Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Deceptions in the name of Christ

I have for years been skeptical of the professed claims of the amateur archaeologist Ron Wyatt. To me he seems to have claimed to have found the most significant things the Christian church has always wanted to find. He found Noah's Ark, he found the place where Moses parted the sea and some of the remains of Pharaoh's army. He found the Ark of the Covenant. All of those things would be very impressive and if found should have some kind of evidence to establish their discovery. But he seemed to provide no evidence.

Then I was doing some web wandering since my local church has an amazing discovery/prophecy seminar going on. I wanted to see what people were saying about the presenter of the programs, since the Advertising Leaflet that the church sent out to local residents says nothing about the Seventh-day Adventist church and the presentation was offered at a local high school theater rather then the church. After all this is the Internet age, if you are interested in something it takes very little effort to find out about it by searching the Internet, I see no reason to keep trying to hide the identity of the Adventist church in these things, if they are going to present their version of the truth then be up front about it. I searched the name of the evangelist, of course I found out he was an Adventist hired by the Washington conference and I even found out about his previous presentation last year from some discussion on the website rational skepticism. You can read it for yourself overall the guy sounds pretty accurate in his evaluation of the program. But it brought me to some links to Ron Wyatt.

What I did not know about Ron Wyatt is that he had claimed to have found the dried blood of Jesus Christ on the covering of the Ark of the covenant. That would be commonly called the mercy seat. How do we know it is the actual blood of Jesus Christ? Well according to Wyatt it has 23 chromosomes instead of 46, the normal number for living human beings. You can even look at a you tube video of some sort of laboratorian scrape out some of his dried blood and place it in some sterile water. strangely you will see that she does not wear gloves either. He then shows some poor resolution video microscopy of moving objects, which to my eyes which are quite used to looking at things under the microscope appears to be Brownian motion and the natural movement of a freshly mounted water based slide. (see also the You Tube of brownian motion). Wyatt when seeing this motion says that the blood is still alive.

But why is the blood of Jesus Christ on the mercy seat? Well according to Wyatt at the crucification there was an earthquake as the Bible records (Matt. 27:51), apparently the one that opened the graves and opened a fissure from the post hole of the cross down to the hidden Ark of the Covenant, the ark still hidden from the days of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.

What is most interesting to me aside from the sheer hubris of the man to make such claims with no evidence to back him up, oh also he talked to angels who told him that the Ark and the Ten commandments on tablets of stone will be revealed when the mark of the beast is applied as they were there when he discovered it prematurely it seems. A bit too late according to Adventist mythology about probation closing with the mark of the beast. What is it in his and apparently Adventist thinking that makes them think that God needs to perform a miracle so that Christ blood falls on a disused mercy seat hidden away. At one time the Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of the presence of God, but was it the focus of the presence of God hidden away for hundreds of years that needed the blood of the incarnated God to be sprinkled on it?

It becomes another of the symbol over the substance excuses popular today. When the substance was here Wyatt feels that the symbol must be involved. The blood of Christ brought to symbolically to God so that God can forgive. But Christ is God, God does not need blood to forgive. The whole point was that God does forgive even to the point of His enemies rejecting and killing Christ. He still forgave and even after death rose to show the power of God even over our greatest enemy death. As the book of Hebrews says.

Heb 10:19-22 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (NIV)

Symbols to express the reality, in many ways people like Ron Wyatt have their theology completely backward. Thus they invent things to make their version sound good. But as in this case it shows how little they really know and how little their followers know. Ultimately as with any false information they bring disrupt upon themselves and Adventism and Christianity.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One of the myths about forgiveness

A friend brought to my attention the following article from the religion section of the Huff Post. First I would say that if you get your religion ideas from the Huff Post you are probably in trouble. But since it gets wide readership I thought I would reply to one of the sections of the article. The article is entitled 5 Myths About Forgiveness in the Bible by Maria Mayo M. Div., M.A.

In my response to my friend I think I disagreed with all but one of her 5 points. The one I agreed with was point 5 Forgiveness sets you free. Which I don't even think is a widely held view by anyone, but I would like to focus on her third point for this article: 
          3. Jesus forgives his attackers from the cross.
Luke's depiction of Jesus on the cross is often cited as the quintessential example of unconditional forgiveness. As he is being crucified, Jesus cries out, "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Readers often take this to mean that Jesus forgives those who are attacking him. However, a closer look at the syntax reveals that Jesus is not, in fact, forgiving his attackers; rather, he is praying that God might do so.
It is possible that the lack of repentance from his attackers prevents Jesus from forgiving the men directly, since he has taught his followers that repentance is a requirement for forgiveness. Also, earlier in the Gospel of Luke Jesus instructs his disciples to "pray for those who abuse you" (Luke 6:38). While his prayer from the cross is a perfect model of this teaching, it is not an explicit act of forgiveness.
This is troubling because of its confusion about who Jesus Christ is. Most readers of the New Testament have recognized that Jesus not only claimed to be the son of God, but that He was One with God, such as:
John 8:58-59 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (KJV)
This equality with God was it seems a heavy emphasis in the Gospel of John. He began the gospel with:
John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. n him was life, and that life was the light of men. (NIV)
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)
It was of course not just the writer of John that felt this way the author of the book of Matthew seems to be of the same opinion with his use of Emmanuel, God with us. There are very clearly strong biblical reasons why Jesus is considered to be God, it is why the early church derived the doctrine of the Trinity as a way to explain God who was in fact at multiple places at one time. It seems people have no problem with the idea of God as omnipresent but they get a little bogged down when physicality is involved. As if such a thing as a human body should stop God from being God. You can imagine the confusion if Jesus had said I am God right here and now pray to me. The physicality of God would become the issue and they would be even more confused when the physical God was no longer around, where did He go and where was He before He was born on earth. There are ideas that take time to develop and that explains why Jesus prayed to God the Father, as an example of how man should pray to God, but not in a way that was for Himself or separate from God. Even when troubled by impending horrors the concern for His physical comfort took second place to the will of God which was also His will. Not only did Jesus say to pray for those who abuse you but to forgive them.
Matt 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (NIV)
The book of Matthew also points out that Jesus demonstrated His ability to forgive sins:
Matt 9:6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." (NIV)
What Jesus did on the cross was far more then to ask God to forgive sins but to demonstrate that through love sins were forgiven even to the extent as Peter preached:
Acts 3:13-20
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see."Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-- even Jesus. (NIV)
The forgiveness was there offered for all, but forgiveness is of little value if you still are an enemy of God, if you don't accept the forgiveness you remain in a state of animosity of your part. There is no renewal, no refreshing just our anger and rebellion, no healing. At the cross Jesus is not asking God to forgive, it is God showing us what forgiveness is like, that love reaches out even to those who reject God even while they reject God with cruelty and hatred. God was reaching out, He is still reaching out.