"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Google Books and the Democratization of Knowledge

When I was a kid, I would have questions about certain things without access to an answer. The closest thing to a storehouse of knowledge was Encyclopedia Britannica, a 32 volume home encyclopedia that became the go-to source of information.

In 2004 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the American company Google launched what they first called Google Print, now known as Google Books.

The Google Books Library Project is an effort by Google to scan and make searchable the world's 130 million books. As of October 2015, Google has scanned and uploaded digitally 25 million books. They hope to complete their ambitious project by the end of this century.

I for one am a user.

It is through Google Books that I became fascinated and a quasi-expert on world chronology through reading Isaac Newton's The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended. It is through Google Books that I discovered a simple and stunning interpretation of Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy, written by a "layman" in 1826 called Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks Interpreted by a Layman.  If you read it, you will realize like I that a layman 200 years ago tended to be more intellectual than the average layman today. It is through Google Books that I've read for free countless biographies that just over a dozen years ago I would had to have spent a fortune finding a print copy through Alibris or other book search companies,. One of my favorite Google Book biographies is an work on William Shakespeare which you can download for free.

When the infamous Library of Alexandria was burned in AD 642, it was an intentional act by marauders designed to limit the world's access to knowledge. For nearly a millennium previously, ships docked at the northern port of Alexandria, Egypt and presented originals of their home ports favorite scrolls (books) as a "docking fee." Scholars at the Alexandria Library would make a handwritten copy of the scroll, keep the original scroll, and send the copy home with the sailors the next time they docked in Alexandria. It was at the Alexandria Library during the 3rd century B.C. that 70 Greek scholars took some Hebrew scrolls of the Scriptures and made a Greek translation of them that we call the Septuagint (Greek for "70"). When the Alexandria Library burned in AD 642, hundreds of thousands priceless scrolls went to ash, turning the ancient world's vast storehouse of amazing knowledge into smoke. It's my opinion the prevalent notion we evolved from monkeys is a direct result of lacking access to the ancient scrolls that would have shown that the "monkeys" of millenniums past were dang smarter than the evolved monkeys of today.

The Internet is the new Alexandria Library. Google Books is the forerunner of the democratization of knowledge. It is impossible to burn a digital library, but watch out for those governments that restrict access to the Internet. Any government that limits the peoples' access to Google Books is a government of tyranny.

If I were a parent of a young child (or maybe a grandparent?), I would take advantage of Google Books by teaching my children how to use this technology to download and read for free books from around the world and from centuries past. In the next few years there will be a massive, concerted effort by governments to limit access to this knowledge, and the only people who will will fight such attempts at censorship and tyranny are those who understand the benefit of the democratization of knowledge

I'm ready to do my part to help people understand.

By Faith the Righteous Live and Won't "Draw Back"

Four times the Bible uses the phrase "The righteous will live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 10:38). It's obvious that "faith" is important in the Bible. In fact, these four verses could be translated "By faith the righteous live." Faith sustains the righteous as much as it saves the righteous. "Kiss the Son" - that is, embrace by faith the Son of God - and He will not be angry (Psalm 2:12). In Hebrews 10:38, the fourth passage where Scripture states "the righteous will live by faith," the writer of Hebrews goes on to say that God is not pleased with the one who "draws back" from faith.
"But My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who draws back ." (Hebrews 10:38)
The terminology "draws back" is language from the battlefield and references one who moves from a position of vulnerability to a fortress on a high place, seemingly protected.  It is the same language used by the prophet Habakkuk when he describes "the proud one, the one whose soul is not right within him." He is the one who "draws back to the high places" (Hebrews 10:38),  but "the righteous live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4).

The great 12th century Hebrew linguist, R. Moses Kimchi, comments on Habakkuk 2:4 and says,
He whose soul is not right in him places himself in a fortress or tower, to set himself on high there from the enemy, and does not return to God, nor seek deliverance of him; but the righteous has no need to place himself on high in a fortress, for he lives by his faith.  
John Gill  agrees that the proud one is he whose "soul is not right" and "places himself in a fortress or tower," drawing back into what he deems his safe place. Gill, like R. Moses Kimchi, believes the words of Habakkuk refers to proud Jews,
"...who boast of their Temple, and glory in it, and trust in their service and sacrifices at it; and trust in themselves, their religious rites and ceremonies, the traditions of their elders, and their moral works of righteousness for their tower of safety and their place of defense; neglecting the Messiah, the Rock of salvation.
Gill points out that the Temples sat on a high place called Ophel, part of the mountain of Zion in Jerusalem, and it was to that place proud Jews ran for their comfort of right standing with God.

But by faith the righteous live. 

I am often amazed at the number of people who understand that faith is important, but have very little understanding that the object of one's faith is primary in Scripture. Everyone has faith, but not everyone has faith in the Messiah. Some, like those Habakkuk calls "right in their souls,"  run to their religion, or to their commitment, or to their rituals, or to their traditions, or to their service, or to their self-righteousness -- their haughty and high mountain - for their place of defense and security.

But by faith the righteous live. 

Those who are really righteous never draw away from faith in the Messiah's Person, work and obedience. Those who are just place their faith in the Messiah's substitutionary death, burial and resurrection. The righteous trust in the Messiah's work, both His active and passive obedience, and never their own, whether it be their past or present commitments and promises.

But by faith the righteous live.

Quick. Give me twenty things for which you trust Christ. We should be able to give a thousand reasons for the "hope within us," but I'm only asking for twenty.

I trust Christ for_____________________

But by faith the righteous live.

C.S. Lewis on the Importance of Tao in Politics

There are two polar extremes when it comes to Christian values in the American world of politics. First, there are those people who insist that the only nation which will prosper is the nation "whose God is the Lord" and has leaders that represent the Judeo-Christian values of the Bible. Then there other people who are anti-anything that has to do with Judeo-Christian values or those candidates who support them. 

During the political season, Facebook blows up with people opining whether or not this candidate--or that candidate--truly represents the historic "Christian values" of America. Some candidates seemingly void of Christian faith in their personal lives suddenly begin courting and catering to Christians, claiming that they will represent them in the political world. Then, like clockwork, the anti-everything Christian crowd skewers those candidates by pointing out that "real Christians" would never own casinos, sell liquor, declare bankruptcy, etc... Suddenly, everyone seems to be an expert on all things Christian. 

America needs a modern C.S. Lewis to remind Christians living in America about the true nature of our politics:
A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind—if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else—then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease. — C.S. Lewis
Lewis believed that like digestion, politics is not everything, nor is it nothing. It's important, but it's not life itself. Politics is a practice that is necessary to protect and promote the temporary life God has provided for us on earth. The important principle for Lewis was that Christians ought remember politics has its limits. Lewis believed that the best Christian political thought and action was accomplished not by pastors wanting a "Christian America" but by Christian businessmen in business and Christian doctors in medicine, and Christian citizens in society, practicing the craft of politics by applying the Golden Rule to the ugliness of politics.
“The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish." - [C.S. Lewis, "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," in God in the Dock, 292]. 
Lewis believed that the best way for Christians in any nation to view politics and politicians was through the lens of natural law, what Lewis called the Tao (pronounced Dow). Lewis believed that the Tao (Chinese for "The Way") was a set of "natural laws" impressed on the heart of every human being. The Tao leads people to treat others with respect and dignity, to protect and provide for the defenseless, to resist oppression, and to pursue justice. The manner in which this is done may vary, but the moral principle, or Tao, abides within all men and all religions.

I am reading The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis, and in the appendix of this classic work, there is a thorough description of Lewis' Tao.  In politics, Lewis argued that you ought to listen to the words and carefully observe the behaviors of those candidates running for office, for in the end, those who live their lives by natural law will be the only effective leaders in a sick society that is anti-everything Christian.
Unfortunately, we live in a day when young people only know Tao as a nightclub in Las Vegas and have never considered it as the laxative for the clogged and polluted politics of our day. And even worse, we live in a time  when pastors don't even know Tao is a nightclub, nor do they know that in the sick society in which we live, it's more important to practice Tao in the race for office than it is to say you are a Christian. 

Don't take my word for it; listen to Lewis.  

I Have Set My Face to Love Like Flint

Six months before crucifixion, Jesus "determined to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51 NAS) to die. In the original Greek, the word determined is literally "set His face" to go to Jerusalem. I imagine Dr. Luke is intentionally referencing a Messianic prophecy from Isaiah 50:7 - "Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame."

When Jesus went to the cross to die for us, He demonstrated real love. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). If you wish to know real love, you must look at Jesus' love for us, for "in this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (I John 4:10).

When I think of Christ's love for me, I consider it to be:

1. Intentional - "I have set My face like flint" to die for Wade Burleson.
2. Unconditional - "I have set My face like flint" to deliver Wade Burleson.
3. Sacrificial - "I have set My face like flint" to draw Wade Burleson.

I am convinced about two faults with the modern church. First, we spend so much time talking about our love for God, that we lose the proper perspective of real love. Love, as it is to be, is seen in Christ's love for us, not our love for God. Second, we lack love for one another because we've never been captivated and enthralled with an understanding of His love for us.

Intentional love comes from within the One loving. Christ's love is like an artesian spring; it is not pulled out of Him because of my loveliness, but flows from within Him because He is love.

Unconditional love thinks nothing of the weakness of the one being loved, or expects reciprocating love, for the One loving recognizes that real love is an action of worth, never an attitude of want.

Sacrificial love is the kind of love that endures pain, burrows through suffering, endures all things for the ones being loved. Christ's love for me is intentional, unconditional and sacrificial.

No Greater Love

How should we like it were the stars to burn
With a passion for us, we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

If I think this only brings pain,
I’ve yet to learn love’s true gain.
For when I give without any pull,
It’s a sign my heart is already full.

This is the reason I bow my knee
And ask to know God’s love for me.
If your affection ever turns cold,
My love for you will never grow old.

W.H. Auden and W.W. Burleson (2014)

The Power of "Sticking Up" for Someone

Ball's Island (South Pacific) - Photo Credit John White
National Public Radio science writer Robert Krulwich writes one of the more interesting articles I've read in a long time. Entitled Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years, the story is a modern parable on the power of perseverance in "sticking up" for someone (or something) that is in trouble. Rather than summarize, I am reposting the article here:

 No, this isn't a make-believe place. It's real.

They call it "Ball's Pyramid." It's what's left of an old volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago. A British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. It sits off Australia, in the South Pacific. It is extremely narrow, 1,844 feet high, and it sits alone.

What's more, for years this place had a secret. At 225 feet above sea level, hanging on the rock surface, there is a small, spindly little bush, and under that bush, a few years ago, two climbers, working in the dark, found something totally improbable hiding in the soil below. How it got there, we still don't know.

Here's the story: About 13 miles from this spindle of rock, there's a bigger island, called Lord Howe Island.

On Lord Howe, there used to be an insect, famous for being big. It's a stick insect, a critter that masquerades as a piece of wood, and the Lord Howe Island version was so large — as big as a human hand — that the Europeans labeled it a "tree lobster" because of its size and hard, lobsterlike exoskeleton. It was 12 centimeters long and the heaviest flightless stick insect in the world. Local fishermen used to put them on fishing hooks and use them as bait.

Rod Morris/ www.rodmorris.co.nz
Then one day in 1918, a supply ship, the S.S. Makambo from Britain, ran aground at Lord Howe Island and had to be evacuated. One passenger drowned. The rest were put ashore. It took nine days to repair the Makambo, and during that time, some black rats managed to get from the ship to the island, where they instantly discovered a delicious new rat food: giant stick insects. Two years later, the rats were everywhere and the tree lobsters were gone.
Totally gone. After 1920, there wasn't a single sighting. By 1960, the Lord Howe stick insect, Dryococelus australis, was presumed extinct.

There was a rumor, though.

Some climbers scaling Ball's Pyramid in the 1960s said they'd seen a few stick insect corpses lying on the rocks that looked "recently dead." But the species is nocturnal, and nobody wanted to scale the spire hunting for bugs in the dark.

Climbing the Pyramid

Fast forward to 2001, when two Australian scientists, David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile, with two assistants, decided to take a closer look. From the water, they'd seen a few patches of vegetation that just might support walking sticks. So, they boated over. ("Swimming would have been much easier," Carlile said, "but there are too many sharks.") They crawled up the vertical rock face to about 500 feet, where they found a few crickets, nothing special. But on their way down, on a precarious, unstable rock surface, they saw a single melaleuca bush peeping out of a crack and, underneath, what looked like fresh droppings of some large insect.

Where, they wondered, did that poop come from?

The only thing to do was to go back up after dark, with flashlights and cameras, to see if the pooper would be out taking a nighttime walk. Nick Carlile and a local ranger, Dean Hiscox, agreed to make the climb. And with flashlights, they scaled the wall till they reached the plant, and there, spread out on the bushy surface, were two enormous, shiny, black-looking bodies. And below those two, slithering into the muck, were more, and more ... 24 in all. All gathered near this one plant.

Map of Lord Howe Island
Credit: Stephanie d'Otreppe / NPR

They were alive and, to Nick Carlile's eye, enormous. Looking at them, he said, "It felt like stepping back into the Jurassic age, when insects ruled the world."

They were Dryococelus australis. A search the next morning, and two years later, concluded these are the only ones on Ball's Pyramid, the last ones. They live there, and, as best we know, nowhere else.

Photo Credit/Patrick Honan
How they got there is a mystery. Maybe they hitchhiked on birds, or traveled with fishermen, and how they survived for so long on just a single patch of plants, nobody knows either. The important thing, the scientists thought, was to get a few of these insects protected and into a breeding program.

That wasn't so easy. The Australian government didn't know if the animals on Ball's Pyramid could or should be moved. There were meetings, studies, two years passed, and finally officials agreed to allow four animals to be retrieved. Just four.

When the team went back to collect them, it turned out there had been a rock slide on the mountain, and at first they feared that the whole population had been wiped out. But when they got back up to the site, on Valentine's Day 2003, the animals were still there, sitting on and around their bush.
The plan was to take one pair and give it a man who was very familiar with mainland walking stick insects, a private breeder living in Sydney. He got his pair, but within two weeks, they died.

Adam And Eve And Patrick

That left the other two. They were named "Adam" and "Eve," taken to the Melbourne Zoo and placed with Patrick Honan, of the zoo's invertebrate conservation breeding group. At first, everything went well. Eve began laying little pea-shaped eggs, exactly as hoped. But then she got sick. According to biologist Jane Goodall, writing for Discover Magazine:
"Eve became very, very sick. Patrick ... worked every night for a month desperately trying to cure her. ... Eventually, based on gut instinct, Patrick concocted a mixture that included calcium and nectar and fed it to his patient, drop by drop, as she lay curled up in his hand."
Her recovery was almost instant. Patrick told the Australian Broadcasting Company, "She went from being on her back curled up in my hand, almost as good as dead, to being up and walking around within a couple of hours."

Eve's eggs were harvested, incubated (though it turns out only the first 30 were fertile) and became the foundation of the zoo's new population of walking sticks.

When Jane Goodall visited in 2008, Patrick showed her rows and rows of incubating eggs: 11,376 at that time, with about 700 adults in the captive population. Lord Howe Island walking sticks seem to pair off — an unusual insect behavior — and Goodall says Patrick "showed me photos of how they sleep at night, in pairs, the male with three of his legs protectively over the female beside him."

Now comes the question that bedevils all such conservation rescue stories. Once a rare animal is safe at the zoo, when can we release it back to the wild?

On Lord Howe Island, their former habitat, the great-great-great-grandkids of those original black rats are still out and about, presumably hungry and still a problem. Step one, therefore, would be to mount an intensive (and expensive) rat annihilation program. Residents would, no doubt, be happy to go rat-free, but not every Lord Howe islander wants to make the neighborhood safe for gigantic, hard-shell crawling insects. So the Melbourne Museum is mulling over a public relations campaign to make these insects more ... well, adorable, or noble, or whatever it takes.

They recently made a video, with strumming guitars, featuring a brand new baby emerging from its egg. The newborn is emerald green, squirmy and so long, it just keeps coming and coming from an impossibly small container. Will this soften the hearts of Lord Howe islanders? I dunno. It's so ... so ... big.

But, hey, why don't you look for yourself?

What happens next? The story is simple: A bunch of black rats almost wiped out a bunch of gigantic bugs on a little island far, far away from most of us. A few dedicated scientists, passionate about biological diversity, risked their lives to keep the bugs going. For the bugs to get their homes and their future back doesn't depend on scientists anymore. They've done their job. Now it's up to the folks on Lord Howe Island.

Will ordinary Janes and Joes, going about their days, agree to spend a little extra effort and money to preserve an animal that isn't what most of us would call beautiful? Its main attraction is that it has lived on the planet for a long time, and we have the power to keep it around. I don't know if it will work, but in the end, that's the walking stick's best argument:

I'm still here. Don't let me go.

Courtesy the Australian Museum

Do You Mock Jesus Christ and His Cross of Shame? An Exposition of Deuteronomy 25:11-12

We live in a time when many would rather ridicule the Bible than read it. Even in America, a country that has every possible advantage for its citizens to know the Scriptures, American people will take to social media to mock the Bible and God Himself. For example, yesterday an anti-Christian cartoon appeared on Facebook (see left) with the comment, "This is the God that Christians worship. Does it sound like a god you want to serve?"

The verses being mocked (Deuteronomy 25:11-12) in the cartoon and the comment above are from the Law of Moses. The New American Standard English Version of the Bible seems to me to come the closest to the actual Hebrew.
“If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity."
These two verses are often chosen by atheists, agnostics, and scoffers as the denouement for their written treatises that mock Christianity and our God. In subsequent Facebook comments I read that discussed the cartoon, there were two groups of commentators: (1). Those anti-Christian in their beliefs who seemed smug in denigrating the Bible and those who believe it, and (2). Christians who had no idea how to explain Deuteronomy 25:11-12.

This short post is compassionate warning to the former group (non-believers in Christ) and an encouraging explanation to the latter group (believers in Christ).

Types in Scripture

The first five books of the Bible are called The Law of Moses and they are filled with types. Types are symbols of something else, like a "typewriter" is a symbol machine that strikes a piece of paper to represent something else (e.g. "the thoughts of the typist"). Typology in the Old Testament is simply a "picture language" in which the important thoughts of God are presented in symbols. A type is like the shadow of a person; when you see a shadow, you know that the shadow only represents the reality of a person. So too, when Israel brought their lambs for sacrifices before God, they were prefiguring (like a shadow) and representing the true Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) who takes away the sin of the world.

The woman who  grabs the "shameful parts" of the man who is wrestling with her husband serves as a type. In this Law passage (Deuteronomy 25:11-12), a very specific situation is described:
There's a fight (between 'brothers' or 'countrymen'), with a perpetrator (the wife of one of the brothers), involved in an action (seizing the opponent's "shameful parts"), with a resulting punishment (cutting off her hand) and a closing exhortation ("show no mercy.").
There are probably only a few pastors who would risk teaching from this Law text on a Sunday morning. There could be a number of interesting titles to choose from ... but I digress. The problem is people will read Deuteronomy 25:11-12 and only get tickled or troubled. There is an incredible gospel truth from this text that comes through the type that the two men, the actions of the woman, and the pronounced judgment all represent.

The Type Explained

In the recorded history of Israel, there is not one occasion where a Jewish woman loses her hand for violating this Law.  Think about it! Why would anyone Jewish woman "grab" the crotch of a kinsman fighting her husband? If you were defending your husband, you'd go for the head of his opponent, or the neck, or incapacitate in a much more efficient manner. Nevertheless, this Law is in the Pentateuch. I believe so many get lost in an attempt to explain the literal application of the Law (e.g. talionis lex) that that they miss the spiritual application.

When Jesus walked with the two men on the road to Emmaus, He began "with the Law and all the Prophets and explained to them what was said in the Scriptures concerning Himself"  (Luke 24:27). Deuteronomy 25:11-12 are two verses that describe Jesus Christ and and what our reaction to His "shameful" death should and should not be.

(1). The two men in Deuteronomy 25:11-12 remind us of the first wrestling match in the Bible.

In the science of Bible interpretation (e.g. hermeneutics), there is the Law of First Mention which states, "the first mention of a subject in Scripture establishes an unchangeable pattern, with that subject remaining unchanged in God's mind throughout Scripture."

The first time "two men" wrestle in Scripture is when Jacob wrestlers with God (e.g. Jesus Christ). The story is found in Genesis 32:22-32. John Gill says of Jacob's wrestling match:
"No doubt, the Son of God in an human form is wrestling with Jacob. Christ frequently appeared in Old Covenant days as a token and pledge of His future incarnation. This "wrestling" was real and physical on the part of both" 
During the wrestling match, things don't go well for Jacob. The Son of God strikes Jacob in the "socket (Hebrew: kaph) of Jacob's thigh." The Hebrew word "kaph" is used throughout the Old Testament for either the sole of a foot or the palm of a hand or the socket of the thigh. It conveys the idea of "strength" or "swiftness." People with strong sockets, swift soles, and strong grips are people of strength and independence. But a person who loses their kaph, loses their self-sufficiency. So during Jacob's wrestling match, he lost his self-sufficiency (that's always the first thing Christ does when He saves person), and only after he loses his "kaph" does Jacob plead for blessing from Christ - and receives it! This reminds me of Paul's words in II Corinthians 12:10:
And Christ has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in your weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
(2). The woman of Deuteronomy 25:11-12 has her "kaph" removed without mercy.

The women uses her "hand" to grab "the shameful parts" of the man wrestling her husband (v. 11), and as a consequence of her action, she is to have her "hand" cut off. Unfortunately, in the English translation of these two verses, the word "hand" translates two Hebrew words. The word translated as "hand" in verse 11 is not the same word translated "hand" in verse 12:
  • Verse 11: Hand = יָדָ֔הּ (yad)
  • Verse 12: Hand = כַּפָּ֑הּ (kaph)
The best translation of "hand" in verse 12 is probably "palm." Of course, to get rid of the "strength of the grip" (e.g. palm), one must cut off the hand. This woman has her "kaph" removed. In essence, just like Jacob in the original wrestling match with Christ, this woman wrestles with Christ with her physical hand (yad), and like Jacob, she has her "kaph" (strength) taken.

However, unlike Jacob in the original wrestling match, this woman in Deuteronomy 25 "finds no mercy." Instead of pleading for and receiving "blessing" from the One with power to take her kaph, this woman mocks the man's "shame," and she finds herself without any recourse. She loses her kaph permanently. Why the severe, irreversible punishment for this woman in Deuteronomy 25:11-12?

(3). The woman of Deuteronomy 25:11-12 mocks the Man's "shame." 

Just as the lambs of the Old Testament represented the Lamb of God in the New Testament, the "kinsman" wrestling with the woman's husband represents her"Kinsman Redeemer."  What the woman "grabs" with her hand is the Man's "shame" - the literal Hebrew word is "shame" - translated "secret parts" in the KJV, "genitals" in the NAS, and "private parts" in the NIV. This woman mocks the man's shame.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross bearing our sins, He died naked. When Jesus Christ died on the cross bearing our sins, He died "wrestling" with us over our sin. When Jesus Christ died bearing our sins, He died enduring the open shame of a public crucifixion.  Notice what the Scripture says about Christ's death:
"Let's fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2). 
For  the joy of saving us through His death, Jesus withstood the shame of the cross. "He could have called ten thousand angels" says the old song, but Christ endured the cross for the "joy" of saving us from our righteous judgment. Christ's bearing the punishment due sinners through His substitutionary death is a truth "mocked and scorned" by many. It's foolish, it's tasteless, it's "moronic" to those who "grab hold of Christ's shame" and mock it to the world. Just as the woman in Deuteronomy 25 grabbed the "shameful parts" of the kinsman wrestling with her husband, many take hold of Christ's shame and mock it.

Mock the shame of Christ at your own peril. There is coming a day when your "strength" (kaph) will be cut off with no mercy.

(4). Jesus Christ refers to Deuteronomy 25:11-12 and issues a warning.

There are only two places in the entire Bible (both Old Testament and New Testament) where a "cutting off of a hand" is referenced; Deuteronomy 25:11-12 and Matthew 5:30. In the latter text, I believe Jesus Christ makes a specific reference to the Deuteronomy passage. Listen to Jesus' words:
"If your hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell."
In other words, it would be better for you to deal with anything in your life that leads you to mock and scorn the cross - the very shame of Christ - than to have your entire body be cast into hell, bearing God's righteous judgment for your mockery of Christ and His cross.

I don't know if the person who posted the cartoon above on Facebook and then mocked the God of the Bible and the cross of Christ will read this post.... but if he or she does, I hope my compassionate warning is heard.

You vulgarly grab at the shame of Christ and mock Him. The day of your being cut off without mercy is nearing. Plead with Him, as did Jacob, for His mercy and His blessing before it is too late.

The Countess of Huntingdon and Gospel Ministry

We are living in an era of increasing recognition that the New Testament Scriptures teach the equality of men and women in the New Covenant, with qualified servant leadership based on gifting and not gender.

It is often argued by some Christian men that the equality of Christian women violates the tradition of the church. "If New Testament actually taught equality we would see women as church and religious leaders in centuries past." Yes we would; and we do. Christian history is filled with gifted women advancing the kingdom through preaching, evangelizing, teaching, and leading others spiritually. I'd like to acquaint you with one such women from the 1700's.

Her name is Selina Shirley, but she is most often referred to as The Countess of Huntington. Her husband, the Earl of Huntington, held the same title that the legendary Robin Hood possessed  (e.g. the Earle of Huntington) centuries earlier. Selina's husband was influential and rich, but it was she who would make an immeasurable impact on the advancement of evangelical Christianity in both England and America.

Selina Shirley was born August 24, 1707 in Chartley, England. Baptized as an infant into the Anglican Church, Selina lived the privileged life while growing up in English high society. At age twenty-one, she married the Earl of Huntington. Selina named among her friends King George II, Sarah Churchill the Duchess of Marlborough, and Lady Mary Wortley Montague. If there were a movie made of her life today it would be a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey.

However, just in her late twenties, Selina came to know Christ personally through the testimony and encouragement of two girl friends who'd become Christians under the ministry of the Wesley brothers and George Whitfield. Her conversion was so radical, her husband sought the Bishop's help in bringing her back into her "sane" mind of proper Anglicanism. One of Selina's high society friends, the Duchess of Buckingham, wrote to Selina shortly after her conversion to Christ and also sought to convince Selina of her error of listening to the preaching of non-conformists like John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. The Duchess of Buckingham wrote:
"The doctrines of these preachers are most repulsive and strongly tinctured with impertinence and disrespect towards their superiors, in perpetually endeavoring to level all ranks and do away with all distinctions. It is monstrous to be told that you have a heart as sinful as the common wretches that crawl upon the earth. This is highly offensive and insulting, and I cannot but wonder that your ladyship should relish any sentiments so much at variance with high rank and good breeding."
The pressure to renounce her evangelical faith only deepened her commitment to the cause of Christ. The Countess of Huntington became close friends with the Wesleys and Whitefield, and used her influence to throw dinner parties and provide opportunities for her friends to hear the leaders of the Great Awakening share the good news. She herself began participating in the teaching of the gospel. She wrote to Charles Wesley:
"For the past two weeks I have given instruction and some short exhortations to the weak, and have found them to be of great use, especially among my work people, with whom I spend a part of ever day."
One of those who eventually fell under the influence of Selena's gospel ministry was her husband, the Earl of Huntington. He, too, came to faith in Christ shortly before suffering a fatal stroke at his Downing mansion on October 13, 1746.  Selina was now a wealthy widow at the tender age of thrity-nine.

In the days following her husband's death, Selina corresponded with her friends Isaac Watts, hymn writer of works such as Joy to the World and At the Cross, and pastor Philip Doddridge, author of the Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, a book that would later be influential in the calling and conversion of Charles H. Spurgeon.  In her correspondence, the Countess wrote:
"We agree that the one thing worth living for must be proclaiming the love of God to man in Christ Jesus. As for me, I want no holiness he does not give me; I can wish for no liberty but what he likes for me, and I am satisfied with every misery He does not redeem from me, that in all things I may fee, 'without Him, I can do nothing.'"
Meanwhile, Charles and John Wesley split with George Whitfield over a disagreement of soteriology. The Wesley's did not hold to "imputed righteousness" as did Whitefield, with Charles Wesley even calling the doctrine "imputed nonsense." The Wesleys much preferred to trust in methodical disciplines in the Christian life (thus, "methodism") instead of the righteousness of Jesus Christ for our right standing with God. Whitefield found the acrimony with the Wesleys disheartening. Soon it hit his pocket book as most of the Methodists in England became ardent followers of the Wesleys (e.g. Wesleyans). Whitefield found supporters for his orphanage and preaching crusades diminishing.

In stepped Countess Huntington. She loved the doctrine of imputed righteousness and understood it to be the very gospel itself. She opened her majestic mansion in Park Street (London) for Whitefield to preach, and she named him the "chaplain." The difference between a "chaplain" and a parish priest is that a "chaplain" was a privately funded pastor rather than state funded. Even though privately funded, the Prime Minister of England, members of parliament, and others began coming to the Countess' house for religious conversation. Many men and women in London -- initially beyond the reach and sphere of Whitefield's influence --came to faith in Christ through the influence and friendship with Countess Huntingdon.

Philip Doddridge would later write of the spiritual awakening in London during the 1750's and say, "Religion was never so much the subject of conversation." The Spirit was the direct Agent of the"Great Awakening" in England, but one of the means He used was the Countess of Huntington. The Countess was responsible for founding 64 chapels and contributed to the funding of many others, Lady Huntingdon and her chaplains were initially members of the Church of England, but in 1779 the Church of England prohibited her chaplains from preaching in the Pantheon, in Spa Fields, Clerkenwell, a building which had already been rented by the Countess. To avoid the authoritarian top-down control of the Church of England, the Countess took shelter under the Toleration Act and became one of England's "official" dissenters.

Until Countess Huntingdon's death in London in 1791, she faithfully oversaw all of her chapels and chaplains. Just prior to her death, she insisted that no biography be written of her life until 50 years had passed, placing this stipulation in the will that also contained instructions for the distribution of her chapel trust funds. It was said of her at her funeral,
"Lady Huntington devoted herself, her means, her time, her thoughts to the cause of Christ. She did not spend her money on herself; she did not allow homage paid to her rank to remain with herself. 
You will see a few places in the United States that are tributes to Countess Huntington, including Huntingdon College, in Montgomery, Alabama, a co-education liberal arts college named after her, and Huntingdon Street in Savannah, Georgia, named in recognition of her association with Whitefield and John and Charles Wesley in their missionary work in the Colony of Georgia.

I sometimes wonder if modern conservative evangelicals are swimming upstream in their attempts to restrict gifted women from Kingdom work, both through a misunderstanding and misapplication of the New Covenant Scriptures as well as a very poor comprehension and understanding of our evangelical past as it relates to women.

For you young ladies who feel the call of God to minister in the Kingdom of Christ to people in need of a Savior, I would encourage you to become familiar with the biography of the Countess of Huntingdon. She's a model worthy of imitation.

Learn to Wait on the King of Kings Above All Else

William Legge (1731-1801), the Earl of Dartmouth, and the Christian benefactor for whom Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire) is named, was once invited to go hunting with King George II of Great Britain. The king and some noblemen planned an early morning hunt, but they found themselves waiting on Lord Dartmouth to join them. Upon Lord Dartmouth arriving, one of the party rebuked him for his tardiness. Lord Dartmouth responded:
"I have learned to wait upon the King of kings before I wait on my earthly sovereign."

The phrase "wait upon" was common in the days of serfdom and slavery. It means to "be attendant to" or "to be a servant of." It was the custom of Lord Dartmouth to receive his marching orders every morning from God through prayer and meditation. His time with God meant more to Lord Dartmouth than his time with King George II.

His is a practice worth our imitation.

Rightly Dividing God's Word: Christians Are to Serve Based on Our Giftedness, Not Our Gender

I find it stunning that anyone who professes to believe in Christ's teachings and the infallibility of the Bible refuses to allow women to teach men, or forbids women from leadership positions, or demands Christians serve (or not serve) their King and His Kingdom according to their gender instead of their giftedness. I am shocked because this is so contrary to the teachings and ministry of Jesus in the New Covenant He came to establish.

Some of my Christian friends, usually men, will respond to me saying, "Listen, Wade, I simply believe and teach the Bible! And as long as I believe the Bible, I can't have a woman be in leadership over men, or have her teach men, or allow her to hold any position of Christian servant/leadership because the Bible forbids it."

That's not accurate.

The Old Covenant religion of the Hebrews did forbid women in the role of worship priest. But of course the Old Covenant also forbad the eating of pork, made Sabbath-breaking (Saturday, not Sunday) a capital offense, and forbad a host of other actions that have "faded away and disappeared" (Hebrews 8:13). Jesus made the former covenant "obsolete" and instituted a New Covenant in His blood, and made us all proclaimers of this new Way of life which is led by the Spirit (II Corinthians 3:6). In this New Covenant age, men and women serve the King and His Kingdom according to their giftedness, not their gender.

But again, my friends who say they believe the Bible will challenge me by quoting I Corinthians 14:34-35.
"The women are to keep silent in the assembly; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to even speak in the assembly." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)  
They will then sit back triumphantly and declare, "There you go! As long as I believe the Bible, I can't ever have a woman in leadership. The Bible means what it says!!"

Not so fast.  My father has brilliantly pointed out the fallacy of this kind of thinking:
"Someone is going to say 'The Bible means what it says." But that may be the problem. I don't think the Bible means what it says as much as it means what it means and some interpretation must go into understanding its meaning. This would certainly indicate that we need to recognize the possible fallibility of our understanding of Scripture to stay away from the heat that sometimes happens in discussing it."
I want to prove that I Corinthians 14:34-37, in its entirety, derisively dismisses the Old Covenant Hebrew practice--a practice still in vogue in Paul's day among that Jews in Corinth--of forbidding women from even speaking in the presence of other men during an assembly. This I Corinthians 14 passage can only be understand in light of what happened to Paul when he visited Corinth (AD 50-51), the textual context of the passage itself, and the overall teachings of Christ and His apostle in the New Covenant. You may believe you know what these Corinthian verses say, but I'm asking you to discover what they mean.

Rachelle and I have personally visited Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Berea, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Sardis, Laodicea, Thyratira, Thessalonica and almost every other city or island where Paul traveled during his three missionary journeys. Paul was put on trial in the city of Corinth. He stood before a bema where the Roman pro-consul Gallio listened to the accusations of Paul's fellow Jews. These practicing Jews were not Christians, and they sought to convince Gallio that Paul was persuading people to worship God contrary to the law of God" (Acts 18:13) That's a serious accusation against a Jew; and Paul was a Jew. But the Roman pro-consul Gallio refused to make a judgment against Paul saying, "I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters" (Acts 18:15).

Gallio recognized that the conflict in Corinth was a Hebrew religious matter, not a Roman political problem. He did not even intervene as Sosthenes, a convert to Christ through the ministry of Paul as well as a leader in the Corinthian synagogue, was seized and beaten by the Jewish mob before the bema (see Acts 18:17). Paul was hurried out of the Corinthian market-place while Sosthenes was being beaten by the Jews. Paul was eventually secreted out of the city by fellow believers because of the Jewish threats against him (see Acts 18:18).

Many Bible-believing Christians pay little attention to the accusations Paul faced from the Jews in Corinth during his 18 month stay in the city (50 to 51 AD). The Jews sought to imprison him because of his influence among the people. When they failed to have him arrested, the Corinthian Jews beat Sosthenes for believing what Paul taught. The Roman pro-consul Gallio did not prosecute Paul under Roman law as the Jews wanted. Gallio was "unconcerned" with the Jewish religious matters, even allowing the Jews to beat those who believed Paul's religious message (Acts 18:17). Notice, again, the reason the Corinthian Jews gave to the Roman pro-consul Gallio for their anger against Paul - "he is persuading people to worship God contrary to the Law of God."  The Law of God is what we now call the Old Covenant and all the practices of Hebrew worship found in the Old Testament and Hebrew traditions. A simple principle regarding our worship of Jesus Christ during this New Covenant age can be logically derived from reading Acts 18 and Paul's time in Corinth:
The more our corporate worship looks like Old Covenant Jewish worship (i.w. "a holy building in which to gather, authoritative male priests who rule over others, and a sacrificial system of actions designed to please God, etc...), the more our corporate worship is unlike Paul's and early believers' worship of Christ. (Wade Burleson)
In one of Paul's earliest epistles, he clearly teaches that in the New Covenant there should be no difference between males and females in the ekklesia (Galatians 3:28), and he later writes to the Corinthian Christians and says all believers should serve one another as they have been gifted (I Cor. 12:4-11). Paul teaches the Corinthians that members of the assembly, both male and female (e.g. all of you), should participate in congregational worship (see I Cor. 14:31  and 14:39), and that women should publicly pray and gifted women should teach others in the ekklesia just as men should publicly pray and gifted men should teach others in the ekklesia (see I Cor.  11:5). The entire discourse of Paul's writings to the early churches in Greece and Asia Minor is saturated with the new instruction that God's new priesthood is composed of males and females, slaves and free, Jews and Gentiles. In the ekklesia (assembly) of Christ there is to be no separation of people by race, nationality, gender or color. Each of us has been made a priest (Revelation 1:5) and we all form a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).  These principles radically alter service in Christ's Kingdom, making qualifications for Kingdom service the Spirit's giftedness, not the person's gender.
The Jews who were worshipping in the synagogue of Corinth, however, were greatly offended by Paul's teachings. They heard it with their own ears! Paul was "persuading people to worship God contrary to the Law."  This could not be allowed! After the Corinthian Jews dragged Paul before the bema to charge him with a crime and then beat Sosthenes in the public square, Paul escaped to Cenchrea and then Ephesus (see Acts 18:18). He later writes to the Corinthian church and was quite blunt about those Corinthian Jews and Judaizers who were infiltrating the church and causing him trouble. He calls them "false apostles" and "deceitful workers" (II Cor. 11:13), and he tells the Christians in Corinth to resist their false practices and to stand firm to the new "traditions" that Paul had taught them (see I Corinthians 11:2). Paul reminded them that the practice of empowering all followers of Christ to serve God as the Spirit gifts them--regardless their gender, economic status, or ethnicity--was precisely why the Jews zealous for the Law in Corinth dragged Paul before Gallio and why Paul had to escape the city. This is the context one should always have in mind when reading the letters of I Corinthians.

So, the startling prohibition of I Corinthians 14:34-35 seems discordant and unconnected to what Paul taught the Christians in Corinth as well as the entire first letter of encouragement he writes to the Corinthians.  Look at these two verses again:
"The women are to keep silent in the assembly; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to even speak in the assembly." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)  
There's a very good reason why this seems discordant and unconnected to what Paul taught Christians in Corinth and every other city he visited to establish the new Way-- it is! I Corinthians 14:34-35 is a quotation of what the Jews zealous for the Law taught about women in the assembly (synagogue), and not what Apostle Paul taught. Because Paul opposed the Jew' position in Corinth on women and worship, and because taught a new Way in the New Covenant - the Corinthian Jews and Judaizers brought Paul up on charges of blasphemy before the bema. So when Paul later writes to the Corinthian Christians (I Corinthians), he knows that all the Christians were familiar with the problem he had in Corinth, that they knew what the Jews taught about women, and they had heard him refute their teaching for 18 months. The Christians in Corinth were all very familiar with the the new "tradition" that Paul taught regarding the equality of women in the New Covenant, So he quotes what the Corinthian Jews taught about women in the synagogue (vs. 34-35),and then derisively dismisses it in the next two verses (vs. 36-37) just as he did during the 18 months when he lived among them and taught them the new traditions of the New Covenant in AD 50-51.

How do we know I Corinthians 14:34-35 is a quotation of what the Jews believed about women being silent in the assembly and not what Paul believed? And how do we know the very next two verses I Corinthians 14:36-57  are a powerful refutation from Paul regarding this tradition ? There are at least five solid hermeneutical reasons for holding to this view.

(1). As already mentioned, the two verses that contain the quotation of what the Jews believed about women (I Corinthians 14:34-35) are completely antithetical to everything Paul writes about women throughout the New Testament, especially his teaching regarding women in the rest of I Corinthians. These two verses (vs. 34-35) are jarring because they represent a position that Paul has already torn apart in his previous writings.

(2). The quotation of the Jews' belief in verses. 34-35 is extremely consistent with the Law of God in the Jewish practices and Hebrew traditions (e.g. "The Law"). The Jews in Corinth accused Paul of persuading people "to worship God contrary to the Law" (Acts 18:13). If women being silent in the assembly actually represented Paul's beliefs, the Corinthian Jews would have hugged and kissed Sosthenes and Paul, not dragged them before the bema in Corinth in order to imprison them and/or beat them.

(3). Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians in Greek. The written Greek language does not use "italics" like we do in our English to identify a quotation. To know being written something is a quotation:
a. The author must identify that what he is writing is a quotation (something Paul does elsewhere), or
b. the quotation must be so familiar to the audience that no identification of the quote is necessary, or
c. the author uses a Greek eta after the quotation to then refute it.  
I believe both b. and c. are precisely how the Apostle Paul identifies he is quoting someone else in I Corinthians 14:34-35.

(4).  The Jews in Corinth, like all orthodox Jews in Paul's day, believed women were not qualified to be learners in the synagogue, much less teachers, because the Law and the Talmudic literature forbade them from learning. A woman's presence in the synagogue was tolerated, but women were to be unobtrusive and silent, never interfering with the work of the men. The Jews believed when a woman desired to ask a question in order to learn, she was to maintain her silence in the assembly and wait to ask her husband after leaving the synagogue and returning home. The Jews believed the husbands were to be the source of their wives' learning. The Corinthian Jews were "zealous for the Law" and constantly opposed Paul's promotion of women as equal to men, including Priscilla and Aquila, the couple with whom Paul stayed in Corinth and who both later teach Apollo "the way of God more accurately" in Ephesus (see Acts 18:26).  The quotation in I Corinthians 14:34-35 is consistent to the law of the Jews in Corinth, but it is absolutely contrary to the teaching and the practice of the Apostle Paul and the new Way of worship.

(5). Paul REFUTES the Jewish quotation in I Corinthians 14:34-35 twice in the very next verse (v. 36) by using the Greek letter eta. Go look in your interlinear Greek/English Bible and find the stand alone Greek letter eta in v. 36. You will see the eta twice in that one verse. It looks like this: η   

The Greek eta has two possible markings that cause it to be translated with either the English word "or," or with the English equivalent of what we mean when we make a sound with our mouths  like "PFFFFFFFFFFFFT!" This means "That's ridiculous!" or "Are you kidding me?" or "Nonsense!"   This latter meaning, in my opinion, is precisely what Paul is saying (twice) in I Corinthians 14:36. In response to the Jewish quotation he has just given I Corinthians 14:35-36 Paul writes a Greek eta to illicit a sound from the reader "PFFFFFFFFT!" which is best translated "Nonsense!"

The original Greek text has no markings, so the translation of η must be made by translators based on other facts than the markings of the Greek letter. I believe the context, the culture of Corinth, and the radical nature of New Covenant worship taught by Paul (and resisted by the Corinthian Jews zealous for the Law) demands the η be translated with a "PFFFFFFFFFFFT!" instead of "or" (as is done in the NAS). Between the written evidences of Paul's exasperation with the Judaizers limiting the role of women, the same women Jesus came to set free, Paul derisively dismisses the Jewish practice by speaking to the Judaziers and making an appeal to the Christians:
"Do you believe the Word of God comes to you only? If anyone wishes to think himself a prophet or spiritual, let that person recognize that the things I HAVE WRITTEN TO YOU (not what the Jews zealous for the Law teach) are the Lord's (e.g. "the Lord Jesus Christ's) commandment." (I Corinthians 14:36-37) 
So, after reviewing the important historical, contextual, and grammatical factors that help get to the heart of Paul's meaning in I Corinthians 14:33-37, and using PFFFFFFT to translate the η, let's give a translation that is consistent with the rest of I Corinthians, Jesus' teaching and the Apostles' writings, and the New Covenant way of worship which is totally different than Old Covenant worship:
"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the ekklessia of the saints. (Would you like an example?) "The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If women desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in the church." PFFFFFFT! Such nonsense! Do you Jews who practice this believe the Word of God comes from you only? PFFFFFFT! Do you believe the Word of God comes to you only? If anyone wishes to think himself a prophet or spiritual, let that person recognize that the things I HAVE WRITTEN TO YOU (not what the Jews zealous for the Law are teaching) are the Lord's commandment."
The Apostle Paul quotes the Pharisaical Jews in Corinth the same way he quotes the pagan poets when he was in Athens. In Paul's famous message on Mars Hill, he says:
"God is not far from each one of us; for in him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, "For we His offspring." Being the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man." (Acts 17:27-29)
 Are you familiar with the pagan poet Paul quotes from as he addressed the Athenians? Probably not. His name was Disoemeia, and he was a native of Paul's hometown of Tarsus. He was a Greek poet the Athenians loved to quote. He was also a worshipper of Zeus. I give you Robert Browning's English translation of Cicero's Latin version of Disoemeia's ancient Greek poem Divine Signs from which Paul quotes.
"From Zeus we lead the strain; he whom mankind
Ne'er leave unhymned: of Zeus all public ways,
All haunts of men, are full; and full the sea,
And harbours; and of Zeus all stand in need.
For we are His offspring: and he, ever good and mild
Gives favouring signs, and rouses us to toil.
Calling to mind life's wants: when clods are best
For plough and mattock: when time is ripe
For planting vines and sowig seeds, he tells
Since he himself hath fixed in heaven these signs."
Paul quotes both pagan poets and proud Pharisees in Scripture, and if you use these quotations as if they are the Word of God, you will make the same mistakes that pagans and Pharisees make in their religious practices.

Just because you quote a passage from the Bible does not necessarily mean you are revealing the mind of God. Serious, Bible-believing Christians recognize that no individual verse or passage of Scripture can be correctly interpreted outside of the textual context and an understanding of the cultural climate of those to whom the letter was initially written.

The issue of womens' function and roles in the church generates much heat in the evangelical church. Those of us who believe in the infallibility of the sacred text should be very careful before using one's views on this issue as the standard for Christian orthodoxy. There is at least the possibility, if I'm correct in my interpretation, that those who urge women to be silent in the church because they "believe what the Bible says" actually may have more in common in their positions with pagan poets and proud Pharisees than the teachings of the Apostle Paul and Christ Himself.

Let's be humble about our position on women and realize that those of us who believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God always should be careful to discover what the Bible means.