If You Love Me . . . Part 3

The Commandments

The title of this post, makes me think of the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20:2-17. Surely these are implied in the commandments we are supposed to keep according to Jesus.

These commandments have a very specific nature and a new name, which will be discussed at a later point.

If you love me,

keep my commandments.

~ John 14:15

So, how do we show our love for Him?

I am afraid that we have been so indoctrinated with the belief that we are saved by faith through faith alone, to the exclusion of works having no part of our salvific faith. 

This bias against some of scriptural instruction that supports works as part of our faith comes out of the Christian reformation.

Martin Luther was key in helping the church separate from the misuses of scripture that the religious powers of the day propagated. But Martin Luther tried to do some other things as well.

He wanted to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the Bible. His personal view of salvation by faith alone caused disdain for parts of God’s word, forced him to ignore other parts, and attempt to discredit entire sections of the Bible.

Holding to a doctrine that makes one want to omit God’s word speaks volumes. Nowadays we usually just gloss over those verses, say they do not apply, or ignore their exegetical implications.

Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation elaborated many doctrinal principles found in the gospels and the rest of the epistles. As a result many who hold to a view similar to Luther’s use modern hermeneutic principles associated with their doctrine at the expense of exegesis.

I am by no means an expert or even seriously informed in these two disciplines. Neither will we go into the details of hermeneutics or exegesis here.

Let me just say that as we read scripture, we dare not exclude anything that has apparent contradictions with other scripture or complicates our personal doctrine.

That is exactly what Luther was doing when he proclaimed his doctrine of salvation by faith alone.

Everything in scripture is true and in complete agreement with every jot and tittle found in the Bible. That is the only way to interpret scripture although we may come to different conclusions.

My general rule is, that scripture must be interpreted literally and consistently with the whole counsel of scripture and can only be applied allegorically when a literal interpretation is not reasonable.

I like what George Allen Turner says about exegesis: “Theology should be the result of scientific exegesis rather than determining the exegesis.” (via predetermined doctrinal, hermeneutic principles)

What about Old Law?

The first question is, do we have to follow any of the old testament laws, holidays, or ordinances? I have been doing a lot of studying about Halloween, Christmas, and Easter; particularly their origins.

In this research, I came across Gentiles who follow the Torah and believe in Jesus. Their historical information about the Pagan origins of the above mentioned holidays are accurate but their teaching others to follow their instructions does not mesh with scripture.

To teach Gentiles that they are suppose to follow Torah, or Old Testament law in order to be obedient to Jesus’ commands falls into the same category condemned in scripture as quoted below.

We have already observed that Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. But what does this mean?

The early Christians were all Jewish and they religiously practiced O.T. principles such a dietary laws, fasting, feast days, Sabbaths, and sacrificial offerings.

There were basically no Gentiles or Gentile Christian practices in existence until 8 years after the church was born at Pentecost. This caused a problem when the Gentiles entered the church.

Then fourteen years

after I went up again to Jerusalem

with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 

And I went up by revelation,

and communicated unto them that gospel

which I preach among the Gentiles,

but privately to them which were of reputation,

lest by any means I should run,

or had run, in vain. 

But neither Titus, who was with me,

being a Greek,

was compelled to be circumcised:

~ Galatians 2:1-3

This incident shows that the spiritual Jewish believers did not try to make Gentiles follow their laws. Both Barnabas and Titus were accepted as proper and genuine disciples of Christ.

Circumcision was clearly not a requirement. To teach gentiles to do so was severely rebuked.

And certain men which came down from Judaea

taught the brethren, and said,

Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses,

ye cannot be saved.

~ Acts 15:1


Forasmuch as we have heard,

that certain which went out from us

have troubled you with words,

subverting your souls, saying,

Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law:

to whom we gave no such commandment:

~ Acts 15:24


Brothers and sisters,

if I am still preaching circumcision,

why am I still being persecuted?

In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

~ Galatians 5:11


As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh,

they constrain you to be circumcised;

only lest they should suffer persecution

for the cross of Christ.

~ Galatians 6:12

The Jews had not yet begun to be persecuted. They remained privileged in the Roman empire. The Christians on the other hand were being persecuted severely (mostly by the Jews) and some were beginning to follow Jewish ways in order to avoid persecution.

We Christians are called to be persecuted.  This should be expected and received with joy.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus

shall suffer persecution.

2 Timothy 3:12


Yet if any man suffer as a Christian,

let him not be ashamed;

but let him glorify God on this behalf.

~ 1 Peter 4:16

If we are not to compromise our faith by accepting traditions or practices of the Jews, is it okay to practice them?

I suppose if a Gentile wanted to practice Jewish ways, they could but I don’t think it is profitable or wise to try to associate oneself with Judaism in the context of a proselyte.

That being said, the law and Jewish practices are invaluable in their intended purpose to point us to Christ but fail completely when used as a part of saving faith.

But before faith came,

we were kept under the law,

shut up unto the faith

which should afterwards be revealed. 

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster

to bring us unto Christ,

that we might be justified by faith. 

But after that faith is come,

we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ

have put on Christ. 

There is neither Jew nor Greek,

there is neither bond nor free,

there is neither male nor female:

for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 

And if ye be Christ’s,

then are ye Abraham’s seed,

and heirs according to the promise.

~ Galatians 3:23-29

What does scripture say about the Law here? That it was a tutor, a school master leading us to Christ. The whole O.T. did this. That is why it is so important to study and know its significance.

I personally think Christians could benefit greatly by learning about and experiencing all of the Jewish feast holidays.

They teach of Christ, and are derived from biblical truths rather than the mixing of pagan elements found in Christian holidays.

There are some O.T. commandments that we are commanded to follow. And if we love Jesus, that is exactly what we will do.

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost,

and to us,

to lay upon you no greater burden

than these necessary things; 

that ye abstain from meats offered to idols,

and from blood, and from things strangled,

and from fornication:

from which if ye keep yourselves,

ye shall do well.

Fare ye well.

~ Acts 15:28-30

if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.

Acts 15:28 indicates that the Apostles were in agreement and obeying the Holy Spirit. These were the original leaders of the Church. Paul and the Gentile leadership submitted to their authority.

We would be wise to do the same. 

if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.

These O.T. commands are layering upon the words of Jesus found in John 14:15.

Consider this:

If we do not keep ourselves, we shall not do well, we will be disobedient to the Holy Spirit’s instructions and choosing to sin against God. We are commanded to abstain from the things listed above in the N.T.

That is why Christianity should separate its practices from those of the world. For the world cannot keep from disobeying God. It is built upon the foundation of sin.

abstain from meats offered to idols

At the surface, this seems pretty clear but Paul add some clarity to the subject.

But meat commendeth us not to God:

for neither, if we eat, are we the better;

neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 

But take heed lest by any means

this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock

to them that are weak. 

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge

sit at meat in the idol’s temple,

shall not the conscience of him which is weak

be emboldened to eat those things

which are offered to idols; 

and through thy knowledge

shall the weak brother perish,

for whom Christ died? 

But when ye sin so against the brethren,

and wound their weak conscience,

ye sin against Christ. 

Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend,

I will eat no flesh while the world standeth,

lest I make my brother to offend.

~ 1 Corinthians 8:8-13

Here Paul explains the ordinance of abstaining from meat offered to idols. He gives five criteria. Mind you, there is no contradiction between the to sets of instructions from Acts and Corinthians.

  1. Outside its effect on others, the type of food we eat plays no role in our relation to God; to abstain does no harm, to partake gives no advantage.
  2. Even though we have liberty to eat anything, we should not eat or do anything that would cause a weaker brethren to sin.
  3. If through our knowledge we eat, and cause a weaker brother’s conscience to be emboldened to sin, and he goes to hell as a result, his blood is on our hands.

  4. When we do this, we sin against our brethren, wound them, and are sinning against Christ.

  5. If food offered to idols make a brother sin, we should abstain from ever eating it again if it makes a brother to sin.

I would add that this principle should be considered whenever we think, say, or do anything. We do not want to cause another to be emboldened in their conscience to sin against God.

These scriptures use the word brethren indicating a fellow Christian. Think about this, a non-believer today could be a believer tomorrow. So, we really need to be careful with everyone if we are to love our neighbor as our self.

Jesus gives us an even stronger warning against the principle of sinning against God by causing others to fall into stumble because of our actions.

But whoso shall offend

one of these little ones which believe in me,

it were better for him that a millstone

were hanged about his neck,

and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Woe unto the world because of offences! f

or it must needs be that offences come;

but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

~ Matthew 18:6-7

and from blood, and from things strangled,

From blood and things strangled are both related to the consuming of blood and predate the Mosaic law. This prohibition comes from the covenant God made with Noah after the flood.

But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood

~ Genesis 9:4

With this command, we see that the life of the animal is in the blood. According to God, consuming blood is akin to eating an animal alive. The sanctity of life is why this is prohibited.

We are not to consume any type of blood. This command is repeated in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and 3 times in Acts. It is commanded through all three dispensations, Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian.

Therefore I said to the children of Israel,

You shall not eat the blood of any flesh,

for the life of all flesh is its blood.

Whoever eats it shall be cut off.

Leviticus 17:14


Only you shall not eat the blood;

you shall pour it on the earth like water.

~ Deuteronomy 12:16

Eating Habits

 From a practical viewpoint, there are clearly some foods that are forbidden: blood sausage, blood pudding, drinking of blood, or dishes containing significant quantities of blood.

In 1 Corinthians 10:25, Paul says, 

Whatsoever is sold in the shambles,

that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:

for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.

~ 1 Corinthians 10:25

Paul does not mean to purchase blood stained products such as strangled meat. Meat not drained of blood has a distinct and recognizable color and texture.

I know this because I have slaughtered many types of animals and have found parts containing blood that did not drain. This meat also has a distinct taste and cooks differently when saturated with blood.

It is also safe to assume that Paul did not mean to eat rotten meat, or organs containing fecal matter or stomach contents either. His instruction are reasonable and in accordance with the whole counsel of scripture on this subject.

The context appears to apply to purchasing food or eating food provided by others.

According to the FDA, meats sold in America are all drained of blood.

and from fornication:

This instruction is to abstain from sexual immorality. The New Testament provides so much instruction on this subject. Here are three samples. This command also predates mosaic law.

Rampant sexual immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah was one of the reasons they were destroyed in Genesis. God also spoke of it before the flood when the Sons of God took wived of daughters of men.

 I wrote unto you in an epistle

not to company with fornicators: 

yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world,

or with the covetous, or extortioners,

or with idolaters;

for then must ye needs go out of the world. 

But now I have written unto you

not to keep company,

if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator,

or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer,

or a drunkard, or an extortioner;

with such an one no not to eat.

~ 1 Corinthians 5:9-11


 Marriage is honourable in all,

and the bed undefiled:

but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

~ Hebrews 13:4


But the fearful, and unbelieving,

and the abominable, and murderers,

and whoremongers, and sorcerers,

and idolaters, and all liars,

shall have their part in the lake

which burneth with fire and brimstone:

which is the second death.

~ Revelation 21:8

There has never been a time when sexual immorality was not considered an exclusionary sin (a sin that causes one to perish). Sexual immorality has always been a part of Gentile or heathen cultures.

We are not to tolerate fornication in in this life. God will not tolerate those who practice it in the next. We are not to have close friends or spend time socializing who fornicators who claim to be Christians.

At the same time we are to love those lost in sin and be light to a dark and dying world.

I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 

but shewed first unto them of Damascus,

and at Jerusalem,

and throughout all the coasts of Judæa,

and then to the Gentiles,

that they should repent and turn to God,

and do works meet for repentance.

~ Acts 26:19-20

We too must not be disobedient to our heavenly calling in Christ and obey His commandments in love. We now understand what carries over from the O.T. and why they are important.

We will discuss further what it means to love Jesus and keep His commandments in the next post.

And the Lord God formed man

of the dust of the ground,

and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;

and man became a living soul.

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden;

and there he put the man whom he had formed.

~ Genesis 2:7-8


Random Bias vs. Systemic Bias

I tried to keep this short and limited the controversial elements as this was a topic of discussion in my nursing research class:

Random and systemic bias can occur any time in any study. Early apology for ranting but this is my pet peeve. Surprisingly, bias has been shown to exist too often in renowned journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This problem has been building upon itself for decades (Freedman, 2011). As a result, we have been travelling down a road filled with iatrogenic injury and death. Amazingly enough, this has also been reported in JAMA (Starfield, 2000) with medical care listed as the third leading cause of death in the United States.  Starfield (2000) points out that complexities related to this problem have multiple factors of which we all agree. Unfortunately, what we cannot count out are the implications of EBP from historically biased research data. Freedman also notes that biased research has helped shape modern standards of practice such as hormone replacement therapy, coronary stents, and low-dose aspirin used to mitigate cardiovascular events. According to Freedman (2011) Dr. John Ioannidis has demonstrated a 40% error rate in 49 of the most respected and cited research articles in the last 13 years.
When it comes to real-world practical prevention of bias, it is extremely difficult to eliminate in the medical field since research is often driven from inventions that incorporate pharmaceutical or mechanical means and funding sources often drive the research. Nursing tends to follow medical, so we are just as vulnerable. Even the gold standard, randomized trials, has a reported rate of 25% inaccuracies due to bias (Freedman, 2011).
Random bias occurs when a participant or researcher makes an assumption about data (Polit & Beck, 2012). The assumption is not an accurate representation of what is or has occurred in the study (Peterson, 2009). One example is food diaries. They have been reported to often be inaccurate. People forget and underrepresent consumption or over represent their food intake. One strategy to reduce bias here would be to photograph every meal. The researcher could review the diary, make comparisons with pictures and have tighter correlation with reality.
Systemic bias is a little different. One example is The China Study. The primary researcher Dr. T. Colin Campbell conducted the study under the premise that there was something inherently harmful with consuming animal protein. The data he presented in his book revealed this correlation (Campbell & Campbell, 2006). Further analysis of the data reveals an inverse correlation with animal protein consumption and other foods were found to correlate positively with all cause mortality, (Minger, 2011). How do we avoid this type of bias? The solution may be three-fold: Utilization and  re-utilization of multiple null-hypotheses based upon ongoing collection of data and representation of all data positive, negative, and ambiguous.
During any study we need to remain vigilant in order to reduce random or systemic bias. Multiple contrarian viewpoints should be integrated as this my help identify confounding factors or other variables in need of deeper analysis.
Bogl, L., Kaprio J., Korkeila, M., Pietilainen, K., Rissanen, A., Westerterp, K., and Yki-Jarvinen, H. (2010). Inaccuracies in food and physical activity diaries of obese subjects: complementary evidence from doubly labeled water and co-twin assessments. International Journal of Obesity. Mar;34(3):437-45.
Campbell, T. and Campbell, T. (2006. The China Study: Startling implications for diet, weight loss, and long-term health. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books
Freedman, D. (2011). Lies, Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science. The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved February 6, 2012 from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269/
Minger, D. (2011). The China Study, wheat, and heart disease; [sic] Oh my! Raw Food SOS: Troubleshooting on the raw food diet. Retrieved February 18, 2012 from rawfoodsos.com/category/china-study/
Peterson, (2009). The Mathematical Tourist. Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved February 18, 2012 from http://www.maa.org/mathtourist/mathtourist_11_08_09.html
Polit, D. and Beck, C. (2012). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice [9th ed.]. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Starfield, B. (2000). Is US Health Really the Best in the World? The Journal of American Medical Association. 284(4):483-485. doi: 10.1001/jama.284.4.483

Gender Bias In Nursing Education

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Summary of Article
            The article, Warming the nursing education climate for traditional-age learners who are male, (Bell-Scriber, 2008) describes some of the various mechanisms that contribute to an environment resulting in higher attrition among traditional-age (18-23) males. It highlights the limited amount of research and programs designed to understand the problem and facilitate retention. Surprisingly, some of the factors attributed to hold the most significance impairing male students exist within the environment designed to educate and train nurses for readiness in the profession. One barrier to success includes the paucity of available male mentors. This is underscored by the core influencing hindering factor: nurse instructors’ attitudes and behaviors that have been demonstrated to be characteristically unsupportive (Bell-Scriber, 2008). Bell-Scriber also notes that nurse instructors, overwhelmingly female, are frequently unaware of the needs and triggers that stimulate frustration and stress in the male student. Males have also expressed perceived discrimination in the clinical setting although this is generally bias influenced by perceived role identity within settings such as labor and delivery and pediatrics.
            The belief that a woman and a man are equal in skills and outcomes reveal a direct contrast when both sexes develop opposing experiences and perspectives about the learning environment and process associated information differently. Apparently, the number of years an instructor teaches does not play a role when perceiving influences that affect learning. Many factors play into this and more research underpinning educators’ influence regarding students’ ability to learn is clearly indicated.
Themes Influencing Climate
            There were five themes generated from the study: 1) Nurse educators’ behaviors and characteristics; Micro-inequalities inherent in instruction delivery. Subtleties such as conversive terseness, body language, gestures, tone, inferring a diminutive attitude toward male learners feelings and thoughts, and absence of interaction all relay an atmosphere that erodes the learning climate. It was noted that nurse educators often fail to understand male students and perceive their behaviors as lazy. Female learners on the other hand were perceived as more nurturing and caring endearing stronger support from their instructors. 2) Meaningful experiences; all male learners described meaningful experiences occurred away from their instructors with their patients while most females described experiences occurring with their instructor as meaningful. 3) Peers’ behaviors and characteristics; Male learners experienced support from their peers as a prospective nurse while some of their instructors questioned their motivations. 4) Education environmental factors; Classroom size inhibited interaction due to males fearing being focused on when asking questions. Textbooks showed a strong disparity using females as examples while omitting males. The use of the terms her and she where noted as universal in some textbooks and handouts. In addition to these influences, male learners noticed their continued diminishing population, which enhanced other negative climate variables. 5) External environmental factors; Men often experienced inadequate social support from their peer group, family, and friends. They were sometimes teased or their intentions questioned. This was known to have a stifling effect (Bell-Scriber, 2008). 
Application to Practice
According to the National League for Nursing (Adams et. al, 2005), a core competency of nurse educators should be the ability to develop an environment that is conducive to learning for all students regardless of cultural variable including age, sex, and minority status. Traditional-age males are no exception. Nontraditional-age males do not experience the same difficulties as their life experience and coping abilities have evolved better equipping them to overcome perceived challenges noted by traditional-age male learners (Bell-Scriber, 2008). There are many strategies to consider in addressing this educational challenge. Nurse educators can be encouraged to allow for outside observers or culturally aware colleagues to evaluate their educational delivery methods via direct observation, video, or audio recording. Other strategies could include incorporating assessment rubrics for prospective nurse educators as a part of the hiring process. A continuous plan of action could also be incorporated in the workplace raising awareness of bias and climate indicators that inhibit success for all minority classes. Cohort relationships can also carry strong importance though the student learner process. Developing methods to encourage healthy male-female relationships within student populations can foster friendships, socialization, and camaraderie that may extend far beyond nursing school. This socialization process has been shown to help diminish stress affiliated with male learners (Bell-Scriber, 2008). Addressing these issues proactively can help reduce the projected nursing shortage expected to grow in the next 20 years both in the in field and education institutions (Barker, 2009).
Understanding the circumstances unique to the male learner is critical to nursing education. How nursing instructors construct their message, encourage interaction, foster relationships is dependent upon identification of the needs of their learners. The nurse educator holds the experience of their students’ learning in their hands. Creating a climate that meets the needs of the male learner can further encourage altruistic purpose and enhance the understanding of nursing in the minds of men. It is true; men are traditionally considering ways to increase income through the field of nursing. By igniting awareness in the delivery process, educators can contribute significant depth and width to male learners understanding. The efforts nurse educators make in delivering meaningful and rewarding education should be more readily understood and appreciated by male learners. In doing so, educators can help develop traits in male learners that may foster an increased interest in delivering those same learned rewards to other prospective nurses.
AACN, (2011). Financial Aid. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Retrieved December 6, 2011 from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/students/financial-aid
Barker, A. (2009). Advanced Practice Nursing: Essential Knowledge for the Profession. Sudburry, Ma: Jones and Bartlett.
Bell-Scriber, M. (2008). Nursing Education Research: Warming the nursing climate for traditional-age learners who are male. Nursing Education Perspective. 29(3), May/June:143-150. Retrieved December 6, 2011 from http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com.library.gcu.edu
Adams, C., Aucoin, J., Lindell, D., Connolly, M., Devaney, S., Love, A., Ortelli, T., Sharts-Hopko, N., Timmons, M., Zhan, L. (2005). The Scope of Practice for Academic Nurse Educators. National League for Nursing. Retrieved December 7, 2011 from http://www.nln.org/publications/scope/index.htm