Thursday, April 18, 2024

Does questioning an "anointed" person lead to spiritual ruin?

I recently heard a prominent preacher say the following:

Here’s the thing. You have to be careful that you do not criticize people who have the anointing of God on them. Better to say nothing. Because what happens is, once you begin to criticize somebody who has the anointing on them, you’re in the flesh. And once you’re in the flesh, then you’re moving toward unbelief. And once you move toward unbelief, then you live a barren life spiritually. And that’s the danger. See, you can go out of here...chattering, and what happens is, it poisons your spirit, and it leads you to a place of unbelief.

Pastors, televangelists, and modern-day "apostles," when someone raises legitimate concerns about their doctrine or actions, will frequently warn those asking questions to "touch not the Lord's anointed." Not touching the Lord's anointed is a phrase we see frequently in the life of David, especially in the book of 1 Sameul in the Old Testament. But to paraphrase the film The Princess Bride, "You keep using that phrase. I'm not sure it means what you think it means."

Monday, April 8, 2024

What is a Christian Book Editor's Job?

I just started reading Nadya Williams’ Cultural Christianity in the Early Church during the past week. The introduction lays out the structure of the book, looking at the interactions between Christian faith and surrounding culture in the New Testament era, in the era of persecution between the New Testament era and Constantine, and then in the period where Christians went from being persecuted to privileged. Sounds like a very interesting read, and the podcast author interviews I have heard have been good.

Chapter 1, “More for Me, Less for Thee,” talks about Greco-Roman attitudes toward wealth and how it should be used, and how that seems to have influenced some people in the early church (Ananias and Sapphira selling some property and giving part of the proceed to the church, while claiming to have donated all the proceeds, in what seems to be an attempt to gain status as generous benefactors, rather than out of true generosity).

Williams says that Barnabas, a Levite from Cyprus, “appears to have previously been a cultural Jew. In particular, did you catch the contradiction in the idea of a Levite with property?” She goes on to mention how the tribe of Levi received no inheritance when the Promised Land was allocated to the tribes of Israel and “thus had to depend on the largesse of the other tribes in exchange for their work as teachers of the law and leaders of worship in the temple. A true Levite should have owned no property, so this anecdote shows just how far the Jewish community had drifted at this point from its roots” (p. 7).

Friday, March 29, 2024

Beware Illustrations that Only Work in One Language

Back in the early days of this blog, I published several articles in both English and Spanish. That's why the title of this site is Bilingual Bible Blog (even though I rarely post articles in both languages any more, due to limited time available to devote to writing the same article twice).

But something I've seen going around recently on social media recently prompted me to think in bilingual terms. Here is the meme that had been circulating:

The thought expressed here is a nice, sentimental devotional idea. But it doesn't work universally.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Screwtape Gets Us

My Dearest Wormwood,

The Enemy's followers are always coming up with new ways to try to spread their message and take people away from our side. With each new advance in human media technology, while some of them will balk at its use, claiming it comes from the depths of our domain, others will find a use for it in their efforts to enlist more people in their cause. 

To defeat the Christians in their attempt to use media and technology to recruit more people for the Enemy's side, a direct frontal assault is not as effective as it used to be. While some of our captives will still pay heed to our denials of any validity to the Enemy's message, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep humans thinking on a purely naturalistic level. Our propaganda campaign with the "New Atheism" of the past generation, rather than convincing more people that the only thing that mattered was physical life, backfired, ultimately having the opposite effect. While people may not have converted to the other side, many individuals did end up thinking more about eternal matters, and some of them defected from our ranks. It's better for us if humans stay completely in the dark about the eternal component of their existence.