Who has heard such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
This is what the Lord God says: Look, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and raise My banner to the peoples. They will bring your sons in their arms,
and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. (Isaiah 49:22)
They will bring all your brothers from all the nations as a gift to the Lord on horses and chariots, in litters, and on mules and camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the Israelites bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:20)
“However, take note! The days are coming”—the Lord’s declaration—“when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt,’ but rather, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelis from the land of the north and from all the other lands where He had banished them.’ For I will return them to their land that I gave to their ancestors.” (Jeremiah 16:14,15)
“ . . . the nations will know that I am the Lord. For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land.” (Ezekiel 36:23,24)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach appeared recently on a Sid Roth television debate with Dr. Brown (Viewable at: http://www.sidroth.org/site/News2?news_iv_ctrl=-1&abbr=tv_&page=NewsArticle&id=11373&security=1041).
Shmuley recited a list of reasons that Jesus “can’t” be the Jewish Messiah that was, to say the least, less than persuasive. One of his “reasons” seemed particularly strange; Shmuley cited the “unfulfilled” Messianic prophecy that Israel’s Messiah would “restore the kingdom to Israel.” He asked, with his characteristically-intense, rising volume, pitch, and speed, whether anyone thought this prophecy has been fulfilled.
Surely Shmuley is aware of the massive return to Israel in recent decades of people of Jewish ancestry from Russia, Africa, the U.S., and other parts of the world. Christians (and perhaps other people of faith from around the world) have financially supported the return of those who couldn’t have “made aliyah” otherwise. Even if Shmuley refers to the restoration of military power and superiority to Israel, rather than the restoration of its lost tribes and scattered citizenry, these military objectives have also been accomplished by tiny Israel in recent decades!
Yes, Rabbi Shmuley, many viewers are absolutely certain that these amazing prophecies have been — and are still being — fulfilled before our eyes.
The prophetic verses above (and there are many more on this topic) become so powerful and precious in light of recent history, with regard to the return of the lost tribes or scattered citizenry of Israel. But the statement at the end of Isaiah 66:20, which is about Israel’s children being brought back to her in every possible type of conveyance, is deeply intriguing: “as the Israelites bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.”
Could the “clean vessel” be a new Israel (“Messianic” Israelis), whose citizens’ eyes will increasingly be freed from the “scales” that have blinded them (also foretold in prophecy), and whose people will at long last see the One who has so long been obscured from her understanding and recognition — and finally requite to the Lord the offering of love and recognition that He so richly deserves?
May it increasingly come into manifestation before all rejoicing hearts. Maranatha!
Posted in Israel & The Jewish People Tagged with: debate, ezekiel, faith, God, heart, israel, jeremiah, Jerusalem, Jesus, jewish, love, messiah, messianic, military, prophecy, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, restoration, return, sid roth, tribes
Editor’s Note: Some of the links in this article are to gay activist websites that may contain objectionable ads, articles, etc… We do not condone their content.
Gay activist Matt Comer, who we’ve interacted with on a few occasions, released an editorial entitled ‘A prayer for Michael Brown’ in response to the Nov 1st Brown/Shmuley debate on homosexuality. The editorial starts by setting a significantly more cordial tone than he’s set before (c.f. “Brown … and his CoC are the real predators, their disguise a carefully plotted and scripted message of ‘compassion,’ ‘love’ and ‘gentleness.'” from his 2007 article) as he describes him as “respectful and polite”:
I used to think Benham and Brown were of the same mold. I thought both were hateful, deranged and dangerous anti-gay militants. That’s mostly true about Benham… Brown, on the other hand, is a little more reserved. I might even dare say he’s a little bit more respectful and polite. That doesn’t make him right, of course. He’s still wrong, still preaching exclusion and hate and pushing people away from Christ rather than pulling them in.
But, as if on script, rather than apologizing for his previous claims of Brown, Comer ends up praising himself for changing his thoughts toward him from contempt to “pity” because of Brown’s “unique brand of lunacy” (emphasis mine):
This worldview that allows Brown to paint gay people in the same light as child rapists also allows him, somehow, to think of being named a hate group as some kind of honor. It’s this kind of thinking that truly defines Brown’s unique brand of lunacy.
I’ve struggled immensely with my thoughts, opinions and feelings toward Brown, especially in recent weeks. Since his debate on homosexuality with Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in early November, I’ve often sat alone thinking about my interactions with Brown. I’ve gone back and read many of his writings, my writings and our interactions. It’s hard to despise a man when pity starts to take over.
In response, Dr. Brown was allowed a guest commentary on the Q-Notes site entitled ‘Setting the record straight’, in which he defended himself against Comer’s charges of comparing “homosexuality to child rape”:
The basis for these charges is that I supposedly compare “homosexuality to child rape” and that I “paint gay people in the same light as child rapists.” Is this true? God forbid! Why would I compare the forcible rape of an innocent child with the consensual acts of two adults, even if those acts are immoral or wrong?
What I have addressed — and which Matt, it appears, has consistently and persistently misrepresented — is: 1) the similar arguments used by both gay activists and advocates of “man-boy love”; and 2) the failure of many gay leaders to condemn the youthful (and, often fondly-recalled) same-sex encounters of some of their leaders.
Read the rest of Dr. Brown’s Q-Notes article here, and feel free to leave a comment. I pray the understanding of where we are coming from will become more real to Comer and his readers through it, though to paraphrase Keith Green, they will need to soften their hearts before they’ll be able to really see it.
Posted in Featured Articles, News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: Dr. Michael Brown, gay activism, gay activists, Matt Comer, q-notes, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Editor’s Note: Originally published on Crosswalk.com
Writing in the On Faith blog for the Washington Post, Orthodox rabbi Shmuley Boteach claimed that evangelical Christians have “utterly marginalized themselves with their obsession over homosexuality.” Is this true? To be sure, in the aftermath of the elections, a lively debate is taking place as to whether evangelicals have been marginalized politically or, to the contrary, have actually increased in influence. But what about our alleged obsession with homosexuality?
When Rabbi Shmuley made this accusation in a November 1st debate we had on the subject of homosexuality, I conducted an impromptu survey of the audience, which was almost exclusively evangelical, asking them to respond to four questions: How many of them heard a sermon in the last year on the importance of marriage? Virtually every hand went up. The importance of devoting time and energy to the raising of their children? Same response. The dangers of sexual sin (and/or pornography)? The same response again. A sermon about gay activism? Not a single hand.
This, however, did not impress psychologist and professor Warren Throckmorton, who wrote on his blog, “While I mean no disrespect to his audience, I am not going to trust that they are a representative sample. I certainly disagree with Brown about the obsession of some evangelicals with homosexuality,” citing other examples that allegedly backed his claim.
Are the rabbi and the psychologist correct? Was my audience not representative of evangelicals as a whole? (Bear in mind that the audience consisted of people who were interested enough in the subject of homosexuality to come to the debate, yet somehow, if Throckmorton is correct, they were less exposed to the subject than those who were not there. Go figure.)
Let’s step back and think about this in terms of day to day, evangelical life. Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of sermons preached in evangelical pulpits across America, and there are thousands of evangelical books that are published, from novels to devotionals to commentaries to sermon collections to testimonies to books on doctrine, theology, prayer, discipleship, marriage, family, childrearing, worship, education, politics, missions, abortion, social action, and more. There is an almost endless stream of evangelical radio and TV shows, with millions of hours of programming, and there are hundreds of evangelical Bible schools, ministry training centers, colleges, universities and seminaries, offering thousands of courses between them.
Of all those sermons, books, radio and TV shows, and college and seminary classes, how many are focused on homosexual issues? Less than 1% would be a fairly good estimate; less than 10% could be absolutely guaranteed. (I invite Rabbi Shmuley or Prof. Throckmorton to challenge this estimate based on a survey of any of the data just mentioned, some of which is readily available.)
What about pro-family organizations like Focus on Family? Haven’t they been obsessed with homosexuality? Actually, under the leadership of Dr. James Dobson, who stressed the importance of evangelicals being involved in the political process, less than 3% of the Focus budget was devoted to homosexual issues, including funds that were designated to help people overcome same-sex attraction. So, out of a budget that reached $130 million, less than $4 million was devoted to homosexual issues. Contrast this with the budget of an organization like the Human Rights Campaign, devoted entirely to promoting gay activism, and topping $35 million in 2010. Yet it is evangelicals who are allegedly obsessed with the issue?
As for evangelical voting in the elections, it is true that certain moral issues are important to evangelicals, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, but for better or worse, issues like the economy or the reach of the government play a much more dominant role, as seen in the recent elections. Plus, how much of our time and energy is spent voting or politicking?
The truth be told, it is actually gay activists who are obsessed with homosexuality (which is no surprise, since from their perspective, this is who they are and they are fighting a battle for equality and civil rights), and they are often joined in their obsession by an all too-willing media, which is also obsessively focused on anyone who takes a public stand against gay activism. And so, virtually every day, we hear about the move to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or about gay teen suicides, or about the fight for same-sex marriage in the courts, or about gay-focused legislation like the Hate Crimes Bill or ENDA, or about some other gay-related story. And from another angle, as noted by Time Magazine‘s Michael Kinsley, “Kids are also exposed constantly to an entertainment culture in which gays are not merely accepted but in some ways dominant. You rarely see a reality show without a gay cast member, while Rosie O’Donnell is a coveted free agent and Ellen DeGeneres is America’s sweetheart.”
For the last two years, our president has officially recognized June as Gay Pride Month, and in 2009, he welcomed 300 gay activists to the White House to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (“This is your house,” he said to them). In the business world, 300 of the nation’s biggest companies earned perfect scores from the Human Rights Campaign by kowtowing to their demands, while on our campuses, college professors have been fired and students expelled for expressing differences with homosexual practice. Yet the moment we draw attention to today’s pervasive obsession with homosexuality or raise an objection to the queering of America, we are immediately accused of being obsessed. How convenient!
So let the truth be told. It is gay activists and their allies, not evangelicals, who are obsessed with homosexuality. We evangelicals are simply holding our moral ground.
Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, “The Line of Fire,” and author of the forthcoming book A Queer Thing Happened to America
Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: Crosswalk.com, discipleship, don't ask don't tell, Dr. James Dobson, gay activists, hate crimes bill, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Rosie O'Donnell, same-sex marriage, shmuley boteach, time magazine, Warren Throckmorton, white house
Editor’s Note: Published in the Washington Post’s ‘On Faith’ section at the following link: What the Rabbi Doesn’t Get
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is not only “America’s most famous rabbi” and my frequent opponent in public debates. He is also a dear personal friend, which is why I was more than a little mystified to see his editorial in the Washington Post, published one day after our November 1 debate.
The title of that debate, as proposed by Shmuley but not to my liking, was, “Is Homosexuality America’s Greatest Moral Crisis?” In my opening comments, I answered this question in the negative, stating that America’s greatest moral crisis was certainly not homosexuality but rather the lack of the knowledge and consciousness of God, because of which every area of society suffered.
I also explained that what two gay men did in private was between them and God and was certainly not our greatest moral crisis, and I stated emphatically that rampant heterosexual divorce had done more to destroy marriage and family than all the gay activists combined. I then addressed the church’s sins against the LGBT community, for which I have publicly apologized a number of times. (Those reading Shmuley’s report on the debate would not have a clue that I made any of these statements.)
It was only after this considerable introduction that I explained that my issue was with gay activism, which was something I did not go looking for but rather something that came knocking at my door and at the door of my community. I argued that it posed a serious threat to our moral foundations and our religious freedoms, which I documented in terms of the queering of our educational system, the attack on the male-female gender binary, the implications of queer theology, the pervasive influence of the media in promoting gay-slanted values, and specific examples of the loss of religious freedoms as a result of gay activism.
My appeal to Shmuley was simple: Let’s stand together and address the sins of the predominant, heterosexual community, from pornography to materialism, as well as the negative effects of gay activism. Shockingly, rather than focus on these substantive issues, Shmuley pressed the question of whether I believed homosexual practice was on a par with incest or pedophilia. How in the world did this become the subject of the debate? (For the record, I stated that sin is sin, and that my own past sins were as bad as – or worse – than homosexuality.)
As to the alleged evangelical obsession with homosexuality (an accusation raised throughout the debate by Shmuley), I asked the almost entirely evangelical audience to respond to four questions: How many of them heard a sermon in the last year on the importance of marriage? Virtually every hand went up. The importance of devoting time and energy to the raising of their children? Same response. The dangers of sexual sin (and/or pornography)? The same response again. A sermon about gay activism? Not a single hand!
The truth be told, there is no “gay obsession” in evangelical churches, and, where pastors and leaders are concerned about the effects of gay activism, they are hesitant to speak up, lest they be branded intolerant bigots, homophobes, Hitlers, or jihadists, not to mention accused of inciting violence against gays.
Rabbi Shmuley wrote, “I argued passionately that evangelicals had become obsessed with homosexuality,” yet despite his best efforts to persuade and despite his considerable rhetorical skills, the audience was unaffected. “I could not move them,” he recounted. “Try as I might, my audience would not budge.”
Why was he so ineffective? It was simply because evangelicals have not become obsessed with homosexuality and, more broadly, because he was missing the whole point, which was not whether consensual homosexual acts were better or worse than consensual, adult incestuous acts (both are clearly proscribed in the Bible), nor was it whether we should ignore issues such as divorce, promiscuity, or materialism. Rather, the issue was this: Gay activism presents a serious moral threat to America in that it seeks to undermine the traditional family (which is already tottering through heterosexual failings), and by fighting for special LGBT rights and freedoms, the rights and freedoms of others are threatened.
Those who were present at the debate are well aware that my esteemed colleague completely skirted the issue of gay activism and refused to answer numerous direct and telling questions. Instead, almost by sleight of hand, he manufactured a misleading distraction from the real debate (“You believe that homosexuals are just like pedophiles!”) and turned a deaf ear to my appeal to join with the evangelical community in standing for comprehensive morality, upholding biblical values regardless of whether they are deemed politically correct. Worse still, he argued that homosexual acts were not moral transgressions and that a committed gay couple could have a fine, Jewish home, thereby marginalizing himself from both the evangelical community and the Orthodox Jewish world.
To watch the debate, go here: http://askdrbrown.org/about-dr-brown/itinerary/shmuley-vs-brown-debate-is-homosexual-activism-americas-greatest-moral-crisis.
Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: debate, Dr. Michael Brown, Evangelical Christianity, gay activism, homosexual activism, homosexuality obsession, Is Homosexuality America's Greatest moral crisis?, judaism, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, religious freedom