Paul Copan on whether the Bible endorses slavery

Before I link to Paul Copan’s article, (H/T The Poached Egg), I want to say that I actually don’t see why atheists are so bothered by slavery, since there no such thing as morality if atheism is true. If atheism is true, then slavery isn’t wrong. It’s just unfashionable in some societies who have evolved one way, versus other societies that have evolved to think slavery is OK. Whatever has evolved is right, on atheism – there is no transcendent objective standard by which atheists can condemn any practice as wrong. They also can’t prescribe moral behavior, for at least two reasons. First, there is no reason to be moral on atheism if you get more pleasure from being immoral and you can escape the consequences. Second, there is no free will on atheism, because matter is all there is and the interactions of particles in motion is determined by the laws of physics that govern matter.

Having said that, let’s assume slavery is wrong, which it is on Christian theism, and see what Paul Copan has to say about the practice of slavery and the Old Testament.

Excerpt:

We should compare Hebrew debt-servanthood (many translations render this “slavery”) more fairly to apprentice-like positions to pay off debts — much like the indentured servitude during America’s founding when people worked for approximately 7 years to pay off the debt for their passage to the New World. Then they became free.

In most cases, servanthood was more like a live-in employee, temporarily embedded within the employer’s household. Even today, teams trade sports players to another team that has an owner, and these players belong to a franchise. This language hardly suggests slavery, but rather a formal contractual agreement to be fulfilled — like in the Old Testament.3

Through failed crops or other disasters, debt tended to come to families, not just individuals. One could voluntarily enter into a contractual agreement (“sell” himself) to work in the household of another: “one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells himself” (Leviticus 25:47). A wife or children could be “sold” to help sustain the family through economically unbearable times — unless kinfolk “redeemed” them (payed their debt). They would be debt-servants for 6 years.4 A family might need to mortgage their land until the year of Jubilee every 50 years.5

Note: In the Old Testament, outsiders did not impose servanthood as in the antebellum South.6 Masters could hire servants “from year to year” and were not to “rule over … [them] ruthlessly” (Leviticus 25:46,53). Rather than being excluded from Israelite society, servants were thoroughly embedded within Israelite homes.

The Old Testament prohibited unavoidable lifelong servanthood — unless someone loved his master and wanted to attach himself to him (Exodus 21:5). Masters were to grant their servants release every seventh year with all debts forgiven (Leviticus 25:35–43). A slave’s legal status was unique in the ancient Near East (ANE) — a dramatic improvement over ANE law codes: “Hebrew has no vocabulary of slavery, only of servanthood.”7

An Israelite servant’s guaranteed eventual release within 7 years was a control or regulation to prevent the abuse and institutionalizing of such positions. The release-year reminded the Israelites that poverty-induced servanthood was not an ideal social arrangement. On the other hand, servanthood existed in Israel precisely because poverty existed: no poverty, no servants in Israel. And if servants lived in Israel, this was voluntary (typically poverty-induced) — not forced.

Read the whole thing. And if you think that’s interesting, you can listen to this debate on slavery and the Bible.

45 thoughts on “Paul Copan on whether the Bible endorses slavery”

  1. Oh no. Not this topic again.
    Just remember, OT Hebrew slavery has nothing to do with NT Roman slavery that is referred in Ephesians 5 and Phileman.

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  2. I always thought the “Bible endorses slavery” argument to be one of the lamest put forth by both antheists and liberal Christians seeking justification for other sinful behaviors they endorse (yeah, it’s come up). Just because God decides to set rules of behavior for things like slavery, doesn’t mean He’s endorsing or condoning slavery. What He’s doing is guiding the behaviors of both slave and master to a level more pleasing to Him and less oppressive to the slave and master. And considering the differences between what slavery meant to the Jews of Bible and early America, that makes the most sense.

    But it would still be applicable for the slavery situation of early America. Slavery at the time was common throughout the world. Buying and selling human beings not illegal or unheard of. How then should one treat one’s slave? How then should one treat one’s master? Despite the era or “version” of slavery, the rules would seem to apply and have a beneficial result.

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    1. I want to call this out as a very poor argument. I believe this very topic is one of the greatest proofs that the bible is man made (and not godly inspired) [or that it is morally acceptable per god’s ruling that slavery should be endorsed].

      No where else in the bible do we see god giving rules on how to murder or rape because man is going to do it so he’ll give rules on how to do it nicely. No, those actions are condemned as are many others because god has ruled them morally abhorrent. If he hasn’t ruled against slavery but instead says here’s how you do it, he’s endorsing it (saying it’s morally acceptable). You don’t tell your pre-teen or teen kids how to have sex safely because you’re against it and so is the bible.

      This argument is wrong. If the bible gives rules on how to own slaves, it’s endorsing it.

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  3. (This is an response to WG under the “Why a Woman’s right to choose…” thread. But since that thread is approaching 200 comments, I’m finding it hard to navigate. I put it under here for reasons we may or may not get into. But there is a reason. Sorry for any confusion.)

    WG: “If it seems like I am attacking you, please know that is not my intention at all. I just wanted to throw out some other things for you to consider (if you haven’t already), and wish only the very best for you and your family.”

    What you say here also bothers me, but for reasons you won’t understand until I give you more background information.

    I gave my heart to Jesus back in 1982. Due to moves and changes in life I’ve gone to five different churches in three different states. I’ve been exposed to a great deal of doctrine on many, many subjects. I’ve been convinced of pre-trib rapture and post trib rapture in turns, depending on different preachers using the same proof texts for both. I’ve now become pan-trib as in, it will all pan out. I continue to read Daniel, Matthew 24, and Revelation and wait for God to reveal what He‘s doing. I’ve been convinced of YEC and now am not longer convinced. I haven‘t chucked it. I‘m just not convinced. I’ve gone to an egal church and several comp churches including a mega one. And here is the conclusion I’ve come to. There are many secondary issues that have nothing to do with salvation and the spreading of the gospel.

    Also, I did courtship and marriage as best as I could with the knowledge I had at the time and married a Christian man, active in the church and from a good Christian family. When my marriage fell onto trouble due to many factors including my husband’s undiagnosed ADHD, I spent a lot of time in prayer and seeking counsel to help my marriage since both hubby and I decided before we got married that divorce was not an option. All the advice I received was given from a comp perspective. I followed it. It didn’t work.

    Now the pat comp answer to this is, “Well, if it didn’t work, then you didn’t do it right.” So a woman goes back and tries to get it right time after time. Then when it still doesn’t work she has a choice. She can realize that insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results, and she can examine the advice given under closer scrutiny and hold it up to the rest of the Bible and tradition. Or she can keep following well-meaning but misguided advice and develop a nasty case of bitterness.

    I choose to re-examine. Why? Because God’s Word always works. If it’s not working then it is not understood correctly. And I asked the hard questions.

    So this is why you acting like I’ve not considered all gets a bit on my nerves.
    Yes. I’ve considered all. I wasn’t born again last week or even ten years ago. I’m approaching 30 years of knowing God. I’ve studied the Bible a long time and have sat under some awesome, world-class teacher/preachers since one of the churches I went to was a mega.

    Something was amiss and I had to find an answer. I searched high and low and tried many things until I came upon what REALLY worked. Pat answers and cure-all, secondary, pet doctrines wouldn’t touch it. All it amounted to was Christian pixie dust. And it is insulting to me that you would assume, because of your own doctrinal preferences, that I’m causing the unhappiness in my family when I’m the one that has worked the hardest to save it.

    I’ll accept you at your word that you weren’t attacking and I’ll work really hard to not have a knee jerk reactions against your comments when we disagree. But I’d really like for you to stop treating my doctrinal preferences as shallow, not thought through, and even rebellion.

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  4. Mara,

    Thanks for sharing many details of your life story with me. It sounds like you have been exposed to quite a few different doctrinal teachings.

    I’m not really sure what to say about this though. These forums are meant to discuss the points raised by WK on his blog. If you say something that I agree with it, I’ll agree with it. If you say something that I disagree with, I’ll disagree with it.

    If it hurts your feelings that other intelligent people can look at the same evidence that you look at and come to radically different conclusions that you come to, then don’t post your opinions here and you won’t have to worry about getting your feelings hurt. In the end what I think is irrelevant. We don’t know each other and will probably never meet in real life.

    Regarding your family situation, I don’t really know enough about it to comment. All I’m getting is one side of the story. I’m not accusing you of being dishonest or anything, but people (especially women) have a tendency to explain things that presents them in the best possible light and as a persecuted victim. Meanwhile, they also portray the people they are having problems with in the worst possible light. I’ve been around the track a few times and I know exactly how this works.

    This is exactly what my ex-wife did to me. She engaged in character assassination, going around telling everyone horror stories about me and trying to get them to sympathize with her and think that I was the anti-Christ and the worst husband who ever lived. So whenever I see someone else engaging in this type of behavior I have a natural skeptical reaction to the complaints.

    I think its kind of sad that you sometimes write some really unflattering things about your husband on a public blog. It shows a profound lack of respect for the man, even if they are all true. And you have to realize that you can’t “fix” anything or anyone. All you can control is how you act and what you do. If your husband is a cruel, godless man then ultimately it is up to God to deal with him. But you can get in the way of God working by constanly trying out formulas and new ways to fix things. You can’t do anything, but God can do everything.

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      1. ADHD occurs in women as well, and in fact, is underdiagnosed in little girls because they express their ADHD different than boys.

        In our support group, there are very few men because most men won’t tolerate it in their women and can the relationship early on. The men that are on the loop are at their wits end but are usually commited to the marriage because of religion or they are particulaly prone to being care givers or over the top loyal.

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    1. wg: “I’m not accusing you of being dishonest or anything, but people (especially women) have a tendency to explain things that presents them in the best possible light and as a persecuted victim. Meanwhile, they also portray the people they are having problems with in the worst possible light. I’ve been around the track a few times and I know exactly how this works.”

      Because your wife did this to you, you assume that women are particuallary bad at this.

      This is purely an assumption made by a man who has been through a very ugly divorce. It is not fair for you to assume that all women are like your ex or that women are more likely to do this than men any more that it is fair for me to assume that all men are like my husband.

      I have seen a very great number of men, as opposed to women, do this presenting themselves in the best possible light while painting those who disagree with them with a terribly evil brush. So in my personal experience I’ve seen far more men do this than women. Yet, in spite of this, I’ll refuse to assume that men are particularly bad at this over women.

      Also.

      It does not hurt my feeling that you disagree with me.

      Wintery disagrees with me all the time and it doesn’t hurt my feeling at all.

      What hurts my feelings is that because I’m a female and I don’t agree with your doctrinal preferences and you’ve had bad experiences with you ex, you jump the the immediate negative view of me and decide that I’m the guilty one.

      That doesn’t just hurt my feelings.
      It’s plain wrong and reveals something about you that you may want to look into.

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  5. Mara,

    //What hurts my feelings is that because I’m a female and I don’t agree with your doctrinal preferences and you’ve had bad experiences with you ex, you jump the the immediate negative view of me and decide that I’m the guilty one.//

    I don’t know how you got all of that out of

    //Regarding your family situation, I don’t really know enough about it to comment. All I’m getting is one side of the story.//

    I don’t assume that you are guilty because you are female or have different doctrinal views than I do. I realize that there are evil people of all stripes on Earth and neither gender has a monopoly on evil behavior.

    There are people with different doctrinal views from myself who have great marriages, and people with the same doctrinal views who have awful marriages. And the exact same applies to your doctrinal views.

    My wife and I are both complementarians, and I can assure you that if I did not act as leader in my family my wife would be severely disappointed in me and I would lose her respect.

    I don’t know how much more clearly I can say this…I don’t know enough about your situation to pass judgement on it. If everything you say about your husband is true and he is this mean ogre who chastises you for his personal enjoyment then you have my sympathies. But why is it so important to you that the world despises and hates your spouse? To me that is a type of control and a sign of severe disrespect, and I am naturally skeptical. What if your children found this blog and discovered what you had been writing about their father? Would that be OK with you?

    You have this habit of occassionally dropping in and describing your horrible situation, setting yourself up as a victim and using that to argue against the Biblical model of marriage. I’m a defender of truth and I can’t just let you get away with that without responding.

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    1. I think that women have to do a lot of research on men and marriage, and study the Bible to find out what the model is, and then choose a man who can do what the Bible says he ought to do, given the real demands and challenges and temptations he will face in the modern age. I think the problem today is that women are using their feelings (the 180-second rule) to choose men, because they haven’t read the Bible, or policy, or books on marriage and parenting, and then they get stuck with a bad man. They are adamant that God will tell them which man he has chosen for them through their feelings and by fragments of bible verses and license plates and other clues. They don’t want to read a thing about apologetics, finances, no-fault divorce, or anything about the challenges that kids are facing that will require a strong, moral father. Then they reject the idea of having that man taken on Biblical roles and authority. Well, of course you can’t give a non-Christian man that kind of authority, that would be crazy!

      That’s why women have to take responsibility for developing rigorous practices for selecting men for the role of husband/father. They should consult with their own fathers, and they should support policies that keep fathers in the home so that other daughters will benefit from being properly parented. But of course the feminist movement is HOSTILE to fathers and there is that to contend with. I think the root of all of these problems, and even the feminist movement, is one problem. Women want to feel free to choose men apart from wisdom, and then to change them afterwards. And not change them through debate and persuasion using evidence, but through nagging, manipulation and (eventually) through government coercion. And when this doesn’t work, that’s when we get the coercive laws, government programs as a substitute for men, and the theological revisionism of egalitarianism.

      None of this would be a problem if women used engineering methods to select husbands – requirements, analysis, design, construction, testing. But women reject these methods because they are too “strict” and ignore the primacy of “feelings” as a guide in life. They WANT to make decisions based on emotions and spontaneity. They WANT to impress their friends. They WANT to spend all their time looking at wedding photos and holding babies instead of reading and learning and thinking. For most women today, a man’s knowledge of God and his dedication to morality is not something that can be measured by listening to him and reading his writings. Instead, his faith and morality can be assessed by looking at his shoes, or by whether he has a deep voice, or whether he is entertaining.

      And then later on, when the whole thing explodes, comes the man-blaming and the Scripture twisting. The reason why we have a 50% divorce rate with 70% of divorces initiated by women is because women don’t know how to choose men, and they refuse to take responsibility for choosing men for the real requirements of marriage in a rigorous way. They don’t read serious books, they don’t read serious research, and they consider strict courting rules to be too strict – they want to reduce relationships to having fun. They marry the man who is the most fun.

      And the problem for me with this is that I have to pay for this faulty system of choosing men as women vote for government as a kind of safety net that will protect them from their own bad decisions. They don’t have to do any hard work to choose a man if the government will take care of them. They can just use feelings and spontaneity and the 180-second rule to judge a man’s appearance. And if it doesn’t “work out”, then the government will be there with the money of the boring, hard-working, strict man that they rejected. And none of this is the woman’s fault – men are to blame for failing to live up to her expectations – the expectations that were not grounded rationally, but only in her feelings, fancies, whimsies and imagination.

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      1. Wintery,
        The reason I put this conversation under here is because people use, as a model for marriage, verses addressing the Ephesians in Roman patriarchal culture.
        Then in the same breath say that the verses directly following are NOT the model for slavery that should continue in this day.

        Paul was addressing Roman, patiarchal culture in marriage and in slaveholding.

        Marriage was established by God, not hierachy.
        Paul was laying out what Christianity should look like in a culture where Slavery and Patriarchy DID exist and was rigidly followed.
        In that culture women WERE subject to their husbands by the law of the land. Their husbands WERE their leaders.
        Their culture was based Greek thought as written about by Aristotle.
        But Paul appealed to the husbands in their exalted position in the culture to take on the sacrificial attitude of Christ. He was not re-enforcing patriarchal rule.

        Christians were already being dragged off and martyred for their belief in Jesus. If women and slaves began to look too liberated, there’d be MORE reason for Christians to be dragged off and martyred because Christianity was disturbing the strict patriarchal structure the government was built on.

        Jesus said, if you would be great in God’s kingdom, make yourself the least.
        Paul was also saying this to husbands who were made great by the social structure.
        But as the wives gained more freedom and became ‘freemen’ or ‘born of the freewoman’ they were not to use that against their men. They were also to submit, not taking advantage of men trying to obey Christ and Paul.

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    2. I got it out of you questioning me and my situation while not questioning Mike’s.

      Sounds like his situation was horrible and yours was horrible.

      But whereas men can share this with each other and accept it at face value, when a woman does, it’s automatically questioned.

      I never questioned it when you and Mike shared. Nor did you. But you did question mine and made the assumptions that our problems might stem from me wrestling away leadership from my husband.

      You weren’t even a part of the conversation, nor did you question Mike on whether or not he loved his wife enough or some other such rot.

      You only questioned me.

      And by so doing, you show a definit bias against me that I don’t have against you and Mike.

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      1. Mara,

        To be quite honest with you I really didn’t read any of Mike Singers posts. There were so many darn posts on that thread and everyone was going on and on about their personal lives that I didn’t bother following all of the threads.

        So it wasn’t a situation of me giving Mike a pass because he’s a man and giving you a hard time because you’re a woman.

        The reason I respond to you is because you have repeatedly come on this blog, over a long period of time, with the same tactics and arguments.

        Quite frankly, I find your obsession with the egalitarian/complementarian issue extremely fascinating and I’m trying to figure out what makes you tick. Even though I argue from an opposing point of view and have my own different thoughts on the matter, this issue isn’t very high on my list of things to think about, so I often wonder why you are so fascinated by it.

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        1. First, okay. Again I’ll take you at your word and I’m sorry for being defensive and jumping to conclusions.

          Second, you might understand if you are put in a position and told, “Just submit, that’s what the Bible says to do.”

          It’s different when you work for an unrealistic boss. You can look for another job.

          It’s different when it’s your parents. You can move out when you are of age.

          It’s different for the military situations. You aren’t bonded for life.

          And here in the U.S. we no longer have slavery so that bondage for life doesn’t legally exist.

          When you commit for better or worse, 24/7/365 until death do you part, you’ve gotta have more options than, “Just submit.”

          When you are led to believe by the people you trust that this is your only option, you begin to question whether or not God is really just and whether or not God really does favor men over women. Would He really make such harsh demand over a woman’s entire life, soul, being. Or are we actually looking at human constructs being sanctioned as “Biblical”?

          When you read the household codes of Aristotle that were accepted in that day, you begin to realize that Paul is responding to that because it deals with the three areas of the patriarch. Him and his wife. Him and his children. Him and his slaves. Paul it speaking to that and turning things on their head, NOT making the wives, children, and slaves the boss but rather making all things equal as Jesus taught. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you would be great in God’s kingdom, then learn to be servant of all.

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          1. Mara,

            Thanks for your latest reply, and for clarifying where you are coming from.

            My position is not that (in the Biblical model of marriage) it is ever appropriate for a husband to treat his wife as a servant or a slave, ordering her around and using her to satisfy his every whim. Christ does not treat the church that way, nor should a husband treat his wife that way.

            I do think that God assigns special responsibilities to each member of a family. In the case of a man, God calls the husband to be a leader, provider, and protector. One can be an effective leader and protector without being an abusive tyrant.
            And any man who uses the Biblical teachings to justify being an abusive tyrant is completely out of bounds and will not go unpunished.

            I think when both spouses are earnestly seeking the will of God and not just looking out for their own selfish desires, the conflict in such a marriage will be minimal.

            I think that Christian women should respect the special role that God gives the husband and not ever try to undermine it or to diminish the man. This is poison to a good marriage and sets a bad example for the children.

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          2. I just want to point out that both sexes need to do a better job of thinking about what marriage and parenting is for realistically. What are the requirements? What can a candidate show that will be a sign for the interviewer that this candidate is capable of achieving the goals of marriage and parenting. I don’t think you can push these Biblical roles on just anybody, which is why we have to get better at choosing. You can’t hire an alligator to manage your portfolio. You have to match the goals you want your partner to achieve to RELEVANT skills and experience. And feelings and physical contact are just going to result in a wrong choice being made. That’s why fathers are so important as chaperones.

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  6. For the record…. I loved my ex-wife despite being a victim to a imaginary disease and a host of other issues that made me stick it out 17 years. However, when a person is unwilling to change, breaks marriage vows, and refuses help, and cant be honest with themselves, and lead to very destructive habits that are harmfull to me – then you let that person go – in retrospect – I didn’t leave.

    During this time, I prayed and stuck it out keeping in mind I am far from perfect and have made mistakes.

    Btw, what I didnt share was a couple of very personal, eneffeable, Spirit led experiences that God revealed to me to bring that brought every thing to light. With that being said – I moved forward with the best professional, medical, and spiritual help before I made the decision to divorce( my conscience is clear). With that being said – it was her response and unwillingness to change coupled with the her solution to live in a “open marriage” ( ie I fund her lifestyle – this is UNACCEPTABLE).

    I hope that offers some insight.

    Mara, pray and hang in there. Despite how it appears – you arent perfect as your husband isnt either and chances are God is using this situation to perfect the both of you. If you really want my opinion :) What is occurring between the two of you – IS MARRIAGE. If the both of you are willing to hang in there and stay faithful – then the relationship will be start heading upwards ( there are peaks and valleys and NOTHING last forever remember that :)

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    1. I agree with Mara’s choice to strengthen herself. I don’t know if I am being clear enough about it, but I think when you are stuck in a marriage with someone who is not fulfilling their role, the best way out of it is to lead them by example. Mara needs to be stronger, not weaker, so that her husband cannot disrespect her ideas of what he should be doing. So often what happens in the relationship is that the bad spouse justifies their bad treatment of the other spouse by blaming them for not holding up their end. The stronger Mara gets and harder she tries to become informed and effective, the more ridiculous it is when her husband tries to blame her for his own failures. I know what Mara reads so believe me when I tell you that it is great stuff.

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    2. Mike, God is definitly using the situation to perfect and change things in me.

      Sorry if I ever gave the impression that they weren’t.

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  7. Btw, getting back to the original thread on slavery.
    Very interesting stance.

    If I remember correctly – The Gibeonites tricked Joshua into making them slaves/woodcutters (ie they willingly volunteered vs. facing total annihilation).

    In review of the old testament – God ordered the TOTAL annihilation of His/their enemies including women, children, and livestock. Every time they failed to do so resulted in loss (Saul lost his throne and lineage and the mistake of Johsua with the Gibeonites came back to haunt Israel).

    Draw your own conclusion – God is not conducive to slavery (Is 58:6-7). It is a invention of Satan and evil man following in his footsteps.

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  8. Well Happy Easter everybody!!

    And WK, I’ll note all Christ did immediately prior to his crucifixion: he healed the ear of the guard after Peter cut it off (forgiveness at work); he forgave everyone; he gave himself over to God. He did not use “engineering methods…requirements, analysis, design, construction, testing.” I suppose he would have if they were superior, but they weren’t or he would have used them.

    Perhaps they are the means by which you draw closer to God; they may be helpful tools to you, but they are human not divine. Would they get you off a cross? Would they resurrect you? Would they heal a severed ear? Or are they only about winning arguments and feeling smart and righteous because that’s what feel Godly to you?

    People followed Christ, not because of what he said, but what he demonstrated to them: in fact, many of his words were scorned (“she is not dead, but sleepeth”) But what got their attention was what came next: restoring her to life.

    He raised others up repeatedly, first and foremost to God, but demonstrated through the physical (drying up an issue of blood, restoring sight, curing insanity, and then his own resurrection). Was this an act of engineering? Or an act of love? What could, in fact, be more loving than to restore the comfort of people who suffer? Isn’t that more important than the rigid intellectual standards you suggest for everyone?

    Faith without works is dead, my friend. You know how you’ll attract all the women in the world and silence the atheists? Do what Jesus did. Heal. Comfort. Love.

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    1. May I offer a slightly different take on the centurions ear ?

      It wasnt quite forgiveness at work except in the case for Peter. It was a unrequested healing for guard who suffered a physical loss at the hand of a violent disciple of Christ. My take is Peter did it in the heat of the moment and it wasnt premeditated, hence Christ covered the offense of the disciple. Now compare this with Judas ( Have you betrayed the Son of Man with a kiss ?) In the the case of Peter – it a was a heated moment and Christ covered a honest mistake of a friend.

      Further insight wold suggest that religion done in the name of violence “cuts off the hearing of Gods words”

      I agree with you McSpinster about faith without works is dead. However, how do you define faith ? It is simply doing what God says. Btw, this is not easy – quite the opposite. How many disciples followed Christ – Deny themself, pick up their cross, and follow him out of the thousands ?

      Twelve disciples to be exact and one was a traitor.

      The other disciple that Christ called turned away because the demands were too great (Mark 20:17-29). I suggest take a hard look at that passage – that is real Christianity and not the typical “accept Jesus in your heart” which is NOWHERE to be found in the Scriptures.

      In regards to His words vs. His works – neither were widely accepted. It all depends on what you ask of Him (see Matthew 13:58 ). Keep in mind – 99% of the miracles are people coming to Christ to ask Him for healing and not the other way around. Healing is food for the children and the dogs – they get the scrapes if they have a good response.

      Healing, comfort, and love – that does not bring glory to God or light to the world ( aka Benny Hinn).

      Pure religion is caring of the orphans, widows, and the homeless and is a HUGE turn on for God.

      6“Is not this the fast that I choose: jto loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps kof the yoke, to let the oppressed1 go free, and to break every yoke?  
      7Is it not lto share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, mand not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  
      8Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
       9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away rthe yoke from your midst, sthe pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,  
      10if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, nthen shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.  
      11And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be ulike a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

      Notice verse 8 & 9 – pretty profound…

      Now geting back on track, to be a whole person fit for a Christian marriage requires two heathy people that are looking to serve God and put Him first so He can be glorified. Marriage requires maturity and self sacrifice ( much like Christianity as Paul / Peter stated ).

      I don’t see the willingness of Christian American women (men also) to deny themselves (lead a chaste life), pick up your cross (stay in uncomfortable situations/ marriage), and follow Christ ( His direction for ones life).

      The American lifestyle / media message has destroyed the testimony of the Christian Church along with the family unit and it has entered in through specific “spiritual doors” ( the women right to be happy / selfish which destroys the family and men falling through pornography and lust and loosing spiritual authority ).

      Courting & marriage is a very important decision. However following Christ takes precedent over everything. I could care less if a Christian woman finds my relationship/lifestyle with Christ “uninteresting/ boring” or “too hard” and my criteria “intense” ( imo, thanks for being honest and saving us both time ).

      If either men or women are not cognitive of this then they are ignorant(willfully or unintentionally) and moving the relationship any further is to be avoided.

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  9. Has this blog become an extension of Oprah? Heal. Comfort. Love. Hope. Change.

    Jesus also became physically violent and cleansed the temple. He said
    “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12.
    Jesus died and rose again to save us from Hell-not to give us Heaven on earth.

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      1. “God is Love,” First John, third chapter.

        Romans 13:1) there is no power but of God;
        10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore, Love is the fulfilling of the law.

        Love God and thy neighbor as thyself.

        Happy Easter!

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        1. Context McSpin… Context…. Please explain “God is love” in context ( feel free to use 1 John 2 & 4)

          1 John 3

          1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

          2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

          3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

          4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

          5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

          6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

          7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

          8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

          9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

          10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

          11For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

          12Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

          13Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

          14We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

          15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

          16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

          17But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

          18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

          19And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

          20For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

          21Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

          22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

          23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

          24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

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  10. No. You hide behind sarcastic questions too often. I read this blog and its comments to interact with Christians. You take up so much space here,I want to know what your worldview is. I have seen you dodge questions already too often. Are you ashamed of your beliefs or do you not know them well enough to explain them?

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    1. Listen, this isn’t about beliefs, it’s about authenticity, about what’s there in the New Testament on the page: it’s about evidence. Show me where Christ used “engineering methods…requirements, analysis, design, construction, testing” in the context of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

      Right. You can’t. But what should I expect from someone who equates Jesus and other NT teachings about love being the fulfilling of the law and laying hands on the sick with Oprah Winfrey? Seriously, dude. You need to read your Bible more closely–or start watching better TV!

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      1. MCS, you are taking my quote out of context. I want people to be more rigorous about who they choose to have sex with, have babies with, and get married to. I think they need to take emotions and irrationality out of the decision. My purpose in demanding this restraint and carefulness from adults is twofold. First, I want children to have a biological mother and a biological father who raise them in a stable environment. Second, for Bible-believing mainstream Christians, I want then to take the Biblical standard of morality more seriously – by turning away from things like fornication, which Jesus did not like, which ultimately increases the odds of other things like divorce, which Jesus did not like. Basically, I am advocating for a renewed seriousness about making relationship decisions that honor Christ, instead of by using the 180-second rule to make decisions about relationships. The 180-second rule leads to things like abortions and cohabitation and divorce, and that’s bad for children. The 180-second rule relies on feelings, intuitions, vanity and the postmodern belief that wishing and hoping can someone alter reality to make people who have no capability for religion or marriage into good spouses and good parents.

        What sense does it make to talk about “love” while being in favor of practices that support the weakening of marriage, and the denial of mothers and fathers to children? Should we be serious about promoting and upholding sexual and relationship practices that promote marriage? Or should we support premarital sex, no-fault divorce, and other things that feminists even though those practices undermine the stability of marriage, which hurts children? I don’t want to be the one to explain to Jesus on that day why feelings and sexual libertinism were more important than his moral rules, and his goal of children having mothers and fathers. If people want to sign on to the feminist and gay rights agenda, let them. But don’t talk about love. There isn’t any love in a person who would promote policies and lifestyles that wreck childhood. If people don’t promote chastity and traditional marriage, then why mention Jesus at all?

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        1. WK, I haven’t taken your quote out of context. The word “love” as used by Jesus and the disciples convulses most of the men on this site. It pretty much makes JN see red. Sounds to me like he needs a little–of the Christly variety, of course.

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    1. I get that you are trying to sound sarcastic and cool, but you are dodging the question. What show are you talking about? If you really had any concrete beliefs then you would articulate them. Come on- explain your worldview.

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  11. JN:

    I’m reconsidering my answer to your question.

    If you are sincerely interested in my beliefs, in learning about them, as opposed to looking to size them up and critique them, I will answer, but privately. WK’s site is not, I believe, a forum for people of different faiths to educate each others. Therefore, if education is your aim, I will speak to you offline.

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  12. No. You have criticized the Christians on this blog and their beliefs without offering your own. Anything that is said must be said for all to see.

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    1. JN, the first time someone asked me that question here about 6 months ago, I answered and WK didn’t post it, suggesting (wisely) that I provide an answer on my blog for that purpose. So I did. I welcome you to go there and look in the About Me section and check out the links provided. You can go there and see for yourself and ask questions, or not. Up to you.

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