Monday, 16 November 2020

Monday quote

Although sexual pluralism has no rational grounds-theologically, historically, or scientifically-it might be useless to resist with rational argument. For a view which rises to prominence by abandoning reason can hardly be defeated through the use of reason.

Jim Spiegel.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Paul's call to self emasculation

In Leviticus and Deuteronomy God commands that those who have deformities of their genitals are not be part of God's assembly. Now this was likely related to the concept of clean and unclean, holy and profane. As part of the Mosaic Law it was important for Israelites to make a distinction between such things, in part to appreciate God's holiness.

In Leviticus the command is to the priests
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron, saying, None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the LORD’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the LORD who sanctifies them." (Leviticus 21:16-23)
The priests interceded to God for the people. They were to be without blemish to represent holiness. As such, the reference to crushed testicles, while an absolute requirement, appears to relate to accident and disease; compare to the other blemishes listed.

In Deuteronomy the context may be distinct.
No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD.

Those born of an illicit union shall not be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 23:1-2 NRSV)
The second paragraph refers to banned relationships (such as incest, or possibly cultic prostitution). Thus the context here may relate to disobedience. The next command forbids the involvement of the Moabites and the Ammonites because of their refusal to treat Israel well and their desire to curse. While it is not mentioned specifically here, note that the Moabites also enticed Israel into disobedience through sexual sin.

So the reference to crushed testicles here may imply eunuchs, and the mention of an amputated penis could refer to pagan practices for some men involved in temple worship.

The construction of verse 1 is
No one (lo') whose testicles are crushed or whose penis (shofkah) is cut off (karath) shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. (Deu 23:1)
In the Greek it says
Neither a eunuch nor one who has been castrated (apokoptō) shall enter into the assembly of the Lord.
"Apokoptō" is a verb meaning to "cut off" or "amputate" with the implication of "cutting off genitals" in the appropriate context.

Compare this with Galatians
But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate (apokoptō) themselves! (Galatians 5:11-12)
The similarity in terms raises the possibility of an allusion here to Deuteronomy. The immediate connection within Galatians is the hyperbolic comparison of circumcision to penile amputation. However a possible allusion of amputation in Galatians to ritual amputation in Deuteronomy suggests that such persons are similar to the pagan worshippers. In the same way that such persons were barred from the holy assembly in Israel, so those who add earning salvation to grace are denied fellowship with Christ.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Monday quote

'If bad things were true of her, and I knew it,' said Curdie, 'I would not hesitate to say them, for I will never give in to being afraid of anything that's bad. I suspect that the things they tell, however, if we knew all about them, would turn out to have nothing but good in them; and I won't say a word more for fear I should say something that mightn't be to her mind.'

George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie

Monday, 2 November 2020

Monday quote

If you ever catch me being passive aggressive toward you, please alert me so that I can clarify my intentions and remove the passive part.

Jane Dunsworth.

Monday, 26 October 2020

Monday quote

We are told to forgive, up to seven times daily, which actually means four hundred ninety times, and this applies even though all of us would have our suspicions that the repentance wasn't genuine after about the third or fourth time.

Douglas Wilson, Hebrews Through New Eyes.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Monday quote

If the Bible is in any sense God’s Word, as it repeatedly claims (2 Timothy 3:16) then it carries his authority. And to deny that authority is not to let God out of a human box but to let humans out of a divine one.

Mark Ward

Monday, 12 October 2020

Monday, 5 October 2020

Monday quote

Many women cry when they're angry; many men yell when they're hurt.

Keith Schooley.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Monday quote

A leader can be said to be doing his best—when he is willing to surrender tasks to those who are more adept.

Kenneth Boa

Monday, 21 September 2020

Monday quote

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Mark Twain

Monday, 14 September 2020

Monday quote

Never forget that bachelors turn into old maids faster than women do.

Doug Wilson

Monday, 7 September 2020

Monday quote

I had already been waist-deep in Romanticism; and likely enough, at any moment, to flounder into its darker and more evil forms, slithering down the steep descent that leads from the love of strangeness to that of eccentricity and thence to that of perversity.

CS Lewis

Monday, 31 August 2020

Monday quote

Civilization—safe, peaceful, and merciful—breeds smaller, duller men than barbarism, which perhaps is why civilization never survives for long.

Peter Hitchens

Monday, 24 August 2020

Monday quote

The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.

Milton Friedman.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Referencing day counts in Acts

Acts gives a good example of inclusive reckoning of days when reporting Peter's visit to Cornelius. After Cornelius's vision of an angel he sends messengers to Peter who returns with them to preach the gospel. Note the day count in Acts 10.

Day A B C D
Event Cornelius's vision Peter's vision Leave Joppa Arrive Caesarea
Comment About the 9th hour of the day The next day The next day the following day
Reference 10:3 10:9 10:23 10:24
Exclusive reckoning 0 1 2 3
Inclusive reckoning 1 2 3 4
Example Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

All the days are accounted for from the time Cornelius first saw the vision. Peter talks with Cornelius about the same time of day as when Cornelius first saw the vision—the 9th hour.
About the 9th hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius."
"4 days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the 9th hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing..."
Our culture uses exclusive reckoning. Let's say Day A was a Monday. When referencing Monday we would say
  • on Tuesday: yesterday or 1 day ago;
  • on Wednesday: the other day (though this is non-specific) or 2 days ago; and
  • on Thursday: 3 days ago.
But Cornelius says 4 days ago. This means the counting starts with 1 not 0 in this instance. Presumably the use of "next day" and "following day" allows for "previous day" ie. yesterday. Referencing Monday we have
  • on Tuesday: previous day;
  • on Wednesday: 3 days ago; and
  • on Thursday: 4 days ago.
This is a legitimate way of numbering days. However I am not certain that this is a consistent feature when referencing days, months and years throughout the Bible. Compare Mark and Luke.
And after 6 days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. (Mark 9:2)
Now about 8 days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. (Luke 9:28)
The important thing is to be aware of it and allow for variable accounting of time in Scripture.


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