Friday, February 26, 2016

URGENT: Legal Defense Fund for Tekton/TheologyWeb

Update 4/13/2016: The fundraiser has reached nearly $6000 at this point. See more details below.
 
2/28/2016: See note below regarding comments from others, including Rene Salm.

***

 This, I imagine, will be something of a ton of bricks to drop. It hasn't been discussed publicly until now for reasons that will be obvious.

In July 2015, 20 members of the TheologyWeb forum were named as targets of a “libel” lawsuit by a former atheist member.


So far only one of those 20 -- me -- has been served with complaint and summons, and litigation is in process. The other 19 include several owners and moderators, and a handful of "everyday" members. I'll leave it to them as to whether they wish to be identified, save that I'll note that one of them is my ministry partner, Nick Peters. He's the only one of the 20 besides me who is a public figure to any extent.


I had planned to do the defense myself (pro se), but logistical problems led me to decide it was better to hire an attorney in the area where this atheist lives, which I did. He's been working on the case since October.


A win for me in court will help shield the other 19 targeted defendants. We humbly ask for the assistance of others in defending ourselves from this lawsuit.

Any funds gathered will be used as follows:


1) To defray my attorney expenses, which have so far been just short of $8,000. Currently we are working on a motion to dismiss the case based on lack of personal jurisdiction (I do not live in the same state as the Plaintiff).
2) To prepare a similar defense for any of the others in the group, should they be served with a suit. At least 3 of the 19 others are in this Plaintiff's immediate crosshairs, including Nick.
3) To prepare an alternate defense, should either 1) fail, or should one of us be sued in our own home state.


I've set up a crowdfund page at
Funded Justice, which is a special website for legal fundraising only. I'm told it's a bit of a pain to register and donate, but it's also possible to choose an option to donate as a "guest" of the site:
 
https://www.fundedjustice.com/en/projects/28507-Tekton-TheologyWeb-Legal-Defense-Fund
 
That's all for now. For obvious reasons, I can't give too many details about the case, but I can be emailed (jphold@att.net) with specific questions and general questions can be answered at a thread on  TheologyWeb (where I posted an earlier version of this post as an  opening post):


http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?9852-Tekton-TheologyWeb-Legal-Defense-Fund

Since the nature of this post is urgent, I will not be adding any more to the Ticker for a while. 

***
As might be expected, certain fundy atheists out there are already adding to the story and making foolish remarks. For example, here's a corrective to Rene Salm's posting on the subject:

1)That's definitely NOT a picture of me he's got up.

2) Despite Salm's wishful fantasies, Tekton has NOT "been brought to its knees and must suspend all upcoming projects." I'm only not updating the Ticker blog for a while, so the fund appeal can stay on top. Everything else on my ministry plate (e-books, vids, etc) is proceeding as usual; the Ticker blog just represents 1% of my activity -- posting old E-Block articles.
 

 3) My wife got a good job back long ago. That crisis has been over for months.

It just goes to show that you can't count on the fundy atheist crowd to get ANYTHING right.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Countercounterforgery, Part 2

From the Janaury 2013 E-Block.
**
We pick up our evaluation of Ehrman's FAC with his brief commentary on 2 Peter. 

Ehrman spends far more time explaining why he thinks 2 Peter was forged than actually arguing for it being forged. He appeals to the usual external testimonies, which are negated by the fact that in the final analysis, 2 Peter was accepted as canonical, and then arguably after serious critical consideration of the sort Ehrman assumes the early church lacked. There is also the usual supposition that "an Aramaic-speaking peasant", like Peter, could not write in this sort of Greek, but this is merely an insult to pre-literate peoples as a whole. In an age when people in their 90s get a GED, it seems rather bigoted of Ehrman to suppose that after several decades of life, Peter would be unable to learn to read and write in another language, even, to have been able to do so particularly well. The elaborate style Ehrman sees is also not particularly problematic for someone who would have been attuned to oral performance, as clearly was the source for Mark. 

Further objections by Ehrman assume the usual eschatological issues my preterist view renders moot, and that beg the standard question assuming Peter couldn't possibly know of his imminent death; though really, 2 Peter 1:14 need not reflect any special prophetic knowledge, either. Human beings may have a sense of being "not much longer for this world" without prophecy telling them so like: a certain unease of health, or by advanced signs of aging, which are more than enough for Peter to say that he must "shortly" put off his own tabernacle.
There is also the usual appeal to the parallels to Jude, and reference to Paul's collected letters, which we dealt with in Trusting the New Testament.

A final objection is rather odd, as Ehrman says that 2 Peter has "nothing Jewish about it." Our answer: So what? By any reckoning 2 Peter is written to Gentile converts. It is also a very short epistle, mainly for exhortation. Why does it need to be peculiarly "Jewish"? Why on earth should Peter tell such people, as Ehrman implies, to not follow "standard, high morals" rather than the Law? What about the fact that by the time of 2 Peter, Peter would have lived for decades among Gentiles in Rome where he would have become quite acculturated. Does audience and context mean nothing to Ehrman?

1 Peter

The next book to be dealt with moves us back one in the canon. Ehrman hauls in a scattershot of objections, many of which he admits are "subsidiary" even as he uses them. Those we have not covered in TNT:
  • He says there is no evidence that Christianity had spread to the provinces of Asia Minor listed in 1 Peter 1:1, by Peter's day. Ehrman is right. We should simply assume that on the way from Jerusalem and Syria to Rome in the 50s (to those whom Paul writes his letter), Christian missionaries grew wings and flew over the provinces of Asia Minor in between, not stopping to spread their message. And of course, Paul was writing to some other Galatia than the one in Asia Minor.
  • He says, "other traditions do not associate Peter with Christians in the general region." The answer that is sufficient is, "so what"? Ehrman doesn't respect the accuracy of church traditions from the likes of Papias, when it comes to Matthew's authorship, so why would he want one about Peter associating with churches in Asia Minor? Needless to say, traditions are helpful, but no one thinks they are comprehensive, and unless Peter too grew wings, he had to pass by the area to get from Jerusalem to Rome.
  • He says Peter, if the author, "gives no indication that he was a companion" to Jesus. Perhaps Ehrman fails to recognize, even after rejecting such ideas, that he is making the same argument Earl Doherty makes of Paul to declare Jesus never existed at all. The answer is much the same: High context authors do not need to re-specify what their readers already know.
  • Relatedly, Ehrman wonders why Peter calls himself a "presbyter" (5:1). Apparently, Ehrman forgets that the word used means elder, as in, an older person. In so describing himself, Peter is claiming for himself the honor and authority that went with age in his social world, and also using it for relational purposes towards the elders in his audience. This also emasculates Ehrman's objection of this term as reflecting a too-early instance of the office of "elder". Ehrman mistakenly thinks the references to oversight (5:2) mean "elder" is an office, when it is actually the normal in-group function of those wise and advanced in years.
  • Ehrman appeals to the use of "Christian" (4:16) as a sign of a late date, though to do so, he must date Acts to the late first century and assume the reference there (26:28) is an anachronism. Ehrman also reads 4:14 with appalling fundamentalist literalism, arguing that no one would be persecuted "simply" because of the name of Christ. Has he forgotten that the word "name" in the Biblical world doesn't "simply" mean nomenclature, but also has to do with authority and identity.
    A particularly outlandish argument for placing 1 Peter after 70 AD is derived from Hunzinger, under the assumption (with which we agree) that Rome is "Babylon" (5:13). Hunzinger argues that Rome was called this because it destroyed the Temple, and so he concludes there can be no other reason 1 Peter would call Rome "Babylon" -- such as you know, being a chief headquarters for idolatrous practices, or being well known for licentious behavior, or having enmity against the people of God. The connection made by Hunzinger is, at any rate, weak. The passages he appeals to, from 4 Ezra 3 and Syr. Baruch 11, indicate no cause-effect relationship between the destruction of Jerusalem and the naming of Rome as "Babylon." Rome is simply called "Babylon" as though it were a given. We owe it to Ehrman's lack of imagination that he cannot see any "obvious and palpable" reason to call Rome "Babylon" until the Temple is destroyed.
  • There is the usual replay of objections about Peter's illiteracy; we need not engage that in detail, as Ehrman has (as seen in the last installment) dispensed with scribal activity with a wave of his hand. He also spends far more time explaining why he thinks 1 (and 2) Peter were forged versus defending the proposition that they were.
    Acts

    This section by Ehrman begins with an unpromising recital of the usual "Peter vs. Paul" canard (see link below), where Ehrman gets the source of the dispute wrong (it was not about being "gentile to the Gentiles," but about ritual purity). Ehrman quickly dispenses with the inclusion of Luke within the "we passages" of Acts with the expedient that Acts doesn't relate much about the life of Paul, an objection we covered in TNT, and alleged contradictions with Paul's letters, which we covered in the link below. With that summed up so, Ehrman moves on from the argument in a mere handful of sentences, having failed to interact with widely available contrary arguments.

    James

    Ehrman's centerpiece against James as author is the usual canard that James could not read or write; here he doesn't even consider a scribe in a role that not even he has bothered to object to earlier i.e., that of writing down more or less exactly what James said. He elaborates on this point for several paragraphs, oblivious to the single question we have asked. We also dealt, briefly, with the "illiteracy" argument in TNT, by noting that the same argument could be used to claim that Paul was illiterate and could not have written his letters.

    Ehrman also offers arguments that the epistle does not accord with what we know of James elsewhere:
  • He says that Gal. 2:12, Acts, and Hegesippus show that James wanted people to maintain their Jewish identity by observance of the law. But, while he elaborates extensively on the evidence showing this proclivity of James, he fails to show that the epistle is contrary to any of this. Instead, he asserts rather strangely that James' lack of mention of such issues in the epistle is a point against! This is simply absurd, because as Ehrman admits, James' readership is itself Jewish. This means that his readers would already be wholly in agreement with James on the point of honorary law-observance -- so why does Ehrman think it ought to have been brought up?
  • Even weaker is the point that the emphasis on the importance of good works is thought by Ehrman to reflect a later stage of the Christian church (the 60s), after James had died. Is Ehrman serious here? Does he think concern for good works, as part of a movement founded by a teacher of morals (Jesus), would lie dormant for decades, and do so in an atmosphere where good works were also a concern of Jews and pagans alike?
  • Weaker yet is the claim that commentary on the wealthy in James surely could not have been a problem this early in the Christian church. Apparently Ehrman forgets that Wayne Meeks has shown abundantly that well-off people were a higher than usual part of the church, and that even those who were of what we would regard as modest means would be "wealthy" by the measure of the typical peasant. And that's not even accounting for the potential presence of persons like Nicodemus. At the same time, wealthy people amount to "1%" of the population today, and there are more than enough critics of their ways as their power is disproportionate to their numbers. The same would also have been the case in the first century. The real question is, how can Ehrman be so insensate as to think there would NOT be a commentary on the wealthy? Ehrman adds some of his usual reliance on eschatology as a problem, and that sums it up. He also offers the usual error on James vs. Paul (see link below).

    Jude

    Ehrman's treatment of Jude is very brief and brings up nothing we have not covered in TNT. I might add that Ehrman shows an extraordinary lack of faith in the ability of humans to learn. In remarking on the alleged impossibility of someone like Jude learning to read and write proficient Greek, Ehrman imposes all manner of artificial barriers, such as an alleged lack of time to learn. I can only say in response that Ehrman needs to have a little more faith in humanity and in the intelligence of persons other than himself. I have met, over my lifetime, many persons who have learned to read, or mastered a second language in a decade or even less (usually, Spanish/English), and given that ancient languages lacked one huge hurdle of modern languages -- namely, vocabularies of several hundred thousand words (Koine Greek had only a few thousand in general use) -- it can only have been easier, not harder, for a self-teacher to pick up a second language, or to learn to write.

    When it comes to Greek in particular -- the lingua franca of the Empire -- Ehrman underestimates the at hand available resources and motivation to learn. As noted in an article linked below:

    Although aristocratic Romans monopolized formal education in Greek, the lower classes in Rome did not exclusively speak Latin; on the contrary, bilingualism in both Latin and Greek thrived in the city during the late Republic and Principate, and the usage of the Greek language developed both private and public functions. Rome’s geographic location exposed the city to Greek culture and language, which helped shape the development of Latin, and the importation of slaves exponentially increased the number of Greek-speakers in the city. Finally, epigraphic evidence, population analyses, and contemporary literary sources demonstrate how Latin and Greek bilingualism undertook both public and private roles in the social classes outside of the Roman aristocracy.

    Determining how extensive Latin-Greek bilingualism was during the first and second centuries of the Principate in Rome intrinsically rests on the extent of the ethnic diversity of its population during that time period. Prior to the Augustan period, Romans had already been in contact with neighboring Greeks for centuries through trade and war, an exchange that helped Latin evolve and mirror its Hellenic counterpart. Evidence of nominal exposure to the Greek language at this time period is best represented through Latin’s assimilation of foreign terms and adaptation of Greek phonetic sounds.

    Of course, the Jews had been in contact with Greeks for several centuries by the time of Jesus -- including some rather unpleasant interactions with Hellenization.

    The article notes that slavery, and the duties associated with it, as motivation for slaves to learn Greek, which in turn brought it to others. Christians had their own motive to learn; namely, evangelism. This does not mean slaves mastered "complex Greek syntax and grammar," but the degree of motivation and purpose must be accounted for. As in-group leaders of a diverse movement, like James or Jude, had every reason to want to learn to speak and write as well as they could in Greek.

    Furthermore, it is noted that once learned, bilingualism was "passed on" in families. Given the forced Hellenization of the Jews in an earlier period, men like James and Jude would already have had a basic introduction to Greek from birth, especially in the neighborhood of Sepphoris, where basic Greek would be needed to conduct business.

    In short, at the very least, this point deserves far more than the breezy dismissal and rhetorically-posed yet uninvestigated questions Ehrman offers.

    John's Letters

    For these, Ehrman hardly even bothers to advance arguments for forgery but merely assumes the letters are forged, and gives explanations for what he takes to be their purpose in being forged.

    Ehrman's treatment of canonical material ends here, and as has been shown, though Ehrman's length of dissertation has increased, his devotion to substance has remained harmfully minimalistic.

    Pete vs. Paul
    Acts vs. Paul
    James vs. Paul
    On bilingualism
  • Friday, February 12, 2016

    Near Death Checks, Part 6: Howard Pittman's "Placebo"


    From the Janaury 2013 E-Block.
    **
    For our last entry in this series (for now), I picked a subject out of the air, so to speak. On YouTube I discovered a video with over 2 million views that reported the content of an alleged NDE (Near Death Experience) by one Howard Pittman, as recorded in a book titled Placebo. Supposedly, Pittman had some urgent message for mankind as a result of this NDE, and given the level of viewership, I thought it worthwhile to order the book so as to be best able to evaluate the NDE.

    The matter in sum is that Pittman's alleged NDE contains no measurable truth claims of the sort this series has pursued. It is, however, filled with all sorts of reputed details about how things are in the spirit world. How are things? If you've read Frank Perretti, you already know. According to Pittman, while in the NDE he could see all kinds of demons walking around the Earth, possessing and influencing people. Angels are hanging around too, though are not described as being as busy as the demons are.

    Pittman also tells us that he had a visit with God during his NDE. God wasn't too happy with Pittman at first, and yelled at him, but later showed Pittman some mercy. That led to a pretty clear disconfirmation of the veracity of Pittman's NDE, as he described God in those familiar terms of overfamiliarity we have become used to from modern, American Christians, who don't realize how anachronistic such a description is.

    At times Pittman is a painful read because of his naiveté. He adheres to one of the more primitive manifestations of dispensational eschatology, such that we are now, he says, in the "Laodecian Age" of the church as reported in Revelation. He also writes of having strange dreams -- mostly about dogs -- with utterly nonsensical symbolism: For example, in one dream, Pittman says he is carrying a bag of dog food, and a friend said that this symbolized the message he was to bring to the world. Apparently, God's capacity to create suitable metaphors has gone downhill since the time of the New Testament!

    To round off the pedantry...this message Pittman was to bring was, as he admits, nothing that couldn't already be found in the Bible (i.e., basically, be sincere in your devotion to God). For this, Pittman was given the grand tour of Demon World, followed by Heaven Land? Didn't God get the message out right the first time?

    We close this series with the observation that it seems NDEs, however real they may be -- and I tend to think many are -- by nature aren't particularly useful tools for providing revelatory knowledge.

    Friday, February 5, 2016

    Perpetual Green Arrow: The Quiverfulls, Part 1

    From the January 2013 E-Block.

    ***

    The so-called "Quiverfull" movement is one that encourages Christians to have unlimited offspring. Most readers will be familiar with the television program featuring the Duggar family, which at last report has 19 children. The Duggars are perhaps the best known Quiverfull proponents in the nation (though I have read that they deny being part of the movement).

    How sound, though, are the Biblical arguments of the Quiverfull movement? In this article we will examine those presented by Nancy Campbell in Be Fruitful and Multiply (hereinafter “BFM”). Campbell's arguments can be grouped into several categories, none of which offers much in the way of persuasion for the Quiverfull position. 

    Before proceeding, I should issue the necessary caveat that none of what is offered below is intended to encourage or condemn those who wish for a large family. What is being addressed is the insinuations from Campbell that ONLY those who have large families are acting in obedience to Biblical principles. 

  • Potentiality arguments. Several of Campbell's points speak to the reputedly wasted potential of those who do not conceive children. For example: "Who knows which of them will be another David, or Paul, or Einstein, or Billy Graham!" (73) 
  • Such arguments may have a persuasive emotional component, but they are all too easily turned around to say something like, "Who knows which of them will be an Al Capone, or a Ted Bundy, or an Osama bin Laden!" While this may seem over the top, Campbell's example is as well. Potentiality, therefore, simply isn't a viable argument. Again, this doesn't mean that those who choose to have large families are in the wrong, only that this isn't a viable argument for having a large family.
  • Preferred anecdotes. Campbell carefully selects stories to tell about people who filled their quiver with children and came out happy about it; however, as with the potentiality argument, this too can easily be turned around. Campbell's selectivity bias would lead her to leave out any stories that ended up tragically, or with a family living in grinding poverty, or with some other distressing conclusion (e.g., the "Octomom" and her travails).
    In particular, Campbell carefully selects stories of people who filled their quiver with children and "trusted the Lord" to provide what they needed. In this, Campbell is no better positioned than the televangelist who tells stories of "seed faith" where donors ended up getting money, while ignoring any stories of people who never received anything. Rather disturbingly on this account, Campbell illicitly reasons that those who are poor should desire more children, because "with children come all sorts of blessings including economic blessings." [129] Then she adds, "Faith simply obeys -- and trusts God!" [130] We will refer more to this below.

    "The church could take over!" Campbell argues that if godly Christians had quivers full of children, the church could become more numerous and take over society. This is flawed, initially, as a potentiality argument, and one that can be readily turned around. Campbell prefers anecdotes? I know of a Christian family with four children, and all four committed apostasies. I also know of a family with four children where all four remain Christians. So, this argument fails the same way as potentiality arguments. (Campbell, however, thinks it is part of Satan's plan (!) to limit Christian children.)

    Old Testament figures. Campbell points again and again to accounts of Old Testament figures who had numerous children. These people are, BFM says, "considered blessed to have many children" (4), which leads us to the most serious problem in Campbell's presentation, a lack of contextual considerations.
    In the OT world, infant and child mortality was exceptionally high. In addition, the average human lifespan was around 35 years. In contrast, infant and child mortality in the modern West is extremely low, with such persons living well into their 80s and 90s.

    In this light, to have Campbell -- who lives nestled comfortably in the modern West -- give ALL Christians advice (if not implicitly, a command from God) to fill their quivers with children, is in many ways not only misguided, but also insensitive. Big families were a survival necessity in the ancient world, but in the modern world they are not. Ancient people had big families so that they could survive. Modern Quiverfulls, like Campbell, have big families so that they can indulge themselves with what they think is a "blessing" from God.

    The reader will note here that I have not engaged any arguments regarding overpopulation. Nor will I do so to any real extent, since it requires sociological expertise that I do not possess. That said, I cannot help but feel disturbed by some of Campbell's attempts to answer such arguments.

    For example, Campbell argues that if one drives from coast to coast, one will see that there is plenty of empty land to put people in (26). Indeed? How much naiveté does it take to suppose that one could fill a place like the Sonoran desert with people, and support it as a population? How about Antarctica? Campbell points out that if every person on Earth were grouped together, we'd all fit into Texas and have 2000 square feet apiece, and she supposes that with proper management of resources, we'd be able to take care of forty billion people (26-29).

    Really? Again, I am not an expert on this matter, but Campbell does refer to one expert -- and only one worthy of the name -- as saying that 40 billion is not out of the question. She refers to Roger Revelle, of the Harvard Center for Population Studies, as affirming this. Campbell gives no note for this point, and it is not hard to see why: Revelle's "40 billion" number was based on an exercise intended to estimate how much the world could feed, not establish a practical and sustainable population level -- and certainly not a level of population that would allow someone like Campbell to continue in her own current lifestyle. What Campbell neglects to mention is that Revelle's scenario permits each person 2500 kilocalories a day, on a strictly vegetarian diet.

    Again, I am not expert on this matter, so I do not claim to have any definitive answer to Campbell on what some call the Earth's "carrying capacity." What I can note is that Campbell doesn't tell the whole story when she appeals to such numbers -- and from what can be found, is not currently living the sort of lifestyle Revelle suggested was necessary for that 40 billion level to become a reality. Among her anecdotes are those of multi-children families whose children happily sleep on the floor, since they have no room for beds (132). Of course, in this, they live as simply as people in Bible times did. To that extent, Campbell does well to question the excesses of Western materialism. Yet, she also enjoys the modern convenience of a website and publishing an occasional magazine. So there is clearly a certain inconsistency between what Campbell practices and what she preaches. I can only hope it is because of naiveté rather than deception or indifference.
  • Risk arguments. Campbell recites alleged difficulties and risks associated with various forms of contraception and birth control. But again, this is a potentiality argument that can be readily turned around. There are also multiple difficulties and risks associated with childbirth but, of course, Campbell would never accept this as an argument for not having children. Other claims used by Campbell seem questionable on other grounds. As a remark on the benefits of breastfeeding, she quotes Renneker's Understanding Cancer as referring to the "Tania women of Hong Kong" who only breastfeed with the right breast, and tend to have more cancer on the left. But a Google search of Renneker's book reveals no reference to the "Tania women of Hong Kong."
  • Threats. Though she does not say those who use contraception are going to burn in hell, Campbell does find it necessary to issue threats now and then. For example, supposing that contraception somehow contradicts the "fruitful and multiply" mandate (which it does not -- see below), Campbell warns that we couldn't trust a God who changed His mind on the subject of contraception. Ironically the same sort of argument is used by atheists who object that God changed His mind about the OT law. Later, Campbell also claims it is "the strategy of Satan to minimize the holy seed" and keep Christians from having children (38). Finally, for good measure, she quotes 1 Samuel 15:22-23 as saying that obedience is better than sacrifice -- so make sure you obey God and have a lot of babies! Such threatening points are not the tactic of those who have sound arguments.
  • Scriptural arguments. Apart from the examples above, many of which are supplemented with Scripture references, does Campbell offer anything else?
  • One thing she points to more than once is the Genesis mandate to Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply." According to Campbell's introduction author, this was "(t)he first great commission given to man" (3). Later, Campbell herself interprets the words of the commission to mean "fill up the world to overflowing" (22). The specific word she points to is the Hebrew male, which is rendered as "replenish" in the KJV, Gen. 1:28. However, this is a tendentious reading of male that is not justified. The same word is used to describe the filling of the seas with marine life (Gen. 1:22), and the density of the undersea animal population is not even close to the point that they are "overflowing" the ocean -- nor could it ever have been. In another context the word is used to refer to the fulfilling of the time of pregnancy (Gen. 25:24) and Jacob's term of servitude under Laban (29:21). The word clearly indicates simply filling to a certain level, not "overflowing."
    Campbell also notes several other passages where Israel is commanded to "increase," "multiply," be "plenteous," etc.; however, none of these offers any specific mandate or timetable to reach a certain population goal, much less do they impose a mandate on individuals to procreate, as they are given only as directions to Israel as a collective and not to individuals.
  • Campbell misuses the story of Onan as though it were a teaching against contraception (link below).
  • Campbell's intro writer also claims that Romans 1 speaks against contraception inasmuch as it speaks of those who do things "against nature." However, Paul goes on to quite clearly specify what he means when he says: "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." This illicitly expands the category from homosexual behavior to "perversion/selfish unbiblical gratification," and under the errant assumption that contraception is one such perversion, wrongly assumes it is condemned by Paul. The rub of this is that by this reasoning, any couple that is not able to conceive for some reason -- whether because of illness or some other cause beyond their control -- is therefore constrained to avoid sexual intercourse altogether, since they are not able to use their bodies, as she puts it, for anything but the "gratification" aspect of sex!
  • More than a few times, Campbell takes illicit liberties with Scripture. She uses Romans 7:4, for example: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [even] to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. " From this, she gets a lesson that "God's intention for the marriage union" is that we are to have fruit (children). But in Romans 7 Paul is using marriage as a metaphor for the Christian life, not giving literal instructions for marriage! This is one of several cases where Campbell uses the text in a midrashic fashion. Another such misuse is Matthew 18:5, where Jesus welcomes a child into the midst of his disciples. Campbell "misdrashes" this passage into a directive to have babies so that we can welcome them into our households!

    We'll have a look at another Quiverfull publication next time. For now, it seems clear that Campbell, at least, relies more on sentiment than she does on fact and/or exegesis of Scripture.
  • On Onan
  • For perspective, a blog entry for a former Quiverfull member