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GOD WANTS YOU CIRCUMCISED!
  
CIRCUMCISION IN THE BIBLE
 
The revolting violation of the male baby's body, circumcision is said in the Bible to be the sign of making a covenant with God to be his people and for him to be your God. The Old Testament God commanded that baby boys be circumcised so that they could be part of the covenant God had made with his people Israel. God made threats if this was not done and vowed the children would suffer at his hands for it (Genesis 17).
 
Jews carry out circumcisions to put children in the covenant. Christians claim that this law has been done away for non-Jews and so they donít bother with circumcisions. The New Testament is alleged to support Christianity in this. Christian scholars today say that Paul the apostle of Jesus who claimed to be his voicepiece declared that the Jews may still keep the Law even if they become believers in Jesus but that non-Jewish believers must not. Clearly the Church must advocate the right of religious circumcision to fit in with scripture. A close reading of the New Testament shows that Paul did advocate circumcision for everybody but only in the ideal world.
  
CIRCUMCISION DONE AWAY?
 
The New Testament appears to assert that circumcision has been done away. Anybody who is sure that it does needs to take a closer look. The evidence that the New Testament regarded the Law of Moses as still valid would only mean that if it said, ďDonít circumciseĒ, it would only mean that circumcision will be miraculously taken care of at the resurrection when it will magically be done to the dead as they arise from their graves.
 
When the New Testament condemns circumcision it only condemns the physical act without the spiritual side being taken into account. It stresses that circumcision is worthless unless you intend to circumcise your heart and keep Godís Law.
 
Romans 2:25 says that circumcision is good and right if you can keep the Law of Moses. But once you break the Law you break the contract signified by your circumcision and it is no longer any good. Your circumcision is now uncircumcision. He is speaking of circumcision when used as a contract to keep Godís Law without breaking any of it. But if you believe that you are bound to keep the Law but donít and that Jesus atones for your mistakes so that you will still be right with God and you get circumcised your circumcision will be a sign of your peace with God or pact or covenant and not a vow to do the impossible.
 
The Jewish law did not speak of circumcision as obligating one to obey the whole Law. But the Jewish culture of the apostles' day did. "We know from Acts 15 and Galatians 2 that the issue of circumcision, [was] part of the Judaizers' agenda to get the Gentiles who were becoming Christians to obey all of the Jewish Law" page 45, Making Sense of the New Testament (Craig Bloomberg, IVP, 2003). Paul was ferocious against the doctrine that a person should get circumcised and therefore obligated to hold to the whole Law. You would think this obligation would not be necessarily binding once the person realised circumcision as created by God was not intended for that purpose. It shows that if the Catholic doctrine, "Get baptised and you will be obligated by it to obey all God has told us and to obey his Church" is false it must be severely opposed.
 
Paul was vehemently opposed to using circumcision as a promise to God to keep the whole law but he circumcised Timothy. Was he a hypocrite? No for he said he did it for cultural reasons. It was not done as a promise to God. See 1 Corinthians 9:19.
 
1 Corinthians 7:18 is the only verse that says one must not be circumcised but it says it in the context of a list of things not to bother doing including marrying or fighting for your freedom if you are a slave for the focus must be entirely on the return of the Lord Jesus which is so near duties have to be neglected for the main duty is to be ready to greet him.
 
Philippians 3 condemns evil men who mutilate the flesh by circumcising and says that Christians are the circumcision of God though they put no trust in the marks of the flesh. Circumcision done for an evil reason would be a mutilation for it is not authorised. And Christians trust in grace and not in marks or baptismal water even if these give grace. It is God that gives the grace and not the sign.
 
In Acts 16:3, Paul had Timothy circumcised because of the Jews in that area. They would not have anything to do with an uncircumcised man. Some say that when Paul did it for that reason it proves that he did not believe in doing it for the reasons given by the Law for it. Luke does not say it was the only reason by the reason why he chose to do it in that place. And if Paul did for an unspiritual reason, Acts does not say that he was right to. Paul was a sinner and sinners do things for bad reasons. But Paul may not have been deceiving the Jews at all for he might have given Timothy the circumcision for a holy reason and Acts would be unlikely to mention the episode if it thought that Paul did wrong. Paul could not give circumcision if he didnít believe in it because then he would have been found out and in big trouble.
 
In 1 Corinthians 7:18,19, Paul says that the person who was uncircumcised when he converted to God should stay that way for circumcision is immaterial and keeping Godís commandments is what is important. But this appears in chapter 7 where Paul told the people to stay whatever way they were for Jesus was coming soon so soon that distractions such as getting married or circumcision had to be forgotten about. It was more important for them to worry about their hearts. The Law does not mean that when it commands circumcision that people are to be circumcised no matter what but only when it will bring them to God for that is what it is for. It is like when Jesus allegedly commanded baptism he could not have wanted all people baptised indiscriminately where they were right or not. Paul is just saying that there is no time for circumcision not that it is forbidden for he circumcises Timothy and recognised that it might have been done for medical reasons.
 
In Colossians 2:11, the prophet declares that because of the circumcision of Christ all are spiritually circumcised by having the evil urges of the flesh cut away. Does this mean that circumcision is wrong because it is now superfluous? Not necessarily. And it does not say it is unnecessary. Jesus was baptised in the Spirit for us and that does not mean that we donít need to be and with circumcision it could be the same.
 
Colossians 2 has the prophet telling the people that they were dead because they were sinners AND HAD NOT BEEN CIRCUMCISED. Circumcision is necessary for being right with God.
 
In Romans 4, Paul says that Abraham was forgiven and called righteous by God before he was circumcised. Paul is not using this as an example that circumcision was bad but to prove that a right relationship with God cannot be earned. Abraham was not circumcised to become righteous but circumcised because he was righteous and it was a promise that he would stay that way. Babies were circumcised because they were born into a covenant that regarded them as righteous already.
 
In Acts 15, heretics were saying that only those Jews or Gentiles who were physically circumcised could be saved. Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them. They held that God harboured great understanding towards holy people who could not get circumcised for they said that repentance was necessary for entry into the kingdom of Heaven and a repentant person would not be excluded just because they were uncircumcised. The heretics were extremists.
 
Some Pharisees who were Christians said that for Gentiles to be saved it was necessary for them to be circumcised and to promise to keep the entire Law of Moses. The Church got together to consider this problem and condemned this view saying that salvation was by the grace of Jesus not by obeying the Law which couldnít be obeyed anyway. You were meant to try and obey the Law but if you failed Jesus had paid for the sins so strict obedience by you wasnít necessary for salvation.
 
The apostles sent a letter to the Gentiles reminding them that they were plagued by heretics and that they would give them no greater burden than four rules. Christians say that since circumcision was not one of these that this proves that it is not for Gentiles. Wrong. The rules were given for some reason. The only moral one in it is against fornication. The apostles would not have simply told them that it was sinful without mentioning the other sins without some reason. Their hands were tied. They imply that the Gentiles would not be able to cope if any more rules were given. The chapter proves nothing about anything being done away. Acts 15 does not say that the Gentiles have just four rules to worry about forever. It must have been temporary.
 
It is known that the Christian Church at Jerusalem retained the rigid law that members of the Christian Church must be circumcised even a hundred years after Jesus was executed (page 234. Theodore Parkerís Discourses).
 
Romans 4 just says that the uncircumcised can be right with God like Abraham was before he was circumcised. It does not say that it is right or lawful to refuse to be circumcised.
 
There is no Bible authority for saying that God wants circumcision no more. What could we expect when God in Genesis 17 says that circumcision is to be observed forever and ever and that even non-Hebrews who are living under Hebrews must get it done. The Law decreed that male babies must be circumcised on the eighth day (Leviticus 12:3).
 
Abraham was told by God that all his descendants must be circumcised (Genesis 17:6). Not some of them or all to a certain date but just all. This shows that it is a law forever.
 
The Old Testament never says that circumcision means you have to keep the whole Law of God perfectly forever for the Law made prescriptions for how to get pardoned if you failed so it is not a promise to do that. And neither does it say that circumcision has anything to do with intending to keep the Law of God to any level. It just says that circumcision is a symbol of the covenant with Abraham and his descendants which was a purely earthly pact and had nothing to do with the Law. The Law had not been given yet. Genesis 17:14 says that any person who does not get circumcised that person breaks the covenant so instead of a person entering the covenant by means of the rite a person must get the rite done because he has already entered it. Women were not circumcised and they were held to be in the covenant. Notably, Abraham even circumcised the slaves he bought from other races (Genesis 17:27) Ė this was not necessary at all even if they were made to practice Abeís brand of religion so it indicates that God wanted Gentiles circumcised. When Genesis decreed that the rite was not for promising absolute obedience to the Law, the Christians who Paul and Co opposed for teaching that it was were opposed for teaching a perversion of the rite and not just because they were pro-circumcision.
 
Even if circumcision was not intended for non-Jews or was optional for them it would not show that they were not obligated to live under the Law of Moses.
 
GALATIANS

In Galatians 5:11, Paul says that he no longer preaches circumcision like some accuse him of doing and is being persecuted for it.
 
That is because the most urgent and important message he has is the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus. He could not digress from that central theme in his belief that Jesus could come back anytime. Jesus or the angels could do the circumcising himself or themselves.
 
In Galatians 2:3, Paul mentions that Titus was not compelled to be circumcised by the Jewish Christians. This does not refute the doctrine that true Christians practice circumcision for he is only reporting something not making a judgment. Titus might not have been compelled to be circumcised but he could have been asked to.
 
Paul tells the Galatians (5:2) that if they receive circumcision that Jesus will be no good to them.
 
He said that Jesus will not be their saviour then because they would be falling from grace (v4). They would be ceasing to believe that grace was needed for salvation and would be claiming to be self-sufficient. They would be receiving this from the heretics who denied grace making circumcision a declaration that there was no grace. This does not refute the doctrine that the Bible never abrogated the circumcision law. It forbids heretical circumcision. It forbids circumcision that is the expressing of a desire to do what God has condemned. The Galatians were not ready for Christian circumcision because Paul had to teach them some basic stuff.
 
In Galatians 5:1-3, Paul declares that the Galatians must not get circumcised for that will bind them to follow the whole Law which they cannot do. Paul did not believe in people promising to do what they could not do unlike the modern Catholic Church which says they should. Paul did explicitly agree with circumcision when it was not done in this hypocritical way (Acts 21:21-26). He is only opposing it when it is undergone by people who think it binds them to keep the whole Law for they are binding themselves to do the impossible.
 
Galatians 5:6 says that circumcision or uncircumcision does not count for anything to those who have been saved from the burden of the Law for only faith working though love does.

Circumcision in itself does not matter. The physical act does not matter. What matters is the reason it is done for. Giving somebody a sweet does not matter but the love this sharing represents does and that does not mean that you are morally free not to share. The verse does not eliminate circumcision done for the proper reason to signify a willingness to live a life of love and faith. Some say that Paulís doctrine that circumcision didnít matter was for people who had no Israelite blood only (Galatians 6:15). (It is good that they realise that the practice of circumcision was not ended for the Jews.) To say that is to say that the Law is not for the Gentiles - a view that must be regarded as untenable for Paul said the Gentiles needed Jesus to obey the Law in their place because the Law judged them to be immoral meaning it had authority over them. If the Law is infallible then it follows that all people who are not Jews should follow it and be circumcised for God is unlikely to make a difference. The Law commands the circumcision of non-Jews (Exodus 12:48).
  
A MORAL LAW?
 
The Law did not like anything dirty and foreskins were dirty which shows that circumcision was probably commanded for the sake of cleanliness. Dirt was associated with disease for Israel noticed how when the ill Egyptians used dirt and dung as medicine they got sicker and often died. This means that circumcision has to be done for moral reasons. Since it had to be performed God decided it would be a good idea to use it as a symbol of the pact as well. Even God cannot change the moral law. If he wanted to ban circumcision he would have had to permanently disinfect and clean all foreskins first.
 
CIRCUMCISION AND BAPTISM
 
It is stupid to say that circumcision was the first sacrament of the Torah that has been replaced by sacramental baptism in water. Nothing in the Bible indicates that it confers power from God in a magical way.
 
Paul vehemently opposed circumcision when it was intended as a vow to keep the entire Law of Moses without the grace of Jesus Christ. He approved of it as a sign of the covenant of grace. For the Jew, it was a sign of the duty to keep the whole Law and do the impossible. For Paul, you were bound to keep the Law of Moses but if you failed you didnít lose salvation for Jesus did good works and offered his life to make up for your shortcomings. For the Jews, keeping the Law was bondage and for the Christian it was a joy. Paul rejected circumcision when done for the wrong reasons as worthless. How Roman Catholics can accept the baptisms performed by Protestants whose ideas of baptism differ from the Catholic is a mystery. Paul made it clear that circumcisions performed with the wrong understanding are worthless so it follows that the same must be true of baptisms.

CONCLUSION
 
There is nothing in the Bible to say that circumcision is abolished and that non-Jews donít need it. The need for the rite shows that Christianity is not really Christian at all. It only gave up the rite because it wanted to make getting converts easy.

WORKS CONSULTED

Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
Christ and Violence, Ronald J Sider, Herald Press, Scottdale, Ontario, 1979
Christís Literal Reign on Earth From Davidís Throne at Jerusalem, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, undated
Early Christian Writings, Editor Maxwell Staniforth, Penguin, London, 1988
Essentials, David L Edwards and John Stott, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990
Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, Uta Ranke-Heinmann, Penguin Books, London, 1991
Godís Festivals and Holy Days, Herbert W Armstrong, Worldwide Church of God, California, 1992
Hard Sayings Derek Kidner InterVarsity Press, London, 1972
Jesus the Only Saviour, Tony and Patricia Higton, Monarch, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 1993
Kennedyís Murder, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1964
Martin Luther, Richard Marius, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1999
Moral Philosophy, Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1912
Not Under Law, Brian Edwards, Day One Publications, Bromley, Ken, 1994
Radio Replies Vol 2, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1940
Sabbath Keeping, Johnie Edwards, Guardian of Truth Publications, Kentucky
Secrets of Romanism, Joseph Zacchello, Loizeaux Brothers, New Jersey, 1984
Set My Exiles Free, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
Storehouse Tithing, Does the Bible Teach it? John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1954
Sunday or Sabbath? John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1943
The Christian and War, JB Norris, The Christadelphian, Birmingham, 1985
The Christian and War, Robert Moyer, Sword of the Lord Murfreesboro Tennessee 1946
The Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
The Enigma of Evil, John Wenham, Eagle, Guildford, Surrey, 1994
The Gospel and Strife, A. D. Norris, The Christadelphian, Birmingham, 1987
The Jesus Event, Martine Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Kingdom of God on Earth, Stanley Owen, Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham
The Metaphor of God Incarnate, John Hick, SCM Press, London, 1993
The Plain Truth about Easter, Herbert W Armstrong, Worldwide Church of God, California, 1957
The Sabbath, Peter Watkins, Christadelphian Bible Mission, Birmingham
The Ten Commandments, Herbert W Armstrong, Worldwide Church of God, California, 1972
The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, New York, 1968
The World Ahead, November December 1998, Vol 6, Issue 6
Theodore Parkerís Discourses, Theodore Parker, Longmans, Green, Reader & Dyer, London, 1876
Those Incredible Christians, Hugh Schonfield, Hutchinson, London, 1968
Vicars of Christ, Peter de Rosa, Corgi Books, London, 1995
War and Pacifism, Margaret Cooling, Scripture Union, London, 1988
War and the Gospel, Jean Lasserre, Herald Press, Ontario, 1962
When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1992
Which Day is the Christian Sabbath? Herbert W Armstrong, Worldwide Church of God, California, 1976
 
THE WEB

The Law of Moses: Is It Valid Today?

www.ark_of_salvation.orgJewish_law.htm

The Law of Moses and the Law of Christ by Arnold Fruchtenbaum
www.ariel.org/ff00006c.html

Is Old Testament Law for New Testament Christians

www.souldevice.org/writings_law_gospel.html

This Christian site accepts that the New Testament did not run the Law of Moses out of town but accepted it. It argues that Matthew 5 has Jesus stating that he has no intention of doing away with the Law of Moses and what he does with it is he gives out a stricter interpretation of it. But strangely it argues then that Jesus did discontinue some parts of the Law. 1 Samuel 15:22,23/Isaiah 1:11-17/Jeremiah 7:21-23/Proverbs 21:3/Matthew 9:13/23:23 are said to make no sense unless the law can be given three distinctions which are Moral, Ceremonial and Civil. Not once however in these verses does God even hint that the Moral laws and the Civil laws and the Ceremonial laws are to be treated as three units. What they are is three different kinds of law in one law based on love. The first two cannot be changed because of the link with morality but the latter can if it is only temporary and states that clearly. You canít change what love is. The law plainly commands and practices hatred so God is assuming that we need to hate in order to love properly so that is how a law of love can encourage and foster hatred.
 
Christians, assuming that they are to have any distinctions at all, are to have just Moral and Ceremonial law. The Christians make the distinctions for they hold that the moral law of God is unchangeable while the civil and ceremonial law of God is changeable. But when there is no evidence that moral and civil are not the same they can only hope for the abolition of the Ceremonial law. They simply have to hold that it is right to slay homosexuals and other sinners Moses wanted dead in the name of God.
 
A case for holding that Paul believed that the law that could not save was a legalistic interpretation of the Law and not the law itself as it actually was is dismissed. Paul never hinted that he meant only the interpretation of the law was dangerous for salvation not the Law itself. Paulís word for the Law backs this dismissal up.
  
Then the site suggests the correctness of the shocking statement of the theologian Geisler that all Godís laws must be in accord with Godís nature but need not be necessitated by that nature and so they can be changed. In other words, God can forbid you to pay taxes to the temple so that the poor may be given the money and then he could change that law. But that does not explain how he could command the stoning of certain sinners. Any law he makes, changeable or unchangeable is designed to bring about the best. So if the Israelites were better rid of these sinners so were we. If the temple can do without money it can at other times so the law would have to be reinstated. There is a sense then in which all his laws are permanent. They are permanent but if other permanent laws become more important than them they are just put to the background and not done away until they can be put back to the foreground again. Not one of the laws in the Torah are claimed to be changeable or even look like that kind of law. They are all different from the one about paying money to charity instead of the temple. God in the Law said you could murder a burglar who breaks into your house at night with impunity. Now is that a law that isnít necessitated by Godís nature? It does no good at all. It clearly indicates that God does not accept the view that he has any laws that his nature does not require him to make but which he makes anyway. It is unnecessary and it is against the nature of a good God. Geisler is wrong.
 
The Law claims to be right. In other words, we are meant to see that it is right even if we donít believe in God. God told the Hebrews that other nations would consider them to be the wisest nation on earth because of their Law (Deuteronomy 4:6,8).
 
At least Geisler would admit that stoning people to death is not necessarily incompatible with God. He would say that if God doesnít allow it now, he still wants us to have the mindset that we would do it if he asked. We want to do it but it is because he asks us not to that we donít. The fanaticism is still there.