“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 25, NO. 28 & 29 – THE SOUND OF SILENCE
“Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it is silent.” How well does that work? Let’s talk about prostitution. And when I do I don’t mean to mitigate the depravity of the practice.
Jesus eats with (accepts) prostitutes as persons having equal value to others, just as he did the tax collectors and other “sinners.” At no time do we have recorded that he called them out as lawbreakers. Does that mean he did not believe they had “fallen short of the glory of God”? No. In fact he said they were more ready to repent and enter the kingdom of God than the so-called righteous. Mt. 21:31
Prostitutes are all through the Bible. Among those who were to be stoned or cast out, there are no prostitutes on the list. The exception is the daughter of a high priest, in that case she was burned in the fire. Lev. 21:9. The reason was more about securing the priest’s bloodline than the act itself. This prohibition came after the denial of priests to marry a divorced woman or a prostitute. Lev. 21:7. However, nowhere is there a law against prostitution. Lev. 19:29 instructs, “Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.”
There are warnings, such as in Proverbs about being taken in by the ways of the prostitute, as well as the loose woman. But there is no law against, or purging of such persons, which in all Biblical cases, were women. The exception would be cult prostitutes of both sexes. Deut. 23:18
Again, this discussion is not about the depravity of prostitution, but about how we understand and apply scripture. How do we explain the “tolerance” for prostitutes?
I’m not a historical expert on the subject, even though I’ve read a number of articles about Biblical prostitution. What must be accepted is that not all prostitution is alike. It would be wrong to assume the prostitutes among Israel and in Jesus time were the same as the varieties today.
Most information from that era tells us how a girl or a woman had no rights apart form her father or husband or some other man. Her whole existence depended on men. If she did something to bring shame on the family and was rejected, she was on her own. If she had been seen as sexually active, or a prostitute, she basically had no one. Rahab was certainly the exception, but the laws about women was clear. How would she survive? The answer was simple; live the life to which she had been assigned. It was a matter of survival. Dare we even say it was a compassionate granting by a society ruled by men?
The deeper question is how do we handle the silence of scripture in condemning and making prostitution unlawful? There are those who justify the issue of slavery (and other things) based on the fact that instructions were given to slaves and slave owners in the Bible. Could we therefore justify prostitution (not cult prostitution) based on the social acceptance of such things as slavery in the Bible? (Cult prostitution was a form of idolatry. Those involved believed they were somehow becoming one with the god or goddess of that temple via the temple prostitutes.)
The answer to that is “No.” Just because something was part of an accepted cultural norm at one time does not make it the norm for all time. Israel did not invent slavery. We don’t know when it started, it just did. It became the societal norm and was still so in the time of the New Testament. It is not today.
Such was prostitution. It was so much an accepted part of historical culture that even Augustine and Thomas Aquinas accepted it. Type their names and “prostitution” on a search engine and you
can read the quotes.
Does the Biblical acceptance of cultural prostitution, as well as such men as Augustine and Aquinas, mean we should see and tolerate prostitution as did they? Of course not. Neither should we look at people today and make value judgements based on the cultural norms of the Bible. The Jews knew the “greatest commandment” and found it holy, but that didn’t mean they applied it with the broad brush Jesus did. They applied it culturally. We should not use their cultural definition of the value of persons when dealing with our culture.
CONCERNS: Richard Crites as he regains his strength. Dealing with cancer treatments or recovering from are: Judy McWhorter’s brother-in-law; Nick Nicklas; a friend and classmate of Garrett Lee Williams (leukemia); Connie Crites’ brother; Jim Hunter; Deana McRoy; Philip Pierce’s mother and Stephanie Rigney and Marge Greenwood. Ruby Stahl is now under hospice care. Ten year old Regan, is in serious condition after surgery for brain cancer. Stephanie Dixon may have to have surgery on her nose due to skin cancer. Billy, Del Bolin’s friend has died of cancer. His other friend, Sharon, is still dealing with cancer recovery. Gil Richardson (Muscular dystrophy); Jenni Cullum; Helen Nicklas; Alma Martin; Ron Matney and Tim Elder
OUR DAILY BREAD: AUGUST 5-10
Monday: Exodus 14:10-31
Tuesday: Isaiah 2:1-14
Wednesday: Romans 14:1-9
Thursday: John 5:1-18
Friday: Genesis 4:1-18
Saturday: Psalm 146:1-10
OUR DAILY BREAD: AUGUST 12-17
Monday: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: I Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5
Susan Jordan is either in Guatemala or will be soon. She is serving this week at the Ezell Clinic there. She will return sometime next Sunday. Keep her in your prayers, as well as the great work Health Talents is doing there. We will look forward to a report when she returns.
THE TEENAGE CLASS
The Sunday morning teenage class is beginning a study on the Gospel of John. Their teacher, Del Bolin, will provide more information about the purpose and goals of the study.
Thanks to Wayne and Alisa Flora for another two days of fun, fellowship and learning at this years C-4 event. Wayne works hard setting this up and also loves doing it.
THE BAR B QUE
The Labor Day Weekend Bar B Que will be on Saturday, August 31. We will provide more details later, but in the past we have tried to eat around 4:00. As always, the meat will be pork, brisket and chicken and it will be provided. All the “fixin’s will be brought by the eaters. We’ll update in the next bulletin.
A list of lights, parts, etc., have been taken and the new security system will soon be installed, as well as a motion light above the rear door which will not only act as a security benefit, but will illuminate the lock for those entering after dark.
You may have noticed that Phil Raley, a dear friend of Jenni Cullum’s had died.. We give her our prayers as she deals with this loss.
We need to have a work day before the Bar B Que. Several items around the building need some attention such as shrubbery trimming, tree limbs cut or trimmed, and general yard improvement. Lets do it on the 17th, or the 24th if needed due to rain or lack of help, Any change can be announced in the Sunday handout. Bring such things as rakes, power saws, trimmers etc. with you. We’ll start about 9:00 AM.