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!
“SAME SEX MARRIAGE: Should it be legal in America?” Debate at the University of Central Florida: Dr. Michael L. Brown vs. Dr. Eric Smaw
University Professors to Tackle Questions Homosexuality and the Family Morals in America.
ORLANDO, FL – On April 21, 2011 at 7:30pm at UCF’s Health and Public Affairs Building (Room 119), Rollins College professor, Dr. Eric Smaw and author and seminary professor Dr. Michael L. Brown will debate the question “Should same sex marriage be legalized in America?” The event will be held at 4000 Central Florida Blvd and is open to the public. After the formal portion of the debate, Brown and Smaw
will field questions from the audience.
Dr. Smaw will be responding in the affirmative. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law from the University of Kentucky in 2005. His areas of expertise are philosophy of law, international law, human rights, ethics, and modern philosophy. He has published articles on human rights, terrorism, and cosmopolitanism. His most recent publication is “Swaying in the Balance: Civil Liberties, National
Security, and Justice in Times of Emergency”.
Dr. Brown will be responding in the negative. He earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and is a nationally known evangelical lecturer and radio host. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and twenty books, including the recently published study A Queer Thing Happened to America, which is quickly being recognized as the definitive work on the history and effects of gay activism on American culture.
“I believe this debate will address key issues which we cannot avoid, issues pertaining to ‘gay civil rights’ and the redefining of marriage,” said Brown. “But I’m confident that the debate will be conducted with civility and respect, hopefully presenting a model as to how the public debate of such volatile issues can produce more light than heat.”
The debate is part of Dr. Brown’s book speaking tour, The Campaign for Religious Tolerance and Intellectual Diversity. Moderating the debate will be John Stemberger, the President of the Florida Family
The event is sponsored by Resound Missions Base; a southern Orlando school of ministry and a church, centered around a house of prayer.
Dr. Michael L. Brown is host of the daily, nationally syndicated talk radio program, the Line of Fire and serves as a professor at a number of leading seminaries, holding a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He has spoken in over twenty-five nations and has made numerous TV and radio appearances, while his work has been featured in newspapers such as the Washington Post, the Charlotte Observer, and the Baltimore Sun. His most recent book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, proved so controversial that no major publisher was willing to touch it, but it reached #1 on Amazon’s Gay and Lesbian Nonfiction list just days after its release. To request a review copy of the book or to schedule an interview with Dr. Michael Brown, please contact: Domenick Nati at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-346-3342. More information can be found on www.askdrbrown.org.
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.
On Monday, November 1, Dr. Brown and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach will debate the question: Is homosexuality America’s greatest moral crisis? The event is available on the Internet via a live webcast. Rabbi Boteach recently had an article – with a very different perspective on homosexuality – published in the The Jerusalem Post and The Wall Street Journal.
With these two scholarly and savvy communicators, it should be a lively and interesting discussion.
From Rhiannon Bowman on the Charlotte Creative Loafing Blog (a link will not be provided due to the extreme vulgarity directed at Dr. Brown later in the article):
Michael Brown loathes homosexuals, and he wants you to, too. Which is, of course, exactly the opposite of what Jesus would do, but never mind the minor details.
In slightly positive news, Brown’s announced he’s ready to debate the issue with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is joining him in his crusade of intolerance to offer the Jewish view on homosexuality and why, maybe — just maybe — we should stop bashing gays. Or, at least, he admits to having gay friends … which is one step closer to the reality that every human deserves the chance to find and foster love, regardless of what it looks like.
Rather than point out all the blatant falsehoods and logical fallacies in this short bit of text, we’ll just let it lie (pun intended), and hope that Rhiannon will actually watch the debate (whether live or online), and give a fair report afterward. An email will be sent out shortly inviting her to the debate.
Editor’s Note: Email blast sent to the AskDrBrown & Coalition of Conscience E-Newsletter lists on October 26th, 2010
We invite you to join us for a very special event this coming Monday night, November 1st, from 7:00-9:30 PM, as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Dr. Michael Brown debate the question, “Is Homosexuality America’s Greatest Moral Crisis?” This is a debate that you don’t want to miss!
What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Is homosexual practice worse than other sins? Have evangelical Christians demonized the homosexual community? And does homosexual activism really present a moral threat to America?
This vital debate could not be more relevant, coming just one day before the elections, and in the midst of daily news stories regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, same-sex marriage, and the bullying and suicide of gay young people. What should our response be?
The debate will be held at Southern Evangelical Seminary at 3000 Tilley Morris Road, Matthews, NC 28105. Admission to the debate is free; an offering will be received to help cover the expenses. There will be audience Q & A at the end of the debate.
“[Brown] sounded like someone who cares about you, Ehrman sounded like someone who wants to yell at you. … I don’t know, I’m disappointed and kind of shocked by it.”
— Atheist after The Great Debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Bart Ehrman on April 15th, 2010 at Ohio State University on the topic Does the Bible Provide an Adequate Answer to the Problem of Suffering? Hear the rest of the interview via the video below:
Dr. Brown will be discussing last night’s debate with Bart Ehrman at Ohio State University today on The Line of Fire. Click here to listen live between 3-4 PM ET: http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/
You can join in the discussion either by calling in during that time at 866-348-7884, or via the comment discussion on the Line of Fire website.