The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism 2013 edition

The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism

The standing of Jews in relationship with Christians has been a troublesome

The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism  rev. and exp. 2013. Calvin L. Smith editor.

The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersessionism rev. and exp. 2013. Calvin L. Smith editor.

issue for much of Church history. Even though Paul spent 3 chapters on the subject (Rom 9-11), many Christians continue to believe that the Church has replaced ethnic Israel and that all the Old Testament promises to them now apply to the Church.

The Jews, Modern Israel and the New Supersession revised and expanded (2013) discusses this debate from various perspectives and concludes that God is not finished with ethnic Jews.

I am pleased to have a chapter in this book entitled, “A Calvinist Considers Israel’s Right to the Land.”

To obtain your copy visit the King’s Evangelical Divinity School store or visit Amazon.com.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor of theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (http://kingsdivinity.org). His research interests include practical theology, specifically environmental issues. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009.

He is available for speaking, preaching, debates, and teaching. He can be contacted at svantassel at kingsdivinity dot org.

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My First Wedding

My First Wedding

Tim and Jamie Hiller's weddingOne of the joys of ministry is the ability to marry people. I was honored to be asked to marry a work colleague.

Rev. Stephen M. Vantassel is ordained by Evangelical Church Alliance.

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Deerland by Al Cambronne: A Review

Deerland by Al Cambronne: A ReviewDeerland

Cambronne, Al. Deerland: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness. Gilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2013.

I have never been an avid hunter, let alone a deer hunter. But my work with one of the country’s premiere deer biologists, Dr. Scott E. Hygnstrom, has engaged me with this deer hunting community. As I work with deer biologists, researchers, most of whom are also experienced deer hunters, I have been repeatedly surprised at how eyes brighten and grins broaden whenever the subject turns to deer hunting. My bewilderment also extends to the protests of animal activists who decry deer hunters as “Bambi killers”.

What is it about deer that make some people wish to eat it and others wish to simply protect from all and any harm? If you have similar questions or just an interest in the social and human aspects of wildlife management, then Deerland is for you.

Cambronne surveys the complex relationship between humans and deer in a manner that is both factual and interesting. He divided his book into two parts. Part 1 “Love and Obsession” explores the positive side of this charismatic megafauna known as deer. Cambronne explains the life history of deer and details how deer are big business in the U.S. In fact, the business of deer is so big it’s called the Deer Industrial Complex. Cambonne also investigates the emotional side of the human-deer relationship such as the popularity of feeding deer and the allure of big racks of antlers otherwise known as horn porn.

Part 2, “Consequences” analyzes the negative aspects of abundant deer populations. In separate chapters, Cambronne discusses the effect that deer have on environmental balance, deer collisions, disease transmission, and the options available for managing deer. Throughout, Cambronne maintains a decidedly neutral position. He doesn’t say we should shoot more deer or to increase deer populations. His goal is for Americans to think more deeply and profoundly about deer and their role in the environment. Ultimately, we have to decide what kind of nature we want.

Animal rights activists will object that the book insufficiently explained or defended their point of view. True, Cambronne does not spend a great deal of time on the subject of animal rights. But I don’t think this objection is any more worthy of consideration than a medical journal not evaluating the medical theories of the religion known as Christian Science.

Cambronne properly reviews the situation that brought us having so many deer-human conflicts. Deer are here and our management of them is not optional. But the choice of what kind of management we will adopt is and Deerland helps inform us about the consequences of whatever decision we ultimately make. I suggest that my proposal for Shepherdism as presented in my book, Dominion over Wildlife: An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations (Wipf and Stock, 2009) could point us in the right direction.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor of theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (http://kingsdivinity.org). His research interests include practical theology, specifically environmental issues. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009.

He is available for speaking, preaching, debates, and teaching. He can be contacted at svantassel at kingsdivinity dot org.

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The Theological Education Institute

I am a big fan of The Theological Education Institute with John Rankin. He is a leading and underappreciated (meaning ignored) thinker on a wide range of contemporary ethical issues. He has just updated his website. Why not visit it today. http://www.teii.org

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Clough’s On Animals

Presently writing a review on David L. Clough’s On Animals vol. 1. I thought it deserved more than the standard review do I have expanded the piece to a review article.

It should be published in a future issue of The Evangelical Review of Society and Politics Journal.

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A Possible Reason for Daniel’s Long Life

A Possible Reason for Daniel’s Long Life

According to the book that bears his name, Daniel served under three kings, Nebuchanezzar, Belshazzer, and Darius. As a member of the Judean aristocracy, Daniel was taken captive during Nebuchanezzar’s first conquest of Jerusalem (c. 490 B.C.) and brought to Babylon to serve the king.

It is possible that Daniel was made a eunuch by Babylonian officials, at least Josephus thought so (Ant. 10.186). However, the author of the New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed) disagrees on the basis of Dan 1:4).

Nevertheless, if Daniel was a eunuch, it would explain why he lived such a long life. A recent article by   Lindsay Abrams entitled “Study: Castration Adds Years to Men’s Lives” in The Atlantic Monthly 

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor of theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (http://kingsdivinity.org). His research interests include practical theology, specifically environmental issues. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009.

He is available for speaking, preaching, debates, and teaching. He can be contacted at svantassel at kingsdivinity dot org.

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Are Trappers Sociopaths?

Are Trappers Sociopaths?

Animal Rights Protest Industry Activists (ARPIA) have regularly suggested a connection between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans. Hurt an animal as a child and you have a greater likelihood of harming fellow human beings. Sounds nice. (If you have any doubt about my statement here, just read the comments made against a trapper who captured coyotes using footholds (http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/IndyBlog/archives/2012/11/02/wyoming-coyote-trapper-defends-graphic-photos) The comments got quite offensive.

But the argument fails for several reasons.

Why the Argument Fails

First, correlation doesn’t prove causation. Just because most sociopaths ate carrots as a child, doesn’t mean that eating carrots causes sociopathic behavior. It should also surprise no one that someone would begin cruel behavior to animals that can be controlled, before turning to humans which are more difficult to control. So the correlation doesn’t prove anything.

Second, cruelty means different things to different people. What exactly is cruelty? According to ARPIA, raising an animal to eat it is cruelty because you ended the animal’s right to life. But is that really cruelty? Others, like myself, define cruelty as the deliberate willful infliction of unnecessary and gratutitous suffering. Shooting a deer is not cruelty. Tying it up and burning it with a blow torch is.

Third, many children harm animals. Some is certainly malicious. Other times, it is simply the result of misdirected curiosity. Because children are children, they need adults to explain and show them how to treat animals and wildlife.

But to suggest that hunting, trapping, and fishing are steps toward sociopathic behavior, is just wishful thinking as it stupid.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor of theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (http://kingsdivinity.org). His research interests include practical theology, specifically environmental issues. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009.

He is available for speaking, preaching, debates, and teaching. He can be contacted at svantassel at kingsdivinity dot org.

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The Elitism of Trapping Critics

The Elitism of Trapping Critics

CEPOS. 02

CEPOS. 02 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fact is if you survey a bunch of people and ask them if they think trapping animals for fur or their skin is okay, they will tell you “No.” People, particularly urbanites, hate trappers. While some actually have thought through the ethical issues, most haven’t.

For if you ask them if it is okay their opinion of hunting, they will have a more favorable attitude. The problem with their view is they forget or simply don’t know that trapping allows a person to multiply themselves. Traps allow people to be more efficient in their harvest activities.

I would suggest that some of the opposition to trapping is actually a form of elitism. A good number of people in rural communities trap to supplement their income. So if they are unable through laws or public opinion to use trapping, they are denied one of the ways to earn a living while living in the country.

I suggest that denying residents of the country the ability to trap is a form of environmental oppression. Holding trappers in low esteem is a form of snobbery.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor of theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (http://kingsdivinity.org). His research interests include practical theology, specifically environmental issues. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009.

He is available for speaking, preaching, debates, and teaching. He can be contacted at svantassel at kingsdivinity dot org.

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When Freedom Trumps Life

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When The Right of Convenience  Trumps Life

Was listening to NPR which broadcast a clip of one of President Obama’s political rallies. In it, the President was pledging his full support for a parent’s right to kill their children. The crowd roared its approval.

The sound of the cheering crowd made me think about the boisterous crowd of the ancient Roman Coliseum where gladiators fought, killed, and died, for the pleasure of the crowd and their right to be entertained.

Abuse of Government Power

Of course, the President gave his spin about how politicians should be making health choices for people. I love the euphemism “health choices” as if bearing a child is some sort of disease. Strange how the President has no trouble taxing people against their will to support the right of parents to kill their children.  But expresses moral indignation when people think that a fetus has moral status. After all the Declaration of Independence did say put Life before Liberty.

If you think differently it is because you believe that a person’s right to life is tied to a calendar or geography.  My question is are you consistent in that belief? Probably not. I doubt you ever rebuke a mother for calling her unborn child a person even though under the law the status of that child is subject to the mere whim of the mother’s decision. How is this a coherent moral position? It isn’t. But as the joy of the crowd showed, it is clear that they believe freedom trumps life. Or put another way, my convenience is more important and significant that the life of a distinct other.

May Christ have mercy on the U.S.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor of theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (http://kingsdivinity.org). His research interests include practical theology, specifically environmental issues. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009.

He is available for speaking, preaching, debates, and teaching. He can be contacted at svantassel at kingsdivinity dot org.

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A Homemade Book Mark

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A home-made bookmark.

A Homemade Book Mark

When you are doing serious bible study, you need to have markers to keep your place in various passages.

This homemade bookmark can be quite helpful.

About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a tutor of theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (http://kingsdivinity.org). His research interests include practical theology, specifically environmental issues. His latest book is Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009.
He is available for speaking, preaching, debates, and teaching. He can be contacted at svantassel at kingsdivinity dot org.

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