Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Historical Development Of The Roman Catholic Doctrine Of Papal Infallibility

                                                        By Keith Mathison

 A theological development of profound importance to our study of the late Middle Ages is the introduction and development of the doctrine of papal infallibility. [1] The origins of the doctrine of papal infallibility in the years 1300 are a fascinating story, but the scope of this work will focus on the main points.Because some trace the origins of the doctrine of papal infallibility to canonists, these will be the starting point. [2] In the century between 1150 and 1250, a study of the writings of canonists and theologians reveals that "they did not know any magisterium conferred upon Peter by the power of the keys; that they believe that in matters of faith an ecumenical council was greater than the pope;that they did not hold that papal pronouncements were irreformable ex sese[in themselves] . " [3] As Tierney points out, "above all, canonists did not teach that the pope was infallible." [4] On the contrary, the position was generally supported contrasted the unfailing faith of the Church with the fallibility of individual popes. Theologians, who wrote much less on the subject, also shared this general point of view.

In 1254 a dispute arose between the mendicant friars and the secular masters at the University of Paris. [5] Both Dominicans and Franciscans were involved, but it is the Franciscans who require our attention. Their order had been granted privileges since 1230, and their dependence on these privileges would prove to be problematic. The problem came from his assertion that his doctrine of "apostolic poverty" was not simply a good way of life or a better way of life, but that it was an essential aspect of Christ's perfect form of life transmitted to the apostles. [6] Many of them claimed that St. Francis had been the first Christian to properly understand the gospel since the days of the apostles and that the Franciscans were the only members of the Church who truly led Christian lives. [7] Of course, these allegations were highly controversial and raised with little opposition. Bonaventure, the head of the Franciscan order, responded to arguments against order by developing a theory of poverty which he himself called "condescension." Without going into all the details, it is enough to say that in 1279, in the Bull exiit qui seminat , Pope Nicholas III gave papal sanction to the doctrine of Bonaventure and stated that "the Franciscan form of life really corresponds to the form of perfection that Christ taught the apostles ". [8]

The first great medieval Christian to affirm the doctrine of papal infallibility was Peter of John Olivi, a highly influential Franciscan in the decades after Bonaventure's death. He lived and wrote in a period of time in which the Franciscans were divided into two great camps: the greatest and least rigorous "Community" and the strict "spiritual" ones. Olivi himself was a prominent spokesman for the spiritual. [9] The reason why Olivi, unlike Bonaventura, developed the doctrine of papal infallibility, unlike his predecessor, was his constant fear of the possibility that a future pseudo-pope would seek to overthrow the true faith (ie the Franciscan way of life) . In Olivi's mind, it was necessary for the decrees of popes (such as Nicholas III) "to be regarded as not only authoritative for the present, but immutable, unreformable for all time." [10] This, however, was impossible within the framework of the doctrine of the papal sovereignty of the canonists. They understood that a doctrine of infallibility would limit the sovereignty of an individual pope. Olivi knew that much. His "new theory of papal infallibility was designed to limit the power of future popes, not to free them from any restraint." [11]

The new doctrine of Olivi was ignored for forty years, but in 1322 Pope John XXII revoked the pro-Franciscan provisions of the Exiit and issued a new statement on the doctrine of Christ's poverty. [12] The Franciscans were dismayed and reacted by issuing two encyclical letters defending their doctrine.Pope John answered at the end of 1322 in the bull Ad conditorem . For John, "the idea that any decisions should be incorrigible was presented ... simply with a threat to its own sovereign authority." [13] This bull elicited a passionate response from the Franciscans who appealed against it to the pope himself. In November 1323, Pope John XXII issued his final judgment on the issue of the poverty of Christ in the bull Cum internovulos . The bull refers to the view that "Jesus Christ and his apostles had nothing in common or in common" as erroneous and heretical. [14] Because this bull explicitly contradicts the old bullExiit , the Franciscans began to assert the incorrigibility of the former to the point of condemning John's view as heretical. As Tierney notes,

The first evident condemnation of a papal bull came from ... a group of Franciscan dissidents who found refuge at the court of the excommunicated emperor Louis IV of Bavaria. Their protest, included as a sort of digression in the Emperor's Appeal of Sachenhausen on May 24, 1324, not only defended the doctrine of evangelical poverty and denounced John XXII as a heretic for attacking doctrine, but also presented a new formulation of theory of papal infallibility. In this work, for the first time, the ancient teaching that one of the keys that had been delivered to Padro was the "key of knowledge" was used to support the doctrine that the pope was infallible when he used this key to define truths about faith and morality. It was a great theological breakthrough. [15]

The Sachenhausen Appeal brought the discussion to the domain of Catholic thought for the first time.

In November 1324, John XXII replied in the Bull Quia quorum that the "Father of lies" has led his [Pope's] enemies to defend the erroneous thesis that "what the Roman Pontiff once defines in matters of faith and morality with the knowledge is so immutable that it does not allow a successor to revoke it." [16]

The 1324 exchanges are of fascinating interest to a historian of the doctrine of papal infallibility. Here, for the first time, a doctrine of papal infallibility based upon the Petrine power of the keys was manifestly proposed. But the doctrine was for antipope father rebels and not theologians of the Curia. And far from embracing the doctrine, the Pope indignantly denounced it as a pernicious invention. [17]

The most striking thing about the doctrine of papal infallibility is that it "was invented almost fortuitously because of a historical concentration of unusual circumstances that gave rise to a doctrine useful to a particular group of contenders." [18]

There is no convincing evidence that papal infallibility constituted any part of the theological or canonical tradition of the Church before the thirteenth century; the doctrine was first created by a few Franciscan dissidents because it was convenient and convenient for them to invent it; eventually, but not only after much reluctance, it was accepted by the papacy because it suited the pope's convenience in accepting it. [19]

The Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility was not declared as official Catholic dogma until the first Vatican Council in 1870, but its origin can be traced to this obscure thirteenth-century battle between radical Franciscans and the papacy.

[1] For an excellent historical study of this issue, see Brian Tierney,Origins of Papal Infallibility: 1150-1350, (Leiden: EJ Brill, 1988).

[2] Canonists or canon lawyers were those who studied and systematized canonical laws - established church rules for practical purposes of order and discipline. Very often the canons of order and discipline were established in councils (such as Nicaea in 325 AD). But the collection and standardization of canon law reached its peak in the work of Gratian, whose decretum was the standard textbook throughout the late Middle Ages.

[3] Tierney, op. cit., 57.

[4] Ibid.

[5] A "mendicant" is someone who depends on alms to live

[6] Cf. Latourette, op. cit., I: 429-436.

[7] Tierney, op. cit., 67-72.

[8] Ibid., 59-70.

[9] Ibid., 93-101.

[10] Ibid., 125.

[11] Ibid., 130.

[12] La Due, op. cit., 146-147.

[13] Tierney, op. cit., 178-179.

[14] Quoted in Tierney, op.cit., 178-179.

[15] Ibid., 182.

[16] Quoted in Tierney, op. cit., 186.

[17] Ibid., 187-188.

[18] Ibid., 274.

19] Ibid., 281.

From the book The Shape of Sola Scriptura by Keith A. Mathison, p. 58-61

Bacterial Flagellum Is An Example Of Intelligent Design?

        The microscopic, whiplike appendage that provides unicellular organisms with movability and kinetic activity is evidence for intelligent design. Consider the words of Biologist David J. DeRosier, in a scientific journal titled Cell:

        “More so than other motors, the flagellum resembles a machine designed by a human."

Patristic Writings Offer Powerful Evidence For The Accuracy Of The New Testament

  • Scottish Advocate Sir David Dalrymple (1726-1792) Was Once Asked The Following Question:
          -"Suppose that the New Testament had been destroyed, and every copy of it lost by the end of the third century, could it have been collected together again from the writings of the Fathers of the second and third centuries?"
  • To Which He Had Answered:
          -"That question roused my curiosity, and as I possessed all the existing works of the Fathers of the second and third, I commenced to search, and up to this time I have found the entire New Testament, except for eleven verses."

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Biologos Is An Institution Of Worldly Compromise

Now, I am sure that the church needs to be rescued from many things. But, is this really one of them? This raises the question of what is driving the Biologos crusade to rescue the church from non-theistic evolutionists. What allows them to be so certain that a straightforward reading of Genesis is detrimental to the church? Is their certainty driven by convictions about what the Scripture says? Not so much. The newsletter reveals the grounds for their certainty very plainly. Biologos wants to change the church’s view on this issue because “the church of the coming decades cannot divorce itself from matters about which there is scientific certainty.”

In other words, the motive for Biologos is the certainty of science. And, in their minds, credibility of the Christian faith is at stake. If we reject evolution then we will look foolish and ridiculous in the eyes of the world that knows it true.

What is stunning about all of this is the absolute, unequivocal, and almost religious certainty Biologos has about evolution. It is absolutely undisputed—it cannot be questioned. Ironically, at the same time, the meaning of the earliest chapters of Genesis is entirely uncertain, unclear, and very much in dispute. It could mean just about anything, we are told (except for straightforward history). Put differently, when it comes to interpreting Genesis no certainty is possible, but when it comes to interpreting scientific evidence then apparently certainty is possible.

But why is this? Is science immune to subjectivity of interpretation? Is science a neutral enterprise that involves no perspectives and no bias? Biologos, it seems, has a misplaced confidence in modern science. Indeed, it could use a fresh dose of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Sadly, the whole “Christianity must acquiesce to the claims of science or lose its credibility” speech is not a new one. This same phenomenon happened in the 18th and 19th centuries regarding the credibility of the miracle accounts in the Gospels. After all, modern science during that time (and even during our modern day) found miracles to be rather unscientific. Science had shown that people just do not rise from the dead. As a result, some Christians took it upon themselves to “rescue” the church from its unscientific commitments.

For instance, Heinrich Paulus (1761-1851), one of the original participants in the so-called Quest of the Historical Jesus, sought to save the church by suggesting the Gospel accounts should not be interpreted as describing real miraculous events. Instead, he suggested that they be interpreted as natural events that the disciples simply misinterpreted. Thankfully, his approach was not heeded by most evangelicals in that time.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Commentary On Isaiah 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness,.... Natural light, or that light which was produced at the first creation, and of which the sun is the fountain and source; or day which is light, and night which is darkness, the constant revolutions of which were formed, appointed, and are continued by the Lord, Genesis 1:3, moral light, or the light of nature, the rational understanding in man; spiritual light, or the light of grace, by which things spiritual and supernatural are known; the light of joy and comfort from Christ, the sun of righteousness; and the light of eternal glory and happiness: this is all from God, of his producing and giving; and so darkness is his creature; that natural darkness which was upon the face of the earth at the beginning; what arises from the absence of the sun, or is occasioned by the eclipses of it, or very black clouds; or any extraordinary darkness, such as was in Egypt; or deprivation of sight, blindness in men; and, in a figurative sense, ignorance and darkness that follow upon sin; judicial blindness, God gives men up and leaves them to; temporal afflictions and distresses, and everlasting punishment, which is blackness of darkness:

I make peace, and create evil; peace between God and men is made by Christ, who is God over all; spiritual peace of conscience comes from God, through Christ, by the Spirit; eternal glory and happiness is of God, which saints enter into at death; peace among the saints themselves here, and with the men of the world; peace in churches, and in the world, God is the author of, even of all prosperity of every kind, which this word includes: "evil" is also from him; not the evil of sin; this is not to be found among the creatures God made; this is of men, though suffered by the Lord, and overruled by him for good: but the evil of punishment for sin, God's sore judgments, famine, pestilence, evil beasts, and the sword, or war, which latter may more especially be intended, as it is opposed to peace; this usually is the effect of sin; may be sometimes lawfully engaged in; whether on a good or bad foundation is permitted by God; moreover, all afflictions, adversities, and calamities, come under this name, and are of God; see Job 2:10,

I the Lord do all these things; and therefore must be the true God, and the one and only one. Kimchi, from Saadiah Gaon, observes, that this is said against those that assert two gods, the one good, and the other evil; whereas the Lord is the Maker of good and evil, and therefore must be above all; and it is worthy of observation, that the Persian Magi, before ZoroastresF13, held two first causes, the one light, or the good god, the author of all good; and the other darkness, or the evil god, the author of all evil; the one they called Oromazes, the other Arimanius; and, as Dr. PrideauxF14 observes,

"these words are directed to Cyrus king of Persia, and must be understood as spoken in reference to the Persian sect of the Magians; who then held light and darkness, or good and evil, to be the supreme Beings, without acknowledging the great God as superior to both;'

and which these words show; for Zoroastres, who reformed them in this first principle of their religion, was after Isaiah's time.

Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Between The Testaments




1. The Egyptian Empire

2. Greece

3. Rome

4. Asia


1. The Persian Period

2. The Alexandrian Period

3. The Egyptian Period

4. The Syrian Period

5. The Maccabean Period

6. The Roman Period


1. Literary Activity

(a) The Apocrypha

(b) Pseudepigrapha

(c) The Septuagint

2. Spiritual Conditions

3. Parties

4. Preparation for Christianity

As the title indicates, the historical period in the life of Israel extends from the cessation of Old Testament prophecy to the beginning of the Christian era.

$ I. The Period in General.$

The Exile left its ineffaceable stamp on Judaism as well as on the Jews. Their return to the land of their fathers was marked by the last rays of the declining sun of prophecy. With Malachi it set. Modern historical criticism has projected some of the canonical books of the Bible far into this post-exilic period. Thus Kent (HJP, 1899), following the lead of the Wellhausen-Kuenen hypothesis, with all its later leaders, has charted the period between 600 BC, the date of the first captivity, to 160 BC, the beginning of the Hasmonean period of Jewish history, in comparative contemporaneous blocks of double decades. Following the path of Koster, the historical position of Ezra and Nehemiah is inverted, and the former is placed in the period 400-380 BC, contemporaneously with Artaxerxes II; Joe is assigned to the same period; portions of Isa (chapters 63-66; 24-27) are placed about 350 BC; Zec is assigned to the period 260-240, and Da is shot way down the line into the re ign of the Seleucids, between 200 and 160 BC. Now all this is very striking and no doubt very critical, but the ground of this historical readjustment is wholly subjective, and has the weight only of a hypothetical conjecture. Whatever may be our attitude to the critical hypothesis of the late origin of some of the Old Testament literally, it seems improbable that any portion of it could have reached far into the post-exilic period. The interval between the Old and the New Testaments is the dark period in the hist ory of Israel. It stretches itself out over about four centuries, during which there was neither prophet nor inspired writer in Israel. All we know of it we owe to Josephus, to some of the apocryphal books, and to scattered references in Greek and Latin historians. The seat of empire passed over from the East to the West, from Asia to Europe. The Persian Empire collapsed, under the fierce attacks of the Macedonians, and the Greek Empire in turn gave way to the Roman rule.

$ II. A Glance at Contemporaneous History.$

For the better understanding of this period in the history of Israel, it may be well to pause for a moment to glance at the wider field of the history of the world in the centuries under contemplation, for the words "fullness of time" deal with the all-embracing history of mankind, for whose salvation Christ appeared, and whose every movement led to its realization.

1. The Egyptian Empire:

In the four centuries preceding Christ, The Egyptian empire, the oldest and in many respects the most perfectly developed civilization of antiquity, was tottering to its ruins. The 29th or Mendesian Dynasty, made place, in 384 BC, for the 30th or Sebennitic Dynasty, which was swallowed up, half a century later, by the Persian Dynasty. The Macedonian or 32nd replaced this in 332 BC, only to give way, a decade later, to the last or 33rd, the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The whole history of Egypt in this period was therefore one of endless and swiftly succeeding changes. In the Ptolemaic Dynasty there was a faint revival of the old glory of the past, but the star of empire had set for Egypt, and the mailed hand of Rome finally smote down a civilization whose beginnings are lost in the dim twilight of history. The Caesarian conquest of 47 BC was followed, 17 years later, by the annexation of Egypt to the new world-power, as a Roman province. Manetho's history is the one great literary monument of Egyptian history in this period. Her priests had been famous for their wisdom, to which Lycurgus and Solon, the Greek legislators, had been attracted, as well as Pythagoras and Plato, the world's greatest philosophers.

2. Greece:

In Greece also the old glory was passing away. Endless wars sapped the strength of the national life. The strength of Athens and Sparta, of Corinth and Thebes had departed, and when about the beginning of our period, in 337 BC, the congress of Greek states had elected Philip of Macedon to the hegemony of united Greece, the knell of doom sounded for all Greek liberty. First Philip and after him Alexander wiped out the last remnants of this liberty, and Greece became a fighting machine for the conquest of the world in the meteoric career of Alexander the Great. But what a galaxy of illustrious names adorn the pages of Greek history, in this period, so dark for Israel! Think of Aristophanes and Hippocrates, of Xenophon and Democritus, of Plato and Apelies, of Aeschines and Demosthenes, of Aristotle and Praxiteles and Archimedes, all figuring, amid the decay of Greek liberty, in the 4th and 3rd centuries before Christ! Surely if the political glory of Greece had left its mark on the ages, its intellectual brilliancy is their pride.

3. Rome:

Rome meanwhile was strengthening herself, by interminable wars, for the great task of world-conquest that lay before her. By the Latin and Samnite and Punic wars she trained her sons in the art of war, extended her territorial power and made her name dreaded everywhere. Italy and north Africa, Greece and Asia Minor and the northern barbarians were conquered in turn. Her intellectual brilliancy was developed only when the lust of conquest was sated after a fashion, but in the century immediately preceding the Christian era we find such names as Lucretius and Hortentius, Cato and Cicero, Sallust and Diodorus Siculus, Virgil and Horace. At the close of the period between the Testaments, Rome had become the mistress of the world and every road led to her capital.

4. Asia:

In Asia the Persian empire, heir to the civilization and traditions of the great Assyrian-Babylonian world-power, was fast collapsing and was ultimately utterly wiped out by the younger Greek empire and civilization. In far-away India the old ethnic religion of Brahma a century or more before the beginning of our period passed through the reformatory crisis inaugurated by Gatama Buddha or Sakya Mouni, and thus Buddhism, one of the great ethnic religions, was born. Another reformer of the Tauistic faith was Confucius, the sage of China, a contemporary of Buddha, while Zoroaster in Persia laid the foundations of his dualistic world-view. In every sense and in every direction, the period between the Testaments was therefore one of political and intellectual ferment.

$ III. Historical Developments.$

As regards Jewish history, the period between the Testaments may be divided as follows:

(1) the Persian period;

(2) the Alexandrian period;

(3) the Egyptian period;

(4) the Syrian period;

(5) the Maccabean period;

(6) the Roman period.

1. The Persian Period:

The Persian period extends from the cessation of prophecy to 334 BC. It was in the main uneventful in the history of the Jews, a breathing spell between great national crises, and comparatively little is known of it. The land of Palestine was a portion of the Syrian satrapy, while the true government of the Jewish people was semi-theocratic, or rather sacerdotal, under the rule of the high priests, who were responsible to the satrap. As a matter of course, the high-priestly office became the object of all Jewish ambition and it aroused the darkest passions. Thus John, the son of Judas, son of Eliashib, through the lust of power, killed his brother Jesus, who was a favorite of Bagoses, a general of Artaxerxes in command of the district. The guilt of the fratricide was enhanced, because the crime was committed in the temple itself, and before the very altar. A storm of wrath, the only notable one of this period, thereupon swept over Judea. The Persians occupied Jerusalem, the temple was defiled, the city laid waste in part, a heavy fine was imposed on the people and a general persecution followed, which lasted for many years (Ant., XI, 7; Kent, HJP, 231). Then as later on, in the many persecutions which followed, the Samaritans, ever pliable and willing to obey the tyrant of the day, went practically scot free.

2. The Alexandrian Period:

The Alexandrian period was very brief, 334-323 BC. It simply covers the period of the Asiatic rule of Alexander the Great. In Greece things had been moving swiftly. The Spartan hegemony, which had been unbroken since the fall of Athens, was now by destroyed by the Thebans under Epaminondas, in the great battles of Leuctra and Mantinea. But the new power was soon crushed Philip of Macedon, who was thereupon chosen general leader by the unwilling Greeks. Persia was the object of Philip's ambition and vengeance, but the dagger of Pausanias (Ant., XI, viii, 1) forestalled the execution of his plans. His son Alexander, a youth of 20 years, succeeded him, and thus the "great he-goat," of which Daniel had spoken (Daniel 8:8; 10:20), appeared on the scene. In the twelve years of his reign (335-323 BC) he revolutionized the world. Swift as an eagle he moved. All Greece was laid at his feet. Thence he moved to Asia, where he defeated Darius in the memorable battles of Granicus and Issus. Passing southward, he conquered the Mediterranean coast and Egypt and then moved eastward again, for the complete subjugation of Asia, when he was struck down in the height of his power, at Babylon, in the 33rd year of his age. In the Syrian campaign he had come in contact with the Jews. Unwilling to leave any stronghold at his back, he reduced Tyre after a siege of several months, and advancing southward demanded the surrender of Jerusalem. But the Jews, taught by bitter experience, desired to remain loyal to Persia. As Alexander approached the city, Jaddua the high priest, with a train of priests in their official dress, went out to meet him, to supplicate mercy. A previous dream of this occurrence is said to have foreshadowed this event, and Alexander spared the city, sacrificed to Yahweh, had the prophecies of Daniel concerning him rehearsed in his hearing, and showed the Jews many favors (Ant., XI, viii, 5) From that day on they became his favorites; he employed them in his army and gave them equal rights w ith the Greeks, as first citizens of Alexandria, and other cities, which he founded. Thus the strong Hellenistic spirit of the Jews was created, which marked so large a portion of the nation, in the subsequent periods of their history.

3. The Egyptian Period:

The Egyptian period (324-264 BC). The death of Alexander temporarily turned everything into chaos. The empire, welded Thrace together by his towering genius, fell apart under four of his generals--Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Cassander, and Selenus (Daniel 8:21,22). Egypt fell to the share of Ptolemy Soter and Judea was made part of it. At first Ptolemy was harsh in his treatment of the Jews, but later on he learned to respect them and became their patron as Alexander had been. Hecataeus of is at this time said to have studied the Jews, through information received from Hezekiah, an Egyptian Jewish immigrant, and to have written a Jewish history from the time of Abraham till his own day. This book, quoted by Josephus and Origen, is totally lost. Soter was succeeded by Ptolemy Philadelphus, an enlightened ruler, famous through the erection of the lighthouse of Pharos, and especially through the founding of the celebrated Alexandrian library. Like his father he was very friendly to the Jews, and in his reign the celebrated Greek translation of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Septuagint, was made, according to tradition (Ant.,. XII, ii). As however the power of the Syrian princes, the Seleucids, grew, Palestine increasingly became the battle ground between them and the Ptolemies. In the decisive battle between Ptolemy Philopator and Antiochus the Great, at Raphia near Gaza, the latter was crushed and during Philopator's reign Judea remained an Egyptian province. And yet this battle formed the turning-point of the history of the Jews in their relation to Egypt. For when Ptolemy, drunk with victory, came to Jerusalem, he endeavored to enter the holy of holies of the temple, although he retreated, in confusion, from the holy place. But he wreaked his vengeance on the Jews, for opposing his plan, by a cruel persecution. He was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, a child of 5 years. The long-planned vengeance of Antiochus now took form in an invasion of Egypt. Coele-Syria and Judea were occupied by the Syrians and passed over into the possession of the Seleucids.

4. The Syrian Period:

The Syrian period (204-165 BC). Israel now entered into the valley of the shadow of death. This entire period was an almost uninterrupted martyrdom. Antiochus was succeeded by Seleucis Philopator. But harsh as was their attitude to the Jews, neither of these two was notorious for his cruelty to them. Their high priests, as in former periods, were still their nominal rulers. But the aspect of everything changed when Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC) came to the throne. He may fitly be called the Nero of Jewish history. The nationalists among the Jews were at that time wrangling with the Hellenists for the control of affairs. Onias III, a faithful high priest, was expelled from office through the machinations of his brother Jesus or Jason (2 Macc 4:7-10). Onias went to Egypt, where at Heliopolis he built a temple and officiated as high priest. Meanwhile Jason in turn was turned out of the holy office by the bribes of still another brother, Menelaus, worse by far than Jason, a Jew-hater and an avowed defender of Greek life and morals. The wrangle between the brothers gave Antiochus the opportunity he craved to wreak his bitter hatred on the Jews, in the spoliation of Jerusalem, in the wanton and total defilement of the temple, and in a most horrible persecution of the Jews (1 Macc 1:16-28; 2 Macc 5:11-23; Daniel 11:28; Ant, XII, v, 3.4). Thousands were slain, women and children were sold into captivity, the city wall was torn down, all sacrifices ceased, and in the temple on the altar of burnt off ering a statue was erected to Jupiter Olympius (1 Macc 1:43; 2 Macc 6:1-2). Circumcision was forbidden, on pain of death, and all the people of Israel were to be forcibly paganized. As in the Persian persecution, the Samaritans again played into the hands of the Syrians and implicitly obeyed the will of the Seleucids. But the very rigor of the persecution caused it to fail of its purpose and Israel proved to be made of sterner stuff than Antiochus imagined. A priestly family dwelling at Modin, west of Jerusalem , named Hasmonean, after one of its ancestors, consisting of Mattathias and his five sons, raised the standard of revolt, which proved successful after a severe struggle.


5. The Maccabean Period:

The Maccabean period (165-63 BC). The slaying of an idolatrous Jew at the very altar was the signal of revolt. The land of Judea is specially adapted to guerilla tactics, and Judas Maccabeus, who succeeded his father, as leader of the Jewish patriots, Was a past master in this kind of warfare. All efforts of Antiochus to quell the rebellion failed most miserably, in three Syrian campaigns. The king died of a loathsome disease and peace was at last concluded with the Jews. Though still nominally under Syrian control, Judas became governor of Palestine. His first act was the purification and rededication of the temple, from which the Jews date their festival of purification (see PURIFICATION). When the Syrians renewed the war, Judas applied for aid to the Romans, whose power began to be felt in Asia, but he died in battle before the promised aid could reach him (Ant., XII, xi, 2). He was buried by his father's side at Modin and was succeeded by his brother Jonathan. From that time the Maccabean history becomes one of endless cabals. Jonathan was acknowledged by the Syrians as meridarch of Judea, but was assassinated soon afterward. Simon succeeded him, and by the help of the Romans was made hereditary ruler of Palestine. He in turn was followed by John Hyrcanus. The people were torn by bitter partisan controversies and a civil war was waged, a generation later, by two grandsons of John Hyrcanus, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. In this internecine struggle the Roman general Pompey participated by siding with Hyrcanus, while Aristobulus defied Rome and defended Jerusalem. Pompey took the city, after a siege of three months, and entered the holy of holies, thereby forever estranging from Rome every loyal Jewish heart.

6. The Roman Period:

The Roman period (63-4 BC). Judea now became a Roman province. Hyrcanus, stripped of the hereditary royal power, retained only the high-priestly office. Rome exacted an annual tribute, and Aristobulus was sent as a captive to the capital. He contrived however to escape and renewed the unequal struggle, in which he was succeeded by his sons Alexander and Antigonus. In the war between Pompey and Caesar, Judea was temporarily forgotten, but after Caesar's death, under the triumvirate of Octavius, Antony and Lepidus, Antony, the eastern triumvir, favored Herod the Great, whose intrigues secured for him at last the crown of Judea and enabled him completely to extinguish the old Maccabean line of Judean princes.

$ IV. Internal Developments in This Period.$

One thing remains, and that is a review of the developments within the bosom of Judaism itself in the period under consideration. It is self-evident that the core of the Jewish people, which remained loyal to the national traditions and to the national faith, must have been radically affected by the terrible cataclysms which mark their history, during the four centuries before Christ. What, if any, was the literary activity of the Jews in this period? What was their spiritual condition? What was the result of the manifest difference of opinion within the Jewish economy? What preparation does this period afford for the "fullness of time"? These and other questions present themselves, as we study this period of the history of the Jews.

1. Literary Activity:

The voice of prophecy was utterly hushed in this period, but the old literary instinct of the nation asserted itself; it was part and parcel of the Jewish traditions and would not be denied. Thus in this period many writings were produced, which of although they lack canonical authority, among Protestants at least, still are extremely helpful for a correct understanding the life of Israel in the dark ages before Christ.

(a) The Apocrypha.

First of all among the fruits of this literary activity stand the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. It is enough here to mention them. They are fourteen in number:

1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 2 Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, in Baruch, So of the Three Holy Children, History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasses, 1 and 2 Maccabees. As 3 and 4 Maccabees fall presumably within the Christian era, they are not here enumerated. All these apocryphal writings are of the utmost importance for a correct understanding of the Jewish problem in the day which they were written. For fuller information, see APOCRYPHA.

(b) Pseudepigrapha.

Thus named from the spurious character of the authors' names they bear. Two of these writings very probably belong to our of period, while a host of them evidently belong to a later date. In this class of writings there is a mute confession of the conscious poverty of the day. First of all, we have the Psalter of Solomon, originally written in Hebrew and translated into Greek--a collection of songs for worship, touching in their spirit, and evincing the fact that true faith never died in the heart of the true believer. The second is the Book of Enoch, a production of an apocalyptic nature, named after Enoch the patriarch, and widely known about the beginning the Christian era. This book is quoted in the New Testament (Jude 1:14). It was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic and translated into Greek as there is no trace of a Christian influence in the book, the presumption is that the greater part of it was written at an earlier period. Both Jude and the author of Revelation must have known it, as a comparative study of both books will show. The question of these quotations or allusions is a veritable crux interpretum:

how to reconcile the inspiration of these books with these quotations?

(c) The Septuagint.

The tradition of the Septuagint is told by Josephus (Ant., XII, ii, 13). Aristeas and Aristobulus, a Jewish priest in the reign of Ptolemy Philometor (2 Macc 1:10), are also quoted in support of it by Clement of Alexandria and by Eusebius. See \SEPTUAGINT\. The truth of the matter is most probably that this great translation of the Old Testament Scriptures was begun at the instance of Ptolemy Philadelphus 285-247 BC, under the direction of Demetrius Phalereus, and was completed somewhere about the middle of the 2nd century BC. Internal evidence abounds that the translation was made by different hands and at different times. If the translation was in any way literal, the text of the Septuagint raises various interesting questions in regard to the Hebrew text that was used in the translation, as compared with the one we now possess. The Septuagint was of the utmost missionary value and contributed perhaps more than any other thing to prepare the world for the "fullness of time."

2. Spiritual Conditions:

The return from Babylon marked a turning point in the spiritual history of the Jews. From that time onward, the lust of idolatry, which had marked their whole previous history, utterly disappears. In the place of it came an almost intolerable spirit of exclusiveness, a striving after legal holiness, these two in combination forming the very heart and core of the later Pharisaism. The holy books, but especially the law, became an object of almost idolatrous reverence; the spirit was utterly lost in the form. And as their own tongue, the classic Hebrew, gradually gave way to the common Aramaic, the rabbis and their schools strove ever more earnestly to keep the ancient tongue pure, worship and life each demanding a separate language. Thus, the Jews became in a sense bilingual, the Hebrew tongue being used in their synagogues, the Aramaic in their daily life, and later on, in part at least, the Greek tongue of the conqueror, the lingua franca of the period. A spiritual aristocracy very largely replaced the former rule of their princes and nobles. As the core of their religion died, the bark of the tree flourished. Thus, tithes were zealously paid by the believer (compare Matthew 23:23), the Sabbath became a positive burden of sanctity, the simple laws of God were replaced by cumbersome human inventions, which in later times were to form the bulk of the Talmud, and which crushed down all spiritual liberty in the days of Christ (Matthew 11:28; 23:4,23). The substitution of the names "Elohim" and "Adonai" for the old glorious historic name "Yahweh" is an eloquent commentary on all that has been said before and on the spiritual condition of Israel in this period (Ewald, History of Israel, V, 198), in which the change was inaugurated. The old centripetal force, the old ideal of centralization, gave way to an almost haughty indifference to the land of promise. The Jews became, as they are today, a nation without a country. For, for every Jew that came back to the old national home, a thousand remained in the land of their adopti on. And yet scattered far and wide, in all sorts of environments, they remained Jews, and the national consciousness was never extinguished. It was God's mark on them now as then. And thus they became world-wide missionaries of the knowledge of the true God, of a gospel of hope for a world that was hopeless, a gospel which wholly against their own will directed the eyes of the world to the fullness of time and which prepared the fallow soil of human hearts for the rapid spread of Christianity when it ultimately appeared.

3. Parties:

During the Greek period the more conservative and zealous of the Jews were all the time confronted with a tendency of a very considerable portion of the people, especially the younger and wealthier set, to adopt the manners of life and thought and speech of their masters, the Greeks. Thus the Hellenistic party was born, which was bitterly hated by all true blooded Jews, but which left its mark on their history, till the date of the final dispersion 70 AD. From the day of Mattathias, the Chasids or Haside ans (1 Macc 2:42) were the true Jewish patriots. Thus the party of the Pharisees came into existence (Ant., XIII, x, 5; XVIII, i, 2; BJ, I, v, 2). See PHARISEES. They were opposed by the more secular-minded Sadducees (Ant., XIII, x, 6; XVIII, i, 3; BJ, II, viii, 14), wealthy, of fine social standing, wholly free from the restraints of tradition, utterly oblivious of the future life and closely akin to the Greek Epicureans. See \SADDUCEES\. These parties bitterly opposed each other till the very end of the national existence of the Jews in Palestine, and incessantly fought for the mastery, through the high-priestly office. Common hatred for Christ, for a while, afforded them a community of interests. 4. Preparation for Christianity:

Throughout this entire dark period of Israel's history, God was working out His own Divine plan with them. Their Scriptures were translated into Greek, after the conquest of Alexander the Great the common language in the East. Thus the world was prepared for the word of God, even as the latter in turn prepared the world for the reception of the gift of God, in the gospel of His Son. The Septuagint thus is a distinct forward movement in the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise (Genesis 12:3; 18:18). As the sacrificial part of Jewish worship declined, through their wide separation from the temple, the eyes of Israel were more firmly fixed on their Scriptures, read every Sabbath in their synagogues, and, as we have seen, these Scriptures, through the rendering of the Septuagint, had become the property of the entire world. Thus, the synagogue everywhere became the great missionary institute, imparting to the world Israel's exalted Messianic hopes. On the other hand, the Jews themselves, embittered by long-continued martyrdoms and suffering, utterly carnalized this Messianic expectation in an increasing ratio as the yoke of the oppressor grew heavier and the hope of deliverance grew fainter. And thus when their Messiah came, Israel recognized Him not, while the heart-hungry heathen, who through the Septuagint had become familiar with the promise, humbly received Him (John 1:9-14). The eyes of Israel were blinded for a season, `till the fullness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in' (Romans 9:32; 11:25).

Henry E. Dosker
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.

The Myth Of Chemical Imbalances

"Chemical imbalance is a theory based on inconclusive research. Even though considerable scientific study has been done, the conclusion is that the view is no more than theoretical.

There are true chemical imbalances in the body; but when they are present, the condition is no longer labeled chemical imbalance. It is labeled according to the chemical that is out of balance, and it is given a medical disease label. Low thyroid is a chemical imbalance, but it is called “hypothyroid” instead of “chemical imbalance.” Low potassium is a chemical imbalance, but it is called “hypokalemia.” High blood sugar is a chemical imbalance, but it is called “diabetes.” When people talk about “chemical imbalance” as a cause for depression, it is because there are no laboratory tests to prove this. Remember, an illness means something is wrong in the tissues of the body. If there is truly something wrong with the body, it can be proved by objective tests performed by an objective observer. The reality is that there are no laboratory tests that can prove the presence of a chemical imbalance. The chemical imbalance diagnosis of an illness is not proven by tests, but is based on what a person thinks and feels as described by DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition). Whenever the term “chemical imbalance” is used, it is as a generic term without proof that any change is present in any chemical."

Robert D. Smith, M.D., The Christian Counselor’s Medical Desk Reference, p.66

Addictions Are Not Diseases

"Addiction treatment is a cash cow for the Psychology Industry, which has argued, in most cases successfully, that treatment of the “disease” ought to be covered by health insurance. The state of Minnesota has declared alcoholism to be a treatable disease and adopted legislation against the firing of employees who are unable to perform their jobs because of drunkenness. They must be treated at the employer’s (or insurer’s) expense, even though most of the data show treatment to be ineffective. A survey of Fortune 500 companies indicated that 79 percent recognized that substance abuse was a “significant or very significant problem” in their organizations. However, when asked whether the treatment programs did any good, “the overwhelming majority saw few results from these programs. In the survey, 87 percent reported little or no change in absenteeism since the programs began and 90 percent saw little or no change in productivity ratings.” . . . 

It seems that, whatever the results, addiction treatment is identifiably a business that ignores its failures. In fact its failures lead to more business. Its technology, based on continued recovering, presumes relapses. Recidivism is used as an argument for further funding rather than as evidence of an ineffective treatment."

Dr. Tana Dineen in, “Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People,” pg. 214-215

Beware Of Antidepressants

"A large number of studies have linked antidepressants with suicidal thoughts and a greater tendency to act upon them. Antidepressants have also been linked to violent thoughts accompanied by seemingly irresistible compulsions to act upon them -- even if such thoughts and behaviors are inconsistent with a person's character prior to receiving these medicines."

Elyse Fitzpatrick & Laura Hendrickson, M.D., "Will Medicine Stop the Pain?", p.51

Chemical Imbalance Depression Is Rare

"Doctors bought the story line that all depression results from a chemical imbalance in the brain and therefore requires a chemical fix—the prescription of an antidepressant medication. This is absolutely true for severe depressions, absolutely false for most milder ones. The proof of this pudding is that psychotherapy is just as effective as medication for milder depressions, and neither has a big edge over placebo. Millions of people take medicine they don’t need for a diagnosis of MDD that they don’t really have, on the false assumption of chemical imbalance."

Allen Frances, M.D, "Saving Normal," p. 155

The Gospel According to Jack Chick

Comments On Eating Flesh And Drinking Blood In John 6

There is another passage which has a similar set of images and issues, and one in which the issue SHOULD be even more pronounced--John 6. Let me cite a few verses from it (John 6.26-63). I will highlight the 'physical' images (metaphorical) in BOLD and the spiritual (literal) phrases in ITALIC:

"Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. 27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.” 28 They said therefore to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30 They said therefore to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 They said therefore to Him, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 “But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. 41 The Jews therefore were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 And they were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 “Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 “I am the bread of life. 49 “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” 52 The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. 58 “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever.” 59 These things He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum. 60 Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 ”What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before? 63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. "

Notice several things about this passage:

1. The images shift back and forth between "eating/drinking" and "accepting/believing".

2. The metaphor of flesh/blood are 'mixed', the standard tip-off to metaphor (e.g., "I am the living bread", "I am bread which descended from heaven", bread is actually 'flesh', eating/drinking somehow don't consume Jesus since that is the condition for 'abiding' in Him and since He would still be around at the 'last day').

3. The "participation" theme is quite explicit, especially since it is paralleled to Jesus' dependence on the Father (vs.57). The "" parallel construction there highlights this point: Just as Christ draws His life from the Father through participation in His life, so too the follower of Christ is to draw life from Jesus. The first term of the comparison (i.e. Jesus drawing life from the Father) makes the second term (i.e. drawing life from Christ because of absorption of His life and death) obvious.

4. The objections of the grumblers in the passage have nothing to do with the offensiveness of cannibalism; they get lost in either the logistics (e.g., how can a living person share His flesh and still continue to live?) or in the demands for total dependence on Christ for eternal life ("you have no life, if you don't have me"). If they were understanding this rather completely literally (as opposed to some "moving metaphor complex" of "bread/flesh/life/object of trust") their objections and responses would have been markedly different. In fact, they were arguing among themselves about his meaning, indicating that it was certainly not an obvious reference to cannibalism. Carson has an interesting image of this (his comm. on John, Eerdmans):

"The Jews began to argue sharply among themselves. The very (emachonto) is very strong. Any dullard could see that Jesus was not speaking literally: no-one would suppose Jesus was seriously advocating cannibalism and offering himself as the first meal. But if his language was figurative, what did he mean? Perhaps one argued for this view, another for that, all of them repeating the same literal, unintelligent question to get at the point: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

5. It is interesting to note that Jesus expands the metaphor of 'bread/flesh' to include the 'blood' (symbol of His violent and sacrificial death) in vs.53. This would highlight the necessity of participating in His death--not just in His victorious future life.

6. But there may be something stronger is this reference to "drinking of blood"--perhaps a reference to violence against Jesus.

If we look at references to "drinking of blood" (and eating of flesh) in the OT, a number of passages make reference to this (without, by the way, Cannabalistic or ritualistic overtones):
Behold, a people rises like a lioness, And as a lion it lifts itself; It shall not lie down until it devours the prey, And drinks the blood of the slain.” [numbers 23.24, in which Israel, under the figure of a lion, will "drink blood"]

And the sword will devour and be satiated And drink its fill of their blood; [Jer 46.10]
This might indicate further that Jesus is alluding to His coming rejection and death. [The passage in 1 Chr 11.19: "nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord; 19 and he said, “Be it far from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. ", shows the link between accepting responsibility for someone's death (or risk of death) and "drinking blood"--it was a way of saying "I am responsible for this death", not "I am a cannibal"...]

Jesus' usage of this metaphor here is quite in keeping with Jewish and proto-rabbinic usage of the day, and not at all sacrilegious:

1. Rabbinic literature would use the 'eating and drinking' metaphor for absorption in Torah and good works. The midrash on Ecc. 2:24 says specifically that "All references to eating and drinking in the book of Qohelet signify Torah and good works." Jesus' use of 'eating and drinking' herein would have been in good rabbinic style.

2. . Bread is also very frequently used metaphorically in the rabbinics for 'doctrine'. For example:
"It is written: For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah stay and staff every stay of bread, and every stay of water,’ the mighty man, and the man of war; the judge and the prophet, and the diviner, and the elder; the captain of fifty; and the man of rank, and the counsellor, and the wise charmer, and the skillful enchanter. And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. 27 ‘Stay’ — this means the masters of the Bible...Every stay of bread’ — this means the masters of Talmud, 31 for it is said: Come, eat of My bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled" (Chagigah 14a)3. Even Josephus could refer metaphorically to 'drinking of blood' without it being a problem:

For hitherto they [warriors of the Jewish resistance before the fall of Jerusalem] had fed themselves out of the public miseries, and drank the blood of the city. [Wars of the Jews, 5:344]

4. And, to be even more clear, the rabbi's even spoke of 'eating the Messiah' when he appeared (and without any cannibalistic overtones or objections), and by that meant a sharing and enjoying of His benefits--exactly what Jesus is referring to here:

"R. Giddal said in Rab's name: The Jews are destined to eat [their fill] in the days of the Messiah.[ lit. "Israel shall eat the years of Messiah"] R. Joseph demurred: is this not obvious; who else then should eat — Hilek and Bilek? — This was said in opposition to R. Hillel, who maintained that there will be no Messiah for Israel, since they have already enjoyed him [literally, "devoured him"] during the reign of Hezekiah. [Sanh. 98b, Hillel's words repeated in 99a]

Again, as we saw in the Last Supper, the idea is that of intimacy with the Messiah--the closest possible alignment and identification with His life and scandalous death. The images and metaphors used were part of the rabbinic 'stock' of ideas by which to express messianic and salvific hopes (although some of the way Jesus used them seemed to be aimed at 'shocking' them into listening to what he was saying--instead of operating on their own messianic models.). One main difference, however, is that the intimacy/participation is with His comphrensive mission (including His humiliation--cf. 'take up your cross and follow Me'), not just the politically 'victorious' one.

Study: Psychiatric Diagnoses Are ‘Scientifically Meaningless’ In Treating Mental Health

"No two people are exactly alike. Therefore, attempting to classify each unique individual’s mental health issues into neat categories just doesn’t work. That’s the claim coming out of the United Kingdom that is sure to ruffle some psychologists’ feathers.

More people are being diagnosed with mental illnesses than ever before. Multiple factors can be attributed to this rise; many people blame the popularity of social media and increased screen time, but it is also worth considering that in today’s day and age more people may be willing to admit they are having mental health issues in the first place. Whatever the reason, it is generally believed that a psychiatric diagnosis is the first step to recovery.

That’s why a new study conducted at the University of Liverpool has raised eyebrows by concluding that psychiatric diagnoses are “scientifically meaningless,” and worthless as tools to accurately identify and address mental distress at an individual level.

Researchers performed a detailed analysis on five of the most important chapters in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Heath Disorders (DSM). The DSM is considered the definitive guide for mental health professionals, and provides descriptions for all mental health problems and their symptoms. The five chapters analyzed were: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and trauma-related disorders.

Researchers came to a number of troubling conclusions. First, the study’s authors assert that there is a significant amount of overlap in symptoms between disorder diagnoses, despite the fact that each diagnosis utilizes different decision rules. Additionally, these diagnoses completely ignore the role of trauma or other unique adverse events a person may encounter in their life.

Perhaps most concerning of all, researchers say that these diagnoses tell us little to nothing about the individual patient and what type of treatments they will need. The authors ultimately conclude that this diagnostic labeling approach is “a disingenuous categorical system.”

"Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice. I hope these findings will encourage mental health professionals to think beyond diagnoses and consider other explanations of mental distress, such as trauma and other adverse life experiences.” Lead researcher Dr. Kate Allsopp explains in a release.

According to the study’s authors, the traditional diagnostic system being used today wrongly assumes that any and all mental distress is caused by a disorder, and relies far too heavily on subjective ideas about what is considered “normal.”

“Perhaps it is time we stopped pretending that medical-sounding labels contribute anything to our understanding of the complex causes of human distress or of what kind of help we need when distressed.” Professor John Read comments."

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Outrageous Hostility From Calvinist Theologians

  • R.C. Sproul, In His Book Titled Willing to Believe, Said The Following:
          -"I agree with Packer and Johnston that Arminianism contains un-Christian elements in it and that their view of the relationship between faith and regeneration is fundamentally un-Christian. Is this error so egregious that it is fatal to salvation? People often ask if I believe Arminians are Christians? I usually answer, “Yes, barely.” They are Christians by what we call a felicitous inconsistency."
          -“God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power. Since we have shown that no creature can make completely independent decisions, evil could never have started without God’s active decree, and it cannot continue for one moment longer apart from God’s will. God decreed evil ultimately for his own glory, although it is not necessary to know or to state this reason to defend Christianity from the problem evil.”
          -"God desires that his sheep are saved. God desires that his people are saved. He does not desire that every single individual who has ever lived, live in glory with him forever. If that were the case, we have an incompetent, unhappy, and impotent God.”
  • The Words Of Edwin H. Palmer On God Causing Sin (From A Calvinist Perspective):
          -"Foreordination means God's sovereign plan, whereby he decides all that is to happening the entire universe. Nothing in this world happens by chance. God is in back of everything. He decides and causes all things to happen that do happen...[H]e has foreordained everything 'after the council of his will' (Eph. 1:11): the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist-even sin." (H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism: A Study Guide, p. 30)
  • The Accusation of Preaching A False Gospel:
          -“According to Arminianism, then, salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God and man. One is saved by grace through works, and one’s salvation is maintained by not sinning -- at least not habitually. Sort of like maintaining a balance between good works and bad works.” (The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest, Vol: 20 Issue: 3 - Saturday, October 03, 2009)

           I am not trying to say that Calvinists are not Christians or anything in those lines of reasoning. They most certainly are, and in fact are generally committed to Scripture. What I am pointing out is how some express areas of disagreement in the most unreasonable ways or engage in strawmen when articulating arguments.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Incredible Design Of Our Universe

"Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use, "Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be less than 1 part in 1040000." Of course you would…I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 Mev energy level in the nucleus of 12C to the 7.12 Mev level in 16O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix...A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature."

Fred Hoyle, "The Universe: Past and Present Reflections", in Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 20, September 1982, p. 16

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What About The New King James Version?

  • General Points Of Consideration:
          -A fellow blogger who is King James only had sent me a link to an article doing a comparison between the King James Version and the New King James Version, listing various differences between the two in an effort to demonstrate this particular modern translation to be corrupt. Indeed, to accuse scholars (or anybody for that matter) of conspiring to corrupt the Word of God is a very serious charge, and so should never be taken lightly. It is therefore the scope of this paper to address the arguments that have been leveled against the New King James Version in the link provided above.
          -Throughout King James only literature, whether it be written by notorious proponents such as Gail Riplinger, Dr. Hovind, or Jack Chick, we see a commonly set forth proposition that has never been verified, namely that the King James Version (which one?) is the divinely inspired Word of God. These apologists for this movement never really seem to tell us why this particular translation should be treated as the standard by which all others be judged. But how can one build a house without a foundatiofn? This is a textbook example of circular reasoning. Why are we not allowed to judge the King James Version by older translations such as the Geneva Bible? No reason has been given. Thus, we see that the King James Only Movement is based primarily upon inherently fallacious reasoning. Each translation should be judged in accordance to the best available manuscript evidence. What is even more, is that the earliest Christian Fundamentalists were never King James only.
          -There are probably around twenty different Textus Receptus manuscripts, all of which also contain a number of different textual variants, in our hands today. Which ones are accurate? When the Textus Receptus manuscripts and the King James Version conflict with each other, why must we automatically assume the K.J.V. rendering to be correct? Why must we assume that the King James Version is right every time we come across an apparent discrepancy in modern translations? Why must we assume that modern translations add or delete verses of Scripture, instead of accusing the King James translators of adding or taking away from the pages of the Bible? What if I had decided to be N.I.V. or N.A.S.B. only? These are more questions which I believe illustrate the overall level of absurdity among the folks who proclaim all modern translations to be corrupt. Even if we could prove the New King James Version beyond a reasonable doubt to be a corrupt translation, that still does not prove that all translations are corrupt, or even that the King James Version is inerrant.
          -I personally do not have a problem with reading from the King James Version, or even with the people who prefer to read from it to the exclusion of other reputable translations, but they are crossing the boundaries of orthodoxy when they begin shunning brethren for disagreeing on this issue, wrongfully slandering scholars, or proclaiming to receive divine revelations from God (as do folks like Gail Riplinger). Thankfully, this is not at all the case with the blogger whose objections that I intend on answering today to the New King James Version. May God point us to His truth. Now, this is not to suggest that all other translations are accurate and thus reliable. There are certainly counterfeit versions, such as the New World Translation, Joseph Smith Translation, Clear Word Bible, Good News for Modern Man, and the Passion Translation. Of Course, discernment is needed when choosing to read from a specific Bible version. But the King James Version is not by any means the only reliable English translation for people to study.

  • Getting To The Critique Of The King James Onlyist Arguments:
          -"Gen 22:18 changes seed to descendants (see Galatians 3:16). This is a prophecy about Jesus through whom all nations shall be blessed, not about the nations being blessed through a bunch of Abraham's offspring."

            I do not really see the problem here, as the words seed and descendants can indeed be used synonymously. We are literally descendants of Abraham, and children of God, by faith (John 1:12; 8:31-47; Galatians 3:7; 3:29). In fact, it is through Abraham that all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3; 22:18; Galatians 3:8-9)--the Messiah would come to redeem the world from sin and death.

          -"Exo 16:28 changes ye to you. Was God angry at Moses or Israel"

             Well, the context plainly reveals that the "you" is referring to a collective, namely that of Israel disobeying God's laws and trying to gather manna of the Sabbath. So the King James only advocate is simply oresenting to us a false dilemma.

          -"Exodus 32:25 changes naked to unrestrained" 

             The Israelites were indeed "naked" in that Aaron had failed to prevent/protect them from going astray into idolatry. The usage of the word naked here is, however, pretty awkward. It seems archaic. Were the Jews literally naked, according to Exodus 32:25 in the King James Version? Unrestrained sounds much more appropriate, as they were out of control in that they were continually sinning against the Lord God Almighty.

          -"2 King 23:29 changes against to aid. Those are opposite meanings."

             Okay, both the King James Version and the New King James Version still clearly affirm that King Josiah was "killed" by Pharaoh Necho in battle--King Josiah did indeed "aid" the Egyptian leader in that his advance into battle got him killed (goal of Egypt, especially in war). So there is really no contradiction. Perhaps the word "aid" found in 2 Kings 23:29 as translated by the New King James Version can be somewhat ambiguous, but it is by no means an intentional corruption of the text. Other reputable translations use words such as "confront."

          -"Job 31:1 look upon--God doesn't Just Judge us on our Actions but on our thoughts too!" 

            This, too, is another false dilemma set forth by the King James only camp. There is no difference between "think upon a maid" and "look upon a young woman". Common sense tells us that lust originates from a sinful heart,which God will judge by definition. This particular charge, in my opinion, is ludicrous. See Matthew 5:27-30 in the New King James Version for additional proof of my claims.

         -"Pro 11:16 changes strong to ruthless (see Pro 13:22)"  

           The word ruthless is appropriate in this particular context, since the surrounding verses do contrast between godly ways of life and wicked ways of life. 

          -"Pro 16:1 preparations of the heart belong to man"

             So what? What exactly is the difference between "the preparations of the heart in man" and "the preparations of the heart belong to man"?

          -"Pro 16:6 Atonement is provided"

            There is really no difference between "by mercy and truth iniquity is purged" and "In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity". The message of the text remains the same, despite the slight differences in the translational renderings of the King James Version and the New King James Version. Why must we always concur with the archaic phraseology?

          -"Pro 16:10 divination"

            Well, let us see how a few other reputable translations render the text of Proverbs 16:10. The N.I.V. reads, 'The lips of a king speak as an oracle." The New American Standard Bible reads, "A divine decision is in the lips of the king." The New American Bible reads, "The king's lips are an oracle." The Everyday Bible reads, "The words of a king are like a message from God." Once again, there is only an imaginary corruption of the text of Scripture in the New King James Version. All these translations are conveying the same message in Proverbs 16:10, namely that society presumed the decisions executed by supreme judicial authority to be objective, proper, and correct.

          -"Pro 18:8 changes wounds to tasty trifles. So Gossiping is a good thing according to this translation?" 

               This verse from the Book of Proverbs is simply describing the negative nature of gossip. It simply analogizes the spoken words of a gossiper to delicious food. Many people tend to mentally absorb the news about another individual's state of general affairs, in the same manner that they would cling to a person giving away tasty deserts. Do King James only advocates actually take the time to read other Bible translations and logically analyze their own argumentation, or do they shallowly cherry pick random passages of Scripture in a desperate hurry and blindly trust in their leaders? 

          -"Pro 19:18 do not set your heart on his destruction" 

             What significant difference exists between "and let not thy soul spare for his crying" and "And do not set your heart on his destruction"?

          -"Pro 25:23 brings forth rain; Again opposite meaning"

             Indeed, there does seem to be a contradiction between the King James Version and the New King James Version on this point, but nothing is effected doctrinally here. Furthermore, reputable translations such as the N.I.V., Y.L.T., N.A.B., N.A.S.B., G.N.B., E.S.V., A.M.P., R.S.V., and several others agree completely with the N.K.J.V. on this translational rendering. Modern scholarship must have confirmed the King James rendering "The north wind driveth away rain" to be inaccurate. So it turns out after all that King James only apologists have unknowingly and unwittingly refuted their own postulate by pointing out this so-called corruption between the K.J.V. and the N.K.J.V. 

          -"Ecclesiastes 12:11 masters of assemblies changed to scholars" 

              What's the big deal with this textual change? How does it impact the reliability of the Bible, doctrinal articles of the Christian faith, and the meaning of the text itself? This allegation against the N.K.J.V. does not even make any sense.

          -"Isa 66:5 removes he shall appear"

               Why is this at all problematic? The reliability of the Bible is not in any way degraded. No doctrine of the Christian faith is negatively effected. In fact, the meaning of the verse is not even altered. Many other reputable translations besides the N.K.J.V. do the same with the curious phrase found in Isaiah 66:5 of the King James Version. It can be said safely that the New Testament documents alone are almost one hundred percent textually pure. Who's to say that the phrase was not added at some point later in time?

          -"Zechariah 9:17 changes his to its"

             Actually, the 'his' reference mentioned in this text appears to be somewhat obscure in nature. The N.A.B. translates "theirs." The N.A.S.B. says the same. But the N.I.V. says "his." The E.S.V. also agrees with the N.I.V. and the K.J.V. on this matter. So it turns out that Bible translators are not one hundred percent certain as to the correct rendering of the passage, that is, whether "it" or "his" is appropriate in Zechariah 9:17.  The reliability of Scripture is not damaged. No Christian doctrine is endangered by this slight translational difference. The meaning of the verse is not altered. And it is a proven fact that there is not a shred of evidence supporting the K.J.V. only notion of scholars having wicked motives to deceive the Christian church. 

          -"Joh 3:7 changes ye to you; Was it just Nicodemus who needed to be saved or all of us?"

               Does CONTEXT mean anything to those who affiliate themselves with the King James Only Movement? The context of the passage plainly reveals to us that Jesus Christ was specifically addressing the Pharisee named Nicodemus. In fact, John 3:16 emphatically states that our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate so that He could offer Himself as a propitiatory sacrifice on our behalf for our sins. 

          -"Joh14:162615:2616:7, changes Comforter to Helper"

              What is the difference among the words comforter, helper, and advocate? Do they not all serve the same purpose?

          -Act 12:4 changes Easter to Passover; Passover just occurred are we to expect he was going to keep Peter in jail for a full year. Why would a Pagan King observe Passover? 

                On the contrary, Textus Receptus translates the phrase as Passover. No manuscript supports this reading. In fact, the KJV contains the accurate rendering of "Passover" in Matthew 26:2, and everywhere else. So why is it not translated correctly in Acts 12:4? This is a widely known error in the King James Version of the Bible. It seems that King James Version only advocates engage in a circular tautology here by claiming the English text to be correct by comparing it to itself, rather than to the Greek manuscripts. 

          -"Romans 4:25  raised because of our justification" 

               What is the difference between "was raised again for our justification" and "was raised because of our justification"? How is this incorrect? 

          -"13:2 changes damnation to judgment"

              Are not those who are under the judgement of God's wrath not on the route to spending eternity in damnation? Do not both translations convey the same message regarding unrighteous rebellion to God-ordained authorities?

          -"1 Corinthians 1:18 being saved 1:22 changes require to request"  

               Eternal life is more than just a present tense possession, but also is a hope that we long to experience (Titus 3:7). Some people are getting saved at this very moment, whereas others are perishing. There is nothing wrong with how the New King James Version translates 1 Corinthians 1:18. Also, the text of 1 Corinthians 1:22 simply means that true wisdom and power are found in ways that we would probably never expect to obtain them on a regular basis. The natural man would view the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross as being absolutely powerless. The Jew looks for a sign and the Greek desires wisdom because the preaching of the gospel seems absurd in the highest degree to them.

          -"2 Corinthians 2:15 being saved..."  

               Okay, some people are getting saved by believing on Jesus Christ and His Glorious Gospel, whereas others are perishing for their rejection of God. This verse is not about Christian justification, but rather, is about sactification.

          -"...2:17 changes corrupt to peddling" 

                So the Apostle Paul did not corrupt the gospel message by using it for his own personal gain? Where is the "change" in this particular passage of Scripture? Why does every difference in wording in comparison to the King James Version have to be treated as a perversion of the text?

          -"10:5 changes imaginations to arguments"

              How does this change in wording make any difference? Are the italicized portions of verses, footnotes, page numbering, and the chapter and the verse divisions found in the King James Version divinely inspired, as well?

          -"Col 2:16 changes holyday to festival"

              Would not festivals qualify to be holidays? How are those different?

          -"1 Thess 5:22 every form of " 

              There is literally no difference in meaning here.

          -"1 Tim 6:20 replaces science with knowledge" 

               The Greek word for knowledge in 1 Timothy 6:20 is gnosis, which means that the Apostle Paul was probably exhorting Timothy to avoid Gnosticism. This system of empty speculation and false, supernatural mythology began developing in the first century in milder forms. In fact, it was perhaps the greatest foe of Christianity for the first few centuries after Christ's resurrection. Even if this were untrue, it nevertheless remains a fact that "false knowledge" is more faithful to the ancient Greek texts than "Science so falsely called".

          -"Heb 2:16 not give aid to; The Context of this passage makes it clear that it's talking about Jesus being made flesh, not that he's helping someone or something. Thus this passage of this version is in error."

              On the contrary, consider this excerpt from The King James Version Bible Commentary, p. 1678: 

               "16-18. The third reason suggested by the author regarding the necessity of Christ's suffering is that He might become an intercessory high priest for His brothers. He took...on him. This verb (Gr epilambanomai) in verse 16 generally means to lay hold of, but in many contexts it takes on the added idea of 'helping.' Most likely, therefore, the idea of verse 16 is that Christ has taken hold of Abraham's seed in order to help them, whereas He has not chosen to help angelic beings. The verse probably does not have reference to a nature taken and one not taken, but to a help provided and not provided (cf. Westcott, pp. 54-55)."    

          -"Hebrews 4:8 changes Jesus"

               No, rather, translators of modern Bible versions are simply being mindful of the fact that "Joshua" in Hebrew is equivalent to "Jesus" in Greek. These two names are not the same in the English language, however. Thus, unbiased scholars should allow the context to be the key factor of interpretation and translation. Hebrews 4:8 is obviously speaking of Joshua, and not the Lord Jesus Christ, since it refers back to the Old Testament when he had successfully led the Israelites to the Promised Land. All the reputable translations of our day, which includes the New King James Version, are correct on this matter.

         -"Jam 5:16 changes faults to trespasses"  

              This is a silly argument to use because faults and trespasses are used interchangeably. There is no mention of a priesthood in this context (or in the New Testament), either. 

         -"2 Joh 1:7 as coming in the flesh" 

              If the wording of one translation differs even slightly from what is found in the King James Version, then King James only Christians generally assume it to be corrupt, even when they cannot substantiate their reasoning. We have a circular argument. Of course, there is really no change in the text, as is alleged by the author of the article being critiqued here. The so-called perversion found in 2 John 1:7 is only imagined. It is read into the verse. The text is only telling us to continually proclaim Jesus as God incarnate in the face of doctrinal apostates. See also 1 John 4:1-4.

         -"2 Joh 1:10 nor greet him; This passage claims you sin when you say hi to someone you don't even know if they don't have the doctrine of Christ when they meet you."  

             For crying out loud, greeting is a perfect substitute for the archaic English phrase "bidding God speed." I highly doubt that most people in our culture today would even understand what that phrase meant if it were applied in a casual conversation. In either case, the Apostle John is telling his reading audience to not associate with and contribute to the success of false teachers. That is obviously what the context of the entire epistle is about. Never forget to throw common sense out the door.

         -"Revelation 13:16 on their right hand" 

            The verse in both translations means the same thing. So it is pointless to make an argument for the superiority of the King James Version from this text in Revelation.

          -"some of these bibles have occult symbol on them..."

              Ah, this symbol, known as the Triquetra, has been used by Christians for centuries as an expression of their belief in the Holy Trinity. To accuse this symbol of being pagan is to engage in a guilt by association fallacy. It also involves a genetic fallacy. It would also be like arguing that the Trinity doctrine itself is of pagan origin. The truth of the matter here is that pagans have historically used all sorts of symbols as ways of portraying their beliefs. The meaning of a symbol is based entirely upon the context in which it is used. Can anybody justify the wacky symbolism present on the cover of Gail Ripingler's book titled New Age Bible Versions, or the creepy stuff presented throughout her literature? Why is not the original 1611 King James Version criticized for all the artistic design and symbolism contained within its pages? 

          -"Heb 3:16...was it not all who came out...? The way they put this verse it implies everyone who came out of Egypt rebelled but we know Joshua and Caleb Wholly followed the Lord. Num 32:11-12"

               In short, the context reveals to us that the author is telling a Jewish Christian audience to remain faithful to the God who created them, lest they provoke Him to anger through sin which hardens the heart. This text is saying to remain faithful to the sovereign Lord. Hebrews 3:16 simply illustrates this point by using the Jews of the Exodus time period as an example. The Israelites began worshiping strange gods. The problem with the King James only argument above is that it takes the word all too literally. Of course, God is not going to punish the righteous with the wicked, as He is a just God (i.e. Genesis 18:22-33). God will reward all who trust in Him for salvation and deliverance, whereas He punishes all the unrepentant and unbelieving in the literal flames of hell. God rewards all who are righteous in His sight; God punishes all who are unrighteous in His sight. Again, let us not throw common sense out the door.  
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