Author Archive

Why God Is Not Your Mother

 

Randy Stinson and Chris Cowan have a helpful article attacking the arguments of those who say we ought to address God as Mother. Stinson and Cowan give seven arguments. I’ll include the ones that I found to be most persuasive.

There is no biblical precedent for referring to God with feminine terms such as “Mother” or “she.”
The Bible uses masculine names for God and masculine pronouns. Ungendered metaphors and imagery are used for God, but no feminine pronouns are used of God in Scripture.

Biblical, masculine language for God is not culture-dependent, but rather is God’s chosen self-revelation of his identity.

Other ANE religions worshiped both masculine and feminine deities (Judges 3:7; Acts 19:34) so it’s difficult to argue that Israel’s patriarchal tendencies dictated her (!) use of exclusive patriarchal language.

The use of “feminine imagery” for God in the Bible does not demand or even imply that we may refer to God with feminine terms such as “Mother” or “she.”

OK, fair enough. On rare occasions, Scripture does describe some of God’s actions using feminine figures of speech. This proves nothing. Scripture also speaks of the actions of male characters in Scripture using female figures of speech. Paul says that he’s in the anguish of childbirth until he sees Christ formed in the lives of the Christians at Galatia (Gal . 4:19). Does that mean Paul should be referred to as a ‘she’? Of course not.

“Father” is a name or title that communicates something real about God’s nature.
In Scripture, God is called ‘father’ not just because he is like our human fathers, but because He is the father of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3). Stinson helpfully notes that this relationship is before the incarnation as before the incarnation God sent his ‘son’ into the world (John 3:17). Scripture seems to indicate that this Father-Son relationship in the Triune God is eternal.

For more arguments, click here.

 

Teachers’ Union Ad Fail

Here are some attacks ads recently put out by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.

I’m assuming these are geared towards the dastardly Tim Hudak. Oh yes! Heaven forbid cuts are made to education budgets (no matter that Hudak isn’t planning on doing this). If you’re for that you must be a heartless fascist pig who is against children. No matter that if the Conservatives want to make cuts to education they’re probably aiming at the perks that publicly funded teachers enjoy. In the small minded world of the ETFO if you think that public sector unions shouldn’t receive significant wage increases during times of economic hardship on an income that tops out at $92,000, you must hate kids.

And how does Ontario’s education spending chalk up anyways? Education budgets have swollen from $16.6 billion in 2005/06 to $19.5 billion in 2010/11. And all this while the total number of students declined from 1,959,400 in 2005/06 to 1,901,236 in 2010/11. (Source).

Hopefully the public won’t fall for this.

Would FDR Have Fought For Public Sector Unions?

As Ontario prepares for another provincial election I thought I’d post something I came across from an article I’m reading by Daniel DiSalvo in the National Affairs on pubic sector unionism. When examining the damage that public sector unions have done to state budgets, DiSalvo included this gem about liberal favourite, Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” (HT: Washington Examiner).

A Problem With Young Ministers

Doug Wilson discusses Titus 1:6, a text that most ministers tend to ignore. Regardless of what you think of Wilson’s thesis, ministry should not to be regarded as a profession. There are moral standards for being a pastor and once those have been breached, pastors need to step down and move on. There is much wisdom in having men who pursue the ministry formally also having a trade or vocation to fall back on, akin to Rabbi Saul’s tentmaking.

Here’s a little argument from Wilson on being hesitant to ordain young elders:

Let me begin with a requirement laid down by Paul for men in the ministry, a requirement that is unfortunately widely neglected (and  therefore controversial) in conservative circles. He says that part of a minister’s qualification is his ability to manage his own household well, and with all dignity, such that his children are submissive (1 Tim. 3:4). In addition, he says further that what is going on in his household is a good predictor of what is going to be happening in the church (1 Tim. 3:5). Paul says elsewhere that this submission extends to submission to the gospel. Not only must a minister’s children not be dissolute and rebellious, they must be faithful (Tit. 1:6). Whether or not that last word is rendered as faithful or as believers amounts to the same thing. A minister’s children are his first parishioners, and they are the canary in the mine.

Now the necessary qualifications. I make a distinction between ordaining men to the ministry and defrocking them. Qualifications for expulsion should be stiffer than qualification for non-admittance — but to the extent we want to lean on this, it is perhaps a strong argument for not ordaining men with younger children. A man strong-minded enough to insist on pursuing his call to the ministry when his younger children are two, four, and six should also be strong-minded enough to tender his resignation when his grown children are serving two to four, and four to six, in the state penitentiary.

For a counter to Wilson on whether ‘faithful’ means ‘believing’ or just ‘obedient’ see this article by Justin Taylor.

Some Thoughts on Libya

The US is about $14 trillion in debt. In 2010, the US added $3.5 billion to her IOU pile every day. Just so you know, that’s $2 million per minute. So, what’s another $1 billion on a major war with Libya? Initially the US restricted itself to only providing air support and intelligence to the rebels, promising to abstain from sending in ground troops. And yet, a spokeswoman for NATO recently said that if the UN or the Libyan revolutionaries request it, NATO would be willing to help in a supporting role. And I’m not even going to discuss the estimated 2,000 – 13,000 casualties that the Libyan intervention has brought about. (The reason why we don’t know for sure is NATO isn’t ‘officially’ taking a body count). This is especially important as the stated intention of the Libyan intervention was to prevent more civilian casualties.

Complicating this even further are the recent developments that 1) Libyan revolutionaries may be targeting black migrant workers for fear that they’re mercenaries; 2) The Libyan revolutionaries recently killed the leader of their armed forces; 3) A top military commander for the Libyan revolutionaries appears to have major ties to Al Qaeda. If Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times is right, that Al Qaeda asset was arrested in Bangkok in 2003 and transferred to a secret prison in 2004 where he was tortured. US intelligence gave him as a gift to Qadaffi in 2004, but was freed by Libya in 2010. This man is now a top revolutionary commander … I’m sure that’s going to turn out well for the West.

It’s revolting that Conservatives are at the forefront of pushing this charade along. They would do well to have heeded the advice of Russell Kirk, one of the chief founders of American conservatism, given in a speech at the Heritage Foundation in 1991.

Are we to saturation-bomb most of Africa and Asia into righteousness, freedom, and democracy? And, having accomplished that, however would we ensure persons yet more unrighteous might not rise up instead of the ogres we had swept away? Just that is what happened in the Congo, remember three decades ago; and nowadays in Zaire, once called the Belgian Congo, we zealously uphold with American funds the dictator Mobutu, more blood-stained than Saddam. And have we forgotten Castro in Cuba?

Given that a sizable contingent of Libyan revolutionaries appear to be from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, who since 1996 have been trained at two camps in Taliban-run Afghanistan, I’d say there’s a good chance five years from now we’ll say that Libya might have been better off with Qaddafi at the helm.

And people call Ron Paul crazy for being a non-interventionist.

Authenticity Alert!

Eli Lehrer of Frum Forum takes aim at those who despise Disney World because of its lack of authenticity:

But the criticism I hear most often from people who have some reason to dislike “Disney experience” is that it’s “plastic,” “fake,” or “manufactured.” seems to me to be utterly meaningless. Of course it’s manufactured. So is everything that human beings have created. Chartres is a self-contained environment, Hamlet is a made up story, and all architecture and art are all human creations. A major part of civilization is the creation and re-creation of the environment. And, by that standard, Disney World stands as a symbol of true genus.

Andrew Potter would be proud.

Sausage!

Religious bigots, like the poor, will be with us always.

Is Peter Singer reconsidering utilitarianism in favour of something more objective?

The Maverick Philosopher and a quick argument for the death penalty.

Tullian interviews Mike Horton on law and gospel. Both should spend some time with this article by John Frame.

And again with respect to Horton, can you spot the fallacy?

The gospel is never an exhortation for us to do something, but an announcement of something that God has done for us.  We are called to obey the gospel—that is, to embrace it, but the gospel itself is the good news about what God has done for us in Christ.

More On Biblical Beer And Johnny Mac

Jeff Meyers has just put up a quick post over at the Biblical Horizons blog arguing that Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 refers to biblical beer. Solomon says,

Cast your bread into the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what disaster may happen in the land.

In the comments section, James Jordan points out that “an ancient fermented drink called kvass is made by soaking sourdough bread in water with sugar.”

Things aren’t looking so hot for MacArthur.

I’d encourage you to read the whole post.

Michael Homan believes that Solomon is advocating the brewing and serving of beer (“Beer Production by Throwing Bread into Water: A New Interpretation of Qoh IX.1-2,” Vestus Testamentum 52:2 [2002]: 275-278).

This looks really promising. First, there are all the references in Ecclesiastes to wine. Solomon advises godly folk to “drink wine” and enjoy life (9:7) with one’s spouse. And this exhortation to make beer and share it with others fits with the idea that the troubles of this life are best alleviated with a joyful reception of food and drink with others (2:24, 25; 3:13; 5:11, 18; 8:15; 9:7).

Click here to continue reading.

Liberty Must Be Designed

We don’t live in a free market society. We’re not going to live in one tomorrow either. Any free market reform therefore, must take this into effect. This is part of my problem with Ron Paul. When I hear him talk about what he would do as President, it seems that in one fell swoop he’d get rid of vast government bureaucracies and programs. While this could be advantageous in the long run, it’d be chaotic in the short term, akin to getting cancer to get rid of AIDs. Roger Koppl points out then that in order for free market reforms to work, they must be designed.

Those of us who love liberty and fear the state support “deregulation.”  We want to unwind the bramble of regulations constraining the dynamic entrepreneurial economy.  But we have not thought enough about how to unwind the unwieldy regulatory apparatus of the current system.  It is one thing to show how a “truly free market” wouldwork.  It is quite another to show how to get from the current regulatory mess to something we are happy call a “free market.”

Most economists agree, for example, that licensing restrictions for physicians serve doctors better than patients.  There is less agreement on what to do about it now that we have it.  Simply lifting all restrictions immediately seems likely to create a “transition period” in which quacks and charlatans would prey on innocent patients.  The market would eventually work out mechanisms to ensure that we all get good care, but how much harm would be done in the “adjustment period” of the economist’s blackboard model?  We need to unwind it, but we don’t know how.

The California electricity crisis of 2000 and 2001 gives us a real-world cautionary tale.  As Nobel laureate Vernon Smith has explained, the problem was not so much “deregulation” as badly designed deregulation.

Transition Russia illustrates the dangers of undersigned deregulation.  The collapse of the Soviet system let to a kind of “free market,” but one that had not been designed in advance.  The result has been a “demographic disaster” marked by declining life expectancy.  You might object that Russia did not have a “true” free market any more than Stalinism was “true” socialism.   But if you don’t design liberty, that’s the risk you run.

Which brings me to my plea.  I would ask my fellow lovers of liberty to do less complaining about the evils of state control and more designing of markets and of the other institutions of a truly free society.

Biblical Beer and John MacArthur

In the words of Joel McDurmon, “The wailing imans of the dry jihad are shouting ‘forbidden!’ at Christians again.” McDurmon of course is referring to an article by John MacArthur awkwardly titled “Beer, Bohemianism, and True Christian Liberty.” Bohemanism? Really?

A friend just passed along an interesting article from an archaeological journal on the Ancient Near East and beer. I’ve included the section on the Bible and beer below for your enjoyment.

While beer has not often been the subject of inquiry by Near Eastern scholars, its neglect by biblical scholars has been marked. It is true that ancient Israelites are seen as, particularly and undoubtedly were, wine lovers. The many words for wine in the Hebrew language are evidence of this. The Talmud records that “stores of beer in Babylon are like stores of wine in Palestine” (b. Pesali 8a). Wines from various regions in Israel were as famous in antiquity as they are today.” Additionally, wine is more difficult to produce than beer. Viticulture requires permanent fields and some degree of social complexity. Grapes ripen just once a year and can only be preserved as wine or raisins. Barley, however, is easily stored, which allows the production of beer year round. Yet, the fact that ancient Israel produced, consumed and cherished wine by no means precludes beer production. Though often mistranslated as “strong drink” or “wine,” linguistic and archaeological
evidence suggests that biblical ‘sekar’ is best translated as beer. ‘Sekar’, or beer, played a large role in Israelite religion and society. It was libated to Yahweh twice daily (Num 28:7-10), and Israelites drank it at sacrificial meals (Deut 14:26). While people who consumed beer in excess were condemned (Isa 5:11; 28:7; Prov 20:1; 31:4), its absence signified melancholy occasion (Isa 24:9), and it was prescribed to the forlorn to temporarily erase their tribulations (Prov 31:6). Ancient Israel, like its neighbors, produced and consumed massive quantities of beer.

Michael Homan. “Beer And Its Drinkers: An Ancient Near Eastern Love Story.” Near Eastern Archaelogy, Vol. 67, No. 2 (June 2004), pp. 84-95.