Monday, June 29, 2009

Paul and the Ark of the Covenant

Paul's tomb appears to have been authenticated. This is not surprising:

But, the announcement about revealing the Ark of the Covenant last Friday was retracted today. Something is going on . . . or, then again, maybe not . . . this is both surprising and confusing:

Galyn Wiemers

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

America, Your King is Coming!

While I was running today I began to pull some thoughts together from the last couple of weeks of Bible school. The Old Testament book of Judges records some of the most ridiculous episodes recorded in biblical history. In those days people seemed to have no idea what God's will was or who the true God was. Indeed, they were very spiritual or religious. They feared curses and went out of their way to keep the ignorant vows they had made, but, as 1 Samuel 3:1 says,
"In those days the word of the Lord was rare."
The book of Judges ends by saying,
"In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit."
The government in the days of the Judges was the government Moses and Joshua had set up under God's direction. It was a representative form of government based on local leadership. Each family was represented in a clan and each clan was represented in the tribe. The leadership of the 12 tribes would then make national decisions. But, within 3 and 4 generations after Moses the people had wandered from God's truth and embraced the philosophies (called "idols" or "false gods") of the Canaanites.

The book of Judges is filled with unbelievably stupid decisions by individuals. This culminates in some of the most un-taught chapters of the Bible. In these chapters the national leadership can only be described as pathetically incompetent. The political and military decisions that the leaders of the tribes of Israel made would consistently take a very bad situation and manage to make it unbearably worse.

The only answer for an ignorant people who can not make the right decision to govern their own families, clans and tribes is to find someone to think for them. The people asked Samuel for a king. Samuel resisted by saying God doesn't want you to have a king because he wants you to govern yourself and follow him. But, the situation is obvious and God agreed with the people's diagnosis of their own incompetence and said:
"Listen to them and give them a king." (1 Samuel 8:22)
When people at the personal, local and national level prove to be so ignorant and undisciplined in governing themselves, God will provide a king to lead the people in their private, local and national lives. The failure of our national "group-thinking" ability proves that our representatives have no idea what to do which reflects on us as local governments and as individuals. America, behold, your king is coming!

Galyn Wiemers

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Would Calvin Have Tolerated Me?

John Calvin will continue to be in the news for the next month as we approach the 500th anniversary of his birthday (July 10, 1509). John Calvin was a brilliant and insightful interpreter of Scripture who advanced the reformation and laid the foundation (if not the entire structure) for protestant theology. Since that time he has been ushered into a reformed state of sainthood that places his person and his teaching above reproach by common men such as myself. Calvin was clearly one of the most gifted thinkers and writers of church history and I would be utterly speechless in an attempt to defend a contrary theological position in his presence. All though I am aware of this, and have his books, including his 22 volume commentary set, I often find myself wondering, "What was Calvin thinking?" Some of his ideas, interpretations and applications miss the context of the Scripture. By saying this I know many will think I have just blasphemed and committed the unforgivable sin. But, that leads me to my main point. I do not think I could have sat through a Calvin lecture in Geneva in the 1500's (or, a Calvin-parrot-preacher in 2009) with out wanting to debate at least one of his positions. Likewise, I do not think I could have been an honorable citizen in his city.

First, a doctrinal example: His commentaries on the Old Testament prophets consistently replace the historical references to Israel with a spiritualized reference to the church. Thus, all meaning is lost. This interpretation error is recovered with the hermeneutic principal: One correct interpretation and then, and only then, you have many applications. But, if you miss the correct interpretation you are forced to error in your application, also. This is why Mosaic law of Israel replaced the Canon Law of the Catholic church in Geneva during this time.

Second, some church, or civil issues: Calvin attempted to set up a church state in Geneva, Switzerland in 1536 but was rejected by the citizens. He returned in 1541 and during the next 14 years he worked to impose his version of liturgy, doctrine, morality, church organization and civil obedience on the city. These are some of Calvin's regulations for Geneva and its surrounding villages in 1542:
  • There were four positions established for governing the church - pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons. The elders (or presbyters) were laymen appointed to watch over the morals of their fellows.
  • The office of the elders was to watch over the conduct of every individual, to admonish lovingly those whom they saw doing wrong or leading an irregular life. . . they were distributed in each quarter of the city, so that they could have an eye on everything.
  • The elders would assemble once a week with the ministers, on Thursday mornings, to see if there be any disorders in the Church and discuss together such remedies needed . . . . If any one in contempt refused to appear before them, they would inform the council, who would then supply a remedy.
  • "The whole household shall attend the sermons on Sunday, except when some one shall be left at home to tend the children or cattle."
  • "If there is preaching on week days, all who can must come, - unless there be some good excuse, - so that at least one from each household shall be present . . . . Should any one come after the sermon has begun, let him be warned. If he does not amend, let him pay a fine"
  • "Let the churches be closed except during service, so that no one may enter them at other hours from superstitious motives. If anyone be dis­covered engaged in some superstition within or near the church, let him be admonished. If he will not give up his superstition, let him be punished."
  • "Those who are found to have rosaries or idols to adore, let them be sent before the consistory, and in addition to the reproof they receive there, let them be sent before the coun­cil. Let the same be done with those who go on a pilgrimage. Those who observe feasts or papistical fasts shall only be admonished. Those who go to mass shall, besides being admonished, be sent before the council, and it shall consider the propriety of punishing the offenders by imprisonment or special fines, as it judges best."
  • "If any one sings indecent, licentious songs, or dances, he shall be kept in prison three days and then sent to the council." Indecent singing could be punished by piercing the singers tongue. (A penalty in the 1500's is now fashionable in 2009.)
  • Sins were dealt with as crimes (no pleasure on Sunday, no work on Sunday, no extravagance in dress) and punishments included excommunication from church followed by banishment from the city.
  • Blasphemy could be punished by death. This occurred to John Servetus, (photo below) a theologian and physician, who disagreed with infant baptism (Calvin did not) and did not believe in the Trinity (Calvin did). (Servetus was the first to discover pulmonary circulation which refers to the blood circulating through the lungs and changing color as it picks up oxygen.) Servetus was tried and found guilty of heresy and burned alive. A negative account of the trial is here. According to church historian Philip Schaff (History of the Christian Church Volume VIII, page 692 ) John Calvin had said seven years before this execution:

"Servetus lately wrote to me, and coupled with his letter a long volume of his delirious fancies, with the Thrasonic boast, that I should see something astonishing and unheard of. He offers to come hither, if it be agreeable to me. But I am unwilling to pledge my word for his safety; for if he does come, and my authority be of any avail, I shall never suffer him to depart alive." (a letter to Farel, Feb. 13, 1546)
Nine years after the execution Calvin said (Philip Schaff, VIII, page 690) :

"Servetus suffered the penalty due to his heresies, but was it by my will? Certainly his arrogance destroyed him not less than his impiety. And what crime was it of mine if our Council, at my exhortation, indeed, but in conformity with the opinion of several Churches, took vengeance on his execrable blasphemies? . . . posterity owes me a debt of gratitude of having purged the Church of so pernicious a monster."
Servetus died in the fire praying, "Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have mercy on me."

Happy Birthday, John! Today I'll read your books, but if I were in Geneva around the 1550's I would have been a blasphemer, a heretic and a criminal. Today, in 2009, I consider you a very brilliant tyrant. (P.S. - I believe in the Trinity. Don't light the fire yet.)

Galyn Wiemers

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Athanasius' Timely Observation

I am continuing to write the Generation Word's Online Bible School tests and am working in chapter 31 of the Framework for Christian Faith book on as test that will cover the years 313-590 AD of church history. I have again come across a quote by Athanasius from the time of Constantine's son Constantius. It was a time of Christian oppression and pillage of the Heathen. Athanasius, the bishop from Alexandria, Egypt, said:
Satan, because there is no truth in him, breaks in with axe and sword. But the Savior is gentle, and forces no one, to whom he comes, but knocks and speaks to the soul . . . For the truth is not preached by sword and dungeon, by might of an army, but by persuasion and exhortation.
According to Athanasius, those who spread their religion by using the sword instead of free will and faith are agents of Satan. Can you make your own application of this to historical and contemporary world situations?

Galyn Wiemers

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Books and a Series of Book Reviews

I would like to do a brief review of fifteen books written between 1513-1963. My blogs will actually be reviewing the work of Benjamin Wiker, PH.D. and his book 10 Books that Screwed up the World. I think many people wonder how did we ever learn to think and reason in modern Western Civilization in a way that is so contrary with reality. I hope to categorize some of these thoughts and expose the radical contradictions that exist between these ideas themselves, not to mention the contradiction they have with truth and reality. You may not agree with me, but I certainly wish you didn't agree with Machiavelli, Descartes, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, Mills, Darwin, Nietzsche, Lenin, Sanger, Hitler, Freud, Mead, Kinsey and Friedan. Several of these I have addressed in my own book Hope for America's Last Generation. Some of you may agree with the basic premise of some of the fifteen authors mentioned above. That is fine, . . . OK, whatever. But, others may not realize how dangerous a bad idea is. If ideas have consequences, then bad ideas have bad consequences. Wiker writes a quote from Thomas Carlyle who said,
There once was a man called Rousseau who wrote a book containing nothing but ideas. The second edition was bound in the skins of those who laughed at the first edition.
I am not against reading these books, in fact, I own copies of most of them. I recently purchased and read the 1912 edition of A Civic Biology by George William Hunter, PH.D. (Google it. I will eventually blog about the contents in this book.) Most do not know this book by its title, although most have heard of turmoil it caused. Very, very few people actually know what is contained in this (clue) high school text book:
. . . epilepsy, and feeble-mindedness are handicaps which it is not only unfair but criminal to hand down to posterity. The science of being well born is called eugenics . . . If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy . . .
To stop our decline we must read these books, understand them, and be able to identify their perverted, malignant logic when we hear it roll out of the mouths of politicians, religious leaders, educators and others who claim to know the way to the Land of Utopia.

Here are some critics and few supporters of the book 10 Books that Screwed up the World. Many do not like it and mock the authors values, education and world view. I disagree with those who mock this book and disregard their insults: See Benjamin Wiker discuss his book on YouTube

Galyn Wiemers

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Secret Things and Revealed Things

This is my response to a Facebook ( question:

The Satan question is a tough question. It goes back before the beginning of time. (It may be part of Satan's accusation against God before the world as we know it.) The answer again has to do with free will and with God revealing who he is. It is an abstract answer and we will never fully wrap our minds around it. For God to reveal who he is he created free agents (in this case) who would then respond to God's nature. Satan chose to rebel which simply moved God's plan forward. Independent of my answer being correct or making sense, God is still in control and God is still good. There will always be questions (I have questions and some apparently conflicting ideas) but we know enough about God and about Truth to place faith in God and move on in faith. Indeed, to have any faith at all you must have some questions answered and something to believe in. But, eventually we all run into a wall that we can no longer see past or understand. This is where we say with the Apostle Paul, "We live by faith, not by sight."
"The SECRET THINGS belong to the Lord our God, but the THINGS REVEALED belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29
Galyn Wiemers

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hadrian's and Antoninus Pius' Statues from 135 and 138 AD

I mentioned tonight in class a stone fragment in the southern wall of the temple mount in Jerusalem. This photo is the southern gate that contains the stone fragment from the base of a Roman statue. I did not realize this stone was there when I was photographing the gate. The stone and the inscription is in the blue box in the photo below.

The very top stone in the very upper right corner of this photo is a piece of stone from the base of a statue of Antoninus Pius that stood on the temple mound. The stone contains an inscription. Hadrian would have had the statue set on the temple mount along with the Temple of Jupiter that he built after his defeat of the Jews in 135 AD.

Hadrian’s inscription reads:


Translation of Latin:
To Titus Ael[ius] Hadrianus
Antoninus Aug[ustus] Pius

the f[ather] of the f[atherland], pontif[ex], augur.

D[ecreed] by the D[ecurions]

The Roman Temple of Jupiter was torn down by Constantine. The stones were used later by the Muslims to build the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This inscription was found and placed upside down to replace a broken stone above this gate.

Hershel Shanks (archaeologist and editor of Biblical Archaeology Review) says:
"Hadrian erected an equestrian statue of himself on the Temple Mount. The anonymous fourth-century pilgrim known only as the Bordeaux Pilgrim reports that he saw two statues of Hadrian on the Temple Mount when he visited the site. The Bordeaux Pilgrim probably mistakenly identified the second statue; Hadrian's successor, Antonius Pius (138-161 AD), probably added an equestrian statue of himself, which the Bordeaux Pilgrim saw. . . It is quite possible the the Bordeaux Pilgrim saw this inscription when it was part of a statue on the Temple Mount. But he misread it. Antonius had been adopted by Hadrian and named as his successor in 138 A.D. Thus, Antoninus's name included the name of Hadrian. The Bordeaux Pilgrim apparently looked only at the first two lines and concluded that it was a second statue of Hadrian. Both had a thick beard and looked much alike when they were older. (Notice the images of their statues below). Some modern scholars have made the same mistake and read the same inscription now in secondary use as referring to Hadrian instead of Antoninus. They apparently focused on the name Hadrianus, ignoring the following name, Antoninus.

Hadrian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Antoninus Pius

For more information or to see the photos I took of the southern side of the temple mount go to

Galyn Wiemers

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Human Savior?

Here is a basic principal of humanity: Whenever people turn to a simple human to be the savior of mankind they set the stage with a misconception and unleash the vehicle for the most infamous form of evil. A mere human savior can only bring evil. Does anyone teach or understand world history anymore?

Did you hear the one about the editor of Newsweek and Chris Matthews? Google it. I do not want to type it here for obvious reasons . . .

I remember when John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. The nation reacted by burning Beatles' albums. Let's see what happens this time . . . I guess, nothing.

Galyn Wiemers

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seven Times a Day?

I am reading "The Crisis of Islamic Civilization" by Ali Allawi and "Inside the Revolution" by Joel Rosenberg. I have many thoughts, but right now I wonder what would happen to Christianity and the church if we prayed seven times a day. Daniel only prayed three times a day and prophecy still revolves around his revelations.

Galyn Wiemers

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Boys are Back

Jacob, Zac, Ben, Galyn, Justin, Hawkeye, Paul

My boys were all back for Hawkeye's graduation. Justin came back from Ft. Mead before he leaves for 2 years in Japan with the Marines. Paul was back from Colorado after his third winter as a snow board coach. He works at Steamboat. Ben was back from college and his Air Force training in computer engineering before he leaves for training in North Carolina. Hawkeye graduated from Valley High School and is headed to UNI with a Jazz trumpet scholarship to major in economics and real estate. He was voted best dancer in a class of 550 seniors. (Shawn Johnson, gold medalist and Dancing with the Stars winner, is a junior at the same Valley High School so she was not included in the voting.) Zac is just finishing his sophomore year and Jacob has finished seventh grade. It was a lot of fun to have them home and a great honor to be able to tell them each how proud I am of them.

Galyn Wiemers