Jim Jones’ beliefs about the Bible

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When your opinion of the Bible resembles that of Jim Jones you might be going down the wrong path…

In 1978 I was 18 years old and serving in the US Army. In early December of that year I boarded a US Air Force C-141 at Andrews AFB near Washington, DC bound for Travis AFB in Northern California, near San Francisco, on my way to my new duty station: Fort Ord, near Monterey, California.

I had in my hand the recent special edition of Newsweek magazine dedicated to the Jonestown tragedy, which had occurred a few weeks earlier on November 18, 1978.

When I boarded the aircraft it became immediately evident to me that I was going to be the only living passenger on this particular flight. The C-141 was a four engine jet cargo plane, which could be used for passengers when fabric bench seats were installed, and there were a few rows of these on this particular aircraft, which faced the rear of the plane.

The remaining cargo area of the aircraft was filled with pallets of aluminum containers, which are used by the US military for the transportation of dead bodies and, in this instance, a hundred or so dead bodies that were being transported from Mortuary Affairs located at Dover AFB in Delaware, having been flown there from Guyana. The bodies were now being returned to their home, most victims of Jonestown having been from the greater San Francisco area. Why the flight had stopped over at Andrews AFB I do not know, but it allowed me to board the long five hour flight to California.

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An unidentified man hooks a strap onto a stack of aluminum coffins for shipment to the United States, following the more than 900 deaths in the mass suicide staged in Jonestown by members of the People’s Temple and their leader, the Reverend Jim Jones, Georgetown, Guyana, November 23, 1978. A group of photographers and police officers stand in the background. (Photo by New York Times Co./Neal Boenzi/Getty Images)

As we flew west, I read the Newsweek special edition about Jonestown, occasionally glancing up to see the aluminum coffins, which were covered with cargo nets, gently rocking, with each coffin having a victim ID number written on it with magic marker. Having seen the photos of the dead, bloated, rotting victims in the magazine, I imagined what those pallets of coffins looked like without the aluminum containers: stacks of dead, rotting bodies… the bodies of those who had been followers of Jim Jones.

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This experience has made the danger of false teaching very real to me. Although most false teachers don’t lead their followers to physical death, as Jones did, they always lead their followers to spiritual death, which Jones also did. And as horrible as the physical deaths of Jones’ followers was, the spiritual deaths of his followers, although invisible to us, was much worse.

There is great danger in following a teacher who has walked away from the Bible, and there are many such false teachers in the world today. These false teachers may not seem to be as bad as Jim Jones was, but they have the same opinions of the Bible. And they, like Jones, are leading their followers toward the same spiritual death as Jones’ followers.

Jim Jones’ beliefs about the Bible…

The Bible is inconsistent and erroneous.

The Bible is a document of propaganda that kept a certain political ideology in power and validated the repression of minority groups.

The Bible provides a defense of slavery and arguments in favor of the oppression of women.

“The Bible was retained in Jones’ preaching because, within its apparent husk of inconsistencies and interpretive abuses, it retained a kernel of usefulness in his message of economic and racial equality…” Continue reading: Excavating Usefulness and Truth: Jim Jones’ Treatment of the Bible and the News http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=34280

“The Letter Killeth, but the Spirit Giveth LIFE” by Jim Jones (.pdf) http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/02-LetterKilleth.pdf

“The Letter Killeth, but the Spirit Giveth LIFE” by Jim Jones (html) http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=14110

 

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US media ignores plight of black children being gunned down

Aavielle Wakefield

The late Aavielle Wakefield

Black teens on Parkland gun debate: What about us?

“I feel really bad that they lost those kids in Florida. But, like, we go through shootings all the time. It’s just that our shootings happen day by day. Because it happens on the regular up here, the world says it’s really not that important.” Read more: Black teens on Parkland gun debate: What about us? https://wtop.com/national/2018/03/black-teens-on-parkland-gun-debate-what-about-us/

African-Americans Feel Left Out of the Gun Debate

“The five student victims propelled to center stage after the Parkland shooting are all white except for Emma Gonzalez, who identifies as Cuban. And the overwhelmingly positive reception these younger, whiter activists have received has not gone unnoticed by civil rights activists who come from and are pushing for marginalized communities to be heard in the fight for gun reform. These activists maintain that the debate on gun violence has historically excluded the concerns of some groups most affected by it. In a country where guns are used to kill about 10 times more black children than white children each year, there cannot be meaningful policy reform, they say, without considering how gun violence affects all Americans—not just white Americans…” Read more: African-Americans Feel Left Out of the Gun Debate https://politi.co/2qRxC6I

Watch the tragic video playlist below, and cry as I have.

Why is this national pattern of black male on black child violence never discussed in the national media?

Because the national media doesn’t care about black people!

If they did, they would address this national tragedy daily, until something was finally done to stop it…

Posted in Activism, Crime, Culture, Drug War Violence, Gun Control, Media, Society, Uncategorized, Violence | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A history of gun violence in Birmingham, Alabama

Fatal shooting in Loveman Village

“The future generation of black males, they’re either in the cemetery or the prisons.” ~ Rev. Michael Jordon

“According to Birmingham Police a whopping 95-98% of homicides last year were black-on-black crimes.” ~ WVTM 13 News

Birmingham PD: 4-year-old dies in Ensley shooting

“Birmingham Police confirm that a 4-year-old was shot at outside of a home on Avenue Q in Ensley, Sunday afternoon. The child’s was transported to Children’s of Alabama Hospital, but died in route. Preliminary investigation reveals the parties involved knew one another. The suspect went to the home of the victim and confronted several adults about a cell phone both parties’s kids were arguing over. According to Birmingham Police, both parties began shooting and the victim was struck during the exchange of gunfire…” Continue reading: Birmingham PD: 4-year-old dies in Ensley shooting http://abc3340.com/news/local/birmingham-police-respond-to-scene-of-4-year-old-shot-in-ensley

4-year-old shot and killed in Birmingham identified https://youtu.be/x5nL0FapdSo

 

Vigil for slain 4-year-old turns to chaos

“A prayer vigil in Ensley Highlands for Rodriquez Ferguson, the 4-year-old killed Sunday in the cross fire between two men arguing over a cell phone, ended in chaos Monday night…” Continue reading: Vigil for slain 4-year-old turns to chaos http://s.al.com/EI7m07M

Vigil for 4-year-old shot and killed in Birmingham https://youtu.be/MbLPGukknS8

 

Birmingham pastor’s public prayer: ‘Lord, please stop blacks from killing blacks’

He doesn’t just whisper it during quiet times. The Birmingham pastor puts it out there on the marquee at New Era Baptist Church for God, and everyone else, to see. His latest message? “Lord, please stop blacks from killing blacks.” The other side reads, “Young black males must respect authority” Continue reading: Birmingham pastor’s public prayer: ‘Lord, please stop blacks from killing blacks’ http://s.al.com/6J6pLfB

Church marquee: “Lord please stop blacks from killing blacks” https://youtu.be/LZd2Km_zHug

 

‘We are afraid in our own homes:’ Birmingham residents talk crime at Woodfin town hall

Sue Wilson of Birmingham’s Belview Heights neighborhood said she hasn’t seen a police officer patrol her street in the three years she has lived there. There’s been gunfire in her neighborhood every day this year, she said…” Continue reading: ‘We are afraid in our own homes:’ Birmingham residents talk crime at Woodfin town hall http://s.al.com/gcUlcGH

Heated town hall meeting on gun violence https://youtu.be/W7EuaCKBR6A

 

Task force takes aim at homicides, violent crime in Birmingham metro area

“A newly-formed task force aimed at reducing homicides and other violent crime in Birmingham held its inaugural meeting Friday. The Public Safety Task Force is an outgrowth of U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin working together to develop a strategic plan for reducing violent crime in the Birmingham metro area, they said…” Continue reading: Task force takes aim at homicides, violent crime in Birmingham metro area http://s.al.com/8KWtDNZ

New task force for violent crime in Birmingham https://youtu.be/oRCrp0x6v4I

 

Birmingham, Alabama on City-Data: http://www.city-data.com/city/Birmingham-Alabama.html

Posted in Church, Crime, Culture, Drug War Violence, Government, Government Agents, Gun Control, Law, Politics, Safety, Uncategorized, Violence | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syrians living in Pennsylvania support Bashar al-Assad

Syrian-American wave flags sing, dance and chat during a flag raising ceremony celebrating Syrian Independence Day held at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Allentown, Pa. - APRIL

Syrian-American wave flags sing, dance and chat during a flag raising ceremony celebrating Syrian Independence Day held at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Allentown, Pa. – APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL

In Allentown, pro-Assad Syrians raise flag, call gas attack ‘propaganda’

“The Syrian-American community has deep roots in the Allentown area, with Lehigh County boasting the highest percentage of Syrians of any county, according to U.S. Census figures. But that community is divided in its feelings about Assad. On Saturday, those commemorating Syria’s independence from France on April 17, 1946, were squarely on Assad’s side, calling Friday’s missile strike “illegal.”

“We’re hurt [by] what happened,” said George Khallouf of Allentown, adding that he believes President Donald Trump acted too quickly by ordering U.S. forces into action without United Nations support. “It was a foolish decision.” Read more: In Allentown, pro-Assad Syrians raise flag, call gas attack ‘propaganda’ http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-nws-syrians-react-air-strike-20180414-story.html

Lehigh Valley Syrian opposes removing Bashar al-Assad

“George says he is a Christian, a deacon in his church. He’s concerned, as many Lehigh Valley Syrians will tell you that his fellow Christians back in Syria, a minority religion there, won’t be protected with Assad gone…” Read more: Lehigh Valley Syrian opposes removing Bashar al-Assad http://www.wfmz.com/news/lehigh-valley/lehigh-valley-syrian-opposes-removing-bashar-al-assad/580750871

Posted in Activism, Church, propaganda, Religion, Society, Uncategorized, War | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

US Army continues to groom children for war

U.S. Army soldiers shoot the Javelin, an anti-tank weapon, at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on July 28, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick Kirby)

U.S. Army soldiers shoot the Javelin, an anti-tank weapon, at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on July 28, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick Kirby)

 

Mass texts from military recruiter surprises some Brownsburg families

“BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WTHR) — When Nancy Baker’s phone went off Monday night, alerting her a text message had come through, she thought something bad had happened.

“I immediately thought I was hacked,” Baker said.

“That’s because on her phone wasn’t just one message, there were close to a hundred.

“I was just scrolling through and I was like, ‘What are all these phone numbers? Who are these people?'”

“Turns out those people were nearly 200 parents, like Baker, of Brownsburg High School students. Baker’s son, Michael, is a junior this year.

“The original text message was part of a group text from a recruiter with the United States Army…” Read more: Mass texts from military recruiter surprises some Brownsburg families https://www.wthr.com/article/mass-texts-from-military-recruiter-surprises-some-brownsburg-families

Army recruitment texts https://youtu.be/MrRbAxJhjbU

 

Why the US military is facing a massive recruitment crisis https://youtu.be/EPV4ptwKiMU

 

Why the US military is on the brink of a recruitment crisis

“Approximately 71 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24, the military’s main recruitment source, are ineligible to serve, according to the Pentagon…” Read more: Why the US military is on the brink of a recruitment crisis
http://komonews.com/news/nation-world/why-the-us-military-is-on-the-brink-of-a-recruitment-crisis

Should We End Military Recruiting in High Schools as a Matter of Child Protection and Public Health?

“Recruiters for the various US armed forces have free access to our nation’s high schools, as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. Military recruiter behaviors are disturbingly similar to predatory grooming…” Read more: Should We End Military Recruiting in High Schools as a Matter of Child Protection and Public Health? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3000735/

Florida shooter was a ‘good shot’ on US Army JROTC high school rifle team

“Nikolas Cruz, 19, was wearing a maroon shirt with the logo from the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when he was arrested Wednesday shortly after the shooting. Former JROTC cadets told The Associated Press that Cruz was a member of the small varsity marksmanship team that trained together after class and traveled to other area schools to compete…

“The more than 1,700 high school JROTC programs nationally also receive financial support from the U.S. military and are typically supervised by retired officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The military collaborates with school systems on the training curriculum, which includes marching drills, athletic competitions and shooting teams. Cadets wear military uniforms with ranks and insignias similar to those of the military branch with which they are affiliated…

“Cruz talked of wanting to join the Army after graduation and become an elite special forces soldier, a dream potentially derailed by his expulsion…” Read more: Florida shooter was a ‘good shot’ on US Army JROTC high school rifle team https://ajmacdonaldjr.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/florida-shooter-was-a-good-shot-on-us-army-jrotc-high-school-rifle-team/

Posted in Culture, Ethics, Government, military, Society, Uncategorized, Violence, War | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why James White calls people who defend the Textus Receptus “traditionalists”

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E. F. Hills has said: “The defense of the Textus Receptus, therefore, is a necessary part of the defense of Protestantism.”

Mark Noll has described those who would defend the Textus Receptus as “critical anti-critics” and those who would defend the critical text as “believing critics.”

E. F. Hills has more correctly described the first as “believing Bible students” and the second as “unbelieving Bible students.”

Mark Noll says,

“The major division lies between those who tie the belief in biblical inspiration tightly to traditional interpretations and those for whom this bond is somewhat less secure. For the first, more traditionalist scholars, research is primarily useful as a way of protecting Scripture. It is necessary to carry on academic work because erroneous critical opinions must be rebutted and correct views of Scripture reinforced. This stance may be called ‘critical anti-criticism.’

In other words, those who defend the Textus Receptus “tie the belief in biblical inspiration tightly to traditional interpretations” whereas this “bond is somewhat less secure” for those who defend the critical text.

This is why James White calls people who defend the Textus Receptus “traditionalists.”

White is not a traditionalist when it comes to the Protestant doctrine of Scripture and biblical inspiration. Mark Noll describes people like James White as those Protestants who “sought to appropriate the new [critical] views within an older orthodoxy.”

Believing Bible students (or, traditionalist critical anti-critics) protect and defend Scripture, whereas unbelieving Bible students (or, those who have appropriated the new critical views) do not.

James White is one (and, at times, more than one) of the three kinds of Protestant appropriators of criticism Mark Noll describes as “believing critics.”

E. F. Hills more rightly describes such critics as “unbelieving Bible students.”

James White typifies what Noll describes as “a second kind of believing criticism” . . .

“A second kind of believing criticism accepts the possibility of reversing traditional views and indeed argues that such reversals are justified by evidence from research… Academic proposals of this sort are often confusing to the evangelical community, especially for critical anti-critics, as the bare conclusions may not be different from the sort of reversal proposed by a non-evangelical. Believing critics of this second sort, however, regularly take pains to point out that the innovation is not intended as a detraction from high views of biblical infallibility, but rather as a better understanding of biblical intent…” 

In the end, James White is not defending Scripture, nor is he defending Protestantism.

He’s defending the modern critics and their unbelieving critical conclusions about Scripture.

++++

E. F. Hills, “The King James Version Defended” p. 193

Mark A. Noll, “Between Criticism and Faith: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America” p. 156-160 

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Critical Anti-Critics & 3 Types of Believing Critics

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(Or, as E.F. Hills has said: Believing Bible study vs. Unbelieving Bible study.)

“The major division lies between those who tie the belief in biblical inspiration tightly to traditional interpretations and those for whom this bond is somewhat less secure. For the first, more traditionalist scholars, research is primarily useful as a way of protecting Scripture. It is necessary to carry on academic work because erroneous critical opinions must be rebutted and correct views of Scripture reinforced. This stance may be called ‘critical anti-criticism.’ It only superficially resembles what could be called ‘popular anti-criticism,’ or the anti-intellectual rejection of scholarship as inherently corrupting. Critical anti-critics make a commitment to scholarship, they sometimes achieve widespread recognition for linguistic or historical competence, and they are concerned about academic certification.

“Critical anti-criticism as practiced by evangelicals depends upon the belief that the infallibility, or inerrancy, of the Bible is the epistemological keystone of Christianity itself. Should one aspect of Scripture come under suspicion, the whole Bible, along with its message of salvation, would be irreparably compromised. This belief in Scripture as the infallible Word of God, moreover, is considered the basis for traditional evangelical convictions about authorship, dating, literary transmission, and other critical questions. It is, in principle, conceivable that the results of sound research might overturn these convictions, but such research would have to be massively persuasive, and such a reversal would grievously damage the credibility of the Bible as a whole…

“Critical anti-critics divide among themselves not so much in principle as in practice. Some find their convictions a goad to active participation in the broader world of biblical scholarship. The inappropriate or prejudicial use of scholarship needs to be refuted, and so it is necessary to engage wholeheartedly in professional biblical work where so many false conclusions have been drawn on the basis of insubstantial or tainted evidence. Other critical anti-critics find the conventions of professional biblical scholarship too hostile. They turn instead to friendlier audiences. If prodigious labors and argumentation of recondite complexity are required to overturn even the smallest errors of the academic community, then it is better to point one’s efforts toward evangelicals. The later turn, therefore, to the journals of their own seminaries or denominations and to publishers who provide books for these constituencies. If the work which appears in such outlets does not sweep the academic world by storm, at least it provides evangelicals with secure and edifying conclusions. Nonevangelicals, as well as evangelicals, sometimes underestimate the quality of sturdy scholarship which appears as critical anti-criticism. It is often learned, careful, and forcefully logical within the boundaries set by conservative views of the Bible. Few, even evangelicals, would deny, however, that such work can also be parochial, selective, and question-begging. The best of this scholarship, as indeed much scholarship from before the rise of criticism, deserves a recognition it rarely receives.

“The second major division of evangelical scholarship may be called ‘believing criticism.’ Individuals holding this position affirm that historical, textual, literary, and other forms of research (if they are not predicated on the denial of the supernatural) may legitimately produce conclusions that overturn traditional evangelical beliefs about the Bible. Moreover, such reversals need not necessarily undermine beliefs in the inspired or inerrant character of Scripture’s revelatory truthfulness. It should be noted that evangelicals who practice this kind of ‘believing criticism’ often engage in critical anti-criticism. Like critical anti-critics they regularly put scholarship to use in defending traditional evangelical beliefs and in attacking the nontraditional conclusions of other scholars. But unlike critical anti-critics, believing critics find insight as well as error in the larger world of biblical scholarship. They have benefitted in numerous ways—not merely in textual or ancillary studies—-from the scholarship of those who are not evangelicals. As a result they conclude that evangelical interpretations are, in principle, reformable. For these scholars the possibility exists that biblical inspiration is compatible with reinterpretations of venerable positions.

“It is important to recognize that believing criticism also appears in several varieties, ranging from expressions resembling critical anti-criticism to those resembling views of Christians who are not evangelicals. In the first instance, a believing critic may affirm that reversals of traditional views are possible, but in fact find that evidence does not require them. Several of the widely used evangelical Introductions adopt this stance, and it is a position argued cogently in many other places. This style of academic work differs from critical anti-criticism mostly by the sense that ultimate matters are not at stake in any particular question of research.

“A second kind of believing criticism accepts the possibility of reversing traditional views and indeed argues that such reversals are justified by evidence from research… Academic proposals of this sort are often confusing to the evangelical community, especially for critical anti-critics, as the bare conclusions may not be different from the sort of reversal proposed by a non-evangelical. Believing critics of this second sort, however, regularly take pains to point out that the innovation is not intended as a detraction from high views of biblical infallibility, but rather as a better understanding of biblical intent.

“A third type of believing critic concedes that reversals are possible, that they have indeed occurred, and that they may reveal minor mistakes in the biblical materials. Alternatively, such critics may defend critical conventions of academic community that contradict evangelical traditions, but suggest that such matters are irrelevant to considerations of biblical interpretation… Evangelicals accept this or that critical conclusion and suggest that traditional evangelical reasons for rejecting that conclusion were inappropriate. Evangelical critics of this type regularly reflect some influence from neo-orthodox theologians or biblical scholars, and they may call certain evangelical formulations of inerrancy into question. They may even contest the whole evangelical concern for the question of error in the Bible. But on other important matters—belief in the truth-telling character of Scripture, its realistic interpretation, its substantial history, its ultimate authority—these critics align themselves with the evangelicals who are more conservative on critical matters…” 

Mark A. Noll, “Between Criticism and Faith: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America” (New York: Harper and Row, 1986) pp. 156-160 

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