COMMENTARY by Dr. Bob Holt, md, mph


Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

St. Paul in Galations 6:7

An almost invisible cross marks  the road that still goes down to the beach  and that's me below it

Where thousands once sat -----

To celebrate "Amazing Grace"

 Looking back to entrance---

 Foster Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church Of the three ministers who preached this series --  preached a series on "Grace" in January 2006. two "fell from grace" and no longer preach there!

January 28, 2006

Dialog between Pastor Bryan Aalborg and Pastor Erin Miller

Song Leader: "Praise the Lord"-- I tell myself, with my whole heart I will praise His holy Name!"

       Erin Miller: "The Lord is merciful, and gracious, and slow to get angry and full of unfailing love, and will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever, -- "

       Bryan Aalborg: "He hath not punished us for all our sins, nor doth he  deal with us as we deserve, --"

       EM: "For His unfailing love towards those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth--"

       BA: "Where sin abounds --"

       EM: "Grace abounds much more!"

       BA: "After the flood, Noah became a farmer and tended a  vineyard.  One day he became drunk on some wine he had made, and he laid naked in his tent,--"

       EM: "Where sin abounds -- grace abounds much more."

       BA: "As the deer pants for streams of water -- so I long for you, O God, I thirst for God, for the living God."

       EM: "Where sin abounds -- grace abounds much more. The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful."

       BA: "As Abram approached the border to Egypt, Abram said to Sarah, 'You are very beautiful, when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'That's his wife.  Let's kill him and then we can have her -- But if  you say you are my sister, then the Egyptians will treat me well because of their interest in you.  And they will spare my life."

      EM: "And so it was.  Where sin abounds --"

      BA: "Grace abounds much more."

      EM: "Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue."

      BA: "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, Do not lust in your heart after her beauty."

      EM: "Late one afternoon David got up out of bed after taking a nap and went for a stroll on the roof of the palace.  As he looked out over the city he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.  And David sent for her,  And when she came to the palace he slept with her." 

     BA: "Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned?" "Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?"

     EM: "David confessed --"

     BA: "I have sinned against the Lord."

     EM: "Nathan the prophet replied, 'Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you."

     EM: "Where sin abounds -- "

     BA: "Grace abounds much more."

     EM: "A false witness will not go unpunished."

     BA: "One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest  noticed Peter warming his hands at the fire.  She looked at him closely and then said: --"

     EM: "You are one of those with Jesus the Nazarene."

     BA: "Peter denied it."

     EM: "I don't know what you're talking about!"

     BA: "Just then a rooster crowed.  The servant girl begins telling the others--"

     EM: "That man is  definitely one of them!"

     BA: "Peter denied it again."

     EM: "A little while later some other bystanders began saying to Peter--"

     BA: "You must be one of them because you are from Galilee."

     EM: "Peter said --"

     BA: "I swear by God I don't KNOW this man you're talking about."

     EM: "And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.  Suddenly Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind, 'Before the rooster crows twice, You will deny me three times."

     BA: "And he broke down and cried."

     EM: "A false witness will not go unpunished"

     BA: And he broke down and cried.  Where sin abounds---"

     EM: "Grace abounds much more. --- 'Peter, do you love me?"

     BA: "Yes, Lord. You KNOW I love you."

     EM: "Feed my sheep." ---"Peter, do you LOVE me?"

     BA: "Yes, Lord.  You KNOW I love you."

     EM: "Feed my sheep." --- "Peter, do you love ME?"

     BA: "Yes, Lord.  You know I LOVE YOU!"

     EM: "Feed my sheep." ---"Where sin abounds --"

     BA: "Grace does much more abound."

     EM: "Rebellion"

     BA: "Repentence."

     EM: "Fractured"

     BA: "Forgiven."

     EM: "Guilt."

     BA: "Grace."

     EM: "Regret."

     BA: "Renewal."

     EM: "Shame."

     BA: "Peace"

     EM: "Dirty."

     BA: "Friend"

     EM: "Failure."

     BA: "Freedom."

     EM: "Desire."

     BA: "Desire."

     EM: "Transgression."

     BA: "Transformation." "When we were utterly helpless --"

     EM: "God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  If we confess our sins to Him--"

     BA: "He is faithful and just to forgive us from every wrong!"

     EM: "In the kindness and love of God, our Savior appeared. He saved us."

      BA: "Not because of the righteous things that we have done but because of His MERCY."

      EM: "He saved us by the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit  whom he poured out on us generously -- through Jesus Christ our Savior  -- Where sin abounds--"

      BA: "Grace abounds much more!"

      EM: "Where sin abounds--"

      BA: "Grace abounds much more!"

      EM: "Where sin abounds--"

      (EM and BA in chorus:) "Grace abounds much more!"

    Following this dialog, Garin Carter (the other minister who no longer preaches at Foster) gave a sermon titled "the Treasure of Grace", beginning his enthusiastic recommendation of the merits of "Grace" with the story of his father's surprise when the judge in his traffic court unexpectedly "forgave" all the speeding tickets who showed up on Christmas eve.  Foster Church has not followed this precedent in Garin Carter's case, although they did bear long with his rather persistent problems involving women who were married or emotionally connected to other men.   Or so the story goes.  

    COMMENTS by Dr. Bob Holt, md.   There came a time about four years after Bryan Aalborg (senior pastor) and Erin Miller (associate pastor) cooperated with each other on this witty and entertaining public dialog on what "GRACE" can do for us in the Christian church, when Erin really needed some of this "GRACE", and discovered that it was a phantom, --- not really available for her.   It seemed (to some at least) that she might have a problem somewhat like David's, and this cannot be tolerated in a female Seventh-day Adventist minister.

    Male Seventh-day Adventist ministers can expect unusual efforts to either hide such problems or work through them with counseling -- or, if all else fails, expect a transfer to an area that won't learn their personal histories, but not so for Erin, our dedicated and persistent preacher of

  God's "unfailing" GRACE.

     Most will be happy with the presentation given on January 26, 2006 by these two ministers, but those of us with a more CRITICAL and less POPULAR way of looking at the Bible will notice that some of the examples cited, when taken in context, prove the exact opposite of what these two are promoting.   Noah was not willing to extend any "GRACE" to his youngest son Ham, whose only "SIN" was seeing his drunken father naked.  He cursed both this  son and his descendents to be slaves and servants forever.   We assume that Jehovah carried out Noah's wishes.   Jehovah, that grand old Male God with a severe attitude problem, who carries a grudge until the third or fourth generation of those whose attitude He doesn't like!

     However, those of us more suspicious than most have noted that Ham was the father of Canaan (Genesis 9:22) and it was Canaan, not Ham, who was cursed (verse 25).  Canaan never saw his grandfather naked, at least in the story we have received as true without question, but was the ancestor of the Canaanites, whose land the writers of these stories have coveted and sometimes owned for the last 3000 years.  

    Abram's calling his wife "my sister", according to scholars was a means to provide her with status and legal rights not accorded to ordinary wives in Sumerian society, as has now been documented from dug up texts from that area.  But it turned out so helpful and interesting to Bible scribes that they credited Abraham with doing the same thing in chapter 20 when he stayed for a while in Gerar.  One assumes that Sarah was a much older woman by this time, but look, this was a woman who could still become pregnant at 90 years old!

       In David's case, Nathan the prophet said a lot more to the king than "God forgives you," as any Bible reader knows.  In spite of many prayers and a hunger strike, and sleeping along side of the Ark of the Covenant, David could not persuade Jehovah to spare the sick child of David and Bathsheba.   Which was indeed a precedent for Foster Church's attitude towards its erring ministers.    There are so many ethical disconnects in the Old Testament stories that modern scholars have used these strange deviations to identify the presumed authors, and label them as "J", "E", "P", and "D", whose stories were stitched together by a talented "Redactor". 

     By the time the New Testament was written, the "Redactor-in-Chief" was Jesus Christ Himself.    Whose talent for telling untruthful (in a literal sense) stories has hardly been equaled in all history.   Which may be why we enjoy these stories so well!  Peter did not really curse and swear in the literal sense, but only turned back to the standard Essene "curse" repeated by all Essenes against all who refuse to live by strict Essene rules.   A curse spelled out in great detail in the newly rediscovered "Dead Sea Scrolls".   Jesus had little or nothing to say about "GRACE" although Paul found it to be a very useful concept to promote when preaching to a Gentile audience. 

     But Jesus did, -- even the "Gospel Pesher" shows this to be true, -- have a tendency to stretch and bend these strict Essene rules, for the 3 1/2 years he was the accepted Essene "Mesiah" of David's bloodline at Qumran.  This is shown in Peter's case in Matthew 18:21, 22: "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

     The "Pesher" history of Jesus' actions in the Gospels, which reveal his real "theology" and beliefs -- not the childish surface stories -- show him to be an extremely tolerant individual, much more likely to give a person who had broken some Essene rule a second, or seventh, or seventy times seventh time -- another chance.    I suspect that in the case of Erin Miller, defrocked minister, the end result would have been different.

      However, this same "Pesher" history demonstrates conclusively that he was not "God" in the sense that Constantine the Great wished for the Christian bishops at Nicea to declare him to be -- and that is one major reason why Bryan Aalborg, and most other Christian ministers refuse to even consider looking at this possibility and method of interpreting New Testament texts.  

      To put it extremely bluntly, Job security is much more important to ministers than is historically accurate "truth". 


NEXT: The Greeks had a name for it




SHEOL and Noah's Flood

The Invisible ESSENES

1844-End of the World

ADAM and EVE Myth

Sodom and Gomorrah


Destroyer of Ages

NOTICE: Potential "HERESY" -- The links above are not for the Faint-Hearted!