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Victims Everywhere   Leave a comment

Image result for image of victimologyOne thing that really struck me this week in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting is how much victimhood has permeated this country. Yes, several people were shot and/or killed in that shooting and, yes, they are victims of a horrible tragedy. But to hear the media and the people they chose to interview talk, it would seem that half the nation’s population are victims of this incident that happened in one location. One woman on PBS talked about how her teenager, who attends a school in another state, was very concerned about how someone with a gun could come into her school and the mother wept that her child was being “victimized” like this. A man on another program said all parents with children in public school and their children have PTSD over this incident. Then there was someone else talking about how the shooter was a victim of bullying, almost as if that excuses shooting a bunch of people.

Wow! Is the embrasure of victimhood just an American phenomenon? It seems as if this country is the only place where people get so excited about the idea of being a victim that they will even fake hate crimes against themselves to get that status.

We’ve got women publicly crying that they were sexually assaulted and traumatized because a 93-year-old, wheelchair-bound President groped them. Maybe he was just trying to keep his arm around her for the photo op. He does have Parkinson’s Disease, you know?

Feminism (as in women having the same rights as men) has been so widely accepted in society that it made feminism irrelevant, so liberal feminists reinvented feminism as a combination of man-hating and victimization … a reason to keep bringing up patriarchy and rape culture and complain how men hold doors open for them and compliment their appearance. Disgusting!

Liberal feminism falsely makes women think they could have it all if those awful men weren’t getting in their way. It makes many guys unsure of what reaction they’ll get from women when they behave like men. Forget about the old “Women should be women and men should be men” philosophy; liberal feminism is about women being men and men being shamed for existing at all.

Progressive liberals (as opposed to classical liberals) work incessantly to split Americans into ever smaller groups that are at each other’s throats. If you want to get a sense of how bad it has gotten, we’re having ferocious public debates about transsexuals who, depending on how you define it, make up less than 0.25% to 0.75% of the population. Increasingly, the attitude is moving from the annoying, “You just can’t understand because of your race/color/gender” to “You HATE ME and that justifies ME HATING YOU” because of differences that are often unchangeable. This is incredibly dangerous to our future as a country because you can’t hold any group of people including a nation together long-term when people no longer believe they share the same goals and values as their neighbors.   Our nation’s motto is E pluribus unum (Out of many, one), but what happens when liberals insist that the many never become one?

Image result for image of victimologyThere was a time in America when people wanted to feel strong, capable and able to handle their own problems instead of being victims. There was a time in this country when the goals of oppressed minorities were to compete with white males on an even footing. Today, we’re told that, because of something intrinsic in our biology, we can never compete on even footing with white males who have received their position because of something intrinsic in their biology. They have white privilege, so unless we kill them all off (or at least take away their means of competing with us) we’ll always be victims. That sure sounds an awful lot like the old racism that said something intrinsic in our biology made one race superior to all others.

So what happens if we achieve this utopia? Do we honestly believe that a generation raised to be victims will be able to make use of power that sets aside their victimhood? Because once you’re in the cat-bird’s seat, you’re no longer a victim … right?

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Billy Graham Got An Upgrade   Leave a comment

Image result for billy grahamThis morning as I drove to work, the news was filled with the “tragedy” that Billy Graham, the evangelist, had died at 99 years of age. “Oh, so sad,” one commentator said.

No! Billy Graham got an upgrade. He’s no longer living in this messy world with pain and lies and evil. He’s with God — a relationship he worked to sustain partially for 85 years is now his fully.

Enjoy the next eternity of life, Billy. My husband and got to hear you preach once, in Anchorage, in 1984. The thing I remember about that crusade was a story you told about a man who said he was “just a pastor” and how you responded that there was “no such thing as just a pastor”. You went on to say that while you accepted your calling as an evangelist, one of the things you regretted was that it meant you couldn’t be a pastor, which you actually considered a higher calling. Since I hadn’t grown up listening to you and really didn’t know you all that well, I was amazed by your humility.

If there is a tragedy in you passing, it is that future generations will not get to hear you preach in person … this side of the veil anyway. We face a world that could use your wisdom. But you’re beyond that now, and I’m sure well-shed of this life.

 

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

Not Crumbs   Leave a comment

According to Nancy Pelosi and 90% of the progressive liberal news media, the tax cuts of 2017 amount to crumbs for middle- and working-class wage earners. We should be up in arms that the “rich” (i.e., our employers) got such huge cuts and we only got a little.

I ran the numbers.

Image result for image of nancy pelosiBrad and I together made just a little less than $50,000 in 2017. We had a nice bump from book sales this year – not exactly burning up the best-seller’s lists, but it felt good. Because Brad is self-employed, we won’t know how much tax reform affects him until we do our 2018 taxes, but my income from my job comes with check stubs. Starting my first paycheck in 2018, I immediately saw $150 extra in my net pay. That works out to almost $4000 for the year. Then, I just finished our 2017 taxes. Reform had a muted effect this year compared to what it will have next year, but our tax refund was $1000 more than it was in 2017 because we could take a deduction for our full-time student who still lives at home.

That’s $5000 for 2018 – money that I earned that was stolen from me in taxes and is now being given back to its rightful owner.

When you make $50,000 a year, $5000 is a lot of money. That’s my tithe, or a pretty-decent new-for-us vehicle. It certainly isn’t crumbs, Mrs. Pelosi.

It’s a Worldview Thing   Leave a comment

Way back in college, I was a political science minor, and one of the seminars I took was on “The Politics of Violence.” I chose that course because I had previously taken a foreign policy seminar with the professor and I admired his intelligence. I discovered that a man can be intelligent on one subject and a total fool on another.

Image result for symbol racismIf you’re unfamiliar with the 1973 book by psychologists David Sears and John McConahay, “The Politics of Violence: The New Urban Blacks and the Watts Riot, it defined a new type of racism. They called it “symbolic racism” and defined it according to three principles:

  • A newer, subtler form of racism is emerging, due to societal pressure against explicitly engaging in the behaviors and attitudes of the Jim Crow-era
  • This racism manifests itself in the sociopolitical sphere, with many using racially-targeted legislation to manifest their racism in a socially acceptable way
  • This new, subtle, “symbolic” racism has its origins in being socialized to accept certain conservative values.

Symbolic racism as a concept has merit. As a 21-year-old American Indian who was still straightening my hair, I’d encountered a few racists in my short life. Racism hadn’t disappeared from America but had become more subtle. For a while, I bought into the idea that there is such a thing as racially-motivated legislation masquerading as concern for “tradition”, that actually gets passed. I’ve revised that belief over the last 35 years and come to the conclusion that the theory of symbolic racism goes beyond this by defining conservatism as inherently racist.

Sears and McConahay argued that to support equality for African-Americans, but not to support government programs designed to ensure” this equality is a form of racism. So, if you’re for requiring photo ID to vote (the law in Alaska except in small villages where everybody knows everybody) or believe that affirmative action entry requirements in colleges and employment are unfair to whites and Asians, you’re a racist. Not, you might be … you are, according to subscribers of this theory.

Much of the subsequent study of racism since publication of The Politics of Violence has been defined by this element, though David Sears tried in a 2005 paper to stress that conservatism is a separate construct from political conservatism. Whatever his original  intentions, most people take his theory to conflate the two.

Using faulty logic, the book defines conservative/libertarian ideology to be racist by necessitating that anyone who believes in equality of opportunity must support legislation such as affirmative action and welfare, designed to assure equality of outcome. Conversely, if a person doesn’t support such policies, then they are manifesting symbolic racism. It no longer matters what you actually believe. Your “true motives” can be determined by your political actions.

In other words, fiscal, social and political conservatism, together or singularly, must be racially-motivated, despite the lack of empirical research supporting that theory. In a 1998 paper, Ramona Bobocel and colleagues empirically demonstrated there can be ideological opposition, entirely separate from racism or other forms of prejudice, to political policies supposedly designed to ensure “justice.” But that spoils the “racist” narrative, so the empirical research has been ignored by scientists and society.

Today, almost every conservative/libertarian political move is accused of being bigoted. Voter ID laws, welfare reform, Medicare reform, even tax cuts have all been furiously denounced as racist, but symbolic racism’s influence has also spread beyond the realm of racism itself.

If you opposed Secretary Clinton during her presidential campaigns, you were a sexist. It couldn’t be that you found her under-qualified or thought there was ample evidence that she was corrupt. No, the only reason you had to vote for someone other than her was that you are sexist … and that includes if you are a woman. You must be self-loathing if you voted against she-who-would-be-queen.

Those who support the First Amendment are guilty of “coded” hate speech. Clearly, you wouldn’t support widespread First Amendment protections if you understood how truly painful it is for some people to hear opinions they don’t agree with.

Exercising the right to refuse service on moral grounds is equated to Jim Crow-era lynchings and violence. If your closely-held beliefs require you to obey God even in the practice of your business, then you shouldn’t be in business.

The original theory of symbolic racism said traditional values were only being used for racist purposes. The modern manifestation of this theory equates the two. To believe in anything “traditional” is now a form of prejudice and we refuse to engage with any sort of “prejudice,” so we can’t even talk to one another anymore.

This is a fundamentally different worldview that many leftists accept without question, often far less questioned as free trade or free speech might be to those of us on the right. They might not necessarily be trying to put words in our mouths or be disingenuous. They truly believe symbolic racism is hidden in our “coded” language and they’re trying to catch us out so they don’t find themselves agreeing with us and finding themselves shamed by their fellow leftists for being “open and accepting” toward “racists”.

The way you address worldviews is by addressing presuppositions – the basic assumptions that drive this belief in symbolic racism. Only until you have examined the foundation can you rebuild the superstructure.

Yeah, that will take time and a willingness to recognize that they are sincere … if sincerely wrong.

Posted February 20, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in racism, Uncategorized

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A President of Principle (Draft)   Leave a comment

I don’t have many politicians that I look on as heroes. Wally Hickel from Alaska comes close. I respected Sarah Palin’s refusal to allow the Alaska Legislature to increase the budget in an era of high oil revenues. I am amazed Ron Paul managed to remain as untainted as he did for as long as he served. And ….

Calvin Coolidge, bw head and shoulders photo portrait seated, 1919.jpgYeah, that’s about it. Lincoln got knocked off his pedestal when I began to respect the Constitution. George Washington too. Learning more about these men convinced me that all politicians are corrupted and

In fact, the only US President I truly admire in history is Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president. When he voted a congressional salary increase, he told Congress:

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

That’s Coolidge as a man. Not only was he deeply concerned with tax reduction and the federal budget, he was also highly dedicated to serving of both his neighbor and nation. Coolidge had a special understanding of public service and never swayed from his foundational beliefs. These qualities made him the beloved man that he was. Although soft-spoken, Coolidge showed immense amounts of courage in serving his nation and staying true to his fundamental convictions.

An important way in which Calvin Coolidge showed this courage was in his approach to public service. Prior to his term as Commander-in-Chief, the government had grown unchecked for years under the Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson administrations. Wealth redistribution, government regulation, and the strength of unions were on the rise during this era of progressivism. Soon after stepping into the Oval Office, Coolidge promptly went on a budget- and tax-cutting spree to abolish what he referred to as “Despotic Exactions.”

Although scoffed at by many, this decrease in taxation and government spending saved the average American over $200 per year (about $1,500 today – sound familiar?). Coolidge wanted to help the poor, and he saw that this was the only way to enact true, long-term change toward raising the American standard of living. He and his Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, referred to this policy as “Scientific Taxation.” Coolidge once said:

“Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”

This informed approach was his creative service to the least of these, the poor in our society.

It took an immense amount of courage on Coolidge’s part to abandon previous methods and take a new approach to public service. This new approach was both utilitarian and grounded in a strong respect for people’s basic human rights. Though unorthodox, his principled fiscal stewardship caused many poor Americans to succeed in achieving a better life. With the national debt being cut almost in half, the 17.5 percent increase in the nation’s wealth, and illiteracy being cut in half as well, his presidential term was a success by any standard.

Inaction can benefit a nation more than action, as demonstrated by his numerous vetoed bills.

Although seemingly reserved, Coolidge was a man of strong principles. He called his fellow citizens to return to the proven principles of the American political tradition and encouraged them to examine their own beliefs in light of these principles. He believed strongly in the limits of social engineering, the nature of wealth, individual responsibility, and society’s dependence on moral and religious values. His ability to stand by these fundamental convictions in the face of adversity is rare among men.

In her book entitled Coolidge, Amity Shlaes refers to President Coolidge as our “Great Refrainer.” She suggests that inaction can benefit a nation more than action, as demonstrated by his numerous vetoed bills. “This was the boy with his finger in the dike, stopping a great progressive tide,” she accurately states. Throughout his life, Calvin Coolidge rejected what Bastiat called “legal plunder” and worked toward the creation not only of wealth but of beauty.

Calvin Coolidge’s messages regarding public service and his fundamental convictions have held true for almost a century. These firm principles were the groundwork for his ability to enact change for the better in America through public service. The way he thought determined the way he lived; his form followed his function. Calvin Coolidge lived by the principles that defined him. His belief system never aged. Even in the culturally diverse, globalized world we live in where people are desperate for new answers, ideas, and solutions, the simple social and moral code by which he lived remains as relevant as ever.

Posted February 20, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in History, Uncategorized

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Open Book Blog Hope – 19th February   Leave a comment

via Open Book Blog Hop – 19th February

Posted February 20, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in #openbook, Uncategorized

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Darkness & Light Are Incompatible   Leave a comment

Paul had just finished pleading for the affection of the Corinthian believers. Now he issued a command

Do not become partners with those who do not believe. (2 Corinthians 6:14)

A lot of people concentrate on the first part “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (quoting from the KJV), but you miss a lot of what is said when you do that. For example, the Greek nuance here is very strong “STOP yoking yourselves to unbelievers.” The use of the present imperative shows that Paul wasn’t merely warning the Corinthians of some hypothetical potential danger, but instructing them to stop an action already in progress.

Image result for image of not being unequally yokedSome scholars feel this section is out of place, that maybe it came from another section and was just inserted here by a later scribe because nobody knew where it belonged. Paul was lobbying strenuously for the Corinthians’ affect and then he resumes his lobbying efforts in 7:2. So what’s with the segue?

The misplaced fragment theory is an easy solution to a complex problem that creates more complex problems. It’s easy to shift the “blame” to someone other than Paul, but it doesn’t really address the question. Why did Paul suddenly insert this phrase into the middle of another narrative. Some scholars think he may have been quoting a familiar sermons, a piece of traditional writing or even an Essene text that had been reworked to reflect a Christian point of view. I think that’s extrapolating an awful lot.

I’m going to suggest that the most obvious answer is the most obvious answer. Paul was perhaps responding to news just received from Titus about a continuing problem with pagan associations. Another possibility is that, having asked the Corinthians to “open wide” Paul was now cautioning them about what not to be open to. 1 Corinthians 10:1-22 shows they were clearly in need of such guidance. Perhaps Paul was engaging in a little structural diplomacy. Modern writers call it “gem setting.” By starting and ending with statements of affection, he attempted to cushion the force of his command. The likeliest explanation is that Paul was specifying the cause for the Corinthians’ constraint toward him: their ongoing partnerships with unbelievers. And, ultimately there need not be just one explanation. A number of things could have led Paul to tackle the problem at this point and in this fashion.

We need to remember that he didn’t have a word processor and paper and ink were precious in his day and time. Perhaps he would have rearranged the letter to put points together had he had the modern conveniences that we do today, but he didn’t. And so, there’s a segue in this section, but ultimately, it fits with Paul’s overall message.

What exactly was Paul prohibiting with his command? The range among translations shows that there is no easy answer to this question.

  • Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers. (TEV)
  • Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. (NRSV)
  • Do not unite yourselves with unbelievers. (NEB)
  • Do not become partners with those who do not believe (NET)

I think we first have to decide who is “the unbeliever” and what does it mean to be “yoked together”. Fourteen out of sixteen Pauline uses of the term “unbeliever” (apistos) occur in 1st and 2nd Corinthians. The majority appear in 1 Corinthians 7 and distinguish those who have made a commitment to Christ from those who have not (7:12, 13, 14, 15). The only other occurrence in 2 Corinthians is used of those whose minds have been blinded by Satan to the light of the gospel (4:4). Here, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, it refers to those with whom there is a conflict of interest stemming from incompatible loyalties.

Paul certainly doesn’t mean to exclude all contact with unbelievers. He wront in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, that the church couldn’t avoid immoral people because that would necessitate removing themselves from the world entirely. So, the command here is concerning a particular kind of contact with unbelievers. Paul’s quotation of Isaiah 52:11, where Israel is commanded to come out from them and be separate suggests contact of a compromising nature (v. 17). But what would constitute a compromising liaison? Would working with an unbeliever be forbidden?

Marriage between a believer and unbeliever would certainly be a legitimate application of the command, which accounts for it being the most common connection made in sermons, but is it the only one? It may not even be the primary application, since the focus throughout is on the church, not the individual believer. This is especially clear from the Old Testament passages Paul invoked to support his prohibition. In each case they deal with God’s covenantal relationship with Israel, which Paul reapplied to the church as the temple of the living God (vv. 16-18).

Image result for image of not being unequally yokedHere in my hometown, the local Food Bank is largely funded by a consortium of churches, but it also receives wide support from civil organizations and individuals. Would this command prohibit such collaborations?

The command is literally Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. The verb heterozygew is an agricultural term that refers to the practice of yoking two unequal kinds of animals (such as an ox and a donkey) to a plow. This would suggest that unequal associations between Christians and non-Christians are what Paul specifically had in mind. Paul was clearly thinking of associations that involve a partnership rather than a casual or occasional working relationship.

The specific kinds of partnerships are left unnamed. This may be because Paul dealt with specific instances in 1 Corinthians, so that the Corinthians understood what kinds of partnerships he meant.

  • He had reprimanded them for allowing their legal disputes with one another to be arbitrated by the secular courts (“in front of unbelievers,” 6:1-6).
  • He had admonished them for participating with pagans in their cultic meals (10:6-22).
  • He had rebuked them for approving of sexual unions with prostitutes (6:12-20) and for taking pride in the sexual liaison between a Christian and his stepmother (5:1-13).

Paul was concerned with the unequal partnerships believers form with secular society( unbelievers). Does this mean that it is not legitimate for the church to be active in society and its structures? Paul addressed this question by means of a series of five rhetorical questions that highlight recognized spheres of incompatibility between Christianity and the secular world. Each is introduced with the relative pronoun tis(what), each considers the partnership of acknowledged opposites (such as light and dark), and each expects the answer “No way.”

For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what  fellowship does light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14b)

Image result for image of no fellowship between light and darknessThe believer and the unbeliever are driven by a different set of values, the one characterized by righteousness (dikaiosyne), the other by lawlessness (anomia). There are no shared values because the one follows God’s will and the other does not. So there can be no real partnership between them.

Light and darkness are common imagery to describe the way of the righteous and the wicked, found throughout the wisdom literature of the Old Testament (for example, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble,” Proverbs 4:18-19). In Paul’s writings, light is Christ-centered. Darkness was over the whole universe until God created light. Darkness resided in the hearts and minds of humankind God shone the light of the glorious gospel about Christ in our hearts (4:4, 6). This light makes ethical demands on its recipients in the form of fruit that is “good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:9).

And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:15)

The second set of questions considered the partnership of personal opposites. It is widely thought that Belial (Greek Beliar) comes from the Hebrew term beliyya`al, meaning “worthless, good-for-nothing”. Belial as a name for the devil is found only here in the New Testament. Paul usually referred to the Christian’s archenemy as “Satan” (Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 7:5; 2 Cor 2:11; 11:14; 12:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thess 2:9; 1 Timothy 1:20; 5:15). In the Old Testament beliyya`al also designates the realm of the powers of chaos and so comes to mean destruction, wickedness and ruin (as in Deuteronomy 13:13[14]; Judges 19:22; 20:13; 1 Samuel 1:16; Psalms 18:4[5]; 41:8[9]; 101:3; Proverbs 16:27; 19:28; Nahum 1:11[2:1]. In the Qumran Scrolls beliyya`al is the name of the highest angel of darkness and the enemy of the prince of light, while in other Jewish materials Belial is the absolute enemy of God and chief of demons (Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs; Jubilees 1:20; The Lives of the Prophets 4:6, 20; 17:2; Sibylline Oracles 2.167; 3.64-74; Ascension of Isaiah 3-4). It is because the unbeliever’s mind has been blinded by the devil to the truths of the gospel (4:4) that the believer and unbeliever hold nothing in common.

And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living Godjust as God said, “I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, andthey will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Paul’s final rhetorical question considered the partnership of religious opposites, which goes to the heart of the problem at Corinth. Turning from idols to serve the living God was a regular part of the message Paul preached to Gentiles (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; compare Acts 17:22-31). Corinth was home to many renowned temples — the temple of Aphrodite (the goddess of love, fertility and beauty) situated on the Acrocorinth, an 1,886-foot-high fortified mountain, and the sanctuary of Asclepius (god of healing). The pagan temples, which were under the patronage of a particular god or goddess, were a focal point of social activity. Invitations along the lines of “So and so invites you to dine at the temple of Serapis” were a regular social possibility for those living in a city like Corinth.

To a Christian, an idol is nothing in the world because there is no God but one (1 Corinthians 8:4). On the other hand, to continue to be involved in the pagan cults would suggest that an idol has value. Participation in cultic meals and temple worship would seriously call into question one’s loyalty to God. While the meat that has been sacrificed to an idol is itself indifferent, participation in the cultic meal is not. Such participation not only gives credibility to the idol but also forges a union with the patron god or goddess. Christian involvement leads others to think that there must be something to this after all. Moreover, while the idol itself may be nothing, there is a power behind the idol that is not to be overlooked. This is why Paul equated participation in cultic meals with becoming partners with demons (1 Corinthians 10:14-22).

Therefore “come out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, 26  and I will welcome youand I will be a father to youand you will be my sons and daughters,” says the All-Powerful Lord. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

It’s becoming increasingly common for Christian ministers, once great supporters of public schools, to now advocate for home schooling and private schools because they have come to recognize that public school curricular materials are increasingly in direct opposition to Christian values, calling into question whether Christians should be involved with the system.

Paul described the church (and the individual Christian) as the temple of the living God, or, better, the “sanctuary” (naos)–the most sacred part of the temple structure (v. 16). Paul’s choice of words is significant. The temple of the living God does not refer to a building. From the days of Solomon to the time of Christ, the temple was a physical structure where God made His presence known to Israel, but with Christ’s coming, God’s temple became the people gathered in Christ’s name. The first-person pronoun is placed at the head of the clause for emphasis–We are the temple of the living God (v. 16). I think most Christians today don’t sufficiently grasp this theological point. The evidence for that is that we talk about “going to church,” “the church building” and “entering the house of God”, which leads insider and outsider alike to think of the church as a physical structure rather than the people who gather there.

To be the temple of the living God is to belong exclusively to God and to forsake all associations that would be incompatible with God’s ownership. To drive home this point, Paul cited six Old Testament passages that spell out what it means to be God’s possession. In each case a text that deals with God’s covenantal relationship with Israel was reapplied to the church (vv. 16-18). Phrases from each passage are woven together in an almost unprecedented way, recalling the testimonial collections of the early church.

I will live with them most likely comes from Leviticus 26:11 (“I will put my dwelling place among you”), but Ezekiel 37:27 is also a possibility (“my dwelling place will be with them”). The verb translated live with (enoikeo) means to “inhabit” or “be at home.” The notion is active rather than passive. To be at home is to exercise one’s rights as the proprietor of the house. So for God to inhabit his church is for him to establish his rule there. Walk among them is taken from Leviticus 26:12, with the minor modification of changing the pronoun from second to third person. To walk among is actually to “walk in and around”. God does not merely exercise His rights as proprietor but moves with familiarity from one room to the next.

I will be their God and they will be my people is a recurring promise of Yahweh to Israel in the Old Testament. The first occurrence is in Leviticus 26:12, the most probable source of Paul’s quote–although it also appears in the familiar texts of Jeremiah 31:33, 32:38 and Ezekiel 37:27. The imagery shifts at this point from dwellings to treaties. The language is that of a sovereign to a vassal. Under the terms of the treaty that bound king and vassal together, the king agreed to protect the vassal, and the vassal promised sole allegiance and obedience. This is why worship of God and worship of idols are fundamentally incompatible. While we no longer relate to God as vassals to a sovereign, the essential principle of exclusive possession underlying the Mosaic covenant still holds true (3:14).

Therefore (v 17) introduces the practical implications of verses 14-16. The pledge of the sovereign’s presence and protection also carried with it certain moral mandates for the vassal. The mandate for Israel was that they were to come out from them and be separate. . . . Touch no unclean thing. Paul quoted from Isaiah 52:11, changing the order of the commands and adding the phrase says the Lord. In Isaiah 52:8-12 the Israelites were warned as they leave Babylon that they are not to take any material goods acquired in exile back with them; and those who carry the sacred temple vessels, which had been carefully preserved in exile, are first to purify themselves. Israel was to sever all ties with the idolatries, practices and impurities of their pagan captors. The same is true for the church. God always demands holy living from His people. Since He takes up lodging among us, we in turn are called to separate ourselves from everything incompatible with his holiness (Bruce 1971:215). The verbs are aorist imperatives (exelthate, aphoristhete), making immediate and decisive separation the appropriate course of action.

If the Corinthians do this, the pledge is that God will receive them and be a father to them. They, in turn, will be sons and daughters (vv. 17-18). I will receive you is probably drawn from Ezekiel 20:34. The second part of the pledge is taken from 2 Samuel 7:14 (2 Kingdoms 7:14): “I will be his father, and he will be my son.” Paul saw God’s promise to David that he will be a father to Solomon and Solomon will be a son to him fulfilled yet again in God’s relationship to the church. The singular son is changed to the plural sons, and the phrase and daughters is added, probably under the influence of Isaiah 43:6. There are to be a family likeness and family affection between God and his people.

The entire string of Old Testament quotations concludes with the phrase says the Lord Almighty. The phrase is a familiar one in the Bible. The term pantokrator, which translates the Hebrew seba’wt, is commonly rendered “almighty” but actually means “master” or “ruler of all”. With this phrase Paul emphasized the awesome truth that it is the One Who rules over all Who chooses to dwell among us and be our Father.

Paul concluded this block of verses with an exhortation to be pure and holy: Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (7:1). The language and phraseology are not typically Pauline. He might have been quoting a familiar phrase or a well-known ethical injunction. In the sphere of agriculture, katharizo (“purify”) means to “prune away” or “clear” the ground of weeds–which may not be far off the mark here. The more usual way to construe the verb is to “wash” or “cleanse” of dirt or other filth. Paul’s use of the reflexive heautous would support this sense (“to cleanse yourselves“). The aorist tense suggests a decisive action of cleansing (katharisomen).Cleanliness as next to godliness fits well the religious mentality of Paul’s day. Both Greek religion and Judaism placed an emphasis on physical and ritual purity. Within Judaism this mentality was grounded on the presupposition that uncleanness and Yahweh were irreconcilable opposites. The Essenes, in particular, were well known for their rites of purification and daily immersion practices (Link and Schattenmann 1978:104-5).

From what were the Corinthians to cleanse themselves? According to Paul, it was from everything that contaminates body and spirit. Contaminates is actually a noun denoting that which stains, defiles or soils (molysmos). The noun is found only here in the New Testament, although the verb is used twice in Revelation (3:4; 14:4) and once in 1 Corinthians (8:7) of defiling the conscience through the indiscriminate eating of meat sacrificed to idols (compare Jerermiah 23:15). This brings us back full circle to Paul’s opening injunction to stop entering into unequal partnerships with unbelievers (6:14). The close association of molysmos with idolatry suggests that Paul was thinking especially of defilement that comes from dining in the local temples, membership in the pagan cults, ritual prostitution, active engagement in pagan worship and the like.

The defilement mentioned affected body and spirit. The Greek text is literally “flesh and spirit.” Paul could be using popular language to designate the material and immaterial elements of a person, but he used “flesh” and “spirit” interchangeably at 2:13 and 7:5, suggesting he was looking at the human being from two differing perspectives. This fits with Hebraic thinking, which did not compartmentalize the human being but viewed the whole person from different vantage points (such as physical, spiritual, mental).

The positive side of the exhortation is perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Holiness becomes a reality as we purify ourselves from physical and spiritual pollutants. Purifying ourselves must be done out of reverence for God–that is, in deference and devotion toward Him to whom we owe everything.

That Christians would strive to live a holy life is a wholly appropriate response to the promises of God’s presence (v. 16), His welcome (v. 17) and His fatherhood (v. 18).

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