Sir William Blackstone is often praised for laying the groundwork for American jurisprudence with his Commentaries on the Laws of England. Blackstone's Commentaries were one of the most widely read books in the colonies, and his views of the laws of England were often incorporated into the laws of America. One portion of Blackstone's Commentaries that has largely been forgotten by modern legal scholars but which played a significant role in forming the thought of founding fathers like James Wilson was Blackstone's answer to the question of where laws come from. What follows is a condensed version of Blackstone's somewhat loquacious answer to that question.
I have many Catholic friends, and from time to time, one of them will attempt to persuade me that the books of the Apocrypha are just as much Scripture as the Old and New Testaments. After studying the Apocrypha itself, I've developed the response of pointing out that even according to the Catholic church's own criteria, the Apocrypha does not make the cut.
One of the common arguments brought against the traditional understanding of Leviticus 18:22 is the claim that the Hebrew word “toebah” (abomination) only refers to pagan temple practices and not things that are revolting in and of themselves. I was recently presented with an opportunity to respond to this argument, and I took the time to look up every occurrence of the word “toebah” in the Bible. I found that the above claim cannot be supported by the facts and that the English term "abomination" is an accurate translation of the word "toebah."
Evan Minton of the Cerebral Faith Blog recently asked for my opinion of his article "Why The Calendar Day Interpretation Of Genesis One Is Exegetically Untenable." Evan presented four problems that he saw with the young earth view of Genesis, and I thought that my responses to his problems would be helpful to my readers. Go ahead and read through Evan's article and then check out my response below.
I have often been asked to explain how Exodus 21:7-11 can be reconciled with the goodness of God.
And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
Yesterday, a facebook acquaintance asked me for help understanding a common misconception about the Bible. He said that one of his friends wanted to know how anyone could believe the Bible when it contains such outrageous claims like the claim that the earth is resting on pillars instead of being a globe suspended in space. Here is the answer that I gave:
The Bible does not say that the earth rests on pillars. There are only three verses which speak of the pillars of the earth, and all three are using figurative language to refer to leaders among men. This is the same figure of speech that Paul used in Galatians 2:9 where he spoke of Peter, James and John being pillars in the church.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me for my thoughts on Dr. Wayne Grudem's article answering objections to voting for Donald Trump. Dr. Grudem responded to 11 objections and then wrote a lengthy comparison of the proposed policies of Trump and Hillary followed by an appeal for Christians to "seek what is best for the nation." I read Dr. Grudem's article and jotted down the following thoughts in response to his answers:
One of the more recent forms of this philosophy has taken the name of the Hebrew Roots movement. One of the foundational tenet of this philosophy is the claim that everyone who becomes a Christian actually does so because he is a descendant of one of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and his salvation is a fulfillment of God's promise to reunite all of the tribes. Thus, according to the Hebrew Roots movement, everyone who is a Christian is also an Israelite and, therefore, should submit to the Law of Moses.
I have had the opportunity to debate several followers of the Hebrew Roots movement, and this debate is the result of one of my most interesting, and entertaining, encounters. My opponent in this debate is Mr. Ted Weiland who maintains a very active online presence criticizing the American Constitution as a pagan law. His writings can be found on his website: bibleversusconstitution.org. Ted began this particular debate by challenging me to read his book The Mystery of the Gentiles and offering to pay me $100 if I could prove him wrong. Of course, he never did send me the promised $100, but the debate itself was still worth the effort.
Click here to read the full debate.
As I've shared my research on Franklin's faith with more and more people, one particular quotation has consistently been presented as evidence that Franklin never became a Christian. This quotation is taken from Franklin's Autobiography in which he made the following statement about George Whitefield:
"He us’d indeed sometimes to pray for my Conversion, but never had the Satisfaction of believing that his Prayers were heard."
Here is what I have written about this quote in my upcoming book Franklin on Faith:
I was listening to Dr. James White’s podcast the other day and heard him defending the Calvinist TULIP and criticizing other floral acrostics attempting to provide a contrasting view of salvation. I’ve always disagreed with the doctrines of Calvinism, but I’ve never attempted to organize my disagreement into a simple acrostic which could stand toe-to-toe with the TULIP. That is, I’ve never done so before now. While listening to Dr. White’s podcast, I came up with a simple acrostic that I think defeats the TULIP with ease.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)