Sunday, June 10, 2007

Welcome One And All!!

Hello. Welcome to my humble blog. I've been vascillating on whether or not to actually post anything here. I've been involved with some discussions on a couple of other blogs to which I'll eventually link. I was advised as to what my first topic should be based on the response the advisor got when he posted on it. The discussion to which I referred ran along the same issue. I will begin by answering a few points and then we'll see what happens. So sit back, as this could take awhile, and please use the coasters and ashtrays. Yeah, you can smoke here. The ventilation is excellent.

To begin, a little background. There was a variety of points raised and debated surrounding the discussion on the topic of liberal views on homosexuality within the Christian church. Some retain the traditional views and others offer a "welcoming and affirming" atmosphere. The latter brings with it, in most cases, no condemnation of the practice whatsoever, but does condemn the traditionalist or "fundamentalist" for bigotry, intolerance and general nastiness for holding fast to what the traditionalist believes are still relevant Laws of God. The traditionalist is accused of being unhip to the New Testament teaching regarding faith in Christ above works, when in fact, the traditionalist uses the Mosaic Law as a guide to living the type of life a Christian should, as a manifestation of his faith.

Naturally, the challenge is put forth to explain which of the various Levitcal mandates are still in play, that is, if you buy into the Levitacal admonition against a "man lying with a man " as he would with a woman, then by all means, one must abstain from shellfish and by golly, stone that kid when he gets out of line.

So, in order to address these and other points relevant to the overall discussion, I offer this exerpt from a paper authored by two gentlemen by the names of Derrick K. Olliff and Dewey H. Hodges. The paper in it's entirety can be found at http://www.reformed.org/. Scroll down the menu on the left and click on "Social Issues".

I've found that this piece is aligned quite well with my take on Mosaic Law and why I feel it is still relevant as a guide to Christian living. What I haven't found is how to cut and paste it to the body of this post, thus, I'll try to see if I can put it in the comments section. Wish me luck.

11 comments:

Marshall Art said...

All right, here it is. I'll get the hang of this bloggin' thing yet.


The Law of God
There is one last issue that should be discussed before we move on to the biblical texts in question. We see now that we should have discussed this issue in more detail in our paper, inasmuch as Helminiak's view of this issue helps explain how thoroughly erroneous is his view of Old Testament law. The issue revolves around the nature of those Old Testament laws that Christians are no longer required to keep. What is the nature of those laws? Why are they in the Scriptures? As we demonstrated in our original paper, Helminiak's view of these laws reflects, in general, his low view of Scripture. Helminiak is under the impression that these laws (perhaps along with much of the rest of the Bible) were the arbitrary decrees of barely civilized men. We refuted this view in our paper by showing that those decrees, along with the rest of the Bible, are God's decrees. They were God's words placed in the mouth of His prophet Moses (Deut. 18:17-18). It was these written decrees that condemned the Levites when they strayed (Deut. 31:24-27). Thus, the book of Nehemiah can state that this written record is that "which the Lord commanded Israel" (Neh. 8:1). Thus, Jesus could quote a portion of Exodus and refer to it as "what was spoken to you by God" (Matt. 22:31-32). Like the rest of Scripture, those decrees are God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16).

Why, then, do we not, for example, practice circumcision? Why does the New Testament abrogate this practice? In what follows, we will present brief outlines detailing why Christian's no longer need to uphold the circumcision, dietary, and purity laws -- three subjects that Helminiak thinks are connected to the prohibition of homosexual acts. The differences between the former and the latter are immense.

Circumcision
1. Circumcision was the sign of the O.T. covenant that began with Abraham. It was an outward sign of inward grace: Gen. 17:1-14; Rom. 4:11

2. This circumcision of the foreskin symbolized God's circumcision of the sinner's heart. It signified God's cutting away of the individual's sin: Deut. 30:4-6

3. Notice that circumcision, like the Passover meal (the other O.T. sacrament), required the shedding of blood: cf. Lev. 17:11

4. The change from the old covenant to the new covenant brought about a change in the mode of the sacraments. The N.T. circumcision, the circumcision of Christ, is baptism: Col. 2:11-12

5. Just as circumcision symbolized the cutting away of sin, baptism symbolizes the washing away of sin via Christ's death: Rom. 6:3-6; Titus 3:4-6; 1 Pet. 3:21

6. Notice also that the sacraments of the new covenant (baptism and the Lord's Supper), unlike the sacraments of the old covenant, do not require the shedding of blood. This is so because Christ has shed His blood once and for all as an unrepeatable sacrifice for our sins. There is no more blood shedding: Heb. 7:26-27; 9:9-12, 24-28; 10:10-18

7. Thus, the requirement of circumcision today would be a denial of Christ's finished work and a claim to be under the old covenant: Gal. 5:1-6

Ritual Purity Laws
1. As a result of the Fall, man lost direct access to God. He was separated from God.

God will not tolerate any sin in His presence: Hab. 1:13
Because of sin, man was separated from God; he was driven out of the garden tabernacle: Gen. 3:22-24
Death and decay (which are incommensurable with God) were additional results of the Fall: Gen. 2:16-17; 3:16-19
2. The purity laws symbolized this separation.

The purity laws dictated that someone/something was unclean due to: a) contact with a corpse (Num. 5:1-2; 9:6), b) deteriorating/spreading skin diseases (Lev. 13:1-46), c) rotting/spreading mold and mildew (Lev. 13:47-59; 14:33-56), d) flow of blood from childbirth (Lev. 12), and e) general loss of body fluid such as blood, semen, menstruation, etc. (Lev. 15).
Notice that all of these occurrences represented death and decay, the very things which are incompatible with God's presence. They represented death directly (a), general decay (b and c), and the loss of "life fluid" which suggested death (d and e, cf. Lev. 17:11)
Notice also that the purity laws emphasized the spreading nature of uncleanness. To touch something that was unclean was to become unclean (cf. Lev. 15:4-12, 17-18, 20-24, 26-27). This probably represents the spreading nature of sin and death (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 5:6).
Just as man was separated from God's presence because of sin, so also the unclean person was to dwell outside the camp, separated from the presence of God and the clean Israelites: Lev. 13:45-46; Num. 5:1-4; 31:19; Deut. 23:9-14
Other O.T. types, such as the Levitical priesthood and the veil between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, also pointed toward man's separation from God, and his need for mediated fellowship with Him.
3. Through Christ, we are no longer separated from God. He has given us direct access into God's presence.

After Christ's sacrifice was complete, the veil of separation between God and man was torn in half: Matt. 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-38; Luke 23:44-46
He "paved the way" for us to enter into God's presence behind the veil: Heb. 6:19-20
We now have direct access to God through faith in Christ: Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:18; 3:10-12; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:16; 10:19-20
4. Thus, Christians do not follow the ritual purity laws. Christ has closed the separation between God and man; therefore the purity laws, a symbol of that separation, have been abrogated.

Dietary Laws (Clean/Unclean Food)
1. The dietary laws (clean/unclean distinction) symbolized the separation between God's elect and the gentiles.

The discussion of the clean/unclean distinction concludes with the statement that the Israelites were brought out of Egypt (separated from the gentiles) in order to be holy : Lev. 11:44-45
God separated the Israelites from the gentiles. Therefore, the Israelites were to distinguish between clean (Israelites) and unclean (gentiles) animals: Lev. 20:24-26
2. God revealed to Peter that he had cleansed the unclean animals: Acts 10:9-16

3. Peter rightly understood that this meant that the gentiles had been cleansed and given access to the covenant: Acts 10:24-28, 34-35; 11:1-18

4. It was Christ, through His sacrifice, who abrogated the distinction between Jew and gentile: Eph. 2:11-18, cf. Rom. 3:27-30

5. Thus, just as the dietary laws were symbolic of Israel's separation from the gentiles to be God's elect, the reconciling of both Jew and gentile into the one body of Christ has resulted in the abrogation of the symbol. This is why Christians are not required to follow the dietary laws.

Though these outlines are necessarily brief, the point should be clear. The Old Testament ordinances just discussed were not the arbitrary social taboos of ignorant sheep herders. They were God-given commands which played an important role in God's redemptive-historical framework. One was the sign of the Old Covenant, one typified man's separation from God and his need for purification and cleansing (cf. Acts 15:8-9; Eph. 5:25-26; Titus 2:13-14), and one typified the separation between the Jews, as God's elect, and the gentiles. What, we may ask, did the law forbidding homosexual activity symbolize? Was it a sign of the old covenant? Of course not. Was it typological of man's sinfulness or of Christ's redemptive activity? Of course not. It is clear that the prohibition of homosexual acts provides no picture of Israel as a holy people separated from the gentiles. Neither does it symbolize man's separation from God. It has nothing to do with the avoidance of death or "life fluid" loss. Homosexual acts were not followed by exclusion from the camp, a symbol that pointed toward man's separation from God. Instead, they were punished by death. It should be obvious that the Old Testament prohibited homosexual activity for the same reason it prohibited pre-marital sex, adultery, incest, and bestiality. All of these activities constitute attacks on, and repudiations of, the marriage covenant that God ordained (cf. Gen. 2:23-24; Eph. 5:22-33), the only legitimate expression of human sexuality.

Thus, it is clear that Helminiak's view of Old Testament law is in error. Old Testament laws are not the decrees of men, they are God's laws. Moreover, the laws pertaining to homosexuality have no connection with, for example, the requirement of circumcision or the ritual purity laws. This is why, though Helminiak claimed that the laws pertaining to homosexuality were of a piece with the circumcision, purity, and dietary laws, he did not demonstrate this point. The connection that he seeks does not exist.

ELAshley said...

So basically, you said all that to say....

The Ten Commandments are different than the Mosaic Law. That should go without saying, but it's surprising how many people can't get past that hurdle.

The Ten Commandments are God's Law for Righteousness... the Mosaic Law is God's Law for National Identity and Good Health in perpetuity. The two are not mutually exclusive, but rather complimentary, but it should be made clear that even though Leviticus calls homosexuality an abomination it is nonetheless separate from the Ten Commandments only because it is not specifically written on Everyman's heart, as are the Ten Commandments.

What does Romans 10:4 say?

"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

The Law (10 Commandments) was and is a mirror that shows man his sin. Paul said: "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." The Law then is a mirror to show us what we really are: unrighteous before God... under the Law.

Another interesting item in Romans 10:4 is the use of 'end'. Much of what we understand of the English language is based on current form and usage, but while I firmly believe the KJ is the best English translation there is, one must still take into account the possibility that words and their usages have obviously changed in the last 400 years. 'End' for example can mean a number of things, but the most common understanding of 'end' is 'abolishment,' or 'finality.' But it can also mean 'Fulfillment'. Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness because he lived a sinless life; wholly and completely righteous, and the only man to have ever done so. Because of this, His sacrifice was sufficient to cover not just a single sin, but a multitude of sin.

And what did Jesus have to say for Himself? "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." --Matthew 5:17

Jack H. over at Historic Christianity has a very interesting treatise on one aspect of sin payment, and why Adam-- had he chosen NOT to eat of the fruit --could not have paid for more than Eve's sin by sacrificing himself.

An Excerpt:

"The only atonement for humanity not of Jesus Christ could perhaps have come from Adam himself. How? If instead of deliberately sinning he had remained obedient to God, and if at that crucial moment when Eve had eaten and he had not, Adam had offered to lay down his own life as a substitute for Eve – then his one death might have atoned for her one sin. There was a small window of time when only one sin had been committed by all of humanity – of both humans. At this moment, Adam’s life might have been sufficient. So he would have redeemed his bride with his life, as Christ, the Last Adam, does redeem His Bride with his life."

Kinda in response, or perhaps in homage, here's an excerpt from a post I made many moons ago:

"God then preceeds to reveal the method by which Adam and his descendants must obtain forgiveness of sin... Does Adam and Eve watch as God kills the animals? Are they taken aback by the spectacle of death and blood? Do they now recognize the gravity of their sin?"

This is part of a series of posts you might find interesting. You can begin with the first one, Setting the Table

Good job! And you needn't worry, you'll get the hang of blogging.

Mark said...

Art, you copy and paste into the body of your post the exact the same way that you paste it into the comments.

I knew you would make some very good points, and you didn't disappoint.

ELAshley said...

I need now to present an objection to your characterization of O.T. Law and the resultant abrogation of such.

First, didn't Jesus say not one jot or tittle shall depart from the Law until all things are fulfilled?

Yes, The Christian is no longer under the Law, but the Law remains. It has not been made null or void; it is the standard by which all men are to be judged unless they accept Christ's blood atonement.

The Law is still in effect. It has not gone away. It is still written on Everyman's heart, and it is still the greatest tool we have in evangelism.

Likewise also dietary Laws, and ritual cleansing laws specifically have not been abrogated. Swine is still unclean. Certain other animals are still unclean for consumption, and absent proper washing and cleansing they shouldn't be touched or handled. Most diseases we pick up from others and 'things' are the result of personal contact; shaking hands, inhaling the germs someone who is sick breathes or sneezes out, touching objects like doorknobs that the sick have handled, touching dead carcasses which are disease ridden. These diseases get into our bodies by inhaling them, or rubbing our eyes, or eating without first washing our hands. Just because we have become Christian does not mean we need not practice good hygiene and a healthy diet. REMEMBER: Europe turned on the Jews during the plague because Jews weren't dying. Why? Because they practiced ritual purity (to include ritual cleansing), and dietary laws.

Furthermore, Acts 10:9-16 is not an abrogation of dietary Law for good and proper health. It was the end of dietary law for righteousness as stated by Paul in Romans 10:4, but physical health will still deteriorate on a diet of unhealthy and unclean foods. Pork is still poison. Not because God has said it's unclean, but because swine do not sweat and cannot expell toxins from their flesh and skin. The old and trite phrase, 'You are what you eat' is especially true of pork. When you eat pork you take in all the toxins that animal took into its body throughout its life.

Also, Peter's vision was symbolic, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say. That proof being Cornelius and his household... GENTILES filled with the Holy Spirit; speaking in tongues and praising and worshipping God.

Now, Paul did warn not to offend anyone by refusing what was laid before you (I may be a bit muddled on this point), but unclean foods were not suddenly made clean. What changed was Christ's atonement for their sin. They needn't fear sinning against Almighty God to the condemnation of their souls if they ate unclean things, but since the Law has not been made null and void by Jesus, but fulfilled, the Law is still in effect.

Did Jesus make the Law against murder null and void? How about having no other gods before HIM? What about stealing?

Well, if those are still in effect, so too are dietary laws if one would live long and prosper in good health.

Marshall Art said...

Guys,

Thanks for the kind words, support and advice. I truly appreciate it. I did try the standard cut and paste proceedure, but still couldn't paste to my post. I'd right click and get the menu you get when you right click outside the comments box. There's no "paste" on that menu. I don't know why this happened. Oh well.

ELAshley,

You've put a bit of a different spin on the discussion. I agree that there's practical value to the purity laws. I find the same to be true in most, if not all, of the parables of Jesus. It strikes me as not using something that isn't true to make a point. On the contrary, God uses truth to make a point, even when the point is of a spiritual nature. One plants seed in fertile ground, builds a home on a solid foundation, invests his talents rather than burying them, etc. But the point being made is of a spiritual one, and the notion that any food can corrupt the spirit is what has been abrogated. But heck yeah, bad food is still bad food that's bad for ya. I would add that Christ does abrogate even the behavioral sins, such as murder, theft, homosexuality, if there is repentance upon the acceptance of Him as Savior. No one is disqualified from redemption except for those who haven't repented, changed their ways, etc., and put their faith in Jesus.

And that's the point that started this whole discussion, that being, can one who believes something contrary to Scripture really be a Christian or is one truly saved having forsaken repentance of this particular sin. It lead to the debate over whether or not it is even sinful if it's within the context of a loving, monogomous relationship, which morphed into what my exerpt addressed. The entire piece answers the rest to my satisfaction and concurs with others, such as Gagnon.

ELAshley said...

My only point was the misinterpretation of Acts 10... It wasn't unclean food God was speaking of, it was Gentiles... What God hath made clean [meaning the Gentiles: Cornelius and his household], call thou not unclean....

Many people use Peter's vision of unclean meats and animals as the go-ahead to eat pork and shellfish, but this is wrong.


As to your copying and pasting problems here's two shortcuts...

CTRL+C will copy any text you have highlighted.

CTRL+V will paste that text wherever you have placed your cursor... even here in this comment box. I use these shortcuts at least a hundred times a day at work and at home.

Marshall Art said...

"My only point was the misinterpretation of Acts 10... It wasn't unclean food God was speaking of, it was Gentiles..."

I understand and this was mentioned in the exerpt I posted. It IS the salient point, but in the context of what was no longer mandated for Christians, the food part was more relevant, your comments regarding unhealthy foods notwithstanding.

Ms.Green said...

Excellent!

seasofbrightjuice said...

Thanks Marshall, that does give me a fuller sense of the issues.

That's all, too tired to argue.

(Marshall directed me to this post as relevant to a discussion on Neil's blog).

tim c said...

i dont agree with evertyhing you say on your blog but you make a lot of interesitng points. I never read anything on your blog that says what does the name marshall art's have to do with it???

Marshall Art said...

Hello, Tim C., and welcome.

I don't know how much of my blog you've read, and this, of course, is the first post from seven years ago (hard to believe I've been doing this that long). But now and then there have been references to my interest in the martial arts. The name of the blog is a play on that term, and as my real name is Art, the blog name is based on what friends at the dojo would sometimes call me. We used to joke about me being the star of a martial arts themed TV show or movie entitled "Marshal Art" (with his "sidekick", Mawashi Gary--a play on the alleged Japanese words for "roundhouse kick"---"geri" being a kick).

Anyhow, I didn't realize my misspelling of the intended word "Marshal" until after I had established the blog (it never seemed right). But I figured the same play on words was effected. The result, in any case, is that this place is Marshall Art's place.

I created another blog on Wordpress under the proper spelling, and because Blogger can be a pain in the ass. But I've never really finished it off to the extent that I was ready to transfer the whole thing over. Now, I just continue to post on this blog.

So that's how the name came to be and, no, it has no relation to most of the topics on which I offer my thoughts. Feel free to comment on any post at any time regardless of whether or not you agree. Agreement is not required. I am here to either persuade or be persuaded, and sometimes just to kick around an idea. I'm not big on rules, but if you reserve any derogatory remarks to me and not my guests, I can usually deal with it...to a point. Prefer civility all around, but snarky comments are not prohibited, especially if they are funny or clever. Hope to see your opinions and thoughts.