Via Patheos blogger and New Testament professor James McGrath, I learn that Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has dismissed both of us as “secularists.”
I’m a Baptist, and our core belief in “believer’s Baptism” stands in stark opposition to the practice of involuntary baptism into the state church. That makes all of us Baptists — in doctrine, at least — advocates of secular government.
Somehow I doubt that’s what Ham meant. Maybe he’s still upset that I suggested he must be Austrian rather than Australian.
Elsewhere on McGrath’s blog, I learn something I somehow failed to notice in the dozens of times I have read through the book of Revelation.
In the bit about the “144,000,” John of Patmos offers a pretty strange version of the list the 12 tribes of Israel: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin … WTF?
James McGrath sifts through this:
The list of 12 tribes is a problem, as anyone who actually knows the 12 tribes will spot, assuming they read carefully. The problem is not just the absence of Dan, for which which many have tried to come up with an explanation. The inclusion of Joseph as well Joseph’s son Manasseh simply doesn’t make sense. The author could have omitted Dan and included Levi, and the two Joseph tribes Ephraim and Manasseh, if the aim was to omit Dan. But as it is, the list is problematic.
McGrath notes that:
Most people, if they try to rattle off a list of the 12 tribes, will not do nearly as well as the author of Revelation did.
That’s kind of him to say, but that’s no excuse for me missing this odd listing in the many, many times I’ve read that chapter. After all, I earned gold stars in Sunday school for memorizing the names of those 12 tribes. And a bit more recently, I was in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat — which means I sang the names of those tribes for months.
Hmmm. Maybe that’s why I always missed this. Seeing all those names makes me start stressing out again about having to hit the high note in “Those Canaan Days.”
Or maybe I had to clear that list out of my brain to make room for memorizing “red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve and cream and crimson and silver and rose and azure and lemon and russet and grey and purple and white and pink and orange and blue.”
And while we’re over at McGrath’s place, he’s got a good post today about “Accepting the Bible“:
Work on such matters as Hebrew linguistics are crucial. Most people who discuss the Bible nowadays on the internet and in churches are discussing English translations, which depend on the work of scholars such as linguists. Young-earth creationist groups like Answers in Genesis reject such scholarly work, and thus the literal meaning of the Bible in the original languages, when it suits them to do so.
This is the dirty little secret of “KJV-only” fundamentalist churches — those that insist the 1611 King James Version translation in English is the only acceptable version of the Bible. They never explain or admit the only real reason they insist on this: They’re too lazy to learn Hebrew and Greek.