How should we Respond to this? (Use of Leviticus)

Status
Not open for further replies.

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
How should Reformed, Covenantal Christians respond to such a response?

Homosexuality is an abomination, but is eating shellfish?


Some may find this offensive, however on a more serious note it does
point out the inappropriateness of the extreme interpretation of very
old religious texts in the today's world.

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?


October 2002
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to
people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an
observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to
Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The
following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast
resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as
informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I
have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that
knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the
homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus
18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need
some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws
and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They
claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus
21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for
her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her
period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how
do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and
female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend
of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you
clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2
clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill
him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.
I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a
defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my
vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.
19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me
unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different
crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of
two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to
curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the
trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? -
Lev.24:10-16.
Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we
do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you
can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal
and unchanging.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I read someplace Dr. Laura now calls herself Christian. Who can figure?

As far as the letter, there's 2000 years of Christian interpretation of the law. There is also the same amount of Jewish adjustments to the loss of Temple service, but that's beside the point. The point being, there are many, many methods of biblical interpretation, and not all of them are of equal value. There are a few methods that have become corporate and widespread, due to making rational sense. Too bad, the letter writer in question has made up his own method, or chosen one of the least acceptable methods--not that he cares; he only chose it for the way it bolstered his pre-committments.

So, who cares what a careless, jealous (of Dr. Laura's fame, or whatever), prejudiced doofus like this thinks. He might have been talking about the legal system of some country he lived in, but which he objected to. He certainly didn't mount any sort of argument that biblical morality is erroneous. It says "don't murder" too. Does he think perhaps that's also bunk? Is that part of the "eternal and unchanging" Word of God that should also be mocked? See, its just the parts he doesn't like that he tries to make "silly."
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
I would venture to say that this letter is an attempt by way of facetiousness to make those who take the Bible as the eternal Word of God look ridiculous. If this is directed to a Jewish interpretation which regards ceremonial laws as binding today, then such a view rightly deserves to be discredited; but not at the expense of mocking God's Word (third commandment, see WLC 113). I believe it is really directed at "Dr." Laura's stance on sodomy. See this Snopes article about the letter.

Concerning shellfish, clearly the dietary law is a subset of the ceremonial law which has been fulfilled and abolished in Christ. Matthew 15, Acts 10, et al. confirms this. Matthew Henry on Lev. 11.10:

Note, Whatever is unclean should be to us an abomination; touch not the unclean thing. But observe, It was to be an abomination only to Jews; the neighbouring nations were under none of these obligations, nor are these things to be an abomination to us Christians.

Proper exegesis should be made of each text raised understanding that there is a threefold division of God's law and that which is ceremonial is not binding today but that which moral is.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chap. 19:

3. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a Church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits;a and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties.b All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New Testament.c

a. Gal 4:1-3; Col 2:17; Heb 9 throughout; 10:1. • b. 1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 6:17; Jude 1:23. • c. Dan 9:27; Eph 2:15-16; Col 2:14, 16-17.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks Andrew.

After I posted this, I also referred to Matthew Henry on Leviticus 11. I guess I never thought about how something can be considered an abomination at one point in time but not in another (within my covenantal hermeneutic that is).

I am wondering if Christians should avoid using Leviticus 18:22 as a defense as to why Homosexuality is morally wrong since the passage is not addressing moral abominations (per se) but ceremonial abominations. Of course we can deduce from other passages that homosexuality is indeed a moral violation, but not so much from Leviticus. Thoughts?
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
ChristopherPaul;

Homosexuality is a sexual sin, just as pre-maritial sex, and adultry are...many people struggle with lust. Jesus said, looking at a woman in lust is the same as adultery, so in that many non-homosexual men struggle in this area, if they are addicted to p.o.r.n., if they don't address that sin...it could lead them down a darker path.

And no where does it say that homosexuality is no longer an abomination, if we read what it says in Romans Chapter 1

Seems to me, that if a person struggles with lust, and doesn't address that sin, it could possibly lead them to homosexuality
as God gives them over to the lusts of their heart. It appears this is the sign of a truly hardened heart against God, the deeper lust is rooted the more sexually perverted a person becomes.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
ChristopherPaul;

Homosexuality is a sexual sin, just as pre-maritial sex, and adultry are...many people struggle with lust. Jesus said, looking at a woman in lust is the same as adultery, so in that many non-homosexual men struggle in this area, if they are addicted to p.o.r.n., if they don't address that sin...it could lead them down a darker path.

And no where does it say that homosexuality is no longer an abomination, if we read what it says in Romans Chapter 1

Seems to me, that if a person struggles with lust, and doesn't address that sin, it could possibly lead them to homosexuality
as God gives them over to the lusts of their heart. It appears this is the sign of a truly hardened heart against God, the deeper lust is rooted the more sexually perverted a person becomes.

Bobbi, I am not sure how this relates to the subject and initial post. The question is not the sinfulness of homosexuality, but the use of Leviticus to define abominations.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
ChristopherPaul;

I am not sure how this relates to the subject and initial post. The question is not the sinfulness of homosexuality, but the use of Leviticus to define abominations.

I would refer to Romans Chapter 1, before I would Leviticus, as it appears, at least to me, to explain more fully why homosexuality is still an abominition before God.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Thanks Andrew.

After I posted this, I also referred to Matthew Henry on Leviticus 11. I guess I never thought about how something can be considered an abomination at one point in time but not in another (within my covenantal hermeneutic that is).

I am wondering if Christians should avoid using Leviticus 18:22 as a defense as to why Homosexuality is morally wrong since the passage is not addressing moral abominations (per se) but ceremonial abominations. Of course we can deduce from other passages that homosexuality is indeed a moral violation, but not so much from Leviticus. Thoughts?

Leviticus 18.22 expresses the sense of the seventh commandment prohibition against sodomy very clearly; however, it is true that the context of that chapter pertains to ceremonial laws. The Westminster Assembly, though, did look to Leviticus (as well as Romans 1) to show that sodomy violates the seventh commandment -- Leviticus 20.15-16 (see WLC #139). Matthew Henry's commentary on both passages is helpful.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Leviticus 18.22 expresses the sense of the seventh commandment prohibition against sodomy very clearly; however, it is true that the context of that chapter pertains to ceremonial laws. The Westminster Assembly, though, did look to Leviticus (as well as Romans 1) to show that sodomy violates the seventh commandment -- Leviticus 20.15-16 (see WLC #139). Matthew Henry's commentary on both passages is helpful.


Yeah, I see that and certainly agree with the WA regarding the expanded sense of the seventh commandment. The question I, personally don't have response to is why shellfish is an abomination along with sodomy, but yet shellfish ceases to be an abomination but sodomy does not. It seems like the inevitable question. I may spend some more time with Matthew Henry's comments. He addressed how God requires His people to be pure and (I believe it was him) how animals with one stomach were not as clean as animals with two, etc. I guess i am just not picking up the answer as to why one ceases to be an abomination and the other does not other than the fact that the rest of scripture certainly makes it clear that one is a moral violation whereas the other is only addresses as a ceremonial violation. Perhaps that is my answer.

:think:
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Dear Dr. Dawkins,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding Nature's Law. I have learned a great deal from your books, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to attack the pedaphile lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that The Blind Watchmaker clearly states that we evolved the way we did, and there is no purpose or telos to our sexual desires. To say that something is "normal" invokes norms, and your books tell us that there are only descriptions, not prescriptions. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

For example, Nature tells us that it's survival of the fitest. The problem is all the retards and deformed people. Why does my tax money go to helping take care of people Momma Nature clearly doesn't want around? Could you contact the IRS for me? I know you live in England, but perhaps you have contacts over here. Dennett, maybe?

I would like to own slaves, and maybe wipe out all savage people. Afterall, Darwin said, "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.” What would be the most efficient way to acheive this?

I know that I'm not to rape women, they must consent. The problem is that for elimitivist materialists like yourself and Dr. Churchland, consent is just a hold-over of folk psychology. Should I cut open their brain and see if the appropriate neurons are firing?

I am allowed to own many bits of matter - houses, cars, dogs, &c. Why not human bags of matter? Some religous nuts, who belive in the Old Testament, say that humans are made in God's image, and this gives them dignity. But we are enlightened and know otherwise. So, isn't assigning value to human bags of meat just an arbitrary construct? They really don't have any more objective dignity than a bag of puppy chow, do they?

A friend of mine says that eating cows is a lesser abomination than eating humans. Jeffry Dahmer doesn't agree. Actually, they're both just eating animals, bags of meat. If Jeff likes homo sapien flank, isn't telling him that that is wrong just an example of speciesism? Can you settle this?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that Momma's Law is eternal and unchanging.

Regards,

Meat bag # 6,346,756,983


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Paul, you're hillarious! Ever thought of doing stand up?;)
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Yeah, I see that and certainly agree with the WA regarding the expanded sense of the seventh commandment. The question I, personally don't have response to is why shellfish is an abomination along with sodomy, but yet shellfish ceases to be an abomination but sodomy does not. It seems like the inevitable question. I may spend some more time with Matthew Henry's comments. He addressed how God requires His people to be pure and (I believe it was him) how animals with one stomach were not as clean as animals with two, etc. I guess i am just not picking up the answer as to why one ceases to be an abomination and the other does not other than the fact that the rest of scripture certainly makes it clear that one is a moral violation whereas the other is only addresses as a ceremonial violation. Perhaps that is my answer.

:think:

You might also want to consider Henry's comments (or other studies) on Matt. 15.11 and Acts 10.15, both of which are key passages showing the abolition of the dietary laws.

Gary North treats this subject as noted here.

As for the larger question of discerning that which ceremonial and therefore abrogated (Col. 2, Heb. 9, etc.) from that which moral and binding at all times and in all places, this has been the work of the Christian exegesis for centuries. This previous thread on the divisions of the law may be of interest: Sub-Divisions Within Nomos.

To give some examples, it was an abomination to pollute the altar in the Old Testament (Lev. 21.23). Nowadays it would be an abomination to have an altar (other than Christ -- cf. Heb. 13.10).

Sabbath-breaking is sin. In the Old Testament this meant picking up sticks and other mundane activities on the 7th day of the week. In the Christian era the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week. Therefore, activities that were verbotten on the Jewish Sabbath are now lawful on the seventh day of the week. This is an example of how something can be sinful in the Old Testament and lawful for us (keeping in mind, of course, that the Fourth Commandment is moral but the day itself appointed by God for the keeping of the Fourth Commandment is not lawful). Likewise, as an extension of this commandment, holy days besides the weekly Sabbath were appointed by God to be kept. But Paul in Galatians fears for the salvation of some who kept those same holy days. I recommend reading John Evans on that subject (Matthew Henry's commentary on Romans 14). He explains well why that which is ceremonial ought to be laid aside and the sin of Christians who would take up the ceremonial worship ordinances formerly commanded by God or, as he puts it, rake them out of the ashes.

There are many other such examples showing how what was once lawful is now unlawful and vice-versa. They do not prove that God has changed his views on the subject but they teach -- as found in the Westminster Larger Catechism #99 -- "That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times." The purpose of the ceremonial law was temporary -- to point the Jewish church to Christ (see Calvin on this point in the thread referenced above). Certain prohibitions -- such as the command to abstain from shellfish -- were of a temporary nature. When the purpose of the prohibition was fulfilled in Christ, as discussed by Henry, then such restrictions are also done away with, Col. 2.20-23.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
You might also want to consider Henry's comments (or other studies) on Matt. 15.11 and Acts 10.15, both of which are key passages showing the abolition of the dietary laws.

Gary North treats this subject as noted here.

As for the larger question of discerning that which ceremonial and therefore abrogated (Col. 2, Heb. 9, etc.) from that which moral and binding at all times and in all places, this has been the work of the Christian exegesis for centuries. This previous thread on the divisions of the law may be of interest: Sub-Divisions Within Nomos.

To give some examples, it was an abomination to pollute the altar in the Old Testament (Lev. 21.23). Nowadays it would be an abomination to have an altar (other than Christ -- cf. Heb. 13.10).

Sabbath-breaking is sin. In the Old Testament this meant picking up sticks and other mundane activities on the 7th day of the week. In the Christian era the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week. Therefore, activities that were verbotten on the Jewish Sabbath are now lawful on the seventh day of the week. This is an example of how something can be sinful in the Old Testament and lawful for us (keeping in mind, of course, that the Fourth Commandment is moral but the day itself appointed by God for the keeping of the Fourth Commandment is not lawful). Likewise, as an extension of this commandment, holy days besides the weekly Sabbath were appointed by God to be kept. But Paul in Galatians fears for the salvation of some who kept those same holy days. I recommend reading John Evans on that subject (Matthew Henry's commentary on Romans 14). He explains well why that which is ceremonial ought to be laid aside and the sin of Christians who would take up the ceremonial worship ordinances formerly commanded by God or, as he puts it, rake them out of the ashes.

There are many other such examples showing how what was once lawful is now unlawful and vice-versa. They do not prove that God has changed his views on the subject but they teach -- as found in the Westminster Larger Catechism #99 -- "That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times." The purpose of the ceremonial law was temporary -- to point the Jewish church to Christ (see Calvin on this point in the thread referenced above). Certain prohibitions -- such as the command to abstain from shellfish -- were of a temporary nature. When the purpose of the prohibition was fulfilled in Christ, as discussed by Henry, then such restrictions are also done away with, Col. 2.20-23.

:up:

Thanks for the clarification. I guess it is time I study theonomy... :book2:
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
ChristopherPaul;

The question I, personally don't have response to is why shellfish is an abomination along with sodomy, but yet shellfish ceases to be an abomination but sodomy does not. It seems like the inevitable question. I may spend some more time with Matthew Henry's comments. He addressed how God requires His people to be pure and (I believe it was him) how animals with one stomach were not as clean as animals with two, etc. I guess i am just not picking up the answer as to why one ceases to be an abomination and the other does not other than the fact that the rest of scripture certainly makes it clear that one is a moral violation whereas the other is only addresses as a ceremonial violation. Perhaps that is my answer.

:think:

Maybe consider the Lords words...in Matthew and forgive me for not knowing the exact chapter and verses to quote..

But He addresses the laws, and one of the things that comes across is basically this..."It's not what goes into your mouth (what you eat) that defiles a man, but what comes out of the heart of the man that defiles him" (his thoughts and words)

Would this apply concerning the shellfish??
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Dear Dr. Dawkins,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding Nature's Law. I have learned a great deal from your books, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to attack the pedaphile lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that The Blind Watchmaker clearly states that we evolved the way we did, and there is no purpose or telos to our sexual desires. To say that something is "normal" invokes norms, and your books tell us that there are only descriptions, not prescriptions. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

For example, Nature tells us that it's survival of the fitest. The problem is all the retards and deformed people. Why does my tax money go to helping take care of people Momma Nature clearly doesn't want around? Could you contact the IRS for me? I know you live in England, but perhaps you have contacts over here. Dennett, maybe?

I would like to own slaves, and maybe wipe out all savage people. Afterall, Darwin said, "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.” What would be the most efficient way to acheive this?

I know that I'm not to rape women, they must consent. The problem is that for elimitivist materialists like yourself and Dr. Churchland, consent is just a hold-over of folk psychology. Should I cut open their brain and see if the appropriate neurons are firing?

I am allowed to own many bits of matter - houses, cars, dogs, &c. Why not human bags of matter? Some religous nuts, who belive in the Old Testament, say that humans are made in God's image, and this gives them dignity. But we are enlightened and know otherwise. So, isn't assigning value to human bags of meat just an arbitrary construct? They really don't have any more objective dignity than a bag of puppy chow, do they?

A friend of mine says that eating cows is a lesser abomination than eating humans. Jeffry Dahmer doesn't agree. Actually, they're both just eating animals, bags of meat. If Jeff likes homo sapien flank, isn't telling him that that is wrong just an example of speciesism? Can you settle this?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that Momma's Law is eternal and unchanging.

Regards,

Meat bag # 6,346,756,983

:lol:
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
te wilder said:
Answer not a fool according to his folly lest you be like unto him.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

:cheers:


I heard a message by Sinclair Ferguson on these two verses a while back - very edifying. Think it came from "The War on the Word", a Ligonier conference from several years ago...
 

VaughanRSmith

Puritan Board Sophomore
The original story is pretty much verbatim from an episode of the West Wing where the President has a go at a radio personality for the same thing.

Which came first, the letter or the Wing?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top