G B SINGHReply to GB Singh and Co. Regarding the Real Biblical God Standing Up
From all my dealings so far with GB Singh I have concluded that he is only interested in a â€œgreat debateâ€, not in learning and being converted by the truth. As such may I say with respect that his is like the case of the proverbial dog chasing its tail and as St Paul says in 2 Timothy 3, ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.
He complains as â€œmumbo-jumboâ€ my statement that man is unable in himself to connect to God spiritually and that as such it must be a revealing act from Godâ€™s side. So I take it then that GB Singh can spiritually connect to God whenever he pleases?
To expand on this, GB Singh, by saying he sees, shows he is blind. I admit that when it comes to God, I in myself am blind, so there is hope of me seeing. GB Singh professes that he knows and so sits in judgement of the Bible, and thereby actually proves he knows nothing at all. I admit that when it comes to God, I know nothing at all in myself, and so there is hope of me knowing God. The approach to God must be in lowliness of heart recognising our true state of absolute spiritual poverty, not with intellectual swords rattling.
I applaud him for accusing me of something I would wholeheartedly agree with when he says of me â€˜He is not the first, nor the last seeker to fall for the â€œtrue living God.â€â€™ I should hope not! What can be better than to fall for the â€œtrue living Godâ€? To fall for the â€œtrue living Godâ€ should be the ambition of all rather than what is actually the case for most which is the pursuit of false dead gods such as money, power, sex, intellectual debating etc.
GB Singh says I should have responded to the questions he raised on slavery and on the failure of Jesus in not being a social revolutionary by not calling for the abolition of slavery, so I have penned a few thoughts on this.
Firstly the criticism raised shows the complete absence of any iota of understanding of the Bible. The Bible, first and foremost, is a spiritual book. Jesus said the words he spoke were â€œspirit and lifeâ€. GB Singh and Co. fall into the same blind alley the Pharisees did two thousand years ago, when they thought he advocated cannibalism when he said they should eat his â€œflesh and bloodâ€. Likewise with over literal goggles on they actually thought he would re-build the temple in 3 days, when in fact he spoke of his body, not the physical temple. As Jesus said, the body profits nothing (John 6.63):
â€œIt is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. â€œ
Secondly, Jesus did indeed come to set slaves free, but not the physically bound slaves in the physical world, but spiritually free, which follows on from my first point that the Bible is above all a spiritual book. See Isaiah 61.1 where the captives are set free:
â€œThe Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;â€
Jesus taught that we are all in fact slaves, including GB Singh and Co, since all men have sinned. Hence John 8.34 â€œJesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.â€
Its freedom from this slavery that Jesus came to abolish as in John 8.36 â€œIf the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.â€ This is a central theme throughout the Bible, as can be seen in Exodus when the children of Israel are set free from Egyptian slavery, which is a marvellous fore shadow of the spiritual freedom Jesus would later proclaim.
Lastly when GB Singh and Co. pronounce 20th Century moral judgments on the Bible, they forget that Godâ€™s prime concern for man is not how comfortably he does on earth, where we are said to be strangers, but whether we are fit to meet a Holy God, in whose presence a single sin cannot enter, in the same way a single bacteria is strenuously kept out of the operating theatre, so as not to contaminate what is clean. As Jesus said in John 18.36 â€œMy kingdom is not of this worldâ€.
To pick up some points raised regarding JP Holdingâ€™s article, below are his replies. But just a clarification on his name; JP Holding is indeed a pen name used by him for security reasons. The fact that his critics raise this shows they are keen to draw attention away from the argument towards smokescreen none issues such as pen names. Letâ€™s stick to pertinent issues that add to the discussion please.
Reply by JP Holding to GB Singh and Co, 1. Mr. GB Singh’s friend Velu, who refused to read the Bible after 3 weeks, seems to be an example of a person who, like Mr. GB Singh, is all too willing to make snap judgments without bothering to learn more about what he is reading. The reader will forgive me if I fail to be impressed by the lack of specifics offered in terms of what Velu found in the Hebrew Scriptures offensive, and why; much less any objective defense of why what he found was actually offensive in truth.
2) Mr. GB Singh’s use of the comments of Morton Smith who states Jesus never protested against slavery of the day, is an obvious attempt to emotionally pre-empt the readers’ objective evaluation of Miller’s commentary on slavery. All of Smith’s implied objections are answered by Miller’s treatment; his further appeals to American slavery, etc. are mere distractions to the reader intended to reduce objectivity.
3) Since Mr. GB Singh has seen fit to “hurl the elephant” of Gary DeVaney’s “exhaustive list” of objections to the Bible, I in turn will simply hurl back my own website and Miller’s , which completely and exhaustively answer the charges of sites like DeVaney’s.
4) I am pleased for Mr. GB Singh’s sake that he is not a relative of Dennis McKinsey. Nevertheless Mr. GB Singh used him as a source, and if that source is shown irresponsible, it is his obligation to correct himself in his use of it. I have, may I add, devoted considerable space to a thorough answer of every issue of his newsletter as well as his book on Biblical Errancy (which is merely an edited compilation of what was in his newsletters), as may be seen by the entry under his name at my site.
5) Mr. GB Singh’s continued insistence that Christian bookstores ought to have a section titled “God” is misplaced. As an information professional whose training includes the means to classify information, I am qualified to assess his demand and I find it absurd. That he still “think(s) a Christian bookstore can have a section on ‘God’ hopefully without interfering with the rest of Christian theology and the associated business ventures” is an interesting insight into how he has occupied his time thinking, but it does not change that the topic is overbroad and unsuitable for classification purposes. This is not a matter of interfering with “theology” or “business ventures” but of practical classification with respect to principles universally recognized by professionals who work in libraries and bookstores. “God” is such a broad topic that it could encompass even atheist arguments against the existence of God. Much narrower topical confines are required to make a system of organization work. Mr. GB Singh should abandon this rather petty demand.
6) Mr. GB Singh’s recommendation of Dr. Jason Longâ€™s â€œGodâ€™s Stance on Slaveryâ€ merely reflects poorly, again, on his choice of “experts”. Long is a pharmacist whose work I have provided an extensive answer to (again, his name may be found on my site), and who in turn was unable and unwilling to reply to me. I am not impressed by his commentary, as unqualified as it is, any more than McKinsey’s.
7) I wonder how it is that Mr. GB Singh objects that “no evidence” is provided for my note that “slavery as such did not exist in the Jewish lands where Jesus preached, and slaves would have been a rare sight there.” How is one to provide evidence for a negative? It is Mr. GB Singh’s job to provide evidence for his positive assertion (should he choose to make it) that slaves existed in these places and belonged to the persons Jesus spoke to. As it is, he will be hard pressed to show that the poor peasant farmers and artisans that formed the bulk of Jesus’ hearers could even afford slaves. I would suggest that rather than engage himself with non-experts like Jason Long, Mr. GB Singh should consult works by genuine scholars who have done the requisite research, such as Richard Horsley, who has written excellent volumes on life in Galilee. I am not going to do Mr. GB Singh’s research for him – it is he who has published bold claims, and it is his burden to back them up with qualified sources.
8) Regarding Mr. GB Singh’s retort to Miller’s points (not mine, as he mis-cites) on slavery – I do not know where he gets the idea that anyone said that “slavery didn’t exist in the Roman Empire.” I believe Mr. GB Singh has confused the point made that what is called “slavery” in the Old Testament does not properly fit that term (it is better called “indentured servitude”). Perhaps he needs to recall that there were about a thousand years between OT passages on this subject and the Roman Empire’s founding.
9) Mr. GB Singh’s “answers” to Miller’s points are of no substance and are merely posturing for effect. He did not even try to show that Miller’s explanation was false in any one of the four cases; the most he did in any case was apply his own “spin” to Philemon by suggesting that “Paul is buttressing the institution of slavery by sending Onesimus, a slave, who had earlier run away from his slave master named Philemon. One sure way of freeing Onesimus was not to send him back to Philemon.” This merely indicates that Mr. GB Singh has done very little homework. This was not a sure way to free Onesimus but a sure way to guarantee that there would be a bounty on his head.
10) The quote of Gomes is a mere “sound bite” that likewise does nothing to respond to Miller’s enormous treatise which makes use of numerous qualified scholarly sources. Here is a lesson Mr. GB Singh could stand to learn from American history: Compare the histories of the two prominent activists for civil rights named Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The latter advocated violence and “in your face” action for all but the latter portion of his career. The former preached non-violent resistance. The latter is the one whose tactics Mr. GB Singh is recommending that Paul should have emulated, within the context of the Roman Empire. The former is the one whose tactics Paul actually does use. Does Mr. GB Singh know which of the two men – Malcolm X or King – is held in the higher regard? I will give him a hint: We in America do not have a national holiday called “Malcolm X Day”.
11) Mr. GB Singh is clearly lost in his ability to respond inasmuch as he calls serious contextualizing study “taking refuge into the historical situation”. Posturing is not an answer to these points. Mr. GB Singh did not live in the Roman Empire and it is not he who would have had to deal with the consequences of his poor advice. His example of Guru Nanak is singularly unimpressive; as reported on Sikhnet “Guru Nanak Sahib showed a meditative and contemplative nature. He was thus loved both by the Hindus and Muslims.” From this is appears that Mr. GB Singh’s exemplar had a clear advantage over Paul in his own social situation. I defy Mr. GB Singh to show that there is any actual parallel in the two men’s personal social situation. It perhaps does not occur to Mr. GB Singh that a popular leader has advantages that a hated minority member does not. Does he think that Guru Nanak Sahib could have succeeded in his teachings had he been hated by everyone?
In close, I would note as well that Paul’s words are not “evasive” in the least to anyone willing to do a little homework and understand the text as those who read it first would understand it. But it is clear by now that this is not the sort of work Mr. GB Singh is in any sense willing to do, and that he is satisfied with “sound bites” from overwhelmingly uninformed sources like “Dr.” Jason Long, Dennis McKinsey, and his friend Velu. I suppose he would like for me to get information on the Sikh religion from my atheist neighbor the next time I want to borrow a cup of sugar.