Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The two articles this month will be controversial. While it is not our intention to offend anyone in any way, ASK exists for the purpose of teaching the Bible and making clear what the Bible says. Controversy cannot be avoided in life and important issues must be directly addressed. I understand that a large component of evangelical Christianity and major denominations may disagree with the two articles this month, but feel free to agree or disagree with what Dr. Martin and I have written. As one teacher has said regarding controversial subjects, “Eat the meat and throw out the bones.” I am sure you are fully mature and capable to determine on your own what are the bones and what is the meat.
The first article this month is: “Abortion and the Bible.” Most everyone has strong opinions on this subject. While the Bible does not directly address the topic of intentionally induced miscarriage (an older term for abortion), it contains clear information about accidentally induced miscarriage.
Most dialogue on this topic involves discussion of: what is a “human being” and when does that “human being-ness” begin? The Bible speaks conclusively on the matter and Dr. Martin’s explanation makes it understandable. When these points are understood, a fuller understanding on abortion can be arrived at.
Life is important, and life given from God should not be lightly considered. At the end of their wilderness sojourn all Israel stood before God and renewed their covenant with God who said:
“See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command you this day to love the Lord your God, ... that you may live and multiply: and the Lord your God shall bless you in the land whither [wherever] you go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record [witness] this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live: That you may love the Lord your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may cleave unto him: for he is your life, and the length of your days.”
Deuteronomy 30:14–16, 19–20
Life is important to God, but ultimate control of that life is His alone. God’s spirit sustains all life and breath of all human beings. It is important to note: The breaths you take while reading this are sustained by God’s direct command. Note carefully what Elihu (Job’s wise young friend) said, proclaiming God’s justice
“If he set his heart upon man, if he gather [back] unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.”
All life, yours included, continues by the express conscious decision of God — moment by moment, second by second. Some day in the future that breath shall be taken from you and me, until the resurrection.
The second article this month, “The History and Prophecy of Miracles (and their Failure),” also by Dr. Ernest Martin, details the major occurrences of miracles in the Bible and the effect they had on the lives of the people. My dictionary defines a miracle as: “An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.” Note that by definition not all miracles come from God, although even miracles from an evil source are allowed to occur by God. However, have you ever heard of a miracle that was not good? Therein lies the problem.
Surprising to me (and perhaps to you) some people take great offense when you challenge or question the origin of miracles that occur, particularly personal and healing miracles. It is commonly assumed that every miracle must come from God, and must be beneficial, and must indicate some special (but unknown) quality of the people involved in or receiving the miracle. This is not biblical teaching. I have known several people who spend undue amounts of time wondering “what it all meant” when they should be getting on with their life and stop second-guessing God and His purpose as God fulfills His will.
In case you have not been otherwise notified, we have made all chapters of the small books ABCs of the Gospel and The Tithing Dilemma available for immediate viewing and printing. No longer are they available one chapter per week. We have done this because of the importance of these works to the Christian community and because they have been through several “cycles” of installment viewing.
We have also updated our “links” page so that you may avail yourselves of internet resources that may be valuable for you to view. Of particular interest should be the texts of apocryphal and early Christian writings. They provide a valuable resource. As some of you have noted I often include quotes directly from these websites. Of course, I do not endorse any particular link on our list, but understand that each link is there for a purpose.
Occasionally we get requests that articles be sent to you from our archives. Please ... please ... search the ASK Website to see if those articles are available immediately for your reading or for your printing. We actually receive requests to print and mail articles that are already available on the ASK Website. Indeed, it is much quicker, cheaper, and more immediate for everyone for you to print articles yourself. It may seem like a small or unimportant matter but each instance takes time from other matters. Thank you.
We are very grateful for your continued support for our work. We realize that these are difficult financial times for many of you. If some of you find it impossible to send any support, then ask God to bless you so you can do so. We feel that if we are performing a good work, then God will bless us through you, and you will continue to support us accordingly. We will continue providing the information via the ASK website and by mail (to those of you who do not have computer access) as long as we have the funds to do so.
Your financial support helps us supply the valuable information and teaching about the Bible that was pioneered by Dr. Ernest Martin. This information goes around the world and is available to all who God brings to the ASK Website. We continue to get praise for Dr. Martin’s work from those who are new to his writings. Here is a short appraisal from a recent Ph.D. graduate whose degree is in Biblical Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages. He recently purchased The Star That Astonished the World:
“I am just about finished with Martin’s book on the star. While it could use another edit, it is quite good. I am impressed. I even understood the astronomy. ... The book really ought to be mainstream.”
Indeed, this and other books by Dr. Martin should be mainstream. You, the few supporters of ASK have benefited from Dr. Martin’s, knowledge in books and other writings for decades, while new readers are just beginning to learn about and appreciate them. They are written for real people, not just for scholars.
You have made this possible, and we continue to thank you and ask God’s blessing for the work you do.
David W. Sielaff
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