Footnote 37 – Missionary Work

FOOTNOTE 37 — Charles Randall Paul, Converting the Saints: A Study of Religious Rivalry in America (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2018), p. 168.

Franklin Spencer Spalding, raised in Denver and educated at Princeton University, became an Episcopal “missionary bishop” in Utah, attempting to convert Mormons to the Episcopal version of Christianity from 1905 until his death in 1914.

“A visiting banker from an Eastern city asked the bishop, ‘What difference does it make what the Mormons believe? What harm does it do if they love Joseph Smith and his teaching? What business is it of ours?’ Spalding replied, ‘Well, I must feel about their acceptance and teaching of what is intellectually and morally untrue, just as I suppose you would feel if you knew a group of people were coining and passing counterfeit money.’”

Father’s Day Biscuits

Father’s Day Biscuits

My Morning Coffee

First things first, I am going to be at Maywood Christian Camp next week. So you will have to go without a fresh cup of coffee. But just a slight foreshadowing, we are only a few blogs away from number 100!!! So be sure not to miss out on that one.

There is a story about a family who enjoyed having breakfast for dinner every once in a while (I can relate). This particular evening after a long hard day at work, a mother brought plates to the table and her kids noticed that the plate she gave their dad had extremely burnt biscuits. The kids watched as their dad did not make a face or a comment, he just ate and when his wife apologized for the burnt he replied, “Honey, I loved burnt biscuits every now and then”. At bedtime, his kids asked him if he really liked…

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Michigan and the Parsonage Allowance

via Michigan and the Parsonage Allowance

Ring or no ring, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate

Ferrell's Travel Blog

By this time many people have heard the report on the news or read one of the numerous   articles stating that a ring possibly belonging to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect or procurator who condemned Jesus to be crucified, has been found.

The scholarly article on which the reports have been based has been published in Israel Exploration Journal 68:2 (2018). The popular article in The Times of Israel (here) includes a black and white photo of the area in the Herodium where the ring was found. I searched my photos and discovered a color picture I made of the same area in 2011. Even then some reconstructive work was underway.

Photo of the Herodium made from the garden where the ring was discovered. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins. Photo of the Herodium made from the garden where the ring was discovered. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins in 2011.

Our aerial photo below shows the Herodium in December, 2009. Additional excavations continue to be made on the…

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New BiblePlaces photo collection of Persia

Bible, Archaeology, and Travel with Luke Chandler

The fabulous BiblePlaces photo collection has a new addition most of us would not have expected to see. A 1,600 high-res photo volume on Persia is now available for purchase at the introductory price of just $25.

PersiaPLBLCoverCropped The new Persia volume of the BiblePlaces photo collection

Ancient Persia is of course modern Iran, which brings political barriers for many Western travelers, particularly from the United States. Todd Bolen was able to visit earlier this year and describes his experience in the new BiblePlaces newsletter.

… The trip was everything I could have hoped for and more. I was able to visit every site on my itinerary, following in the footsteps of such figures as Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes. I saw the famous Behistun Inscription, walked around one of the best preserved ziggurats, explored numerous museums, and marveled at the well-preserved tomb of King Cyrus. You can still see the…

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Trephination was not that uncommon

Ferrell's Travel Blog

Archaeologists working at Tel Megiddo excavated skeletons of two brothers from the Canaanite (Late Bronze) period dating to about 3,500 years ago,  who had a “complex medical procedure” known as trephination (or trephanation). An article in Haaretz includes several nice photos in the Premium Magazine here.

A few years ago Leon Mauldin and I traveled to some of the cities along the Turkish Black Sea Coast that may have been associated with the delivery of Peter’s epistles. See the  index of my articles here. In Samsun we visited the small archaeological museum and noted some skulls from Ikiztepe that had undergone the medical practice of trephination.

Ancient brain surgery that cut a hole in the skull to relieve pressure is referred to as trepination. A few of the skulls found at Ikiztepe are displayed in the museum. They are said to belong to Bronze Age III…

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Gaylor V. Mnuchin – 7th Circuit Oral Arguments

Gaylor v. Mnuchin – Oral Arguments

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sits at Chicago, occupying the 27th Floor of the Everett Dirksen Federal Building in the Federal Plaza downtown. On October 24th, I attended the oral arguments presented before the Court regarding Case # 18-1277, Gaylor v. Mnuchin, about which I wrote a bit last week. It is a reprise of a case brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation which was dismissed in 2013 for lack of “standing” by the plaintiffs. After making some adjustments in their case, FFRF is back again.
Judge Michael Brennan presiding, joined by Senior Judge Daniel Manion, and Senior Judge William J. Bauer (nominated by Presidents Trump, Reagan, and Ford, respectively, and confirmed by the Senate).

I’m not an attorney, I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night – so take these “laymen’s” impressions with grains of salt.

FFRF has called this a David vs. Goliath campaign, imagining Goliath as the various religious bodies whose ministers would be effected by the elimination of tax-exempt housing allowances. But the real giant in the room, and the bigger challenge for them, may be that they are suing the US government itself – specifically the Secretary of the Treasury.
Representing the government today was an array of attorneys, led by Jesse Panuccio, Associate Attorney General of the US (the third highest ranking official at the Department of Justice, who oversees virtually all non-criminal matters). He was joined by 4 other attorneys at a table laden with documents and surrounded by document cases and still more attorneys seated near the table.

The chambers were “comfortably full” – each of the rows of spectator benches might have had room for one or two more persons if everyone move to the center.
Also arguing an amicus brief was Luke Goodrich, VP and Senior Counsel of Becket Law – a firm which argues religious liberty cases on behalf of believers in many religious communities, “Christian” and otherwise. They are representing a coalition of Chicago churches (ranging from Holy Cross Anglican Church to the Chicago Embassy Church, to the Chicago Diocese, Russian Orthodox Church), arguing specifically that the elimination of the IRC 107(2) would discriminate against poorer religious groups which cannot afford to provide a parsonage as allowed in Section 107(1).

Seated at the opposite table were two attorneys who argued that the ministerial housing allowance permitted under Internal Revenue Code Section 107(2) is unconstitutional. Speaking first was Adam Chodorow, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University brief filed by a coalition of tax professors. I thought he made the strongest and clearest case possible that IRC 107(2) is should be declared unconstitutional simply by singling out a special class (ministers) to receive a benefit not available to other citizens. Agree with the arguments or not, he made his case clearly and fielded effectively the questions asked him by the Justices.

Richard Bolton, who I believe is a general-practice attorney in Madison, WI where FFRF is located, spoke last, representing Annie Gaylor and Dan Barker, co-presidents of FFRF. My impression is that FFRF was not particularly well served by his presentation, which to my ears sounded rambling, disjointed, repetitive, and unclear. Agree or not, the other attorneys presented their cases clearly and concisely, supported by relevant court decisions and logic. Bolton, who seemed flustered by questions from the justices, also sounded exasperated at times that the simple assertion of the rightness of his case was not accepted as obvious. One man’s opinion. Presumably, such cases are decided on the merits of conflicting claims presented in the briefs, not so much on the eloquence and personality of the presenters.

Many of the issues raised in oral arguments were discussed in my post last week, reporting on a Loyola Law School seminar regarding this case. Some of them included whether the housing allowance passes the 3-prong “Lemon” test (including whether the law has “secular intent” – Judge Manion posed several questions about the secular effect, not merely the secular intent, of the law); whether “Lemon” provisions should take precedence over historical considerations in the legislative history, adjudicating such issues on a practical basis involves government entanglement in the usage of either parsonage or house exempted under the allowance, and much more. “We’ll see.”

A decision is expected sometime in the next two months. The oral arguments became available this afternoon online at the 7th Circuit’s page: media.ca7.uscourts.gov/sound/external/ds.18-12771280.18-1277_10_24_2018.mp3