Why Don’t We Eat Humans?

I know that may sound like a no-brainer, but, seriously. . . Why don’t we eat humans?

When I try to imagine eating human flesh, I start to get this gag-reflex-thing going on in my throat—It’s awful.

I remember seeing this movie in the 90s called Alive, which was a story about a South American soccer team whose plane crashed into the Andes mountains in 1972. Well, to survive they ended up eating the flesh of some of their dead soccer mates. I know—sick. But they had to do it to survive.

What does the name Hannibal Lector make you think about? Do you want some fava beans with that?

Anyway. In a recent pod-cast episode of Unbelievable, the host had a Christian apologist and an atheist in the studio to discuss the existence of God. The Christian is a lawyer from Texas, and I think the atheist was an Aussie or a Brit . . . I don’t recall. At one point, the topic of morality came up. Now, I don’t remember exactly what was being said. I just remember the part when the Christian lobbed a grenade-shaped question on the atheist in mid-speech, saying, “So, why don’t we eat humans?”

It stopped the atheist dead in his tracks. It was not a long stop, but it threw him off. “What do you mean, ‘why don’t we eat humans?'” he said. And then he continued, saying we don’t need to because we have pigs and cattle and what not. He said a few other things, but you could tell he was not ready for that one.

The Christian responded and said (paraphrasing), “With all those people who are hungry all over the world, why are they not eating the dead? What a waste of good protein. We donate our organs to science, why not donate our bodies to feed the hungry.”

It was really funny listening to this atheist trying to recover. He just said a few words and tried to brush it under the rug and proceed on with his other arguments.

But, the Christian’s point was in regards to our human dignity. He asked the atheist what makes us more dignified than other creatures, and the atheist said it was our intelligence. I don’t think he had fully recovered from the grenade yet because his knee-jerk response just opened the door to a litany of objections that quickly buried him.

I am sure you can think of a few yourself.

So, this is where I will end with their debate.

The answer, however, still needs more ‘flesh’ on it (pun intended :)).

Where do we get our dignity?

Lets define dignity. One dictionary says, dignity means, “Inherent nobility and worth.”(1) And specifically regarding human dignity, “a being has an innate right to be valued and receive ethical treatment.”(2)

Robert P. Kraynak , in his essay from the Presidents Council on Bioethics, says, “When we speak about ‘human dignity’ or ‘the dignity of man,’ we usually mean the special moral status of human beings in the natural universe as well as the respect due to individual humans because of their essential humanity.”(3)

In looking at the first definition, I have to ask what gives humans this inherent and innate right to such a status? Is it what society says? The government? Or, is it just on an individual basis?

Kraynak’s definition (I don’t mean to imply it is his) tries to mash aspects of two conflicting worldviews together—special moral status and natural universe. Morality cannot be accounted for in a naturalistic worldview (I don’t believe he is meaning naturalistic per se, but this fits the secular mold, which is that of a naturalistic worldview).

But, just read the definition again…. Why should humans get special respect because of their essential humanity? When it comes to a materialist, Darwinian worldview, the concept of innate self-worth or inherent value has no place in such a way of life. It can’t be accounted for. All the atheist can say, though he will try decorate it with big words, “it is because it is,” but that is arbitrary (see my pastor and good friend Stephen Feinstein’s blog post of such a conversation we had with an atheist). There is an elephant in the room that the naturalist doesn’t see.

Getting back to the definitions. What is obvious about these statements is that worth can only be placed on something by another. Regardless of using adjectives such as special, innate, or essential, humans have a value that supersedes any other material object. Furthermore, in understanding how worth and value are placed on something, we can deduce that there is something, rather someone that gives humans this value. Value and worth is something only persons understand and can give. One has to have a personal, relational, cognitive mind to recognize worth and to attribute it to something.

However, if humans give humans value, then humans can take away that value. That is what we are truly left with, if we are merely nothing more than mud and molecules.

And we have seen humans commit plenty of horrific and atrocious acts to other humans, devaluing and demoralizing them, treating them like animals (i.e., human trafficking, slavery, rape, etc.). We say like animals because there is a vast difference between humans and animals, and while there are those who on the surface think otherwise (like naturalists), they don’t truly live their life that way, holding moral convictions that reflect such an ideology.

So why do humans have inherent dignity?

Because God made man in his image after his likeness (Gen. 1:26).

The only way to account for a universal, intrinsic moral worth is because One who is eternally and infinitely moral, The Moral Lawgiver, made mankind to have such a value.

That is why we don’t eat humans.

(And no, its not because we can get the Kuru disease if we do. That is not the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about it).

—Romans 11:36
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1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dignity (accessed, 1/2/2014)
2.http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/human+dignity (accessed, 1/2/2014)
3.https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcbe/reports/human_dignity/chapter4.html (accessed, 1/2/2014).

Qualifications of a False Teacher

There is an unfortunate turning-of-a-blind-eye when it comes to recognizing false teachers within the church. And I think the taboo of judging others in evangelical Christianity, particularly in America, has done damage to the integrity of the Church (1). Furthermore, the fact that many Christians have an un-biblical understanding of the role of the pastor means they have an un-biblical understanding of a false ‘pastor.’

When a man believes he is called to the pastorate, he must meet the qualifications set forth in Scripture. Paul gives these qualifications in his first letter to Timothy, who though had a “spirit . . . of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7), needed guidance for his task of shepherding the souls the Lord entrusted to him. And to do that he needed to train up other men of the faith to assist in that work, which is why Paul laid out the criteria, setting the standard for that role.

Pastoring a flock is more than just showing up on Sunday, delivering a sermon, shaking some hands, catching up with the folks, and then back home until the following Sunday. The pastor is responsible to care for the souls of his congregation. He is responsible for feeding the sheep a nourishing diet, the words from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). He is also the one who is to train up men in the faith, shaping them into future ministers and pastors. He is responsible to council those going through emotional and spiritual struggles, which is a constant aspect of ministry. Meeting the needs of his people is a calling that can only be done in submission to Christ, following his lead as a servant to his people.

This special calling can be a dangerous one . . .

The author of Hebrews tells us that pastors will have to give an account for the souls of the flock (13:17). And James warns us that not many should become teachers because those “who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (3:1). It is indeed the most important calling a man can have, which is why Paul says he who “aspires to the office of overseer [pastor], he desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1).

So, if the accountability is steep, then the criteria must be steep as well.

He must be:

•    above reproach,
•    husband of one wife
•    sober-minded
•    self-controlled
•    respectable,
•    hospitable
•    able to teach
•    not a drunkard
•    not violent but gentle
•    not quarrelsome
•    not a lover of money.
•    He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children   submissive
•    He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
•    He must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:2-7).

Peter exhorting those who are elders of the Asian churches, writes,

•    shepherd the flock of God that is among you,
•    exercising oversight . . . as God would have you . . .
•    not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
•    not domineering over those in your charge,
•    being examples to the flock. . . .
•    Humble yourselves,
•    Be sober-minded;
•    be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith (1 Peter 5:2-3, 6-9).

For the task of shepherding, these are indeed stringent qualifications and steep expectations.

However, the topic of this post is not about the qualifications of elders; rather, it is the qualifications of false teachers.

So, then, “What does a false teacher look like?”

Does he talk like a smooth-tongued car salesman?
Or, is he a quiet man, keeps to himself, and never seems to smile?
Or, maybe he is the arrogant type, full of himself, who leaves his duties to others so he can focus on growing his muscles in the gym?

While these attributes surely are unsuitable for a pastor, it doesn’t mean one is a false teacher.

Now, you may be thinking that a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, or an atheist is in this class. Though it is true that one who is from a cult or an atheistic perspective holds to teachings that conflict with Scripture, the true false teachers are within the church (2 Peter 2:1).

So, then how are we to identify false teachers? What does the Bible give as ‘qualifications’ for false teachers? I will look at some key passages that will help us identify these ‘qualifications,’ of which I will give five (in no particular order).

The first warning comes directly from Jesus: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

1st qualification: prophets who teach what is false (i.e., conflicts with and contradicts God’s Word). So, you better know your Bible to identify this one. Be sure to read Deuteronomy 13 and 18:20-22.

2nd qualification: they come wearing sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Have you seen or read the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Even a nasty looking wolf can resemble a sheep. The Greek word for ravenous is ἅρπαγες (harpax), which means: vicious; destructively ferocious; violently greedy, like a robber or swindler. Their motives are for personal gain, not to serve the Lord and his people. Again, know your Bible, and hold others accountable if doctrinal issues arise.

In Acts 20:29-30, Paul gives a prophetic warning to the elders of the Ephesian church. He writes, “ I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

3rd qualification: they will come from among your own selves, speaking twisted things, to draw away other believers. I already mentioned this—they will come from among us; that is what makes them difficult to spot. Again, know your Bible; know your doctrine.

In Peter’s second epistle, he speaks of the rising of false teachers prior to this letter and speaks of the false teachers that will come.

He writes, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words” (2:1-3).

4th qualification: they will bring in destructive heresies, even denying Christ. This might be hard to imagine because it seems it would be too obvious. But that is what can happen when Christians don’t know their Bibles and are lacking nourishing, gospel-saturated preaching. They can unwittingly reject orthodox teaching because of their failure to mature in the knowledge and wisdom of God. So, the wolves prey on that lack of knowledge within the church and lead many astray. Those who believe in a Jesus different than the one of Scripture believe in a false Christ. And because of this, many factions have formed, spurning off into cultist religions (JWs, Mormonism, Unitarianism, Christian Science).

Paul, continues in the same vein as Peter, foretelling of this time to come. In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, he says, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

5th qualification: they will teach doctrine that suits the passion of the flesh. Whenever the word passion is used in the New Testament, it is never used in reference to godliness. The flesh desires to gratify itself; they are against the Spirit, as the Spirit is against the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17).

A current example of this is in the popularity of the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel movement. Many false teachers are spreading a doctrine of earthly wealth, physical health, and prosperity in the name of Christ. They get people to support their ministry, promising them great material blessings if they do so. But this only increases the wealth for the wolf. Many of these teachers have New York Time’s best sellers, TV shows and national fame outside the church.

So, just looking at these five qualifications, can you think of any pastors/teachers who meet these criteria?

Go to a Christian book store or look in the religion/Christian section in your nearest Barnes & Noble and look at which authors’ books are best sellers in the secular market.

Here are few well-known pastor/teachers teaching heterodoxy (not inline with orthodox Christianity) :

RobBell TDJakes JoelOsteen RickWarren StevenFurtickJoyceMeyer

Many of these teachers are loved by the world . . .that should be a red flag. Jude expresses clearly that those who have crept in unnoticed have been designated for condemnation, for they are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God (v.4). False teachers have a dark destination waiting for them; they don’t belong in the church (for those false teachers who fail to repent after being rebuked for their heretical (2) doctrines)

The Lord instituted church discipline (Matthew 18) for the purpose of keeping the church holy and blameless and for restoring those who are in sin. And churches that choose to not exercise that discipline because they don’t want to be judgmental are in sin themselves. It is damaging to the health of the church because it sends the message to the other sheep that certain types of sin are acceptable.

Paul, unlike modern evangelicalism, says that we are to judge—we are to judge those who say they are one of us, those inside the church (1 Corinthians 5:11-12).

Therefore, purge the evil one among you (1 Corinthians 5:13b).

What is the key takeaway from this article? Know your BibleTest everything with Scripture

Also, make sure you are in a church that preaches expositionally, where the intent of the sermon is the intent of the passage. Pastors have been tasked by Christ to feed his sheep. The sheep will only grow on a steady diet of gospel-saturated preaching and teaching. If you are one who feels malnourished because all you are being stuffed with are opinions of your pastor, then you need to leave. Hold firm to the true doctrine in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ but make it known to the rest of creation.

—Romans 11:36

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1). Now, the true church is sanctified in Christ and does not have an ‘integrity’ issue in that sense. I am looking at the factions and false teaching that is quite apparent within the church but has been accepted (seeker-sensitive moralistic models, extreme charismatics, word-of-faith preachers, oneness Pentecostals, churches that except homosexuality, etc.).
2.) The definition of a heretic is one who believes and teaches a doctrine that distorts, diminishes, or is contrary to the gospel message in any way. One can hold to a different view on eschatology and not be considered a heretic because though the views differ on when he returns, none of the views deny his return (accept for full preterism). However, if one does not believe in an eternal hell, then the work of Christ on the cross to save sinners was done in vain. Scripture teaches that there is an eternal hell. But, if there is no eternal hell, then what are sinners being saved from? Christ spoke of an eternal hell, and if that were false, then that would make Christ a liar, thus voiding his sinlessness, rendering his work on the cross as insufficient, making him another fallen human, and leaving a Christian’s faith in vain because he who died on the cross did not redeem anyone. Each doctrine is linked together in the gospel message.

Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality— 1 Timothy 1:10

If you have not read the introduction to this series, please do so: Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Introduction)

We are now at the last post in this series, and I hope they have been helpful and edifying for my fellow Christians who might be unsure as to what the Bible teaches regarding this subject. There are those from the pro-homosexual position who are quite crafty and articulate, demonstrating what seems to be a clear, persuasive argument stating that the Bible is in favor of Christians actively living out a homosexual lifestyle. However, I believe when the Bible is given the chance to speak for itself, as it has in these posts, it is quite clear that it is not in favor of that position.

As for those who believe that being gay and Christian is acceptable in the faith, I hope that these posts have either led to a complete change in heart, or, they have become the stone in your shoe that forces you to think more about this subject in your walk pursuing truth.

Because these verses are similar to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, an in-depth examination is not needed. Furthermore, the pro-homosexual argument is the same, and the exegetical material I have already done is as well, so I am just going to post the verses, give a bit of context, and wrap it up with some important points we should take away from all of these posts.

1 Timothy 1: 8-11

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

After his customary greeting in the opening of his letter, Paul wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter—the teaching of sound doctrine. He says to Timothy,

“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.”

False teaching has been, and always will be,  a constant threat to the church until the Lord returns in glory. In fact, it is because of false teaching that we have the epistles of the New Testament.

Paul speaks of those whom Timothy is to rebuke and also avoid: they who speak and teach “irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge'” (1 Timothy 6:20b). In their profession of this knowledge, they have swerved from the faith, which is the deposit entrusted to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

In the context of his letter, these false teachers were using the law, which is holy and good (Romans 7:12), unlawfully. It was being used against those who are no longer under it (1 Timothy 1:9). So, Paul reminds us who the law is intended for:

“. . . the lawless and disobedient,
. . . for the ungodly and sinners,
. . . for the unholy and profane,
. . . for those who strike their fathers and mothers,
. . . for murderers,
. . . the sexually immoral,
. . . men who practice homosexuality,
. . . enslavers,
. . . liars,
. . . perjurers,
. . . and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (vv.9-10).

The law is used to rebuke sin, and in this list of sins, men who practice homosexuality, as Paul writes, is “contrary to sound doctrine in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted” (vv.10-11).

It is again important to point out that the sin is in the practicing of homosexuality. The acts themselves of same-sex intercourse is contrary to sound doctrine.

Why is that?

Because it is a violation of purpose.

Back in Romans 1, we saw that idolatry is what lead to the spiral of chaos in the depravity of man. Mankind exchanged the glory of God for that of an idol. Man exchanged God for himself; therefore, God gave man over to himself. Man’s sinful heart distorts the purposes of God’s design for man and woman, reflecting an image not of God but of an idol.

The Bible says when God created man, he “created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

And Genesis 2 expounds further on this:

22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (2:22-25).

When God formed the woman after the man, the image was now complete. And the command immediately followed, “Therefore [which when you see a therefore or a so that in Scripture, it lets us know that what follows is a purpose clause (statement)] a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Man and woman were designed to unite as one. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality in the gospel accounts, but he did mention God’s plan for relationships.

This uniting is, as Christ says, a uniting that “God has joined together” (Mark 10:9a, italics added). And this joining together, Christ also says, “let not man separate” (10:9b).

Separating what God intended for man and woman fractures the image of God in man, which he purposed to be reflected in their uniting, and that is why it is an abomination to him.


Conclusion

One important point I need to state is that if one has homosexual thoughts and temptations, one can still be a Christian; one just cannot be a practicing homosexual and be a Christian, just as one cannot be a practicing adulterer or thief or murderer and be a Christian.

We all have sin issues that we need to constantly take to the foot of the cross. There are those who prior to conversion struggled with drugs, alcohol, pornography, greed, serial promiscuity, etc. But the power of the gospel has taken root, stripping away those desires and urges to act on those sinful thoughts as they once used to. The Spirit gives the believer discernment to see his sin and turn from it,  clinging to Christ. And in that turning away, there is also a putting on of the new self (Colossians 3:10), which enables the believer to fight the power of the flesh.

I encourage you all to read Colossians 3: 5-17. In this section of Scripture, Paul is speaking to Christians, exhorting them to put to death sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, and covetousness, which is idolatry . . . anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, and lying (vv. 5,8). He says, as we saw previously in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “in these you too once walked, when you were living in them” (Colossians 3:7, italics mine). We don’t live in sin; we live in Christ (Romans 6:11).

There is no sin bad enough nor heart hard enough to resist the grace of God.

The Christians he is exhorting have sinful behaviors they need to put to death. They are saved but still have sin problems they need to work through. They have to “put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (vv.9,10, italics added). We are to “let the word of Christ dwell in our hearts, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16a).

But it is only through the grace of God that one can put off the old and put on the new.

Turn to Christ; taste the sweetness of Christ; submit to Christ; cherish Christ; obey and love Christ; love others as Christ loves you; meditate on Christ; soak up the spiritual nourishment in the pages of his Word; pray and commune with him without ceasing; fellowship with the family of God; cast each others burdens on each other; seek the will of Christ . . .

and whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God.

Romans 11:36

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