Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mary's Perpetual Virginity

I have recently watched an old remastered debate here (thanks Rich).  A debate between Protestant James White and Roman Catholic Gerry Matatics.  A debate that I have heard and appreciated  way-back-when as well.

I would like to respond to some stuff Gerry said around the 1:22 mark.  I have covered some of that historical qualification of the word "until" before (and James White did a fine job there), yet would like to address some of Gerry's other arguments.  Not because Mary's Perpetual Virginity is a fundamental issue- but because this Catholic dogma (yes, dogma) leads to a massive slandering of sex.  A slandering which is and was hugely detrimental to spousal intimacy.  Detrimental to folks who idolize Joseph and Mary's alleged lack of intimacy.  

Now, in that debate, Gerry Matatics desperately pulls on the sympathy card.  Gerry tries to qualify the definition of marriage.  Gerry insists that, 'we would not deny being married if our spouse was for some reason injured and unable to have sex during our marriage'.  True enough, Gerry.  Not a very functional marriage.  Not a very intimate marriage. Certainly not a marriage that passionate people would enter into, but a marriage nonetheless.

The suggestion of course being- that Mary was in effect 'injured' by The Holy Spirit upon insemination.  A permanent injury that left Mary without recourse to an intimate sex life or any more children.  A serious injury that may have left Mary without any yearning for the above.

Yet, I suspect that Joseph decided to enter this marriage knowing that Mary was certainly NOT injured.  That by all accounts and visions- she certainly was capable of child-bearing.  Indeed, Joseph believed that she would have a child supernaturally- and in all likelihood Joseph believed that she was able to have his children naturally. At the very least, that Mary would have natural yearning for him as well.

Now, it seems highly unlikely that Joseph was only interested in finding a babysitter for 'his children from a previous marriage' (Joses, James, Jude, Simon and some girls- Mark 6:3)  as Rome would suggest here.  That would be incredibly onerous on the young virgin Mary, and not something that any self-respecting man would wish on his daughter or fiancee.  After all, we read that Joseph was a "righteous man".  And in all likelihood he was not unfamiliar with the agrarian axiom of 'being yoked equally' (2 Cor. 6:14 ESV).  Of balancing the burden and blessing of children.

And this was not likely 'some other Mary who had these children' either, as Gerry suggests.  The Matthean passage (Matt. 12:46-50) strongly suggests the immediate family of Jesus rather than the relative family of Jesus.  Those skeptics weren't making mere relative associations.  Mere guilt by affinity.  They were clearly making allegations of consanguinity.  Insisting that Jesus had a filial obligation to speak with his folks.
And that "other Mary" that Gerry mentions with sons of similar names in Matthew 27:56?
Well, she is the very same Mary- the very mother of Jesus.  And despite the fact that Joseph is called "Joses" in some ancient manuscripts (and Mary is called "Mariam" in some) he is still the very brother of Jesus.  Still named after daddy Joseph.   Still Joseph Jr. (possibly  Joseph's firstborn).  And Joses is a perfectly good nick for less formal purposes.

Regardless, the fact that Matthew calls Mary "the mother of James and Joseph" rather than the 'mother of Jesus' at the cross- actually aids identification  rather than detracting from her identification.  Matthew aids her identification by adding those parameters.  Adding those parameters as he did in that Matthew 13:55 verse.

Now it just so happens, that I was considering those things a few weeks ago when I was preparing my lesson on James 1.  When I was giving a bit of history to the genealogy of James (see outline here).
At that time, I was wondering if Mary wasn't so busy nursing James (when they were traveling  in the Grand Caravan- Luke 2:44) that they left Jesus Home Alone (so to speak) in His Father's House.  I was wondering if Father Joseph wasn't so busy with the other five kids to overlook one kid.  That Father Joseph may have been thinking that Jesus (as a 12 year-old) was a rather independent and low-maintenance concern... until a fearful Mary freaked.

So why weren't those alleged 'pre-existing' children babysitting Jesus, we might ask? Why weren't they making sure that such a precocious youth as  Jesus wasn't getting into trouble? That he wasn't getting left behind?  Seems natural to think that those alleged affinal children weren't old  enough for that.  Not babysitting age yet, Gerry... because they were younger siblings rather than older siblings.

Anyways, let's deal with Gerry's suggestion of The Holy Spirit injuring Mary.  A blasphemous  suggestion.  A suggestion attributing evil to God.

And let's let Martin Luther deal with that suggestion.  Martin Luther addressed the topic of an injured spouse in his treatise  The Estate of Marriage.
Now, this treatise was written a couple years before Luther got married at the age of 41.  Yet this treatise is still comprehensive and profound (though not quite as bombastic as his later Bondage of the Will).  A treatise which many would do well to read before they get married.

In this treatise Luther asks,

   What about a situation where one's wife is an invalid and has therefore become incapable of fulfilling the conjugal duty? May he not take another to wife? By no means. Let him serve the Lord in the person of the invalid and await His good pleasure. Consider that in this invalid God has provided your household with a healing balm by which you are to gain heaven. Blessed and twice blessed are you when you recognise such a gift of grace and therefore serve your invalid wife for God's sake.
But you may say: I am unable to remain continent. That is a lie. If you will earnestly serve your invalid wife, recognise that God has placed this burden upon you, and give thanks to him, then you may leave matters in his care. He will surely grant you grace, that you will not have to bear more than you are able. He is far too faithful to deprive you of your wife through illness without at the same time subduing your carnal desire, if you will but faithfully serve your invalid wife. 

Here Luther may have been considering that  Bloody Woman that we considered here.
A woman bloodied by childbirth.  Yet I doubt that Mary had those bloody issues.  I doubt that Mary was unable or unwilling to be that intimate.  Indeed, Jesus would have healed those bloody issues and sentiments rather than caused them.

Luther also deals strongly with the husband who was unable or unwilling to be to be intimate, in Part One (first category) of that treatise.   Telling him to 'do right by his wife whether he likes it or not'.  Granting the wife the Third Case for divorce (in Part Two) if he deprives her.
This would also be a direct violation of the angel's orders "Do not be afraid [of intimacy]- Matt 1:20.  Orders which Joseph apparently followed- Matt. 1:24.

Also makes me wonder, 'Why didn't the angel inform Joseph that his intended was now an invalid', Gerry? Inform Joseph that his "carnal desires" would not be validated by Mary?  Or that Joseph's desires would be "subdued" (possibly by a 'holy fear" of Mary's tabernacle)?

Joseph would look a whole lot more righteous- if he were to agree to such unflattering terms of marriage.  Yet there is no textual expansion of that nature in Joseph's account (though some manuscripts add the term "firstborn").  No flattery and no warts to be seen in Joseph's account.  And I don't believe that Joseph's desires would be "subdued" all that much either.  Luther may have been considering 1 Cor. 10:13 there- yet this carnal desire is a 'temptation that is common to nearly all men'.

Not only that, but an injured Mary doesn't fit biblical priestly typology either.  After all, Mary is considered a mediatrix by Rome. A mediator between man and Christ.  A priest of enormous import.
Yet we know that those who were neutered were not permitted to be priests (Deut. 23:1).  Were not permitted to be mediators.  And if Mary were neutered she would be unable to identify with the common man (or natural woman).  Unable to identify with ordained conjugal duties or desires.
She would be a mediator with severely compromised identification.  A mediator lacking in empathy .  A mediator who did not know temptation.  Did not know temptation like Jesus 'who was tempted in all ways'- Heb. 4:15.

Rather, allow me to suggest a more historical typology of blessed Mary.  That Mary was a type of Hannah, a woman also called blessed. That Mary was not unlike Hannah (1 Samuel 2:21) who was blessed with more sons and daughters after she granted God her firstborn (1 Samuel 1:11).  Hannah who received her remedy and gave us a worship song.  A worship song not unlike Mary's Magnificat. 

Finally, allow me to suggest that our end-times with God will not be one of Perpetual Virginity (as Gerry suggests around the 1:50 mark).  Will NOT be one of always yearning- yet never learning.  But rather of yearning and being satisfied.  Eternally satisfied with the source of our yearning.  Satisfied with someone better than Elkanah. Satisfied with someone who is much "better than ten sons", as Elkanah suggested- 1 Samuel 1:8.

Satisfied with Elohim.
Satisfied in Christ.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Novel Argument Against Homosexuality

This topic is getting a lot of airplay lately.  In fact, a lot of great airplay from folks like James White and Doug Wilson.  Great folks arguing from an accurate and powerful perspective.  Arguing against fickle folks trying to move another boundary stone.

Folks arguing from a biblical as well as a pragmatic perspective.  Folks unwilling to engage a "secular civil argument".  Unwilling to apply a mass of statistics indicating far greater unfaithfulness, illness and divorce among homo's (I'm not allowed to call them "Sodomites" in my country).  Unwilling because such application against the fickle is powerless.  Powerless since such a significant mass of statistics are allegedly conquered by a few feeble anecdotes.

But at the risk of offending some of my strictly pre-suppositionalist buddies- I'd like to submit a novel argument against homosexuality.  Submit a "secular civil argument" against homosexuality as requested by the homo's themselves.  In the spirit of John Frame (Gerstner, Sproul and Van Til), submit an ancillary argument.   Submit a direct, positive, ad rem argument- rather than the indirect, negative ad hominem argument of my pre-sup buddies.
Admittedly, not as accurate or powerful as the pre-sup argument- but as the implication method/transcendental method/pre-sup popularizer Van Til would say, "Just for the sake of argument" let's "meet our enemy on their own ground".  A ground that strict pre-sups meet all too lightly.

So in this post I will submit a "secular civil argument" that reduces their argument somewhat.    An argument that may also be seen to be hugely pre-sup- if you can actually grant the ontological argument that causally follows.  If you can actually grant, 'An  argument that presupposes the "what" as well as the "that".  An argument that simply obliterates the homosexual argument.

Now, some of you may have seen the recent Wilson-Sullivan debate at Idaho University.  Among the questions received by pre-sup Wilson continued to be the question, 'What is essentially wrong with homosexuality?'.  A question presumably hoping to attract some specific statistics. Statistics which are just beginning to appear.
Statistics which will soon show the folly of this latest lobby group as well.  Statistics which will show the innate folly of this particular promiscuity.  Statistics that promiscuity-endorsing Sullivan will not be convinced by either.

Will not be convinced since Sullivan and his supporters are rather blind to statistics.  Blindly refuting statistics with bleeding-heart anecdotes.  Refuting generalities with anomalies.  Refuting bloopers with blips. 

Regardless, Wilson basically responds to these new lobbyists with the standard 'What is essentially wrong with polygamy?' rhetoric.  Rhetoric that begs a higher standard of right and wrong for imposing new moral laws.  Rhetoric that doesn't tug at statistics, but tugs at a part of the conscience that may be less seared.  An excellent response to those "epistemological loafers" (VT).

Yet what if Wilson were to respond,  'What is essentially wrong with xenophobia?'.  A response with a more direct connection.  More direct since in essence, homosexuals truly are xenophobes- truly afraid of intimacy with a strange gender.  Or to be even more direct someone might ask, 'What is wrong with genophobia?'.  A fear of actual sexual intercourse.

'What?  Are you crazy? We love strangers... and we love a lot of them', those homo's  might reply.  

Sure this is true to some degree.  Sure they love strangers and intercourse- just not to the same degree ...and not in the same way.  As this recent American census indicates, their love for minority groups, justice and equality is a much lesser consideration than their love for themselves.    Their love for making and adopting children is considerably less as well.  They are functionally intimacy-challenged. 

That recent census  also indicates to me that there are greater degrees of this xenophobia and genophobia among homo's.  And I'm not surprised (as Sullivan is) that a large minority (40%) of this demographic are merely loosey-goosey with their body--- have no real preference.

It may be seen from that census that the love of homo's is basically immature. Primarily loving a gender that is really easy to love... easy enough for children to love.  Playing the same old children's games.  Playing doctor or playing house with the same gender.
Children loving to play with a gender that they very well know how to please- because they very well know how to please themselves. 

Yet, pleasing a radically different gender is considerably more difficult- much harder to play house with.  Pleasing the opposite gender is much more of a challenge... a challenge for adults.
To put it in politically correct terms, homo's are tremendously gender-challenged. Gender-challenged in a sociological as well as a sexual sense.  Inept at embracing "gender diversity".

Now, homo's may preach about "diversity" and resort to the "tolerance" rhetoric - but this rhetoric is hypocritical and duplicitous (as Wilson so aptly demonstrated at Indiana University).  Homo's are actually wholly inept at embracing their alleged 'neutrality'.  As Van Til said, 'Their "neutrality" is simply a colorless suit that covers a negative attitude toward God'.

And I expect a future census to indicate about as much "tolerance" as was shown by Sodomites to Lot and some strangers- Gen. 19:9.
I expect a future census to indicate about as much "tolerance" as was shown by incestuous and  pederast-Romans to Christians ("Off with his head!"). 
I expect a future census to indicate about as much "tolerance" as homo's have for freedom of speech in my country (Canada).

And I expect to see a survey indicating far more "tolerance" and "diversity embracing" evident  among hetero's.
Why?  Because it is "tautologically true" (a terminology that Sullivan seems to enjoy) of the word "hetero".

And this "tolerance" is much more evident among those people who have actually been embraced by a Holy God. Embraced by someone who is truly "hetero".  The Holy embracing the unholy. 

In closing, we are not embraced by a xenophobic God.  Not embraced by a genophobic God.
Not a God who is loosey-goosey.  Not a God who is promiscuous.

But embraced by a God who gracious and faithful.  

A God who embraces those who once were hostile and gender-challenged like Rosaria Butterfield.
A God who embraces us to become homogenous with Him.

What a glorious embracing.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Smoking Hot Wife

Am trying to stay on top of things Christian.  Trying to be like Issachar.  Trying to have an understanding of the times... to know what Israel ought to do (1 Chronicles 12:32).
So now and again I take a look at the stuff in Christianity Today's her-meneutics.  Stuff they send me by e-mail.  Stuff written by women. Christian Women- Cultural Comment is the sub-heading of that stuff.  And I often find myself disappointed by where they are heading..

And their latest article is pretty much a repeat of their current blowing with the wind.  Little more than twaddle pandering to our culture bent on 'feelings'.  Yet I do agree with their title- I'm Sick of Hearing About Your  Smoking Hot Wife.   I'm sick of it as well.  I don't like to see that idolatry either... still I'm delighted to hear that their wives actually take delight in them.

Which is something that the author of this article seems incapable of delighting in.  Incapable of delighting in intimacy with her husband.  What a shame.

We read that the author remains essentially 'frigid after 22 years of marriage' due to some bad childhood experience.  Due to being violated by boys (not men) at the age of five.  Yet she claims to have received a "smidgen of healing" after recently writing an "open letter of anger to her molesters".
What a false sense of healing.  What a false sense of coming out.  What a false sense of closure.

Why can't she just believe Jesus when He says that, 'whatever enters a girl does not defile her'? No matter when, where or how it enters her she is NOT defiled- Mark 7:18.  Or does she feel guilty because she might have remembered actually enjoying the attention?  Feel defiled by the joy that actually came out of her?
Regardless, all we seem to get is a pity party and whining in her article.  And no real argument against those she is sick of hearing from.  No real argument against the trust and obedience commanded by scripture either.  Just a bunch of idolatry to her feelings.  A much worse type of idolatry... an idolatry to self.

So DeMuth continues to deprive her husband of a Smoking Hot Wife.  Struggles to put on lingerie.  Then spiritually "disconnects from the act of sex".  And holds "sex on demand" in contempt.  Apparently she believes that her body still belongs to her self- even when she is married.

Yet we are told that she has healed so much since her "terrifying wedding night" (yet she only recognized her problem after 12 years of marriage and 2 years of counseling). So why can't I see the healing here?  Christians should be embarrassed to call this a healing.  Christ is so much bigger than that. 

Now, I may sound insensitive and unsympathetic to her abuse- but I'm not.  Been there, done that as a child- yet I truly have been healed...  and it didn't take 22 years.  And if you read between the lines her husband actually continues to think, 'get over it you baby Christian, what is your real problem?'

Why can't she see that ALL people are sinful?  That ALL people are abusive?  And that her current abuse of her husband is sinful too?

And the recommendations that she gives to other abused women?  Insipid and tepid.  Not worth a spit.  Even the most biblical recommendation (#3) starts with "Take care of yourself".  UN-huh.

But isn't that the problem- that we only want to take care of our self?  Isn't that her sin- that she doesn't want to love her husband as herself? That she would rather be a dud in bed?

And we see her excuses so clearly.  Excuses that hold her husband responsible for her healing- urging him to examine his childhood for insensitivity.   Holding her mother responsible for her "insensitivity".  And holding her divorced father responsible for his appreciation of "nudes". 
What a bunch of Freudian blame-shifting.  This looks just like another case of Patty Bonds to me.  Self-imposed bondage from false memories.  Attractive memories that she cannot forgive or forget.

And all the counseling in the world won't heal DeMuth.  DeMuth will only truly heal when she holds herself responsible... completely responsible.
DeMuth will only truly heal when she becomes truly grateful for the abuse that drove her to Jesus.     Yes, you heard me- be grateful for the effect of the cause.  Be grateful for the cause that effected her coming to Jesus in the first place.  And start claiming victory instead of victim.
DeMuth will only truly heal when she sees that not only were those that abused her (mere children!) vile sinners- but that she was (and remains) an equally vile sinner.  That she is COMPLETELY unworthy of His finished work of healing... and she will be healed.

Please remember, that hers is not a physical condition but rather a psychotic condition!

In closing, since DeMuth seems so entranced by analogies let me offer one.  Let me offer something a little parabolic.  Something a little more biblical than her 'gardening' or 'diving board' analogies.  Something that would be helpful for her to add to her up-coming self-help book:

     There once was a Man of Passion.  Whose passion knew no bounds.  So he spread his passion around, before bounding off on a journey.

Some folks He gave a lot of passion and some He gave a little- according to their ability... and then He watched it multiply.
In some, their passion doubled.  In some it even tripled.  In one it remained the same.

To that one He asked, "Why did my passion not grow?  Have you lost My passion?"
That one replied,  "I know you are a harsh taskmaster and I was not willing to lose your passion.  So I buried it in a safe place, for when you returned from your journey."

The taskmaster then ordered His passion to be taken from that one- and to be given to the more passionate ones.  
And the door to the wedding feast was shut on this non-smoking girl.


Monday, March 4, 2013

A Man Needs a Maid

I was thinking that
maybe I'd get a maid
Find a place nearby
for her to stay.
Just someone
to keep my house clean,
Fix my meals and go away-  Neil Young

Seems ol’ Neil let us men (and women) down with those popular lyrics.  Not just a little sexist and utilitarian there.  A bit misogynistic, in fact.  

So, why does a maid have to be a woman?  And is that their intended design?

Got to thinking of this song the other day when a mature Christian associate brought up the provocative idea (totally unprovoked) that ‘Adam was “playing with himself” [masturbating] before God decided that he had better get a playmate for Adam.  A human playmate since Adam was not “turned on” by the animals parading in front of him’.  

I replied that. ‘Many men seem to understand that mating purpose of women.  However, many women lean towards understanding that passage to mean that God decided to “get a maid” for Adam’.  A maid to clean up after him.  Cook his meals- then go away.

But God had a far greater purpose for women.   Had a much more complementary purpose for women. So, let’s look at what some of the old commentaries say about that Genesis 2:18 purpose… and let’s start with some female commentaries.

Female founder of Christian Science (an oxymoron)-  Mary Baker Eddy has no actual commentary.   Has no actual Key to the Scripture for this passage (but lots of keys for trivial stuff).  Mary is too metaphysically spaced-out to even consider this particular desire of Adam’s.   
A desire for actual physical companionship.  To spaced-out to recognize that Adam already had the best of the metaphysical world… so why would he have lust for the 'physical illusion’?     

In fact, the existence of this passage destroys the whimsical basis of Christian Science.  Destroys their whims that the metaphysical is all there is and all that there should be.  Such Scientists are mirror images of physicalist- Carl Sagan.  Scientists seeing a mirage. 

And oddly enough, the prolifically visionary founder of Seventh Day Adventism- Ellen G. White had no vision on this passage either.   No vision on a very fundamental passage. 

Fundamental because it reveals our basic ontology.  And reveals a godly ontologyIt reveals our ‘being made in His image’ (Gen. 1:26).  Reveals our not being alone… because God is not alone.   An image pointing to a plurality of persons and functions.

However Ellen would likely maintain her vision that this ‘base desire’ of Adam’s for sex ‘was the result of a carnivorous diet’.  Her vision on masturbation is equally spaced-out.    And despite claims to the contrary, she clearly plagiarizes Matthew Henry on this passage.

As for the guys?  Matthew Henry is extensive but waxes a little too poetic on this passage.  Not as much insight as usual.  John Gill’s later research was more insightful.

Yet, far superior is the insight and research of Calvin before them-
Meet for him . 40 In the Hebrew it is wdgnk (kenegedo,) "as if opposite to," or "over against him." k (Caph) in that language is a note of similitude. But although some of the Rabbies think it is here put as an affirmative, yet I take it in its general sense, as though it were said that she is a kind of counterpart, (ajnti>stoikon, or ajnti>strofon; 41) for the woman is said to be opposite to or over against the man, because she responds to him. But the particle of similitude seems to me to be added because it is a form of speech taken from common usage. 42 The Greek translators have faithfully rendered the sense, Katj' aujto>n; 43 and Jerome, "Which may be like him," 44 for Moses intended to note some equality. And hence is refitted the error of some, who think that the woman was formed only for the sake of propagation, and who restrict the word "good," which had been lately mentioned, to the production of offspring. They do not think that a wife was personally necessary for Adam, because he was hitherto free from lust; as if she had been given to him only for the companion of his chamber, and not rather that she might be the inseparable associate of his life. Wherefore the particle k (caph) is of importance, as intimating that marriage extends to all parts and usages of life. The explanation given by others, as if it were said, Let her be ready to obedience, is cold; for Moses intended to express more, as is manifest from what follows.

Pretty sweet stuff from Calvin.  Very complimentary and complementarian.

And some of this commentary of Calvin’s appears to have been taken from a much earlier (perhaps several centuries B.C.) commentary.  A highly respected commentary… The Onkelos Targum.    This Targum says, “or, as suited to him:  Hebrew, kenegdo, as his counterpart”. 

Yes, a Hebrew word that sorta sounds like a cross between K’Nex and Lego .  Now, I kinda like commentaries that appeal to historical-grammatical construction.  As Calvin says, ‘it fits well with the context too’.

Notable as well- is Calvin’s “cold” contempt of those that think that Adam was “hitherto free from lust”.  Cold contempt for those that thought that women were only intended for “propagation” and “obedience”.  Indeed “some equality” is being promoted by Calvin… an equality that may extend to "all parts and usages of life".

Yet that lust/ masturbating idea of my buddy’s isn’t that far-out either... even  Calvin addressed it.

And in one of the earliest accounts of creation (about a thousand years B.C.) we have a similar idea as well.   A similar idea in an account that seems to plagiarize Moses account of Creation.

Indeed, in the account of creation in the Enuma Elish we are told that everything derives from Atum [Adam?].  Atum who claims, “I am the one who acted as husband with my fist: I copulated with my hand, I let fall into my own mouth, I sneezed Shu [atmosphere] and spat Tefnut [order]”- The Context of Scripture 1.14 , Boston: Brill, 2003 (HT. James Hamilton).

Here we see that Eve was not exactly taken from a rib- but was the ‘spitting image’ of Atum.  An image that was an intimate part of Atum. 

Indeed, a counterpart of Atum’s imagination and lust.  Nothing misogynistic there.  Indeed, she was made of him.

So in response to Neil-

A Man Needs a Mate

God was thinking that
Man should have a mate
Find a place nearby
For her to stay
Not just someone to copulate
Then go away