Is climate change true or a hoax?

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Photo courtesy ABC News: Hundreds of students defied school warnings to attend a rally at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast. (ABC News: Megan Kinninment)[1]

By Spencer D Gear PhD

Study shows school children influence parents on climate change:[2]

There were 50 rallies planned across Australia for students to protest against what they see as the destruction of their future.

My ears pricked when I read and heard the news that school students left their classrooms for the streets and beaches to protest climate change on 15 March 2019. That’s when I began writing this article.

Who is driving the climate change agenda around the nation? Are teachers in the classroom advocates for this position or are children and youth motivated by their parents and peers? Or, is the Australian Labor Party and the Greens’ agenda so powerful that it’s influencing people, right down to children and youth?

It was estimated that 20,000 people in Melbourne rallied outside parliament house.

What is the natural breakdown of gases in the earth’s atmosphere?

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(image courtesy The Engineering ToolBox)

So, the majority of our dry atmosphere is made up of two main gases: Nitrogen (79%) and Oxygen (21%) with a very small percentage of other gases (ca 1%).

1. What is climate change or global warming?

‘Climate change’ and ‘global warming’ are used in this article as synonyms.

This is the Australian Government (Department of the Environment and Energy’s) explanation:

1.1  Understanding climate change

Our climate is changing. Observed changes over the 20th century include increases in global average air and ocean temperature, rising global sea levels, long-term sustained widespread reduction of snow and ice cover, and changes in atmospheric and ocean circulation and regional weather patterns, which influence seasonal rainfall conditions.?

These changes are caused by extra heat in the climate system due to the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The additional greenhouse gases are primarily input by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), agriculture, and land clearing. These activities increase the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The pattern of observed changes in the climate system is consistent with an increased greenhouse effect. Other climatic influences like volcanoes, the sun and natural variability cannot alone explain the timing and extent of the observed changes.

The science behind climate change is supported by extensive scientific research performed and reported across the world. Past and present climate information is collected from observations and measurements of our environment, including trapped air in ice from thousands of years ago. Climate models are used to understand the causes of climate change and to project changes into the future.

Many of the impacts of climate change pose risks to human and natural systems, in the form of more frequent and severe heat waves, coastal inundation due to sea level rise, disruptions to rainfall patterns and other effects. Analyses of a range of climate scenarios indicate the most severe risks of climate change can largely be mitigated if carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to the point where carbon dioxide is no longer accumulating in the atmosphere.[3]

It is signed, sealed and delivered according to the Australian government.

Is it true that ‘the science behind climate change is supported by extensive scientific research performed and reported across the world’?[4]

The CSIRO in Australia claims:

The international scientific community accepts that increases in greenhouse gases due to human activity have been the dominant cause of observed global warming since the mid-20th century. Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system.[5]

This sounds reasonable and plausible. Are there any substantive objections to this analysis?

Shock jock and prominent radio commentator, Alan Jones, formerly of radio 2GB Sydney told a small group in 2012 in Melbourne,

“The notion of global warming is a hoax,” Jones told a group of about 150 people on the steps of the Victorian Parliament. ”This is witchcraft. Commonsense will tell you it’s rubbish; 97 per cent of all carbon dioxide occurs naturally . . . 3 per cent around the world is created by human beings.”[6]

He now works as a commentator for Sky News. Campbell Newman told Jones:

Debate over climate policy is heating up ahead of the COP26[7] Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, with pressure building on Australia to commit to a net-zero by 2050 target.[8]

“People are hell-bent on doing this,” Mr Newman said.

“What will we see? We’ll see the rural sector in Australia decimated … we’ll also see importantly the coal and the fossil fuel producing parts of our economy and our regions decimated.

“They absolutely do not know the extent of the economic carnage they’ll create.”[9]

This target will decimate coal mining and gas mining industries and communities.

clip_image006(sulphur hexafluoride molecule,[10] courtesy Wikipedia)

2. Is it true or fake as demonstrated by science?

NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet[11] provided this graph to demonstrate the warming of the planet from 1880-2018:

clip_image008In interpreting this data, NASA makes what seems to be a reasonable assessment:

Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.[12]

Starting on 31 October 2021 there is an important event for the climate change promoters:

The 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 this year, is a talk-fest designed to pressure countries like Australia to close down the fossil-fuel industries that provide most of the country’s electricity, oil and gas to stop “climate change”.

Within the broad conference is a more specialised meeting, the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the Inter­govern­mental Panel on Climate Change. The longer name has been abbreviated to COP26, in the shorthand beloved by bureaucrats the world over.[13]

This article highlights:

The price of electricity and gas . . . has risen dramatically with the closure of coal-fired power stations in each state.[14]

2.1 Climate change for novices

I admit I’m a novice at trying to understand this science. For those of us who are not climatologists or scientists, this topic may be daunting and confusing. My exposure to the mass media and policies of political parties shows that climate change is pushed regularly. It seems to be a Greens’ Party mantra. These are only a few pro-climate change articles but there are many more:

clip_image010Bill Shorten treads gently with careful climate change plan’ (The Canberra Times, 1 April 2019).

clip_image010[1]Serious concerns”: New study reveals how heatwave hit Shark Bay dolphins hard’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April 2019)

clip_image010[2]The Coalition has painted itself into a fiscal corner, just like it has on climate change(ABC News, Brisbane Qld, 6 April 2019).

clip_image010[3]What are major parties’ climate change policies?’ (news.com.au, 2 April 2019)

These three major news’ sources (The Canberra Times and The Sydney Morning Herald are part of the Fairfax organisation) report as if climate change is an accepted fact.

Is it so or not?

See also,

clip_image011What happened to the climate change election?

clip_image011[1]Australian election could have global climate change impact

clip_image011[2]Election 2019: What happened to the climate change vote we heard about?

2.2 Policies of Australian political parties

As I wrote this (23 April 2019), we were in the midst of campaigning for a federal election to be held on Saturday, 18 May 2019. Climate change or global warming is the mantra for the Labor Party and the Greens’ Party. These are their policies:

2.2.1 The Labor Party

Part of its policy is:

Consistent with our obligations under Paris of keeping global warming to well-below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, and informed by independent Climate Change Authority advice, Labor is committed to reducing Australia’s pollution by 45 percent on 2005 levels by 2030, and to reach net zero pollution by 2050. . . .

Making Australia a Renewable Energy Superpower by ensuring that 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy by 2030, and empowering households and businesses to take advantage of cheap, clean renewable energy and storage.[15]

There are many more details in this policy, but that sample gives a peep into Labor’s support of global warming and that is obvious in its 2019 marketing for the election.

2.2.2 The Greens

Part of its vision is:

Our future is too important to leave up to the fossil fuel lobby and the major party politicians they’ve bought. The Greens have a plan, based on the science, to rapidly transition our economy to renewable energy and end political donations from mining companies. Without the big polluters holding us back, we can create the infrastructure and jobs needed to drive a cleaner, modern economy.

The Labor and Liberal parties will try to convince you that we can only have cheaper energy bills or renewable power. Don’t believe them: we can have both.[16]

It’s obvious The Greens see the only way to address climate change is to get rid of fossil fuel and invest in renewable energy sources.

2.2.3 The Liberal Party

On the LP website was this video by Professor Ivar Giaever, 1973 Nobel Laureate in physics, who said that “Global warming is pseudoscience.” He ‘trashes the global warming/climate change/extreme weather pseudoscientific clap-trap and tells Obama he is “Dead Wrong”’. Hear what he said here.

“Global warming expert Don Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University, says that the planet is actually getting cooler. Easterbrook recently spoke in Chicago at the 4th International Conference on Climate Change.”

2.2.4 The National Party

The policy of the federal National Party regarding global warming is:

Meeting the challenges of climate change

We need to meet the challenges of a changing climate in a sensible way that protects our natural environment and sustainability but doesn’t throw out our way of life, local jobs and industries.

Through investing in technology, world leading management practices, renewable energy and practical action we are working to tackle climate change and help our natural environment to safely coexist with industries such as agriculture and resources.

Looking after the environment starts locally, and we want to empower communities to take practical action to protect our natural environment.

We want our agricultural sector to continue to grow and build resilience and sustainability in a changing environment. Making sure water resources are strengthened and preserved through innovation and infrastructure and supporting sustainable and clean, green practices.[17]

I find this to be a weak statement as it avoids the specifics of whether it supports the coal and gas industries in regional Australia. At least the Liberals raised persons who questioned the pseudoscience of global warming.

3. ‘Global warming is a hoax’.

One layperson called it ‘the concocted global warming hoax’.[18] Shock jock Alan Jones of radio 2GB, Sydney, Australia is adamant, ‘The notion of global warming is a hoax’.[19] This is close to the statements made by Professor Ivar Giaever and Professor Don Easterbrook (see above).

3.1 The fake news of climate change

This is exposed in the article by Tom Harris and Timothy Ball:[20]

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is arguably the most misinformed of the lot, saying in a recent interview that “polluters should pay.” She too either does not know that CO2 is not a pollutant, or she is deliberately misleading people.

Like many of her political peers, McKenna dismisses credentialed PhD scientists who disagree with her approach, labelling them “deniers.” She does not seem to understand that questioning scientific hypotheses, even scientific theories, is what all scientists should do, if true science is to advance….

Mistakes such as those made by McKenna are not surprising, considering that from the outset the entire claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was built on falsehoods and spread with fake news. [21]

Harris and Ball explained:

An increasing number of climate scientists (including Dr. Ball)[22] now conclude that there is no empirical evidence of human-caused global warming. There are only computer model speculations that humans are causing it, and every forecast made using these models since 1990 has been wrong – with actual temperatures getting further from predictions with every passing year.

President Trump must now end America’s participation in the fake science and fake news of manmade global warming. To do this, he must withdraw the U.S. from further involvement with all U.N. global warming programs, especially the IPCC, as well as the agency that now directs it – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.[23]

They describe how the fake news of human-caused climate change was promoted as far back as 1988 when the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) created the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton, ON, Canada) investigative reporter, Elaine Dewar, concluded that the all-embracing purpose of the IPCC was political and not scientific. Dewar wrote that Maurice Strong, the first executive director of UNEP, ‘was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the global governance agenda’.

3.2 Global warming is true.

Democratic Senator in the US, Timothy Wirth, organised for a leading scientist, Jim Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, to the hearings in 1988. Wirth stated at that time ‘we had introduced a major piece of legislation. Amazingly enough, it was an 18-part climate change bill’.[24] After his address, Hansen received the reputation of being ‘the father of global warming’.[25]

Hansen recalls some of what he said:

it was time to stop waffling so much, and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate….

I said that I was 99 percent confident that the world really was getting warmer and that there was a high degree of probability that it was due to human-made greenhouse gases. I think it was the “99 percent probability” statement which got a lot of attention, because that was a fairly strong statement….

we don’t have a lot of time to begin to change the technologies and the energy infrastructure so that we can avoid what [are] really dangerous climate changes….

Scientifically, it’s just very clear that if we don’t make changes within the next few years that we’re going to be past a point where we can prevent large, dangerous changes….

There are just some very fundamental facts which are not understood by the public and, frankly, not understood by many policymakers. For example, more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that we put into the atmosphere will stay there … more than 500 years, and that means we cannot burn all of the fossil fuels without producing a different planet. If a scientist doesn’t say that, I don’t think the public’s going to know that.[26]

3.2.1 NASA exposed Hansen’s global warming ideology

In Harris & Ball’s view, the events of 1988 ‘created an unholy alliance between a bureaucrat and a politician, which was bolstered by the U.N. and the popular press – leading to the hoax being accepted in governments, industry boardrooms, schools and churches all across the world’.[27]

How did NASA respond to Hansen’s promotion of climate change in 1988?

Dr. John S. Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor at NASA, wrote to the Senate Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “Hansen was never muzzled, even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”[28]

Dr Theon continued:

the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reports that James Hansen’s former supervisor, retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon, former Chief of the Climate Processes Research Programme at NASA who was responsible for all weather and climate research in the agency from1982 to 1994, has said he thinks man-made global warming theory is anti-scientific bunk:

‘I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man-made,’ Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. ‘I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results. I did not have the authority to give him his annual performance evaluation….

Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress….

Theon declared ‘climate models are useless.’ ‘My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,’ Theon explained. ‘Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy,’ he added.[29]

So, a leading NASA weather scientist concluded in 2009:

clip_image013 ‘man-made global warming theory is anti-scientific bunk’;

clip_image013[1] ‘anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system’;

clip_image013[2] ‘Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988’;

clip_image013[3] ‘climate models are useless’;

clip_image013[4] ‘some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results’;

clip_image013[5] They [some scientists] have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists’;

clip_image013[6] ‘This is clearly contrary to how science should be done’;

clip_image013[7] ‘Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy’.[30]

clip_image015See: There’s an interesting article being discussed in On Line Opinion, Why do scientists disagree about climate change?

clip_image015[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/sep/27/global-warming-ipcc-report-humans

clip_image015[2] https://www.desmogblog.com/denial-down-under-galileo-movement

4. Renewable energy

clip_image017(photo of wind farm courtesy Wikipedia)

4.1 Who encouraged these strikes by youth?

These students are part of a global movement ‘inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’. Some of Greta’s story can be read in the interview with her, Greta Thunberg, schoolgirl climate change warrior: ‘Some people can let things go. I can’t’ (The Guardian, 11 March 2019).

ABC News reported:

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said he would meet with the climate strikers to discuss their concerns outside of school hours, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the protests should have been held on a weekend.

“Students leaving school during school hours to protest is not something that we should encourage,” Mr Tehan said….

Especially when they are being encouraged to do so by green political activists“.[31]

There was union support for the strike by school-aged youth:

This year’s event is [was] already being supported by a growing number of unions including the National Union of Workers, National Tertiary Education Union, United Firefighters Union, Hospo Voice, the Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association and the National Union of Students.[32]

Fifty rallies were planned on 15 March across Australia as these students claimed their futures are being destroyed.

5. Australia’s 2019 ‘climate change’ election

clip_image019 See, ‘What happened to the climate change election?

clip_image019[1]Australian election could have global climate change impact

clip_image019[2]Election 2019: What happened to the climate change vote we heard about?

6. Conclusion

The Liberal Party, which seems to be the Party rejecting climate change and having videos by scientists claiming climate change is pseudoscience, won the election. Its Coalition partner, The National Party, seems to advocate a fence-sitting position.

As for me, I consider climate change has more to do with advertising hype than scientific substance. Therefore, I’m not convinced by the ravings of Labor and the Greens. No international conference will convince me there is a need to eliminate coal and gas-fired power stations that will devastate communities, especially in light of what happens naturally in our environment.

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(Photo: Students gathered on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House. (ABC News: Gabriella Marchant)

Notes

[1] ABC News, Brisbane, Qld 2019. Climate change strikes across Australia see student protesters defy calls to stay in school (online). Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-15/students-walk-out-of-class-to-protest-climate-change/10901978 (Accessed 5 April 2019).

[2] See: https://www.popsci.com/kids-change-parents-minds-climate

[3] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science-data/climate-science/understanding-climate-change (Accessed 5 April 2019).

[4] Ibid.

[5] CSIRO n.d. Climate change information for Australia (online). Available at: https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/OandA/Areas/Oceans-and-climate/Climate-change-information (Accessed 5 April 2019).

[6] Ben Cubby 2012. Climate change a hoax, Jones tells tax protesters. The Sydney Morning Herald (online), 2 July. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/climate-change-a-hoax-jones-tells-tax-protesters-20120701-21b3z.html (Accessed 5 April 2019).

[7] “COP” stands for “Conference of the Parties.”

[8] That’s “net-zero” carbon emissions and approx. 100% renewable energy by 2050/

[9] Alan Jones, Sky News, “People have ‘every right’ to question climate projections: Newman,” 5 October 2021, accessed 8 October 2021, https://www.skynews.com.au/opinion/alan-jones/people-have-every-right-to-question-climate-projections-newman/video/55de0f35e23415c4910325fa656d0d83.

[10] ‘Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is an inorganic, colorless, odorless, non-flammable, non-toxic extremely potent greenhouse gas, and an excellent electrical insulator. SF6 has an octahedral geometry, consisting of six fluorine atoms attached to a central sulphur atom…. SF6 is used in the electrical industry as a gaseous dielectric medium for high-voltage circuit breakers, switchgear, and other electrical equipment, often replacing oil filled circuit breakers (OCBs) that can contain harmful PCBs…. SF6 is used as a contrast agent for ultrasound imaging.’ (Wikipedia 2019. s.v. Sulfur hexafluoride).

[11] NASA Global Climate Change 2019. Scientific consensus: Earth’s climate is warming (online), 19 April. Available at: https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/ (Accessed 23 April 2019).

[12] Ibid.

[13] News Weekly, National Civic Council, “COP26 highlights high cost of Green insanity,” 6 October, accessed 8 October, https://ncc.org.au/newsweekly/cover-story/cop26-highlights-high-cost-of-green-insanity/.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan n.d. Available at: https://www.alp.org.au/media/1692/labors_climate_change_action_plan.pdf (Accessed 23 April 2019).

[16] The Greens n.d. Our Vision: Renewable Energy & Climate Change (online). Available at: https://greens.org.au/platform/renewables (Accessed 23 April 2019).

[17] Nationals for Regional Australia, accessed 8 October 2021, https://nationals.org.au/policies/protecting-our-local-way-of-life-for-future-generations/.

[18] Mark Poynter 2019. Closing a renewable timber industry for carbon credits is far from ‘common sense’. On Line Opinion (online), 5 March. Comments: Posted by calwest, Friday, 5 April 2019 1:21:52 PM. Available at: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=20243 (Accessed 6 April 2019).

[19] Ben Cubby op. cit.

[20] ‘Dr. Timothy Ball is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada’ as stated in the following footnote.

[21] Tom Harris & Timothy Ball 2017. Global warming: Fake News From the Start. The Heartland Institute (online), 20 December. Available at: https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/global-warming-fake-news-from-the-start (Accessed 6 April 2019).

[22] Co-author of this article.

[23] Harris & Ball op. cit.

[24] PBS Frontline 2007. Interviews Timothy Wirth (online), 24 April. Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/interviews/wirth.html (Accessed 6 April 2019).

[25] PBS Frontline 2007. Interviews James Hansen (online), 24 April. Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/interviews/hansen.html (Accessed 6 April 2019).

[26] Ibid.

[27] Harris & Ball op. cit.

[28] Harris & Ball op. cit.

[29] Doug Bandow 2009. What NASA Thinks of James Hansen. Global Warming.org (online), 29 January. Available at: http://www.globalwarming.org/2009/01/29/what-nasa-thinks-of-james-hansen/ (Accessed 6 April 2019).

[30] Statements from ibid.

[31] ABC News, Brisbane, Qld. Climate change strikes across Australia see student protesters defy calls to stay in school (online), 15 March, emphasis added. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-15/students-walk-out-of-class-to-protest-climate-change/10901978 (Accessed 5 April 2019).

[32] Charis Chang 2019. news.com.au (online). Unions back next school strike in Australia ahead of 2019 federal election (online), 11 February. Available at: https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/unions-back-next-school-strike-in-australia-ahead-of-2019-federal-election/news-story/50dcdc9aae668636129232bdc0518841 (Accessed 5 April 2019).

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 08 October 2021.

clip_image022clip_image022

How to write a biblical fairy tale

Fantastic Landscape With Mushrooms. Illustration To The Fairy Tale "Alice In Wonderland"

(image courtesy PublicDomainPictures.net)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

WriteShop gives this advice on how to write a fairy tale:[1] Kim, on this blog, states a fairy tale contains these elements:

The fairy tale genre needs to include certain basic elements. Otherwise, it may not be a fairy tale at all!

These characteristics mark a story as a fairy tale:

  • It usually begins with “Once upon a time,” “Long ago,” or “Once there was a …”
  • The story takes place in a distant or make-believe land.
  • It features imaginary characters such as dragons, fairies, elves, and giants.
  • Things happen in threes and sevens (three bears, three wishes, seven brothers).
  • Wishes are often granted.
  • A difficult problem is solved at the end of the story.
  • Good triumphs over evil.
  • The story has a happy ending.

In addition, a fairy tale will often include:

  • Royal characters such as kings and princesses
  • Talking animals
  • Magical elements such as magic beans, fairy dust, enchanted castle

J.J. Sunset’s Blog gives these steps:[2]

Instructions

clip_image003 Step 1

Decide what lesson your fairy tale is going to teach before you write it. At their core, fairy tales are morality tales from the horror of stepmothers to not talking to strangers. They are generally teaching something and yours should do the same.

clip_image003[1]Step 2

Create a good character. A fairy tale needs someone to root for. They don’t have to be perfect. Just think Jack in “Jack and the Beanstalk” or Red in “Little Red Riding Hood” but your readers should like them and want them to succeed.

clip_image003[2]Step 3

Devise an evil character. A fairy tale must have an evil character that works as an antagonist to the good character. The evil character usually has special powers of some sort and they must use those powers in a way to cause the good character pain.

clip_image003[3]Step 4

Design a magical character or object to write into the fairy tale. The magical character can be the evil character but many fairy tales have both good and evil magical characters that work to off-set the other’s influence.

clip_image003[4]Step 5

Identify what obstacles your good character is going to have to face. Whatever the obstacle, it should seem insurmountable and genuinely require a bit of creativity by your good character and a little magical assistance.

clip_image003[5]Step 6

Cute Cartoon Castle. FairyTale Cartoon Castle. Fantasy Fairy Tale Palace With Rainbow. Vector IllustrationWrite a happy ending. A fairytale isn’t a fairytale unless it has a happy ending. Your good character must succeed and your evil character must lose and lose in a big way so you can write your “happily ever after.”

I gave these two examples of how to create a fairy tale because sometimes scholars state the Bible is a fairy tale.

How to pick fiction from nonfiction

Matt Grant explained:

For writers and readers alike, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between fiction and nonfiction. In general, fiction refers to plot, settings, and characters created from the imagination, while nonfiction refers to factual stories focused on actual events and people. However, the difference between these two genres is sometimes blurred, as the two often intersect.

He further made the assessment that nonfiction is factual, based on true events such as histories, biographies, journalism and essays. If fiction has “a few smatterings of fact” in it, that does not make the nonfiction true. However, “a few fabrications” in nonfictions “can force that story to lose all credibility.”

Here are a few indexes to use to determine the historical reliability of an historical writing.

Indexes (criteria) of historical trustworthiness[3]

These include:

1. Early Multiple Attestation

Multiple Attestation refers to a fact or event that appears to have been preserved down multiple lines of independent tradition is more likely to be true than one that is only preserved down a single line.

2. Dissimiliarity

The ‘criteria of dissimilarity’ . . . essentially contains two different criteria, that of the ‘criteria of distinction from Judaism’(CDJ ) and ‘Criteria of distinction from Christianity‘(CDC) [Swales 2008].

3. Embarrassment

A fact or event that appears to cause embarrassment to the theology of the gospel authors is less likely to have been invented by them than a fact or event that bolsters their theology.

For example, since the Jews had a low view of women, the women who were waiting for Jesus at the empty tomb, makes the account more credible.

4. Coherence

Coherence: A fact or event that appears to be consistent with our present understanding of the historical context is more likely to be true than one which appears to be at odds with it.

5. Semitisms

This criterion states that the historicity of a New Testament sentence p is more probable if it contains traces of an Aramaic or Hebraic origin. Since the New Testament was written in Greek and Jesus spoke Aramaic, traces of Aramaic in the Greek of the New Testament argue in favour of a primitive tradition that originates in Jesus. We see this, for example, in Paul’s quotation of a creedal tradition in Corinthians. “I delivered to you,” he reminds the Corinthians, “what I also received,” suggesting the transmission of an oral tradition. Paul then recites a list of eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus which, as Habermas and Licona point out, contains numerous hints of an Aramaic origin that would seem to vouch for its authenticity—including the fourfold use of the Greek term for “that,” hoti, common in Aramaic narration, and the use of the name Cephas (“He appeared to Cephas”) which is the Aramaic for Peter (Miles 2018).

Conclusion

I’ve shown how to write fairy tales in that genre. We are being absolutely unreasonable with language and research if we want to turn biblical research into making fairy tales. The Gospels are stoutly historical – based on the indices of authenticity applied to them.

Works consulted

Mines, Ben 2018. Thinking Matters, “The Criteria of Historical Authenticity,” 4 February, accessed 8 October 2021, https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/2018/02/the-criteria-of-historical-authenticity/.

Swales, Jon 2008. Theological Ramblings, “The Quest for the Historical Jesus: Criteria of Dissimilarity,” 10 March, accessed 8 October 2021, https://ordinand.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/the-quest-for-the-historical-jesus-criteria-of-dissimilarity/.

Notes


[1] Available at: https://writeshop.com/genres-how-to-write-a-fairy-tale/, accessed 8 October 2021.

[2] Available at: https://jjsunset.wordpress.com/sunsets-factory/writing-a-fairy-tale-step-by-step-instructions/, accessed 8 October 2021.

[3] These are based on: Ben Mines 2018. The criteria of historical authenticity, Thinking Matters (online), 4 February. Available at: https://thinkingmatters.org.nz/2018/02/the-criteria-of-historical-authenticity/ (Accessed 5 August 2019).

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 08 October 2021.

Was the Apocrypha in the Hebrew Old Testament Bible?

clip_image001

Copies of the Luther Bible include the deuterocanonical books as an intertestamental section between the Old Testament and New Testament;

they are termed the “Apocrypha” in Christian Churches having their origins in the Reformation (image courtesy “Wikipedia”)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

Why would the issue of the contents of the Apocrypha become important for a Christian? Should Christians be reading the Apocrypha as a normal part of Bible reading?

I was alerted to this when I was interacting with an Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) person or priest on a Christian Forum. He stated:

Church of St. George, Istanbul (August 2010).jpg

Saint George’s Cathedral, Istanbul, Turkey (courtesy Wikipedia)

I am personally not prepared to say that nobody outside the EOC, who has heard the Gospel and believed and lived as a Christian, was never saved. Note that the EOC also believes that growth toward God continues after death. I will not say that John Wesley or Mother Theresa will be cast into a lake of fire because they were not under a particular bishop. I will say, though, that I believe that the EOC has the fullness of Christian truth and worship, and that it is where all Christians should be. I also believe that there is need for great humility on all sides, including and maybe especially on ours, as we strive to actually understand what others are saying, and recognize what we have in common rather than focus on what keeps us apart.[1]

In this response, he proceeded to advocate prayer for the dead, praying to the dead, prayer to angels, icons as a meeting point between the living and the dead, the grace of God being active in the relics of the saints, salvation only in the EOC or not.

In an earlier response he stated:

You’ve once again hit on the key difference between us. And it was the key difference for me also, when I first encountered Orthodoxy.
It isn’t what you’re saying, but rather what you are not saying. If I can fill in as best I can, based on our past interactions…
“You provided too many examples…regarding icons…etc…that are not compatible with [my interpretation of Scripture, which is informed from Evangelical Protestant traditions about Scripture, its interpretation and applications, and presuppositions about what the Church is and where it is found, and based on a hermeneutical method of Critical Realism, which largely dates to the 20th Century and is mostly the product of Evangelical Protestant theologians].”
Without mincing words, your hermeneutic (and the philosophy behind it) is a TRADITION. So I have to ask, on what basis is your tradition–or that of McGrath or Wright or other “critical realists”–to be preferred over the much older and much broader orthodox/catholic tradition?

The fact that the answers I gave above, don’t measure up to your understanding of Scripture, could mean that I (and a huge portion of Christians going back to the early Church Fathers on most of those topics) are all wrong. Or, it could mean that your tradition of protestant hermeneutics and critical realism fails to measure up to the tradition of the Church.
Just something for consideration. But really, I’d like to hear your answer on why your tradition of interpreting Scripture, is better than Orthodoxy’s. Where is Critical Realism found in Scripture?[2]

My rejoinder was:

I object strongly to what you did here. I stated:

You provided too many examples in your response regarding icons, communicating with the dead, angels, etc. that are not compatible with Scripture. I would not be pursuing any EOC action.

So what did you do? You distorted and contorted this with your interpretation of what I DID NOT state:

You provided too many examples…regarding icons…etc…that are not compatible with [my interpretation of Scripture, which is informed from Evangelical Protestant traditions about Scripture, its interpretation and applications, and presuppositions about what the Church is and where it is found, and based on a hermeneutical method of Critical Realism, which largely dates to the 20th Century and is mostly the product of Evangelical Protestant theologians.

That is your imposition on what I stated. It is eisegesis of my writings.
Your foray into Critical Realism is a red herring logical fallacy. It doesn’t relate to the topic of the thread. If you have difficulty with a critical realist epistemology, please start a separate thread to address your concerns.
My authority for determining the boundaries of doctrine is Scripture. I do not find these doctrines in Scripture that you affirmed that the EOC teaches:

  • praying to the dead;
  • prayer to angels;
  • icons as a “meeting point” between the temporal and the eternal;
  • prayer for the dead;
  • The grace of God being active in the relics of the saints;
  • salvation is to be found in the EOC;
  • The presence of God himself is made real to us in the sacraments.
  • growth toward God continues after death;
  • I believe that the EOC has the fullness of Christian truth and worship, and that it is where all Christians should be;
  • I hold baptism to be necessary but not sufficient [for salvation];

I think that we’ll need to agree that the teachings of our various denominations are incompatible with each other. [3]

Scripture or tradition?

I asked this person:[4] 2 Tim 3:16-17 states: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (ESV).
To which Scripture is Paul referring that is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”?
He is not telling us which tradition is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
To which Scripture is Paul telling us to go for teaching?

Part of his response was:

In context, he’s referring to the Jewish scriptures with which Timothy had been taught from childhood. I’m not entirely sure just which books Timothy would have considered canonical, but I believe there’s a good chance that the LXX including what came to be called “deuterocanonical books” [the Apocrypha] were part of that corpus. We can’t be 100% sure of the exact bounds of the canon of Scripture at the time this epistle was written. Clearly, Timothy was meant to infer from his own situation, just which Scriptures were being referred to….

As early as Ignatius of Antioch, we see a letter written to the church in Ephesus likely only a few generations after Timothy himself had been a bishop…admonishing his readers to continue in submission to their bishops, elders and deacons.
Clearly, the sufficiency of the Scriptures is not at odds with the authority of the Church’s ordained ministry. It is the task of the entire Church, led by those ordained to that ministry through the laying on of hands, to safeguard the entire tradition received from the Apostles, within which the Scriptures can be properly understood and lived out.[5]

What about the Apocrypha?

What were the books of the Jewish Scriptures? Did they include the Apocrypha?[6]
My copy of The Apocrypha (The Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, New York: Oxford University Press, 1973, RSV) states in the Preface and Introduction that:

  • “They are not included in the Hebrew Canon of Holy Scripture” (1973:vii); “none of these fifteen books is included in the Hebrew canon of holy Scripture. All of them, however, with the exception of 2 Esdras, are present in copies of the Greek version of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint. The Old Latin translations of the Old Testament, made from the Septuagint, also include them, along with 2 Esdras. As a consequence, many of the early Church Fathers quoted most of these books as authoritative” (1973:x);
  • “In the Old Testament Jerome followed the Hebrew canon and by means of prefaces called the reader’s attention to the separate category of the apocryphal books. Subsequent copyists of the Latin Bible, however, were not always careful to transmit Jerome’s prefaces, and during the medieval period the Western Church generally regarded these books as part holy Scriptures” (1973:x);
  • “In 1546, the Council of Trent decreed that the Canon of the Old Testament includes them (except the Prayer of Manasseh and 1 and 2 Esdras)” (1973:vii-viii);
  • ‘”the Apocrypha” is the designation applied to a collection of fourteen or fifteen books, or portions of books, written during the last two centuries before Christ and the first century of the Christian era’ (1973:ix);
  • ‘The terms “protocanonical” and “deuterocanonical” are used to signify respectively those books of Scripture that were received by the entire Church from the beginning as inspired, and those whose inspiration came to be recognized later, after the matter had been disputed by certain Fathers and local churches’ (1973:x);
  • ‘The introductory phrase, “Thus says the Lord,” which occurs so frequently in the Old Testament, is conspicuous by its absence from the books of the Apocrypha’ (1973:xii).
  • “In the fourth century many Greek Fathers (including Eusebius, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus, Amphilochius, and Epiphanius) came to recognize a distinction between the books in the Hebrew canon and the rest, though the latter were still customarily cited as Scripture” (1973:xiii).
  • “In the Latin Church, on the other hand, though opinion has not been unanimous, a generally high regard for the books of the Apocrypha has prevailed” (1973:xiii).
  • “At the close of the fourth century, Jerome spoke out decidedly for the Hebrew canon, declaring unreservedly that books which were outside that canon should be classed as apocryphal” (1973:xiii).
  • “Disputes over the doctrines of Purgatory and of the efficacy of prayers and Masses for the dead inevitably involved discussion concerning the authority of 2 Maccabees, which contains what was held to be scriptural warrant for them (12:43-45)” (1973:xiv).

The facts are, based on this publication, that the Hebrew canon at the time of the NT writing did not include the Apocrypha.

Some valid questions:

This EOC person left me with some valid and provocative questions:

The list of things from your copy of the apocrypha demonstrates clearly that (a) there were different canons of the OT between the Hebrew-speaking and the Hellenic Jews, (b) that it was the latter that the Early Christians accepted as normative and authoritative.
1. Why do you assume that Timothy, a Greek-speaking Jew from the region of Ephesus, would have not “been taught from his youth” from the Greek translation and canon of the Jewish scriptures?
2. Why grant greater authority to the canonical tradition of the Hebrew-speaking Jews, than to the Greek-speaking?
3. Why grant greater authority to one particular Jewish tradition, than to the Christian tradition itself?
I’d appreciate clear answers to the above, in what little time you can spare. Oh, and one more, a simple yes/no.
*** Do you consider your canon, your methods of interpretation, and your philosophical outlook brought to the texts, to be traditions, or not?[7]

We need to remember that the Apocrypha was from the last 2 centuries before the NT and was not included in the Hebrew canon. It was in the Greek LXX but not the Hebrew canon.
I have not been able to find any NT books that make a direct quotation from any of the 15 books of the Apocrypha although there are often citations from the 39 books of the Hebrew canon of the OT. There may be allusions to some apocryphal books in some NT writers (e.g. Romans 1:20-29 with Wis. 13:5.8; Rom 9:20-23 with Wis.12:12.20; 15:7; 2 Cor 5:1, 4 with Wis. 9:15).

Paul was a Jew and it could be expected that he would communicate with his child in the faith, a Greek-speaking Jew, Timothy, what was in the Hebrew canon. It did not include the Intertestamental books of the Apocrypha.[8]

Eastern Orthodox Church and the Apocrypha

The outlook of the Orthodox Church in America is:

The Old Testament books to which you refer—know[n] in the Orthodox Church as the “longer canon” rather than the “Apocrypha,” as they are known among the Protestants—are accepted by Orthodox Christianity as canonical scripture. These particular books are found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, but not in the Hebrew texts of the rabbis.

These books—Tobit, Judah, more chapters of Esther and Daniel, the Books of Maccabees, the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, the Book of Sirach, the Prophecy of Baruch, and the Prayer of Manasseh—are considered by the Orthodox to be fully part of the Old testament because they are part of the longer canon that was accepted from the beginning by the early Church.

The same Canon [rule] of Scripture is used by the Roman Catholic Church. In the Jerusalem Bible (RC) these books are intermingled within the Old Testament Books and not placed separately as often in Protestant translations (e.g., 1611 version of KJV).[9]

The Orthodox Christian Information Center provided this assessment:

All Scripture is inspired and, in both St. Paul and St. Timothy’s mind, that meant the LXX. So much is clear. But the LXX included the books we know today as the Apocrypha.

The earliest copies of the Greek Bible we possess, such as the Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Siniaticus [sic] (4-5th centuries) include the Apocrypha. And it is not placed in a separate section in the back of the codex but is rather interspersed by book according to literature type—the historical books with Kings and Chronicles, the wisdom literature with Proverbs and the Song of Solomon, and so forth.

These books were used by the Hellenic Jewish communities and certain Palestinian Jewish groups such as the Essenes. The Apocrypha retained respect in various Jewish communities until around thirty years after Paul’s death when the Pharisees, in the council of Jamnia, and discussed a number of issues, among which was the Jewish canon. Although the influence of this council is disputed, what is clear is that in its aftermath the Apocrypha was decidedly rejected by the Pharisees, who then proceeded to dominate Judaism.[10]

These kinds of comments lead one to accept the Deuterocanonical books (Apocrypha) because:

  • These books, being part of the longer canon, were accepted from the beginning of Christianity by the early Church.
  • The earliest copies of the Greek Bible (the Septuagint – LXX) include the Apocrypha, not in a separate section at the conclusion of the OT but the books are interspersed throughout the OT according to literature type.
  • The Apocryphal books were used by Jewish communities until about the time of Paul.
  • See below for an assessment why the Apocrypha should be rejected.

Roman Catholic Church and the Apocrypha

There’s a pretty good overview of the issues surrounding the Apocrypha from a Roman Catholic point of view by A Catholic Response Inc in ‘Apocrypha?’ (1994). The conclusion reached is that

the Catholic Church did not add to the OT. The Catholic OT Canon (also the numbering of the Psalms) came from the ancient Greek Septuagint Bible. Protestants, following the tradition of the Pharisaic Jews, accept the shorter Hebrew Canon, even though the Jews also reject the NT Books. The main problem is that the Bible does not define itself. No where in the Sacred Writings are the divinely inspired Books listed completely. (The Table of Contents is the publishing editor’s words, like the footnotes.) The Bible needs a visible, external authority guided by the Holy Spirit to define both the OT and NT Canons. This authority is the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. As St. Augustine writes, “I would not have believed the Gospel had not the authority of the Church moved me.”

This article also affirms that

the Catholic Church is not alone in accepting the Books which Protestants label as “Apocrypha.” The Coptic, Greek and Russian Orthodox churches also recognize these Books as inspired by God. In 1950 an edition of the OT containing all these Books was officially approved by the Holy Synod of the Greek church. Also the Russian Orthodox church in 1956 published a Russian Bible in Moscow which contained these Books.

I recommend a read of the CatholicCulture.org article, ‘What are the Apocrypha?’ (Hugh Pope 2015).[11] In it, Pope cites St Augustine’s view of the Apocrypha:

Emblem of the Holy See
Catholic Church

Ecclesia Catholica

Saint Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (image courtesy Wikipedia)

Let us omit, then, the fables of those scriptures which are called apocryphal, because their obscure origin was unknown to the fathers from whom the authority of the true Scriptures has been transmitted to us by a most certain and well-ascertained succession. For though there is some truth in these apocryphal writings, yet they contain so many false statements, that they have no canonical authority. We cannot deny that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, left some divine writings, for this is asserted by the Apostle Jude in his canonical epistle. But it is not without reason that these writings have no place in that canon of Scripture which was preserved in the temple of the Hebrew people by the diligence of successive priests; for their antiquity brought them under suspicion, and it was impossible to ascertain whether these were his genuine writings, and they were not brought forward as genuine by the persons who were found to have carefully preserved the canonical books by a successive transmission. So that the writings which are produced under his name, and which contain these fables about the giants, saying that their fathers were not men, are properly judged by prudent men to be not genuine; just as many writings are produced by heretics under the names both of other prophets, and more recently, under the names of the apostles, all of which, after careful examination, have been set apart from canonical authority under the title of Apocrypha (The City of God 15.23.4).[12]

CatholicAnswers asks: ‘Didn’t the Catholic Church add to the Bible?’ (2015). Part of its answer is that

the canon of the entire Bible was essentially settled around the turn of the fourth century. Up until this time, there was disagreement over the canon, and some ten different canonical lists existed, none of which corresponded exactly to what the Bible now contains. Around this time there were no less than five instances when the canon was formally identified: the Synod of Rome (382), the Council of Hippo (393), the Council of Carthage (397), a letter from Pope Innocent I to Exsuperius, Bishop of Toulouse (405), and the Second Council of Carthage (419). In every instance, the canon was identical to what Catholic Bibles contain today. In other words, from the end of the fourth century on, in practice Christians accepted the Catholic Church’s decision in this matter.

By the time of the Reformation, Christians had been using the same 73 books in their Bibles (46 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament)—and thus considering them inspired—for more than 1100 years. This practice changed with Martin Luther, who dropped the deuterocanonical books on nothing more than his own say-so. Protestantism as a whole has followed his lead in this regard.

So, for these Roman Catholic cites give these reasons for accepting the deuterocanonical books:

  • The Roman Catholic canon of the OT came from the ancient Septuagint – the OT in Greek that included the Apocrypha.
  • The Roman Catholics did not add to the OT books but the Protestants at the time of the Reformation deleted 7 OT books (the Apocrypha) that had been accepted as part of the canon for 1100 years.
  • The Bible itself does not define what books should be in or out of the Bible. That is left to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. So, from the end of the 4th century to the Reformation, the books contained in the Roman Catholic Bible were accepted as the canon.
  • Orthodox churches also accept the Apocrypha.
  • However, it was conceded what St Augustine stated of the Apocrypha that they contain so many false statements that they cannot have canonical authority.

Hebrew canon of Scripture and the Apocrypha

What did the Hebrews of the Old Testament era consider was the list of books in the Hebrew canon of Scripture?

Why the Apocrypha should be rejected

Ryan Turner has provided an excellent summary on ‘Reasons why the Apocrypha does not belong in the Bible(CARM). His major points are:

  • Rejection by Jesus and the apostles;
  • Rejection by the Jewish community;
  • Rejection by many in the Catholic Church;
  • False teachings, and
  • Not prophetic.

He refers to:

Norman Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995, pp. 157-75.

Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999, pp. 28-36.

Wayne Jackson has written an excellent assessment: ‘The Apocrypha: Inspired of God?’ (Christian Courier 2015).

Notes


[1] Ignatius#21, 9 June 2014, Christian Forums, General Theology, Salvation (Soteriology), ‘Reasons why you are very unwise to trust your church’s doctrines’ (online). Available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7825081-4/ (Accessed 24 December 2014).

[2] Ibid., Ignatius21#39.

[3] Ibid., OzSpen#43.

[4] Ibid., OzSpen#57.

[5] Ibid., Ignatius21#58.

[6] These details are in ibid., OzSpen#62.

[7] Ibid., Ignatius21#65.

[8] I mentioned this in ibid., OzSpen#67, #70

[9] Orthodox Church in America, ‘Canon of Scripture’ 2015. Available at: https://oca.org/questions/scripture/canon-of-scripture (Accessed 2 June 2015).

[10] ‘All Scripture is inspired by God’. Available at: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/otcanon.aspx (Accessed 2 June 2015).

[11] The Catholic University of America Press 2015. Available at: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=9069 (Accessed 2 June 2015).

[12] The citation from The City of God in CatholicCulture.org is shorter than this version this Augustine publication which I have taken from the Roman Catholic website, New Advent.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 08 October 2021.

What is the nature of sin and total depravity?

By Spencer D Gear PhD

According to John 8:34 (NLT): Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin”. Does that make all people are sinners who have no other option but to sin?

Can that mean all are totally depraved if we understand total depravity as the spiritual condition of all fallen human beings?

While often misunderstood, the doctrine of total depravity is an acknowledgement that the Bible teaches that as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3:6) every part of man—his mind, will, emotions and flesh—have been corrupted by sin. In other words, sin affects all areas of our being including who we are and what we do. It penetrates to the very core of our being so that everything is tainted by sin and “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). It acknowledges that the Bible teaches that we sin because we are sinners by nature. Or, as Jesus says, “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18).?

The total depravity of man is seen throughout the Bible. Man’s heart is “deceitful and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) [Got Questions?]?

Is it sound biblical teaching to state that all human beings are contaminated by sin and because of the inner being (heart) of a person, wicked things are said and done – sins are committed?

If this is true, how would you communicate it to a non-Christian who asks: ‘What can be done about the crime and violence in my country?’

You can check this online at aJmartiva.

I have no idea why the Greek hamartia has been transliterated as aJmartina on this Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich lexicon (BAG) website.

Hamartia (sin) cannot be defined simply as this lexicon demonstrates. It means:

1. Actions and results that depart from the way of justice towards God and human beings (Gen 50:17; 1 Jn 5:17, ‘Every wrong thing we do is sin. But there are sins that do not lead to death’, NIRV).

There are many sub-headings under this category that include, fill up the measure of sins; let go = forgive sins; confess your sins to each other, etc.

2. In John’s usage, it means ‘a condition or characteristic quality and is opposed to truth’ (Jn 9:41; 15:24; 1 Jn 1:8).

3. ‘Paul thinks of sin almost in personal terms … as a ruling power’ (Rom 5:12). Everything is subject to sin (Gal 3:22); people serve it (Rom 6:6); are sold into its service (Rom 7:14); and Jesus is a sin-offering for sin (2 Cor 5:21).

4. In Hebrews (as in OT), ‘sin appears as the power that deceives [human beings] and leads them to destruction, whose influence and activity can be ended only by sacrifices (Heb 2:17; 3:13; 9:23ff; 10:18).

5. Special sins: that lead to death (1 Jn 5:16); a great sin (Gen 20:9);

So, my simple definition of total depravity, total inability is:

All human beings do wrong things against God’s standards and harm other people. This condition affects every person and it is opposed to truth. It is the ruling power in every aspect of all people: body, soul, spirit, mind, heart, and conscience.

To cure this condition, it required Jesus’ paying for the sins of all people by dying for them.

Both Calvinists AND Arminians believe in Total Depravity of all human beings. This is what Arminius wrote:

VII. In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace. For Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” St. Augustine, after having diligently meditated upon each word in this passage, speaks thus: “Christ does not say, without me ye can do but Little; neither does He say, without me ye can do any Arduous Thing, nor without me ye can do it with difficulty. But he says, without me ye can do Nothing! Nor does he say, without me ye cannot complete any thing; but without me ye can do Nothing.” That this may be made more manifestly to appear, we will separately consider the mind, the affections or will, and the capability, as contra-distinguished from them, as well as the life itself of an unregenerate man (Arminius 1977:525-526).

This quote is taken from my article: Do Arminians believe in election and total depravity?

Calvinism on total depravity

The late R C Sproul was teaching TULIP to a college level class of about 30. He explained the doctrine of total depravity (T)

showing them that sin is not simply tangential to our existence. Sin is not the blemish on our exterior; sin penetrates to the very core of our humanity, despoiling us in body, mind, and will and rendering us in a state of moral inability. So much so are we captivated by this bondage to sin that we no longer have within us the moral capacity to incline ourselves to the things of God. I labored over all that for the college students, and at the end of the discussion on total depravity, I asked for a show of hands as to how many were persuaded of this doctrine.

There was no hesitation; every hand went up. On the top left corner of the blackboard I wrote the number 30, and then wrote a message to the janitor: “Please do not erase.”

Class resumed the following Monday, at which time I started on the U of TULIP, unconditional election. When I got through and asked how many agreed with it, there was quite a bit of attrition. Once you get to L, limited atonement, there was wholesale abandonment of their convictions. I said to them, “It’s QED (quod erat demonstrandum); it is automatic. If you understand the doctrine of total depravity, you would have to believe in unconditional election or limited atonement even if the Bible didn’t teach it. If you do not believe in irresistible grace, you would have to assume it once you understand the nature of the fallen condition” (Sproul, Imputation: Romans 5:12-17)

Nice trick to play on College students Dr Sproul[1]

I hope adults are wiser and have more biblical knowledge to know that TULIP critique is found in the Bible. Sproul has failed to mount a convincing case for total depravity for these reasons:

Flaws in Total Depravity

clip_image002 The Bible teaches the depravity of the human heart (Jer 17:9 NIV). However, nowhere does it teach total inability. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. John 5:40 states, “

This issue is not a matter of whether a person can come to Christ. It concerns the will. Will you come?

clip_image002[1] Jesus wept over Jerusalem, saying, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matt 23:37 NIV)

clip_image002[2] Take note of the last verse of the Bible, Rev 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” We all can accept the “free gift of the water of life.”

It is not a matter of you are in and you are out but all have the offer to “come.”

D. L. Moody addressed a large group of skeptics. He said, “I want to talk about the word BELIEVE, the word RECEIVE, and the word TAKE.” When Mr. Moody had finished his sermon, he asked, “Now who will come and take Christ as Saviour?” One man stood and said, “I can’t.”
Mr. Moody wept and said, “Don’t say, ‘I can’t.’ Say, ‘I won’t’!”
And, the man said, “Then, I won’t!” But, another man said, “I will!” Then, another said, “I will!” And, another said, “I will!” Until scores came to trust Christ as Saviour (Hutson n.d.)

clip_image002[3] Some Calvinists object, using John 6:44 as the stumbling block: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

They need to read further to John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up[2] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” That happened at the cross and his ascension. So, all people are drawn to Christ. Why don’t they accept and come? For the reasons stated above: “You were not willing.” Free will is critical to life’s response to Jesus.

See my article: What is the nature of human free will? 

Calvinists, free will and a better alternative

clip_image002[4] Creation calls every sinner. See Rom 1:19-20, “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

clip_image002[5] Conscience calls all people. See Rom 2:11-16 (NIV),

11 For God does not show favouritism.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Defects in Unconditional Election[3]

John Calvin wrote:

Not all men are created with similar destiny but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestined either to life or to death (Calvin Bk III, ch 23)

Calvin left no doubt. Some people are predestined to heaven while others are foreordained to eternal damnation.

I find this to be a damnable doctrine that discriminates against certain people – with eternal consequences.

Hutson stated:

I have often said, “Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurred to God?” God in His foreknowledge knows who will trust Jesus Christ as Saviour, and He has predestined to see that they are justified and glorified. He will keep all those who trust Him and see that they are glorified. But, the doctrine that God elected some men to Hell, that they were born to be damned by God’s own choice, is a radical heresy not taught anywhere in the Bible.

We know this is the case because of the statement in 1 Peter 1:1-2,

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles, scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Christians are chosen, according to God’s foreknowledge “to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood.” Notice it does not say this election is to eternal life or eternal damnation but “to be obedient to Jesus Christ.

Another verse that promotes election, based on foreknowledge is Rom 8:28-30:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

This is predestination, based on foreknowledge, but it is predestination “to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Calvinists love to cherry-pick portions of some verses:

Mr Hutson introduced me to Vic Lockman, a Calvinist, who wrote a book, TULIP, in which he promoted that theology by quoting these verses:

clip_image004 He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…” (Eph 1:4) but he did not quote the entire verse which reads: “”According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”

The verse has nothing to do with eternal salvation or damnation but election to “be holy and without blame before Him in love.” It is an abomination to see what this Calvinist has done with this verse. He does it again with this verse:

clip_image004[1] Lockman quoted John 15:6, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” He has played the shortcut trick by cutting the verse in two. The whole verse reads, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

Again, this verse has nothing to do with eternal salvation or eternal damnation but chosen to “bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”

This is God’s will:

clip_image004[2] Second Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Surely this is one of the toughest verses for Calvinists to avoid! See my article, How a Calvinist can distort the meaning of 2 Peter 3:9.

clip_image004[3] John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

It’s important to note that “believes” and “has” are both present tense verbs. “Whoever continues to reject” and “God’s wrath continues to remain.” The meaning is that of continuous action. The interpretation is: “Whoever continues to believe in the Son continues to have eternal life.” If you continue to reject the Son, God’s wrath continues to remain on you.

The most balanced view of the Calvinist vs Arminian debate I have read is by the late Norman Geisler: Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of Divine Election, 2nd ed.

See also my articles:

clip_image006 Sproul damns Arminianism by association with semi-Pelagianism

clip_image006[1] Is any flavor of Arminianism promoting error?

clip_image006[2] Salvation is a work of God and human beings: More misinformation about Arminianism

clip_image006[3] Do Arminians believe in election and total depravity?

clip_image006[4] Sent to hell by God: Calvinism in action?

clip_image006[5] This was a false charge against Arminians: ‘God does not hate’

clip_image006[6] Controversies over John 10:28 and once saved always saved (OSAS)

clip_image006[7] Blatant misrepresentation of Arminians by Calvinists

clip_image006[8] This was a false charge against Arminians: ‘God does not hate’

clip_image006[9] Stutters on the stairway: Arminianism vs Calvinism (eternal security)

clip_image006[10] Some Calvinistic antagonism towards Arminians

clip_image006[11] An Arminian view of faith in Christ

Works consulted

Arminius, J. 1977. The writings of James Arminius, vol. 1, Public disputations of Arminius, Disputation 11 (On the free will of man and its powers), 523-531. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. Available at: Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1 – Christian Classics Ethereal Library (Accessed 8 October 2018).

Calvin, John Institutes of the Christian Religion, Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Geisler, Norman 2001. Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of Divine Election, 2nd ed. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers.

Hutson, Curtis n.d. “Why I Disagree with All Five Points of Calvinism.”

Notes


[1] The rebuttal is based on points made by Hutson (n.d.).

[2] Or, exalted.

[3] Insights from Hutson (n.d.)

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 07 October 2021.

One God, one Spirit, one Son

Kangaroo With Sunset Australia Outback

(image courtesy PublicDomainPictures.net)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

“brakelite” wrote:[1]

The Bible tells us that there is one God. The Bible also tells us there is one spirit. Now God is spirit. Yet the Bible also speaks of the Spirit of God, and the spirit of Christ. Do they have a spirit each? So if God is spirit, and the father and son both have spirits…

I do wish you would reference your statements with biblical quotes (with an Aussie accent, of course). I’ll try to examine this:

The doctrine of God

  1. ‘There is one God’ (Isa 44:6, NIV):

This is what the LORD says—?Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God’. There are many verses like this throughout the OT, some comparing the one true God with the other gods. How does this one God act in the universe?’

  1. ‘There is one Spirit’ (1 Cor 12:13 NIV):

    ‘For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink’. Obviously this refers to the one Holy Spirit, one member of the Trinity.

  1. ‘God is spirit’ (John 4:24 ESV)

    , ‘God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth’.) The one God cannot be seen in a body as he is an unseen spirit. Notice the translator have spelled “spirit” without a capital “Spirit.”

We also have statements about:

  1. ‘The Spirit of God’ (1 Cor 3:16 ESV),

    “Do you not know that you[2] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” This plural for “you” has led to translations such as the NIV, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” What an amazing reality that God’s Spirit lives among Christians.

  1. We are taught about “

    The Spirit of Christ (1 Pet 1:10-11 NET):

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory.

So the OT prophets had the Spirit of Christ in them directing their writings and predictions concerning how salvation would come. The human Christ had not been born but His Spirit was within the prophets predicting the person and time of Christ’s sufferings.

Here we have specific actions by the Spirit of Christ.

  1. Does each person have a spirit if the Father and Son both are spirits and these spirits live in believers (1 Cor 3:16)?

As has been discussed, the soul and spirit in people is used interchangeably in biblical exposition (see below). The spirit tends to be the language when discussing how individuals communicate with God.

The doctrine of human beings

There are two main views: Trichotomy and Dichotomy

Trichotomy

The trichotomous view states that human beings consist of three distinct parts, body, soul, and spirit. “The body is the material part of our constitution; the soul is the principle of animal life; and the spirit is the principle of our rational life” (Thiessen 1949:226).

Soul

What biblical support is there for this position? Some theologians rely on Gen 2:7 (KJV): “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” However, contemporary Bible versions, including the NKJV, translate “soul” more accurately: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

Soul (nephesh in Heb., psuche in Greek) in the Bible is often used of more than the spiritual dimension, e.g. Gen 2:7; Ps 16:10. However, the soul is distinguished from the body in a passage such as Gen 35:18 (ESV), “And as her [Rachel’s] soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.”

However, 1 Thess 5:23 (ESV) differentiates soul from the body: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Thiessen’s exposition is observed:

We note, however that it is not said that man became spirit and soul; but rather, that God “inbreathed spirit, and man became a living soul, i.e., God’s life took possession of clay, and as a result man had a soul” (quoting Strong’s Systematic Theology, p. 483 in Thiessen 1949:226).

Let’s summarise. “Soul’s” basic meaning is “life” and refers to “the principle of life in a human being, or to that which animates the body. . . . The primary meaning of soul can most often be captured best by translating it as person, which usually is embodied but is sometimes disembodied” (Geisler 2004:46-47).

Spirit

The word is from the Hebrew ruach and the Greek, pneuma. ‘Almost always [it] refers to “the immaterial dimension of a human being.” It is often used interchangeably with the word soul, as is indicated in many verses (e.g., cf. Luke 1:46). The body without the soul is dead (James 2:26); at death, Jesus “bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).’ (Geisler 2004:47).

So, spirit is immaterial. Remember what Jesus said to his disciples, recorded in Luke 24:38-39 (ESV):

And he [Jesus] said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

Dichotomy

As ‘di’ indicates two, the dichotomous theory is that

The immaterial part of man [is] viewed as an individual and conscious life, capable of possessing and animating a physical organism, is called psuche; viewed as a rational and moral agent, susceptible of divine influence and indwelling, this same immaterial part is called pneuma. The pneuma, then, is man’s nature looking Godward, and capable of receiving and manifesting the Pneuma hagion [Holy Spirit], the psuche is man’s nature looking earthward, and touching the world of sense. The pneuma is man’s highest part, as related to spiritual realities or as capable of such relation; the psuche is man’s higher part, as related to the body, or as capable of such relation. Man’s being therefore is not trichotomous but dichotomous, and his material part, whial possessing duality of powers, has unity of substance (Strong 1903:486, in Thiessen 1949:225-226).

This theology is backed up by the following biblical facts:

clip_image002 God breathed into the first human beings only one principle – the living soul (Gen 2:7).

clip_image002[1] The terms “soul” and “spirit” seem to be used interchangeably in some references (see Gen 41:8; Ps 42:6 Jn 12:27; Jn 13:21; Matt 20:28; 27:50; Heb 12:23, and Rev 6”9)/

clip_image002[2] “Spirit” and “soul” are applied to brute creatures (e.g. (Eccl 3:21; Rev 16:3).

clip_image002[3] “Soul” is ascribed to Jehovah at Amos 6:8; Jer 9:9; Isa 42:1; 53:10-12; Heb 10:38.

clip_image002[4] Body and soul/spirit constitute the whole of a human being, e.g. Matt 10:28; 1 Cor 5:3; 3 John 2.

clip_image002[5] To lose the soul is to lose everything, e.g. Matt 16:26; Mk 8:36-37 (Thiessen 1949:226).

See my articles:

Flower10 What is the nature of the spirit?

Flower10 Unpacking 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Flower10 What’s the difference between soul and spirit?

Hebrews 4:12

One of the key verses that troubles this discussion is Heb 4:12 (ESV):

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

This is the Mounce Interlinear translation (I hope you can discern between the Greek and English:

For gar the ho word logos of ho God theos is living za? and kai effective energ?s, · kai sharper tomos than hyper any pas two-edged distomos sword machaira, · kai cutting through diikneomai so as to achri divide merismos soul psych? from kai spirit pneuma, joints harmos from kai marrow myelos. It is even kai able to discern kritikos the thoughts enthum?sis and kai deliberations ennoia of the heart kardia.

What does it mean that God’s Word can pierce human soul and spirit? This seems to suggest the soul and spirit can be clearly differentiated. Is that the meaning?

As Alford has stated in his Greek-based commentary,

The logos pierces to the dividing, not of the psuche from the pneuma, but of the psuche itself and of the pneuma itself: the former being the lower portion of man’s invisible part, which he has in common with the brutes. . . . the latter the higher portion, receptive of the Spirit of God . . . both which are pierced and divided by the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. . . . and on the other hand, the harmoi and mueloi could not be thus said to be separated, having never been in contact with one another (Alford: Hebrews 4:12).[3]

Therefore, “it is probable we should think of human beings’ immaterial nature to be composed of a lower and higher portion (Alford on Heb. 4:12).” Thiessen prefers Strong’s language of “higher and lower power”(Thiessen 1949:227).

We are still left with the meaning of logos in Heb 4:12. Does the “word of God” refer to Scriptures, the messages received through meditating on Scriptures, or the subjective word (intuition) received by individuals? This word of God is an “authentic command” that is not just a sharp sword but also “a two-edged sword,” that occur several times in the OT. The language of ‘piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow”—is to be understood as a “rhetorical accumulation” to express the whole mental nature of man on all its sides”’ (Bruce 1964:81-82).

Conclusion

The human constitution is that of body and soul/spirit. Soul and spirit are often used interchangeably, but the soul can refer to bodily life while the spirit focuses on the relationship of the person with God. My examination of the biblical material favors a dichotomous conclusion.

Hebrews 4:12 identifies the “word of God” as God speaking to the whole human being. There is no sense of soul and spirit being divided as they weren’t joined in the first place.

Works consulted

Alford, Henry. Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary, Hebrews, StudyLight.org, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/hebrews-4.html.

Bruce, F F 1964. The Epistle to the Hebrews (The New International Commentary on the New Testament, F F Bruce gen ed). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Geisler, N 2004. Systematic theology: Sin, salvation, vol 3. Minneapolis, Minnesota: BethanyHouse.

Strong, Augustus Hopkins 1903. Systematic Theology (3 vols), public domain: http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books%20II/Strong%20-%20Systematic%20Theology.pdf.

Thiessen, H C 1949. Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Also available online at: http://media.sabda.org/alkitab-2/PDF%20Books/00045%20Thiessen%20Lectures%20in%20Systematic%20Theology.pdf.

Notes


[1] #1471 at: https://www.christianityboard.com/threads/trinity-vs-tritheism-understanding-the-trinity.27750/page-74 (Accessed 18 July 2019).

[2] “The Greek for you is plural in verses 16 and 17” (ESV footnote).

[3] This editing and transliteration of the Greek words were given by Thiessen (1949:227).

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 07 October 2021.

Biblical authority: On Line Opinion

(The Isaiah scroll, which is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, contains almost the whole Book of Isaiah. It dates from the 2nd century BCE.)

Spencer D Gear PhD

I write articles for and engage with those who make Comments to the articles in On Line Opinion. It is here that I meet those with, (1) A low or skewed view of biblical authority, and (2) A twisted understanding of biblical content concerning demon possession.

I’ll deal with two of them:

A. “Alleged biblical text”

Firstly, this poster is a constant biblical antagonist and often he gets his facts badly skewed as seen here with his statement: “In the days when alleged Biblical text was written, some 350 years after the event? Many books were left out at the behest of Constantine and or, his hand-picked minions!”[1]

This was a response to my article: Have politics changed ScoMo’s Christianity?

Notice what Alan did! He didn’t write of biblical texts with questionable dates but they were “alleged Biblical texts.”

Then he asked a question but it reads more like a narrative, “They were written 350 years after the event.” Not one example was given to prove what he wrote. Not even one book of the Bible was given as a source for his outrageous claim. Was he talking about the writing of Joshua, Isaiah, Luke or Titus?

Joshua

If Joshua was the author [internal evidence suggests so], then the date of writing the book is a fairly simple matter: it must have been written before his death and after the last event narrated in the book. Joshua was 110 years old when he died (24:29) [Madvig 1992:243].

This is nowhere near the 350 years the adversary Alan B suggests. Alan B is outrageous in his lack of biblical knowledge:

Love never ever demands obedience or blind unquestioned faith! But only asks you follow example. Never ever demands you ignore your God-given, natural instincts![2]

The God who is love (1 John 4:8 ERV) commanded (demanded) the ethical standards of the Ten Commandments for God’s OT people. Even for the NT, God’s commandments included, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:33-35 NIV; John 15:12, 17) and “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44 NIV). Both of these examples are in the imperative mood (commands) for the verbs, “love.”

So the God who is love commands His New Covenant people to love not only other Christians but also enemies and those who persecute them.

For the NT, God also provides blessings for those who keep the Beatitudes (Matt 5-7):

clip_image002

(Image courtesy Crosspoint Community Church)

Nadvig suggests some other issues with dating.

Isaiah

Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, the only text available to the Jews was the Masoretic Text (MT). At Qumran, two Isaiah MSS were discovered: IQIsaa and IQIsab. These two MSS thus were older than the MT by 1,000 years, thus dating them to before Christ. This is an important issue since the standard text of the OT is dated by the Talmud to about A.D. 100.

The Qumran texts “show a large measure of agreement with the MT, revealing extreme care with which the text of the book must have been copied by the scribes over the centuries but there are occasional interesting agreements with the LXX. The majority of variations from the MT are, however, in spelling, which make no real difference to the text” (Grogan 1986:22).

Let’s now examine a couple NT books for a timeline of authorship.

Luke

Don Stewart’s assessment was:

If Acts were written about A.D. 62, then this helps us date the four gospels. The Book of Acts is the second half of a treatise written by Luke to a man named Theophilus. Since we know that the Gospel of Luke was written before the Book of Acts, we can then date the Gospel of Luke sometime around A.D. 60 or before (Stewart 2021).

Titus

The Epistle to Titus was written in approximately AD 66. Paul’s many journeys are well documented and show that he wrote to Titus from Nicopolis in Epirus. In some Bibles a subscription to the epistle may show that Paul wrote from Nicopolis in Macedonia. However, there is no such place known and subscriptions have no authority as they are not authentic (Got Questions Ministries, Summary of the Book of Titus).

So a survey of four books, two from the OT and two from the NT, reveals Alan B is right off base with his claim the books were written 350 years after the actions described. Thus, it makes him an ignoramus concerning biblical scholarship.

B. Kill witches, but witches do not exist.

This is a comment regarding my article, Intolerant intolerance. LEGO’s view was:

God told his followers to kill witches, but witches do not exist. The whole idea is potty and it had extremely tragic consequences for the numerous innocent victims of this stupid thinking. Ozspen seems to imply that witches do exist, so I will leave that to the judgement of our readers to judge Ozspen’s mental state.[3]

Notice what LEGO does:

  • He doesn’t reference his “no witches” source in Scripture. I’ll do that for him. “In 2 Chronicles 33:6, King Manasseh is condemned for his many evil practices, including sorcery: “And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger” (Got Questions Ministries, What does the Bible say about sorcery?)

This is under the Old Covenant where God wanted to keep His people holy.

So LEGO believes “witches do not exist.” That is nothing more than his opinion or assertion. He should go to Peru and meet with some witches to decide if they exist or not. Missionaries in this country regularly encounter the reality of witchcraft.

Then he engaged in his use of logical fallacies:

  •  “The whole idea is potty” and
  •  “it had extremely tragic consequences for
  •  “the numerous innocent victims of this stupid thinking.”

Instead of “stupid thinking,” I’m creating examples of reality in the Western world as well as Peru. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes the movement:

Wicca is a predominantly Western movement whose followers practice witchcraft and nature worship and who see it as a religion based on pre-Christian traditions of northern and western Europe. Adherents of Wicca worship the Goddess, honour nature, practice ceremonial magic, invoke the aid of deities, and celebrate Halloween, the summer solstice, and the vernal equinox (Contemporary witchcraft).

It is LEGO who is acting the potty and engaged in the “stupid thinking” that witchcraft does not exist.

Walter Martin told of an example that happened with him in Southern California, recorded by the Berean Bible Church. It was published after his death:

He discussed a call he received stating:

“We have been praying for this girl for four hours; we’re simply exhausted. Please tell us what to do.”

“What has happened so far?” Martin asked.

“Well, she is possessed by multiple devils.” “Did you get a count?”

They said “Yes. We asked them in Jesus Christ name how many they were and they told us 56.”

Martin said, “Well, that’s a good beginning. Did you get their names?”

“Every one of them named themselves (screeching) whenever we commanded them in the name of Christ.”

“Good. Have you been exorcising them one at a time?”

“Yes, and quite a few of them are gone.”

“What is the girl’s background?”

“She is involved in Satanism. We found the Satanic Bible in her bureau drawer; she has been on drugs for some time. “We also found some symbols of satanic worship.”

The story continues on about how they continued removing the demons one at a time, having the most struggle with the final one, but ultimately removing it, releasing the girl from the bondage of drugs, and how she dedicated her life to Christ and ministry. Martin concludes the story by stating:

These things happen. They are real. Denying them does not make them go away, and the skepticism of modern society has no power to dismiss them; it simply amuses them. Viruses are invisible to the naked eye, but we know they exist because we developed the equipment that enabled us to see them. We may not be able to place a demon under a microscope, but God gave us the means to see them:

1. Demons speak in multiple voices and in multiple languages unknown to the person they possess.

2. Demons exhibit superhuman strength.

3. Demons have access to private information that a possessed person could never know.

4. Demons respond to and obey authority in the name of Jesus Christ.

This experiment has been repeated countless times and it has been proved, beyond doubt, that evil, sentient beings called demons do exits. (Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Occult, 2008 Thomas nelson edition, Pgs 423-425).

Martin states:

Demons are quite literally Satan’s children; fallen angels or spirits who followed Lucifer in his rebellion against the throne of God. They worship the devil, not God.

Demons most definitely were active in Southern California. LEGO doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Works consulted

Grogan, Geoffrey W, “Isaiah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein (gen. ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986.

Madvig, Donald H. “Joshua,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein (gen. ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Stewart, Don. “When Were the Four Gospels Written?” Blue Letter Bible, accessed 4 October 2021, https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/stewart_don/faq/historical-accuracy-of-the-bible/question10-when-were-the-gospels-written.cfm, 2021.

Notes


[1] Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 6 November 2019 9:50:01 AM, https://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=20592.

[2] Ibid., Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 6 November 2019 2:57:05 PM.

[3] Posted by LEGO, Thursday, 28 February 2019 11:28:40 AM, https://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=20172&page=8.

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 05 October 2021.

My New Book Is Coming!

My New Book Is Coming!

Title: How to ruin your education and TV viewing: Five easy lessons[1]

Spencer D Gear PhD

What will you do as a parent if your 14-year-old comes home from school and says, “You and the teachers have been telling me Columbus discovered the Americas? You’ve lied to me because that isn’t true. There are no such things as facts and I decide the meaning of what is written in my text books? I’m the one who chooses the interpretation of any writing, including history.”

How are you going to answer, especially in light of what the Encyclopaedia Britannica states about Columbus?

Enter John Dominic Crossan

This leading historical Jesus’ scholar provides a creative definition of history: “History is the past reconstructed interactively by the present through argued evidence in public discourse.”[2]

clip_image001(image courtesy Wikipedia)

Chew over that definition at dinner tonight as you discuss its application or rejection to the terrorism and what happened with the twin towers in New York City on 11 September 2001, the Nazis slaughter of 6 million people in World War 2, and who won the Super Bowl in 2000.

Another piece of information grabbed my attention and that is Crossan’s belief that Jesus’ resurrection was not a bodily resurrection but an apparition.[3]

An Application

Are these details fact or fiction? Can we create other versions of these incidents that are as valid as the information above, by introducing deconstructionist free play? This book investigates why this traditional model of history is being questioned and pursues an alternate view promoted as outdated. The key question is: Should the historical evidence be deconstructed?

The book is a critique of the danger of free play and the need to return to a traditional version of history.

Notes

[1] Wipf and Stock Publishers, https://wipfandstock.com/.

[2] Crossan, “Historical Jesus as risen Lord,” 3, emphasis in original.

[3] Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, xxviii-xi. An apparition is a ghost or ghostlike appearance of a person or “a remarkable or unexpected appearance of someone or something ” (Oxford English Dictionary 2021, “apparition.”)

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 30 September 2021.

clip_image002clip_image002

The Meaning of Romans 6:1-4

Does Baptism bring eternal salvation?

By Spencer D Gear PhD

clip_image002

(courtesy Liberty Valley Church)

Do you need to be dunked in water or have water sprinkled on your head to receive eternal salvation through Christ? Or, is baptism necessary for salvation, whether that be for an adult or infant?

An examination of major Christian denominations surprised me that their beliefs include baptismal regeneration.

Some of these denominations are: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, Christian Church – Disciples of Christ, Church of Christ (USA), Moravian Church, The Westminster Confession of Faith, and the United Pentecostal churches.[1] [2] [3]

This is a Lutheran teaching as stated in The Augsburg Confession (AD 1529):

Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that by Baptism the grace of God is offered, and that children are to be baptized, who by Baptism, being offered to God, are received into God’s favour.

They condemn the Anabaptists who allow not the Baptism of children, and affirm that children are saved without Baptism (Article IX: Of Baptism).

clip_image003(Presentation of the Augsburg Confession 25 June 1530 before Emperor  Charles V. Image courtesy Witness, Mercy, Life Together.)

In Martin Luther’s small catechism (AD 1529) he stated:

IV The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

Secondly.

What does Baptism give, or of what use is it? Answer:

It worketh forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare (IV.2)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

I. One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins

977 Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:15-16). Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4; cf Rom 4:25).

978 “When we made our first profession of faith while receiving the holy Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received then was so full and complete that there remained in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offenses committed by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order to expiate them (Pt 1, Sect 2 I, ch 3, Art 10.I, On Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins).

There are two principal interpretations of Rom 6:1-4:

(a) Baptismal regeneration, and

(b) The spiritual reality baptism symbolises (Hunt 1995).

(a) Baptismal regeneration

Richard Donovan explained v. 3:

In verse 2, Paul said that we have “died to sin.” Now he links that odd expression to baptism. Paul suggests that baptism has power that transcends mere symbolism, and involves more than cleansing from sin. . . . When we are buried in baptismal water, that act unites us with Christ in his death and burial (v. 5) [Donovan 2017].

He further explains v. 4 which speaks of ‘we also might walk in newness of life’. When did this start? ‘This “newness” began with our baptism, but the renewal process continues throughout life and will be fully realized only in the general resurrection at the end of time’ (Donovan 2017).

For Donovan, new life begins when a person is baptised. Thus, he promotes baptismal regeneration.

Jim Parker, an Eastern Orthodox priest, stated:[4]

Here’s my “opinion.”
Rom 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Rom 6:3-4
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,
that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life.

So, according to scripture, (not my opinion says Jim) in baptism, believers are baptized into Jesus’ death.

And, according to scripture, (not my opinion) in baptism, believers are buried with Jesus. Therefore, according to scripture, (not my opinion) in baptism, as Christ was raised from the dead (to eternal life) so believers also are raised from the dead. (That’s resurrection to eternal life.)
Also:

Gal 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

(It is only by being “in Christ” that we have eternal life.)


Col 2:11-14
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

So, again, scripture (not my opinion) says that we were dead and were buried with Christ and then were raised up again and made alive with Christ.
Tit 3:4-5 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
“Washing of regeneration”: Washing is baptism; regeneration is another word for “born again.”

And from the early church:

Justin Martyr (100 – 165 AD) The First Apology, Chapter LXI, “Christian Baptism”

I will also relate the manner in which we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ; lest, if we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the explanation we are making. As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, “Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers’ wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: “Wash you, make you clean. . . .”
And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe. . . . The illuminand is also washed in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets foretold everything about Jesus.
So, it is certainly NOT “my opinion.” It is the teaching of scripture as confirmed by the writings of the early church.
You believe whatever you like. I will follow the teaching of the Church as it has been taught from her as:

Justin Martyr (100 – 165 AD) The First Apology, Chapter LXI, “Christian Baptism”

Note: the word “regeneration” refers to being “born again.”

I will also relate the manner in which we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ; lest, if we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the explanation we are making. As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, “Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers’ wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: “Wash you, make you clean.”

And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; …… The illuminand is also washed in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets foretold everything about Jesus.

Theophilus (ca.180)

The things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this could be a sign of men destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and bath of regeneration – as many as come to the truth and are born again.

Irenaeus (ca. 180)

When we come to refute them (the Gnostics) we will show in its proper place that this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God. They have renounced the whole faith. . . . For the baptism instituted by the visible Jesus was for the remission of sins.
But there are some of them (Gnostics) who assert that it is unnecessary to bring persons to the water. Rather, they mix oil and water together, and they place this mixture on the heads of those who are to be initiated . . .this they maintain to be redemption. . . . Other (heretics), however, reject all these practices and maintain that the mystery of the unspeakable and invisible power should not be performed by visible and corruptible creatures. . . .These claim that their knowledge of the unspeakable Greatness is itself perfect redemption.

Tertullian (ca. 198)

Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life . . . we, like little fishes, after the example of our ichthus, Jesus Christ, are born in water.
Now, the teaching is laid down that “without baptism, salvation is attainable by no one.” This is based primarily on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, “Unless one is born of water he has not life.” However, when this is laid down, there immediately arise scrupulous (or rather, audacious) doubts on the part of some.
“Unless a man has been born again of water and spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of the heavens.” These words have tied faith to the necessity of baptism. Accordingly, all thereafter who became believers were baptized. So it was too, that Paul, when he believed, was baptized.
So, rather than form my own opinion, I will accept as fact the teaching of scripture and the early Church. Above are the scriptures and some of the teaching of the Church to which I submit as a disciple.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s view on Reformation catechisms is:

The confessions and catechisms of churches grounded in the Reformation clearly deny that baptism saves:

The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), Q. 72: “Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins? A: “No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.”
The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), Q. 91: “How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation? A: “The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them or in the one who administers them, but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in those who by faith receive them” (
Question and Answer: Baptismal Regeneration, 2018).

Comparing Scriptures (the analogy of faith)

“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. . . . Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:11, 13). It does not state that anyone needs to call on the name of the Lord and be baptised to be saved.

Dave Hunt wrote:

Those of every nation who believed in Christ as their Savior were to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Mat:28:19). These new disciples were to preach the gospel everywhere and to baptize those who believed (v 20) through their testimony as Christianity spread worldwide.

Baptism in the early church was by immersion: “they went down both into the water. . . . [W]hen they were come up out of the water” (Acts:8:38-39
), etc. Why? Because baptism symbolizes the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection: “we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead…we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom:6:4). . . .

[The Council of] Trent anathematizes all who deny that “the merit of Jesus Christ is applied . . . to infants by the sacrament of baptism” or who deny that by baptism “the guilt of original sin is remitted. . . .” 5 Today’s Code of Canon Law (Canon 849) declares that those baptized are thereby “freed from their sins, are reborn as children of God and… incorporated in the Church.” Canon 204 states, “The Christian faithful are those who . . . have been incorporated in Christ through baptism” and are thereby members of the one, true Catholic Church (The Berean Call, “Baptismal regeneration.”)

The path to salvation

As indicated above: Who can be saved? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13 NIV).

How will people know who Jesus is and how should they respond to him? “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Rom 10:14 NIV)

The path is very simple. You must be able to call on the Lord’s name to be saved. You won’t know who Jesus is without a proclamation that you understand.

There is no need for baptism. That comes along the path of discipleship:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matt 28:19-20 NIV).

Baptism is part of growth in Christian discipleship. It is not a necessity for Christian salvation.

See the Got Questions Ministries article, “Is baptism necessary for Christian salvation?

See my articles:

clip_image005 Baptism and Salvation: I Peter 3:21

clip_image007Believer’s baptism or infant baptism?

What is the meaning of Romans 6:1-4?

It is not debating baptismal regeneration vs baptism as the spiritual reality which baptism symbolises:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (NIV).

It discusses the Christian experience of death to sin and growth in grace, using the baptism analogy. This should be every Christian’s experience for getting rid of the old life and being renewed into a new life. This new life began when we were born again and growth takes place when we bury sin and live the new life.

Baptism of a child by affusion (courtesy Wikipedia)

Works consulted

Donovan, R N 2017. Biblical Commentary (Bible study): Romans 6:1-11. Sermon Writer (online). Available at: https://www.sermonwriter.com/biblical-commentary/romans-61b-11/ (Accessed 20 October 2018).

Hunt, D 1995. Baptismal regeneration? The Berean Call (online). Available at: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/baptismal-regeneration (Accessed 20 October 2018).

Notes

[1] Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics (CRTA) n.d. Baptismal Regeneration (online). Available at: https://reformed.org/definitions/index.html?mainframe=/definitions/baptismal_regeneration.html (Accessed 20 October 2018).

[2] Wikipedia 2018. Baptismal regeneration (online). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptismal_regeneration#Methodism (Accessed 20 October 2018).

[3] Hear Jesus n.d. Groups and denominations that teach baptismal regeneration (online). Available at: http://www.hearjesus.net/groups-teaching-baptismal-regeneration.html (Accessed 20 October 2018).

[4] Christian Forums.net 2018. Are all people infected by sin? (online), Jim Parker#82. Available at: https://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/are-all-people-infected-by-sin.77892/page-5 (Accessed 19 October 2018).

Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 27 September 2021.

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Lies about children not in detention centres

Who are the Tamil family from Biloela and why are they being deported? -  ABC News

By Spencer Gear PhD

As a person who is actively interested in Australian politics, I was shocked by what seemed to be a lie perpetrated in the leaders’ debate on 8 May 2019 with a potential audience of millions.

In his opening reply to a question from the moderator, Sabra Lane, Scott Morrison discussed the unpopular turn-back-the-boats policy that was eventually successful and saved many lives. Then he added, “We’ve got every child out of detention”.

Later he repeated it: “Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention”. That is fake news. What is the truth about children in detention?
If you read the change.org petition link, “Our PM knows these kids are suffering” at
https://www.change.org/p/peter-dutton-bring-priya-back-to-biloela/u/24530228 of 9 May 2019 you’ll discover that there are still children in detention in Australia

This link begins with what Scott Morrison said at the 3rd leaders’ debate. “Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention. Ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention, etc.”

He repeated this slogan over and over in 2019. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ypddAEAQFI&feature=youtu.be. However, these two little Sri Lankan children have been in detention for 15 months. Their father has been evicted from Australia and been returned to Sri Lanka. His wife and children may never see him again.

The Scriptures exhort Australia and individuals, “Whoever gives to the poor will have plenty. Whoever refuses to help them will get nothing but curses” (Proverbs 28:27).

This is a callous government that splits up families against the UNHCR’s pleading and legal representation. Where are the mercy and compassion of the people (including the Minister of Immigration) in this department to devastate a family this way?
As I watched the debate, I shouted to myself, ‘That is not the case. That is not the case. He’s lying’.

I was thinking of Priya, Nades (Thileepan) and their two beautiful children (born in Biloela Qld), Kopika and Tharunicaa who are Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who were wonderfully assimilated into the small central Qld town of Biloela.

That was until they were reefed out of their Biloela house in the early hours of the morning and whisked away to be eventually placed in a detention centre 15 months ago.

The change.org petition has been signed by 184,000 people. From this petition, I learned that after months of severe vitamin deficiencies and dental problems little Tharunicaa’s mouth hurt so much she couldn’t eat solid food.

Because we need sunlight to receive vitamin D to strengthen teeth and bones, the children have suffered from this deficiency. In addition they need fresh and healthy food and access to proper medical care.

These children ‘have been locked indoors for most of the last 15 months. Fresh food is restricted and visitors are banned from bringing it with them. And when Priya begs for her kids to see a doctor, she is fobbed off with Panadol’.

They have been refused visas to stay in Australia by the Department of Home Affairs and right now the family is in home detention in Perth. To say that ‘ultimately, we’ve got every child out of detention’ is a whopper!
Sadly, it seems that Scott Morrison lied over and over with his repeated statement. The children and parent in this family are still locked away in detention. The Coalition does not deserve to be in government when it treats people like this and tells this kind of lie.

Have they forgotten that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’? Giving a comfortable and peaceful life to Mum, Dad and the two children should be a top priority for this government.

According to The Guardian Australia, in July 2018 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), Andrej Mahecic, said from Geneva, that Nades’ expulsion from Australia contravened ‘the basic right of family unity, as well as the fundamental principle of the best interests of the child’.

In spite of the UNHCR trying to gain assurances from the Coalition government that Nades ‘would not be removed from Australia and be allowed to remain with his family’, there were multiple requests lodged by legal representatives for intervention by the Minister for Home Affairs, but ‘collective representations were unsuccessful’.

I attempted to obtain an update on this situation from the UNHCR in the ACT by asking two questions: “Are mother and two children being allowed to remain in Australia permanently?”

Secondly, “What is the situation for the husband Thileepan who has been returned to Sri Lanka by the Australian government? Has any progress been made by the UNHCR in its further negotiations with the Australian Department of Home Affairs/Immigration for him to be reunited with his family?”

Unfortunately, I was unable to progress this inquiry because of the UNHCR’s response: “For reasons of confidentiality and protection, UNHCR does not comment on individual refugee cases”.

In the final week of this election campaign, the LNP can live up to its promises of no children in detention and release this family from the Melbourne detention centre and bring the father back from Sri Lanka.

Then, I urge the Coalition to apologise to this family for the trauma it has unnecessarily inflicted on them. It is a priority to grant them permanent residency and pay for their return fares to the Biloela community in Qld.


Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 September 2021.