Why Did God Kill the Midianite Boys in Numbers 31? Part Four.

sin at peor edit copyThrough literary apologetics, this four-part series examines one of the more difficult passages in which to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of love, namely Numbers 31:13-18, which records the mass killing of Midianites including baby boys. As mentioned before, I find this particular passage abhorrent; however, after researching the cultural context, I do recognize that the blame is on the parents of the orphaned boys, not on God or Moses. It is not my intent to treat this subject matter lightly, or even make you like this passage. My only hope is for others who struggle with this passage to see God’s mercy in the situation.

Each part of this series includes excerpts from the literary apologetics novel, Prophecy of the Heir, which covers these events. Please note that Prophecy of the Heir is written as a fantasy novel from the viewpoints of angels and demons, predominately Michael the archangel’s. For your convenience, I have created a brief glossary of terms which will open in a new window, allowing you to switch back and forth at your leisure.

Historical Background: The Israelites had been wandering around the wilderness for the past 400 years. They are now ready to receive the land that God has promised them, but to several countries lie in the way. They have written to the kings of these lands requesting save passage, and vowing to neither eat from their crops, nor drink from the wells. Two of the kings refused, and launched an army against them. Both armies were defeated. When the third king, Balak, heard of this, he summoned a sorcerer from Babylon to put a curse on the Israelites, ensuring they would be slaughtered in the battle he prepared to launch against them. In part one of this series, we saw how Balaam was warned by the Angel of the Lord to not curse the Israelites, to which he reluctantly agreed. In part two, we saw Balaam leave with the king’s men, and again encounter the Angel of the Lord who suspected Balaam would not honor his word. Though he was prepared to kill Balaam, he spared him on the condition that Balaam speak only what God allowed him to. In part three, we saw how Balaam blessed the Israelites instead of cursing them, which led to Balak dismissing him without pay. Infuriated, Balaam set out to meet with the Midianites who had encouraged Balak to hire him with a plan that will result in the Israelites being as good as cursed.

Part Four: The Advice of Balaam

“Is the House of Jacov fully accounted for?” Michael asked, looking up from the scroll he just received.

Gavriel nodded. “Save for a group who went into the Moabite town of Peor for supplies.” Continue reading Why Did God Kill the Midianite Boys in Numbers 31? Part Four.

Book Review: Fool’s Talk by Os Guinness

Fools TalkOs Guinness wrote in his new book, Fool’s Talk: Recovering The Art Of Christian Persuasion (IVP Books, 2015), that his own journey to faith was more than intellectual. He said it included a long, slow, critical debate in his mind during his school years.

“On one side, I listened to the arguments of such famous atheists as Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, and on the other side to such Christian thinkers as Blaise Pascal, Fyodor Dostoevsky, G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.”

Guinness began writing books more than 40 years ago (The Dust of Death: A Critique of the Establishment and the Counter Culture, and the Proposal for a Third Way) and quickly became known as one of the best thinkers in Christianity. He went on to write more than 30 books (e.g. The Call, Doing Well and Doing Good, The Devil’s Gauntlet, Dining with the Devil, Time for Truth, In Two Minds, God in the Dark, Unspeakable, A Free People’s Suicide, The American Hour, Long Journey Home, The Case For Civility, The Global Public Square, Renaissance: The Power Of The Gospel However Dark The Times) while working as a freelance reporter with the BBC, as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, and as a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies. He is also the founder of the Trinity Forum and project director of the Trinity Forum Study Series and was the lead drafter of the Williamsburg Charter and the Global Charter of Conscience. Guinness is currently a Senior Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

Continue reading Book Review: Fool’s Talk by Os Guinness

A Response To “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You *** Idiots"

A magnifying glass hovering over several words like deceptions and lies, at the center of which is FactsWhen Skepchick Rebecca Watson wrote her viral post on the Planned Parenthood scandal (“Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, you F*** Idiots”), no one had to guess which side she was defending or what she thought of the pro-life crowd. The article is worth considering – not because she’s right, but because she is frustratingly wrong in both her facts and assumptions. As I respond to her arguments, I will be quoting the shortened blog version she posted on her website.

Continue reading A Response To “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You *** Idiots"

Book Review: The Case For Life- Part 2 Of 4

the-case-for-life-bookLast month I began a chapter-by-chapter summary review of Scott Klusendorf’s book “The Case For Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture” (paperbackKindleGoodReadsVideo TrailerInterviewLife Training Institute). Today I will continue the summary with Part 2 of the book.

Part 2- Pro-Life Christians Establish A Foundation For The Debate
Chapter 5- The Ground Rules, Part 1: Can You Name My Claim?
Probably the most important distinction in the debate regarding abortion is in what the pro-life advocate is arguing. In an effort to try to appease the pro-lifer, it is often claimed by pro-choice advocates that they are personally against abortion, but they would not impose their morality on others, thus they support choice. However, the debate is not about whether or not one personally likes the idea of abortion or not. It is about whether or not abortion is objectively wrong, regardless of our personal preferences. If it is objectively wrong, the only purpose personal preference serves in the discussion is to distract from the real issue and make one feel better about holding the wrong position.
Continue reading Book Review: The Case For Life- Part 2 Of 4

Shabir Ally vs. Jonathan McLatchie (Tawhid vs. Trinity): Watch the Debate Live Online This Sunday

On Sunday 16th of August, at 5:15pm GMT (that’s 12:15pm Eastern Time; 11:15am Central Time; 9:15am Pacific Standard Time), I am going to be engaging in a public debate with Islamic scholar Dr. Shabir Ally in London, England, on the question of “What is God Like — Tawhid or Trinity?” The live-stream is embedded above. Be sure to tune in!

See my previous debate on this subject with Abdurraheem Green here. See Shabir Ally’s previous debate on this subject with Nabeel Qureshi here.

For anyone in the UK who might wish to attend this event in person, the details are found on the promotional poster below:

Ally-McLatchie poster

Why Did God Kill the Midianite Boys in Numbers 31? Part Three.

balaam2Through literary apologetics, this four-part series examines one of the more difficult passages in which to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of love, namely Numbers 31:13-18, which records the mass killing of Midianites including baby boys. As mentioned before, I find this particular passage abhorrent; however, after researching the cultural context, I do recognize that the blame is on the parents of the orphaned boys, not on God or Moses. It is not my intent to treat this subject matter lightly, or even make you like this passage. My only hope is for others who struggle with this passage to see God’s mercy in the situation.

Each part of this series includes excerpts from the literary apologetics novel, Prophecy of the Heir, which covers these events. Please note that Prophecy of the Heir is written as a fantasy novel from the viewpoints of angels and demons, predominately Michael the archangel’s. For your convenience, I have created a brief glossary of terms which will open in a new window, allowing you to switch back and forth at your leisure.

Historical Background: The Israelites had been wandering around the wilderness for the past 400 years. They are now ready to receive the land that God has promised them, but to several countries lie in the way. They have written to the kings of these lands requesting save passage, and vowing to neither eat from their crops, nor drink from the wells. Two of the kings refused, and launched an army against them. Both armies were defeated. When the third king, Balak, heard of this, he summoned a sorcerer from Babylon to put a curse on the Israelites, ensuring they would be slaughtered in the battle he prepared to launch against them. In part one of this series, we saw how Balaam was warned by the Angel of the Lord to not curse the Israelites, to which he reluctantly agreed. In part two, we saw Balaam leave with the king’s men, and again encounter the Angel of the Lord who suspected Balaam would not honor his word. Though he was prepared to kill Balaam, he spared him on the condition that Balaam speak only what God allowed him to.

Part Three: The Curse of Balaam

Michael shifted impatiently as he scanned the distant mountains for any sign of the Prince. He’d been gone several weeks, far longer than necessary to prevent a mortal’s coming.

A voice spoke in his ear. “The sorcerer approaches.” Continue reading Why Did God Kill the Midianite Boys in Numbers 31? Part Three.

Inside Out

Pixar’s latest blockbuster, Inside Out, chronicles the life of Riley, an eleven-year-old girl, as she moves NEMye3g3VuXNQM_1_1with her family from an idyllic, postcard kind of town to a large and lonely city. And by “chronicles the life of Riley I mean it tells her story by focusing mostly on her five core emotions: Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness. Up until the move, Riley has led a life controlled (literally) by Joy. As a result of the tumultuous move, Joy suddenly has to compete with other emotions like Anger and Sadness in ways she did not have to before; in other words, her formerly quiet inside emotions are about to come out for the world to see. Continue reading Inside Out

Mining for God

— on TV this Saturday —

Mining for God Profile picBrandon McGuire grew up with a Midwestern American view of Christianity. After college, though, he lived for three months in Africa, where he saw a very different kind of lived-out Christianity.

When he came back to America, he started to pay more attention to what people think about Christianity. As he asked questions, both online and on the street, it soon became apparent that people hold all manner of beliefs: Continue reading Mining for God

Book Review: The Case For Life- Part 1 Of 4

the-case-for-life-bookI have been quite excited to read Scott Klusendorf’s The Case For Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (paperbackKindleGoodReadsVideo TrailerInterviewLife Training Institute). From my elementary school days, I have been exposed to pro-life Christians who have faced ridicule, fines, physical harm, and even jail time for their commitment to the unborn’s right to life. It was not until my exposure to Christian apologetics that I became aware that the fight was more than each side just emoting at one another. In this book, Klusendorf provides the scientific case for the humanity of the unborn and the objective moral wrongness of killing them. He addresses many common and powerful challenges to the pro-life position. The book is divided into four parts and is 243 pages in length. This chapter-by-chapter review series will cover one part per month for the next four months. Today I will summarize chapters 1 through 4.

Continue reading Book Review: The Case For Life- Part 1 Of 4