Skin Color, Ethnicity and The Biblical Perspective

The musical artist Lacrae in a Facebook video expressed his feelings concerning the value of Black Americans and how if they desire to see change implemented in the culture, they need to outline the objectives they would like to see take place in society. He also discussed, among other topics, that race is taught in the Bible and that there are distinctives that are clearly observed. Lacrae in his video stated the following

…know who you are. Know whose you are…Jesus speaks to your humanity, your culture, ethnicities in the Scriptures. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. How do we know she is Samaritian? Why is it necessary to mention she’s Samaritan? The good Samaritan, why is it necessary to mention that? Because ethinicities were recognized, and there is nothing wrong with that, there is beauty in that, and appreciate who you are...

Lacrae. Dear Black Christians. June 25

Lacrae in his video has made a couple of valid points concerning ethnicities. Ethnicites (i.e. people groups) were recognized in the Scriptures as the Biblcal authors sought to describe historical events concering God and the Messiah accurately. Futhermore ethnicities by nature are distinct and beautiful as God has created all mankind (Genesis 1:26-28), and the nations of the world (c.f., Genesis 11:1-9). However, this point he made in his statement above is on the heels on an earlier statement he made in his video.

At the end of the day, I just want yall to know that were not wrong for celebrating our blackness…were not putting our blackness over our faith in the Lord…were celebrating that He made us this way, were celebrating the culture that He has given us…

Lacrae. Dear Black Christians. June 25

It would seem in the broader context Lacrae has asserted that having black skin is an ethnicity, and defined blackness as a culture in and of itself. This is the context by which he explained not only the ordinances and practices of Israel described in the Old Testament, but also of the Samaritan woman. Is the account of the Samaritan woman an example of blackness that Lacrae says in his video should be celebrated?

The account of the Samaritan woman is found in the book of John where Jesus had a discussion with the woman concerning who Jesus is (John 4:10-14), her personal relationships (John 4:15-19), and those who are true worshippers of God (John 4:20-24). Jesus concluded the discussion with the Samaritan woman that He was the Messiah that was promised to come (John 4:25).

It is clear by the account by John that Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. It is also clear from the Biblical text that Jews had no dealings with the people of Samaria (John 4:9) because of their conflicting doctrine concerning the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Furthermore it is noted in the Scriptures that Samaritans were called Samaritans because of the region they resided in and the ethnicity they belong to. What is not mentioned in the Biblcal account of the Samaritan woman is the the skin color of the Samaritan woman. This particular feature is absent from the account, and to presume the woman was a certain shade of melonin when the Scripture is silent on this is to engage in speculation.

This is an error in Lacrae’s statement concerning blackness, and celebrating blackness, using the account of the Samaritan woman. Lacrae has taken the word blackness and placed it in the category as an ethnicity. Then he has taken his concept of blackness as he has defined as an ethnicity and read this (or at the very least paralleled this) into the account of the Samaritan woman. From his analysis of the text concerning the Samaritan woman the very thing he says is not doing (i.e., putting blackness over faith in the Lord) is the very thing that he is doing.

Consequently, this is the same thing that he has done when discussing the Israelite feasts days and celebrations

…were celebrating that He made us this way, were celebrating the culture that He has given us, in the same way the Jews celebrated Passover, festivals and celebrate their Jewishness…

Lacrae. Dear Black Christians. June 25

There are certain ethnicities in the world that do have feasts they embrace and practice annualy. This is true as all cultures have diverse festivals that are observed all over the world for various historical and cultural reasons. However, the celebrations concerning the Israelities, unlike other ethnicities, were done for the purpose of remembering the work and the nature of God. For example, the Passover was celebrated as a reminder of what God had done by rescuing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:23-27). The sacrifices that the priests were to complete were to remind Israel that God was a God who forgives inquity and transgressions, which was ultimately observed in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:4-18). These festivals and feast days were given to the nation of Israel to display that the true God was among them, the promises of God concerning them as a nation (i.e., delieverance from enemies, land, seed, blessing, king, kingdom, etc.), and the regeneration of the earth from the curse of sin were going to be accomplished (c.f., Romans 9:4-5).

Lacrae’s idea concerning the Israelite feasts days and celebrations are made from the perspective of blackness. However, the Bible does not make such an argument. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say the Israelites recieve the Law of Moses, the covenants, feasts, and the promises due to their skin color. In fact in every ethnicity and culture in the world there are variations of skin pigmentation. In terms of the Biblical worldview Jewishness and blackness are not synonymous terms.

The varation of skin color in human beings underscores the glory of God in His creative work, and God should recieve due praise for this diversity in skin tone. By contrast, those who have a worldview that believes people are intricisically inferor or superior based upon their skin pigmentation (I will call this perspective shade-ism) fail to see a person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and falls short to observe the eternal power and divine nature of God concerning mankind (c.f., Romans 1:18). People should not treat people respectfully because of the shade of their skin, but individuls should treat people with dignity because they are image-bearers of God (Genesis. 1:26-27, Genesis. 9:7). Furthermore, ethnicities or cultures from a Biblical perspective are never defined from the color of one’s skin, but from the region one resides in (or even from the physical lineage they are associated with).

We have to be careful when observing texts from Scripture making sure that we pay extra careful attention to details associated with the word of God and observing words in thier context in light of their plain sense. We also must be cautious not to impose our own perspective on the text and read into the Scriptures what the author did not intent to communicate to the audience. To do this we fail to transmit the truth clearly and unintentionally guide people away from the truth and the glory of God.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. LS

I have a YouTube channel where there is new content being published titled Urban Theologian Media! Please go and check out the channel, view some of the shows there, and if you like the videos please subscribe at this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKYllo-vyDe76Mpj4R0TOw


Jesus The Messiah, The Bible, and Black Lives Matter

There is a belief that is growing among mainstream thought that Jesus was a Black revolutionary seeking to overturn the culture in which He lived. This belief is being promoted amongst Black Lives Matter to justify the actions of the protests and the riots that are going on across the country. On a social media platform an activist commented that the images of Jesus that are portrayed as White should all come down, that they are a form of what he called White Supremacy, and stated if one’s religion requires you to worship a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus then you worship White supremacy. In a television interview Hawk Newsome, the Chair of a chapter of Black Lives Matter in the greater New York area stated the following

[Dr. Martin Luther King] was also crucified-assasinated. This is what happens to Black activist we are killed by the government. Well, if you need context, if you read your Bible, it will say that Jesus had feet like burnt brass and hair like wool I don’t know if you notice but our hair seems to be more like wool and our skin seems to be likened to that color more than anyone else…

Retrived from theblaze.com from: https://www.theblaze.com/news/blm-burn-system-black-jesus

The Chair of Black Lives Matter in New York was not only paralleling the death of Dr. Martin Luther King to Jesus Christ, but also emphasized characteristics of Jesus described in the Bible highlighting what he believed was Jesus’s skin color. Was his observation of Jesus true? Does the Bible describe the skin tone and hair texture of Jesus Christ?

One verse in particular describes these particular attributes. It is found in the book of Revelation where John wrote the following details:

…His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters…

The Book of Revelation 1:14-15 NASB

In the general context John is writing on the Island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). He was sent there as a prisoner for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and John had been given a message by Jesus to deliever to seven specific churches (Revelation 1:11). John was given an amazing sight of Jesus as he described the specific details of His appearance (Revelation 1:1-16). John recounted that Jesus’s head (kephalē) and his hair (thrix) where white (or a dazzling brigtness (leukos). John used a conjunction (hōs) to give the readers a comparison of how bright or white his head and hair were: wool (erion) and snow (chiōn). In bringing up these objects John was not discussing the texture of Jesus’s hair being wool, but the quality of the brightness of Jesus’s face and hair. In other words, the detail John described was in relation to Jesus’s glory that appeared to be emanating from His face.

What about the quality of Jesus’s feet? John detailed that His feet were like “burnished bronze.” The word “burnished” is the Greek word chalkolibano, ,which is only used two times in the New Testament (the other reference is Revelation 2:18). This word is made up of two Greek words: chalkos which can be translated “brass,” and libanos which is translated “frankinscence.” This particular word John used spoke of the quality of the brass (i.e., it was shining or glowing). John added more detail using the same conjunction (hōs) to compare that Jesus’s feet were such like brass (or bronze) that was made to glow (pyroō) when the metal was placed in a furnace. Once more John was not highlighting Jesus’s skin pigmentation, but described the divine nature of His presence before John. By Jesus’s otherworldly appearance John knew by His description He was standing before God Himself.

It is interesting to observe the initials for Black Lives Matter (BLM) are the same letters for the Black Liberation Movement. The Black Liberation Movement comes from Black Liberation Theology which was developed by James H. Cone. Black Liberation Theology believes that Black men and women are oppressed in what Cone called a “White-dominated society,” which he stated as evil. According to James H. Cone the gospel Jesus promoted was to liberate man from their oppressors who sought to dominate them. Hence, the purpose of Jesus’s first advent was to be a freedom fighter or Savior to free people from the bondage of their White oppressors. Because of these beliefs Black Liberation Theology is also seen as an economic, social, and political perspective as James Cone commented

In the New Testament, the theme of liberation is reaffirmed by Jesus himself. The conflict with Satan and the powers of this world, the condemnation of the rich, the insistence that the kingdom of God is for the poor, and the locating of his ministry among the poor–these and other features of the career of Jesus show that his work was directed to the oppressed for the purpose of their liberation. To suggest that he was speaking of a “spiritual” liberation fails to take seriously Jesus’ thoroughly Hebrew view of human nature. Entering into the kingdom of God means that Jesus himself becomes the ultimate loyalty of humanity, for he is the kingdom. This view of existence in the world has far reaching implications for economic, political, and social institutions. They can no longer have ultimate claim on human life; human beings are liberated and thus free to rebel against all powers that threaten human life.

Cited by ThePostBarthian.com. Retrieved from https://postbarthian.com/2017/08/17/james-h-cone-liberation-theology-gospel-jesus-christ/.

Compare John H. Cone’s gospel to Paul’s explanation in his letter to the people of Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:1-3). Furthermore, from his spiritualizing the kingdom of God to be Jesus Christ it is clear that James H. Cone’s description of the gospel was contrary to the authors of Scripture. By overlooking these small, but crucial details in Scripture Hawk Newsome, and many others who hold to views similar to his neglect the intent of the human authors of the Scriptures. They fail to notice that Jesus gave His life freely to be crucified (John 10:17-18). They neglect to see that what matters is not what skin color Jesus had, but what He was sent by God to do–give His life as an atonement for the sin of the world (c.f. John 3:16-17, 1 John 2:1-2). They would likely struggle to reconcile in thier promotion of the violent overthrow of a system that Jesus would never endorse because this was not His objective (c.f., Matthew 26:50-52). Consequently, by their faulty method of placing a “revolutionary” grid on the Scriptures it has eclipsed them from seeing the glory of God that is found in the reconciliatory act of Christ Jesus.

Let us continue keep our method consistent when observing Scripture, being careful to observe the words in context in their plain sense. Failure to do so will result in us gagging the writers of Scripture and dimming the glory of God in our analysis. Amen.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. LS


A Comparison of The Hermenutics Concerning Covenant Theology & Classical Dispensationalism (Part Three)

In the previous article, this writer had addressed the claim from those who endorsed what has become known as Covenant Theology. The article claims that Israel was used as a “means to an end” with the sole purpose of bringing about Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. In the author’s critique of Dispensational thought they state the following: It assumes that the temporary, national people was, in fact, intended to be the permanent arrangement. Such a way of thinking is contrary to the promise in Gen. 3:15. The promise was that there would be a Savior. The national people was only a means to that end, not an end in itself.

It assumes that the temporary, national people was, in fact, intended to be the permanent arrangement. Such a way of thinking is contrary to the promise in Gen. 3:15. The promise was that there would be a Savior. The national people was only a means to that end, not an end in itself.


The authors claim there is no distinction between Israel and the church. The church, according to their perspective, has existed in the Old Testament, even since the time of Adam

with respect to salvation, Reformed covenant theology does not juxtapose Israel and the church. For Reformed theology, the church has always been the Israel of God and the Israel of God has always been the church…[Reformed Theology] recognizes that the church was temporarily administered through a typological, national people, but the church has existed since Adam, Noah, and Abraham; and it existed under Moses and David; and it exists under Christ.


Is it true that the church was seen during the time of the Old Testament, thus solidifying the claim that those who subscribe to Covenant Theology are not replacing the plans and promises that God has given ethnic Israel to the church? Such an assertion would have significant implications on how one observes Scripture, and the eschatological events that are to occur in the future. How did the apostolic writers of the New Testament observe the body of Christ? How did they observe the church in relation to the program and promises given to Israel?

Paul addressing the individuals in Rome stated the following

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith

Romans 16:24-25 NASB

Paul before concluding his letter praises God who is able to set them in strength by the good news (i.e., gospel) and the proclaimation of Jesus Christ. Paul then says that this gospel that established them was a mystery (mystērion), and that this message Paul gave to them had been silent (sigaō) in previous ages. In other words, this work of God in bringing in the Gentlies by the gospel that had been given to Paul was not something that was disclosed in times past (i.e., the Old Testament). Paul stated that this had now been made known (phaneroō) through the writings of the prophets (through the prophets of the church (c.f., Eph. 4:9-12) since it was not revealed through the prophets of the Old Testament), for all of the nations to know. Paul also wrote something similar to the people of Colossae

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:24-27 NASB

Paul when discussing the preaching of the word of God referred to it as a mystery twice in this letter (mystērion). This was the very same word that was used when concluding his letter to the saints of Rome. Furthermore, Paul wrote that this word of God given to him was hidden from (apokryptō) past ages and generations (i.e., the Old Testament saints). Here in this letter Paul used the very same word that was used in Romans that this word of God Paul preached had appeared (phaneroō). This good news God desired to make known to the Gentiles that the Messiah was now among them through the proclamation of the gospel delievered to them by Paul.

There are several details that must be emphasized. From Paul’s observation (and from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) the word of God he brought to the Gentiles he detailed that those of old were unaware of this specific plan of God. This desire of God was kept hidden from the prophets of the Old Testament. Since this is the case the reality of the church cannot be found in the writings of the Old Testament. The promises of a Messiah can be observed through various passages of Scripture (c.f., Gen. 3:15, Isa 53:1-11). However, God’s plan for the program of the church should not be forced into the passages when reading the Old Testament. To do so would be to place a reality on the Old Testament Scripture that is absent. Second, Paul used several objects to describe the reality of this mystery of Jew and Gentile: a body (soma), temple (naos), and building (oikodomē), but never once did Paul use the Greek work nation (ethnos) to describe the reality of the church. In fact, whenever Paul used the particular word nation it is always in reference to national Israel (1 Corinthians 10:18, Philippians 3:5). Since the reality of the church cannot be found in the writings of the Old Testament prophets this also means that the personal promises associated with Israel cannot be transferred to the church. God in the Old Testament promised that Israel would always be an ethnic nation before Him, even associating their physical existence as a nation to creation itself (Jeremiah 31:35-37). They are promised that their enemies, especially Egypt, will pay homage to them and to thier King (i.e., Jesus) in the future (Zechariah 14:15-19). The prophet Ezekiel prophesied David will be a vice-regent over them (Ezekiel 37:22-24), and even the twelve apostles will also govern the twelve tribes of Israel in the future (Matthew 19:28). All of these promises outlined in the Old Testment, and the account of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (and even John to some degree) have everything to do with the national Israel and their ultimate delieverance and blessing.

Based on some of the Scriptures that were observed above if one associates the promises of the Old Testament to the church, or a person claims that the church has been outlined in the Old Testament when Scriptures say otherwise, or even if one says that the church is a “spiritual nation” or “spiritual Israel,” and actively attribute promises that are meant for Israel to the church they are failing to observe Scripture as it is plainly taught. Therefore based upon this analysis Covenant Theology is a replacement theology and the results of one who are convinced of this theological view are problematic. This view not only diminishes the glory of God as God’s fame is connected to His promises to Israel in the future, but one who is convinced of this particular theological position whether knowingly or unknowingly is saying that God is in error with His purpose and future work as God has clearly laid out His plan for national Israel.

Let us continue to observe Scripture as it is laid out by the apostles paying close attention to the peoples, plan, and purpose. To do so we observe His word plainly and glorify Him fully for all of His works. Amen.

Until next time

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. LS

I have a YouTube channel where there is new content being published titled Urban Theologian Media! Please go and check out the channel, view some of the shows there, and if you like the videos please subscribe at this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKYllo-vyDe76Mpj4R0TOw


Should Those With A Biblical Worldview Support “Black Lives Matter?”

The Black Lives Matter organization has recieved much attention during the past recent weeks. This organization mobilized its activism when by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis Minnesota police officer, and three other officers who assisted him murdered a Black American man by the name of George Floyd. Even though all four of the police officers were charged, Black Lives Matter mobilized with protests and riots across America. As a result of this tragedy, Black Lives Matter began a movement to defund the police with the nucleus of this message starting in Minnesota, then spreading across the country. There have been many celebrities, political figures, and religious leaders that have stood in support of George Floyd and have supported Black Lives Matter by expressing their desire to end systemic racism in America. The organization of Black Lives Matter claims that it seeks to do the same: address global racial injustice, bring about social peace, and freedom as it pertains to race relations:

we [are] committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive

Black Lives Matter.com. Retreived from https://blacklivesmatter.com/six-years-strong/

It would appear at an initial glance that Black Lives Matter as an organization would underscore the truth of the Scriptures. Does this movement at its core seek racial reconciliation? Does it align with the truth that is found in the Bible? Can those who promote a Biblical worldview support such an organization?

There are several distinct qualities that Black Lives Matter endoreses as the institution has espoused on their official website. The Black Lives Matter organization seeks the disruption of what they refer to as “Western-prescribed nuclear family” (i.e., the traditional family as defined as being made up of father, mother, and child(ren)). Black Lives Matter also states they endorse other people groups no matter the status or orientation as noted below:

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

Black Lives Matter.com. Retreived from https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

Black Lives Matter seeks to redefine traditional social norms and mores and restablish them in a way that seems fair and equitable to all peoples and positions. However, is this worldview consistent with what is understood in Scripture?

The word of God instructs that when God created mankind He created them male and female (Genesis 1:26-28). The creation of male and female highlights God’s eternal power, order and design (c.f., Romans 1:19-20). In terms of the family unit, in contrast to the worldview promoted by Black Lives Matter, God’s word teaches that the family unit is not defined by Western societal ideals, but is established by God Himself in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:20-25). In addition, the Bible does address the concept of equality. The word of God teaches that mankind was created with equal value because God has created male and female in His image (Genesis 1:26-28). Black Lives Matter, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in an effort to promote equality reduces mankind to the concept of racial groups, which the Bible does not promote.

Furthermore the Scriptures noted above are the source of why a person does not endorse the perspective of racism. Those who hold to a Biblical worldview understand that male and female are created in the image of God and seek their welfare, not their calamity (c.f., Genesis 9:6). Scripture does not teach the idea of different races as all the different nations on earth after the flood find their origin in Noah’s sons (Genesis 9:18-19). Additionally God’s word tells an individual that while one has the time that a person is to do good (agathos) to all people, especially those who are believers (Galatians. 6:10). The promotion of racism and the actions of violence in the form of riots and vandalism are beliefs and actions that the word of God does not promote at any time, and in any society.

It would appear that Black Lives Matter’s philosophy finds its influence in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels (Marxism), and Friedrich Nietzsche (Nihilism) who both promoted that Western culture must destroy traditional concepts and ideas, with the purpose of establishing a more equitable society. Friedrich Nietzsche (Nihilism) sought to make the case that the idea of God (specifically God as revealed in the Bible) was a social construct that needed to be dismantled for humanity to meet its full potential. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels (Marxism) promoted the worldview that sought to advocate social contracts that would lead to the seizing of private propery with the goal of equally distributing goods by governing authorities (i.e., the State). However, in order for this ideaology to be fully realized the institution of religion, among other institutions, would have to be abolished:

All religions so far have been the expression of historical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But communism is the stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and brings about their disappearance.

Marxist.org. Retreived from https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/11/prin-com.htm

Furthermore, according to Marx and Engels the nuclear family would also be non-existent as it is associated with private property:

[Communism] will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage – the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.

Marxist.org. Retreived from https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/11/prin-com.htm

Marx, Engels, and Nietzsche promoted when mankind uses thier ability of human reason, is guided by a strong will, and rejects the Biblical worldview humanity can achieve a more peaceable and unified society. However, their mindset is in contention with God’s philosophy. It would seem that Black Lives Matter desires to transform the culture and with it ultimately reject core truths that God has establish to underscore His purpose and design for humanity.

Paul who wrote to those who lived in the city of Colossae warned them of alternative viewpoints when he composed the following:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ (Colossians. 2:8 NASB).

Paul who addressed the Colossians cautioned them that one must not be robbed (sylagōgeō) by the philosophy of the age, which is antithetical to the instruction of Jesus Christ. Those who hold a Biblical worldview should always address issues of injustice and racism (because these acts and this perspective are contrary to the reality of God). However, one must be careful that one does not align themselves with any organization or institution that has at it roots a philsosophy that is anti-Biblical. In doing so one will undermine thier intentions to promote justice and unknowingly support ideas that are in conflict with God’s word.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. LS

I have a YouTube channel where there is new content being published every day titled Urban Theologian Media! Please go and check out the channel, and view some of the shows there. If you like the videos please subscribe at this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKYllo-vyDe76Mpj4R0TOw


A Comparison of the Hermeneutics Concerning Covenant Theology & Classical Dispensationalism (Part Two)

In a previous article, a common criticism raised from Covenant theologians brought forth from promoters of Dispensational thought is Covenant theology promotes what some would call “replacement theology.” An article, promoting Covenant theology, brought forth a counterargument that the term “replacement theology” is alien to Covenant theology arguing that Dispensationalism promotes an Israel-centered grid when reading the Scriptures. However, it was noted that the term “replacement theology” is used intentionally, and was shown that there were theologians throughout the centuries that promoted the idea that the church had either superseded or replaced Israel when it came to future promises. It was shown by the biblical text there are exclusive promises that are given to national Israel that have not yet been completed, and if God fails to give these promises to the people whom He had addressed, then God’s glory is nullified.

In this same article, the writer commented that Israel was only an instrument God used to bring about what God prophesied to the serpent in the Garden of Eden

[Dispensationalism] assumes that the temporary, national people was, in fact, intended to be the permanent arrangement. Such a way of thinking is contrary to the promise in Gen. 3:15. The promise was that there would be a Savior. The national people was only a means to that end, not an end in itself. According to Paul in Ephesians 2:11-22, in Christ the dividing wall has been destroyed. It cannot be rebuilt. 

The Hidelblog.com. Covenant theology is not replacement theology. Retrieved from: https://heidelblog.net/2013/08/covenant-theology-is-not-replacement-theology/

Does Ephesians 2:11-22 prove that Israel was only a “means to an end?” A brief exposition of the Ephesians 2:11-22 will be examined below.

In the broader context of Ephesians chapter two Paul summarizes the Ephesian saint’s life before Christ, and that by God’s mercy they have received forgiveness (vs. 1-6). Paul also told them that in the future they will be displays of God’s grace, and how all of these benefits that were given to them was not based on any merit of their own but was all a work of God (vs. 7-9).  Due to this reality, they were to complete the good works that God had laid out before them to complete (v. 10).  Paul, in the next verse, discusses how the Gentiles (i.e., non-Jews) were excluded from the “commonwealth” (this refers back to the back to the theocracy found in with Israel in the Old Testament, as the Law was specifically given to the Israelite people). Paul also wrote they were strangers (lit. “aliens”) to the covenants of promise (these are the promises that are associated with the commonwealth of Israel such as land, seed, blessing, king, and kingdom). Paul writes they were without hope and God in the world (as far as these personal promises to national Israel are concerned).

Paul then explained they had been brought (or “made near”) by the blood of Christ and continued the metaphor of this spiritual reality by bringing up the dividing wall that surrounded the Temple of God. The dividing wall was a physical structure that was around the temple of God and separated Jew and Gentile. The non-Jew could not cross past this wall as it resulted in death to the gentile who crossed over it. Paul wrote due to the work of Christ these two groups that were once separated would be unified. Paul then underscored this truth by quoting from the Old Testament and gave the result of the work of Christ for the non-Jew: They are strangers and aliens no longer, but fellow citizens with the saints in God’s personal household. Paul also spoke of the foundation of God’s household which was built on the apostles and those prophets that spoke in the early church, and that the Gentiles are being built up in the Lord.

There are several qualities to note about this epistle. Paul could have made it very clear that the church is spiritual Israel or the new Israel as some past theologians have written. However, Paul in verse 14 used the word εἷς (“one”). Paul then further specifies what this number signifies in verse 15 by using the Greek phrase εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον (“into one new man”). If Paul wanted to express the church were one new nation he would have written εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἔθνος (“into one new nation”) or εἰς ἕνα καινὸν Ἰσραὴλ (“into one new Israel”). In addition, Paul uses other terms in this particular passage to describe the unification of Jew and Gentile such as οἰκεῖος (“household”), οἰκοδομή (“building”), and ναός (“temple”). In other epistles, he uses the word σῶμα (“body”) to describe the spiritual unity of the church (c.f., 1 Cor. chap 12). However, Paul when talking to the Gentiles in explaining the reality of the Church never uses the word nation, or Israel, to describe such people.

Paul outlined the blessings that the Gentiles have been given by God in chapter one of Ephesians. The Gentiles had been made holy and blameless before God (v. 4), they had been predestined to adoption to be sons and daughters of God the Father (v. 5, 11). Redemption through the blood of Christ to be reconciled to the Father (vs. 7-8). He had given them “the mystery of His will” through the apostles (v. 9). There is an inheritance that the Gentile saint would receive (v. 11), and the sealing of the Holy Spirit guaranteeing the inheritance we will receive (i.e., their glorification) (v. 14). These details outlined in chapter one are important because in none of these blessings that Paul mentioned in chapter one are the physical promises Israel is to receive (i.e, land, seed, blessing, king, and kingdom).

Furthermore, Paul used the temple as a metaphor to describe the reality of the spiritual unity of Jew and Gentile in Christ Jesus. However, this does not mean that Paul is making an argument national Israel is a means to an end. From the context, observing the words in their plain sense Paul is arguing that the ministry of Christ brings these two different people groups together and unifies them. The dividing wall, as Paul wrote metaphorically has been destroyed between the two groups, but to claim this passage is an argument that the promises directly given to national Israel are now obsolete when the words Paul uses in the text do not express this idea, is overstepping the bounds of the author’s intent.

The author in the article above seemed to imply that dispensational thinkers observe Israel as an end in itself. This writer would have to respectfully disagree with his analysis of dispensationalism. The end of all things according to the dispensationalist is the glory of God, not the nation of Israel. As stated previously the reason Israel figures prominently is that there are still promises that are given to Israel personally by God that He must fulfill. If God does not give these promises to the people He said He would give them to this will, in effect, minimize the glory of God.

Israel and the church are not juxtaposed beside each other.  As Scripture has revealed there are physical blessings that are personally given to Israel, and they are spiritual blessings that are given to the church. Ephesians 2:11-22 show that the Gentiles are unified with Jews (which was not seen in the economy of the Law). The Gentiles are fellow sharers of the spiritual blessings outlined in chapter one of Ephesians, and this is all a working of God’s multifaceted plan, for His own glory. Amen.

In Covenant theology, it is expressed that the body of Christ was seen through Israel, which served as a type and shadow that the church has always existed. In the next article, this author will contend that is not the case.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

Blog Rewind: Christianity: The Only True Feminism

This blog was written on January 27th, 2017. It has been updated from the original blog which you can find here:

There have been recent discussions about the inequality, and oppression, of women in the United States. With the Women’s March that took place in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017, this topic has been placed in the national spotlight. Among this crowd were a group of women who believe in the struggle against what they call a “Patriarchal” culture in America. Dina Ley, responding to a woman who did not support the Women’s March wrote a piece titled, You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry” After paying respect to the women she believed paved the way for women’s rights in America wrote the following

You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.

After this comment, Dina Ley made another statement concerning inequality and women who live in America

You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.

Dina Ley concluded her letter by writing the following comment

Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.

The ideas mentioned by Dina Leygerman, and many others who share her perspective, come from a worldview known as secularism. The word secularism has its origin from a 13th-century Old French word meaning “living in the world, not belonging to a religious order” (etymology.com, 2017). A more current definition is defined below

[Secular humanism] believes that humans are on their own and must depend on their own resources and strength to attain the good life. They do not affirm or deny the existence of God, but most are atheist or agnostics (New Standard Encyclopedia, 2002).

Secularism, in essence, views human history without consideration of God. A person who holds to a secular worldview, at the very least, is indifferent about the existence of God. Consequently, they observe feminism very differently than one who holds to a Biblical worldview. Consider these two types of secular feminism: Liberal Feminism and Radical Feminism. Liberal Feminism is described by Gerald Corey as follows:

Liberal feminist focus on helping individual women overcome the limits and constraints of their socialization patterns. Liberal feminist argue that women deserve equality because they have the same capabilities as men. These feminist tend to believe the differences between women and men will be less problematic as work and social environments become more bias-free (Corey, 2005).

Gerald Corey defines Radical Feminism by the below statement

Radical Feminist focus on the oppression of women that is embedded in the patriarchy and seek to change society through activism…Radical feminists strive to identify and question the many ways in which patriarchy dominates every area including household chores, paid employment, intimate partnerships, violence, and parenting. The major goals are to transform gender relationships, transform societal institutions, and increase women’s sexual and procreative determination (Corey, 2005).

These are the philosophies of those who observe feminism from a secular worldview. There is no God that governs their thoughts, and attitudes. As a result, they believe the problem resides in social structures and cultural attitudes only. They also believe either education, activism, or a complete overthrow of the “patriarchal” system is necessary for true equality. However, a person with a Biblical worldview observes feminism very differently.

First, the Biblical worldview asserts God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1), and He created male and female in His likeness, and image (Gen. 1:26-27). The very way male and female were formed by God came from the very mind of God. Man and woman, according to a Biblical worldview, are equal, because male and female are both fashioned by the same Creator who is greater than the both of them, and they bear His image and likeness in creation.

Second, Paul gave insight into the equality of man and woman, and how they were to observe one another. In addressing the churches in Corinth, concerning head coverings, Paul wrote the following:

For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God (1 Cor. 11:7-12, NASB emphasis mine).

Paul pointed out all things “originate from God” (1 Cor. 11:12). If all things find their origin in God, then this makes all things (that is, male and female according to the context) equal and interdependent on one another. The woman came from man, as we observed in the creation account in Genesis. However, man is conceived in the womb of a woman by conception. A person who has a Biblical worldview understands men and women are both important, and necessary to bring about physical life.

Third, women were instrumental in serving the body of Christ in many ways in the early church (and even now). One example is Phoebe, who was a fellow servant of the Lord, was a help to many of the saints in the region of Corinth, and even Paul himself (Rom. 16:1-2). A second example was Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, who took Apollos aside with her husband and explained the Scriptures with greater accuracy to Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Priscilla, along with her husband, even risked their own lives for Paul’s sake (Rom. 16:3-4). In addition, godly women were to serve as an example to younger women with the way they lived their life (Tit. 2:4-5).

Fourth, the sacred Scriptures instruct men to love their wives. This is highlighted with how Christ loved the church, which is seen by Christ sacrificing Himself for His church (Eph. 5:23-25; Col. 3:19). Peter cautions that husbands who do not love their wives, and do not live with them in an understanding, and honoring way, will hinder their own prayers (1 Pet. 3:7).

Fifth, in terms of female widows, the body of Christ is to be charitable to older widows who are faithful to Christ, and serve His saints (Jas. 1:27; 1 Tim. 5:9-10). A person with a Biblical worldview observes younger, and older women in high regard understand women are made in the image of God, are unique in their function and position in the world, and godly examples for other female saints.

Sixth, a secular feminist, and a Biblical feminist would agree there are injustices against women in the world. However, the source of injustice, in contrast to a secular feminist worldview, sees a world that has been cursed, and corrupted, not by a “patriarchal” society, but by sin (Gen. 3:15-19). The reason there are injustices against women is that all mankind, male and female, is born dead in trespasses and sins (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:1-2).

The hostility against an almighty, omniscient, Creator, makes us hostile to the people God has fashioned. If you ponder it, all men and women are all “equal opportunity offenders,” who have offended God, have been hostile to mankind, and have all earned His wrath equally. However, Christ has paid the cost, has forgiven men and women for their sins, and rescued them from His wrath (Jn. 3:16). In short, it is the regeneration by the Holy Spirit, through the gospel of Christ Jesus and His word, and love for one’s neighbor that promotes true equality between the sexes.

Lastly, Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, has also unified the saints. It is the Holy Spirit that has joined men and women, of all cultures and ethnicities into the body of Christ (Eph. 2:11-22). Paul wrote there was neither Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, or female, and that all who belong to God are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). Paul also wrote believers are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). This has everything to do with the unity in the Holy Spirit believers have in Christ, who is the Lord and Master. The distinctions of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, cultural position, or even male and female orientation, are removed when considering the unity Christians have before God, and the glorification that is soon to be revealed in the saints at His Great appearing.

The beliefs espoused in Biblical Christianity are the only true feminism. The Biblical worldview recognizes the value of women, because women are made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore have intrinsic value. As a result of this reality, the Biblical worldview acknowledges Christians must speak out against injustices and crimes against all women, understanding the world, and that all men and women who live on it are born with a sin nature. Furthermore, the Biblical worldview understands the unity that males and females have in Christ Jesus, recognizing equality does not come from the culture or society, but from God Himself. Subjective equality found in Liberal and Radical feminism, when compared to Biblical feminism, falls short of true equality as seen in the Scriptures. The only reality that brings true liberation and freedom for women (and men) is the gospel of Christ, and to increase in the knowledge of the word of God to observe things from His perspective (Rom.12:1-2). The perspective of feminism, apart from a Biblical worldview, sincere as it can be, may lead to chaos, and hostility between both males and females.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.

The Benefit of The “Doubt”

The mediums of story and drama throughout the centuries have been used to stimulate thought and generate conversation concerning the metanarratives that are revealed as one observes the performance. from William Shakespeare’s Othello, to Authur Miller’s The Crucible, and George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, some of the themes that are seen within these dramas stick with a person, and may cause them to ponder these themes days after they have watched them.

Such is the case with the drama titled Doubt: A Parable written by playwright and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley.  John Patrick Shanley received his break with a play titled Danny and The Deep Blue Sea, which premiered in New York and in London in 1984. After a time he began to try his hand at writing screenplays for motion pictures and in 1987 received an Academy Award for best original screenplay for Moonstruck, which starred Cher in the leading role. In addition, John Patrick Shanley has worked on additional movie projects such as Joe Vs. The Volcano, Alive, and Congo (which was a novel written by acclaimed author Michael Crichton). After working on these projects he turned his attention back to writing plays for the theatre. He wrote several other plays in the late 90s, however, it was in the early to mid-2000s when the play Doubt: A Parable debuted, and ever since then the play has been met with high accolades and praise. Doubt: A Parable went on in 2005 to win a Tony Award, a Pulitzer Prize, and in 2008 was adapted into a motion picture with the same name,  starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis who all were nominated for Academy Awards for their roles in this movie.

The story of Doubt: A Parable centers around four main characters: Father Flynn (a Roman Catholic Church priest), Sister Aloysius Beauvier (a nun and strict principal of the Roman Catholic School), Sister James (a nun and a young novice teacher), and Mrs. Miller (who is the mother of another character that is associated with the play by the name Donald Miller, who is never seen in the play). The main premise of the drama is centered on Sister Aloysius Beauvier and how she suspects Father Flynn of molesting Donald Miller, the Roman Catholic’s school first African-American student and investigating, along with Sister James, Father Flynn’s behavior. Throughout the main story, there are several metanarratives that are exposed throughout the play all culminating in the final scene with the confrontation between Sister Aloysius Beauvier and Father Flynn where she attempts to extract the truth. 

John Patrick Shanley, in an interview in 2008, discussing his inspiration for the play said the following:

“[I felt] surrounded by a society that seemed very certain about a lot of things. Everyone had a very entrenched opinion, but there was no real exchange, and if someone were to say, ‘I don’t know,’ it was as if they would be put to death in the media coliseum. There was this mask of certainty in our society that I saw hardening to the point that it was developing a crack–and that crack was doubt. So I decided to write a play that celebrated the fact that you can never know anything for certain.”

Kennedy B (2015). Writer’s Theatre. From the Bronx to Broadway: John Patrick Shanley. Retrieved from https://www.writerstheatre.org/blog/bronx-broadway-john-patrick-shanley/

John Patrick Shanley brings out two important things that are highlighted in his play. First, he brings the audience face to face with issues that make society uncomfortable to discuss openly and honestly: racism, domestic violence, same-sex attraction, sexual and physical abuse are just some of the metanarratives that he covers in his complex work. However, what makes the play even more complicated is every character is working from the idea that they are doing what they do from the very best intentions, taking away the excuse from the audience that the way the characters are acting is just insensitive, or cold and calculated monsters. John Patrick Shanley pulls back the curtain and shows a corner in society that people often overlook, or people use their opinions to justify why it is not their problem, issue to solve or get involved with. Second, in the midst of these situations with these characters, he underscores the “certainty” of people in society, originating from what he calls “very entrenched opinion.”  The “certainty” of individuals comes about by the person’s own limited point of view. The characters in the play, the situations they are involved in, and the surrounding themes in the play invite the audience to “doubt” their own perspective, and more importantly the source of their own perspective. 

There are some similarities and differences between Doubt and the Scriptures. The Scriptures, much like John Patrick Shanley, brings us face to face with the dark side of humanity. The Scripture shows such things as murder (Gen. 4:1-8), rape and incest (2 Sam. 13:1-19), the marginalization of the downtrodden (c.f., Isa. 1:23), and many other atrocities. The Scriptures do not pull any punches concerning the human condition because one of the purposes of Scripture is to reveal how horrible and dark things are in this present world. Scripture, much like John Patrick Shanley’s play, does not give the reader room to turn away, dismiss, or ignore this reality. In one sense, God, through Scripture challenges one to “doubt” their own perception of reality.

Second, the Scriptures, much like John Patrick Shanley’s play, challenges mankind’s “very entrenched opinions” and the origins of these perspectives. It reveals people’s negative prejudices and the man-made traditions that people adhere to for their own safety and security. It reveals the veneer of the lies mankind tells itself and strips them bare of their limited and finite wisdom, and the foundation of this wisdom. Much like Shanley’s play, God through the Scriptures challenges mankind to “doubt” the cause of their own “entrenched opinions.”

However, there is a stark contrast to John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt and the Scriptures. The masterpiece written by Shanley challenges people’s perceptions, established opinions, and pleads with mankind to dialogue with one another concerning these controversial themes. However, God’s word challenges mankind to lay aside their inadequate ideas and perceptions and beckons one to be assured in His perspective (c.f., 2 Tim 3:16-17). While Shanley leaves the audience wondering, questioning, and conversing to seek out their own answers, God, through His word tells the believer to be transformed by being renewed by His answers so they know His desire (Rom. 12:1-2). While John Patrick Shanley leaves one to “doubt” their own limited opinions, and the source of those set opinions on how to address these various controversies, God by His word commands mankind to leave their insufficient opinions, the origins of them, and replace them with His truth, with God as the Source. Furthermore, God desires mankind to follow His word on how one is to address these injustices that are discussed within the play (c.f., Book of Proverbs). In short, God challenges mankind to “doubt” their limited outlook, and be convinced of His outlook, by His word.

For those who hold to a Biblical worldview, there is a silver lining to this play and the themes it contains. Where Doubt invites the viewers to examine and question everything one knows, the Scripture provides the answer to the cause of these controversies outlined in the play (Gen. 3:1-24), and the manner by which the body of Christ addresses these themes among one another, and others around the saints(c.f., Gal. 6:6-9). Doubt grants the believer the opportunity to discuss God’s perspective, and wrestle through these tough issues, and hopefully persuade others to possibly consider and even embrace the perspective of God, and His answers for these problems. This truly is the benefit of the Doubt.


Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.


I have a YouTube channel where there is new content being published every day titled Urban Theologian Media! Please go and check out the channel, view some of the shows there, and if you like the videos please subscribe at this link:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKYllo-vyDe76Mpj4R0TOw

A Comparison of the Hermeneutics Concerning Covenant Theology & Classical Dispensationalism (Part One)

In greater evangelical Christianity there are two major systems of theology: Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. Although there is a common thread between the systems (i.e., the glory of God), there is a major difference in how the glory of God is ultimately displayed. For the Covenant theological system, the glory of God is primarily redemptive. This redemptive plan according to Covenant theology is observed by God establishing two (or possibly three) covenants with mankind: The covenant of redemption, the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace. In Dispensationalism, there are three qualities that govern the system: the doxological purpose of God (which this author would argue governs the two other  qualities), consistently observing the words of Scripture in their plain and normal sense (i.e., the consistent normal historical-grammatical reading), and the distinction between Israel and the Church (in plan and purpose). From a dispensational view, the glory of God in all of His works is the focus and not only the salvation of mankind. 

One of the common criticism from those who adhere to Covenant theology is dispensational thinkers have an Israel-centered hermeneutic rather than Christocentric hermeneutic, as one such website notes

The very category of “replacement” is foreign to Reformed theology because it assumes a dispensational, Israeleo-centric way of thinking. It assumes that the temporary, national people was, in fact, intended to be the permanent arrangement.

The Hidelblog.com. Covenant theology is not replacement theology. Retrieved from: https://heidelblog.net/2013/08/covenant-theology-is-not-replacement-theology/

Even though the word “replacement” has not been used in the past, this particular use of the word has not been without reason. There have been theologians throughout history that have stated that Israel as a nation, in comparison with the church, is now irrelevant. Justin Martyr (130-202 A.D.) in Dialogue with Trypho wrote:

Then is it Jacob the patriarch in whom the Gentiles and yourselves shall trust? or is it not Christ? As, therefore, Christ is the Israel and the Jacob, even so we, who have been quarried out from the bowels of Christ, are the true Israelitic race.

Justin Marytr. Dialogue with trypho. Retrived from https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.cxxxv.html.

Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), another early theologian in his work An Answer to The Jews made a similar comment about Israel, using the historical narrative of Jacob and Esau he commented:

Accordingly, since the people or nation of the Jews is anterior in time, and greater through the grace of primary favour in the Law, whereas ours is understood to be less in the age of times, as having in the last era of the world attained the knowledge of divine mercy: beyond doubt, through the edict of the divine utterance, the prior and greater people — that is, the Jewish — must necessarily serve the less; and the less people — that is, the Christian— overcome the greater.

Tertullian. New Advent. An answer to the Jews.  Retreived from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0308.htm

Those who subscribe to Covenant theology connect their hermeneutic back to the early church fathers (e.g., Justin Martyr, Tertullian, etc.), as one author noted:

In the history of theology, the elements of what we know as covenant theology; the covenant of redemption before time between the persons of the Trinity, the covenant of works with Adam, and the covenant of grace after the fall; have existed since the early church…Indeed, Reformed readers who turn to the early church fathers (c. 100–500 AD) might be surprised to see how frequently they used language and thought patterns that we find very familiar.

Clark., S (2006). The history of covenant theology. Retrieved from https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/history-covenant-theology/

However, when a person observes Scripture in its plain meaning there are promises that are explicitly given to national Israel. For example, God promised Abraham’s descendants physical land that stretches from Egypt to the River Euphrates (as far as Egypt to what is now modern day Iraq) (Gen. 15:18). 

The future borders of Israel outlined in Gen. 15:18. Retrieved from http://www.ahavat-israel.com/eretz/future.

In addition, God promised David a physical King that would come from his line and rule Israel on his throne to usher in an everlasting righteousness (2 Sam. 7:8-14). Furthermore, the promise of the new covenant is given specifically “to the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (Ezek. 31:31). The future promises that are given to national Israel are associated with the consistency of creation itself described by the prophet Jeremiah!

Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar;
The Lord of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the Lord, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease. From being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the Lord, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the Lord

Jer. 31:35-37 NASB

How would a Covenant theologian explain the land promise found in Genesis 16:18? John Calvin in his works does not even comment on how much land Abraham’s descendants would receive but he comments the covenant in this specific text is essentially a shadow of the sacraments of the church. John Gill, another prominent theologian mentioned in his commentary that the River Euphrates was the boundary line during the rule of King David. However, there has never been a time in history where Abraham, nor Abraham’s descendants have received land by the Nile River in Egypt. The Covenant theologian, based upon a predominant “ecclesiastical” hermeneutic at the most replaces the promises given to Israel to the church, or at the least supersedes the promises of God that are given to Israel to the church.

By contrast, the dispensational view, consistently observing Israel in the plain normal sense, would recognize that these things mentioned above (land, king, and spiritual renewal) are given directly to this nation whom God has promised these things to. If God fails to give these things to those whom He has addressed, or if He exclusively transfers these promises to another group of people in effect this would diminish His very glory.  In short, the method a person uses to read the Bible (i.e., hermeneutic) is how one is going to explain the Scriptures.

The critique that dispensational thought employs an Israelological grid to explain the Scriptures is false. The system of dispensationalism has at its very core a doxological focus. It must be noted that Israel does figure prominently in the Old Testament and even the New Testament Scriptures. However, this is due to the promises God gave to them as a nation, and these promises are directly associated with His glory. 

There is no denying God’s redemptive work for mankind. Both Covenant and Dispensational systems acknowledge this. Both systems also recognize the glory of God as the ultimate end. How God’s glory is understood in relation to human history is determined on the method that is employed by each system. For the Covenant theologian due to the hermeneutic they use they observe the glory of God primarily in the salvific act of Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. For the dispensationalist, the glory of God is observed in all His works, and this includes not only the salvation of those who are part of the church but God fulfilling the future promises to the people who will receive them, which is Israel.

Yet there are those who subscribe to Covenant theology that believe dispensationalists juxtapose Israel and the church. In the next article, this author will demonstrate from the Book of Ephesians that this is not the case.

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.


I have a YouTube channel where there is new content being published every day titled Urban Theologian Media! Please go and check out the channel, view some of the shows there, and if you like the videos please subscribe at this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKYllo-vyDe76Mpj4R0TOw

The Hypocrisy of Evolution and Man-Made Climate Change

There are many scholars, educators and even theologians that are convinced of the theory that is known as evolution. The theory of evolution is described below

Broadly defined, biological evolution is any heritable change in a population of organisms over time. Changes may be slight or large, but must be passed on to the next generation (or many generations) and must involve populations, not individuals.

Evolution. New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://web.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Evolution

This theory was first proposed by Charles Darwin in his book The Origin of Species (1859) where he outlined several qualities found in evolutionary theory: Animals change over time (a process that Darwin titled “descent with modification”), all creatures in the world find their origin in a common ancestor,  the main process which strong traits from an organism are passed down for adaptation (a process that is known as “natural selection”), and different types of creatures come from the region of their descendants (what is termed as biogeography). The main ingredient of the progression of the species, according to evolutionary theory is large amounts of time, as one researcher commented below

Usually macroevolutionary changes cannot typically be observed directly because of the large time scales generally involved, though many instances of macroevolutionary change have been observed in the laboratory (Rice & Hostert 1993). Instead, studies of macroevolution tend to rely on inferences from fossil evidence, phylogenetic reconstruction, and extrapolation from microevolutionary patterns. Often the focus of macroevolutionary studies is on speciation: the process by which groups of previously-interbreeding organisms become unable (or unwilling) to successfully mate with each other and produce fertile offspring.

Forbes, A (2010). Evolution is change in the inherited Traits of a Population through Successive Generations. Retrieved from http://web.iitd.ac.in/~amittal/SBL101_Evolution.pdf

Due to the large course of time in history proponents of evolution have sought to mark out the amount of time that has passed from the start of the universe to the origin of man. Evolutionist place the beginning of the universe, which they believe started when “The Big Bang” occurred about 13.7 billion years ago. They assert the universe underwent a radical process of extreme heat and gases to become the universe of stars and galaxies we know today. Within our own galaxy is the earth, which is estimated by those who subscribe to evolutionary theory to be 4.6 million years old. The earth, much like the universe, on a much smaller scale, had a very chaotic and hostile beginning. A website details what this early beginning of the earth

In the very beginning of earth’s history, this planet was a giant, red hot, roiling, boiling sea of molten rock – a magma ocean. The heat had been generated by the repeated high speed collisions of much smaller bodies of space rocks that continually clumped together as they collided to form this planet. As the collisions tapered off the earth began to cool, forming a thin crust on its surface. As the cooling continued, water vapor began to escape and condense in the earth’s early atmosphere. Clouds formed and storms raged, raining more and more water down on the primitive earth, cooling the surface further until it was flooded with water, forming the seas.

How old is the earth? (2015). Extreme science. Retrieved from http://www.extremescience.com/earth.htm

The start of creatures who could walk on two legs (i.e., bipedal) was estimated to be about 4 million years ago, with other biological human advancements and developments evolutionist claim these occurred about 100,000 years ago.

So what does all of this information about evolution have to do with climate change? Climate change is defined as an increase in global temperature, which leads to the rising of sea levels and erratic atmospheric conditions. This is mainly due to the rise of the burning of fossil fuels from production and industry by mankind. It is the case that some who promote evolutionary theory believe that mankind is destroying the earth and point to the phenomenon of climate change as irrefutable evidence of this reality. However, to believe in both one would have to suspend the foundational beliefs in either evolution, or climate change to reconcile both beliefs. 

Take the advancement of fossil fuels as the culprit of climate change. In addition to the fact that fossil fuels are a natural source (hence the word “fossil” in fossil fuels), industry for human beings has been around for only 259 years (the Industrial Revolution began in 1760). Production, in the course of human history from the perspective of evolution, is extremely young, whereas catastrophic events that have happened due to weather and atmospheric conditions on the earth, whether man has been here on earth or not, are extremely old. For one to believe mankind has this much power to destroy the planet one must suspend the belief that the planet has gone through much worse than mankind in its long lifetime. As stated earlier the earth has endured molten rock, sulfur and methane atmosphere, raging storms, and colossal upheavals, meteors and asteroid collisions, magnetic pole reversals, and an extremely long Ice Age (which evolutionist believe happen 2.4 million years ago and lasted over 2.3 million years long!) that produced drastic changes on the planet over time. The point is all of these events according to the evolutionist happened before mankind even appeared on the earth. 

If one truly believes in the evolutionary theory then one also must adopt the belief that climate change has been occurring for billions of years without human intervention. Furthermore, it also underscores that a person must adopt the belief that the earth can adjust its climate over a long period of time, as it has done so in the distant past (if one believes that the origins of complex man were 100,000 years ago). 

Climate change has as one of its solutions for this problem the idea of population control. The fewer people there are on the earth, the more the earth’s resources will last and the earth’s climate will be preserved. However, this is also against the evolutionary theory due to the instruction of natural selection. Climate change assumes human beings will not adapt to their environment, with nature choosing the strongest to survive as a result of adaptation. Therefore, according to the solution to climate change, it is not nature that determines the progression of the creature, but mankind either volunteers or is coerced by external sources other than natural selection, not to populate for the sake of preserving the planet. To summarize, evolution and climate change at their very cores cannot coexist, because to assert climate change is to deny crucial information about the evolutionary theory concerning the creation of the earth and the development of mankind.

The biblical worldview (the worldview to which this author subscribes) concerning the earth and the climate activity within the earth does not teach that climate change is man-made, or the evolutionary theory.  The Scriptures instruct that God created the heavens, the earth in six literal 24 hours days and not over billions of years (Gen. 1:1-31; c.f., Exo. 20:9-11). The Scriptures do not teach that man derived from distant descendants of primates over millions of years, but that mankind was created in the image of God on day six (Gen. 1:26-28) and were personally created by Him (Gen. 2:7, 2:18-21). Furthermore, In terms of the weather and climate as mentioned in a previous article atmospheric patterns found in the earth are cyclical and natural phenomena that occur on the earth. It is the weather, in addition to all creation, that reveals the power and transcendent nature of God (c.f., Rom. 1:18-20). 

Evolutionary theory assumes that over a long period of time, through many chaotic processes the earth has become what we know today. By contrast, the beliefs of climate change are in conflict with the fundamental beliefs of the theory of evolution.  If one submits to one of these perspectives, they cannot be beholden to the other. Furthermore, the biblical worldview contends against these two paradigms highlighting that God is the one who has created weather, climate, mankind and all of creation for His glory. 

Let us continue to look to God’s word to inform us of the cycles of the climate and the origins of creation. 

Until next time…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.


For more resources please visit: www.drluthermsith.com

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