Wikipedia: Jordan Lead Codices

Wikipedia already has a Jordan Lead Codices page:

That’s quick!

The Danger of Atheist Pride

Did you know that it was atheist pride week (20-26 March)? Well, apparently so.

Problems with the Early Christian Lead Books Discovery

Via Bibleplaces.com:

My attempts to avoid this grand discovery have not gone well, to judge from the number of emails I have received suggesting that I must not have seen this story.  It’s foolish to think that I can somehow temper enthusiasm by ignoring the report, so I am succumbing to the requests to note the discovery here.  If I had delayed one more day (April 1), I would have at least felt some measure of justification in spending my time on this.

The basis for the story as reported by BBC and others is a press release from David and Jennifer Elkington.  The best available photographs that I am aware of are at the Daily Mail

The discovery is a collection of 70 ring-bound books made of lead and copper.  Other artifacts were made at the site of discovery, including scrolls and tablets. 

In a nutshell, the problems with this discovery include the facts that (1) we don’t know who owns the artifacts; (2) we don’t know where they were found; (3) the artifacts were not excavated by archaeologists but stolen by thieves; (4) nearly all information about the discovery so far has come from a single source of dubious reliability; (5) claims have been made that this find is more significant than the Dead Sea Scrolls; (6) the source of information appears to be positioning himself for fame and fortune…

And from the conclusion:

There may be something to this discovery, but first the artifacts must be confiscated by the officials and assigned to reputable scholars.  In the meantime, I would not trust anything coming from the mouths of antiquities thieves or Mr. Elkington.

Read on here.

Video: Ancient Books Found in Jordan

There are some more great photos of the ancient books coming from Jordan here as well as this short video:

BACKGROUND: For more on the discovery (on this blog), go herehere and here.

A Short History of the USCCB

Here

To understand how the USCCB came into existence, we must first understand the spiritual background of the man who essentially provided the impetus for the foundation of the organization…

Trans Anglican Clergy Gaining Greater Acceptance

Whatever it is, it’s no longer a church:

Last week, the Rev Dr Christina Beardsley, vice-chair of Changing Attitude, a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual members of the Church of England, was one of the voices featured on 4Thought.tv’s week of short films featuring trans people and faith.

While the US Episcopal church developed a maverick reputation within the Anglican communion for blessing same sex marriages and ordaining gay and lesbian clergy, the House of Bishops of the General Synod of the Church of England’s report Some Issues in Human Sexuality, issued in 2003, contained a chapter titled “Transsexualism”. Currently, one can find about a half dozen trans clergy in the UK and US. These numbers are imprecise, as some clergy do not wish to go public beyond the scope of their individual parish or diocese – a concern that’s understandable given that the trans community seldom receives even the legal protections afforded gays and lesbians…

During the 2008 Lambeth conference, a decennial gathering of Anglican bishops, Beardsley organised a panel titled “Listening to Trans People“. While only four bishops attended this gathering, it represented the highest number of bishops to participate in an Inclusive Network to date. Also, this panel helped consolidate Changing Attitude’s networking with Sibyls, a UK-based Christian spirituality group for trans people, and the US-based online community TransEpsicopal.

… The Rev Vicki Gray, a Vietnam vet before her transition, and currently a deacon with an emphasis on ministry to the homeless, noted that their goals at general convention were to assert that we exist as flesh-and-blood human beings, to demonstrate that we are here in the church as decent and devout followers of Jesus Christ, and to begin the process of education and dialogue that will lead to full inclusion in the life of the church, not only of the transgendered but of other sexual minorities such as the inter-sexed (known to some as hermaphrodites).

… From 3-10 April, Transgender Faith Action Week will be held in the Boston area in the hope of bringing forth faith leaders from different traditions to increase awareness of the trans community in religious circles. Partridge, one of the organisers, says: “We call upon the church to consider carefully its vision of theological anthropology, its theological vision of the human person. How does gender factor into our conception of the human?” After all, in Genesis 1:26, God created ha-adam, a nonsexual term that means “human being”. Then, after he created humanity, she declared that it all was “very good”.

What depraved distortion of the Holy Scripture by the sodomites who have infiltrated the church and are leading it rapidly along the broad road that heads straight to destruction.

‘Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God’ (1 Cor 6:9-10).

‘Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor 15:3).

‘If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing…’ (1 Tim 6:3-4).

 

Is Hell Crowded or Empty?

Writes Fr Robert Barron:

An Internet controversy is percolating around a soon-to-be-published book by well-known evangelical preacher Rob Bell. In “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived,” Bell advocates the “universalist” position on salvation, which holds that everyone in the end is saved and that hell, accordingly, is empty. Many of his evangelical coreligionists are arguing that this doctrine runs counter to classical biblical Christianity and is designed to appeal to a postmodern audience for whom the only unforgivable sin is to be “exclusive.” This dustup over hell made the main page of the CNN website the other day and has prompted tens of thousands of responses. Obviously hell is still (forgive the pun) a burning question among both believers and nonbelievers.

There is nothing new about this controversy. It has raged on and off for almost the whole of Christian history…

Read on here.

Plus this video:

Seven Years of Drought in Israel

Via Bible Places.com:

The rainy season in Israel is over and the results are not good.  This marks the seventh consecutive year of drought.  From the Jerusalem Post:

This year, the North received much more water than the center and the south, reaching a bit more than 90 percent of Israel’s average rainfall, according to Schor, but he cautioned that this is not worthy of celebration.

[…]

To be 100% average, Schor explained, is not sufficient, particularly because this is the seventh consecutive year in which we are “taking more water than we get.”

Overall, including the South and Center, the country achieved an accumulation of only 70% of average, he said.

Meanwhile, despite heavy rains in the past few months that have brought water levels in the Kinneret [Sea of Galilee] above the red line, Schor warned that “we are missing almost four meters of water” from the reservoir.

The full story is here.

Satanism through the Ages

The term Satanism represents a broad range of religions, world views, and literature that all look favourably on Satan or similar rebellious figures.

The Telegraph (UK) reports on the worship of this fiend:

Satan first appeared in the Hebrew Bible as an angel who challenged the religious faith of humans. In the Book of Job he is called “the Satan” (“the accuser”) and acted as the prosecutor in God’s court.

A character named Satan was described as the cosmic enemy of the Lord and tempter of Jesus within many of the Gospels of early Christians. He is the bringer of Armageddon and Apocalypse as featured within the Book of Revelation.

Christians and Muslims have portrayed Satan as an evil competitor to humans and Jesus, characterised as a fallen angel or demon ruling the Underworld.

The Christian church’s tendency to label all those who did not agree with it as agents of evil led to the persecution of numerous non-Christian groups, leading to the Crusades and witch-hunts and the Inquisition. It would also eventually lead to the destruction of many indigenous cultures, such as the Mayan civilisation, in the name of Christ.

Famous satanists over the ages include Gilles de Rais, a 15th century French nobleman, was tried and executed for the murders of hundreds of children in quasi-Satanic rituals.

The late 17th century campaign against alleged satanism known as the Poison Affair under Louis XIV, involved accusations of widespread poisonings, infanticide and forgery committed by an alleged satanic social network.

Modern Satanist groups fall into two major trends: Theistic Satanism, which venerates Satan as a supernatural deity, and Atheistic Satanism, which regards Satan as symbolic of purely certain human traits.

The Church of Satan, established in San Francisco in 1966, preaches the Nine Satanic Statements, which include “Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence”, “Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek” and “Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification”.

In 2004, the Royal Navy approved its first ever Satanist, despite opposition from Christians.

There is now a growing movement of theistic Satanists, who believe in and revere Satan as a deity.

One is the Temple of Set, which identifies the Christian Satan with the ancient Egyptian god Set.

In the 1980s, there were a series of alleged cases of Satanic ritual abuse in the United States, leading to moral panic but only a tiny number of crimes were recorded.

Those who walk in the light have no business with those who adore this murder, walk in darkness and dabble in the occult.

Zahi Hawass Reappointed as Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities

And he’s back:

CAIRO — Egypt’s chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass, the guardian of some of the world’s most important treasures, was on Wednesday named minister of antiquities, the official MENA news agency reported.

Hawass had served as head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and later became minister of state under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Nationwide protests that erupted on January 25 overthrew Mubarak and saw power handed over to a military council.

Hawass’s appointment is likely to anger pro-democracy activists who have been calling for the cabinet to purged of all old regime elements.

His nomination comes amid multiplying calls by the UN cultural agency to protect Egypt’s heritage after reports of looting and theft during the unrest that followed the popular uprising.

UNESCO said on Tuesday that it would write to Egyptian authorities to officially ask for more protection for the country’s archaeological sites.

Earlier this month, the UN body voiced growing concern for such sites which it said were threatened by pillaging.

Robbers raided several warehouses around the country, including one in the Egyptian Museum, after the uprising gave way to looting and insecurity.

An antiquities official said last week that 800 relics stolen by armed robbers from a warehouse east of Cairo were still missing.

What a strange lot of people…

The Voice of Russia also has the breaking news story here.

We posted on his undoing here and here (which was at the beginning of this month).

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