Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Mon Dec 08 2008 - 17:47:21 EST

Re: [asa] promise trumps biologyDon't forget the shortest sermon (sorry George there is something questionable in it!!)

Mary Magdalene was a prostitute

Mary Magdalene loved the Lord

For both of those reasons she would be unwelcome in our churches today

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dehler, Bernie
  To: ASA list
  Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 10:03 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

  George said:
  ". my old intern supervisor told me of a pastor in the area where he'd served in South Dakota who agreed to do the service at a funeral home for a prostitute in town so that we could proclaim that Jesus didn't die for people like that. "


  I thought the gospel was that Jesus died for sinners. I think the Apostle Paul was worse, and he even said so, because of his murderous attitude. Who knows how many preachers that prostitute had as customers. was that the one Jimmy Swaggert hired?





  From: [] On Behalf Of George Murphy
  Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 10:38 AM
  To: Dennis Venema; ASA list
  Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology


  Apropos your 2d paragraph, my old intern supervisor told me of a pastor in the area where he'd served in South Dakota who agreed to do the service at a funeral home for a prostitute in town so that we could proclaim that Jesus didn't die for people like that. It's tempting to say "Where do people get such ideas?" but the answer is all to easy to find in the intense moralization of much of Christianity.



    ----- Original Message -----

    From: Dennis Venema

    To: George Murphy ; ASA list

    Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 1:18 PM

    Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology


    Some years ago I attended a german baptist church (GNAB) where I went to adult Sunday school once (and only once). The class that day was on an OT passage forbidding intermarriage with Caananites - which the leader applied to the modern day by stating that God was against interracial marriage. Aghast, and thinking perhaps I had misunderstood, I pressed the teacher by asking if God would prefer that I marry a Christian from another race or a white non-Christian. The convoluted answer spoke volumes - he really did think that interracial marriage was off limits (even among believers!). As a 20-something stubborn dutchman I told him off in no uncertain terms. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The man leading the class was old enough such that he would have grown up in Hilter's Germany (I think he would have been about 7 or 8 at the outbreak of the war).

    Needless to say, I didn't stay at the church for long - the final straw was the board meeting where the head pastor of the german-language congregation reacted to one of my comments by flatly stating that Jesus was allowed to reach out to "sinners" like prostitutes because he was God and would not be tainted by their sin, but that Christians today should not follow his example and reach out to "people like that." After some heated back-and-forth I told him in the meeting that he and I served a different Jesus, and that was that. :o)


    On 08/12/08 9:25 AM, "George Murphy" <> wrote:

    People have sometimes placed a lot of emphasis on the idea of biological continuity and "purity" in the Bible, especially the OT. Israel as God's "chosen people" has sometimes been understood in terms of biological isolation & some have tried to draw into this ideas about selective breeding for superior offspring &c. (Some here may remember Rich Faussette's contributions to the list some time ago.)

    With that in mind it's interesting to look at the instructions that Abraham gives his servant about getting a wife for Isaac in Gen.24:1-9. The servant is 1st told to swear that he won't get a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites, but to go back Mesopotamia and get a bride for him from among Abraham's relatives. OK, the servant says, but what if the woman won't come here with me? Should I take your son to back Mesopotamia? & Abraham says "See that you do not take my son back there." If the woman won't come then the servant is free of his oath but Isaac is not to go back to Mesopotamia.

    Now we're not told what should be done about a wife for Isaac in that case but a wife there had to be because of the promise about Abraham's descendants. The important point though is that remaining in Canaan, which is part of God's promise to Abraham & his descendants (Gen.12:7 &c), seems to be more important than whatever idea of "racial purity" may be involved.

    Of course there are a number of other texts that speak against those notions of racial purity (e.g., Ruth), an idea that didn't really become important until after the exile with Ezra & Nehemiah. But the fact that this text occurs at such a important point in the patriarchal history gives it added significance.


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Received on Mon Dec 8 17:55:39 2008

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