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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

The problem of the courts is an interdisciplinary problem.

Men of the Stone

February 15, 2011

The Gospel changes people and their cultures.

Praying So God Hears

February 14, 2011

Pray without ceasing?

The Sense of Self

February 13, 2011

"The story of humans' sense of self is...the story of failed, debunked versions of The Sentence."

Things that pertain to salvation (2)

Multiple Witnesses

February 19, 2011

Multiple Witnesses--God requires a multiplicity of witnesses in any matter relating to His Law.

The ninth commandment

Deuteronomy 19.15-21

“‘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. If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.’”

Numbers 35:30-34

If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest. You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”

God requires a multiplicity of witnesses in any matter relating to His Law. Malicious witnesses are subject to punishment, in particular, that which they hoped to inflict on those they have accused. Once a person is convicted in a proper manner, he must serve his entire sentence, unless, of course, other evidence can be produced to vindicate him. The land is defiled when the truth is compromised. When it is upheld, justice is achieved, and the people learn to fear wrongdoing, lest they should fall under judgment.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.



Fairness and Equality

February 18, 2011

Fairness and Equality--God’s redemption applies equally to all who receive it.

The ninth commandment

Leviticus 19.35, 36

You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

God’s redemption applies equally to all who receive it. So does His truth. He commands His people to apply truth equally to one another and, we can assume, to all others as well. We must not have one standard for this person and one standard for that. We must be truthful and honest in all transactions.

This statute challenges the validity of measures of trade and commerce in a variety of ways. For example, should discounts in purchasing be made available to one group of people, and not to all? Should tariffs by applied selectively? Should protectionism be an instrument of foreign policy rather than fairness? Should taxes be graduated or flat?

All such questions relate to how people deal truthfully and fairly with one another and, thus, should be considered in the light of such statutes as this.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.



Truth Only

February 17, 2011

Truth Only--It violates the ninth commandment to conspire falsely, give false witness in a lawsuit, or to practice favoritism in any matter.

The ninth commandment

Exodus 23.2, 3

You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.”

Leviticus 19.15, 16

You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.”

It violates the ninth commandment to conspire falsely, give false witness in a lawsuit, or to practice favoritism in any matter. Partiality in transactions is as heinous to God as lying and deceit.

All men stand on equal ground before the Law of God. The “majority” cannot change the truth of God. A man’s standing as somehow deprived or underprivileged, or, on the other hand, as of a higher social standing, does not change the truth. The Law of God is not subject to social conventions or changes in the temper of the times. The Law is truth (Jn. 17.17), and men and societies can only know the blessing of God as they abide within the terms of truth as He defines it.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.

False Reports

February 16, 2011

False Reports--False reports can take various forms.

The ninth commandment

Exodus 23.1

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.”

False reports can take various forms. Gossip – unsubstantiated reports about others, or reports scattered in order to impugn or defame – is perhaps the most familiar form. Slander, libel, and equivocation also qualify. It is wicked to distort the truth for one’s advantage or titillation, and it is wicked to join with those who do.

False reports might also include plagiarism or, in publishing, claiming something published under one’s name to be his own work. Perjury and false witness in a court of law are also forms of a false report. Any false witness deprives a community of truth, and God desires for us to know and live in truth. All false witness, therefore, countermands the divine order and flouts His Law. To God, it is abomination.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.



Cross-dressing

February 15, 2011

Cross-dressing--In those days the only purpose for “cross-dressing” would have been to deceive

The ninth commandment

Deuteronomy 22.5

“‘A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.’”

In those days the only purpose for “cross-dressing” would have been to deceive – either to conceal one’s true identity or to gain some advantage by being regarded as of a different sex. God made the sexes distinct, each with its own identity and function, as well as its own place in the divine economy. To dress as a member of the opposite sex would have been seen as questioning divine wisdom and seeking, for whatever reason, to circumvent or subvert the divine order.

When people cross-dress today deceit may not be the only motive, but it seems to be involved nonetheless. Anything which challenges or confuses the divine order and plan is to be avoided.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.



Honesty in Marriage

February 14, 2011

Honesty in Marriage--Dishonesty and deceit in marriage are particularly to be avoided.

The ninth commandment

Deuteronomy 22.13-21

“‘If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then hates her and accuses her of misconduct and brings a bad name upon her, saying, “I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her evidence of virginity,” then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate. And the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man to marry, and he hates her; and behold, he has accused her of misconduct, saying, ‘I did not find in your daughter evidence of virginity.’ And yet this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity.” And they shall spread the cloak before the elders of the city. Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name upon a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife. He may not divorce her all his days. But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father's house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.’”

Dishonesty and deceit in marriage are particularly to be avoided. Either way this case is read, some dishonesty is involved, and self-interest is at the root of that. The man may have deceitfully accused his bride, simply because she didn’t turn out to be all he expected. Or the woman may have deceived her husband going into the marriage. In either case, punishment is due, although, consistent with what we’ve seen before, the crime for adultery is more severely judged than that of deceit.

If the man is dishonest in seeking to divorce his wife, he is to be fined and is bound to the woman all his days. He will have to work hard from this point forward to make his marriage work. The effect of this statute would have been both to encourage honesty and purity and to preserve the sanctity of marriage within the covenant community.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.



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