The Rational Bible Speech

 

On November 28, 2018 the Pepperdine, School of Public Policy hosted its annual Patricia Tagliaferri Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series. We were honored to welcome keynote speaker Dennis Prager, radio talk show host and founder of PragerU. Prager’s newest book, released in April 2018, is the first of his five-volume Bible commentary entitled, The Rational Bible: Exodus – God, Slavery and Freedom. While many people may think the Bible, the most influential book in world history, is outdated Prager’s explanation of the Book of Exodus, the second book of the Bible, will demonstrate that the Bible is not only powerfully relevant to today’s issues, but completely consistent with rational thought.

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He Has Risen

The Scala Sancta

Scala_Sancta

 

ROME, ITALY - JUNE 13: Pilgrims pray and visit restored frescos of the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) on June 13, 2007 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

The Daily Caller reports:

The removal of the wooden planks revealed the steps have been deeply grooved by centuries of this practice.

“Up until a few days ago, it wasn’t possible to see this because the stairs were covered for 300 years by walnut planks,” Guerra said.

Church tradition holds that St. Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine, had the steps transported from Jerusalem to Rome in 326 A.D. along with several other relics related to Christ.

“We know for certain that St. Helen transported the nails used to crucify Jesus and a portion of his cross, to a church near here,” Guerra said.

The steps lead to a room called the Holy of Holies, which once served as a private chapel for popes. An icon of Jesus dating back to the fifth century and several relics of church saints lie within.

14 Most Beautiful Catholic Cathedrals and Churches in the World

We lost Notre Dame in Paris but these beautiful cathedrals remain.

Notre Dame Burning

Where You Are

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Expert Finds Stunning New Evidence Supporting Biblical Account Of Moses

 

The Website Sinai In Arabia posts the content below

The most commonly cited location of Mount Sinai or “Jebel Musa,” meaning the “Mountain of Moses,” is at St. Catherine’s in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula in modern-day Egypt. While there are prominent proponents of the accuracy of that designation, many others find the evidence to be lacking and have chosen to either dismiss the Exodus account as a myth or to search for other possible locations.

The ability to make determinations about the historicity of the account and the possible geographic locations of the reported events has been hampered by the absence of a single, comprehensive source for an understanding of the cumulative theories and their associated research and evidences.

Over a dozen candidates for Mount Sinai in the Middle East have been proposed over time, with the candidates in Egypt offering the greatest access for excavation in search of supporting evidence.

Among the sites that have been thoroughly examined, the results have been—by most accounts—disappointing.

The debate over the location of Mount Sinai, including the debate over whether it should be in modern-day Egypt or elsewhere in the Middle East, is oftentimes unnecessarily heated.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, which is considered an authoritative source on Jewish theology and history, religious Jews should not interpret the debate as a suggestion that their beliefs are inaccurate.

“There is no Jewish tradition of the geographical location of Mt. Sinai; it seems that its location was obscure already in the time of the monarchy,” it reads.[1]

However, one Rabbi has recently published a book titled “Searching for Sinai.” Rabbi Alexander Hool believes that Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia, and not at the traditional location in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

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And then take a look at the criteria for Biblical Mount Sinai: https://www.sinaiinarabia.com/criteria-biblical-mount-sinai/

Open The Eyes Of My Heart

We sang this song in church today. It is such a beautiful and moving song that I had to share.

 

Paul Baloche wrote the song and Loren Lung writes:

Open the Eyes of My Heart: Ephesians 1:17-21

Ephesians 1:17-21 – I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

This past Sunday we sang, “Open the Eyes of My Heart”. It is a beautiful song with lyrics that reflect what Paul was trying to get across the people of Ephesus in Ephesians 1:18. His prayer was that God would enlighten or open the eyes of their hearts so that they could see hope we have in God’s inheritance and his power.

Sometimes we need to have the eyes of our heart opened. Sometimes we forget that we have a hope of eternal life and that the things of earth are not that important in the eternal scheme of things. At other times we are blinded to God’s power. We know it is there but we don’t allow his power to flow because we don’t think or believe that God will do something. Like the father of the demon possessed boy we have to say, “I do believe. Lord, help my unbelief.” And then there are times when we do not see past our own needs and miss the needs of others. Our heart’s eyes need to be enlightened so that we can allow God to work through us.

I can not tell you the number of times this song has ministered to my spiritual life or my relationship with others.

It is my prayer today that you will allow God to open the eyes of your heart and show you a new and better way.

Dear God, You are Jehovah Ori, The God of light, and my guide. My prayer today is that you will open the eyes of my heart so that I can see you clearly and so that I can know the security of your eternal nature and your power. Help me to lift you up and glorify you instead of trying to lift myself up or think of myself before others. You are holy. You are God. You are my light and my salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Open The Eyes of My Heart

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shining in the light of Your glory
Lord pour out Your Power and Love
As we sing Holy, Holy, Holy

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shining in the light of Your glory
Lord pour out Your Power and Love
As we sing Holy, Holy, Holy

To see You high and lifted up
Shining in the light of Your glory
Lord pour out Your Power and Love
As we sing Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy,
Holy, Holy, Holy, I want to see You. (repeat)

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You

Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy,
Holy, Holy, Holy, I want to see You.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy,
Holy, Holy, Holy, I want to see You.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord;
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You

Words and Music by Paul Baloche ©1998 Hosanna Music CCLI #1872248

Ask A Jew, Ask A Gentile

Pastor Robert Jeffress & Dennis Prager

An enlightening and entertaining dialogue with Jewish talk host Dennis Prager and Christian pastor/commentator Robert Jeffress. Judaism is the oldest living religion, and the foundation for many Christian beliefs and practices.

– What is the difference between the Jewish and Christian view of life after death? – What can Jews learn from Christians? – Why have Jews been the target of persecution throughout history? – Why is Christianity now being opposed?

Join Dennis Prager and Dr. Robert Jeffress along with moderator Dudley Rutherford as they discuss the similarities and differences of these two great world religions.

Pastor Robert Jeffress & Dennis Prager

 

The Rational Bible

Dennis Prager has a new book out, “The Rational Bible,” this first edition of five “Exodus.”

FOX News reports:

Dennis Prager and the wisdom and challenges of The Rational Bible

Dennis Prager is no stranger to controversy.  A columnist and syndicated radio host, for years, he’s expressed his viewpoints on everything under the sun–and gotten plenty of pushback.

Now he’s taking on the Bible. Okay, “taking on” might be the wrong way to put it, but Prager’s new book, “The Rational Bible: Exodus,” is a chance for both fans and opponents to understand how the Scriptures underlie his sense of morality.

“[My job] make the Bible known to as many people around the world as possible, so that they have access to the finest guide to life ever written.”

– Dennis Prager

Coming from Prager, the book is likely to challenge much of modern ethics, but that would be okay with him—he wants people to take another look at the Bible, to change how they perceive it.

His main mission is to let the world know the Bible is as relevant as ever. As he explained in an interview with Fox News, he feels his job is to “make the Bible known to as many people around the world as possible, so that they have access to the finest guide to life ever written.”

The roots of his book go far back. He was teaching the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) about 25 years ago at a Jewish university and noticed half his students were non-Jews. He realized “either the Torah has something to say to everyone or it has nothing to say to Jews.”

So, essentially, there’s a quarter-century’s experience (at least) behind this book.  For the last three years, Prager notes, it’s all he’s been writing.

He started with Exodus, and not the first book of the Bible, Genesis, “primarily because it contains the Ten Commandments, the moral centerpiece of the Bible.”

A good portion of his book—17,000 words, by Prager’s count—in fact deals with the Ten Commandments.  Next year he hopes to have a book out on Genesis, and, ultimately, to complete five volumes on the Bible.

Prager is concerned that many dismiss the Bible as not being applicable to today’s world, some even calling it morally harmful.  His book, he hopes, can set people straight.  He’s not appealing to faith, he says, but to reason.

One problem is that many of the rules listed in Exodus seem dated.  But, as Prager notes, almost any legal code becomes dated in its specifics. “The issue is what values and teaching we can derive from these laws.

Few people today own oxen, but the law that an ox that kills a human being must be put to death reflects a fundamental biblical value—the preciousness of human life, and the price a killer, even an animal-killer, must pay for taking it.”

Indeed, the Covenant Code–rules for living found in chapters 20 through 23 of Exodus–plays a significant role in The Rational Bible.  Modern critics have questioned the value of these rules, where women seem to be property, and slavery is taken for granted.

“Things that at first appear irrelevant, primitive, or even immoral turn out to be important and often great moral leaps forward.”

– Dennis Prager – The Rational Bible–Exodus

Prager hopes people will get a chance to examine his take. One of the central lessons of his book is “Things that at first appear irrelevant, primitive, or even immoral turn out to be important and often great moral leaps forward.”

He believes his book shows how “new and different the Bible was from anything that preceded it.” It brought the world a new kind of morality, and way of life, and he hopes to help people understand the “sublime moral values” it champions.

In fact, that is part of the evidence as to why God is the ultimate author of the Torah (even if there were human intermediaries)—because it was “utterly different and morally superior to everything else ever believed.”

And such wisdom, if properly comprehended, still applies today.  For instance, Prager hopes to explain important distinctions found in the Bible—“human-animal; human-God; man-woman; good-evil; holy-profane; and God-nature.”  Understanding these distinctions “would help explain to anyone how to best order the world.”

He believes readers can discover in his book not just a better understanding of the Bible, but a better way to live.  Thus the book is his attempt to “explain the life-enhancing insights, teaching, and morality” contained in the Torah.

While he hopes he can convince some people to be believers, that is not his primary purpose–he notes the Bible’s wisdom would be helpful to both believers and non-believers alike.

“How we act is far more important than how we think or feel.”

– Dennis Prager

For instance, Prager argues it’s important to understand that “how we act is far more important than how we think or feel.” While that insight may come from his reading of the Bible, it’s a precept that anyone can follow.

So The Rational Bible–Exodus offers a challenge to all—to experts and novices, to evangelists and atheists.  From a man who has been challenging people for years with his opinions, this is the ultimate challenge—it’s Prager’s passionate argument about what God expects from you, and what you can do to change your own life.

Holding Politicans To Priestly Standards Not What Jesus Preached

From National Review:

Some Days I Am Especially Happy to Be a Roman Catholic

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Donald Trump at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York on October 20, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

A response to David French’s open letter to Trump’s Evangelical defenders.

We Romanists are, after all, an inviting church, very much for sinners: Come on in, the water is warm, and there’s no need to wear the scarlet letter. Anyway, about David French’s post calling out President Trump’s “Evangelical defenders,” I have some thoughts. From the perspective of those of us who, by reputation, rarely read the Bible, there seems an awful lot of moral points scored by David. Good. But his post was marinated in overwrought sauce, and I’d file it in the category of the perfect being the enemy of the good and all similar stuff.

So I feel moved (if by the Spirit, good; I hope not by my breakfast) to respond with three little points, made by a believer, a sinner, who aspires to the Kingdom of Heaven, who accepts that it is not unto this orb.

One is that David’s take reflects how some quarters of conservatism have been deeply infected by the be-all, end-all of presidential primacy. In all matters. Growing up, when we remarked “holier than the pope” about a guy, it was meant to be a jab (it doesn’t work well any more under Pope Francis!). But now, the once-jab seems more like . . . a definition and even an expectation: We (believers) seem to want more moral guidance, pronouncements, behavior — salvation! — from an American president than we do of the true shepherds of our souls, whether it be the parish priest, the rabbi, the bishop, the minister. Maybe it is because of the clergy’s sub-contracting of its natural earthly responsibilities that we look to elected officials for void-filling? Anyway, yin to yang, as our society politicizes more and all. (My old man: “That S.O.B. would politicize a bowl of cornflakes,” which makes no sense and plenty of sense.) Our centers of faith — in my case, Catholic parishes and diocesan bureaucracies — have relinquished attention to their duties, such as the charitable works of mercy, and have rendered them too unto the Caesar and his regulators.

I stand athwart this nonsense — presidential fetishizing, duty-abandoning — and yell Stop! And I also advise the college of cardinals to remove any American president from the ballot at its next conclave.

Two: We Catholics believe in saints (I know, so do Anglicans and Eastern Christians, but as for the rest of my fraternal Christian sects, I haven’t a clue), and when I get fired from or depart this place, if still breathing, I am going to finally have time to write a book about my favorite ones (saints, not sects). By the way, since I am waxing a tad Counter-Reformational, May 4’s patron saint is John Houghton, a priest and Carthusian hermit, martyred this very day in 1535. Brutally hanged, drawn and quartered — along with Fathers John Haile and Richard Reynolds — as instigated by the fiend Cromwell. Why? Because of Father Houghton’s refusal (he was the first of many, and of them, many too met his horrible fate) to take the oath for the Act of Supremacy, which held the king to be the head of the Church in England.

I find this noteworthy. While I prefer my head of state — and everyone from him to my barber — to be moral, like the Good Martyred Father, I don’t want to designate my king, or president, to be the head of any spiritual institution, or treated as if he needed to be such. You Anglicans grapple with that. (And yes, Vatican City is a “country,” but let’s admit that it is really just a sovereignty to produce collectible stamps and employ silly-looking Swiss Guards.)

Anyway, and I am still on Number Two here, the very first saint is a true deplorable, by Hillary’s standards or by anyone’s, even his own. By tradition, the “first” saint is often claimed to be Stephen, a disciple of Jesus, stoned to death for heresy. But by timing, the first has got to be Saint Dismas, aka “the Good Thief,” the self-admitted criminal (“We have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes”) nailed to a cross alongside Jesus, who assured him — after Dismas professed his faith in Christ’s divinity (“Remember me when you come into your kingdom”) — that “today you will be with me in Paradise.” Boom! Ticket punched. It’s tough maybe for the Christian Pharisees to swallow, but sometimes really good things happen to really bad people, that really bad people can do, and indeed do do (excuse that) really good things, and that as God warned (promised!), the Last can come First, and that we may have a pretty incomplete meaning of what and who “the Last” means. But back to Dismas: The very first guy we know, from God’s own lips, to be assured salvation was a criminal who deserved execution. Yes, the perfect and the good just don’t always align.

Number Three (inspired by Number Two): It wasn’t until two years ago that I first heard the parable of the Unjust Judge (I again concede that many of us papists are of thin proficiency with the Holy Book). David firehoses chapters and verse, which makes me want to duck for cover.

But then there is that nagging parable, and it does nag me. I’m not sure how it slipped by all those years, but it goes like this: A jerk of a judge, a non-believer, finally gives in to a haranguing widow because he cannot stand the thought of more haranguing (which all parents understand). The main point of the parable is obvious, since Jesus explains it: If a jerk will listen to someone with a just complaint, imagine how God will treat you when you ask for His help.

Got it. But there is a secondary and not unimportant point here in the parable: Even jerks are capable of doing good things.

The very existence of the sacrament of penance is a divine admission that all men are sinners.

I am not calling Donald Trump or anyone, besides myself, a jerk. Nor am I discounting the Ten Commandments or my own faith’s ample and detailed catechism about how we are to behave, how our body is a temple, that we are made in the image and likeness . . . but I am saying that justice or righteousness or correctness or however you might want to package something that implies a good and even holy result can be produced by a jerk. And is. Every day, by millions upon millions and who knows, maybe even billions. Jesus whipped the money-changers, but He doesn’t come off as a sanctimonious prig (He left that for the Pharisees), and that’s because He wasn’t. He knew what humanity was, and what individual humans are — His mom aside, each and every one of them a sinner, some much more public with their trespasses than others.

How could He not know, or hold as a reality, that sinners are capable of doing good?

I fear going to Hell for my sins (I pray not), but I won’t be going there because I donated to Donald Trump’s campaign, voted for his election, or support him, conditionally, as has this website and magazine, when he has done right by our beliefs and by our nation. He is not above criticism and condemnation for his actions (who is?), and yep, I wince and cringe at the praise, sometimes shameful, of those folks who when describing the president use language that should be reserved solely for the Second Coming. But I did none, nor do any, of these things as a Roman Catholic. I do them — and, I hope, all my Caesar-rendering things — informed by my faith, which has an inherent forgiving aspect to it, maybe more so than do other branches of Christianity. After all, Catholicism has a formal sacrament of penance, which is obligatory and exists to help all believers regularly cleanse their souls. It’s an obvious thing to say, then, that the sacrament’s very existence is a divine admission that all men are sinners. More obvious: All, if held to certain standards and called to account on them at this very moment, would be unworthy of doing just about anything, whether it be serving as president or cutting my hair.

And I take great exception to that. Both Pete and Tanka, I sit in whoever’s chair is open, do a marvelous job, so there’s no way in You-Know-Where I am looking for a new barber because my current ones may break commandments.

David’s post is serious and deserves a serious, theological toe-to-toe response. I hope it comes. I am not up to that challenge. But I have a piece to speak, and have now spoken it.

I’ll end with a simple prayer: Be merciful to me God, a poor miserable Compartmentalist.