The Righter Report

Are we our brother’s keeper?

Jesus once told the story of the Sheep and the Goats:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” – Jesus, Matthew 25:31-46

Will you be your brother’s keeper? Will you help children like this who have been abandoned with no hope? Will you be able to sleep at night after seeing and reading this if you do nothing?

Here’s how to help: Contact Save the Children. Do your part and be your brother’s keeper.

The Lord will honor and remember your charity. God bless you.

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November 20, 2009 Posted by | Human Interest | Leave a comment

Does God Approve of Slavery According to the Bible?

By Rich Deem, GodandScience.org

Introduction: The claim is often made that the God of the Bible approves of slavery, since rules governing slavery can be found in the both the Old and New Testament. Since virtually everyone agrees that forced, involuntary servitude is morally wrong, how can Christians justify the Bible’s apparent support of slavery?

What the Old Testament says about slavery: First, we must recognize that the Bible does not say God supports slavery. In fact, the slavery described in the Old Testament was quite different from the kind of slavery we think of today – in which people are captured and sold as slaves. According to Old Testament law, anyone caught selling another person into slavery was to be executed:

“He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:16)

So, obviously, slavery during Old Testament times was not what we commonly recognize as slavery, such as that practiced in the 17th century Americas, when Africans were captured and forcibly brought to work on plantations. Unlike our modern government welfare programs, there was no safety-net for ancient Middle Easterners who could not provide a living for themselves. In ancient Israel, people who could not provide for themselves or their families sold them into slavery so they would not die of starvation or exposure. In this way, a person would receive food and housing in exchange for labor.

So, although there are rules about slavery in the Bible, those rules exist to protect the slave. Injuring or killing slaves was punishable – up to death of the offending party. Hebrews were commanded not to make their slave work on the Sabbath, slander a slave, have sex with another man’s slave, or return an escaped slave. A Hebrew was not to enslave his fellow countryman, even if he owed him money, but was to have him work as a hired worker, and he was to be released in the year of jubilee (which occurred every seven years). In fact, the slave owner was encouraged to “pamper his slave”.

What the New Testament says about slavery: Since many of the early Christians were slaves to Romans, they were encouraged to become free if possible, but not worry about it if not possible. The Roman empire practiced involuntary slavery, so rules were established for Christians who were subject to this slavery or held slaves prior to becoming Christians. The rules established for slaves were similar to those established for other Christians with regard to being subject to governing authorities. Slaves were told to be obedient to their master and serve them sincerely, as if serving the Lord Himself. Paul instructed slaves to serve with honor, so that Christianity would not be looked down upon.

As with slaves, instructions were given to their masters as to how they were to treat their slaves. For example, they were not to be threatened, but treated with justice and fairness. The text goes on to explain that this was to be done because God is the Master of all people, and does not show partiality on the basis of social status or position.

There is an interesting letter in the New Testament (Philemon 15-21) that gives some insight into the problems encountered in the early Christian church regarding the issue of slavery. Paul, the author of the letter, is writing from a Roman prison awaiting trial. He is writing to Philemon, who runs a local Christian church out of his house (since Christianity was highly persecuted at this point in time). Philemon, we find out, is the master of the slave Onesimus, who has escaped but has been converted to Christianity by Paul. In the letter, Paul indicates that he is sending Onesimus back to Philemon. However, Paul says that he has confidence that Philemon will “do what is proper” although Paul wants him to do it by his “own free will”. Even so, Paul indicates that Onesimus would be a great aid in helping him spread the gospel. Paul ends the letter by saying that he has “confidence in your obedience” and indicates that he knows Philemon “will do even more than what I say.” Although Paul did not directly order Philemon to release Onesimus from slavery, it would have been difficult to come away with any other conclusion from his letter.

God does not distinguish between slaves and freemen: Contrary to the claims of many skeptics, the New Testament proclaims that all people are equal in the eyes of God – even slaves:

* There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
* knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. (Ephesians 6:8)
* And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:9)
* a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11)

Conclusion: The idea that God or Christianity encourages or approves of slavery is shown to be false. In fact, anybody who was caught selling another person into slavery was to be executed. However, since voluntary slavery was widely practiced during biblical times, the Bible proscribes laws to protect the lives and health of slaves. Paul, the author of many of the New Testament writings, virtually ordered the Christian Philemon to release his Christian slave from his service to “do what is proper”. In addition, numerous verses from the New Testament show that God values slaves as much as any free person and is not partial to anyone’s standing before other people.

October 28, 2007 Posted by | Theology Articles | Leave a comment

Who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do?

Personal Attributes of the Holy Spirit

While in Genesis 1:2 we see the “Spirit of God” moving upon the face of the waters during creation, there is a very important and often overlooked verse in which the prophet Isaiah reveals that the Holy Spirit is more than just some type of Star Wars spiritual force. Isaiah 63:10 reads,

“But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them.”

The word “vexed,” as used above, is the Hebrew word “atsab,” which means “to worry, pain, or anger; to grieve, hurt, or make sorry” (Zodhiates Old Testament Word Study – Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary section, page 91). The question, of course, is, how can some inanimate force be angered or grieved, as we see occurred in the above passage? Only if the Holy Spirit were alive and possessed personal attributes could He experience these types of emotions. The Holy Spirit must therefore be a person.

Other personal attributes of the Holy Spirit:

1. The Holy Spirit “testifies” (Nehemiah 9:30).
2. The Spirit “instructs” (Nehemiah 9:20).
3. The Spirit “strives with men” (Genesis 6:3).
4. The Spirit sends messengers (Isaiah 48:16).
5. The Spirit enabled Joseph to interpret Pharoah’s dreams (Genesis 41:38).
6. The Spirit gives wisdom (Exodus 28:3; 31:1-6; 35:31).
7. The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of Wisdom” (Isaiah 11:2).
8. He is the Spirit of Knowledge (Isaiah 11:2)

Notice clearly that all of the things that the Holy Spirit does requires intelligence of the variety that God alone possesses.

The Holy Spirit is God – the Third Person of the Trinity

Acts 5:3-4 – Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Christian author and theologian Kevin J. Conner provides the following scriptural evidences of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer (source: “The Foundations of Christian Doctrine” – Kevin Conner):

1. The new birth is brought about by the Spirit (John 3:5-6).
2. The Spirit indwells the believer’s spirit (Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 3:16; 6:17).
3. The Spirit gives assurance of salvation (Romans 8:16).
4. The Spirit fills the believer with Himself (Acts 2:4).
5. The Spirit speaks to the believer (Acts 8:29; I Timothy 4:1; Revelation 2:7).
6. The Spirit provides understanding about the things of God (I Corinthians 2:12)
7. The Spirit teaches and guides the believer (John 16:13; I John 2:27).
8. The Spirit imparts life (John 6:63; II Corinthians 3:6).
9. The Spirit brings about renewal (Titus 3:5).
10. The Spirit strengthens the believer’s inner being (Ephesians 3:16).
11. The Spirit enables the believer to pray (Jude 20; Romans 8:26-28).
12. The Spirit enables the believer to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24; Philippians 3:3; I Corinthians 14:15).
13. The Spirit leads the believer (Romans 8:14).
14. The Spirit enables the believer to put carnal works to death (Romans 8:13).
15. The Spirit produces Christ-likeness in character and fruit in the believer’s life (Galatians 5:22, 23).
16. The Spirit gives a calling to the believer for special service (Acts 13:2-4).
17. The Spirit guides believers into their ministry (Acts 8:29; 16:6-7).
18. The Spirit empowers the believer to witness (Acts 1:8).
19. The Spirit imparts spiritual gifts as He wills (I Corinthians 12:7-11).
20. The Spirit will bring about the resurrection and immortality to the believers’ bodies in the last day (Romans 8:11; I Corinthians 15:47-51; I Thes. 4:15-18).

More on the Holy Spirit

October 21, 2007 Posted by | Theology | Leave a comment

Answering the New Radical Attacks on Jesus’ Resurrection

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Recommended Reading

This Companion Volume is the perfect supplement to Answering the New Radical Attacks on Jesus’ Resurrection. In addition to printable PDF study questions, the DVD provides clips from the series presenting Lee Strobel’s own story of how as an atheist, he investigated two foundational questions of Christianity: Did Jesus really claim to be God? And did Jesus really rise from the dead? He also presents five historical facts proving the resurrection and responds to the new explanations offered today that supposedly refute Jesus’ resurrection. This tool is great for Sunday School teachers, parents or anyone else wanting to lead a group study into the proof for the resurrection of Jesus.

Available at JohnAnkerberg.org

October 14, 2007 Posted by | Theology Articles | Leave a comment

The Bible – Is it Wrong to Judge?

“Judge not, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

Jesus is not saying that we cannot make judgments about people’s actions, he is saying that we should not be hypocrites if we do. In Matthew 7:5 he says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brothers eye.”

God acknowledges the legitimacy of civil authorities to judge:

Romans 13:1-4: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For he (the reigning authority) is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of God’s wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Also note Matthew 5:25; Acts 25:10-11)

God has commanded the church to make correct judgments:

John 7:24: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”

Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (note Deuteronomy 19:15). If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector .”

I Corinthians 6:4: “Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church.”

God commands us to judge according to one’s ‘fruits’:

Matthew 7:17-20: “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit…..every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

The Saints of Christ will judge the world, and angels:

I Corinthians 6:2: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?”

I Corinthians 6:3: “Do you not know that we will judge angels?”

Should no one ever be rebuked?

Jesus rebukes the teachers of the law and the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:27-28: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

John the Baptist rebukes King Herod for adultery and other sins:

Luke 3:19: “But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.”

Stephen rebukes the Jewish leaders:

Acts 7:51-53: “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”

God uses people to warn others to turn from their sin:

“When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.” – Ezekiel 33

Also note all the Old Testament prophets who condemned sin and corrupt moral leadership, and who were persecuted for their discernment and duty.

Finally, when someone accuses you of being judgmental, are they themselves not being critical and judgmental in making that accusation?

But stay quiet, and evil will abound:

“The only thing required for evil to triumph is for good men to (say and) do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

August 19, 2007 Posted by | Theology | Leave a comment

Radical San Francisco Chronicle endorses Christian Bashing

Excerpt from Mark Morford’s August 15, 2007 Editorial

“Witness, in other words, the thing that modern Christianity seems to do best, and I don’t mean help justify brutal unwinnable wars or slam gay people or bash women’s rights or promote ignorance of stem cell research or science or music. Because oh hell yes, that’s there for you, in heaps and droves and mounds. I mean the other thing: to fracture. To splinter and divide and segregate. You know, to exclude.”

Opinion:

Editorialist Mark Morford displays, with the apparent consent of the far-left San Francisco Chronicle, the last vestiges of approved bigotry left in America – bashing Christians and Christianity. In doing so, he not only displays an astounding ignorance of the virtue of traditional Christian values, but he puts forth an incomprehensible array of self-defeating arguments that are easily demolished.

For instance, Morford believes that “divisions” caused by moral frameworks are abhorrent to a liberal, utopian society. So… Morford! I guess you’re okay with pedophile murderers? What’s that? You’re not? You mean you want to “EXCLUDE” those monsters and their murderous behaviors from your kid’s kindergarten class? Where’s your vaunted liberal inclusiveness?

You mean you’re okay with hate-filled KKK bigots wanting their own chapters and vitriolic speakers at national NAACP conventions? No way? MORE EXCLUSIONS and DIVISIONS, Morford? SEGREGATE the two? Really!

Or how about, well….you get the drift. Morford is fine with divisions and exclusions and segregation, but only as long as they are contained within the framework of approved, liberal moral relativism. No military recruiters in San Francisco schools either? E-X-C-L-U-D-E THEM!! Do I hear a loud, flushing sound as Morford’s pseudo-progressive hypocrisy goes scatting down the commode?

Then there’s his “brutal unwinnable wars” rant. As opposed to a non-brutal war? What other kind is there? “Unwinnable?” If Morford had been at Valley Forge he would have closed that camp up in a San Francisco heartbeat, and Morford and Company would be speaking the King’s English today. The fact is most liberals don’t have the stomach for the true cost of freedom. If a fight lasts more than six months they’re out of there quicker than a scalded baboon. Not even a lethal dose of Viagra could get them to stand tall when the going gets tough. Move over, Harry Reid and John Murtha– you have a new convert for your next Cindy Sheehan surrender rally.

Morford wouldn’t dare take on any other religious or ethnic group with the same brand of incendiary nonsense he spews out against Christians. But I guess that’s considered main-stream journalism at the San Francisco Chronicle.

You can find Morford and Company at 901 Mission Street in San Francisco, in the heart of the Twilight Zone, where the sign on the front door reads, “Bigots-R-Us.”

– Righter Report

August 16, 2007 Posted by | Opinion | Leave a comment