Monday, January 23, 2017

Is Using the Bible As A Tool For Criminal Defense Appropriate?

I was sent a link to a story that I had read earlier in the day about a man and his son who have asked to represent themselves in court themselves in court using the Bible to justify their crimes.  While much of our government and legal system lightly base their standards on Christian principles many as asking if this is appropriate in this case.  Here is an interesting quote about the use of the Bible in legal decisions.

It is strikingly similar to Muslims who want to have all legal proceedings decided by Sharia Law.  That is the only legal defense that they deem appropriate and just.  According to them Sharia Law overrides any laws on the book in the United States and especially Christian laws.

So the question to ask is,  can the Bible and its record of rape, slavery, justified killings, confiscating property, etc. be used as a defense for crimes that citizens commit, especially when they are "Christians?"

The man and his son have ties to Messianic beliefs, refer to their god as Yeshua. Reporters have not been able to find out exactly what church they attended.

A father and son accused of raping a teenage girl over a three-year period and keeping her shackled in a basement have made it clear that they don't have faith in the law or in the people who practice it.
When they face an Ohio jury as they defend themselves against criminal charges that carry long prison sentences, they will rely on one book: The Bible.
Timothy Ciboro and his son, Esten Ciboro, both of Toledo, are each charged with multiple counts of rape. The trial is scheduled to start this week, months after the girl, who is Timothy Ciboro's stepdaughter, managed to unshackle herself and escape while her alleged abusers were gone, authorities said.
During a hearing Friday, the Ciboros made the unusual request of having access to the Bible, which they plan to cite as they defend themselves in front of a jury. The Bible, Esten Ciboro told a judge, is "the only law book that truly matters," the Toledo Blade reported.  Father and son accused of rape want 'only law book that matters' at trial: The Bible
Is the Bible the only law book that Christians should be accountable to?  Various COG cult leaders think so.  James Malm and Bob Thiel both thing this is approach as does Meredith.  They feel they are higher than the civil law and are accountable to Biblical law first. just like the Ciboro's.
This is the same thing I head many ministers in the COG claim over the decades.

During a hearing Friday, the Ciboros made the unusual request of having access to the Bible, which they plan to cite as they defend themselves in front of a jury. The Bible, Esten Ciboro told a judge, is “the only law book that truly matters,” the Toledo Blade reported.
“There’s a great deal of strategy in Scripture and I use those strategies in everything I do,” Esten Ciboro told the judge, according to the Toledo Blade’s coverage of the hearing. “It’s a vital part of everything I do.”
Timothy Ciboro said he and his son intend to “use God’s holy word to ask questions, questions that we believe are absolutely vital to our case,” the paper reported.
Is the Bible the only law book that matters?

Read more here:

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dear Bob,,

"Ignore-ance , that which you ignore, is not just what you don't's also what you won't know."

We don't really know each other but I feel I do know the how and why of your theological thinking.  I spent three decades thinking , processing and explaining the Bible , for the most part minus the specialness of me personally as spoken of in the scriptures, as you do.  I used to believe that the way to crack the Bible Code was to hunt and cobble scripture together, from both Old and New Testaments in the traditional misapplication of the concept of , "line upon line, precept upon precept. Here a little there a little."  I have explained to you , and former colleagues, to the best of my own understanding, how HWA and the Churches of God ministry have misunderstood and misapplied the scripture.  I realize "I was mistaken" is not in the vocabulary of the Church or it's leaders for the most part, but in this you and they are mistaken.

Art Mokarrow once chided me for speaking as if I knew better than he and spoke  with too much confidence, as I assume any man would on any topic he believed in.  When I pointed out to him that it was he that had written a book entitled "God's Puzzle Solved!" and that when one uses the words  "God's", "puzzle" and "solved" in the same sentence, that can be construed as believing one knows everything themselves and may be on the edge of a bit too much confidence.  He just said, "Well, that's not what I mean."
But that's exactly what he meant. 

I know you are sincere in your beliefs as I am in mine and all others in theirs.  But some Church of God ministers make incredibly bold and self centered claims about themselves and actually see themselves spoken of in the scriptures and always the Old Testament.  Gerald Flurry does.  Dave Pack certainly does and you seem to by your own words at times.  Herbert W. Armstrong started this concept rolling with his own perceptions of himself and promoted to the extreme by men such as Gerald Waterhouse, both of whom are now long deceased with Flurry and Pack building their ridiculous religious foundations on the wood, hay and stubble of HWA's self concept.

At any rate, because of the dangers many perceive in the ministries like Gerald Flurry's and Dave Pack's, it is important to keep it all in the public eye for consideration and rejection if need be for mental, emotional and theological safety's sake.  

When I lived on the east coast, I offered to "debate" Dave Pack on anything from his self concept of he seeing himself spoken of in the scriptures to creationism vs evolution.  But, alas, Dave only bombasts from behind the walls of Wadsworth Castle.  I do admit to being impressed with how well Dave was easily dismantled by good science done well as explained to him by the series challenging his "Irrefutable Proofs of God."

And now I live on the Pacific Northwest Coast, mere blocks from the library HWA spent "six months of intensive study" and three blocks from the church he went to be baptised in.

You have dismissed the truth of evolution(as I would expect you to do with a mere 6000 year old template and literalist view) and good science done well with your four easy points that disprove evolution, but you have to know that dismissing such highly studied science such as paleontology and human origins are not easily dismissed in four simple ways unless you are preaching to the choir who have no idea themselves how to explain your four simple points.  Send your four points to Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and see how that goes for you.  I have found the puzzle solving , code breaking and simple points to refuting complex topics to be found wanting personally.

I have forwarded your for simple  points  to Aron Ra, who did the series on Dave Pack's series on The Irrefutable God so he may or  may not take the time to respond as only he can. Stay tuned.

All that to say, let's discuss these matters and reason together for fun and clarity .  Perhaps in front of your local church, or in your own studio, transcribed and video taped as I did with Art Mokarrow in Tyler a few years back and sponsored by The Journal?  I don't claim to be an expert in these matters, but they have caught my attention for the past 30 years spending time on both sides of these issues.  Let's call it a public discussion and not even a debate.  No one has to win, nor would they as sides taken don't change much as we know until personal factors and issues resolve themselves in the mind of each individual over years of consideration and experience.  

Just a thought....Off to work

Saturday, January 21, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: UCG Stance On Allwine Murder Case

UCG brass met with their brethren in the Twin Cities today to discuss the tragic Allwine murder case.

Reports from people who attended today's special UCG Twin Cities meeting about the Allwine case:

1. UCG is "not taking sides" in this case.

2. BUT Steve Allwine has been stripped of his eldership and isn't allowed back to church.

3. Amy's family has taken custody of their 9-year-old son.

4. Allwine's family has raised his bail, reportedly. I'm told he could be out of jail this week.

5. Steve Allwine will be pleading not guilty at his February hearing.

6. Some believe he is smart enough to get away with this. This is someone who "takes pride in gaming the system" in daily life, a self-styled lifehacker with a high opinion of his own intellect.

7. While to the layperson, this looks like an open and shut case, if he manages to sow enough reasonable doubt in the state's case, this trial could go sideways. While they do have definitive evidence that Amy was murdered, showing it was Steve beyond a reasonable doubt may prove more difficult.

8. That said, first degree murder charges could be forthcoming once the state assembles a grand jury. Second degree is all they could initially charge him with due to the nature of what they could directly pin on him and what they can't, along with state protocol. But in Minnesota, a grand jury makes the determination to slap someone with first degree murder charges. First degree murder in Minnesota is a life sentence if found guilty.

9. Most in the congregation are sad, aghast, confused and hurt amid this crisis. But above all, there is palpable anger over this betrayal.

Lets see how long it takes for James Malm to copy these specific points and post them as if he received the information.

And Bob, If You Didn't Get It The First Time

How NOT to Study The Bible

"Whom will He teach knowledge? 
And whom will He make to understand the message? 
Those just weaned from milk? 
Those just drawn from the breasts? 
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little" 
(Isaiah 28:9-10). 

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIf you don't know the above scripture, then you can not have been part of the Worldwide Church of God or a current member of its many splinter and sliver groups.  This scripture ranks right up there with, "The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it," and "So how did you come into the truth?"

Many fundamentalists misuse this scripture in Isaiah thinking it is the key to understanding just how to unlock the mysteries of doctrine and truth or to solve the puzzle that God has put before us to figure out.  If we only study our Bibles taking a little from here and a little from there, properly combining the elements in to the true right and correct picture, we win!!!   It implies that truth is found scattered throughout the Bible and one simply needs to prooftext their way through the pages of the Bible properly, and the truth shall set them free.

That's the good news.  The bad news is that it has NOTHING to do with how to study your Bible.  Lets look at this scripture in context.  I know, I know...but give it a try anyway...
 7 And these (Prophets and Priests) also stagger from wine
   and reel from beer:
   Priests and prophets stagger from beer
   and are befuddled with wine;
   they reel from beer,
   they stagger when seeing visions,
   they stumble when rendering decisions.
8 All the tables are covered with vomit
   and there is not a spot without filth.
 9 “Who is it he is trying to teach?
   To whom is he explaining his message?
   To children weaned from their milk,
   to those just taken from the breast?
10 For it is:
   Do this, do that,
   a rule for this, a rule for that[
   a little here, a little there.”
 11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
   God will speak to this people,
12 to whom he said,
   “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
   and, “This is the place of repose”—
   but they would not listen.
13 So then, the word of the LORD to them will become:
   Do this, do that,
   a rule for this, a rule for that;
   a little here, a little there—
   so that as they go they will fall backward;
   they will be injured and snared and captured
What we're seeing here is God mocking the priests and mimicking their drunken rules and laws that they give the people. God is not paying them a compliment but it is rather like God saying they go  "blah blah blah," or talk like whining children in their drunken state.  It has nothing to do with some profound teaching on the correct way to cobble the scriptures together to come up with truth.  They teach the people like they are children and this is not a compliment.

Isaiah then goes on to say that God can play that game too if they wish,  and will tell them to "do this, do that, a bit here, a bit there," and they will fall backwards and be overcome by God.  In other words, God can take the childish, "blah blah blah" out of their way of teaching and knock them out some of his own. 

 Barnes Commentary notes:
"For precept must be upon precept - This is probably designed to ridicule the concise and sententious manner of the prophets, and especially the fact that they dwelt much upon the same elementary truths of religion. In teaching children we are obliged to do it by often repeating the same simple lesson. So the profane and scoffing teachers of the people said it had been with the prophets of God. It had been precept upon precept, and line upon line, in the same way as children had been instructed. The meaning is, 'there is a constant repetition of the command, without ornament, imagery, or illustration; without an appeal to our understanding, or respect for our reason; it is simply one mandate after another, just as lessons are inculcated upon children.'
Line upon line - This word (קו qav), properly means "a cord, a line;" particularly a measuring cord or line (2 Kings 21:13; Ezekiel 47:13; see the note at Isaiah 18:2). Here it seems to be used in the sense of "a rule," "law," or "precept." Grotius thinks that the idea is taken from schoolmasters who instruct their pupils by making lines or marks for them which they are to trace or imitate. There is a repetition of similar sounds in the Hebrew in this verse which cannot be conveyed in a translation, and which shows their contempt in a much more striking manner than any version could do -" 
While perhaps not the most recommended translation, this one has captured, in this case the intent of the scripture.

               "They speak utter nonsense. "             

So the next time your Pastor says, "We know how we are study God's word.  It is line upon line, precept upon precept. Here a little, There a little, and God will reveal his truth to us, his chosen ones,"  just say "ummmm, no....that's not what that means." 

God doesn't have a puzzle to solve and the true people are not defined as those who know how the puzzle all fits together by jumping around the Bible looking for the proof for their all too often human perceptions. You certainly cannot use this scripture in Isaiah to do that as if it was how God reveals truth. 

Pretty cool huh?   I got more!  :)