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19 minutes | Mar 25, 2018
Off Script 47: Is God’s Violence in the Bible Wrong? (Q&A)
This is part six in our series on responding to your questions and comments. In light of our killing series, we considered whether Christians should kill the old, the young, enemies, or criminals, however we never addressed the morality of God killing. Brian asked: Can I expect a subsequent episode where you discuss a sort of ‘divine inflicted’ death, for example, the event with Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10; also the deaths of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, in Acts 5? If yes, wonderful, if no, then perhaps you could consider it. Hopefully in the future we can delve more deeply into this subject, but for now, here is a brief response to this important question. —— Links —— Check out the episodes in our killing seres See other episodes responding to your questions and comments Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
41 minutes | Mar 23, 2018
Off Script 46: Should Christians Outlaw Abortion? (Q&A)
This is part five in our series on responding to your questions and comments. In this Q & A episode, we address two commenters who responded to Off Script 34: Killing the Unborn (A Christian View of Abortion). Dan Fitzsimmons responds to Candace who inquired why Dan would vote against capital punishment but not against abortion even though he opposes it on moral grounds. Rose Rider responds to John's lengthy comments in which he called into question the legitimacy of using the bible to arrive at a position on abortion. —— Links —— Listen to the episode that this comment came from: Off Script 34: Killing the Unborn (A Christian View of Abortion) See other episodes responding to your questions and comments Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
27 minutes | Mar 18, 2018
Off Script 45: Should Christians Support Capital Punishment? (Q&A)
This is part four in our series on responding to your questions and comments. In this episode, we respond to a comment made on Off Script 37: Killing Criminals, in which we took the position that capital punishment is a biblically justifiable practice, but in America today it is fraught with problems, including the outrageous cost of death row and the possibility of executing the innocent. We respond to the comment of someone named Sean who challenges us on our view of the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus is challenging the old way of living and laying out a new way. He also makes a couple of secular arguments in favor of capital punishment. Here is Sean's comment in full: I think this discussion has to take a lot more into account, but clearly this would take hours and hours to encompass it all… This is a huge subject really. But for example, such as Abraham saving Lot by killing people to rescue him. This was obviously when there were less governmental type controls but the point remains the most righteous man on earth, the father of the faith killed to save someone. There’s also laws about the requirements of helping someone being attacked, which could clearly result in the death of an attacker. I don’t think vengeance is the same as self-defense, and many equate these two… I used to. And I still have the same objection that seems to arise about Matthew 5 and Jesus’ “…but I say unto you…” statements having to do with contradicting the Torah. I don’t see this as logical, nor a possible understanding if you believe the Messiah was a sinless man. To have any man come into Israel and start teaching contrary to God’s law(even if just in THAT time period) by definition would have been sin and the man should have been ignored/killed. (Isaiah 8:20, Matthew 5:19, Deut 4:2) No one could convict the Messiah of sin, that one would have been obvious if that’s what he was doing. He *had* to keep the Torah, right? Or do you believe he didn’t keep it? That might have to be clarified. The secular arguments are based on the risk of human error. By those types of standards no one should drive automobiles either because thousands of people die each year innocently due to the error of other operators. As sad as the situation is—there’s always a risk of human error/corruption, and God -still- gave the death penalty in his Torah. The young man seems to be arguing against God’s own commands. And one also must address the many assumptions that are built into his objections against capital punishment. To say “it costs more” to prosecute for the death penalty versus lifetime of prison is not the point—even if it were, it’s still proper justice according to God’s laws. God never said to hold anyone in confinement for the entire life. It also likely WOULDN’T cost more if there were so many other regulations in place that make it that much more expensive. It’s morally reprehensible to pay for convicted murderers to continue to live on our own backs for their lifetime. Take note also, that even with Paul as a former murderer and what he taught later–he said if he did anything worthy of death, he’d submit to it. Acts 25:11 Overarching all of this is clearly the most poignant thing of all—without the death penalty you would have no death of the Messiah and a risen savior. Again, I know this is a huge topic and I just thought I’d weigh in a few things on my mind that I don’t think really got full weight in this discussion. I think I also have more to say on the subject from Scripture because I used to hold the same view as many of you until I re-examined it. —— Links —— Listen to the episode that this comment came from: Off Script 37: Killing Criminals (A Christian View of Capital Punishment) See other episodes responding to your questions and comments Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
26 minutes | Mar 16, 2018
Off Script 44: Should We Ban Muslim Immigrants? (Q&A)
This is part three in our series on responding to your questions and comments. In Off Script 28: Seeking a Christian View on Refugees and Immigrants, we concluded on the basis of several scriptures in the Old Testament as well as the Great Commission that Christians should welcome refugees into their countries. In response to this, William wrote: First, Thank you for your podcasts and all the work that you do preaching the word of God and your Unitarian teachings. I have to take the other side when it comes to Muslim immigrants coming into this country from the mentioned 7 Muslim countries. In December 2015, President Obama signed into law a measure placing limited restrictions on certain travelers who had visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011. Two months later, the Obama administration added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen to the list, in what it called an effort to address “the growing threat from foreign terrorist fighters.” So Trumps “temporary 90 day ban” was justified considering he is coming into office and now it’s his problem to solve and protect the American people from terrorism. I don’t want to turn this into me defending Trump because I don’t agree with all of his policies, but I do agree with the temporary ban to come up with a way a vetting refugees who come with less then amiable intentions. Ok, first Exodus 23:9 “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt”. The key word for me is “heart” The heart of the sojourner. What are the intentions of the refugee? do they plan to live among you and abide in God’s law? If they don’t, do you still accept them as your brother even if they want to kill you or convert you through force? Do you allow mosques to operate that call for jihad and sharia law, infecting peaceful Muslims? Surly you wouldn’t invite someone into your home if you thought their intentions were to harm you or your family. Europe has has a policy of dropping off Muslims into their country and Europe is mess. All I’m saying is that it was not Gods intention to have his people treat sojourners as brothers if they would not assimilate into the culture or worse…destroy it. God Bless. In this episode, Dan takes the lead in responding to William. Here are some quotes from our discussion: "How many minds can be changed by radical love like that [the Good Samaritan Parable]? How many barriers of racism and nationalism could be torn down by that, by that kind of radical love? That's the attitude we should have toward outsiders, not, 'Hey stay away because we're afraid that you might shoot us even though our own countrymen are shooting us at a far higher rate." --Dan "The kingdom will be a melting pot anyway; it will be a true melting pot where the one thing that we have in common and the only thing that matters is that we are citizens of the kingdom of Christ. So we look forward to that day and in the meantime we are have the opportunity to live like that now." --Rose "How cool is it that other nations want to come here? How much easier does it make it to fulfill the Great Commission where Jesus says, 'Go make disciples of all nations?' Well if the nations are all coming here? There are all in Chinatown and Koreatown and Polishtown or whatever towns in New York City, then how much easier is it to fulfill that Great Commission?" --Sean —— Links —— Listen to the episode that this comment came from: Off Script 28: Seeking a Christian View on Refugees and Immigrants See other episodes responding to your questions and comments Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
10 minutes | Mar 11, 2018
Off Script 43: Can Christians Use Non-Lethal Violence? (Q&A)
This is our second answer in our series on responding to your questions and comments. In Off Script 38: Killing in War: A Christian View of Violence, we discussed whether it is appropriate for Christians to participate in war, concluding that Jesus' command to love our enemies means that Christians should not kill others. If you haven't already, check out that episode first before listening or commenting on this one. In this episode we respond to Zak's comment. He wrote: I really enjoyed this episode. It challenged my current worldview with scripture(a very good thing, even if not pleasant at times). I do have few questions. 1.Can none lethal self defense be put under “confrontational nonresistance” or is it always finding “exceptions to Jesus’ commands.” For example in the highly unlikely event that I would be walking a busy street and someone pulled out a gun and started shooting other people/family/etc. Would it be against the bible to(if I had the training)Disarm the individual. —— Links —— Listen to the episode that this comment came from: Off Script 38: Killing in War Check out these other posts on how Christians should love their enemies, including a full length debate between Christians on this issue More information about Christian pacifism: loveyourenemies.wordpress.com See other episodes responding to your questions and comments Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
14 minutes | Mar 9, 2018
Off Script 42: Hillary Clinton, a Dead Moose, and Christians Discussing Politics (Q&A)
Welcome to our series answering your questions and responding to some of your comments. We've been saving these up and over the next few weeks, we'll address a number of them. We've decided to do these in individual episodes, so if you're not interested in the topic, you can just skip it and listen to the ones that matter to you. As a result, these are each significantly shorter than our typical Off Script episodes. First up is a statement someone made on an old episode. In Off Script 16: Christians Discussing Politics, we cited John Zmirak's comment that he made on Unbelievable, a Christian talk radio show in London, as an example of inappropriate Christian discourse. Zimrak said, I would vote for a dead moose strapped to the hood of a car in order to stop Hillary Clinton or really any of the Democrats in America because their policies are fundamentally incompatible with Christianity and really just with human decency. This episode responds to the following comment by Levi: A dead moose would in fact be less threatening to freedom of religion, the lives of the unborn, the sexual purity of our young people, etc etc etc. The left is an atheistic, perverted agenda and the Truth is, the Facts are such that no disciple of Christ should ever countenance no less support their godless agenda. —— Links —— Listen to the episode that this comment came from: Off Script 16: Christians Discussing Politics Check out these other posts on how Christians should think politically See other episodes responding to your questions and comments Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
39 minutes | Jan 28, 2018
Off Script 41: Guns, Immigrants, and White Evangelicals
This is part two of our discussion about Charles Mathewes’ Washington Post article, “White Christianity is in big trouble. And it’s its own biggest threat.” Check out part one here. In this episode we consider gun control, immigration, the death penalty, and treatment of the poor in an effort to understand and respond to evangelicalism's ongoing public relations problem. Are "white evangelicals" as Mathewes puts it "a breathtakingly cruel bunch?" —— Links —— Read the original Washington Post article here Listen to part one of this discussion: Off Script 40: Roy Moore, Gay Wedding Cakes, and White Evangelicals Check out these Off Script episodes mentioned in this discussion: Off Script 38: Killing in War (A Christian View of Violence) Off Script 28: Seeking a Christian View on Refugees and Immigrants Off Script 37: Killing Criminals (A Christian View of Capital Punishment) Off Script 16: Christians Discussing Politics Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
48 minutes | Jan 21, 2018
Off Script 40: Roy Moore, Gay Wedding Cakes, and White Evangelicals
While scrolling through Facebook, I came across Charles Mathewes' Washington Post article, "White Christianity is in big trouble. And it’s its own biggest threat." At first reading, I was infuriated at what I felt were unfair criticisms, but after I thought about it, I realized what an opportunity this article presented. It collects together no less than thirteen criticisms against Christianity. In this episode Dan Fitzsimmons, Rose Rider, and I (Sean Finnegan) respond to the first seven, including: Our society's war on Christmas bothers Christians A Christian baker refused to sell a cake for a gay wedding 80% of white evangelicals in Alabama voted for a pedophile We're ignorant of history We're ignorant of the current state of the world We're ignorant about scientific knowledge We're surprisingly ignorant about our own religion —— Links —— Read the original Washington Post article here Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
44 minutes | Jan 14, 2018
Off Script 39: Sexual Harassment, A Christian Response
Several significant sexual harassment cases have come to light in the last few months. Now a whole range of behaviors have come under scrutiny as women (and some men) have felt emboldened to make public their experiences. In this episode we even out our Off Script panel with one more female voice, Terri Crowder, to help us discuss this prevalent phenomenon from street corners to workplaces to churches. After discussing sexual harassment in some detail, we bring relevant scriptures to light to provide a Christian response. —— Links —— More on the Christian work ethic here Also check out Off Script 31: Stewarding Our Bodies Check out the first part of episode 603 of This American Life to hear what happens when a woman confronts men after catcalling her. Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
54 minutes | Dec 3, 2017
Off Script 38: Killing in War: A Christian View of Violence
Is war ever justified? If so, can Christians participate in killing? In this episode we delve into a sensitive and controversial subject to figure out what the bible has to teach us about how we should treat our enemies. Our aim here is not be provocative, but faithful to what our lord taught us. Here now is the conclusion of our series on killing: off script 38: Killing in War: A Christian View of Violence —— Notes —— Four Texts in the Sermon on the Mount Clearly Show What Jesus Taught Mat 5.5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Mat 5.9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Mat 5.38-42 You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Mat 5.43-48 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Jesus' Apostles Furthermore Continued His Teaching: 1 Thess 5.15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rom 12.14, 17-21 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them...Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 1 Pet 3.8-11 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. Three Views of "Resist Not Evil" total nonresistance find exceptions to Jesus' commands confrontational nonresistance Quotes: Hippolytus (a.d. 215) A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath. If he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected for baptism. A military commander or civic magistrate who wears the purple must resign or be rejected. If an applicant or a believer seeks to become a soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God.”  Origen (a.d. 248) In the next place, Celsus urges us “to help the king with all our might, and to labour with him in the maintenance of justice, to fight for him; and if he requires it, to fight under him, or lead an army along with him.” To this our answer is, that we do, when occasion requires, give help to kings, and that, so to say, a divine help, “putting on the whole armour of God.” And this we do in obedience to the injunction of the apostle, “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority;” and the more any one excels in piety, the more effective help does he render to kings, even more than is given by soldiers, who go forth to fight and slay as many of the enemy as they can. And to those enemies of our faith who require us to bear arms for the commonwealth, and to slay men, we can reply: “Do not those who are priests at certain shrines, and those who attend on certain gods, as you account them, keep their hands free from blood, that they may with hands unstained and free from human blood offer the appointed sacrifices to your gods; and even when war is upon you, you never enlist the priests in the army. If that, then, is a laudable custom, how much more so, that while others are engaged in battle, these too should engage as the priests and ministers of God, keeping their hands pure, and wrestling in prayers to God on behalf of those who are fighting in a righteous cause, and for the king who reigns righteously, that whatever is opposed to those who act righteously may be destroyed!” And as we by our prayers vanquish all demons who stir up war, and lead to the violation of oaths, and disturb the peace, we in this way are much more helpful to the kings than those who go into the field to fight for them. And we do take our part in public affairs, when along with righteous prayers we join self-denying exercises and meditations, which teach us to despise pleasures, and not to be led away by them. And none fight better for the king than we do. We do not indeed fight under him, although he require it; but we fight on his behalf, forming a special army—an army of piety—by offering our prayers to God.  Mahatma Ghandi (from speech to London Missionary Society of India in 1925) Non-violence ... requires greater heroism than of brave soldiers ... The world does not accept today the idea of loving the enemy. Even in Christian Europe the principle of non-violence is ridiculed ... Christians do not understand the message of Jesus. It is necessary to deliver it over again in the way we can understand ... But I must say that so long as we do not accept the principle of loving the enemy, all talk of world brotherhood is an airy nothing. In this episode I referred to a bunch of quotes from early Christians on violence and war. Here they are: The Didache (a.d. 120) 3 What these maxims teach is this: “Bless those who curse you,” and “pray for your enemies.” Moreover, fast “for those who persecute you.” For “what credit is it to you if you love those who love you? Is that not the way the heathen act?” But “you must love those who hate you,” and then you will make no enemies. 4 “Abstain from carnal passions.” If someone strikes you “on the right cheek, turn to him the other too, and you will be perfect.” If someone “forces you to go one mile with him, go along with him for two”; if someone robs you “of your overcoat, give him your suit as well.” If someone deprives you of “your property, do not ask for it back.” (You could not get it back anyway!) “Mathetes” (a.d. 130) 1 For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. 2 For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity... 4 But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. 5 They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. 6 They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. 7 They have a common table, but not a common bed. 8 They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. 9 They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. 10 They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. 11 They love all men, and are persecuted by all. 12 They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. 13 They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; 14 they are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; 15 they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honor; 16 they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; 17 they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. Justin Marytr (a.d.160) [W]e who formerly used to murder one another do not only now refrain from making war upon our enemies, but also, that we may not lie nor deceive our examiners, willingly die confessing Christ. Justin Marytr (a.d. 160) [W]e who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons,— our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage, —and we cultivate piety, righteousness, philanthropy, faith, and hope, which we have from the Father himself through him who was crucified;  Irenaeus (a.d. 180) If any one, however, advocating the cause of the Jews, do maintain that this new covenant consisted in the rearing of that temple which was built under Zerubbabel after the emigration to Babylon, and in the departure of the people from thence after the lapse of seventy years, let him know that the temple constructed of stones was indeed then rebuilt (for as yet that law was observed which had been made upon tables of stone), yet no new covenant was given, but they used the Mosaic law until the coming of the Lord; but from the Lord’s advent, the new covenant that brings back peace and the law that gives life have gone forth over the whole earth, as the prophets said: “For out of Zion will go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; and he will rebuke many people; and they will break down their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and they will no longer learn to fight”… these [Christians] did form the swords and war-lances into ploughshares, and changed them into pruning-hooks for reaping the corn, [that is], into instruments used for peaceful purposes, and that they are now unaccustomed to fighting, but when smitten, offer also the other cheek.  Clement of Alexandria (a.d. 195) For it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained. War needs great preparation, and luxury craves profusion; but peace and love, simple and quiet sisters, require no arms nor excessive preparation. Tertullian (a.d. 197) Isaiah in the ensuing words announces, saying, “…and they shall join to beat their swords into ploughs, and their lances into sickles; and nations shall not take up sword against nation, and they shall no more learn to fight.” Who else, therefore, are understood but we, who, fully taught by the new law, observe these practices,—the old law being obliterated, the coming of whose abolition the action itself demonstrates? For the inclination of the old law was to avenge itself by the vengeance of the sword, and to pluck out “eye for eye,” and to inflict retaliatory revenge for injury. But the new law’s inclination was to point to mercy, and to convert to tranquility the original ferocity of “swords” and “lances,” and to remodel the original execution of “war” upon the rivals and foes of the law into the peaceable actions of “ploughing” and “tilling” the land. Therefore as we have shown above that the coming cessation of the old law and of the carnal circumcision was declared, so, too, the observance of the new law and the spiritual circumcision has shone out into the voluntary obedience of peace. Tertullian (a.d. 200) But now inquiry is made about this point, whether a believer may turn himself unto military service, and whether the military may be admitted unto the faith, even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to whom there is no necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no agreement between the divine and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot be due to two masters—God and Cæsar. And yet Moses carried a rod, and Aaron wore a buckle, and John (the Baptist) is girt with leather and Joshua the son of Nun leads a line of march; and the People warred: if it pleases you to sport with the subject. But how will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away? For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had received the formula of their rule; albeit, likewise, a centurion had believed; still the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, [disarmed] every soldier. Tertullian (a.d. 211) Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword? And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law? And shall he apply the chain, and the prison, and the torture, and the punishment, who is not the avenger even of his own wrongs? Shall he, forsooth [indeed], either keep watch-service for others more than for Christ, or shall he do it on the Lord’s day, when he does not even do it for Christ Himself? And shall he keep guard before the temples which he has renounced? And shall he take a meal where the apostle has forbidden him? And shall he diligently protect by night those whom in the day-time he has put to flight by his exorcisms, leaning and resting on the spear the while with which Christ’s side was pierced? Shall he carry a flag, too, hostile to Christ? …Then how many other offences there are involved in the performances of camp offices, which we must hold to involve a transgression of God’s law, you may see by a slight survey. The very carrying of the name over from the camp of light to the camp of darkness is a violation of it. Of course, if faith comes later, and finds any preoccupied with military service, their case is different, as in the instance of those whom John used to receive for baptism, and of those most faithful centurions, I mean the centurion whom Christ approves, and the centurion whom Peter instructs; yet, at the same time, when a man has become a believer, and faith has been sealed, there must be either an immediate abandonment of it, which has been the course with many; or all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted to in order to avoid offending God, and that is not allowed even outside of military service; or, last of all, for God the fate must be endured which a citizen-faith has been no less ready to accept. Origen (a.d. 248) And to those who inquire of us whence we come, or who is our founder, we reply that we are come, agreeably to the counsels of Jesus, to “cut down our hostile and insolent [wearisome] swords into ploughshares, and to convert into pruning-hooks the spears formerly employed in war.” For we no longer take up “sword against nation,” nor do we “learn war any more,” having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader, instead of those whom our fathers followed, among whom we were “strangers to the covenant,” and having received a law, for which we give thanks to Him that rescued us from the error (of our ways)… Cyprian (a.d. 250) Consider the roads blocked up by robbers, the seas beset with pirates, wars scattered all over the earth with the bloody horror of camps. The whole world is wet with mutual blood; and murder, which in the case of an individual is admitted to be a crime, is called a virtue when it is committed wholesale. Impunity is claimed for the wicked deeds, not on the plea that they are guiltless, but because the cruelty is perpetrated on a grand scale. Cyprian (a.d. 250) Adultery, fraud, manslaughter, are mortal crimes. Let patience be strong and stedfast in the heart; and neither is the sanctified body and temple of God polluted by adultery, nor is the innocence dedicated to righteousness stained with the contagion of fraud; nor, after the Eucharist carried in it, is the hand spotted with the sword and blood. Arnobius (a.d. 305) For since we, a numerous band of men as we are, have learned from His teaching and His laws that evil ought not to be requited with evil, that it is better to suffer wrong than to inflict it, that we should rather shed our own blood than stain our hands and our conscience with that of another, an ungrateful world is now for a long period enjoying a benefit from Christ, inasmuch as by His means the rage of savage ferocity has been softened, and has begun to withhold hostile hands from the blood of a fellow-creature. But if all without exception, who feel that they are men not in form of body but in power of reason, would lend an ear for a little to His salutary and peaceful rules, and would not, in the pride and arrogance of enlightenment, trust to their own senses rather than to His admonitions, the whole world, having turned the use of steel into more peaceful occupations, would now be living in the most placid tranquillity, and would unite in blessed harmony, maintaining inviolate the sanctity of treaties.  Lactantius (a.d. 313) Or why should he carry on war, and mix himself with the passions of others, when his mind is engaged in perpetual peace with men? Doubtless he will be delighted with foreign merchandise or with human blood, who does not know how to seek gain, who is satisfied with his mode of living, and considers it unlawful not only himself to commit slaughter, but to be present with those who do it, and to behold it! Lactantius (a.d. 313) It is not right that a worshiper of God should be injured by another worshiper of God. To find more quotes about early post-biblical Christian beliefs/practices, see David Bercot's Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs  The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome, 16.17-19  Origen Against Celsus, book 8, chapter 73 (ANF: Vol. 4, p. 667-668).  The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles 1.3-4  Letter to Diognetus 5.1-17 (ANF: Vol 1. pp. 26-27).  The First Apology of Justin, chapter 39 (ANF: Vol 1. p. 176).  Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 110 (ANF: Vol. 1, p. 254).  Against Heresies, book 4, chapter 34 (ANF: Vol. 1, p. 512).  The Instructor, book 1, chapter 12 (ANF: Vol. 2, pp. 234-235).  An Answer to the Jews, chapter 3 (ANF: Vol. 3, p. 154). The following Old English words were replaced: glaive -> sword; wont -> inclination; tranquillity -> tranquility; clemency -> mercy; pacific -> peaceable; pristine -> original; obediences -> obedience  On Idolatry, chapter 19, (ANF: Vol. 3, p. 73).  Since leaving the military was illegal, a soldier who converted to Christianity was in a difficult spot. He could desert and make his escape, remain a soldier without offending God (which Tertullian thinks is impossible), or else die as a martyr in the same way as many civilian Christians had. Apologetic, book 4 “The Chaplet”, chapter 11.  Origen Against Celsus, book 5, chapter 33 (ANF: Vol. 4, p. 558).  The Epistle of Cyprian: Epistle I: To Donatus, chapter 6 (ANF: Vol. 5, p. 277).  The Treatises of Cyprian, Treatise 9.14 (ANF: Vol. 5, p. 488).  The Seven Books of Arnobius Against the Heathen, book 1, chapter 6 (ANF: Vol. 6, p. 415).  The Divine Institutes, Book 5: Of Justice, Wisdom, and Folly, chapter 8 (ANF: Vol. 7, p. 153)  A Treatise on the Anger of God Addressed to Donatus, chapter 14 (ANF: Vol. 7, p. 271). —— Links —— For a much more thorough explanation of this subject, listen to Podcast 15: A Theology of Nonviolence Podcast 67: It's Just War (Debate) For more about Desmond Doss the heroic medic of World War 2 who won the congregational medal of honor while refusing to kill because of his Christian beliefs, see Hacksaw Ridge Check out the other episodes in the series on Killing Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
50 minutes | Nov 26, 2017
Off Script 37: Killing Criminals: A Christian View of Capital Punishment
Determining the validity of capital punishment is a complex task, especially when approached from a Christian perspective. To arrive at a biblically informed decision we need to consider both the Old and New Testaments, giving special attention to the nuanced understanding the Apostle Paul gave in Romans 13. Furthermore, in America we have quite a few other issues we need to balance out such as the exorbitant cost of sustaining convicts on death row and the handful of cases where an executed person turns out to be innocent on the one hand, and capital punishment's ability to deter crime and mete out justice on the other. —— Links —— Check out the other episodes in the series on Killing Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
42 minutes | Nov 19, 2017
Off Script 36: Killing the Suffering: A Christian View of Euthanasia
Is it ever right to end someone's life early? If so, under what conditions? In this episode we turn to the bible to sort out a Christian position on euthanasia. Drawing on the inherent dignity God has invested in each person by making us in his image and the fact that God claims sovereignty over life and death, we conclude that physician assisted suicide is a sin. In difficult cases of extreme and continuous suffering, Christians have pioneered palliative care in the hospice movement as a compassionate alternative to euthanasia. —— Links —— Check out the other episodes in the series on Killing Watch a short testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada Read more about Cicely Saunders, the founder of hospice Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
62 minutes | Nov 12, 2017
Off Script 35: Killing Yourself: A Christian View of Suicide
On average, 121 people commit suicide per day in America. It is now the tenth leading cause of death in this country. In this episode we discuss this phenomenon and seek to understand what the bible can teach us about this subject. In addition, we wrestle with a number of hard questions about suicide such as: Is suicide a sin? Will suicide bar someone from eternal life? How do we explain God strengthening Samson to commit suicide at the end of his life? How can we show compassion and love to those with suicidal thoughts? Lastly, we consider how the bible provides hope for when we go through the darkest of times. —— Links —— Check out the other episodes in the series on Killing For more on Wendy Savage and her interlocutor, Hayood Robinson, check out this Unbelievable episode Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
59 minutes | Nov 5, 2017
Off Script 34: Killing the Unborn (A Christian View of Abortion)
Today we are beginning a new series on life and death, in which we'll consider abortion, suicide, euthanasia, and capital punishment. Our goal is to address each topic from a biblical framework in order to arrive at a Christian position. At the outset, I'll admit that we don't know everything and could be wrong, so we appreciate your engagement in helping us arrive at a godly position. Today we'll focus on abortion and consider whether it's ever right for a Christian to have an abortion. We'll cover the scriptures that relate to this topic, the track record of early Christianity, and how this relates to our own time. We discuss the major objections and consider the toughest cases like rape, incest, and when the mothers' life is in danger. Please note that some of what we discuss here is probably inappropriate for children. —— Links —— Check out the other episodes in the series on Killing For more on Wendy Savage and her interlocutor, Hayood Robinson, check out this Unbelievable episode Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
38 minutes | Jul 30, 2017
Off Script 33: Stewarding Your Resources
We all have resources, whether money, time, talents, or skills. How should we steward these resources? In this episode, we conclude our series on stewardship by talking about work, debt, contentment, retirement, volunteering, industriousness, and laziness. We conclude that as with all areas of life, we need to seek God's glory with our resources. Links: Check out the other episodes in the Stewardship Series Listen to Off Script 6: Consumerism or read this article Listen to Podcast 4: A Biblical Theology of Finance (Craig Blomberg) Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
51 minutes | Jul 23, 2017
Off Script 32: Stewarding Your Image
Last week we looked at stewarding your body. In this episode we focus on a phenomenon that has been growing over the last couple of decades--tattoos and piercings. What was once seen among sailors, bikers, and soldiers is now rampant among celebrities, athletes, and countless others. What's a Christian to do? Should we go with the flow? Does the bible condemn tattoos and piercings outright? If tattoos are ok, how should we figure out what is appropriate and godly versus what is inappropriate and sinful? In this Off Script episode we discuss these questions in an effort to set aside cultural bias and think biblically about tattoos and piercings. Here's a quick list of questions to ask before getting a tattoo or piercing: 10 Questions to Ask before You Get a Tattoo or Piercing Will it portray something God is against? Is your motivation vanity (drawing attention to yourself)? Will this limit your career options? Are you ok with strangers coming up and asking you about it? Are you sure you want this on your body permanently? Would this cause issues or offense in your cultural setting? Does your spouse agree with you on getting it? Will it cause irreversible damage? Will it remind you of something God has done or give God glory? Will it open doors for evangelism? Here are some pictures we reference in the episode: Links: Listen to Podcast 68: Soli Deo Gloria Check out the other episodes in the Stewardship Series Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
40 minutes | Jul 16, 2017
Off Script 31: Stewarding Your Body
How should you steward your body? Are all bodily pleasures inherently sinful? In order to grapple with these questions, we take a tour through the bible from the Garden of Eden through to the time of Jesus to observe the balanced biblical perspective between asceticism (denying all pleasures) and hedonism (living for pleasure). As it turns out, God designed us to experience pleasure, but within his boundaries. We discuss several of these before considering how sometimes we may need to enter a period of abstinence to recenter ourselves. Lastly, we look at how legalism can sneak in and wreak havok when we impose our own personal boundaries on other Christians. Links: Check out the other episodes in the Stewardship Series Read an article on how ancient asceticism invaded the church, leading to the rejection of the kingdom message Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
37 minutes | Jul 8, 2017
Off Script 30: Stewarding the Earth
We're beginning a new series on stewardship. To start with, we'll discuss the biblical mindset towards stewarding the earth. Future episodes will address stewarding our bodies and finances. In this show, we begin with creation theology and move to consider how God injected covenantal significance into how Israelites were to think about their land. Lastly, we look at how believing in the renewal of our earth in the age to come should affect us now. We also overcome several typical Christian objections to creation care while trying to avoid any kind of legalism. Links: Check out the other episodes in the Stewardship Series Intro music: “Protofunk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
43 minutes | May 7, 2017
Off Script 29: Dealing with Doubt
What role does doubt play in your life? Do you think of it as something to push aside and ignore or do you pursue your doubts to get answers? In this episode we examine the role of doubt for Christians, avoiding both extremes of refusing to engage with doubt as well as obsessing on it. Our goal is to face doubt honestly and ask God for help as we do the hard work of getting good answers. Links: See Sean Kelly's Off Script on Resting from Work Apologetics Class podcast episodes (on Restitutio) Releveant.com articles on doubt Unbelievable podcast with Justin Brierley William Lane Craig's apologetics site: ReasonableFaith.org Craig Blomberg's Historical Reliability of the Gospels Tim Keller's book Reasons for God and Making Sense of God Intro music: "Protofunk" by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
56 minutes | Apr 30, 2017
Off Script 28: Seeking a Christian View on Refugees and Immigrants
On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13769, called "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States," in which he banned immigration from seven countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This unpopular order caused much controversy throughout the US and led to significant litigation, delaying it's implementation. Much of the president's motivation for this order (and subsequent revisions) is to protect Americans from terrorists posing as refugees. In this episode we look at few significant biblical passages on sojourners (immigrants) and attempt to stake out a Christian position on this subject. Whether you are for or against immigration, this episode should help you think through your position from a distinctly Christian perspective. Links: 99% Invisible podcast on the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s: podcast 1, podcast 2 Washington Post article: ‘Now they live in the light’: A Syrian refugee family finds only love and compassion in America "World Poverty, Immigration, & Gumballs" by Roy Beck visually demonstrates how immigration cannot solve world poverty Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response: "Caring for Refugees from the Middle East" (interview with Darrell Bock on The Table Podcast) Info about Stan and Pam Chee's ministry to Chinese students at the University of Toronto Intro music: "Protofunk" by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
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