T'was but a while ago that I had a discussion with an atheist friend about Exodus 21:7-11. The conversation began with his mocking God and the text as it was about a man who sells his daughter into slavery.
He posited that it was a perverted thing for a father to sell his daughter off for sex. However, his thought system is what is actually perverted,because the text doesn't imply pimping one's daughter. That is read into the text from one's own imagination!
It doesn't take much to understand the nature and import of what is communicated in these words. Here is a man who has been brought into dire straits and has no means of providing for his family. He has two choices, seek their best interest & care or let them die. Obviously, the one choice is much more preferable.
Now, to whom would you sell your daughter? Would you sell her to a slimey fellow who only wants a sex toy? Likely not.
But let's say you know of a young man who has grown up in the local synagogue with you who is able to marry her. He is a godly man with a good income and he is willing to take her to be his wife. This man offers to buy her (or, what we would today call "pay her dowry"). Now, not only have you secured your daughter's best interests, but you now have a chunk of cash whereby you can begin to provide for your own household again.
The rest of the text (Exodus 21:8-11) goes on to secure the girl's welfare and offer her protection from being anywise mistreated. She is to be treated as a daughter if she is given to his son. If he finds that the woman is not pleasing, she is to be redeemed. If she can't be redeemed, he's still obligated to provide for her and see to her sustenance.
So, you see, God's word has given guidance the proves beneficial for all parties involved: The girl got a home, the man got a wife, the poor family got some financial standing.
But let's turn around and talk about atheism...
We began this article with the mockery of an atheist. We've already shown his stupidity and perverted inclination. We can go on to show that his worldview actually supports the very thing that he found repulsive.
In atheism, what prevents someone from being sold as a slave? We buy and sell tomatoes at the market. Man, according to atheism, is not really substantially different than a tomato. Evolution says that both are accidents and random products of chance. It's just some germs became tomatoes and some germs became humans.
And, if our atheist is going to be consistent, who cares if you rape a girl? It's just molecules bumping into molecules. There is no absolute standard by which to measure morality, and therefore no one can say that rape is wrong.
Moreover, since man has no inherent dignity and there is no objective moral standard, the man who is in dire straits can just go ahead and starve his family. Better yet, the atheist can just shoot them and put them out of their misery! Then he can sell them off and have them butchered. In the end he has not just a boatload of money but also a year's supply of meat to eat packed away in his freezer!
I think you would agree that the Lord's way is a lot more humane. Thank God for the guidance of His Law!
As part of our outreach effort, I'm starting to send out letters to people in our community. I have been going through the phonebook and addressing personal, hand written letters to each household.
In these letters I introduce myself as a local pastor and say that I would like to offer them any pastoral services I can, such as prayer and/or pastoral counsel.
I got the idea from our prayer stand. We've had such success with it that I thought I would try offering it on a broader scale.
I tell them that I will keep everything in the strictest confidence and that they can contact me whenever they would like.
Along with it I include a gospel tract and our church's contact information.
If anything, this might be a cheap form of advertising. I pray though, that it might truly be effective for showing our concern for the souls of Ashland.
This past weekend I saw the newest batch of Mormon missionaries walking along the street. I immediately pulled over and was willing to risk being late to get home so that I could talk to them.
I began the conversation with my ritual question: Do you think you serve the greatest god? If I could show you a god who is greater, would you convert?
To their credit, they didn't want to take the bait. One of them tried to dodge by saying that he believed only in the god who burned truth in him. The gist of the conversation went like this:
Mormon: I only know truth if it is confirmed by the Holy Spirit.
Me: Has the Holy Spirit subjectively confirmed that 2+2=4?
Mormon: Not that I know of.
Me: So 2+2 does not equal 4?
I thank him for being epistemologically consistent. That only allowed me to show how foolish his worldview really is. Truth becomes quite slippery if it is subjectively confirmed in extra ordinary ways (i.e. burning in the bosom).*
Eventually we did get to my original question. I then posed the challenge, "Where is your god?" I always like hearing their responses on this one. Since their god has a body, they ultimately don't know where he is. They may say, "In heaven," but they really are just guessing.
Herein lies their dilemma: What comfort is a god who is not guaranteed to be near? Like Baal on Mt. Carmel, the god who isn't there doesn't answer prayer or aid you in your time of need.
In contrast to this, to use the words of Francis Schaeffer, we serve the God "who is there." He is a Spirit (John 4:4) and omnipresent. Therefore he is never able to "leave us nor forsake us."
[By the way, if they happen to give you grief about their "holy Spirit" being omni-present, just say, "I'm talking about the god you worship. You don't worship the "holy Spirit," do you? That's idolatry because the holy spirit in Mormon theology is a different god than Heavenly Father."]
*We believe that the knowledge comes only through the Holy Spirit too. However, we do not need extra-ordinary displays of the Spirit's presence to confirm it (i.e. burning in the bosom). God reveals all truth, for all truth is God's. Though the Spirit reveals it to us, it is always objective because it comes through the simple means of creation and/or His word. So, ultimately, truth is not left to the whims of our personal, inward experience.
Do you remember the article I wrote for the pastor's column about a wife's submission? Well, of course it caused a stir. How dare I quote passages from the Bible that deal with Biblical womanhood!
I simply wanted to make sure that the responses were properly noted.
I got a couple letters to the editor written about me. Here is one piece that was sent in by a local pastor. You'll notice that it talks about everything except what a woman's submission actually is. It talks about a man's role to lovingly lead (of which I fully agree with). It talks about our mutual submission to one another (of which I fully agree). However, it fails to deal with what was wrong with my article and do justice to the Biblical import of Colossians 3:18. In sum, it is basically slanderous and completely irresponsible exegesis.
The other response of note was from the Ashland County Ministerial Association. The president and executive committee got a little upset and chose to exert power they didn't have. They issued some "proclamations" at the next ministerial meeting, one of which was that you shouldn't publish anything controversial (See #5 on the link). I like how they restrict the ministry of the gospel to the ministry of those things which are in the Ministerial Handbook.
"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment."
The great thing about being a "Christian" and not being linked in to any local church is that no one can tell you that you are wrong. You are the isolated man, immune from all correction.
And that, of course, is the Biblical definition of a fool. By his willful shunning of the body of Christ and the wisdom of Christ's leaders, he's breaking out against all sound judgment.
"The point is that good law which affirms or mirrors the law and justice of God helps men to see their need for Christ. Bad law that contravenes and spurns the law and justice of God assists men in ignoring and/ or justifying their sin. Hence, the laws of a nation go to the very salvation of men’s souls."
- from The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates
The buzz on the local news feeds today focuses on Galion's public pool. Two homosexuals were denied a family pass because they did not fit the definition of a family as defined by the Galion city ordinance.
We need to keep in mind too that Galion likely forbids pedaphile rapists from wading in the kiddie pools. This is simply outrageous!
Seriously though. This is just another step our culture is taking to baptize perversion and normalize sexual deviance in our contemporary postmodern age. The cry of our day is that you can't put definitions on me and you can't say what is right and wrong.
The link above also shows the WMFD coverage of the city council meeting. In it a council member wears a big cross around his neck and claims to be a conservative Christian who has definite views regarding marriage. HOWEVER, he says, this issue is...wait for it..."about the children and their being able to use the pool."
With "Christians" like this in leadership is there any way the ruling will stand? Not hardly. The weak kneed man has no interest in standing for what is right. If he had any real concern for children he would remain faithful to the Scriptural command regarding marriage and family. He could easily say, "Homosexuals are free to use the pool, but we are not going to change our laws to acquiesce to their perversions."
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.