How to Construct a Worldview

While reading Matthew 5:15 it occurred to me that in the same way that a lamp beneath a basket is obscured, that if a person was under a basket he would not clearly see the world outside the basket. He would experience obstructive filtering of external light. [a]While I do not think that this is the intent of this biblical passage, it provided me with a mental picture to serve as an illustration. Only bits and pieces of the outside environment would pass through a woven basket. If you were inside the basket, you may glimpse a bit of blue sky through one hole and a bit of green leaves through another. Your view of the world outside would be incomplete.

I have been thinking about opposing worldviews.

Gather a number of individuals. Have them observe the exact same event. Ask each of them the meaning of what they observed. I predict that you will get as many different views as there are individuals in the group. Some will agree in part. There will be variations. I think that you will see that observers arrive at an event with preconceptions that will shape their observations. I think that some observers arrive hoping to achieve personal agendas.

Our preconceptions and agendas are the basket through which we filter the light. They are essential parts of our worldview.

I propose that it is better to weave your own custom-designed basket rather than passively acquiring a basket that may obscure reality.

An individual may drift into a worldview that is shaped by the culture, environment and influences around him. On the other hand, an individual may examine their culture and influences, decisions and behaviors, preconceptions and intentions and deliberately shape their own worldview in order to provide more coherent and reasonable explanations about life.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b]Romans 12:2 – ESV

God provides Scripture so that you will allow Him to shape your mind.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.[c]Philippians 4:8

Rather than forming a worldview (or allowing a worldview to form) then filtering Scripture through that basket, we should investigate God’s revelation of Himself and use that information and influence to weave our worldview.

The Scriptures will provide coherence, unity, truth, purpose, and fulfillment.

Notes[+]

Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

Bishop Kenneth Edward Untener penned a homily for John Cardinal Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, to deliver on the occasion of the Mass for Deceased Priests, October 25, 1979. This poetic reflection, “We are Prophets of a Future Not Our Own,” was taken from Untener’s text of Cardinal Dearden’s message.

As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero,[a]On 24 March 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero delivered a sermon in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God’s higher order and to stop carrying out the government’s … Continue reading

Bishop Untener included it in a reflection titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that words never uttered by Romero are attributed to him.

Pope Francis quoted this reflection verbatim in his remarks to the Roman Curia on December 21, 2015.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

Notes[+]

Why does God hate people with handicaps?

Was the Leviticus meme written by someone completely ignorant about the Bible? …or was this anti-Christian meme written by someone who deliberately wanted to change the real meaning of the Scripture?

Here is an example of the Leviticus meme:

Image result for leviticus meme handicapped

  1. Leviticus 21 contains no reference to God’s hatred of anyone.
  2. Leviticus 21 does not refer to the Church.
    Image result for leviticus meme handicapped
  3. Leviticus 21 does not forbid persons with handicaps from attending or ministering in Church.
  4. Leviticus 21 does not apply to everyone. It applies only to a few specific members of the family of Levi. The name of Levi is in our name for the book: Leviticus.
  5. Leviticus 21 applies only to priests with specific duties connected to the holy sanctuary of the Tabernacle or Temple.
  6. Leviticus 21 does not forbid Levitical priests from serving the Lord in every other way. It only limits the function of those who would serve the holy Temple.
  7. Leviticus 21 does not place any moral or spiritual judgment upon those Levitical priests with blemishes or handicaps.  This was a case of ritual or ceremonial imperfection. It does not indicate that physical blemishes or handicaps are sinful.
  8. This meme deliberately uses an archaic English translation of Leviticus 21 so that the language seems offensive to modern readers.
  9. God never intended that the requirements of Leviticus would be applied to the Church. Those who expect Christians to obey the requirements of the Law are not living in God’s grace.
    1. “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.,, I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:15,16,21
    2. “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” Galatians 5:4
  10. Jesus Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the Levitical priesthood to minister in the true heavenly Temple. He became the Great High Priest.
    1. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” Hebrews 4:14
    2. “If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.” Hebrews 7:11,12
  11. The perfection of Jesus Christ makes every believer a priest, eliminating the need for the Levitical priesthood altogether. This priesthood of believers places value upon everyone regardless of physical blemish or handicap.
    1. “Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’” Luke 14:12-14
    2. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
    3. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Stop listening to false narratives about God’s Word. Seek the Truth.

How to Answer Anti-political Statements

I recently read a paragraph written by Martha Gelhorn and published in a compilation of her writings from the 1930s to the 1980s titled “The View From the Ground.” Gelhorn had a 60-year career as a war correspondent, journalist, novelist, and was a companion and wife of Ernest Hemmingway.

Gelhorn wrote,

People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future or any future.” Politics is the business of governing and nobody can escape being governed, for better or worse. In the few fortunate societies where voting is free and honest, most people take the weird view that politics is a horse race–you bet on a winner or loser every so often, if you can bestir yourself; but politics is not a personal concern. Politics is everything–from clean drinking water through the preservation of forests, whales, British Leyland to nuclear weapons and the disposal thereof. If we mean to keep any control over our world and lives, we must be interested in politics.

As a follower of Jesus, I would like to adapt and supplement her statement.

I have heard Christians smugly say, “I am neutral about politics.” They might as well say, “I am neutral about social injustice, world peace, the future of our children, freedom of religion, and the advancement of the Gospel.”

There is nothing especially spiritual about refusing to participate in culture and society and government. Holy love demands that we care about the abuse of our neighbor, that we unselfishly care about the welfare of others.

On earth in this dispensation we do not live in a theocracy. Men govern men.

Government is a necessary evil because men can be evil. First, if there is no rule of law, evil will flourish unchecked. Then, when we do necessarily establish human governments, we are obligated to engage in limiting evil men that hope to gain control… not just at home, but also where our neighbors live.

Followers of Christ were not instructed to isolate themselves. We ought to be people that make a difference, people that challenge society where it fails to love your neighbor as yourself, people that engage with both grace and diligence, people that live in the world without being contaminated by it.

Abstinence from politics is not Christ-like. It is selfish, smug and arrogant.

Should Christians Salute and Pledge to the U. S. Flag?

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Heil Boilermakers

Should Christians pledge loyalty to anyone but Christ?

Jesus said not to make oaths.

“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. z

How would this commandment apply to the following important oaths? Should Christians make oaths in some situations but not in others?

Marriage Vows. Should a Christian husband pledge to be true and faithful to his wife until they are parted by death? The Bible does not contain any record of marriage vows, yet it honors marriage.

Oath in Court.  Should a Christian swear to tell the truth in court? The Bible tells us not to take a brother to court, but it does not forbid giving testimony in court. Most of us are familiar with the scenario when a witness places his right hand on a copy of the Bible to say, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” The Bible is no longer required for this swearing in, but a refusal to take the oath is considered contempt of court.

Oath of Office. Should Christians make an oath to fulfill their duties when they are elected and employed by government? The Bible does not address the required oath of office taken by those elected to government positions, such as the oath of office for the U. S. Senate.

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, a millenarian restorationist nontrinitarian movement labeled as Christian despite their unorthodox beliefs based upon a peculiar translation of the New Testament, teach that a Christian should not vote or seek election, “they remain resolutely neutral with regard to the political affairs of the nations.”* This politically neutral stance has been adopted by a number of mainstream Christian pastors and churches in America. JWs  also believe that bowing down to a flag or saluting it, often in conjunction with an anthem, is a religious act that ascribes salvation, not to God, but to the State or to its leaders.

Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. Should Christians from other nations take an oath to become citizens of the USA?

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Take Oaths Seriously.

Jesus spoke against taking false oaths or taking oaths lightly. It should not be necessary to swear by any other power in order to convince someone of the value of your word. Your integrity and honesty will speak for you.

All Oaths are Subordinate to Faithfulness to God.

Christians in the United States have enjoyed a constitutionally fundamental freedom of religion since 1791. The Declaration of Independence attributes our inalienable rights to the Creator along with the necessity for government to have the consent of the governed. This consent of the governed is solemn enough to deserve an oath. This is not an oath that supersedes our loyalty to God but an oath that is subordinate to our faithfulness to God.

The New Testament Encourages Respect Toward Civil Government.

Is it appropriate for Christians to show disrespect in the name of Christ? We are not at liberty to ignore Romans chapter 13.

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for [d]good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

1st Timothy chapter 2 indicates that Christians have a duty to support their specific secular government with prayer.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

1st Peter chapter 2 makes it clear that honoring a human government is not a betrayal toward God and is recommended to demonstrate true Christian character within this world.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

The US government is not the kingdom of God. It is not the Church of Jesus Christ. It is a civil government established and maintained through human effort. Where there is liberty for men, there will be liberty for some to abuse that human law for sinful objectives. Somehow, God’s sovereignty is higher and greater than all this. God is higher and greater than the US government, yet he asks his followers to be respectful and honor human government.


Christians Should Be Cautious About Their Political Identification.

Refusing to salute the flag is political activism. The greater question is, “Should Christians join this type of movement?” Christians should be cautious about identifying themselves with opinions that are expressed by the enemies of Jesus Christ and that clearly go against Scripture, God’s higher authority. Christians have been observed wearing scarves that identify them with solidarity of militant organizations that have set a goal of the death and destruction of all Jews. Consider your ways. Don’t just follow fads without thinking.

Celebrate Your Liberty to Disagree with the USA in the USA.

Why is this political action (Christians refusing to salute the flag) only recommended in America? Because we see the absurdity of asking Christians of other nations to respect the flag of their own nation. Within the USA, you can speak against the government, this is your safe place to rant or pour out your emotional opinion. Nobody will storm your home, jail your children, or behead you for your dissident opinion. Thank God for your liberty to do so here. (Kinda makes me want to salute the Red, White, and Blue right now…)

How to Find Errors in the Bible

A lot of us don’t understand the inerrancy of the Bible. Inerrancy means no mistakes. This would be possible only if the Bible is a supernatural library of books.

Inerrancy applies to the original text given to the original authors of Scripture. Inerrancy does not apply to the human authors, but only to the specific words of the text. When John, Paul, James, and Peter weren’t writing divinely inspired Scripture, they were ordinary imperfect men. That is what makes the Bible miraculous.

Inerrancy does not exempt a copyist from making a mistake when writing a new manuscript from an old manuscript. Remember, before the printing press, copies were made by hand. The more copies of these hand-written New Testament manuscripts that we find, the more likely we are to find these variations. There are an enormous amount of variations in copied texts because we have an enormous amount of existing manuscripts. In 2016, there were 5,856 Greek manuscripts of New Testament books with an average of 450 pages. (By comparison, the average classical Greek author has less than 15 copies of his work in existence today.) The scholars that compare these 5,856 manuscripts can determine that the New Testament is 99.99% accurate to the originals, and the remaining potential inaccuracies do not affect any important Christian doctrine.

Inerrancy does not extend to translations of the Bible into various languages… including the Authorized King James Version.

Inerrancy does not extend to preachers, evangelists, or modern-day super-apostles. When someone says, “Thus saith the Lord,” it means, listen up and measure each and every word that is spoken against the infallible inspired written Word of God… even if they make up fancy words like “revelation-knowledge” or other bunk to manipulate you.

Inerrancy does not extend to genuine prophetic utterances, messages in tongues, private or public glossolalia, interpretation of tongues, or other gifts of the Spirit. All these must be subjected to scrutiny by the Scriptures.

If God supernaturally inspired the Bible, it contains no errors. If God supernaturally inspired the Bible, it is an authoritative word over our lives. If the Bible originally contained mistakes, it isn’t likely that it came from God, and therefore would not have much authority.

The Bible is a supernatural book in that it is a God-breathed,  collection of genuine prophetic writings, carrying divine authority as the Word of God.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

(Did you know that when Paul wrote 2 Timothy 3:16,17, the New Testament was still in the process of being written by himself and the other authors. He wrote this about the Hebrew Scriptures that later came to be called the Old Testament by Christians?)

Why couldn’t God just forgive everyone? Was it really necessary to demand the death of His only begotten Son? What kind of a God does that?

If God wanted to forgive sinners, why didn’t He just forgive them and declare it done?

I think the question implies a few other questions. Why couldn’t God simply forgive anyone who sins without all the gory bloodshed? Doesn’t God have enough forgiveness in His heart? Is He not powerful enough to do good without doing evil first? Is God so malevolent to demand the death of His own Son? Does God just enjoy punishing others so much? The was-Jesus’-death-necessary question (WJDN?) points a finger at the motives of God and the nature of God.

Was Jesus’ Death Necessary?

1. WJDN? is not an objective question.

First, we need to be honest and admit that this is not an objective query. It proceeds from assumptions that indicate the anticipated answer. The questioner has a bias and inserts his agenda into the question. The questioner may not want you to examine his assumptions. He may be leading you to his conclusion: if there is a god, he is bad.

I ask you to keep an open mind, examine some of the premises of the question, maintain an open mind about the nature of God, and reach your own conclusion.

2. The premises under WJDN? may or may not be accurate.

To me, the apparent premise is: a person that intentionally kills his own son is an evil person. I agree with that. [a]However, I do not apply human measurements of good or evil to God, the Giver and Taker of Life. That might be a good topic for another day. However, that truth is not the only plank in this platform. Don’t the best illusions need an element of truth to make them credible?

In the question, there are some inaccurate assumptions that we need to consider:

  • Sin is only in the angry mind of an offended God.
  • God is unwilling to simply forgive sin. [b]Saying “I’m sorry” does not reverse the effects of an offending action.
  • Sin is how God feels about my freedom.
  • My sin is a small thing.
  • Punishment of sin is an act of vengeance.
  • Sin is God’s problem, not mine.
  • God is a selfish tyrant.
  • I do not need God to tell me how to live.

Here are some accurate counter-assumptions that will help us understand the question:

  • Sin is in me, not in the mind of God.
  • God is willing to forgive sin AND to cleanse me.
  • Sin is how I feel about God.
  • Sin separates me from God, so it becomes the greatest problem that I will ever face.
  • God is not vengeful; rather He is willing to go to great lengths to remove sin from my life.
  • Sin is my problem.
  • God is generous and compassionate.
  • I need God’s intervention in my life.

Now, let’s use these true premises to move toward an understanding of the question.

God is willing to forgive sin.

A person too weak to save himself could not force Almighty God to do something against His will.  Therefore, if God were unwilling to forgive you, He would never accept any sacrifice for your sins.

In fact, the Scriptures indicate that God collaborated in the ultimate plan of salvation before Jesus was born in Israel where He was crucified. (Revelation 13:8; Hebrews 2:10; John 1:29)

God is actually a loving Being with a tendency toward grace and forgiveness. Forgiveness is God’s idea.

Sin is human nature.[c]Being forgiven does not remove the source of sin.

We humans are inextricably tangled up in a sinful nature. Sin is not external to us. It is in us. We may be tempted to sin from the outside, but the decision is actually made on the inside. (Jeremiah 17:9,10)

Sin is not insignificant because it separates me from God. God’s presence is life and light while sin is death and darkness. Separation from God is so utterly horrible that Jesus was willing to die. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” [d]John 14:6

If I am sinful in nature (and I am), God’s plan of forgiveness would need to involve removing the root cause of my sinful behavior, not only the removing of the penalty of sin.

As a human father, I would forgive my child for not mowing the lawn if the mower was broken. Then, I would take steps to get that broken mower working again. That’s probable not an accurate analogy but I think it helps understanding a little anyway.

God can’t just look the other way and let his children continue to rebel and spread wickedness everywhere. God needs to offer a solution the real problem. God needs to provide a way to transform a sinful, rebellious human nature into a righteous, lovingly-obedient holy nature.

…and that is the message of the New Testament: we can be miraculously transformed by God through the death of Jesus Christ. [e]…and just accepting my sinful old self for who I am is not sufficient when God knows a way to change human nature.

Why couldn’t God just decree that we are holy?

Isn’t God strong enough just to declare that no one would disobey Him? If God wants everyone to be holy, why didn’t He make us that way, instead of causing us to be born with a sinful nature into a sinful world?

I can only think of two ways to accomplish this. One, God is strong enough to force us. Two, God removes our ability to sin.

The problem is that God is love. [f]Romans 5:8 It isn’t loving if someone is forced to love. God is not love if everyone is forced to obey God against their own will. We need to choose to obey God because we love God. This means that we must be born into an environment where each of us can actually choose to reject God if we so desire.

If God were an Vengeful Tyrant, perhaps Jesus’ death would have been needless.

If God had created a race of soul-less zombies to carry out His will, perhaps Jesus’ death would have been pointless.

However, we live in the real world. Sin is in us. We need a miracle. God provides the necessary miracle of transformation through Jesus Christ, [g]Romans 6:5-7 and furthermore, God offers the abiding presence of His Holy Spirit so that we can produce ongoing spiritual fruit.

Was Jesus’ death necessary?

Based upon the gravity of sin and the true nature of a holy and loving God that includes a plan for the transformation of my sinful nature… yes.

Notes[+]

How to be Objective About the Alabama Pi April Fools’ Prank

The April 1998 newsletter New Mexicans for Science and Reason contained a prank article mocking the Bible. Here is a brief quote:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday [March 30, 1998] redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry.  …”The Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the altar font of Solomon’s Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass.” Alabami Pi Hoax

The mockery is based upon the Bible passage describing the construction of the basin for Solomon’s Temple. The basin is known by a few synonyms, such as the laver or the brazen sea.

He also made the molten sea, ten cubits ⌊in diameter⌋, and five cubits was its height. A measuring line of thirty cubits would encircle it all around. Gourds were under its rim surrounding it all around; ten to the cubit, surrounding the sea all around with two rows of gourds, which were cast when he cast the metal. The sea was standing on twelve oxen, with three facing to the north, three facing to the west, three facing to the south, and three facing to the east. The sea was on top of them, with all of their hindquarters turned to the inside. Its thickness was a handbreadth, but its rim was as the work on the brim of a cup, like the bud of a lily; it held two thousand baths. [a]W. Hall Harris III et al., eds., The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), 1 Ki 7:23–26.

A precision circle has no artistic decoration.

The Bible provides information about the brim of the basin. It was artistically shaped as a lily blossom. You are provided a very specific context. The brim was not simple, not shaped precisely as a perfect circle. If we accept the Biblical account, the craftsman had a 4% margin of about 4 inches on the rim. If a mathematical formula does not include some amount of artistic margin for this stated variance, then I must conclude that someone is deliberately misrepresenting this passage of Scripture.

A precision circle is perfectly round.

The Bible does not claim that Solomon’s basin was perfectly round. Round containers for liquid are often purposefully deformed at the rim to provide for pouring out the contents of the container. There are no legitimate reasons for an open-minded person to demand that the basin be a precise circle since there is no such claim in Scripture.

A precision circle has zero thickness.

The Bible provides a measure of thickness of a handbreadth. Even if the basin were perfectly round, which it was not, neither those who accept the Scriptures nor those who mock the Scriptures know 1) the exact thickness of a handbreadth or 2) if the artisan was to measure inside the thickness or outside the thickness or split the difference. (My handbreadth is very close to 4 inches… the same amount of margin described in the Bible.)

The following statements are not applicable unless you demand that the Scripture is describing a mathematically precise circle and therefore reject that the object was an artistic basin formed by a craftsman.

In order to arrive at a precise calculation of pi (π), you must have a precise measuring device. I measured a plain round bowl from my kitchen with my sewing measuring tape. The circumference was 19.25. The diameter was exactly 6. My measuring tape does not even have 6.127465309038. It is reasonable to accept that Solomon’s construction team was skilled enough to work with a rod divided into basic units.

If I want to be precise, how many decimal places for π are needed? Is 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 more precise than 3.14? 3.14 is the approximation acceptable to the organization that published the “scientific” article. If scientists can approximate π by rounding to two decimal places, what would happen if we approximated π in whole numbers? It is reasonable to accept that the Bible description uses whole units without fractions or decimals. π rounded to a whole number is 3, the number affirmed in the Bible even though this passage is not describing a perfectly round precision circle.

It is therefore my opinion that only a narrow-minded agenda-driven person would consider the description of the basin in First Kings chapter seven as evidence for error in the Bible.

Notes[+]

Jesus is Jehovah

I recently took a look at Romans 14:11.

For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”

I saw an argument that since Paul was quoting the Old Testament, and since Isaiah used the word LORD|YHWH, therefore only Jehovah should be worshipped and not Jesus. So I decided to look into that claim.

Paul is citing a passage from Isaiah 45. It is valuable to know that many passages in the New Testament affirm what Isaiah said. Here is a comparison of some New Testament statements alongside Isaiah 45:18-23:

New Testament

Isaiah 45:18-23

Jesus Christ created us:
"and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him," Colossians 3:10

Jesus Christ created the worlds:
"...has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" Hebrews 1:2

All things are through Jesus:
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:36

The World was made through Jesus:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made... He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him." John 1:1-3,10

Jesus was named GOD the Savior:
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

In the same passage, Jesus was also "God with us":
"So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated, 'God with us.'” Matthew 1:22,23

Mary affirmed Jesus as God and Savior:
"And Mary said:
'My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'" Luke 1:46,47

Jesus is exclusively the Savior
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

A good minister of Jesus Christ preaches that He is God and Savior:
"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10

Paul, who was commissioned by the resurrected person of Jesus Christ, describes Jesus as God and Savior:
"but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;" Titus 1:3
"...showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." Titus 2:10
"...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" Titus 2:13
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared..." Titus 3:4

Peter affirmed Jesus is God and Savior:
"Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 1:1
For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.

“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.

“Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.

In conclusion…

Paul gives an authoritative statement about the LORD (YHWH or Jehovah) of Isaiah 45:23. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

That settles it for me. Jesus is Jehovah.


Don't get pedantic on pronunciation and mispronunciations of Yehoshuah/Yeshua/Jesus/Iesus or YHWH/GOD/LORD/Jehovah. I have made it clear about whom I have written.

“Swearing is a sign of rhetorical strength.”

Someone recently published, “Swearing is a sign of rhetorical strength.”
The opposite is true.
 
Swearing is oratorical incontinence, a symptom of profound immaturity, and an indication of shallow, selfish thoughtlessness.
 
The simple and obvious truth is that cursing is a sign of weakness in many forms. It requires no creativity or intelligence to blurt out an obscenity. Swearing is intended to offend, insult, hurt, defame, disparage, blaspheme, bully, manipulate, dishonor and disrespect others.*
soapmouth
I have heard the excuse, “I just had to let it out,” which is actually just a confession of self-serving intemperance. I have heard the excuse, “I was only repeating what I heard,” which is a admission of unintelligible repetition of vulgarity through the deliberate neglect of critical thinking.
Swearing does not make any person cute, but it can make an attractive person ugly. It does not make a person clever, but can make a bright person sound trashy. Cursing does not improve a conversation, but it vandalizes the listener. Vulgarity is a sign of a limited vocabulary and pathetic communication skills. Whenever a professional inserts expletives into their speech, they sound mediocre or less intelligent.
Words can be powerful. Be deliberate in how you handle them. Sharpen your tools. Refine your presentation.
Rhetorical strength is displayed by graciously-seasoned speech. Swearing is an abandonment of grace. 
Ephesians 4:26,2,29

Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give place to the devil.
…Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners.

Ephesians 4:29

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. [The Message]

Colossians 3:8

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone.

Proverbs 18:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

James 3

My brothers, not many of you should become teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater judgment. We all err in many ways. But if any man does not err in word, he is a perfect man and able also to control the whole body.
See how we put bits in the mouths of horses that they may obey us, and we control their whole bodies. And observe ships. Though they are so great and are driven by fierce winds, yet they are directed with a very small rudder wherever the captain pleases. Even so, the tongue is a little part of the body and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. The tongue is among the parts of the body, defiling the whole body, and setting the course of nature on fire, and it is set on fire by hell.
All kinds of beasts, and birds, and serpents, and things in the sea are tamed or have been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring yield at the same opening sweet and bitter water? Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a vine, figs? So no spring can yield both salt water and fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show his works by his good life in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Exodus 20:7
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name in vain.

*While swearing and obscenities are fine tools for bullies, this is not intended as an endorsement of censorship by governments or ecclesiastical councils. It is an appeal to each one of us to exercise personal strength in communication, making censorship unnecessary. I don’t want to take away your right to inappropriate or indecent speech. I simply hope to correct the false tenet that obscenity improves life. It simply does not. I laugh when someone implies that anyone is shocked by obscenities. The practice is just so commonplace. In fact, my proposal would bring back the shock value of expletives.