As for Those Agitators…

Not everyone knows that Paul became so frustrated with his Christian brothers who were bickering about circumcision that he finally wished the Foreskin-Fundies would cut their penises off.

Yeah, he threw his hands up in exasperation and said, “Just casterate yourselves!”

At first he tried explaining that circumcision was an outward symbol of an INTERNAL covenant with God.  He insisted over and over that “Circumcision of the heart” matters most.

But many of the disciples were hung-up on the places where The Law seemed to indicate that all men of God needed to be circumsized, even the foreigners who came to live in Israel.  In their culture, the physical ritual had become synonymous with “belonging to God.”

So, as non-Jewish men became interested in receiving Christ’s gift of salvation, it’s understandable that the Old Covenant Jews thought it should be business as usual:

“Let’s have a ceremony!” they probably said.

“Let’s wash in a sacred bowl and burn some doves, maybe?” another one might have suggested.

“Well, at THE VERY LEAST, we expect our new brothers to put the Mark of God on their privates!”  many agreed.

Yeah–obviously!

Definitely that.

“Scripture is clear in that regard!” they would assure each other.

Put Paul kept trying to help them through a paradigm shift.

He said: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love… Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?”

I can picture the Galatians reading that part and scratching their heads like, “What is Paul talking about? WE ARE obeying the truth! We’re following what THE SCRIPTURE CLEARLY SAYS…”

“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.  For the generations to come… Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.”  –Genesis 17

How was God unclear that EVERY MALE AMONG YOU shall be circumcised?

What part of “EVERYLASTING” was vague?

This interpretation of The Law was drilled into the minds of God’s Children for hundreds of years–so Paul was fighting a difficult battle to move them to a new understanding of the purpose behind their tradition.

On the one hand, I sympathize with the Jewish early-Christians who viewed Paul as the heretic for twisting God’s holy word.

But I also sympathize with anyone, like Paul, trying to introduce a new concept to a rigid Fundy…

Paul believes that we should be patient and full of grace with our “weaker brothers” whose consciences are determined.

However, we must speak up if those “weaker brothers” begin trying to impose their Legalism on new converts and causing stumbling blocks to OTHER weaker brothers.

(Side note: Weaker brothers are constantly tripping over each other.  I tend to refer to it at the “Clash of the Fundamentalists.” But I digress.)

Paul’s frustration with the “GOD REQUIRES CIRCUMCISION” crowd is very similar to my annoyance with certain individuals who insist that GOD REQUIRES BELIEF IN A YOUNG EARTH.

I wrote about the hoops which (some) Young Earth Creationists expect everyone to jump through here.

I believe Christians should be free to explore the topic of origins and to conclude whatever makes the most sense to them about how and when The Creator brought forth life. But please don’t pretend that God’s word is “clear” about something that is pretty obviously confusing.

And please–please, please–stop telling Atheists and Weaker Brothers that they must believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old or they will compromise the entire Christian faith. 

Oh–I understand WHY a person would think God cares about the creation timeline.  And I also understand that some beloved Christians struggle with respecting figurative or symbolic Covenants because it’s hard to see those intangible ideas as being equally REAL and TRUE and DIVINE as a literal piece of cut flesh.

But, a person who believes in a stylized Genesis account does NOT have to believe the sacrifice of Jesus was also figurative.  That’s called a Non Sequitur. Even if Moses used parables, it’s possible to believe that Jesus was a real, historic person.

Therefore, representing a YEC worldview as if the whole of Christianity depends on a 6-day understanding of Creation is JUST AS WRONG as asking new converts to LITERALLY cut their bodies and prove their allegiance.  

If you weren’t so over-the-top dogmatic, I would go with the flow.  But if you’re going to set up obstacles for would-be converts and other brothers/sisters, I have to call you out.

Like the Circumcision Gang, you fully, honestly believe you’re carrying a message straight from God’s mouth, while those who disagree (like Paul and Matt Walsh) are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Your perspective makes sense, and I respect your willingness to stand up for what you (incorrectly, but understandbly) feel is indesputably fact.

I only mean to confess that I agree with Paul–your agitating must stop.

I won’t wish that anybody would cut off their body parts, because I think only Paul can get away with that.  🙂

But I will issue this challenge instead: if an individual is so completely sure that God SAID 24-hours and he MEANS 24-hours, why don’t we insist that all Bible translations replace the word “day” with the words “24 hours” in Genesis 1?

Again, if it’s so clear, and there’s not a bit of doubt about what GOD’S WORD intends to convey, then why not help eliminate all confusion for future generations of readers by having Genesis spell out the truth:

“…and there was evening, and there was morning, the first 24 hours.” ?

Are the Agitators willing to go the whole way?

 

In Christian Love,

-Paul and Amanda

23 thoughts on “As for Those Agitators…

  1. Randy Epps

    Amanda, I think translating the Hebrew word YOM into 24 hours would be a little bit of a stretch for an interpreter to justify. Again, it is context. You know, a lot of Hebrew words share the same letters in the same order. No vowels. So, context rules in Hebrew
    interpretation. Can’t we do what Bryan says and go by the context?
    You can accept or reject any tradition you want, but his arguments seem to make a lot of sense, at least, to me….Although, I honestly can’t see how the old earth thing can work out.

    Like

    Reply
    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      If the context dictates that it means 24 hours, it should say 24 hours, yes?

      If it’s true that the context is CLEAR and that there can be no other way of interpreting the words of Moses (and of God) then let’s not interpret them any other way.

      It’s talking about 24 hours, so that’s what it should say.

      Like

      Reply
      1. mrsmcmommy Post author

        The point I’m trying to make it that the context is NOT as clear as some people would have you believe.

        Some people throw around the word “context” like it settles everything. But “suggesting” 24-hours is not the same as SAYING, undoubtedly, that it was 24-hours.

        The context of the Law about Circumcision is that God told Abraham that all of his descendents would cut their foreskin FOR ETERNITY. That’s the context. Until Jesus and Paul came along, there was no “context” which would make anyone believe there was such thing as “Circumcision of the heart.” From the perspective of the priests and religious leaders who had been studying Leviticus their whole lives, Paul was making stuff up and using the Scripture to justify disobeying God’s CLEAR command.

        Likewise, there is no “context” which makes the word “Yom” mean 24-hours, absolutely, unquestionably. Someone who insists that all the answers are found when we use a special tool called “context” is being dishonest about how clear the Bible is and about how easy it is to interpret God’s meaning about things sometimes.

        They will not translate “Yom” to “24-hours” because they cannot be SURE that’s what Moses was saying…

        Like

      2. Mel Wild

        And, btw, we’re still in the seventh day since the text didn’t give it an ending. That seems like a pretty long 24-hour period to me. Perhaps the theory of relativity involved? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mel Wild

    Well said. First of all, thank God for the new covenant! LOL!
    It’s crazy when you think of the radical iconoclastic nature of Paul’s teaching. Imagine the Hebrew scholars asking Paul, “Where is THAT in the Bible?” Worse, imagine if Paul was subjected to the Internet self-appointed nitwits out in cyberspace today! There would be thousands of YouTube videos exposing Paul as a false teacher and the Antichrist. Oh wait…there are videos like that out there anyway. 🙂

    As far as old earth vs. young earth fuss, frankly, I have never seen why trying to be dogmatic about it either way should be an issue to us at all. It’s a lot of trying to force ancient Semitic writings while ignoring the culture it was written to, into our modern science paradigm. They don’t fit. But that doesn’t stop us from wasting a lot of ink on it. What’s critically important to me is this: is Jesus who He said He was? Did He live, die, and was He raised from the dead? The rest is superficial, by comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Yes! The fact that Paul didn’t have to deal with the issue of “Where’s that in the Bible” and YouTube videos is, in my opinion, one of the many examples of Jesus being born at the perfect time. As you say, there are still people “exposing” Paul as a heretic today, but not nearly as many as there would be if Paul were writing now that everyone has a blog and an opinion.
      (I TOTALLY mean to include myself in the criticism, by the way. 🙂 )

      The more information we have access to, the less possible it is for us to process and master ALL of it. But because we’re fearful, controlling creatures, we just cling ever more dogmatically to our handful of comforting declarations about what GOD SAID….

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Amanda

    Circumcision is religiously fanatic child abuse protected under religion laws. Disgusting and shameful.
    What’s next, “my religion says we can cut off my little girl’s clitoris”? – Oh wait, that already exists, it’s called Islam.
    I suppose you defend that global common practice as well ?

    Like

    Reply
    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Nope.
      This article isn’t really about either Circumcision or female genital mutilation… But I get the feeling you spend a lot of time on the internet daring people to disagree with you about it. I suppose you believe vaccines are child abuse, too? 😉

      Like

      Reply
      1. Amanda

        I could make so many personal attacks in response to the one made about me but I don’t actually need to. But way to copout of your comments defending circumcision (and you included a defense of it in the post which you also defended, so my comment isn’t out of thin air, it’s entirely pertinent).

        Like

      2. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Your lack of answer is answer enough. 😂

        Look, I’ve only got about 30 or 40 readers, and very few of them engage in the comments. So, if you’re going to save the world from circumcision, I recommend hijacking a much bigger blog, where your important information gets more attention…

        I’m the only one here, and I don’t have time to explain to you what “circumcision of the heart” means.

        I’d just hate for you to waste your time when you have so many babies to save!

        Like

      3. Amanda

        You are quite clearly defending and promoting male penis circumcision in this piece and now you’re just copping out of it. Back it up if you really support it or stop spreading the message, because it’s toxic and ignorant.

        Like

      4. Amanda

        Do you not understand that Abrahamic doctrine (which includes the bible of your religion of choice) is the reason the practice still exists in society?

        Pretending it’s some metaphor while the majority of the people of your religion are circumcising their sons is extremely dishonest and deceitful.

        Like

      5. mrsmcmommy Post author

        I get it.
        Snipping foreskin is bad.
        I’ve heard your opinion.

        I’ve tried to tell people it’s not meant to be a continued practice.

        What is wrong with you?

        Like

      6. Amanda

        Then why aren’t you speaking out against the priesthood and the religion in general then? Without whom there would not be a culture of circumcision.

        Like

      7. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Ah, so now your complaint is that I didn’t say it like you would have.
        Leave a link, darling. Anyone who wants to read THE PROPER way to talk about circumcision can visit your blog.
        Have a great night!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s