Portraits of American History: A Vote that Mattered & The Rev. Henry Highland Garnet

At the close of the American Civil War, both exhaustion and tension rose high and traveled deep into the hearts of men. Yet for some, exuberant expectations ran just as high and deep!

To bring the Emancipation Proclamation into it’s full strength and power, the people knew that more change was necessary. In order to keep slavery out of our country, we needed an Amendment to the Constitution to clearly spell out plainly that it’s evils will no longer prevail – more intentional spilling of ink rather than blood. Thus, the 13th Amendment was drafted, refined and it was proposed in 1863 – the same year the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect. It was subsequently voted on in 1865. Let’s go to that moment:

Returning to 1865, while there were numerous celebrations by black Americans and others at the end of the Civil War, even before the war had come to an end, a vote had been held in Congress on the constitutional amendment and a poster was quickly issued to honor the 137 members of Congress who had voted to end slavery. 

At the time of the vote, there were 118 Republicans in Congress and 82 northern Democrats. Of the 118 Republicans, all 118 voted to abolish slavery; of the 82 Democrats, only 19 voted to end slavery – only 23 percent of Democrats – and those were the northern Democrats! … 

When the vote was taken in Congress on the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, the chambers were packed from wall to wall with expectant observers. After the numbers were counted and it was announced that the amendment passed, a roar erupted from the thousands in the chamber; hats were thrown and voices were raised in exuberant cheers. Congress had voted to end slavery! How should something that profound be celebrated? 

Members of the House asked that a sermon be preached to commemorate the event. And whom did they ask to preach the sermon? The Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, who became the first African American to speak in the halls of Congress.

Barton, David, Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, WallBuilders Press: Aledo, 2004, pgs. 37-39

This is the account from Wikipedia:

In mid-January 1865, Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax estimated the amendment to be five votes short of passage. Ashley postponed the vote.[57] At this point, Lincoln intensified his push for the amendment, making direct emotional appeals to particular members of Congress.[58] On January 31, 1865, the House called another vote on the amendment, with neither side being certain of the outcome. With 183 House members present, 122 would have to vote “aye” to secure passage of the resolution; however, eight Democrats abstained, reducing the number to 117. Every Republican (84), Independent Republican (2), and Unconditional Unionist (16) supported the measure, as well as fourteen Democrats, almost all of them lame ducks, and three Unionists. The amendment finally passed by a vote of 119 to 56,[59] narrowly reaching the required two-thirds majority.[60] The House exploded into celebration, with some members openly weeping.[61] Black onlookers, who had only been allowed to attend Congressional sessions since the previous year, cheered from the galleries.[62]

Barton, David, Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, WallBuilders Press: Aledo, 2004, pgs. 42

You can read the original sermon here.

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Book Quotes | 13 August 2020

Okay, so I have been reading a lot lately – well, a lot for a husband and father of three who works way too much…so probably not that much, but for me it’s been much more than recent history… Not that we have that cleared up, this is probably going to be pretty extensive, so here we go:


Up From Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington

Edition I am reading | image taken from: http://www.randomhousebooks.com/books/185981/

Of my father I know even less than of my mother. I do not even know his name. I have heard reports to the effect that he was a white man who lived on one of the near-by plantations. Whoever he was, I never heard of his taking the least interest in me or providing in any way for my rearing. But I do not find especial fault with him. He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution which the Nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at that time.

Washington, Booker T., Up From Slavery: An Autobiography, New York, NY: Modern Library, Random House 1999, pg. 4 [fyi, this was originally published in 1901]

So far as I can now recall, the first knowledge that I got of the fact that we were slaves, and that freedom of the slaves was being discussed, was early one morning before day, when I was awakened by my mother kneeling over her children and fervently praying that Lincoln and his armies might be successful, and that one day she and her children might be free. In this connection I have never been able to understand how the slaves throughout the South, completely ignorant as were the masses so far as books or newspapers were concerned, were able to keep themselves so accurately and completely informed about the great National questions that were agitating the country. From the time that Garrison, Lovejoy, and others began to agitate for freedom, the slaves throughout the South kept in close touch with the progress of the movement. Though I was a mere child during the preparation for the Civil War and during the war itself, I now recall the many late-at-night whispered discussions that I heard my mother and the other slaves on the plantation indulge in. These discussions showed that they understood the situation, and that they kept themselves informed of events by what was termed the ‘grape-vine’ telegraph.

Ibid, pgs. 6-7

One may get the idea, from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping Negro in slavery if the South was successful. In the case of the slaves on our place this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the Negro was treated with anything like decency. … I know of a case on a large plantation in the South in which a young white man, the son of the former owner of the estate, has become so reduced in purse and self-control by reason of drink that he is a pitiable creature; and yet, notwithstanding the poverty of the coloured people themselves on this plantation, they have for years supplied this young white man with the necessities of life. One sends him a little coffee or sugar, another a little meat, and so on.

Ibid, pgs. 10-11

Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extent that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery – on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive – but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.

Ibid, pg. 12

And that’s just in the first chapter of this amazing book…



Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message by Ravi Zacharias

All-inclusive philosophies can only come at the cost of truth. And no religion denies its core beliefs. Within such systemic relativism …

Zacharias, Ravi, Jesus Among Other Gods, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000, pg. 7

Unsuspecting people make a fatal mistake when they give their allegiance to a system of thought by focusing on its benefits while they ignore its systemic contradictions. The entire life of anyone making prophetic or divine claims must be observed in concert with the teaching offered. Numerous historical and philosophical matters come into play when one seriously evaluates such claims.

Ibid, pg. 55

You see, that is the way God has designed us. One of the most startling things about life is that it does not start with reason and end with faith. It starts in childhood with faith and is sustained either by reasoning through that faith or by blindly leaving the reason for faith unaddressed. The child’s mind has a very limited capacity to inform if of the reason for its trust. But whether she nestles on her mother’s shoulder, nurses at her mother’s breast, or runs into her father’s arms, she does so because of an implicit trust that those shoulders will bear her, that her food will sustain her, and that those arms will hold her. If over time that trust is tested, it will be the character of the parent that will either prove that trust wise or foolish. Faith is not bereft of reason.

Ibid, pg. 60

Do you see what has happened? The skeptic started by presenting a long list of horrific things, saying, ‘These are immoral, therefore there is no God.’ But to raise these issues as moral issues is to assume a state of affairs that evolution cannot afford. There is just no way to arrive at a morally compelling ought, given the assumption of naturalism. What then does the skeptic do? He denies objective moral values because to accept such a reality would be to allow for the possibility of God’s existence. He concludes then that there really isn’t such a thing as evil after all.

Ibid, pg. 114

When evil justifies itself by posturing as morality, God becomes the devil and the devil, God. That exchange makes one impervious to reason.

Ibid, pg. 154

That last quote is a great description of American culture currently…

I have been reading some other things too, but this will suffice for now. More to come, but this is waxing long enough. Blessings on your readings.

What do you think?! Do any of these quotes strike a chord with you? Let me know in the comments!

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Impact of Our Sexy Culture

This is a look at the impact of Sigmund Freud and his libido obsession.

“But apart from theories about the sexual revolution, what is the record? Has it in fact been a good thing to turn our society into an open-hearth furnace of insatiable sexual activity? Who but a fool would not agree that fearful days have come upon our society because the fire-intended by God to burn within the furnace of married love-has now begun to burn across the dry and defenseless landscape?

“In America, the results are clearly seen. For every two marriages there is one divorce. Although we may argue that divorce takes place for other reasons, everyone knows the real reason. The philanderers are destroying the sacred institution of marriage in America and turning the home into a temporary stopping place rather than a permanent and blessed residence.

“One wonders that a society could become so gross and so stupid at the same time, believing that libido determines everything. In fact, the lack of perception concerning these things in our present society may be an indication that unbridled sex produces not only the destruction of the flesh but the deterioration of the mind as well.

“The sexual revolution has also moved into the commercial society. The nearly unclothed feminine figure has become the catalyst for selling automobiles, clothing, air conditioning systems, and a hundred other unrelated items, with some to be noted but not to be mentioned.

What debilitation, what fatigue, what depression, what premature death has this produced in our society? No one will ever be able to estimate. Heaven can only suggest what marvelous individual and social advancements our world might have known had it not chosen to pour its vital, youthful energies into the sinking, sexual sands of time. What careers have been blasted, what potential melted into nothing, what great accomplishments never achieved because of our generation’s incredibly nonsensical preoccupation with that never-to-be-achieved will-o’-the-wisp, that ever-unfulfilled pseudo-promise of sexual fulfillment?” (emphasis mine)

~ Dave Breese, Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1990), pgs. 142-143


Let us take a critical look at the world around us. How did we get here? How can we change for the better?

Additional note, I highly recommend this book. Especially for anyone who would like a clearer understanding of where our society is and why. This will not be all-inclusive to that end, obviously, but nevertheless it shines much light on our current world. Blessings.

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 05 Apr 2016 16:22:29 -040022Tuesday 2016 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Book Quote Mix-up from 24 March 2016

I enjoy sharing some things that I’m reading and sometimes offer-up my own thoughts with them. Yesterday morning, I was reading several books and they all offered-up some interesting insights. I will share them now; this being the first time I have shared quotes from multiple books in one post. Enjoy:


“Before we get to that, we look across to another royal image, found in Philippians 3:20-21. Is if very close in theme to I Corinthians 15, quoting in fact at the crucial point from the same psalm (Psalm 8), emphasizing Jesus’s authority over all other powers.
“Philippi was a Roman colony. Augustus had settled his veterans there after the battles of Philippi (42 B.C.) and Actium (31 B.C.). Not all residents of Philippi were Roman citizens, but all knew what citizenship meant. The point of creating colonies was twofold. First, it was aimed at extending Roman influence around the Mediterranean world, creating cells and networks of people loyal to Caesar in the wider culture. Second, it was one way of avoiding the problems of overcrowding in the capital itself. The emperor certainly did not want retired soldiers, with time (and blood) on their hands, hanging around Rome ready to cause trouble. Much better for them to be establishing farms and businesses elsewhere.
“So when Paul says, ‘We are citizens of heaven,’ he doesn’t at all mean that when we’re done with this life we’ll be going off to live in heaven. What he means is that the savior, the Lord, Jesus the King – all of those were of course imperial titles – will come from heaven to earth, to change the present situation and state of his people. The key word here is transform: ‘He will transform our present humble bodies to be like his glorious body.’ Jesus will not declare that present physicality is redundant and can be scrapped. Nor will he simply improve it, perhaps by speeding up its evolutionary cycle. In a great act of power – the same power that accomplished Jesus’s own resurrection, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:19-20 – he will change the present body into the one that corresponds in kind to his own as part of his work of bringing all things into subjection to himself. Philippians 3, though it is primarily speaking of human resurrection, indicates that this will take place within the context of God’s victorious transformation of the whole cosmos.”

~ N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (New York: HarperOne, 2008), pgs. 100-101


My thoughts | Overall, we need to see the Bible with more continuity than what many Christians have for some time now. Many Christians read so much discontinuity into the Bible today and we’re losing so much of the message and are the poorer for it. We must also see the meta-narrative of the Bible: God coming down to be our God and making us his people. This is how the Bible opens and closes. We are not brought into the Kingdom of Christ to be taking out of here and escorted into heaven. Indeed, we have been brought into the Kingdom of Christ to advance that Kingdom into this world! As we do such, we anticipate the return of our King to bring his kingdom here permanently. Maranatha!

“The power to honor the truth – to speak it and be it – is at the heart of true masculinity. When a man or woman is stymied in this respect, there is always a crisis in masculinity.”

“Today, I heard from a fine, young psychiatrist, one I know to be effective in his chosen field, for we have worked together in the past. But his position on the staff of a prestigious hospital is in jeopardy. As he wrote in his letter, ‘I just heard the news from my boss that I might not be promoted or asked to stay on because I pray with my private patients!’ “Unorthodox treatment” and other such phrases were tossed willy-nilly at him to justify the reprimand.
“His boss’s mind-set was clearly akin to the one prevailing in Soviet Russia where Christians are given over to mental hospitals for “treatment” of their “disease” – that of being Christian. C.S. Lewis referred to this mind-set in the world of secular healing when he warned a women:
‘Keep clear of psychiatrists unless you know that they are also Christians. Otherwise they start with the assumption that your religion is an illusion and try to “cure” it: and this assumption they make not as professional psychiatrists but as amateur philosophers. Often they have never given the question any serious thought.'”

~ Leanne Payne, Crisis in Masculinity (Grand Rapids: Hamewith Books, 1985, 1995), Kindle locations 393-98 & 398-403


My thoughts | I really like the first quote. May Christians, including myself and especially men, must go to the Father to find the healing we need to be able to speak and be the truth. The second part I wanted to highlight for two reasons. First, C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and I wanted to share his thoughts. Second, it is vitally important for us to realize and wake-up to the truth of just how close we are to becoming the next Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. Many organizations and institutions are, and have been for some time, run with these ideologies. However, this nation as a whole, if we continue to abandon God in lieu of our own pursuits, will be there quickly. Christians, we have to STOP voting for officials that are taking us into that direction while we still have the power to vote. If we do not, we may lose that power quickly, along with much more than just the ballet…

“My new mistress proved to be all she appeared when I first met her at the door, – a woman of the kindest heart and finest feelings. She had never had a slave under her control previously to myself, and prior to her marriage she had been dependent upon her own industry for a living. She was by trade a weaver; and by constant application to her business, she had been in a good degree preserved from the blighting and dehumanizing effects of slavery. I was utterly astonished at her goodness. I scarcely knew how to behave towards her. She was entirely unlike any other white woman I had ever seen. I could not approach her as I was accustomed to approach other white ladies…
“But alas! this kind heart had but a short time to remain such. The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and gradually commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, eventually became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon. Thus is slavery the enemy of both the slave and the slaveholder.” (emphasis mine)

“Very soon after I went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Auld, she very kindly commenced to teach me the A, B, C. After I had learned this, she assisted me in learning to spell words of three or four letters. Just at this point of my progress, Mr. Auld found out what was going on, and at once forbade Mrs. Auld to instruct me further, telling her, among other things, that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe, to teach a salve to read. To use his own words, further, he said, ‘If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell. A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master – to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now,’ said he, ‘if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy.’ These words sank deep into my heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and called into existence an entirely new train of thought. It was a new and special revelation, explaining dark and mysterious things, with which my youthful understanding had struggled, but struggled in vain. I now understand what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty – to wit, the white man’s power to enslave the black man. It was a grand achievement, and I prized it highly. From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom.”

~ Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Written by Himself (New Haven: Yale Nota Bene – Yale University Press, 2001), pgs. 30-32


My thoughts | With the first part, personally I guess I have never thought about what the experience of American slavery did to the slave owners and their descendants. Indeed, what toll does amy slave owner inherit when taking slaves when it is done outside of the parameters of God’s laws? How do they get pushed further away from the image of God? This is another good example of how things wax worse and worse when we abandon God’s instructions. This thought is certainly not to undermine or lesson the experience of those enslaved. However, it is a good reminder of the total affect of choosing death has on everyone involved in the sinful state. As for the second section, I thought this was vitally important for our country today. Slavery is not gone in America! How many people are “educated” in schools around this nation, and many even in universities, and yet still lack so much knowledge. How is it that we have the internet and access to almost any information we could possibly want, and yet still have so many people that lack knowledge, understanding and wisdom? Why is the collective insight of the populace going down as the access of information rises? The reason for this is that we have companies and a government that wants to give a façade of “education” while still producing slaves. That’s why curriculum is so carefully selected and crafted. They want slaves! If you think this is not the case, just look at one area: Credit. God says that the borrower is SLAVE to the lender. Yet, we have a society built on credit – built on slavery.  We have a society of consumers and not producers. Furthermore, we have a society that do not think for themselves and are dependent upon “the system” (in its many applications); we have a society of slaves. Let us be cautious of the leaders we choose. Let us be cautious of the people we allow to speak into our lives. Let us learn this from a man who was a slave and escaped the life of the plantation! Let us get a hold of truth and read it!! Along the way, let us put others out of bondage to think, reason and learn for themselves.

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Some Implications of Our Afterlife Beliefs

“What role does a belief in life beyond the grave play within the larger issues that face us in Christian life and thought?

“Karl Marx famously spoke of religion as the opium of the people. He supposed that oppressive rulers would use the promise of a joyful future life to try to stop the masses from rising in revolt. That has indeed often been the case. But my impression is that religion is an ‘opium’ when the religion in question includes the Platonic downgrading of bodies and of the created order in general, regarding them as the ‘vain shadows’ of earth, which we happily leave behind at death. Why try to improve the present prison if release is at hand? Why oil the wheels of a machine that will soon plunge over a cliff? That is precisely the effect created to this day by some devout Christians who genuinely believer that ‘salvation’ has nothing to do with the way the present world is ordered.

“By contrast, it has often been observed that the robust Jewish and Christian doctrine of the resurrection, as part of God’s new creation, gives more value, not less, to the present world and to our present bodies. What these doctrines give, both in classic Judaism and in classic Christianity, is a sense of continuity as well as discontinuity between the present world (and the present state), and the future, whatever it shall be, with the result that what we do in the present matters enormously. Paul speaks of the future resurrection as a major motive for treating our bodies properly in the present time (1 Corinthians 6:14), and as the reason not for sitting back and waiting for it all to happen but for working hard in the present, knowing that nothing done in the Lord, in the power of the Spirit, in the present time will be wasted in God’s future (1 Corinthians 15:58). To this we shall return.

“The classic Christian doctrine, therefore, is actually far more powerful and revolutionary than the Platonic one. It was people who believed robustly in the resurrection, not people who compromised and went in for a mere spiritualized survival, who stood up against Caesar in the first centuries of the Christian era. A piety that sees death as the moment of ‘going home at last,’ the time when we are ‘called to God’s eternal peace,’ has no quarrel with power-mongers who want to carve up the world to suit their own ends. Resurrection, by contrast, has always gone with a strong view of God’s justice and of God as the good creator. Those twin beliefs give rise not to a meek acquiescence to injustice in the world but to a robust determination to oppose it.”
– N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (New York: HarperOne, 2008), pgs. 25-27

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Another Reminder of the History of the Government’s Societal “Help”

Many of you may already know about the devastation of the black community that occurred in the  wake of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.  The excerpt below is just another reminder with a slightly different take, although its focus is not that of the Civil Rights Movement.  This is taken from Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell [Encounter Books – San Francisco; 2005]

“Nowhere was the effect of the white liberalism of the 1960s on the social evolution of black culture more devastating than in the disintegration of the black family.  The raw facts are these: As of 1960, 51 percent of black females between the ages of 15 and 44 were married and living with their husbands, another 20 percent were divorced, widowed, or separated, and only 28 percent had never been married.  Twenty years later, only 31 percent of black women in these age brackets were married and living with their husbands, while 48 percent had never married.  by 1994, an absolute majority–56 percent–of black women in these age brackets were never married and only 25 percent were married and living with their husbands.  Accordingly, while two-thirds of black children were living with both parents in 1960, only one-third were by 1994.  While only 22 percent of black children were born to unmarried women in 1960, 70 percent were by 1994.

White liberals, instead of comparing what has happened to the black family since the liberal welfare state policies of the 1960s were put into practice, compare black families to white families and conclude that the higher rates of broken homes and unwed motherhood among blacks are due to ‘a legacy of slavery’.  But why the large-scale disintegration of the black family should have begun a hundred years after slavery is left unexplained.  Whatever the situation of the black family relative to the white family, in the past or present, it is clear that broken homes were far more common among blacks at the end of the twentieth century than they were in the middle of that century or at the beginning of that century–even though blacks a the beginning of the twentieth century were just one generation out of slavery.  The widespread and casual abandonment of their children, and of the women who bore them, by black fathers in the ghettos of the late twentieth century was in fact a painfully ironic contrast with what had happened in the immediate aftermath of slavery a hundred years earlier, when observers in the South reported desperate efforts of freed blacks to find family members who had been separated from them during the era of slavery.  A contemporary journalist reported meeting black men walking along the roads of Virgina and North Carolina, many of whom had walked across the state–or across more than one state–looking for their families.  Others reported similar strenuous and even desperate efforts of newly freed blacks to find members of their families.” (pgs. 34-35)

These were the roots of something that is still vastly plaguing this group of people in our country.  However, to a smaller degree, this is also devastating the “redneck” and “cracker” communities [please read chapter for contextual understanding].  Basically, it’s causing major problems in groups of lower social-economic status.  May the Children of God not continue to turn an eye to this issue.  Instead, may we stand in the gap through prayer–praying for forgiveness for the decisions of our government and for reconciliation of families [no matter the race of these families!].  Let us always remember how important family is in the eyes of God and that any direct violent attack against family (especially to the point of disintegration of families on a large social scale of specific people groups) is a direct attack against the will and character of God.

Published in: on 7 PMpFri, 30 Aug 2013 14:16:22 -040016Friday 2016 at 2:16 pm  Comments (3)  

Church Prompted Jealousy and the Nature of Christ

From: The Letter Writer: Paul’s Background and Torah Perspective by Tim Hegg; First Fruits of Zion; 2002

Israel’s Jealousy of the Church

“Paul’s understanding of God’s faithful promises to Israel is central to his teaching on the last days.  Romans 9-11 show clearly that while God had allowed a partial hardening to come upon the nation, which explains their rejection of Yeshua as Messiah, it would come about in the last days that Israel, as a nation, would turn once again to God and in that turning accept Yeshua as the true Messiah.  In this way ‘all Israel will be saved.’[1]  One of the factors that would cause Israel to return to God would be through her jealousy of the Gentiles who had come to faith and were enjoying the blessings of God that Israel thought belonged exclusively to her.  Yet Paul is concerned in this passage lest the Gentile believers, in neglecting a genuine Torah life, would be viewed by their Jewish brothers and sisters as members of a new and different religion, in which case the ministry of ‘jealousy’ would be lost.  Thus Paul admonishes them to remain within the Torah life of Israel, living out the ‘obedience of faith.’[2]  But the final blessing of Israel is secure because even through she may be an enemy of the gospel, she is nonetheless ‘beloved for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’[3]

“There is not the slightest hint in Paul of what the later Christian Church formulated as her doctrine of ‘replacement theology,’ or supersessionism, in which she twisted the teachings both of Yeshua and Paul and taught that the Church had replaced forsaken Israel as God’s ‘new Israel.’  On the contrary, Paul not only sees a future for national Israel, but he even postulates that the ingathering of the nations has as one of its purposes the drawing of Israel through jealousy.  From this viewpoint, then, even the salvation of the Gentiles has Israel in view.” (pgs. 214 – 215)

Israel’s Jealousy of the Church (Part II)

“Yet here, in Paul’s expose on Israel’s future, the salvation of the Gentiles leads to or brings about the jealousy of Israel, which moves her, on a national level (verse 26 [Romans 11], ‘all Israel will be saved’) to faith in Yeshua and therefore restoration to God.  In Paul’s understanding, the salvation of the Gentiles is, in one sense, a means to an end.  The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is not the final movement of the Divine symphony.  The Gentile believers perform a servant role to bring about the consummation of the ‘new covenant’ in which Israel comes to own her rightful position within the covenant promises of God.

“Thus anti-semitism stands diametrically opposed to this Divine mission.  How can Israel be moved to jealousy through hatred?  Does the Church honestly pretend to duplicate the heart of the Apostle through her teaching that she has replaced Israel?  Did not the Apostle confess that he would willingly take upon himself the curse of God if this could somehow procure the salvation of his Jewish brethren?[4]  How then can the Church suggest that she follows the teachings of Paul when she rather smugly portrays herself as the ‘be-all’ and ‘end-all’ of God’s salvific plans to the utter exclusion of the Jews?” (pg. 246) [underlined emphasis mine]

The Nature of Yeshua (Jesus)

“The popular bracelets we see in our day inscribed with the acronym ‘W.W.J.D.’ actually ask a serious question.  ‘What would Jesus Do?’  Unfortunately the Jesus that comes into most people’s minds when quoting this catch-phrase is not the Yeshua of the Gospels.  It might be frightening to some to honestly hear the answer to the question of ‘what Jesus would do.’

“As far as the Gospels describe His life and ministry, He lived and walked a Torah life and called the people of His day to embrace the Torah as it had been originally given.  He continually and consistently spoke about the need to unshackle God’s instructions from man’s religion.

“And if we look closely, we see Him adhering to the smallest detail of God’s Torah and living out its precepts in love and humble service both to God and to neighbor.  If people today who confess to be followers of Yeshua would actually ‘do what Jesus did,’ the face of the contemporary Church would change radically – more radically than most could imagine.

“However, the reality is that most are not that concerned to find out what Yeshua actually did.  Removed from the pages of Scripture, Yeshua has become an icon of religion, a character on the ‘silver screen’ shaped and reshaped in the image of the screenwriter and producer.  So divorced is the image of Jesus from the historical Yeshua that many are shocked to discover that He is Jewish.  A popular Christmas carol portrays children ‘seeing’ Jesus as they are, some with almond eyes, and some with black skin.  But the carol never comes to the historical truth that Yeshua is Jewish.

“I do not intend to be mean.  I understand that in one sense Yeshua, as Savior and Lord, is able to understand each individual’s needs and desires and is thus as close as a member of the family or community.  But what I want to stress is that we have replaced the historical Yeshua with a Jesus that fits our expectations.  We have molded Him in our image and cast Him in the role we wish Him to act out.  As such we no longer listen to His words as we should and we find ourselves content in our religious makeup, presuming that somehow God will accept our drama.”  (pgs. 301-302)

[1] (442) Romans 11:26.

[2] (443) cf. Romans 1:5; 15:18; 16:26.

[3] (444) Romans 11:28-29.

[4] (531) Romans 9:3

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 05 Jul 2011 15:51:31 -040051Tuesday 2016 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Paul’s Perspective – Part II

“The ‘people of God’ from Paul’s perspective were one people, not two.  In using the language of ‘family’[1] Paul clearly demonstrates that he considered the believing Gentile and Jew to be ‘one new man’ in the sense of both coming into the family of God.  Thus the ‘family of God’ for Paul was the elect people of God, a family that in the end would include the whole nation of Israel.  Nothing was further from the Apostle’s mind than that God had two peoples, one Jewish and the other Gentile.  No, God has always had only one people, Israel.  But from the perspective of the prophets, Paul understood that Israel was finally and ultimately comprised of the believing remnant in every generation and those elect Gentiles who had attached themselves to Israel via faith in the Messiah.  In the same way that Israel is defined as a ‘mixed multitude’ when she was redeemed from Egypt,[2] so the gathered body of Messiah was to be viewed as one redeemed people.

“Yet in spite of this ‘remnant theology,’ Paul cannot be accused of discounting those Jews who refused to accept Yeshua as Messiah as though they were not actually ‘Israel.’  On the contrary, Paul makes it clear that even while unbelieving Israel may be enemies to the gospel, she is yet precious to the Father.[3]  She still retains her position as God’s chosen nation in spite of her rejection of Messiah, for it is God’s plan to bring the nation to faith in the Messiah Yeshua.[4]  All that is required by current believers, then, is to trust in His sovereign plan for accomplishing the full redemption, and walk in humble obedience before their God.  Such obedience would foster a jealously in Israel that would turn her again to the God of Israel and thus to her Messiah.

“Far from teaching a ‘replacement theology,’ Paul taught a grafting-in theology, an expansion of Israel through the inclusion of the Gentiles.[5]  He does not set the ‘church’ against the synagogue, nor ‘Christian’ against Jew.  He does not see these categories as salvifically important.  In fact, when it comes to salvation, it makes not difference what nationality a person is: ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek….’[6]  Yet the existence of the elect nation is all-important, for God’s faithfulness is demonstrated by her existence.  What is more, her final acceptance of Yeshua as a nation will be the ultimate display of God’s sovereignty and the fulfillment of the New Covenant.[7]” (pgs. 128 – 129)

[1] Note Galatians 6:10 and Ephesians 2:19, where “household of faith” and “God’s household” describe the gathered congregation of believers. [footnote 279 in book]

[2] Exodus 12:38 [footnote 280 in book]

[3] Romans 11:28 [footnote 281 in book]

[4] Romans 11:25-26 [footnote 282 in book]

[5] On the whole issue of “replacement theology” and its rise in the 2nd and 3rd Century Church, see Ronald E. Diporse, Israel in the Development of Christian Thought (Instituto Biblico Evangelico Italiano, 2000). [footnote 283 in book]

[6] Galatians 2:28 [footnote 284 in book]

[7] Jeremiah 31:31ff.  Note carefully that the fulfillment of the New Covenant is national in its scope (“house of Judah and house of Israel”). [footnote 285 in book]

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 14 Jun 2011 19:47:33 -040047Tuesday 2016 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Paul’s Perspective – Part I

Hope you enjoy chewing on this!

[Both this post and the one after it (Part II) are from the book: The Letter Writer: Paul’s Background and Torah Perspective by Tim Hegg; First Fruits of Zion; 2002]

“But this message of the Gospel which centered upon the exercise of faith in Messiah in no way diminished nor negated the Torah.  To Paul’s antagonists, the position that a Gentile could become a covenant member without being circumcised sounded as though the Torah had been ignored.  In reality Paul was restoring the Torah’s message of salvation by faith.  He understood that a Gentile who thought he could actually gain right standing with God through becoming a proselyte was trusting in something that could never actually save him.  He may feel content in his new social status as a “Jew,” but before the bar of God’s justice he was still counted as unrighteous.

“Paul realized, then, that he would need to take a very hard-line approach toward Gentiles who were being persuaded that becoming a proselyte gained them salvation.  In their ill-founded confidence, such Gentiles were doomed.  Thus, denying a Gentile the ritual of a proselyte (circumcision) [as it was called in shorthand and thus seen as such in the New Testament – my addition] must be read in this context, and not as a negation of Torah.  Paul needed to teach the Gentiles that the first step in their conversion was one of genuine faith in Messiah.  Only after they understood that their righteousness was reckoned to them and not earned were they in a position to appreciate both the value and necessity of Torah-obedience.

“Once again, Abraham becomes the example, for his faith was evidenced by his obedience.  God’s sovereign choosing had brought Abraham to the covenant, and his faith in God had sealed his membership in it.  But as a chosen covenant member, Abraham obeyed God and circumcised both himself and all the males of his household.[1]  For Paul the order of events was crucial: faith comes first (gaining the status of covenant member), then obedience to God’s commandments (living as a covenant member).

“This order was no doubt emphasized in Paul’s mind by the arrangement of the covenants as well.[2]  The Abrahamic covenant precedes the Mosaic covenant.  But what is the significance of this order?  For Paul it was that justification, i.e., right standing before God (emphasized in the Abrahamic covenant and the faith it requires) comes before sanctification, i.e., being set apart unto God in one’s actions (the emphasis of the Mosaic covenant with its required obedience).  Redemption (the exodus from Egypt) comes first and then Torah (standing at Sinai).

“To suggest that the ritual of circumcision is the gateway to right standing with God is to teach that Sinai (submission to Torah) precedes the exodus, or that the Mosaic covenant comes before God’s promise to Abraham.  It reverses the biblical order and is contrary to Torah.  This was crucial for Paul.  The gospel he preached was the same gospel given to Abraham,[3] a gospel which first centers upon the blessing in Messiah (appropriated through faith) and then effects radical changes in one’s life (accomplished through obedience).” (pgs. 111 – 113)

[1] Genesis 17:23-27 [footnote 229 in book]

[2] Note Galatians 3:17 [footnote 230 in book]

[3] Galatians 3:8 [footnote 231 in book]

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 14 Jun 2011 19:43:16 -040043Tuesday 2016 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Justice permits no such compromise

The author is talking about the deconcentration (as the author puts it) of ghettos in America.  The relocation of their residents to more affluent neighborhoods and the economic, social and educational healing of said residents.

“The approach I envision entails moving few enough ghetto residents into each middle- or upper-class neighborhood that the prior residents of those neighborhoods remain.  We need to recognize, moreover, that whatever hostility this relocation program engenders — from whites in upscale communities, from blacks in such communities who pride themselves on having escaped the ghetto, or from the political or economic interests served by the perpetuation of the ghetto — it cannot be a basis for limiting the program or, even worse, turning one’s back on it altogether.  Justice permits no such compromise.  It requires instead that the state undertake all action necessary to end “lock, stock, and barrel” — as Judge John Minor Wisdom once put it in talking of the remedies for school segregation — the social processes that continue to perpetuate the near-caste structure of American society.”

– from A Way Out: America’s Ghettos and the Legacy of Racism, by Owen Fiss, 2003, pg. 43

Not finished with the book yet, but thus far a good and interesting read.  I posted this excerpt specifically as the reminder of “Justice permits no such compromise” hit my core today.  It begged the question to me, Am I (and are we) doing all we can to uplift our neighbors, especially those are in the most need as they CANNOT escape their situations/circumstances?  Am I following the second greatest commandment on this day?

Published in: on 7 PMpThu, 28 Apr 2011 14:29:27 -040029Thursday 2016 at 2:29 pm  Comments (3)  
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