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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Revive Indiana Really Does Jump the Shark. But That is not All. There's More, So Much More.

A thousand days after launching what was originally to be a one-week revival, Kyle Lance Martin returned to his homeland of Elkhart County, Indiana to "Fan the Flame" with another week of meetings at Maple City Chapel and Clinton Frame Mennonite Church. In this video you can watch what happened at the tail end of "Day 1005." After Kyle had spent the previous hour laying out his vision for what "more" might look like, and the closing song had been sung, Kyle came back up and announced that a "sister" named April felt led to "release tongues" over the audience, and he asked a man named Adam to "interpret" so that all would be "in biblical order," using "a safe, biblical model." You can see Kyle tell the backstory here.

So, a woman comes forward, stands silently for a minute, and then begins babbling through her sobs the same staccato syllables, over and over. More silence. Then she ends by saying in English, "We just want more of You God." After another interlude, Adam takes over. "Oh my children (2x) How much I love you (2x) Oh, children, I paint the day every morning for you, and every evening I paint the sky for you. I love you so. I have things for you each new day--new things. Oh my children, what I have in store for you. Oh, how much I love you my children."

Kyle then came back up and encouraged the audience to "ask the Lord for the interpretation of what you just heard . . . Everything you heard pointed to the Lord. Nothing you heard contradicted Scripture."

But it just ain't so, bro. Scripture says, "women are to be silent in the assemblies." In fact, it's right there in the very same passage that encourages members of the assembly to speak orderly in tongues. I think it's highly significant that it was a woman who felt "led by the Spirit" to "release tongues" on the assembly.  And that it was a woman who told Kyle, "Let's do it." And I would almost be willing to bet that just about every interpretation Adam ever comes up with has "My children" in it several times.

Now, the reader may recall that I devoted several weeks, nine years ago, to examining this passage right here on the pages of this blog, and I'm not advocating the muzzling of women in the assembly. But to say that something doesn't contradict Scripture, when it in fact does so to its face, raises red flags. To say that justification is by faith alone, without works, contradicts Scripture to its face. To claim the blessing of heaven on that which contradicts Scripture isn't going to work for eternity.

I have to say one thing for Adam, he did a good job of attempting to match his interpretation to the message: lots of repetition. But linguistically speaking, there simply wasn't any correlation between "the tongue" and "the interpretation." Yes, they represented different "gifts:" the tongue, a gift for producing a meaningless message; the interpretation, a gift for producing a meaningful platitude. But what's the point? We could have completely skipped April's contribution and gone directly to Adam's. The church was no more edified with the tongue than it had been without it.

Here's a test. Have three people watch the video of April's "tongue" and give their inspired "interpretation" of it. What do you think are the odds that all three will be identical?  To the thinking person, this is all a lot of nonsense. Sure, Paul encouraged tongues; but at the end of the very same chapter, he banned women from speaking in church. If the one still applies today, why not the other? Kyle had no answer to that question; he didn't even bother raising it.

Now shift the scene. It's three weeks later, and just across the state line into Michigan. Riverside Christian Fellowship is a church that, like Maple City Chapel, was founded by conservative Mennonites, but doesn't carry on their name. A church that tries to hold on to what was important of that which has been passed down to them, and let go of what wasn't. It's a half-week of revival meetings, and the pews are packed. Even Amish have come in from the surrounding area. But it's not Kyle Lance Martin from Time to Revive speaking--it's Israel Wayne from Family Renewal, preaching sermons based on his books Questions God Asks and Questions Jesus Asks. And his message strikes a decided contrast to that of Kyle Martin. When Israel talks about salvation and works, he doesn't see any need to warn against mixing the latter in with the former. In fact, he speaks of salvation as a coin with two sides: on one, faith, and on the other, works. To claim one to the exclusion of the other is like a quarter with two heads or two tails: it's fake. A faith that does not produce works is of no saving value; Works that spring not from faith are no redeeming worth. Israel says, "Jesus didn't have a problem with his disciples obeying him too much; he had a problem with them obeying him too little."

After four days, Israel packed up and headed home with his family of twelve. There was no extending the revival, no taking the church out into the streets. No meetings in businesses and at Amish league football games. No baptism truck. But neither was there rushing people through a marked Bible, reading Ephesians 2:8-9 but skipping over verse 10 (which says we were created to do good works). No printing off an instant Birth Certificate and assuring people that because they had prayed a prayer, they were now in the kingdom of God.

Interestingly enough, both Kyle and Israel talked a lot about the way they were raised in the churches they went to, and how there seemed to be something lacking, something not right about it. Bear with me here, I'm going to try not to be too simplistic. But for Kyle, the solution was basically to get a woman to teach him how to babble, and a man to transpose that babble into English. For Israel, it was getting Dietrich Bonhoeffer to teach him the cost of discipleship. Both preached "more;" but only one submitted his preaching to the what the Word actually says. And there is certainly nothing of the cost of discipleship in "I make the sun to rise and set for you, and I have more in store--oh, so much more."

Preaching about the costs of discipleship probably won't get kids to leave their schools to hear you. It won't bring thousands of people out to march around downtown Goshen behind you. It won't get you wall-to-wall coverage on a local Christian rock station. But it may just result in actual disciples.

Israel had a message for the Riverside Church. It combined two letters to the leadership of the church in Ephesus: Paul's, and that of the risen Christ. Paul told the Ephesian pastor to "Remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." --ESV

Jesus told the Ephesian pastor, "I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."  --ESV

The Ephesians passed down the right doctrine, and proved those who taught it. But in the process they missed the whole point, which was love. Yes, it's important not to mishandle Scripture. Yes, it's important to teach the whole counsel of God, not just the parts that make us feel good. It's important to stand for the truth, and not compromise. But the whole point is love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Lose that, and you've lost it all.



Saturday, 2 September 2017

Persecution Update: of Produce and Pronouns

It's been two and a half years since the bulk of my Indiana Revival Reports, but I've continued to follow Kyle Lance Martin and Time to Revive, as they held extended meetings in Florida, Ohio, Dallas, and now Wisconsin. An interesting update came out in a recent sermon in Wausau: at about 1:40:40 in this video, Kyle Martin tells about the Michiana farmer who lost a majority of his wholesale business after putting peel-away gospel stickers on 600,000 of his watermelons. I saw some of those rejected watermelons, donated by the crate to a local food pantry, the sticker still on them. They tasted just fine.
Like a frog in a teakettle, American Christians are experiencing such a gradual loss of their liberty that most young adults have no idea how much their country has changed just in their lifetimes. Thirty years ago, for example, women were typically addressed as either Mrs. or Miss; those titles have almost universally been replaced by Ms.--not, as far as I know, due to a single court decision--definitely not to an act of Congress--but the social pressure to conform to the new normal has sufficed to snuff out two words that were, not all that long ago, among the most commonly spoken ones in our vocabulary. And now, a six-year-old is investigated for calling a friend 'he' when he now prefers 'she'. Two even more common words are in immanent danger of disappearing themselves.

Elizabeth Elliot lived among naked savages in Ecuador--well, they were still naked savages when she met them, but contact with incarnated Christianity was rapidly changing that. She ate what they ate, lived where they lived, spake as they spake, and even let her daughter run wild with their children--but she drew the line at dressing as they dressed: a single cotton string around the waist, or--if they really wanted to dress up--one around the upper arm as well. She didn't want to just identify with their culture--she wanted to uplift it. And as they saw the three incarnate Christians wearing clothes, they all started wearing them too--and have ever since.

Christians just aren't going to be socially acceptable to a depraved and fallen culture. They needn't bother to even try to keep up with the decline. Any who continue trying to comply with the culture's escalating demands are just hoping that the crocodile they feed will eat them last.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The most embarrassing article in National Geographic--and a nice poem

In a past post, I mentioned that the National Geographic Magazine had become a propaganda arm of the US Military by 1943. Today I discovered that only about five years earlier, in what National Geographic is now calling "among the most embarrassing [article] in National Geographic’s history," NGM had served as a mouthpiece for Hitler. Free-lance American correspondent and photographer Douglas Chandler provided for the February 1937 issue a 9000-word article entitled "Changing Berlin," with "47 pages of dramatic images showing swastika-draped buildings and reverential descriptions of a city under Nazi rule."

But note, his submission was fully in conformance to NGM editorial standards: to include only stories “of a kindly nature” and strictly apolitical. One wonders where those standards had gone only five years later, and if perhaps a misplaced sense of guilt was behind the change.

During the War in Europe, Chandler became a literal mouthpiece for Hitler, railing against Jews and Bolsheviks on short-wave broadcasts aimed at America. After the war ended, he was hunted down and brought back to the US to stand trial for treason. Convicted, he served a fifteen-year "life sentence" before being released to return to Europe.

The editors at the National Geographic Society had a lot of explaining to do when irate letters began to pour in from listeners who had heard Mr. Chandler repeatedly mention his connection to the National Geographic Society during his propaganda broadcasts. Apparently no such apologies were ever made in defense of their pro-USA propaganda articles.

Now, while I am at making this month's post, I want to share with my readers a poem published over half a century ago (perhaps written a quarter-century before that), and apparently never yet posted to the Internet. I say apparently, because in recent years search engines have become so sure of what their customers are looking for that simply entering in a character string no longer ensures that any or all online sources containing that string will come up in the results. But here it is:

In the solemn stillness of an early dawn is heard
The crystal-throated reveille of a waking bird.
Donning golden slippers arises then the Day
And flings across the morning sky her crimson negligee.

Enchanting now, she saunters forth to spread abroad her charm
And shakes perfume from every flower to smooth upon her arm.
She paints the children's bodies brown, their faces rosy fair,
And with soft fluting of the wind breathes kisses through their hair.

Shrill piccolo of the cricket warns that night at last has come!
She gathers up her flowing skirts and hastens quickly home.
But looking up into the sky, a wary child might find--
She left her veil of mauve chiffon trailing far behind.

--Helen Wessel, Natural Childbirth and the Christian Family. pp. 3-4. Fourth Revised Edition, (c) 1983, Harper & Row Publishers

P.S. Sure enough, this poem in the same form can be found online in the original 1963 edition--IF one knows where, and how, to look. The book was contemporaneously published under a similar title, Natural Childbirth and the Family, as well as under the later and even more innocuous title The Joy of Childbirth. All likewise online, but apparently now out of print.

P.P.S. I just noticed, in proofreading this prior to publication, that, in addition to omitting the final letter of 'early', resulting in the nonsense reading of "earl dawn," I had committed the scribal error of homeoteleuton, skipping from 'up' in the antepenultimate line, to 'into' in the penultimate, with the resultant loss of the end of one line and the beginning of the next. Note that this was probably influenced by the plausibility of the new reading, "gathers up into the sky."

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Is Mike Pearl being honest?

This blog has been hard on Mike Pearl's theology, but generally supportive of his child-raising teaching. This article, for example, (other than the crude language) is a real gem. I recommend that every parent read it regularly. What follows is not an attack on Mike Pearl's teachings on child-raising; it is a caution that no matter how careful you are, there is no guarantee that all of your grandchildren will rise up and call you blessed, or desire to walk in your ways. And folks, we may as well admit it; if Mike Pearl won't, I will. Let this not be an opportunity to gloat, but to try to learn how to do even better at passing on the torch to the next generation. And to go into marriage with our eyes wide open.

Mike has said that his five grown children are all the credentials he needs as an authority on child raising. And anyone wanting to know about his five children--and their children--can read the "Meet the Pearls" page on his website, nogreaterjoy.org.

But there's something fishy about the "Meet the Pearls" page. Over the course of the previous four years, it remained unchanged right up until September 2015. It seemed high time for an update on the number of grandchildren, since three of their children had announced a 'newest' member way back in 2011. But when the page was finally updated, something chilling happened. Yes, Shalom had two more children--the rest had left bearing--but what had happened to the three of Gabe's? Of what follows, that in bold had been quietly deleted from his update.
Gabriel Pearl is the firstborn son of Mike and Debi. He is a leader in the community, a man of integrity, and a fine example to the many young men whom he employs and teaches. Gabriel is a builder, hunter, and “volleyball king” of the community. Lori is right beside him on every project, from the volleyball court to the deer stand. Gabe and Lori are parents of Jocelyn, Laife and their newest addition, Joshua Gabriel.
You see, several months after their fourth child, Liam (Mike and Debi's unacknowledged* 21st grandchild), was born, Gabe's wife Lori left him, took the kids back to her parents' home near Columbus, started working, and changed her name. We could say they got a divorce, but--following Mike's no-license policy--they'd never been legally married. Thus there was no legal impediment for her to leave him, nor for Gabe to add another wife, Elizabeth, in April of 2017.

Now, the fact that his oldest son is 'divorced and remarried' may not be a direct reflection on Mike Pearl's childrearing credentials. And it's certainly an awkward situation to find himself in. But a lack of honesty does impinge on his credibility. And it's a concern that, like Arthur Blessitt and Pat Williams, Mike Pearl has gone online to cover up a failed marriage, even to the point of deleting mention of three of his twenty-one grandchildren--and pretending that the last one* hadn't even been born.

That's not being honest.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the archives: first version of "Meet the Pearls" page,  Dec. 2011 - Aug. 2015

Michael & Debi Pearl

Michael and Debi Pearl were both raised in Memphis, Tennessee, in good homes, by parents who were faithful to point them to God. Mike, a graduate of Mid-South Bible College in Memphis, has been active in evangelism and the work of the ministry since he was a teenager. He worked with Union Mission in Memphis for 25 years, while he and Debi also ministered to the many military families in Memphis and pastored churches. They moved to rural Tennessee where they continued in the work by holding Bible studies in local homes, which eventually led to regular meetings of the local body of believers, and by starting the prison ministry. God eventually led them into the ministry of writing on child training and family relationships, which they now feel is their life’s work and calling. In addition to the child training ministry, the work of the prison ministry, missions, Bible studies, and family life is still ongoing. The Pearls have been married since 1971, and have 5 children and 18 grandchildren. The Pearl children have always been involved in their parents’ ministry, and in their adulthood continue to be involved in some way in ministering where they are.

Rebekah (Pearl) Anast

Rebekah AnastRebekah Anast is the firstborn child of Michael and Debi Pearl and author of the book Rebekahs Diary. Her husband Gabriel is a web designer. Gabe and Beka are so much alike we get them confused sometimes. They enjoy biking and exploring the high desert of New Mexico with their six children, Joseph Courage, Ryshoni Joy, Hannah Sunshine, Elijah Music, Chaiyah Eve and newest addition Alitsia Rin.

Gabriel Pearl

Gabe and LoriGabriel Pearl is the firstborn son of Mike and Debi. He is a leader in the community, a man of integrity, and a fine example to the many young men whom he employs and teaches. Gabriel is a builder, hunter, and “volleyball king” of the community. Lori is right beside him on every project, from the volleyball court to the deer stand. Gabe and Lori are parents of Jocelyn, Laife and their newest addition, Joshua Gabriel.

Nathan Pearl

Nathan and Zephyr Nathan and Zephyr's Kids
Nathan and Zephyr reside in TN along with their four children. Nathan is the Pearls’ third child. Like his dad, Nathan has a love for study, writing, and awful puns. He is also a builder, and invests a lot of time in the young men of the community. Zephyr is Nathan’s best buddy, and if you need a rock-bottom price on anything Zephyr knows where to find it. Nathan and Zephyr also own Cane Creek Coffee, which offers high-mountain, naturally-grown coffee and Amish soy candles. They discovered this coffee while traveling around the Honduran countryside, and could not live without it.

Shalom (Pearl) Brand

Justin and ShalomShalom is Mike and Debi’s fourth child. She is married to Justin Brand, auto mechanic and metal artist. Justin and Shalom often accompany Mike and Debi on their seminars, making arrangements, driving, and selling books and audio materials. Shalom has always been the most energetic person in the family and the cheerful mediator in any situation. Daughter Gracie is as cute as a bug and just as energetic! Laila Truth looks just like her mama. The newest member of the family is a little boy, Parker Ford.

Shoshanna (Pearl) Easling

James and ShoshannaShoshanna is Mike and Debi’s fifth child. She is married to James Easling, inventor and builder. They are the owners of The Bulk Herb StoreThread TreeShoshanna Gardens, and Well Tell Me. James and Shoshanna live in middle Tennessee with their son, Jeremiah James, and daughter, Penelope Jane, where they operate their businesses. They are in love with each other and life in general, and dont seem to be able to stop smiling.
------------------------------------------------------
The following version has been on the site since September 2015. The other changes to the Pearl children's biographies are: 
and (deleted: newest addition) Alitsia Rin. 
deleted: Nathan and Zephyr reside in TN along with their four children. . . . Nathan and Zephyr also own Cane Creek Coffee, which offers high-mountain, naturally-grown coffee and Amish soy candles. They discovered this coffee while traveling around the Honduran countryside, and could not live without it. 
added: Nathan and Zephyr and their four children live in Hawaii. 
deleted: the newest addition is 
added: is all boy and loves dirt bikes. Roland and Hudson are the latest additions.

Michael & Debi Pearl

Michael and Debi PearlMichael and Debi Pearl were both raised in Memphis, Tennessee, in good homes, by parents who were faithful to point them to God. Mike, a graduate of Mid-South Bible College in Memphis (now Victory University), has been active in evangelism and the work of the ministry since he was a teenager. He worked with Union Mission in Memphis for 25 years, while he and Debi also ministered to the many military families in Memphis and pastored churches. They moved to rural Tennessee where they continued in the work by holding Bible studies in local homes, which eventually led to regular meetings of the local body of believers, and by starting the prison ministry. God eventually led them into the ministry of writing on child training and family relationships, which they now feel is their life’s work and calling. In addition to the child training ministry, the work of the prison ministry, missions, Bible studies, and family life is still ongoing. The Pearls have been married since 1971, and have 5 children and 20 grandchildren (and counting!). The Pearl children have always been involved in their parents’ ministry, and in their adulthood continue to be involved in some way in ministering where they are.

Rebekah (Pearl) Anast

Gabe and Beka Anast familyRebekah Anast is the firstborn child of Michael and Debi Pearl and author of the book Rebekahs Diary. Her husband Gabriel is a web designer. Gabe and Beka are so much alike we get them confused sometimes. They enjoy biking and exploring the high desert of New Mexico with their six children, Joseph Courage, Ryshoni Joy, Hannah Sunshine, Elijah Music, Chaiyah Eve and Alitsia Rin.

Gabriel Pearl

Gabe PearlGabriel Pearl is the firstborn son of Mike and Debi. He is a leader in his community, a man of integrity, and a fine example to the many young men he employs and teaches. Gabriel is a builder, hunter, outdoorsman, and “volleyball king.”

Nathan Pearl

Nathan and Zephyr Pearl Nathan and Zephyr's Kids
Nathan is the Pearls’ third child. Like his dad, Nathan has a love for study, writing, and awful puns. He is also a builder, and has invested a lot of time in the young men of the community. Zephyr is Nathan’s best buddy, and if you need a rock-bottom price on anythingZephyr knows where to find it. Nathan and Zephyr and their four children live in Hawaii.

Shalom (Pearl) Brand

Justin and Shalom Brand familyShalom is Mike and Debi’s fourth child. She is married to Justin Brand, auto mechanic and metal artist. Justin and Shalom often accompany Mike and Debi on their seminars, making arrangements, driving, and selling books and audio materials. Shalom has always been the most energetic person in the family and the cheerful mediator in any situation. Daughter Gracie is as cute as a bug and just as energetic! Laila Truth looks just like her mama. Parker Ford is all boy and loves dirt bikes. Roland and Hudson are the latest additions.

Shoshanna (Pearl) Easling

James and Shoshanna Easling familyShoshanna is Mike and Debi’s fifth child. She is married to James Easling, inventor and builder. They are the owners of The Bulk Herb StoreShoshanna Gardens, and Well Tell Me. James and Shoshanna live in middle Tennessee with their son, Jeremiah James, and daughter, Penelope Jane, where they operate their businesses. They are in love with each other and life in general, and dont seem to be able to stop smiling.
------------------------------------------------------
And finally, Gabe's article lauding his wife on the ngj website.

Lori in better days . . .SC-1200x800
Fog caused by the heavy dew from the night before was making it hard to see in the early dawn light. Looking at the sky through the thick canopy of trees, I guessed it was about 20 minutes before sunup. The wind was light but steady, drifting down the valley we were in. We had a large poplar tree about 3 feet in diameter to our backs. I was debating whether I should go ahead and put a new tape in my brand-new, high-definition Sony camcorder when I heard a little sound. It was faint and seemed to come from up the hill. I didn’t think it could be a deer, because we had just walked off that ridge in the pre-dawn twilight not 10 minutes before, and even though we tried to be quiet, we definitely snapped a few twigs; yet there was that crunch again. I was sure now that I heard it, and that it was close. As I strained to see through the thick atmosphere, suddenly the huge rack of a buck distinguished itself from the fog. You never get over that first-sight thrill.
It was mid November, the time of year in Tennessee when people don their ridiculously orange vests and hats, get up in the morning 2 hours earlier than anyone should be up, and excitedly go out to sit in the cold woods without moving until every bone in their body is sore from sitting in one spot, just in hopes of seeing a deer. We call it deer season, and I love every bit of it.
I was blessed to marry a woman who not only understands my love for the woods, but likes to get out and deer hunt with me sometimes. But duties at home have kept her mostly out of the woods for the last few years, so you can imagine my excitement when her sister happily volunteered to babysit, freeing my wife to go with me on opening morning of rifle season. We decided the night before that I would just carry the camera, and she would do all the shooting. Our living room looked like a sporting goods store, with camouflage, deer calls, and gear spread out all over the floor.
I must admit that I was thoroughly zonked when the alarm clock went off, but after a microwaved bacon biscuit and a horrible cup of instant coffee from the local gas station, we were ready to go.
The piece of property we hunt on is over 600 acres of prime deer and turkey habitat in middle Tennessee, surrounded by creeks, rivers, and cornfields. I leased it about 4 years ago, with hopes that careful management might produce trophy bucks one day. What I mean by managing it is simply: We don’t shoot any young deer (less than 3 years old). Anywhere from 4 to 6 is getting old for a deer.
I consider myself a dedicated hunter, out there every year and throughout the season, sitting high in tree stands nearly every day, waiting for that trophy buck. So far, I’ve taken only 1 trophy buck on this new piece of property, and that was last year.
As a rule, I usually try to walk to my tree stands to keep the deer from knowing that I’m coming, but Lori is 7 months pregnant, a condition not really conducive to long walks in the dark with rubber boots on, so I opted to drive the 4-wheeler as close as possible. I turned the lights off about the last 400 yards and squinted my eyes in the early twilight to stay in the middle of the logging road.
Now here we were, sitting at the base of this old tree with a trophy buck walking our way. With one glance I could see the buck was 4, maybe 5 years old, definitely a mature 8-pointer. I couldn’t believe it. He was scent-checking a small tree only about 25 feet away. In a hushed, excited whisper, I told Lori, “Don’t move, there’s a buck.”
“Where?” she silently mouthed. She was looking up the ridge to her left, but just at that moment, the buck began to walk out into clear view. At 20 yards away now, it walked behind a large tree. That was the chance she was waiting for. I proudly watched as she seized the moment and brought her .308 up to her shoulder in one swift motion. The safety, normally silent, broke the morning silence with a faint snap. That was all it took. This deer had not made it to his ripe old age by being stupid. Peering around the edge of the tree with only his eyes and ears sticking out, he quickly picked out our camouflaged forms sitting against the tree. In a flash, he threw up his tail and began to run up the valley away from us. As a last ditch effort, I whistled as loudly as I could in hopes of startling him into stopping to investigate the sound. At 80 yards, he stopped for a brief second to look back. That was all she needed. Lori had been following him in the scope the whole time, and as quickly as it started, it was over. I got some kind of woman!

(c) 2007 No Greater Joy from https://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/she-can-bring-home-the-bacon-venison/ 

The former Lori Pearl, now in her new life as a working single mom:

photo posted to numerous websites


*On the back cover of his 2015 book, The Bible on Divorce and Remarriage (in which he says a divorced and remarried person should repent of it before the church), Mike says that he and Debi have "more than twenty grandchildren."

Friday, 21 April 2017

Was Noah the First Albino?

Albinism continues to be the only topic which consistently draws the most people to this blog, month after month, so I've developed a label for it. Today, we address the question, Was Noah the first albino?
The pseudopigraphal Book of Enoch contains the following account:
And after some days my son Methuselah took a wife for his son Lamech, and she became pregnant by him and bore a son.
And his body was white as snow and red as the blooming of a rose, and the hair of his head and his long locks were white as wool, and his eyes beautiful.
And when he opened his eyes, he lighted up the whole house like the sun, and the whole house was very bright.
 And thereupon he arose in the hands of the midwife, opened his mouth, and conversed with the Lord of righteousness. And his father Lamech was afraid of him and fled, and came to his father Methuselah.
And he said unto him: 'I have begotten a strange son, diverse from and unlike man, and resembling the sons of the God of heaven; and his nature is different and he is not like us, and his eyes are as the rays of the sun, and his countenance is glorious.
And it seems to me that he is not sprung from me but from the angels, and I fear that in his days a wonder may be wrought on the earth.
And now, my father, I am here to petition thee and implore thee that thou mayest go to Enoch, our father, and learn from him the truth, for his dwelling-place is amongst the angels.'
And when Methuselah heard the words of his son, he came to me to the ends of the earth; for he had heard that I was there, and he cried aloud, and I heard his voice and I came to him. And 1 said unto him: 'Behold, here am I, my son, wherefore hast thou come to me?'
And he answered and said: 'Because of a great cause of anxiety have I come to thee, and because of a disturbing vision have I approached.
And now, my father, hear me: unto Lamech my son there hath been born a son, the like of whom there is none, and his nature is not like man's nature, and the colour of his body is whiter than snow and redder than the bloom of a rose, and the hair of his head is whiter than white wool, and his eyes are like the rays of the sun, and he opened his eyes and thereupon lighted up the whole house.
Thus it is that some people see albinistic traits in Noah. Since Lamech and his wife Batenosh (according to accounts contemporary with the Book of Enoch) were first cousins, it would have been Enoch who originated the albinism gene, passed it on to Methuselah and one of the parents of Lamech's wife, and thus through both of them to Noah, the first full albino.

I don't put any stock in this story. If Noah were albino, then all three of his sons would have been half-abino, and likely half of his grandchildren. Then, when they married each other, albinism would have broken out in a big way among his great-grandchildren. Suffice it to say that Noah may have been the first blue-eyed blond, and passed that trait on down to several of his great-grandchildren. But I don't even think that theory is sufficient to account for the existence of this story.

Furthermore, there are several different gene mutations that contribute to the various forms of albinism, each one probably arising independently. It's unlikely that Noah had them all.