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Bad Eagle Journal

The Comanche Nation and Christian Religion

by David Yeagley · July 11, 2010 · 66 Comments ·

Different demoninations of Christianity have come through Comanche land in the past. Some seemed more appealing to reservation Indians than others. It seems the market is still open. Pentecostals are the lastest “trader” in Comanche land.

Let’s look at the lay of that land. By 1881, six years after the final Quahada band came into Fort Sill (1875), the Episcopalians started a mission program under J. B. Wicks. But before then, as early as 1869, the Quakers (and Dutch Reform) were working in southwestern Oklahoma among the plains tribes. Yet, even Laurie Tatum made no progress among the Comanche–who still resisted the “civilized” life. (The Comanche got into peyote, anyway, once they did start settling. Some say Quanah Parker brought it into the tribe, but others say Mumsekai.) Commissioner Thomas J. Morgan (under U.S. President Harrison) was a strong assimilationist, and missionaries influenced him to clamp down on the peyote “religion.” But the Comanches were not really considered much of a market for the missionaries. Comanches were still isolationists, psychologically, as well as demographically.

Mumsekai, ca. 1920.

Most of the missionaries established themselves around Anadarko. The Methodist-Episcopal were there. The Reformed Presbyterians were there also. Between 1885 and 1893, there were five different government agents trying to manage the programs. There were Indian schools set up, both mission schools and government schools. It was all about assimilation, to prepare young Indians for American citizenship.

Of course, the original encounter with Christianity, for the Comanche, was the old Spanish mission. That was Catholicism. That involved the imagery, the visual aids, and the trinketry, so to speak. These things do catch the eye. The Tortured Man had a psychological appeal as well. He could take pain. He was brave. But, Comanches were to close to the wind to abide in a domestic setting. They didn’t go for the contemplative life.

So no one made any real headway. Not even the old Mormon “messianic” influence, in the modified, adapted form of Wovoka (Paiute) the Ghost Dance prophet, lasted long. Comanches saw it in 1890. Only a band of Penetekas involved themselves temporarily, and that was because they happened to have been assigned lands bordering some the of the more northern plains tribes down in southwest Oklahoma–and those tribes were getting into it.

Comanches didn’t even go in for the Sun Dance. There’s only one historical recorded dance among the Comanche, at that was in 1874, not long before the Comanche freedom was to end. Comanches just didn’t do the group religion thing. Organized community ceremony was foriegn to the Comanche psyche and its incredible individualism.

Chewing Elk, 1872.

Adventism came into Oklahoma at the turn of the century. Some rural families affined themselves to it. My own Comanche family did. But Adventism was never an influence within the people. It offered nothing beautiful to look at, and nothing emotionally exciting. The end of the world? Comanches had already been through that.

Interesting, though, the word for “Saturday” in turn of the century Comanche was ka po hah rab by. The same basic word for “sabbath.” Probably, po hah is from po ha cut, or power (medicine.) Rab by? I’ll take that for “rabbi.” The Comanche word for “father” is ahp. The way it’s pronounced, it is quite similar to the Hebrew abba. (Ah, the wonders of etymology and linguistics.)

That instinctive Comanche affinity with the wind is showing itself currently in another Christian influence: pentecostalism. This is a community emotion. This is something like the wind. Everyone can feel it together. It has been in Indian country a good while, but, recently, it has blown up a storm right in the middle of Comanche land. It hit the tribal meeting yesterday, July 10, 2010.

At the Comanche Nation Business Committee meeting yesterday, the two new committee members were sworn in, one of whom was Mark Wahadooah. Mr. Wahadooah, who won his election by a 17% margin, clearly considers that fact a serious mandate to act on his campaign promises. He made that distinctly obvious. Mr. Wahadooah is an Assemblies of God activist, and himself was apparently involved in the Palo Duro event which we have addressed. It seems that his faith, and his promises to the people, gave him his great margin of victory over Ed Eschiti for the position of Committee Member No. 2.

Mr. Wahadooah, brings pentecostalism (and tu-taiwo blood) to the very seat of tribal authority. This is of grave concern.

Mr. Wahadooah is a warm and appealing person, with great spirit. He is also very forward, aggressive, and, for his first public showing as a tribal committee member, a bit too much so. He behaved as though he had equal authority as Chairman Michael Burgess. He challenged the committee several times, and repeatedly ignored the kind cautions Chairman Burgess offered him. Of course, Mr. Wahadooah feels he is manifesting the spirit on which he campaigned. He feels he is doing what he was elected to do. He is not repecting any authority above the people who elected him, or, what he considers to be their wants. He feels he is representing them.

This amounts to non-cooperation, at least, and insubordination, at worst. This is the outcome of that kind of aggression. Regardless of the sincerety, the passion, the intent, it manifests itself as disruptive and challenging.

I do not know Mr. Wahadooah, but I know how Comanche meetings go. I am concerned about this. I am concern because the matter of Christian religion is involved in Comanche affairs. The people want honesty, accountability, and transparency. A good number are demanding it, more and more. Shall it come through pentecostalism?

We must remember, leaders are elected to lead, not to follow. The numunu simply cannot lead themselves anymore. We’re not living out the free, open plains now. We’re “organized,” and we’re following rules of order. The affairs of the tribe are hectic, and there are constant crises occurring. Decisions have to be made rapidly, often without consultation. Under the present constitution, there is no possible way for all the Comanche people to know every detail of every situation. There is no possible way to get a consensus on every decision that is made. (This is why I have suggested a very different kind of constitution.)

And so the wind blows in Comanche country. Pentecostal wind. Is it a good thing? Will it blow in the right direction? Will it bring good rain?

I will say only this: there are many different religious groups among Comanche people today. Many Christian denominations, and even some new, non-Christian influences. I would not want to see any one denomination creating a dominant influence. I don’t consider Indian country some ironic hunting ground for competing Christian denominations. Indians have enough problems without this divisive force from the outside. A social hunting ground may be how Indian country is perceived by the outsiders, but, I hope Indians, especially Comanches, can navigate through these high winds, and remain sovereign and independent. I know many Christians want to see Indians become more self-reliant and independent. However, what we saw in Palo Duro in April may not be the path to preserves us.

With Mr. Wahadooah’s premier performance July 10, it is clear that the April affair in Palo Duro was a power grab.

Maybe it was a good thing. Maybe it will lead to good things. I express great caution right now, that’s all. I feel like it is an invasion. I feel we are under seige. This is ironic and agonizing–or, at least, suspicious. I would not want to offend any Christian brother, or any Comanche in this. Good may come of it. I hope it does.

I am only trying to bring a historical perspective to what’s happening, and to help achieve an objective view.

I do not want the chairman to be undermined, and that’s what happened July 10. I express these thoughts with the greatest reserve and concern. Hear me, my people.

I neglected to mention the earliest Comanche mission of all, the Deyo Baptist Mission, 1888. It was the work of Elton Cyrus Deyo, from Colgate Theological Seminary (Maine). Robert Yappa Teka Coffey (1902-1994) became the first Comanche to be pastor. As a matter of fact, my mother (Norma Portillo) played piano for the congregation when she was a young girl in the early ’30’s. She knew three or four chords on the keyboard, and that sufficed for most hymns.

Posted by David Yeagley · July 11, 2010 · 5:45 pm CT · ·

Tags: American Indians · Bad Eagle Journal · Christianity · Politics · Race · Religion

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66 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David Yeagley // Jul 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm   

    I should add, a delegation of Assemblies of God people (white, Negro, and Indian) were present at the Comanche Nation tribal meeting. They were there, obviously, for the swearing in of their colleague and brother, Mark Wahadoonah.

    I will also add, having a historical Comanche name is a big status among the people. Even though it may not necessarily mean any real connection at all to the people or the traditions or the knowledge, it counts. Big time.

  • 2 Thrasymachus // Jul 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm   

    Whew! THEOLOGY!!!

    I have hated systematic theology! It’s so full of useless concepts and vain disputation.

    Theological debate is one of the great weaknesses that the White race has been prone to. I certainly do not like to see them bring these quarrels into the Comanche nation.
    Worry over doctrinal correctness can become a mental illness. Christians should simply read their Bibles and pray and refuse to contend over these non-essentials.

    I know from personal experience how divisive and troublesome theological disagreements can be. They can prey upon the psyche.

    May your people be spared this madness!

  • 3 Pamela K. // Jul 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm   

    A people’s language and the culture of those who speak the language are closely related. In regards to the Hebrews, their culture, like the Comanche, was an itinerant one. Hebrew word describe an action that can be seen in their wanderings from one watering hole to the next green pasture.
    Most modern day translations of the Bible are written from the perspective of the western mind, and for western thought, obliterating the orginal Hebraic meaning and pespective of the Eastern mindset.
    Most people naturally assume that everyone in the world thinks pretty much the same. From studying the Bible from the original Hebrew perspective I now know this is far from the truth.
    For instance, take the word, “shaddai”. Most Bibles translate this word to mean, “almighty”. The actual Hebrew translation is “teat” as in the teat of a nanny goat. In the Hebrew mind, just as the goat provides nourishment to her kids through milk, God nourishes us through His Word, and is the provider of all the necessities of life. The actual translation from the ancient Hebraic text was deemed to be too offensive to the western mind, however, I think it a unique take on the nature of God Himself.

  • 4 Thrasymachus // Jul 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm   

    Or, to state the case more mildly, theology, in dispute mode, can be a real head-ache. It divides otherwise sensible people!

  • 5 David Yeagley // Jul 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm   

    PK, I don’t know what Hebrew source you are using. שדי (shaddai) is from שדד, (shaddad) which is a verb that means, like, big and burly, or like a fortress that’s impregnable. Hence, God untouchable, or, God against which there is no force, or, “almighty.”

    Where did you get the goat teat thing? Is that some modern Hebrew take? I only know some Biblical Hebrew. Metaphors can change, of course.

  • 6 David Yeagley // Jul 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm   

    Thras, I made the mistake of telling a Baptist friend that I hated theology. He knew I had gone to Yale Divinity, and just said, “You went to the wrong theology school! Then he recommend Southern Baptist Seminary…

    Well, I certainly was uncomfortable with theology. Each man can think his own thoughts. Why think someone else’s? Theology (which grew out of anti-Nicene apologetics) is, in my opinion, merely an attempt to make respectable that which Paul had already declared unto the Greeks foolishness.

  • 7 Pamela K. // Jul 11, 2010 at 10:04 pm   

    Another example is the word, “Elohiym” While this word is often translated as “God” The idea behind “god” is a Greek concept. The correct Hebraic definition of “Elohiym” means “judges” in the sense of one with great power and authority. Another word translated to “god” is Yahweh, which means, ‘He exists.”
    And then there is the word, “heart” translated from the Hebrew, “levav”. In Hebrew thought, the heart is the thoughts of the mind, not an emotion we would relate to the word heart.

  • 8 Pamela K. // Jul 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm   

    It’s from the book, “The Living Words” Volume One A Study of Hebrew Words and Concepts from the Old and New Testaments By Jeff A Benner.
    According to this book, ‘The word, “shaddai” meaning teats, is often coupled with the word, ‘el” meaning mighty one, creating the phrase “el shaddai” literally meaning the “mighty teat”. Hence, we can see the translator’s reluctance to literally translate the phrase in this manner and instead using the more “sanitized” God Almighty”.

  • 9 Gary DeLoriea // Jul 12, 2010 at 12:54 am   

    The emphasis on theology seems to be a trait that was adopted from the semites. I know for a fact that such things held no importence in pre xtian scandinavia/northern europe. As a matter of fact in pre xtian times we didn’t even have a name for our faith. Had you asked someone from that time period what his religion is he or she would have answered “the Religion of My tribe”. most housesheld their own rites for the most part with the main holytides being community affairs. My impression is that Theology is used more to control people than to bring them closer to the devine. Such is a sad thing in my opinion the Gnostics believed that you can find god through study and meditation that you didn’t need the parish priest to have a relationship with the devine. I tend to agree.
    Gary DeLoriea
    Arfstoll Church of theodish Belief

  • 10 Illana // Jul 12, 2010 at 6:46 am   

    I am so impressed by your high knowledge of the hebrew !

    Nevertheless, I don’t understand why you assume theoloy is not closed to devine and meditation..

  • 11 Bear // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:19 am   

    The Day of Pentecost
    Acts 2:2 “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.”

    (Now what could be more appropriate for the children of the wind?)

  • 12 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:21 am   

    The point I was trying to make earlier is if the original Hebrew words were changed during the translation from Greek into English and from old English to modern English then the original meanings were lost to millions of Christians throughout the proceeding centuries who read and study God’s Word. It’s like some modern translations of the works of Shakespeare. While his plays might be easier to understand to the modern reader, the essence of his original work is lost to them.

  • 13 Bear // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:22 am   

    Perhaps this is a full fillment of purpose, a meeting with destiny. Perhaps this is God comepleting the sacred circle, a reunification of God perhaps.

  • 14 REG // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:52 am   

    Good post: This is an area of contention for me also. The Strong’s Concordance lists the word “Father” as the letter A for Alpha, meaning “Nourishes” and is symbolized by the fig plant. As PamK states, the meanings of many words did not make the transition from Hebrew-Greek-English. Also the Calvinist group purposely changed the meanings of words in order to create ‘pastoral authority.’ Roughly in Hebrew “God is a loving father to his people” Calvin changed God from a loving father to a dictatorial demanding God like his own father was. Like the word ‘head’ in Greek means ‘example’ but in the New Testament (Calvin’s) lexicon it has been changed to mean ‘authority’; thereby giving the pastor the authority over the congregation instead of an example to the congregation. Jesus said “Call no man Father (teacher) for God will teach you personally in your heart.” This is a personal relationship without any intermediaries except, possibly Jesus (in spirit). I don’t think that the Comanche love of the wind would have any problem with a god who speaks to them individually on the wind of His Holy Spirit (breath of God). Pentecostals are supposed to know this as a basic doctrine of their faith.

  • 15 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:54 am   

    Jeff Benner has carved out an internet spot for himself, but apparently he’s not considered a Hebrew scholar in academic circles. (Not that this is a distinction of spiritual import, mind you.) Benner may be useful, helpful, and popular, but, his name is simply not among those established as a scholar in the field.

    There isn’t even a Wiki page on him. Where did he go to school? With whom did he study? What is his degree, etc. Real basic info.

    I know you’re a serious person, and a serious reader. I hate to dispute with you.

    The rabbis all translate שדי (shaddai) as “almighty.” For example, this is the translation by the late Chief Rabbi of Britain, Dr. J. H. Herz. It’s the standard in Soncino edition of The Pentateuch and Haf Torahs (1972). This is the edition used in American Conservative Jewish synagogues.

    Being Jewish doesn’t automatically that you have the corner on translation of Hebrew into English. Benner is very popular among Christians, indeed; I’m just saying basic scholarly background is missing from his internet image. Perhaps someone who knows about him should make a Wikipedia page on him.

  • 16 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 8:00 am   

    Illana, theology simply means the study of God. Understanding God, seeking to comprehend God.

    A rabbi (David Blumenthal) taught me that truth is not a proposition, but an experience. An experience, put down on paper, analyzed, dissected, etc., becomes lost. The experience at that point is a mental exercise–something different from the actual existential experience which is being subsequently “thought” about.

    Theology too often becomes an intellectual competition of sorts. The opposite of the character of God soon becomes evident in the spirit of the contenders.

    Doesn’t have to be that way. But, boys will be boys.

  • 17 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 8:12 am   

    According to the back of the book, when Mr. Benner first began his research and studies in the Ancient Hebrew al-phabet, language, and culture of the Bible he quickly discovered that all the available translations, disctionaries, and lexicons are coming from the modern Greco-Roman perspective, ignoring the original Hebraic perspective of the text. He has written several books and has website http://www.ancient-hebrew,org. You are correct that there is no information on where he learned these translations.
    I bought his book because it was highly recommended as a guide to learning the real meaning of the Hebrew words in the Bible, something I feel has been obscured by not only by well-meaning scholars, but ones that were either too lazy or indifferent to perserving the real meanings of these words and just wanted to be credited as the translator of God’s Word for profit, as well as boost their own self-righteous pride and vanity. I feel there is so much more to the Bible then we know and I really want to understand what God is actually saying to me as well as understand the ancient Hebraic culture and mindset, the same way you want to preserve your peoples culture from modern interpretations, or more often, misinterpretations.

  • 18 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 8:22 am   

    I have faith in your faith, PK. I say just read the Bible, again and again. Think. Absorb. Be objective. The Word of God will teach you all you need to know–even about deep things like ancient culture, custom, values, etc. You can actually pick this up from the Bible itself.

    I believe God’s word teaches itself–to the open mind. Surely, God knew that not everyone in the world was going to know Hebrew, or Greek. These are not “sacred” languages.

    Now, I doubt God would use the Comanche language to communicate to the world. But, each culture and language has some special contribution to make to the understanding of God. I believe that much.

    In a complex language, the expression of the simple always seems poetic.

  • 19 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 8:35 am   

    “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119: 105

  • 20 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 8:40 am   

    I wish I would not get of on tangents myself, but,

    According to Frank Moore Cross, one of the most eminent of Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern languages scholar at Harvard, el shaddai is father god, or god father, where shaddai has it’s usual meaning of “father.” Provider, protecter, etc. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (1973), pp.9, 11. That is it’s use. As I said, the actual meaning of the word is big and burly. In Hebrew itself, it is used as a metaphor to characterize an indestructable person or source, as a huge fortress with impregnable walls.

  • 21 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 9:12 am   

    I mean’t to add to my last entry when I quoted Psalm 119: 105 but I hit the wrong button on this computer keyboard!
    Who says God would not use a Comanche to communicate His message to the world? He is a rspector of no persons, you know. He will use whom he chooses to accomplish His purpose.
    “Look well to yourself and to your own personality and to your teaching; perservere in these things for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1Timothy 4:16
    As I said before, there are no people on the face of the earth like the Jewish people. That said, the Jews are not morally or spiritually superior to any other group of people. God chose them the bring salvation into the world through His Son, the Messiah Y’Shua (Jesus).
    “For salvation comes from the Jews”, Y’Shua told the Samaritan woman at the well. John 4:12
    This explains the reason why the Jews have been singled out and horribly persecuted throughout the centuries. The current rise of antisemitism in Europe is nothing new. The ovens in Auschwitz had been heating up for 1900 years prior to the Holocaust. Unfortunately, most of the persecution of the Jews was instigated by the Christian church! The ‘Great Reformer’ Martin Luther, was a rabid anti-Semite who wrote a horrible treatise called, “The Question of the Jews” blaming them, among other things, for the murder of Christ, stealing Christian babies to be used in blood sacrifices, and poisoning wells in Europe, which he claimed was the real reason for the bubonic plague. The worst part was that people believed what he was saying! Sort of like these Muslims today who spread the most outrageous lies about the Jews. It’s the same antichrist spirit in them that drove Martin Luther to hate the Jews and later, gave Nazis their excuse to hate and persecute the Jews.
    Why God chose the Jews for this purpose, (salvation) we really don’t know. However, maybe one day He will reveal this purpose. We can only hope.

  • 22 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 10:19 am   

    I’m planning on a Jewish article here, right away. There are some things I have to get off my chest. Honesty is agonizing, some times. And there’s always the rist of “anti-Semitism,” unless you’re Jewish and have some critical observations to make about Jews.

    Thanks for what you said about God using whomever and whatever language. I did say, each culture and languages has its contribution to make to the over-all human impression of God, didn’t I? If I didn’t, I meant to.

    Of course, there’s the issue, Is any people more important than any other? Is there a hierarchy of ethnicity in the world? Some people are obviously more powerful, but, are they more valuable, or more important?

  • 23 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 10:59 am   

    I am not sure if some people are considered more valuable in the eyes of God than others.
    Looking back over some of the things I have gone through in my life, I often wonder if I am really that significant to God. I don’t like to think that, but I guess I’m not alone. I am sure many people feel the same way at times. However, God is always quick to remind me that the doubt I have is my own, not His, especially when I suddenly remember a passage from Scripture like,
    “For I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” Jeremiah 29:11
    While God does choose certain people to work through, like Moses and Esther, who were Jews, and Ruth, the Moabitess, who was clearly not Jewish, but plays a significant role in the lineage of the Messiah, I think it’s as I mentioned earlier, that God chooses whom ever He wants to serve His purpose. Why He chooses these particular people remains a mystery. However, I personally think God loves us and I also think He is always waiting, like the patient Father He is, for us to leave behind the distractions of the world and find a place where we can be alone with Him and hear His voice.
    “Then you will call upon Me and you will come and pray to Me and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29: 12-13.

  • 24 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 11:09 am   

    God is into genocide, I’m afraid.

    Some people (ethnic groups) are clearly not valuable, and also dangerous.

    So then, does national compassion and forgiveness confuse the matter? America rebuilt Japan, and Germany. Was it action amiss?

  • 25 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 11:26 am   

    I forgot to mention the most famous Christian church among the living Comanche: Deyo Baptist Mission. How could I forget?!

    My mother played piano for them when she was a little girl. She knew three or four chords, she told me, and they needed someone to play something!

    This is a famous, historical Christian tradition, the Deyo Baptist Mission. Robert Coffey became the first Comanche to be pastor.

    It was started by Rev. Deyo, some time in the late 19th century, (ca. 1892).

  • 26 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 11:28 am   

    Here we go:

    Deyo Baptist Mission, 1883.

  • 27 zephyr // Jul 12, 2010 at 11:45 am   

    “Theology too often becomes an intellectual competition of sorts. The opposite of the character of God soon becomes evident in the spirit of the contenders. Doesn’t have to be that way. But, boys will be boys.”


  • 28 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm   

    Jesus commanded his followers to go out and preach the gospel unto all the world. He did not add that missionaries with hidden motives should target American Indians for conversion to Christianity as a means of taking their land away from them for development by “white Christians.” It makes you wonder if this was indeed what motivated this Deyo character to approach the Comanches in the first place. He would not be the first to use religion as a front for his own lust for power and greed.

  • 29 REG // Jul 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm   

    David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 11:09 am
    God is into genocide, I’m afraid.
    This statement, I fail to understand where you come up with it.
    Like you suggested, I’ve read the Bible approximately eight times, I find that in reading the Bible for context, the definitions throughout fit with Mr. Benner’s definitions. I’ve read a few experts and find that they have a tendency to do forward searches, where something clearly stated one thing in the Old Testament, but then when someone changed the meaning later in the New Testament, they accept the new definition, so I don’t trust many experts. I agree with Frank Cross – father.” Provider, protector.” That has the same concept as Mr. Benner’s ‘great teat’ or Strong’s ‘provider’. Every religion in the world but two have the concept of God as a kind person; who helps the people he considers his children. Only organized Christianity and Muslims have “sin religions.” Jesus never preached about sin, but about a god who provided rain for the righteous and the sinner.

  • 30 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm   

    God is not into genocide in the modern sense of the word, however, in the Bible He did destroy certain people. A perfect example of this was the destruction of Sodom and Gemmorrah. God sent the two angels to destroy the filthy abomination of these two cities:
    “For we will spoil and destroy Sodom; for the outcry and shriek against it’s people have grown great before the Lord and He has sent us to destroy it.” Genesis 19:13

  • 31 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm   

    Genocide is the deliberate and willful elimination of a racial or national group. In the case of Sodom and Gemmorrah, I guess God felt that these people were His own creation gone terribly wrong with no hope for redemption so He destroyed them. The greatest sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which basically means that people know of the existence of God but willfully and deliberately deny His existence. I suppose this was the case with Sodom and Gemmorrah.

  • 32 Bear // Jul 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm   

    REG you said, “Jesus never preached about sin, but about a god who provided rain for the righteous and the sinner.” This is simply untrue.

    Matthew 18:6
    [ Jesus Warns of Offenses ] “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    John 5:14
    Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

    John 8:11
    She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

    John 8:34
    Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

    Matthew 21:12-13 “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’

  • 33 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm   

    Ain’t theology great?!

    I wrote a paper my second or third semester at Yale: Pharisaical Objections to the Origin, Nature, and Destiny of Christ.

    I categorized every single statement of opposition in the gospels. (The professor was impressed with the originality of the concept, but did not give an outstanding grade. Rather, he criticized me for my aversion to biblical “scholarship.”)

    My point was, every possible objection to the Word of God has been made, and they all fall into distinct categories. The positions of unbelief are exhausted withint the Gospels themselves.

    That’s how I delt with “theology.”

  • 34 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm   

    The four Gospels provide a little more than a glimpse of the life and ministry of Y’shua (Jesus). In order to fully understand that He was indeed the Messiah, you have to look at both the Old and the New Testaments for proof:
    To be born in Bethlehem
    Micah 5: 2 -Matthew 2:1-5
    The Son of God
    Psalm 2:7- John 3:16-17
    Of The Tribe of Judah
    Gen, 49:10-Hebrews 7:14
    Of a virgin
    Isaiah 7:14-Matthew 1:18-22
    A prophet like Moses
    Deut. 18:15-John 7: 15-17
    The King of Israel
    Zech 9:9-John 12:12-13
    Isaiah 53:3-John 1:11
    Mic 5:1-Mark 15:19
    Isaiah 53:7-Matthew 27:12-14
    Psalm 41:9-Mark 14:17-20
    Tried and condemned…
    Isaiah 53:8- Matthew 27:1-2
    Psalm 22:16-John 19:17-18
    His garments divided…
    Psalm 22:18-John 19:23-24
    Given vinegar and gall…
    Psalm 69:21-John 19:31-36
    His bones not broken…
    Exodus 12:46-John 19:31-36
    He is our sacrifice
    Isaiah 53:5-6-1Peter 2:24-25
    And raised from death!
    Psalm 16:10-Luke 24:1-7, 47

  • 35 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm   

    The Bible has some strong things to say about warfare. Though I am against genocide, there’s no place in Scripture (that I know of) that states that God is opposed to it, if the nation is ripe for destruction, owing to its sin.

    “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” — Psalm 9:17

    “Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.” — Deuteronomy 13:15

    “When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy.” — Deuteronomy 7:2 (New Living Translation)

  • 36 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm   

    Another very strong verse in the Bible:

    “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” — I Samuel 15:2-3

    Can we not conclude from this verse that God regarded this nation, not merely as individuals, but as a corporate entity?

  • 37 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm   

    “9 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. 10 Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. 12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.” 2 Chronicles 14:9-13

    Here we read that the Ancient Israelites were attacked by Blacks (Ethiopians), and that God gave Israel the victory.

  • 38 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm   

    Well, I guess there’s no point in writing an article about God and genocide.

  • 39 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm   

    Contrast the above verses with this (God is the spokesman):

    “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more then sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”
    — Jonah 4:11

    God found these people worthy of saving. They did not discern their right hand from their left — this seems to mean that they were innocent in God’s sight, owning to a lack of knowledge.

  • 40 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm   

    The New Living translation puts it this way (this is an interpretation, I’d say):

    “But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”
    — Jonah 4:11

  • 41 REG // Jul 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm   

    Bear // Jul 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    REG you said, “Jesus never preached about sin, but about a god who provided rain for the righteous and the sinner.” This is simply untrue.

    The examples you listed said in context “Go and sin no more.” but did not define ‘sin.’ or preach against it. He did not accuse the merchants of ‘sin’ only that they were making the temple a den of thieves.
    Abram worshiped the moon, fertility goddess “Sin” in Ur; until God came to him and offered him a deal. “Worship me and I will give you what Sin has not provided, a son.” Sin is the worship of other gods, falling away in other words. Jesus preached about turning to worship of God by getting close to God, the positive message, therefore he did not preach on sin. Shoot he didn’t even hit the evils of smoking. He mentioned that he ate and drank and was accused of being a glutton and wine bibber. He also gave that message that if you were close to God, you could move mountains. He did say that the sin that was not pardonable is attributing the things of the Holy Spirit to evil. Just mentioning the word ‘sin’ is not preaching it. A living example is Judaism which doesn’t spend much time on sin, but a lot of teaching Torah or how live a sanctified life.

  • 42 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm   

    I mentioned those above verses because I was thinking of the early church and how they only had the Old Testament to witness from about the Messiah. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and went to a Catholic elementary school where I was taught by liberal Catholic teachers that the Bible was not true, that it was just a book of fairy tales. It was only after I met Zola Levitt and was introduced to Messianic Christianity that I not only found out that about the OT verses that corresponded with the NT verses about the Messiah, but I gained a deeper appreciation for the Jewish roots of my Christian faith.

  • 43 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm   

    “I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and went to a Catholic elementary school where I was taught by liberal Catholic teachers that the Bible was not true, that it was just a book of fairy tales.”

    On EWTN, the Catholic Network, they speak out against these liberal Catholics. Believe me, the Pope and the Church do not agree with these liberals. I do not know why they even put up with them!

  • 44 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm   

    I think this is all perfectly fascinating! I appreach the honesty, forthrightness, and sincerity of those “spelling it out” for each other.

    The spiritual life is a learning process, indeed. We can all contribute something to the bigger picture we all sense. (Don’t mean to sound Platonic there…)

    PK, our Comanche family was first Spanish Catholic. Bad Eagle was Catholic. The Adventism didn’t come until later. My mother and her sisters (and parents) were all Adventist by the end of WWII.

    I think sometimes that Comanches kept their band instincts (gang tendencies?!) and that’s why there are only certain denominations that took a root here and there among the Comanches. Adventism was never a serious influence. It just happened to be taken on my our band, so to speak.

  • 45 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm   

    There are even some Messianic Jews who are also members of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s complicated!

  • 46 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm   

    Is anyone EVER excommunicated from the Catholic Church anymore???

    There’s mercy, patience, tolerance, and then there’s failure and dereliction of duty. Remember Eli, and his sons Phinehas and Hophni. Negligence brings a curse.

  • 47 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm   

    What exactly is the doctrine of Seventh Day Adventists? Is it true that they celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday and that they advocate vegetarianism?

    I don’t think anyone is excommunicated anymore, however, my aunt, who is a divorced Catholic, was not allowed to take Communion (or believed she couldn’t) because of her divorce which I never understood.

  • 48 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm   

    “Some people are obviously more powerful, but, are they more valuable, or more important?”
    It seems to me that God dealt with nations in both the Old and New Testaments according to their national character. Mercy for Ninevah, destruction to another city.

    I consider it very important to make the point that, although the Nazi regime was evil, the German people themselves are definitely not.
    When a war breaks out, a civilized people can revert to savegery. The psychological conditions have moved from normal to highly abnormal. It’s important to keep this in mind.

  • 49 Thrasymachus // Jul 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm   

    Here is St. Paul rebuking a nationality:

    One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. — Titus 1:12-13

    Not exactly flattering. If some well-known clergyman were to write this today of any race or ethnic nation, there would be unanimous uproar and condemnation, would there not?

  • 50 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm   

    PK, yes, Adventists observe the original and only “shabbat,” of Genesis 2:2. And yes, the church advocates complete vegetarianism.

    I, of course, am not an exemplary Adventist…

    The advent movement was early to mid-19th century in origins. It was inter-denominational, much like charismaticism. All kinds of Christians were involved. When the return of Christ did not occur, the die-hards ended up being ‘dismissed’ from their various denominations, and finally found each other and formed their own denomination, officially 1863.

    I look at Adventism as utterly eclectic. It is the apogee of the the Reformation. It has all the elements of nearly all the other major denominations. Baptism by immersion, tithing, etc. That sabbath thing, that’s the kicker. And the dead, that’s the other unusual thing. I wrote a whole “scholarly” book on these two subjects, sabbath and the dead. It’s called Altered States.

    It’s over 200 pages of pure academic research. Problem is, it has no indeces. I’m afraid it’s a hack job, but, the text is all there, with half a million footnotes. Jewish scholars have considered very impressive. Two, in fact.

  • 51 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm   

    Thras, this is a precious thread. We don’t want to lose this one! I appreciate all the input. It is remarkable, actually.

    I have a few texts up my sleeve, which you haven’t referenced yet. I may still do a genocide piece…

  • 52 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 7:39 pm   

    As I mentioned earlier, I was raised Catholic, but I never knew about the history of the early churches edicts against the Jews until about fifteen years ago thanks to Zola Levitt.
    For instance, the early Roman Catholic Church forbade Christians and Jews to marry or eat together, and forbid Jews from observing the Sabbath. (Council of Elvira, circa A D. 306).
    Synagogues were outlawed. (Edict of Milan, A.D. 313)
    Permission is granted to burn Jews guilty of breaking the law. (Roman edict, A D. 315)
    It was forbidden to associate the celebration of Easter with the Jewish Passover. Easter was ordered to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon following the Spring equinox. (Canon I of the Synod of Antioch, A D 419)
    These edicts were a harbinger to the rise of terrible persecution of the Jewish people over the centuries which would eventually lead up to the most horrible time of persecution and death, the Holocaust.
    Many Jewish people believe that the Holocaust of WWII was allowed to happen not just because Hitler came to power and mandated his “final solution” to kill all the Jews, but because Christians allowed it to happen. And although Der Furher was an avowed athiest, many who worked for him claimed to be Christians. They were soldiers and they were guards at concentration camps. They were members of Hitler’s youth groups. And most “good Christians” in Germany who attended church without fail every Sunday sat idly by on Monday morning as their Jewish neighbors were rounded up by other self-proclaimed Christians and hauled off to their deaths.
    Today, the rising tide of anti-semitism in Europe goes largely unreported in the world news media. Replacement Theology is rampant in the Christian churches, and this includes the American branch of the Roman Catholic Church. Although some American Catholics disdain Replacement Theology and liberal influence in their church, just look how many Catholics voted for Obama!

  • 53 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 8:08 pm   

    This is a shocking report that recently was broadcast by CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) Hungary’s Anti-Semitic, Anti-Gypsie Party

  • 54 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm   

    Here you go, PK:

  • 55 David Yeagley // Jul 12, 2010 at 9:00 pm   

    Is it a naive thing to ask, WHY do Jews get blamed when there are economic problems in a country? Are the financial manipulations of someone like George Soros any part of the reason?

  • 56 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 9:26 pm   

    Probably. He is a creep of the highest order. He’s what Binyamin Netanyahu referred to as “one who forgets he’s Jewish.”

  • 57 Pamela K. // Jul 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm   

    Soros grew up in a time of political unrest in Hungary which most likely helped to shape his extreme left-wing viewpoint. In the book I am currently reading, “Give Me Liberty” by Rose Wilder Lane, she writes about her experience as a foreign correspondent in Budapest in 1922. One night she accompanied the police on a night raid in a working class neighborhood where the police went in and searched men’s pockets for Labor Cards, which was a form of identification that all Hungarians were obliged to carry at all times. These cards were also stamped by the men’s employers.If it showed no stamp from an employer, the men were hauled off to jail. It was even worse for the women who could not prove they were employed. The police would haul them off to jail, accusing them of prostitution. After all, the police figured, how else were these women making a living? These police also raided the tenement homes of people they accused of not working, or knew to be unemployed. It sounds crazy, but what it really was about, was having total control over people. Soros tactics might be a little different but the influence of his Hungarian upbringing is more than apparent. With him, it’s all about control too.

  • 58 Illana // Jul 13, 2010 at 7:42 am   

    As all of you live in USA, you cannot imagine how much Europe is a neurotic continent, which reproduces the same mistakes than in the past in another way.

    I am not surprised by this country : hungarian still persecute the “tsigane” and the few jewish that live there.. assuming that gypsies are lasy, dirty and other unacceptable prejudices !!

    They should be blamed by UN and the international community for that.
    I am sad to say that I am proud of the way Israeli defend their land to avoid been persecuted like in Europe…

  • 59 Bear // Jul 13, 2010 at 8:11 am   

    REG you said on Jul 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    The examples you listed said in context “Go and sin no more.” but did not define ’sin.’ or preach against it.

    (The word of God defined sin in countless scriptures already. This had been addressed numerous times. And the “word” /Jesus is pretty specific in the old and new testament about what is to be perceived as sin.
    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

    John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.)

    “He did not accuse the merchants of ’sin’ only that they were making the temple a den of thieves.”

    (Perhaps it should be implied that Christ drove them out because they were illegally parked then???? Of course he drove them out because of the sin they were involved in!)

    “Abram worshiped the moon, fertility goddess “Sin” in Ur; until God came to him and offered him a deal. “Worship me and I will give you what Sin has not provided, a son.”
    (Actually it was Christ / “Melchizedek” that met with Abram. Abram humbled himself before God, paid his tithes, and eventually entered into a covenant with God before God could begin to bless him. Hebrews 7:1 – 3
    The King of Righteousness
    “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.”)

    “Sin is the worship of other gods, falling away in other words. ”
    (Idolatry is just one of ten commandments or “sins” that God identified in the old testament.)

  • 60 Pamela K. // Jul 13, 2010 at 9:37 am   

    . People in the United States and Europe have no idea what it is like to live under the constant threat of annihilation from their enemies like Israel has to on a daily basis. (Well, not yet, anyway.)
    You hear a lot about the Jewish Holocaust, but hardly ever about the Porrajmos, or “The Burning’ which was the calculated extermination of the Gypsies by Nazi Germany.
    After she and her family were betrayed and sent off to concentration camps, Anne Frank wrote about seeing groups of naked Gypsy girls being herded off to the gas chambers.
    Seeing what is going on in Hungary today, it never ceases to amaze me how history, especially bad history, tends to repeat itself. Especially when ‘good and upstanding’ citizens stand idly by and let it happen.

  • 61 REG // Jul 13, 2010 at 9:53 am   

    Bear- Have a nice day.

  • 62 Pamela K. // Jul 13, 2010 at 10:58 am   

    In keeping with the subject of genocide, in the book, “Centennial” by James A. Michner, there was a U.S. Army Commander who believed that the Plains Indians in Colorado were one of the lost tribes of Israel. He also believed that this gave him the right to go into the Indian camps after the men had left to go on their buffalo hunt and slaughter all their women, children, babies, and old people. I think this character might have been based on an actual person. James Michner was a meticulous researcher and I rcently read where General Grant tried to forbid Jews from living in Illinois and Indiana during the Civil War. He accused the Jewish merchants of conspiring with the South. This order was rescinded by President Lincoln. I was wondering if Michner’s character might have been based on him, however, this is just my own speculation.

  • 63 Thrasymachus // Jul 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm   

    Just came across this study of the origin and nature of Islam (I know this is off-topic, but thought some might be interested):

    Allah, Who Is He?

  • 64 Bear // Jul 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm   

    Thanks for the friendly debate on this issue. Hope you have a good day also.

  • 65 Pamela K. // Jul 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm   

    To correct my earlier comment, General Grant’s infamous Order # 11 actually expelled Jews from northern Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

  • 66 David Yeagley // Jul 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm   

    Did you know Grant appointed a Jew as Commissioner of Indian Affairs? He thought it was wrong to try to force the Indians to be Christian. He thought a Jew would be less likely to do that.

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