January 14, Monday

The AMI QT blogs for January (weekdays), provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, are extended to cover important sociopolitical matters that have serious ramifications for the Christian faith.  Pastor Ryun (PhD), who serves as the Teaching Pastor of AMI, is the author of Manual de Misionología, Theologizing in the Racial Middle, and a contributor to The Reshaping of Mission in Latin America.

Disclaimer: AMI, as a consortium of several churches, allows the expression of multiple standpoints on non-essential biblical matters. My views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors.  I am also mindful that not every reader will agree with my stances on sensitive and contentious issues addressed in this month’s blogs. Where that may be the case, I invite you to utilize the comment section below, so that we may have an open dialogue; I highly encourage all readers to share their thoughts and experiences. Thank you.  

 

Extended Devotional Thoughts for Today

Some Thoughts from the Kavanaugh Hearing (2):

“If You Are Ever Accused, Would You Demand Corroboration?

Deuteronomy 19:15 (ESV)

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.”

thiefDuring my recent trip to California, I saw an elderly pastor whom I first met in 1982. At that time, he came to direct the Bible institute of the church where I was serving as a youth pastor.

One day, this pastor handed me an official check for $200, which was found in church’s mailbox, seeing that the name on the check was similar to mine.  But, since I didn’t recognize the issuer I declined; nevertheless, because he kept insisting, I relented and took the check; and my bank later cleared it.  I thought it was an unexpected blessing from God; boy, was I wrong!

Not long afterwards, a parent in my youth group accused me of being a thief; evidently, the check belonged to her acquaintance (a former associate pastor of my church) who told her to keep it for herself. While profusely apologizing and promising to return the money (which I promptly did), I explained the mitigating circumstance that led to my blunder. But, when I appealed to the pastor who gave me the check in front of my accuser, he flat out denied his role, saying that it never happened; apparently, he didn’t want to look bad.  Either way I erred, but his denial angered me since, to this woman, I was a thief and now a liar as well.

My problem was having no corroboration for my version of the story—the true account of what really happened.  So that gave me a window into how Blasie Ford might have felt when no one at the infamous house party, including her friend, where Kavanaugh allegedly attempted to sexually assault Ford, could corroborate her account. I know many of us really wanted to believe Ford’s entire story—perhaps long lapse of time (35 years ago) is why the friend wrote to the judiciary committee that she “has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where [Kavanagh] was present.”  After all, one reason behind the statute of limitations is the fact that the recollections of pertinent witnesses will be less accurate over time.

So, regardless of how we feel, some level or type of corroboration is absolutely needed to prove a charge. Scripture certainly avows for it. Deuteronomy 19:15 declares, “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.” First Timothy 5:19 states, “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.”  Why? Because, “acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the Lord detests them both” (Prov. 17:15).  So, to prevent these unjust outcomes from occurring, the requirement for corroboration was and has been established in theocracy, ecclesiocracy, and democracy.

Does that mean that the guilty are always found guilty and the innocent always innocent? Sadly, no—in fact, we see this happening on the day Jesus was tried: While Barabbas, the confirmed murderer (Mk. 15:7), was released, Jesus, sinless and innocent, was executed for the guilty.  That wasn’t the first time that happened and certainly not the last. However, it is true that our justice system, which requires substantive corroboration, has put away the guilty while exonerating the wrongly accused with a greater accuracy than almost all systems in the world.

What about when the system fails however infrequently? Ultimately, we rest assured in God’s eventual justice, that “there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known” (Matt. 10:26).  And if such disclosure doesn’t materialize this side of heaven, then, it certainly will at the judgment seat of Christ before which “we must all appear . . . so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor. 5:10).  Meanwhile, we “ke[ep] coming to [God] with the plea, ‘Grant [us] justice . . .’” (Lk. 18:3a NIV).

By the way, don’t accept checks that don’t belong to you (trust me on this) and avoid places and situations where a large quantity of alcohol is consumed (you will thank me later).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I recognize today that Your concern for us is more than how to get to heaven. You also want us to live in a just and fair society. Therefore, remind me and help me to be just and fair to those around me, beginning with my own family members. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 16

Tomorrow’s Blog: Some Thoughts from the Kavanaugh Hearing (3): “Why Senator Hirono Wasn’t Entirely Incorrect”


Lunch Break Study

Read Matt. 26:59-67 (ESV):

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

John 10:17-18:

“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What is wrong with this legal proceeding?
  2. Is what the two witnesses said about Jesus (“. . . rebuild it in three days”) worthy of a death penalty? What does Jesus, in fact, do at this point to help the cause of His accusers?
  3. Why does Jesus give the Jewish leaders the information that will lead to His death?  What does this say about our Lord?

Notes

  1. The judges (the members of Sanhedrin—the ruling body), long before hearing from anyone who could corroborate allegations against Jesus, already decided on the verdict (“so that they could put him to death”), and then looked for witnesses who will back them up. That is a rigged trial.  Going back to the Kavanaugh trial, once the accusation by Ford became public, it is a fact that several unsubstantiated or fabricated charges were made (e.g., Judy Munro-Leighton), which, then were quickly believed by certain judiciary committee members who never wanted Kavanaugh in the first place.  We probably have all done something similar on a lesser scale in our private lives, but it (i.e., making up our minds before hearing from corroborating witnesses) would be very unkind and indecent thing to do to another human being.
  2. The charge the Jewish leaders are looking for is that Jesus calls “God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (Jn. 5:18).  The accusation that Jesus said He could rebuild the temple in three days is not quite enough to make the case of blasphemy against Jesus.  So then, what does Jesus do?  He voluntarily gives them the information that will make their case stick: “Yes, I am the Messiah, the Son of God.”
  3. No one, whether the devil or Sanhedrin, can take life from Jesus unless the Lord allows it.  By giving the Jewish leaders the information that justifies their charge that will lead to His death on the cross, Jesus is allowing them to take His life so that “we might die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Pet. 2:24b).  This is all the more reason Jesus Christ is worthy of our praise.

Evening Reflection

What were your thoughts while following the Kavanaugh hearing that produced several unforgettable moments, including Senator Graham’s indignant outburst, Senator Booker’s Spartacus moment, Ford’s cogent accusation and Kavanaugh’s fierce defense of himself?  Truth be told, none of what I have been saying and will say in the next few blogs is something the secular media, whether CNN or Fox, will ever say. Why? Today’s media establishment is neither into objective reporting nor cognizant of the biblical metanarrative.  On the contrary, my attempt is to construe all that went on during this divisive hearing from the standpoint of God’s Word, which would ensure objectivity in my reporting.

Now let me ask you as a fellow believer: Are your values and beliefs shaped more by the secular media and academia than Scripture? That’s a fair and important question.  How well do you comprehend God’s Word (with all of its intricacies and nuances)? Pray about raising the ante and really study God’s Word and acquire a biblical worldview.  It’s about time Christians stop gullibly believing everything the media and academia purport. Pray about changing your study habit; pray about reading books that can help you with this (e.g., Total Truth by Nancy Pelosi Pearcey).

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