piece of the picture of God. Similarly, if we keep everything but Creation Week, everything but the Flood, everything but the Levitican law, we lose that important piece of the picture.

The third reason that I believe the Bible is essential is that the Bible is a superior source for moral authority. The laws outlined in the Pentateuch may seem barbaric to some, but the Bible was way ahead of its time, as it introduced the idea of equal protection under the law. It introduced the idea of human rights for all, not just a select few. It introduced the idea of a weekend. It introduced the idea of loving one's enemies and praying for those who persecute us. These radical ideas are a part of the Bible, and are not the ideas of human philanthropists.

The Bible is not a collection of fairy tales. The Bible is not an invalid moral authority. We can't sit here and throw away pieces that we don't agree with. Cookie-cutter faith is something Jesus warned about, and the consequences are total rejection. Cookie-cutter faith is something Paul admonished in his epistles. God wants all of us or nothing at all. So either give Him everything and learn to love His word, or leave. It's your choice.

Your Brother in Christ,

Further reading/References:
Contemporary English Version of the Bible
King James Version of the Bible
Slick, Matthew. "What does the Bible say about homosexuality?". Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. <> Accessed 3 Mar 2012.
Vander Lugt, Herb. "What Does the Bible Really Say About Slavery?". <> Accessed 3 Mar 2012.

11 September, 2011

9/11 Tenth Anniversary Thoughts

It's 9/11/11, and I have no idea what to say. I remember when it happened; the day is still vivid in my mind. Everybody was late to school that morning as we watched history happen before us. I support the hunt for bin Laden and the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda and against the Hussein regime and oppressive Wahhabism. But I don't think we should be nation building. Reuters says we need to stay in Afghanistan or risk more attacks, but we can't afford these wars. I'm a patriot, but I'm also a pragmatist.

But I must say that if we are attacked today, it will be like kicking the hornets' nest. You don't mess with the USA. We're going to rebuild the World Trade Center just as tall. We're going to stand strong no matter what happens. And those who would call the rebuilding effort "pompous" or "overbearing", saying that we should just "learn our lesson" and bow to these terrorists--you are America-haters and shouldn't be in this country. You're no better than domestic terrorists.

As this cold civil war draws to an ultimate close, its conclusion being the second advent of Christ, I can only hold faster to what I believe. Things are getting worse, and it's only a matter of time before Christians start blaming all this on somebody. With Katrina, it was the New Orleans debauchery. With the wildfire season several years ago, it was gay marriage. The four angels aren't going to be able to hold back the winds of destruction much longer, and I can see it getting only worse from here.

Stand firm. Follow the Bible. Keep the Sabbath. A strong relationship with the Creator is the only thing that's going to be able to sustain us in the last days.

Your Brother in Christ,

06 June, 2011

Still Here....

Hey all, I just thought I'd say that I'm still here, and I plan on continuing this blog; I wasn't raptured or anything. In fact, nobody was. Why? Because setting dates is a fruitless prospect. Jesus said so himself. Adventists learned not to set dates at the last Great Disappointment in 1844. Instead, I think we should all follow the William Miller philosophy: "Instead of saying that Jesus will return on this day, or on that day, I am going to keep telling myself, 'Today, today, today,' until He actually does." (Paraphrased, of course.)

Nobody knows the day, nor the hour when Jesus will return for us, but we do know what is going to happen. It's going to be sudden, like a thief in the night. And when it happens, every eye shall see Him. It's not going to be a secret at all, or there would be no use, really.

Your Brother in Christ,

06 May, 2011

Osama's Dead; What Should We Do?

I have seen two reactions to the recent death of Osama bin Laden: "This is the greatest day of the last 10 years!" and "You should be ashamed of yourself for rejoicing!" The latter reaction tends to be in the form of a chain letter-style reposting of a quote attributed to MLK, Jr.: "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." (Any quick research will tell you that this quote is falsely attributed in its entirety to MLK, Jr. The original post is here:, found through

Here is what I have to say about Osama's death. A dangerous man has been taken out of power. He was an oppressor, a terrorist, and he stood for everything America has fought against since the Revolutionary War. He has been at the top of the FBI's most wanted list since the 90s. He and his organization attacked the USA almost ten years ago, and we vowed as a nation that we would hunt him down and put him to justice, and that we would stop at nothing. Under the Bush and Obama administrations, our nation's military has worked tirelessly to hunt him down. In the process, we have been attacking the ideals that oppress others.

I myself rejoice in Osama's death. Not because of some animal, sinful desire to harm others (which some "enlightened" people would lead others to believe), but for a couple of other reasons. First, this might mean we will finally leave Afghanistan and Iraq, freeing up billions of dollars in the Federal Budget. Being a Tea Partier, the prospect of this money being put back into the pockets of its owners, the American People, is exciting. Secondly, Osama's death symbolizes the defeat of a radical, oppressive political ideology that flew the flag of Islam. True Islam is indeed a religion of peace; the Koran teaches love for God and love for others. It says nothing about 72 virgins, nothing about burqas, nothing about killing Christians. Those are counterfeit ideas, and more Westerners need to see that.

Rolling over and submitting to radical Islam, as suggested for the more desirable course of action in this Spectrum article, would have spelled the death of Americanism. We have to turn the other cheek to show that their insults mean nothing! That is what Jesus preached, and that is what Jesus practiced. You could sit here and argue that war is always the wrong answer, but you would be denying that while there is a time for peace and a time for healing, a time for war and a time for killing also exists (Ecclesiastes 3).

Your Brother in Christ,

18 April, 2011

On the Scriptural Nature of Our Doctrines

Al Nonymous, a commenter on this post on reverence, seems to claim that the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist church are based on the writings of Ellen White, much in the same way that many doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are based on the Book of Mormon and other writings of Joseph Smith, Jr. There is a problem with this statement: if you ask any Adventist, he or she will say that our doctrines are based on and supported by Scripture alone. Why would any Adventist say that? Because it's the truth.

Ellen White was a modern-day prophet. She didn't have miraculous powers to heal the sick; nor did she claim to be the voice of God. In fact, she didn't call herself a prophet because she didn't want people deifying her. In her own eyes, Ellen was somebody who loved God more than anything else, and wanted others to share that love through the study of Scripture, prayer and simple living.

Her writings are not doctrinal in nature, but are instead advice for living simply, focusing on the Kingdom of God, and some elaborations on Scripture (the Conflict of the Ages series is a good example). There are times where she changed her mind (the Righteousness by Faith controversy of the last quarter of the 19th century), and other times when she gave advice that is no longer applicable (bicycles, for instance - Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 50-53). Just as God works within the confines of culture rather than counter-culture, Ellen White's messages are contingent on the culture of the time. God revealed specific knowledge to her when the time was right to do so, proving that a quick study of Adventist history takes care of any "discrepancies".

Basing our doctrines on the writings of Ellen White would mean that we shouldn't eat meat, that we shouldn't ride bicycles, that we shouldn't wear dresses that drag the ground, and so on and so forth. But these "doctrines" would be present simply for the fact that they come from Ellen's writings, making them on par with Scripture. She said that she was not to be revered in such a way, and that anything she wrote was meant to draw us to Scripture and to God, for by faith and grace alone we are saved.


Nonetheless, people revere her more than they should. Just as the Apostle Paul, Ellen White was a human being. She is fallible because she was born into sin. Yes, she may have been God's messenger to a new denomination, but many people have misconceptions about her.

One misconception deals with church history. I would hazard a guess that many Adventist (and vast numbers of non-Adventists) say she founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church. That is simply not true. The SDA Church was originally a group of individuals with like-minded beliefs that got together and worshiped together. They emerged from the Millerite Movement, which would insinuate that Miller, not White, was the founder of the Church, or at least the "Adventist" part.

Joseph Bates is probably the name that people should look to for the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He actually convinced James and Ellen White that the Seventh-day was the true Sabbath. Still, I rarely hear his name dropped as a hero of Adventism. It's always Ellen White--not even her husband James, who wrote plenty as well, is named very often.

There seem to be two extremes when dealing with Ellen White. Her writings are either discounted (especially by so-called "progressive Adventists") or elevated to the level of Scripture. This is why some believe our doctrines are based on her writings. But if one were to examine the Twenty-Eight Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists, one would see that this is not the case. Every one of our doctrines (and no matter what anybody says, these are ALL of our official doctrines) is backed by Scripture, not some passage from Ellen White's writings. This is because Scripture is the source for knowledge of the Divine. Without it, we would not know Jesus.

In conclusion, I do not deny that Ellen White was a prophet. Nor do I deny that her writings are divinely inspired. I will say that unless one reads them, one cannot understand them. There are issues like historical and cultural context that we need to take into consideration, just as we must when trying to understand the Bible. Many people don't read Ellen White's writings because they are downright difficult to understand. She uses 19th century English and always quotes the King James Version of the Bible. On top of that, she tends to write deeper and more meaningful advice than we are accustomed to understanding. We have always been told, "Know this, do that, behave this way," and it's killing our church. The departing youth see that there is no reason behind the traditions of the Church, and they solve the problem by doing one of three things: delving into study like me, throwing out what they don't understand or agree with like the "progressives", or just leaving the Church altogether and creating the age gap that we see.

"Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. Don't turn away God's Spirit or ignore prophecies. Put everything to the test. Accept what is good and don't have anything to do with evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, CEV).

Your Brother in Christ,

01 April, 2011

A word on the Sunday Law

The National Sunday Law has been a focal point of Adventist theology for decades. Will it happen soon? I can't say for sure. Will there be blood running through the streets? I seriously doubt it. Here are my thoughts.

The Blue Laws were seen as the forerunners of the National Sunday Law, a foreshadowing of the second Advent, as written about by Ellen White. The biggest thing about the blue laws is that they don't outlaw Sabbath worship, and they don't force Sunday worship. They simply regulate commerce on Sundays, mandating a day of rest. In fact, if there were blue laws that regulated homework, I would run out into the streets and shout, "Thank you Jesus!" 

In order for a Sunday Law of the caliber that we have predicted with dread to be enacted, serious changes must be made to the Constitution. First, the entire First Amendment must be abolished (as of yet, such a change is far from sight). The Founding Fathers wanted to avoid a theocracy, and so they penned the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Not only can Congress not establish a national Day of Worship as Sunday, but they can not prohibit Sabbath worship. These are two essential tenets of the dreaded Sunday Law. 

Also prohibiting the Sunday Law are the other clauses of the Amendment. Establishing a State Religion will surely gather the protests of every atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Buddhist, Satanist, and so on within our nation's borders. These make up such a percentage that we wouldn't be able to function unless under martial law. No, the only way to swing something like this would be to abolish free speech and the right to assemble and petition.

Even if the First Amendment, something which defines the USA, could be abolished or altered, we would have to get people to agree to the establishment of a State Religion. Given the attitudes of people toward religion nowadays, I think that the number of people that would go along with it would be very slim. The system of Checks and Balances prohibits one branch of the Government from having the power to hammer the law through, so that system would also have to be abolished. The Legislative and Judicial branches would have to be absorbed by the Executive, creating a monarchy, something the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid like the plague. You know the aphorism: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Let's say that the Sunday Law were to pass somehow. We would need a way to enforce it. That is where martial law would come in. The amount of people protesting the law would fill our prisons to bursting. House arrest would be useless, and we wouldn't have enough law enforcement personnel to make anything work. We would have to give the military the authority to punish those who didn't follow the law. (A text comes to mind. "Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be spared." Mt. 24:22) This would require enough military personnel that didn't have qualms about killing their own people for religious reasons, and I don't think even the most autonomous of soldiers would do that.

What do I know, though? If you told somebody 50 years ago that we would have computers in our pockets, they would have laughed you out of existence. But no matter what Ellen White says, there are insurmountable obstacles between current law and the Sunday Law. I'm not saying it won't happen. If it does happen, though, it won't be for some time. One theory is that a global catastrophe will force people into this Old Testament-era "we must avoid the wrath of God" mindset--a global catastrophe like an asteroid impact (Rev 8:8). The biggest likelihood of such a strike is the asteroid 99942 Apophis, an 880 foot wide asteroid with an impact likelihood of 1 in 250,000. And that won't even be close until April of 2036. 

So is it wrong to prepare for something that won't happen in the foreseeable future? No. But nobody should be paranoid about it. If this oppressive Sunday Law should come about, the Bible lets us know that we will be protected, so long as we love God. Remember, nobody knows anything definitive about this. We have our warnings, and we can heed them without using scare tactics to tell people to run for the hills. Remember Isaiah 41:10; Proverbs 3:5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; and Psalm 91:12.

Your Brother in Christ,