Friday, November 11, 2011

November Newsletter

The Lost Syriac-Aramaic Chronicle of the Magi

In the Vatican Library an ancient Aramaic text tells the story of the "Wise Men" who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. According to the text, there were not just three magi. They were a group of twelve. They claimed to be from the land of "Shir" and were the descendents of Seth the third son of Adam and they were the guardians of an ancient prophecy that a star of incredible brightness would appear "heralding the birth of God in human form." The rest of the story is found in the November/December 2011 edition of Biblical Archeological Review.


New Ancient Aramaic Inscription Discovered

The inscription is on a bone box (ossuary) found in Israel. It reads "Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas priest of Ma'aziah from Beth Imri." This is an important artifact because it tells us that the "priestly course" to which Caiaphas, the high priest who sentenced Jesus to death, was the family of Ma'aziah (mentioned in 1 Chronicles 24:18). This story is featured in the November/December edition of BAR.


The Problem with Modern Liberalism

I noticed how there are many liberal organizations that monitor the supposed "right." There are groups such as "Right Wing Watch" and so on. However, there are few, if any, conservative groups that monitor the left. Why is that? The reason is because conservatives are actually more tolerant of different opinions and beliefs than liberals are. Liberals claim to believe in "diversity" but they have no tolerance for dissent, for those whose beliefs and convictions contradict their own. My experience is that the most intolerant people that I have ever come across are liberals. If you don't agree with liberalism, liberals will call you names and ostracize you. This actually can be very hurtful to society as a whole. You are not allowed to question liberal orthodoxy. Liberals are sometimes described as "bleeding heart liberals." They are not bleeding hearts. They are arrogant and condescending. They think that because they are liberals they are wiser and better than people who are not. If a policy doesn't work because it is based on liberalism in some manner, the issue cannot be addressed because those who question liberalism become a target. Say, a certain liberal program is actually doing more harm than good. Conservatives could try to put an idea on the table and say, let us try a new approach that may actually help more people. Just bringing new ideas to the table exposes them to attack. You can't do anything about it-because liberalism doesn't tolerate dissent, debate and dialogue on such matters. If you try to discuss things liberals start yelling and using inflammatory rhetoric and claim those who have a different opinion are hateful or are stupid. The other issue is that the radical left wing has become so widespread and prevalent. They control everything-TV, movies, the nightly news, publishing, and the courts. It is the greatest threat Freedom loving Americans face-and they have formed an alliance with the Muslim terrorists.


Moderate Sharia?

The liberal media has decided to support and defend the implementation of Sharia law around the world and to become its apologists and defender.

This week Liberals sued the Catholic University of America-because Muslim students find the crosses and pictures of Christ displayed there offensive. I can't believe this is happening in America. All these things that are happening is the American people getting what they wanted when they voted for Obama.



Sometimes I am concerned with how I call the Liberals or Obama into account. But now I realized that I was absolutely right and this is something that I must do. I heard Rush Limbaugh accuse the Liberal News Media of advocating Sharia law and describing it as "moderate." I have seen several reports for myself and I know that it is true. The Liberal News Media establishment is advocating the establishment of Sharia Law. Political Correctness has embraced Sharia Law. We must oppose this with all our strength. Sharia law is evil and it includes religious persecution. It must be stopped at all costs. So, I will oppose both the radical left and Islamism-and I will do so unapologetically. Hypocrisy: Comedian Orlando Jones called for the murder of Sarah Palin at his "twitter" account. The left is OK with that-but blamed Palin for the shooting of a liberal congresswoman Giffards-who was shot by a deranged liberal. The Left-wing News Media attacked the TEA party-but they celebrate the "Occupy Wall Street" riots.


Not Being Judgmental or folly?

My brother was arguing with a liberal who says we should never say negative things about Islam because that is being judgmental. He sent her video showing the Egyptian army running over Coptic Christians in the streets of Cairo with military vehicles. (At the same time the Egyptian state media was inciting attacks against Coptic Christians.) She was offended that she sent him the video. She wasn't offended that the Muslims were slaughtering Christians-what offended her was that my brother exposed her to the shocking facts. Instead of being appalled by the actions of Muslims, she was infuriated at my brother for showing the footage. Christians are literally being slaughtered in the street. One Islamic state after another is falling to radical Sharia law (oddly, with Obama's helping it along). Libya and Tunisia have fallen to the Islamists. Egypt obviously has also. So, we have a global movement of violence against Christians and the violence isn't limited to the Middle East. It has struck Europe and America. Why is this happening? What are the goals of this world wide movement? What can we do to protect ourselves? Ignoring these important issues because it isn't politically correct to discuss them-or because to do so is "judgmental" is folly!


Ten Politically Correct Liberal Lies that Christians Believe

Why are Evangelical Christians losing so much ground in American society? It is estimated that within the next ten years, Evangelical Christians (Protestants) will be a minority in America-for the first time. There are a number of reasons for this. The problem is that Christians are unable to change things or gain any ground. The election of Obama, with his radical left-wing agenda, has been a huge setback. But part of the problem is that Christian claim to have the answer, but what have they done with it for the past 2,000 years? It seems to be all negative. An unbeliever says, "You say Christ is the answer-and yet you Christians have made a mess of things for the past 2,000 years. It must be that Christ isn't the answer. Otherwise, you would have done much better." Have Christians really made a mess of things? In reality this is all indoctrination and anti-Christian polemics. However, Christians believe the worst about themselves. And, so we are already defeated. Here are the top ten lies Christians believe:


  1. The Church Fathers introduced paganism into the church. Oh really? What Church Father and when? The Church Fathers preserved the New Testament for us and battled heresy such as Gnosticism-which taught the Creator of the Universe is evil and that the Old Testament is to be rejected.
  2. Constantine Made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and that was somehow a bad thing. Constantine ended the persecution of Christianity and that was a good thing. Eventually there was going to be a Christian head of state. If it wasn't Constantine it would have been someone else. Constantine is constantly demonized. Finally, a balanced approach has been taken in the book "Defending Constantine."
  3. Christians burned down the Library of Alexandria. This absolutely never happened. It is total fiction-but most people believe it. This was depicted in Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" and in the Spanish made movie "Agora." Total fiction.
  4. Christianity brought about a "Dark Ages" upon Europe. Most academics that have devoted themselves to the study of the Medieval period do not look upon it as a dark age-that is really an idea that comes from movies and television-not academia. Many important Christian philosophers were active in the Medieval period and it was Christian monasteries and Christian leaders such as Charlemagne who preserved the Classical Legacy of ancient Greece and Rome.
  5. Christianity is a European Religion. Egyptian Coptic Christianity, Ethiopic African Christianity, Asian/Indian Syriac Church of the East are all Asian and African forms of Christianity-still in existence-that are hundreds of years older than most European Christian communities.
  6. Christians enjoyed tolerance under Islamic rule and the Crusades are the Reason there is animosity between Christians and Muslims. Christians were put to death in Islamic Cordova. The Coptic Christians were so intensely persecuted that they went to war against the Muslims. Christians have been massacred by Muslims-all the way until 1915-when one million Armenians and Assyrian Christians were slaughtered. The killing continues until today. About the Crusades-please read Rodney Stark's "God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades." An excellent book that shows that most of what people think about the Crusades is false. The deceit about the Crusades has provided powerful anti-Christian ammunition for the polemicists-and they are not going to let the facts get out if they can help it. The fact is that the Muslims basically forgot about the Crusades-the anti-Crusader sentiment began among Arabs and Muslims in the late 1800s and early 1900s when they re-learned about the Crusades when studying under Europeans.
  7. The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church. In reality, long, sustained persecution (not sporadic persecutions like under the Romans) has led to the extinction of what used to be large, vigorous Christian communities-such as North Africa and Central Asia.
  8. The "founding fathers" established the "separation of church and state" in America. The American Constitution says nothing about the separation of church and state and they stated that a constitutional republic was a fit form of government only for a religious people and they had congress opened with prayer-as it still is. Also, America was founded in Jamestown in 1607-and not on 1776.
  9. Christians should not be involved in political issues. (In reality, the only reason that they state this is because the evildoers realize that we are the only ones who can stop them.) Christians have always been involved in "political issues." It was the Christian abolitionist movement that led to the demise of slavery in America.
  10. Christian western civilization has been the greatest force of evil that the world has ever known. Musical notation was created by Christians. Modern theatre traces its origins to the church. The university system-in both Europe and America- was founded by the church. The hospital system was created by the church. Most great composers, such as Bach and Handel were Christians as were important scientists such as Isaac Newton and Blaise Paschal. Christianity has been the greatest force of good and progess in the world.


(Additional lies: The Salem Witch Trials were a watershed event in Global History. A tragic incident but with very little historical importance. It gets a lot of focus because it serves as great anti-Christian polemics. You can't legislate morality. Laws are morals. If laws are unjust then they must be abolished. This idea is self-referentially incoherent. Another important one, "The reason that Evangelical Christians are in decline is because they focused on political issues such as abortion and gay marriage and not on preaching the Gospel." God's people, including Jesus, have always addressed social and moral concerns. It is an inherent part of the Gospel. The real cause of decline is that liberals put out anti-Christian messages on movies, tv, news reports and in classes in colleges and universities. I need to write up "Ten Islamic Lies Most Christians Believe" and "Ten Political Lies Most Christians Believe.") Christians have a proud heritage and we must defend and celebrate it.


A Semitic Influence on Proto-Germanic?

The Germanic substrate hypothesis attempts to explain these features as a result of creolization between an Indo-European and a non-Indo-European language. Writing an introductory article to the Germanic languages in The Major Languages of Western Europe, Germanicist John A. Hawkins sets forth the arguments for a Germanic substrate. Hawkins argues that the proto-Germans encountered a non-Indo-European speaking people and borrowed many features from their language. He hypothesizes that the first sound shift of Grimm's Law was the result of non-native speakers attempting to pronounce Indo-European sounds, and that they resorted to the closest sounds in their own language in their attempt to pronounce them. According to Vennemann, Afroasiatic seafarers settled the European Atlantic coast and are to be associated with the European Megalithic Culture. They left a superstratum in the Germanic languages and a substratum in the development of Insular Celtic. He claims that "Atlantic" (Semitic or Semitidic) speakers founded coastal colonies beginning in the fifth millennium BC. Thus "Atlantic" influenced the lexicon and structure of Germanic and the structure of Insular Celtic. According to Vennemann, migrating Indo-European speakers encountered non-IE speakers in northern Europe who had already named rivers, mountains and settlements in a language he called "Vasconic". He considered that there were toponyms on the Atlantic coast that were neither Vasconic nor Indo-European. These he considers derive from languages related to the Mediterranean Hamito-Semitic group. Vennemann bases his theory on the claim that Germanic
words without cognates in other Indo-European languages very often belong to semantic fields that are typical for loanwords from a superstratum language, such as warfare, law and communal life. Likewise, he proposes Semitic etymologies for words of unknown or disputed origin; for instance he relates the word bee to Egyptian
bj-t or the name Éire, older *īwerijū to *ʼj-wrʼ(m), 'island (of) copper', as in Akkadian
weriʼum 'copper'. Other evidences he adduces for a Semitic superstratum are a Semitic influence on the Germanic form of the Indo-European ablaut system and similarities between Germanic paganism and Mesopotamian mythology, for instance the parallelism between Freyja and Ishtar, goddesses of war and love. The idea that there is a connection between Insular Celtic and Afroasiatic goes back to John Davies (1632). It was expanded by John Morris-Jones in 1913 and developed further by Vennemann. This position is supported by Pokorny (1927–49) and Vennemann identifies Phoenicians as the likely people. A key factor is the dominant word order in Insular Celtic compared to other IE languages, together with lexical correspondences. Another important factor is the identification of the people later known as Picts. Vennemann holds the position that they spoke an Atlantic language. This belief was also held by Zimmer (1898) but is not generally accepted.


Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Bart Ehrman has written extensively on the New Testament and early church. He is a good writer-I mean that his writing is very readable. However, he has a clear anti-Christian. He is not a disinterested scholar-but a hateful anti-Christian. Another snake in the grass is Phillip Jenkins. He wrote a book called "The Next Christendom" in which he argued that-as Christianity declines in the West-it is exploding in the third world. But now it seems that he is pro-Islam. He wrote a book entitled "The Lost History of Christianity" in which he argued that will Muslims did commit mass murders of Christians-they were justified in doing so-after all they were motivated by climate change and they really felt threatened-so it was a healthy outlet of their fears. The book was shocking, disturbing and deeply offensive. Garbage. Now, he has written another book about how-the Koran doesn't preach violence-the Holy Bible does-and we need to come to terms with this fact. I realize that I need to write some new books:


  1. A book on the history and identity of Middle Eastern Christian communities
  2. A short book on the history of the Assyrian Church of the East
  3. A travel narrative. There is a book by a man named William Darymple entitled "From the Holy Mountain" in which he recounts his journeys among Middle Eastern communities. It was good overall-except he unfairly attacked Lebanon's Christians. I have been everywhere he has been on my own. I could write a similar book about my "adventures"-if that is what you want to call it.
  4. "What Every Christian needs to Know about Islam"



Assad warned of chaos if the west targeted him the way they did Gaddafi. He promised to unleash his wrath across the entire region. If he is deposed it would be the greatest step forward for peace in the region in decades-Syria is an Iranian satellite and he is their toady. He obviously feels very weak and threatened. He placed mines on the border with Lebanon in order to keep dissidents in Syria-and keep them from getting outside help.


Anti-American Terrorist Attack in Bosnia

I totally opposed the involvement of America in its horrendous attacks on the Eastern Christians of Bosnia and Kosovo. Shameful. Clinton killed all those Christians as a favor for the Saudi Arabians and they generously rewarded him for his creating a radical Islamists stronghold in Europe. Anyway, not surprisingly there was a terrorist attack in Bosnia. I remember someone criticizing Obama for his saying that America had treated Muslims unfairly. We fought for them in Bosnia, Kosovo and in Somalia.


Less Drones and an early withdrawal from Afghanistan

The Obama administration is now cutting back on its drone strike program that targets terrorists hiding in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Pakistanis are against the program, so now we are drawing back to make them happy. Also, Obama is trying to speed up the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The generals, who cannot say it, are probably becoming distressed at Obama's bad policy decisions.


Israel and Iran

Iran is threatening to make a "preemptive strike" against nuclear sites in Iran. Now, America and England are taking Israel's threats seriously. Therefore, they are putting pressure on Iran. (They were just ignoring the problem until now.) So, it is possible that America and England will bomb Iran, if they figure that Israel is determined to bomb them anyway and the ramifications of America and England doing it, after exhausting diplomatic venues, would be less traumatic than Israel bombing Iran.



I have been thinking about China-because I may participate in a "Silk Road" expedition.

"God is Red" This is a book about the spread of Christianity in Communist China. (Another book with the same title is about American Indian forms of Christianity.) The full title is "God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China" by Liuo Yiwu. "Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power" by David Aikman. "God is Back"-this book features a chapter on Evangelical Christian house-churches and the prosperity gospel-in Communist China.


The Shapir/Whorf hypothesis

The structure of our grammar channels and shapes the way we think? Do you think differently if you speak a different language-do you have a different psychology? Whorf worked with the Hopi Indians and claimed that they engaged in cyclical thinking which Whorf believed was a "higher plane of thinking." The way they think is better or more spiritual than the way we do. Whorf believed English (and related languages) were crude and Hopi was more sophisticated and through their language they have a wisdom that we lack. Is western "ways of thinking" codified in the patterns of our language? Does a different language make you more spiritually aware? Are our thought processes different because we speak different languages? This theory originated in the 1930s-and remains UNPROVEN. Linguists don't believe it-but many anthropologists (who don't professionally study the origin and development of languages) do. Whorf was an amateur and was wrong in his analysis of Hopi. They don't think cyclically. Apparently, language and culture are distinct things. An example can be seen in English. The cultures of the British, Australians, Americans, and even white and black Americans are different, although we speak the same language. The culture of a cowboy and a New Yorker are profoundly different as well. The Canaanites, Philistines and the Hebrews all spoke the same language, but had different cultures. The Shapir/Whorf hypothesis is incorrect.


YOUTUBE: I have posted short teaching videos up on my youtube that I would recommend you take a look at. I have a teaching on "Christ the Man," "Egyptian Mythology," "Maccabee: The Hanukkah Story," and "Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz."


Iranian Authorities Pressuring Jailed Christian Pastor to Convert to Islam, Sources SayBy Lisa Daftari, Published November 04, 2011, | Government officials in Iran are trying to convince a jailed pastor to return to Islam as he waits for the nation's supreme leader to decide whether he should be executed for converting to Christianity, sources close to the case told Iran's secret service officials recently approached 34-year-old pastor Youcef Nadarkhani at his prison site in Rasht and presented him with a book on Islamic literature, telling him they would be back to discuss the material and hear his opinion, the sources said. obtained a digital copy of the book given to Nadarkhani, a 300-page compilation entitled "Beshaarat-eh Ahdein," meaning "Message of the Two Eras," referring to the New and Old Testaments. Through various narratives, the book claims Christianity is a fabrication and attempts to establish the superiority of Islam. "This isn't the first time that we have seen this strategy used in the Iranian jail system," said attorney Tiffany Barrans, the international legal director for the American Center for Law and Justice. Barrans questioned whether this signaled the ayatollah's willingness to give Nadarkhani another chance, or rather "another way to trap him to allow the regime to continue to punish him or have documented evidence of blasphemy against Islam." Barrans, who said she has been in frequent contact with Nadarkhani's attorneys, said he has been advised by family members, members of the church and lawyers to remain silent, out of fear that the Iranian government may try to use his statements against him, a strategy she said is commonly employed by the regime. Nadarkhani remains in prison, awaiting a final verdict that has been drawn out and delayed amid heavy and targeted international attention to his case. Iran's judiciary has been caught in a bind, fearing the ultimate decision will have far-reaching political implications. If Nadarkhani is released, the judiciary risks appearing disrespectful of the tenets of Shariah law. But if he is executed, Iran will face increasing criticism from the international community, which continues to petition for the pastor's release. A few weeks ago, a letter on behalf of the judiciary was sent to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation's highest authority in interpreting Shariah Law, asking him to make the final decision. It is unusual for the supreme leader to be asked to weigh in on a case, but officials said this case is rare in nature and requires Khamenei's stamp of approval in order to issue an execution. Nadarkhani came under the regime's radar in 2006 when he applied for his church to be registered with the state. According to sources, he was arrested at that time and then soon released. In 2009, Nadarkhani went to local officials to complain about Islamic indoctrination in his school district, arguing that his children should not be forced to learn about Islam. He was subsequently arrested and has been held since. Barrans said there has been much confusion in the story, in part deliberately caused by the Iranian regime through its state-controlled media. She said that in an effort to distract the media, the Iranian government denied that the charge against Nadarkhani was apostasy, or leaving Islam, and instead alleged that he was being held for rape and extortion. But according to details provided by Barrans and confirmed by with sources close to the case in Iran, Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 and was tried and found guilty of apostasy by a lower court in Gilan, a province in Rasht. He was then given verbal notification of an impending death-by-hanging sentence. In December, his lawyers appealed the decision, and the case was sent to Iran's Supreme Court, which by June stated that it upheld the lower court's decision of execution, provided it could be proven that he had been a practicing Muslim from the age of adulthood, 15 in Islamic law, to age 19, the time when he converted. In September, the lower court ruled that Nadarkhani had not practiced Islam during his adult life but still upheld the apostasy charge because he was born into a Muslim family. The court then gave Nadarkhani the opportunity to recant, as the law requires a man to be given three chances to recant his beliefs and return to Islam. Nadarkhani refused. Experts credit international support of Nadarkhani in keeping him alive. Christian advocacy groups and human rights organizations have mounted numerous global campaigns and petitions against the Iranian government. "For me, as a husband and a father of two, the first thing I think about is being in his situation," said the Rev. Jason DeMars, founder of Present Truth Ministries, a support group for persecuted church communities in the Middle East. DeMars has been linked to the network of churches in Iran to which Nadarkhani belonged, providing these communities with materials, mission coordination and international support. "Politically, Iran wants to spread its influence and revolution throughout the Middle East. If we don't raise our voices now, this persecution is going to affect Christians in other countries as well," he said. Apostasy is punishable by death in Shariah law. Article 225 of the Iranian penal code states, "Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death," and "Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death." Under this law, a Muslim who converts to Christian is called a mortad, meaning one who leaves Islam. If the convert attempts to convert others, he is called a mortad harbi, or a convert who is waging war against Islam. Death sentences for such individuals are prescribed both by fatwas, or legal decrees, and reinforced by Iran's penal code. All religious minorities in Iran, including Bahais, Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, have faced various forms of persecution and political and social marginalization throughout the regime's 30-year reign. But the government saves its harshest retribution for those who have abandoned Islam. Khamenei is not expected to announce a public decision on the case; he traditionally has influenced cases behind closed doors. Should he decline, the lower court will be responsible for making final judgment.

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