Pat Robertson is “Just Wrong on Every Level”

Posted August 17, 2012 by williedeutsch
Categories: Religion

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Pat Robertson joined Joe Biden this week as part of the “Old White Guys Saying Crazy things” Club.  Sadly what Pat Robertson said was much worse because it was a tragic distortion of the gospel.  The following video is a shocking response to a single woman who is raising three children she adopted internationally.  

Instead of commending this woman for her love and compassion, he essentially belittles her, while still justifying that he believes in supporting orphans.  Because the background of internationally adopted children can be uncertain and can include “brain damage, sexual abuse, cruelty, and food deprivation” Pat Robertson believes people should be careful of adopting internationally.  He goes on to say “You don’t have to take on someone elses problems.” He concludes by saying that he believes in caring for orphans around the world, but “That doesn’t necessrily mean I have to take all the orphans around the world into my home.”

This negative view of adoption displays a tragic lack of understanding of the gospel and Christ’s work on the cross.  Because of the cross, and God’s great love and mercy every single Christian has been adopted into God’s family and are children of God, our heavenly Father.  God adopted into His family people who did things so horrific that He was forced to sacrifice His Son on the cross.  We rebelled against God and spat in His face, “but God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved… So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are members of the household of God.”  (Ephesians 2:4-5, 19)  One of the great beautiful truths of the gospel is that God brought all those He saved into His house as children, not grudgingly in anyway but welcoming them with open arms.  God loves us regardless of our past.  He is a “father to the fatherless.”  The “friend of tax collectors and sinners.”  He is the father of the rape victim, the abused, the poor and homeless, and even the brain damaged, starved, and those who are cruelly treated.  God loves us sacrificially and unconditionally, and this is the love Christians need to exude to the world because it is the love with which we have been loved.    Tragically Pat Robertson does not understand how central adoption is to the Christianity and the gospel and has distorted Christianity to the world as a result.

The heart of the gospel is that God adopted as His own children people who were worse than “weird,” people who rebelled directly against Him and whose sins required the crucifixion of His son, and people who have the most messed up lives ever. If the gospel and the cross don’t encourage and inspire someone to adopt or at least appreciate people who adopt needy children, then he clearly has a very twisted view of the gospel and what God has done.

When Christian leaders teach a twisted view of the gospel it is crucial that Christians stand up and respond.  While the silence was deafening during the Doug Wilson controversy, thankfully Christian leaders are very quickly responding in this instance.  One of the first to respond was Russell Moore whose response is well worth the read.  This is yet another time where Christians need to stand up and defend Christianity by saying unequivocably, “That man does not speak for us.”  To quote Pat Robertson’s cohost on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson’s comments were #JustWrongonEveryLevel. 

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Ryan Pick Creates Clear Policy Debate

Posted August 16, 2012 by williedeutsch
Categories: Political Commentary

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Under a week ago Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate.  Immediately liberals tried attacking Paul Ryan as someone who is trying to eliminate medicare for seniors.  This has lead to something we have not yet had in this campaign.  The campaign is becoming a clear policy debate over a crucial policy proposal.  When holding a press conference to set the record straight on the difference between the Romney/Ryan and Obama/Biden approach to medicare Mitt Romney drew a very simple and easy to understand chart on a markerboard

Romney chart on differences in medicare policy

Black Conservatives Stand up to Joe Biden

Posted August 15, 2012 by williedeutsch
Categories: Political Commentary

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Yesterday in Danville, Va (?) Joe Biden used highly racially charged and offensive language as he mischaracterized Mitt Romney’s economic proposals.  Speaking with black people sitting right behind him, he said “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”  This went far beyond any sense of decency or civility, and thankfully Virginia Black Conservatives are standing up.  They quickly issued a response to the Vice President which I have reposted below.

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OUR RESPONSE TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN’S COMMENTS YESTERDAY.

Members of the Virginia Black Conservatives Forum (VBC) are speaking out against recent remarks made by Vice President Biden, suggesting that Mitt Romney’s economic policies would “put [black people] back in chains.” The Vice President made his disparaging remarks yesterday at a rally in Danville, Va.

“Vice President Biden’s comments that a Republican White House would mean that blacks would end up in chains are incredibly offensive,” said Terrence Boulden, president of VBC. “The Vice President’s remarks are not a veiled reference to slavery, but are instead a very deliberate attempt to conjure up fearful images from a dark and unfortunate time in our great country’s history. Of course, no one could take the Vice President’s words for their literal meaning and that is why his words are so wrong. Such a cowardly attempt at fear mongering has no place in civilized discourse. Whether you are a member of the party of Frederick Douglass or not should not matter; what matters is that racism needs to be admonished every time it peeks its little cowardly head out of its hole in the dirt.”

“With black unemployment at its highest levels in recent history-thanks in part to the policies of the Obama/Biden administration, one would think it politically wise to steer clear of an argument that posits their administration as helpful to black Americans,” said Coby W. Dillard, founder of VBC. “The Romney/Ryan ticket presents an opportunity for both parties to have an intelligent conversation on the entitlement state and its negative impact on Americans of all races. True to form, however, the Obama/Biden administration prefers to engage in “attack and blame” politics than to present any meaningful solutions that will get Americans working, rein in our excessive spending, and renew the promise of equal opportunity for future generations.”

Join us on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virginia-Black-Conservative-Forum/195799317206970

Are Women Created in the Image of God?

Posted July 26, 2012 by williedeutsch
Categories: Uncategorized

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Sadly whether implicitly or explicitly, many people’s view on the roles of men and women force them to argue that women aren’t made in the image of God in the same way as men.  My good friend EMSoliDeoGloria who writes blog posts for comments cites a number of current Christian authors in making this point.  The following is the text of a comment she posted on my last blog article.  As she asks in the end, is this belief true?  If it isn’t are there some assumptions that are related that need to be rethought?

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Yes, Carolyn Mahaney also teaches (women, of course) here: ”That is why God created Eve from Adam. She was created to be a helper suitable to him, to complement him, to nourish him and to help him in the task that God had given him.”

And, likewise Doug Wilson: ”He needs a companion suitable for him in the work to which God has called him. He is called to the work and must receive help from her. She is called to the work through ministering to him. He is oriented to the task, and she is oriented to him.”

Bruce Ware seeks to explain 1 Cor 11:8-9 (but without considering verses 11-12):
”His point, I believe, is this: because man was created by God in his image first, man alone was created in a direct and unmediated fashion as the image of God, manifesting, then, the glory of God. But in regard to the woman, taken as she was from or out of man and made for the purpose of being a helper suitable to him, her created glory is a reflection of the man\’s.[20] Just as the man, created directly by God is the image and glory of God, so the woman, created out of the man, has her glory through the man. Now, what Paul does not also here explicitly say but does seem to imply is this: in being created as the glory of the man, the woman likewise, in being formed through the man, is thereby created in the image and glory of God. At least this much is clear: as God chose to create her, the woman was not formed to be the human that she is apart from the man but only through the man. Does it not stand to reason, then, that her humanity, including her being the image of God, occurs as God forms her from the man as \”the glory of the man”?”

I don’t read any of that in the Scriptures, where man and woman are given dominion over all of creation, to steward it and cultivate it on God’s behalf.

Genesis 1:26-28
”Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created THEM.
God blessed THEM and said to THEM, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” ”

I do read it in Milton, who describes in Paradise Lost the created woman as “resembl[ing] less His image who made both” The man is like the sun and the woman like the moon – ”He for God and she for God in him,” says the author. For Milton, sin began with the ”effeminate slackness” of man, rather than with the rebellious decision of woman, then man, to eat what God had forbidden.

It’s not a new concept. It’s not a rare concept. But is it a TRUE concept?

A Biblical Case for Women to Have Careers

Posted July 24, 2012 by williedeutsch
Categories: Uncategorized

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Many conservative evangelicals believe the Bible teaches a woman’s responsibilities in the home must be so consuming that it is her only sphere of action.  They indicate that a woman’s worth ought to be so related to the roles of “wife” and “mother” caring for husband and children it is wrong for her to have a career (except possibly if she has no children or after all the children are out of the house).  There are many variants on this perspective-some more restrictive and some less restrictive.  While the question of a woman having a career could could be viewed as an issue of Christian liberty, some would want a clear command or example for women to be “permitted” to do this.  I believe a biblical case can be made for this from at least two passages.

The first passage to examine is Paul’s command to Timothy concerning widows. (I Timothy 5:3-8)  Here Paul commands children and grandchildren of widows to provide for their widowed older family members v.4 .  This command is not gender specific, but rather is a universal command to all children and grandchildren.  If Paul meant that only males should provide for their widowed parents or grandparents he could have made the command to sons and grandsons.  He chose to make this a gender neutral command.

The conclusion of this passage is a very famous verse which is very often read and applied out of context.  Verse eight says, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  People often read this verse as proof that men must be the sole providers for their immediate family.  This interpretation disregards the critical hermeneutical duty to interpret a verse in context.  Only by reading a passage for the author’s meaning can we avoid the temptation to use it to justify the beliefs we already have rather than allowing it to shape our beliefs.

In context I Timothy 5:8 concludes Paul’s command to children and grandchildren to provide for their elderly parents and grandparents.  In this context a child or grandchild refusing to provide for their widowed relations “has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  The verse five carrots of this being a way “to show piety” and something that “is good and acceptable before God,” combined with the substantial stick in verse eight make this a command to take seriously.

Now if women are to provide for their elder widowed female relations, how are they going to do that without money?  You could argue well they can just get their husbands to provide for them. Does passage say that? The initial command does not distinguish between male in female in their duty or in how they will fulfill that command.  The passage could have said men should provide, and women should get their husbands to provide.  It doesn’t.  Instead it makes an equal command to men and women by using the gender neutral term “children and grandchildren”.  Now if a woman has a duty to provide in the same way or at least a similar way men do, how will they do this without money and a job to earn that money?

This analysis is not meant to say that husbands should not help their wives fulfill this command, or that women are breaking this command if they do it through the support of their husbands.  This is simply an effort to point out that this command from Paul does not distinguish between the genders.  As Paul does not distinguish between the genders in issuing this command, there can not be a problem if the genders fulfill it similarly-with money they earned in the normal course of their careers.

I am also not denying that women should get married and raise children.  Paul very clearly commands young widows to do this in an effort to keep them from being idle a few verses later in verse 14.  However, the command to become wives and mothers does not exclude working in or out of the home for income.

Maybe I am forcing my interpretation on the text, and finding gender neutral language to prove what I want to prove.  I admit this would be an understandable response to my interpretation.  Twisting scripture to make it fit a desired interpretation is wrong.  So, does the scripture ever praise and lift up a woman who works hard providing financially for her family?

The Book of Wisdom concludes with the king’s mother’s description of a “virtuous wife” whose “worth is far above rubies.”  (Proverbs 31:10)  ” Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.'” (Proverbs 31:28-29) Clearly this is a woman we should take note of and examine as a model.  (Proverbs 31:10-31)  If the Christian conservative view of what a woman should be is true, this woman should be one who stays home and spends her days taking care of the children, cleaning house, and submissively obeying her husband.  Interestingly the description does not describe the work she does training and raising her children.  Yes, there are a couple references to her doing domestic things like “holding the spindle” (v.19), and “making tapestry for herself.” (v.22)  She even “makes linen garments” (v.24).  However, the purpose of this sewing is to sell them and profit.  (v.24)

The concept of the woman as a hard worker engaged in economic activity comes through more than any other idea.  She engages in at least ten different types of economic activity.  This woman is a business manager with servants under her who tirelessly runs a well oiled economic engine that provides the bulk of the financial revenue and material needs for the household.  “She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.  She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.  She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.” (Proverbs 31:13-15) Interestingly she doesn’t just cook food for her household, but actually provides it.  This woman earns enough money and has enough business knowledge to purchase property and have a vineyard planted.  (v.16)  She makes sure she her “merchandise is good.” (v.18)  “She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.”  (v.24)  This woman exudes independence and takes initiative.  She works harder and is just as profitable as any modern business owner.  Interestingly the only references to her husband are that he trusts her (v.11), and “he sits among the elders of the land” (v.23), and as one who praises her (v.28).  He is not described as the breadwinner and she does not seem financially dependent on him in any way.  While I am not arguing that this must be normative, the passage seems to describe the relationship of this exemplary husband and wife as one where the wife runs the economic engine of the household while the husband is involved in the affairs of the community.

You have to work to read Proverbs 31 without seeing a woman who runs a financial enterprise with workers under her that is independent of her husband and provides a substantial amount of the revenue for the household.  How can this be held up as the virtuous wife, while the idea of a woman with a career or business violates scripture?  The Bible contains both a command and example that seem to support rather than condemn the idea of women being productive members of the workforce.  A Biblical view of scripture supports rather than opposes the idea of women having careers.

This article is simply meant to push back against the idea that it is wrong and unbiblical for a woman to have a highly successful career.  It is not meant to say they must have a career or that they shouldn’t be a homemaker.  They should be free to choose to do what is best for them and their families without feeling condemned or questioned by scripture for having a highly successful job or career outside the home.

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Depoliticize

Posted July 22, 2012 by williedeutsch
Categories: Culture

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Almost as tragic as the Aurora Theater massacre was the response.  When a senseless act of tragedy occurred, people immediately made it about politics.  In one of the first reports that morning, ABC news tried tying the tragedy to the Tea Party.  People on both sides of the gun control issue tried using the tragedy to further their argument.  Some argued that allowing people to carry weapons into the theater would have stopped or lessened the tragedy, others argued tougher gun control laws could have prevented it altogether.  Amidst the questions of could a gun stopped a surprise 90 second rampage in a dark smoke filled room, and whether a criminal would have obeyed the law when purchasing his arsenal, something important was forgotten.  Innocent people were suffering and needed our prayer, care and support.  Also law enforcement was still trying to understand what had happened that day.  Hours after a tragedy that took the lives of about a dozen and wounded dozens more, is making your political point really the most important thing to do?  At a time when law enforcement is still trying to figure out critical parts of the tragedy, is it really the right time to decide what could have prevented it?  We still don’t know how a broke grad student can afford and purchase a shotgun, automatic rifle, two pistols, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, full body tactical gear, canisters of tear gas, and explosives?  We also don’t know why he simply turned himself in without a fight right after the shooting spree.

I hope some day people will realize the insensitivity and irresponsibility of politicizing a tragedy as soon as it happens.  Let us also start praying that Colorado will be spared this kind of tragedy for quite a while.  In the meantime there are things that can be done to help.  The cost from medical bills related to this tragedy are going to add up, and the family of Petra Anderson are rallying to help raise money for these unforeseen expenses.  Please watch the video by Chloe Anderson and watch, share, and donate to help the families of the victims.

http://www.indiegogo.com/readytobelieve
https://twitter.com/HopeRisesRelief
https://www.facebook.com/HopeRisesReliefFund
#ReadyToBelieve?

Where is God During Senseless Evil?

Posted July 22, 2012 by williedeutsch
Categories: Culture, Religion

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The senseless evil that occurred in Colorado this past Thursday during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises forced many to ask one of the age old questions, how can a good God allow evil to exist?  People have wrestled with the answer to this question for years.  No one will be able to answer this question fully.  As you wrestle with this question again, I would encourage you not to immediately jump to saying that this is probably a form of God’s judgement.  There are many possible explanations.  Jesus even makes a point of saying that judgement of sin is not always the reason the cause of tragedy. (Luke 13:1-5)  While tragedy should be a reminder of the brevity of life, no warrant exists to assume that tragedy is necessarily an act of God’s judgement.  Quickly jumping to this conclusion also needlessly burdens the victims of a tragedy.

However, I would like to point you to two people who wrestled with the question of evil when they experienced terrible evil in their own lives.  The author of the first article, Where is God in Tragedy, dealt with the brutal death of his young newly married cousin.  The author of the second article lived through the Colorado shooting.  I hope these two articles help you as you question the existence of evil in the world in light of the recent tragedy.