Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Gillette and 21st Century Chivalry

Who says chivalry is dead? Certainly not Gillette. In fact, Gillette is calling men back to chivalry. They are calling men to rise above the stereotypes and hold accountable any man who lives by them. However, there seems to be quite a bit of backlash from hundreds of people on twitter. Many, in fact most, from men. Many, in fact most, from what I would consider to be the more “conservative” men. Todd Starnes for example heads his op/ed “Does Gillette Want Men To Start Shaving Their Legs Too?” One only needs to look at the comments on Twitter to find the many photos of razors in toilets or trash cans, calling for a boycott of Gillette.

Back in the day of kings and knights and squires, there was chivalry. There was an expectation upon the nobles to live with courage, valor, and generosity. Often we hear of the “knight in shining armor,” coming to the rescue. They were expected to treat women with a certain decorum of respect, even if her behavior warranted otherwise. Chivalry was what men aspired to ever since. They would open doors, put coats over puddles, pull back chairs, stand up for a lady’s honor. It was the most masculine thing a man could do. Gillette seems to be calling men back to chivalry, albeit a 21st century chivalry.

They are calling on fathers to get involved in their children’s lives and teach their boys that bullying is not okay. Because–as the commercial says–boys become men. At some point, what they have learned in boyhood they will act out in manhood. I remember my dad only spanking me once in my entire life. I had gotten into a fight with my nephew (who is one year older). We were going at it in my room and without knowing my dad heard, walked in, and swatted me once on my rear. Then he swatted my nephew. We were both so stunned because he never had done anything like that before. He looked at us and with a stern look said, “knock it off,” and walked away. That was all it took. It was the only fight I got into in my life.

In this commercial, we see men holding other men back, protecting women’s honor, teaching their sons to act better than their instincts, and protecting those being bullied. It’s what we used to call chivalry. Gillette is not calling for the feminization of men, but for masculinity of old. They are calling for men in shining armor to rise above, have courage to stand up when others look the other way, treat others with valor, and be generous with their strength.

Paul wrote, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love,” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ESV). That what God calls us to do. Gillette’s message is not all that different in my eyes. No, they are not a “Christian” company, but as far as I can see (I’ve watched the commercial several times last night and this morning), what they seek men to be and do is in line with these words from Paul.

As always, I would love to read your comments. Maybe you think I am wrong. Please let me know. Maybe you agree; I’d love to read your thoughts as well. If you like the article, feel free to share it with others.

Were the First Five Books of the Bible Really Written by Moses?

For over a century Higher Criticism (aka Source Criticism) has plagued Christianity with theories and hypotheses about the reliability of Scripture.  One such hypothesis is what is known as Documentary Hypothesis (DH). DH is simply that; it is a hypothesis, an educated guess as to the authorship of certain texts within Scripture, specifically speaking of the first five books of the Bible: the Books of Moses. The proponents of DH claim that because the books differ stylistically, use varying names for God, have updated names for towns, cities, people, supposed repetitions of accounts, etc., Moses could not have been the one who wrote the Pentateuch. Instead, the educated guess is that there were two, three, or even four writers from four different centuries, with perhaps four different motives who wrote what we now read as Genesis through Deuteronomy.  The first collaborator was a Yahwist (“J” for short [for Jehovah]) around 850 B.C. Most of Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers was sourced by the Yahwist. One can find his handiwork because of his affinity to call God by His proper name: YHWH. It is assumed that the Yahwist was from Judah (the Southern Kingdom) since Judah was more faithful to the traditions of Judaism. However, about a hundred years later, one from Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom who were not so faithful to the traditional Judaism to say the least) sourced other portions of Genesis similar to that of the Yahwist, using Elohim–the generic name for God–in reference to the Almighty. For that reason, the second source is named after his favorite designation: Elohim (“E” for short). At some point, when the Northern Kingdom was overthrown by Assyria, the two sources (J and E) were brought together by some good-hearted refugees.

The third source for the DHers, is simply known as Deuteronomy (“D” for short) which covers the book by that name.  The thought process is that when Josiah ordered the reformation of Judah in his twelfth year on the throne, “D” got to work. Since the material only covers the one book of the Pentateuch, it is not much help with the other four.

The fourth source: those were the Priests (“P” for short). The priests, by the very nature of man and office, sought to conserve their position and their jobs. Thus the portions of the Law that dealt with religious matters (practices, tabernacles, instruments, etc.) were sourced by the post-exilic priests.

All in all, the DH denies the possibility of one author. It also denies the possibility of these books being original. Some men like Delitzsch would argue that they simply plagiarized from the Babylonians, going so far as to say that the Law and perhaps the entire Old Testament is not to be trusted and is which is to be done away.

That being said. . .like all hypotheses, DH must be tested to assure its truth. If it cannot pass the test–multiple tests–then one must admit that the guess is untrue and begin again. DH cannot pass the tests that it must face. The issues that it seeks to answer, DH complicates. William of Ockham was correct: “The simplest answer is usually the correct one.” DHers tend to seek complicated guesses to explain the apparent discrepancies or questions they have. They began with two sources and worked their way up to four, and now are unsure if there were four or if there are four when they actually sourced the material. The simpler (and probably the correct answer) is that Moses did write the first five books as traditionally held. Within those books, he cites his sources. The varying names for God are varying for good reason: they describe God in the way that fits with the story; using God’s name (YHWH) before telling us when he learned it (Genesis 2 vs. Exodus 3) does not mean multiple sources. It does mean that the Uncreated One created all life. Updated place names were probably updated by scribes since location was a major component for the Jews to understand their history. It is not much different that the scribes who translated the Hebrew to Greek, forming the Septuagint. Repetitions of stories, if read closely, are not repetitions; sometimes it takes people a while to learn their lessons, and often times their descendants must go through the same type of circumstances. Common sense can answer virtually every problem that DH presents without muddying the waters or complicating the issues.

What DHers have done, whether advertently or inadvertently, is brought doubt into the hearts and minds of Christians wanting to be faithful to God’s Word. By nature, Documentary Hypothesis leads to question authenticity, historicity, and reliability.  Rather than spark doubt, one can easily explain the supposed difficulties.

I’d love to read your feedback and comments. Please feel free to reply to this article or any of my others.  If you’re wondering why this article was written, let’s just say I started seminary this week, and this was one of my assignments. I have precious little time to blog, and since I found the assignment interesting and enjoyed writing it, I thought I would share it with you. If you enjoyed the article, please feel free to like and/or share it on your social media pages.