Bryan Fischer Says Borders Are Set by God and Are Not to be Crossed Without Permission

braynfischerafaBryan Fischer said in a column at BarbWire yesterday that [o]ur southern border is there by God’s design.” That “What we learn from the Bible is that borders are God’s idea, and that such borders are to be respected. They are not to be crossed without permission.”

What we learn from the Bible is that borders are God’s idea, and that such borders are to be respected. They are not to be crossed without permission.

Crossing a border without permission is like breaking in the back door of a house to help yourself to goodies instead of being invited in by the host through the front door. You might get to eat either way, in the same house and from the same cupboard, but in one case you would be doing something respectful and civil and in the other doing something that rightly should land you in jail.

The Scriptures make it clear that national sovereignty, including clearly defined borders, is God’s idea. In Acts 17:26, we read, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” (Emphasis mine throughout.)

Two things, we are told, are under God’s sovereign control: how long a nation lasts, and where its borders are. The verb translated “having determined” is the Greek verb “horizo,” from which we get the word “horizon.” It means “to mark out, to define.” So God has marked out and defined the borders of each country.

Our southern border is there by God’s design. To disregard it, to treat it as if were not there, to regard it as something not worth respecting and defending, is an insult to the God who put it there for our benefit.

The lesson? Each nation’s sovereignty is marked by its boundary, and each nation has the moral right to decide who will be given permission to enter its sovereign territory. Moses recognized this, and so should we. The only exception is under circumstances of a just war.

Bottom line: borders are biblical, and are there by God’s sovereign design. And they are to be respected by everyone.

This is almost beyond belief, if only because the Jews themselves completely ignored the sacred inviolability of borders when it came to the Pagan Canaanites once they arrived in the Promised Land. God himself ordered them to violate borders, cities, women, and children.

Another problem is that this argument largely comes down to the highly problematic Acts of the Apostles. I say problematic of course because Acts presents us with many problems, including a Jerusalem – clearly a Jewish city – overrun with Christians.

The stories of early mass conversions in Acts are simply ridiculous. Were they to be true, Jerusalem, as pointed out by would have been the first Christian city.[1] If Rodney Stark’s figures are correct (and Bart Ehrman accepts them), then in 40 CE, four years after Paul’s conversion, there were only some one thousand or so Christians of all types. Hardly the stuff of wildfire expansion given that Jesus had died ten years before! Therefore, the wild claims of multitudes of people converted (Acts 2:41 and 21:20) are fantasy and should be seen as such.[2]

More damning still, where we can test it against Paul’s own writings, Acts falls short. The two accounts are irreconcilable. Samuel Sandmel’s verdict is that Acts has no “weighty, reliable information about Paul.”[3] Bart Ehrman points out that “Most scholars contend that Paul is a better source for knowing about Paul than Luke is – that where there are discrepancies, it is Paul who is to be trusted.”[4] David Bronson’s judgment in 1967 was that “In Acts we find Luke’s selection and interpretation of some early data. While this latter document is highly interesting and uniquely useful, it tells us more about Luke than about Paul.”[5]

For example, while Acts 10-11 also shows Peter starting the mission to the Gentiles, Paul’s own letters show not Peter, but Paul starting the mission to the Gentiles (Gal. 1:2). Both could not have been first! The two sources (Paul – Galatians 2:2 – and Acts 15:1-2) also disagree on the nature of the Jerusalem Council of 49 CE and how it came about. If Luke wrote Acts and was a companion of Paul, how could he have gotten Paul so wrong?

Speaking of differences, what about James the brother of Jesus and his followers in Jerusalem? The origins of the community are unclear. As Rabbi Samuel Sandmel has noted, “We do not know how it came into being…we know only that it existed.”[6] The reason for our ignorance is simple: We have only the apologia of Acts to guide us and despite its name, the author of Acts was not much interested in the Acts of Jesus’ disciples. Sandmel goes on to observe that “even if one accepts the entire narrative in Acts as historically reliable, one still has only scanty information about early Christianity.”[7]

Robert Eisenman, one of the book’s harsher critics, writes that, “The first ten or fifteen chapters of Acts are so imaginary as to contain no overtly historical material that one can entertain with any degree of certitude…So difficult to credit are the early chapters of Acts in their present form that many specialists simply jettison them altogether.[8]

If all this is not damning enough, the similarity of much of Acts of the Apostles to Hellenistic romance has also been well noted,[9] and Paul’s shipwreck, while almost certainly fictional, is quite realistic. Michael Grant, in fact, argues for the sense of realism imparted, saying “in its main lines it may be true”[10] and Bruce Chilton accepts that it is.[11]

Rodney Stark, an apologist if there ever was one, notes in its defense that the Acts account “is fully in accord with meterological and nautical conditions and principles.”[12] But as H.H. Huxley demonstrates, shipwrecks were a popular motif in ancient literature. They occurred “in Epic poetry…in comedy and tragedy, in lyric, elegiac, and didactic verse. History, epistolography, and philosophical prose furnish further examples.” And divine intervention while being tossed about in stormy seas was a Pagan motif far older than the book of Acts.[13]

Rather than citing Acts as evidence, as does Fischer, we should ask, why is Acts so off-base in so many ways? S.G.F. Brandon, in arguing that the author of Acts did not have Paul’s letters as reference when he sat down to compose his own account, argues for a late date for its composition, some 40 years or more after Paul’s Epistles, and “consequently represents a view of Christian Origins current in the Church some time after the destruction of Jerusalem,” and not the period it purports to relate. Nor must we forget to mention its apologetic purposes.[14]

Acts has been variously dated as early as c. 90 CE to as late as 135, a century after Jesus’ crucifixion and some 80 years after Paul’s death. And given that Irenaeus is the first to mention it in 180 CE, this latter date is certainly within the realm of possibility.[15]

Gerd Ludemann provides the following scathing analysis of Acts:

By interweaving history and legend, Luke confused facts, fiction, and faith. He blended historical and suprahistorical fact, thereby falsifying history for the sake of piety, politics, and power. This was clearly an offense against the rules of critical historiography even in his day. This evaluation is neither intended as denunciation nor rooted in skepticism. After all the issue before us is not a matter of taste, but of truth. Indeed, it is my close and critical inquiry into the details of Acts that has, as it were, obliged me to formulate such a harsh verdict – one which I hereby present for the process of verification and criticism that is inherent in public discourse.[16]

Acts, therefore, then cannot simply be taken at face value and accepted as an accurate, chronological and historical account of the Early Church. If we cannot trust Acts for history, how can we trust it accurately presents the words of a divine being?

Given the conflict between Acts and Paul’s own writings, if Paul did not say in his epistles what Acts says at 17:26, what reason is there for us to believe Paul said it at all? And Fischer wants to base our policy on something so unreliable? Not to mention the little problem that the Constitution, and not the Bible, is the law of the land.

Fischer has the right to believe his Bible says what he says it says, but those claims are, in the end, irrelevant in a pluralistic modern liberal democracy.

Notes:

[1] Rodney Stark. The Rise of Christianity, 1996: 5.
[2] For Stark, see Rise of Christianity (1996), 56-57, and Bart D. Ehrman. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (NY: Oxford University Press, 2004), 432.
[3] Samuel Sandmel, A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2005 [1956]), 264.
[4] Ehrman, Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene, 96 cf. The New Testament, 288: “In virtually every instance in which the Book of Acts can be compared with Paul’s letters in terms of biographical detail, differences emerge.”
[5] David B. Bronson, “Paul, Galatians, and Jerusalem,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 35, (1967), 119.
[6] Sandmel (1956), 40.
[7] Sandmel (1956), 263. Sandmel admits to being skeptical about the historicity of Acts.
[8] Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus (NY: Viking, 1996) and James D. Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2006), 76.
[9] Bart Ehrman, The New Testament, 134. Though Ehrman does not himself seem to be persuaded by this thesis, he notes that “Among the subgenres typically employed in the novels are travel narratives, shipwreck scenes, dialogues, speeches, and private letters – all of which are found in the book of Acts.”
[10] Michael Grant, Saint Paul (London: Phoenix Press, 1976), 11,
[11] Bruce Chilton, Rabbi Paul,: An Intellectual Biography (NY: Doubleday, 2004), 246. Gerd Ludemann shows a willingness to accept a trip to Malta but believes that the fact Acts suddenly seems to forget that Paul is a prisoner “cast doubt on the historicity of the whole episode.” See Gerd Ludemann, The Acts of the Apostles: What Really Happened in the Earliest Days of the Church (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005), 342.
[12] Rodney Stark, Cities of God (San Francsico: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), 16. Citing the studies of Jefferson White, Evidence and Paul’s Journeys (Hilliard, OH: Parsagard Press, 2001) Hanson (1968).
[13] H.H. Huxley, “Storm and Shipwreck in Roman Literature,” Greece & Rome 21 (1952), 117-124. See also Ludemann (2005), 333-334. Ludemann calls Acts 27 “a typical episode in a religious novel.” Ludemann would no doubt say of Grant’s credulity, since he says the same of James D.G. Dunn, The Acts of the Apostles (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996), 335, that “he places altogether too much trust in the verisimilitude created by ‘the details of the storm and the desperate measures taken.'”
[14] S.G.F. Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church (London: SPCK, 1957), 23. This apologetic purpose is present almost everywhere in Acts. Ludemann calls Apollos a “hot potato” – the nature of this hot potato being the pre-Pauline tradition that Apollos is “an independent Christian teacher.” See the discussion in Ludemann, The Acts of the Apostles, 246-249.
[15] Bart Ehrman, (The New Testament, 148) dates Acts to c. 80-85 CE while Samuel Sandmel (A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament, 263), places Acts “well after 115.” Lawrence Wills, “The Depiction of Jews in Acts,” 153, favors a date towards the end of the second century, saying the evidence for it is to be found in Acts itself, and lay in the fact that the split between Christians and Judaism appears to be “complete and in the past.” John Knox, Marcion and the New Testament (University of Chicago Press, 1942) 77-106, 124, views Acts as a response by the Church of Rome in the mid-second century to Marcion’s views. A mid-second century date is also argued for by J.T. Townsend, Burton Mack and J.C. O’Neill. W.H.C. Frend, (The Rise of Christianity [1984], 106, 122) argues for 62 CE as the date of its composition but 75-80 CE for its final version.
[16] Gerd Ludemann (2005), 363.

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41 Replies to “Bryan Fischer Says Borders Are Set by God and Are Not to be Crossed Without Permission”

  1. why do these politicians cite the bible like we are living in those days. governors are voted and sworn in to protect their states including the border that surrounds those states. I blame the governors/mayors/senators who run their states and who let their states be in poverty and who do not help their own people. that’s who I blame.

  2. If Gahd made national boundaries, why are Gahdly men like this always in favor of the U.S. violating other nation’s boundaries?

  3. “The only exception is under circumstances of a just war.”

    And just war is left up to religious freaks to whom any way is a just war.

    Fischer, your god is 2000 light years out trying to get away from people like you. This is not Palestine, this is not Canaan, this is America 2014 years later.

    My appendages, and this man wants to be in power of your soul? Does the bullshit never end with these fake power hungry so called christians?

  4. The world won’t survive the future if we don’t open up the borders. It just won’t work. Fischer is relic of the failed ancient tradition and he is doing everything to keep it going on. Why? Of course, he is making so much money from this! His net worth is in range of $10-40 million because he doesn’t like his salary to be known to the public.

    He’s a greed who, against #3 in Ten Commandments, are using God’s name to gain wealth and power.

  5. Okay, Fischer. Borders set by god? Then we should be giving Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona & Nevada back to the Mexicans.

    The rest of the country back to the natives.

    What’s that you say? This doesn’t count?

    Fischer and his ilk want the 19th century back complete with American expansionism and a legion of compliant, obedient, slave wage workers.

  6. Hraf, once again, your scholarly endeavor to debunk the rabble who know and say nothing, yet quote from “the Book of Razzle-Dazzle” is always enlightening!

    The very early works of Rodney Stark are different than his works that started appearing around, oh, let’s say, the time of “Hillary”. He used to be just a straight up hoochie-coochie sociologist…but, if you follow the money, it goes back to U of Virginia Sociology Dept (sorry I don’t remember Prof…Jeffery’s maybe) who started recruiting apologist to cover the tracks of right wing cult leaders…he died in the 90’s…I digress.

    H.H, Huxley also warned the US after WW2 of more radical totalitarians, that our public education should include courses on how to spot radial recruiters who steal minds/souls (like Nazis), but there was one Senator who stopped him–Joe McCarthy…I cannot find the text on-line any longer or I would site it.
    Keep up the good fight until someone finally finds Bryan in bed with another….

  7. “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” I take this to mean that he did not create the multitude of different races. Therefore does the bible recognize natural selection? I’d like to hear a creationist explain this one.

  8. Hypocritical liar. Scripture might say what he states but it does not mean what he states. These hateful people are disgusting. Very selective when it comes to scripture. Thous shalt not lie.

  9. I guess if borders are settled by God, that means the U.S. will have to return most of the SW to Mexico, and the original colonies to England.

  10. No Bryan you twit! Borders are set by War, politicians, and cartographers. In the old days that you are from even marriage determined borders via dowries. Why is it that your God only speaks to crazy people?

  11. And in what time frame did God say don’t mess with borders.. I mean.. The map of the United States certainly has changed over several years.. as with other countries around the world.. So did God hand down a timeline for these borders or what? Let him look at this.. really mess him up..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8OEuj6-pVg

  12. Fischer, I guess we need to give North America back to the Indians. And since most Mexicans are Indian, (Aztec & Spanish), they are all allowed to be here. And all whites go back to Europe where your borders exist, same with the black space. For these reasons, a world WITHOUT BORDERS or nationalist pride would save lives and prevent wars.

  13. A lot of people have been brain-washed from birth to believe and suck up this kind of truly evil crazy shit that assholes like this Bryan Fischer freak spew out of their orifices daily. Perhaps a real Zombie Messiah is now required to come and save them all and the rest of the world from the real “hell on earth” that they raise and perpetuate on a daily basis. In my opinion. People like this Bryan Fischer are the true followers of the Antichrist (Satan the devil) mentioned in the bible…

  14. I bet this guy believes in the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, also.

    God said it was ok for Christian white people coming to America to take the land away from the Native American Indians because white Christians are a superior race. And this is exactly what happened.

    It would interesting to hear his opinion on the “Personhood Amendment!”

  15. Well, let’s see, wasn’t it the right wing’s darling, Putin, that recently took over Crimea and tried to take Ukraine? Or didn’t God set those borders? Oh, I remember, those borders were set after the breakup of the USSR. So God works with the Godless also? Nice to know.

  16. “Two things, we are told, are under God’s sovereign control: how long a nation lasts, and where its borders are.”…I wonder if he is open to the idea that our time might be up, or God may be changing our border?

  17. “Borders” and I use the term loosely, have been moving around the earth since the planets creation. At one time there was just one massive continent, and then the plates continued to move and things changed. Scientists are well aware of the plates that are always moving beneath our feet. But he seems to deny this in thinking that borders never change and or designed by a diety. His argument is complete bunk. What does he say about when the dinosaurs ruled the earth? Did God intend them to stay within their “borders”, I don’t think so.

  18. Much of the southern U.S. border was created by the Gadsden Purchase in which the United States paid Mexico millions of dollars for territory in Arizona and New Mexico. Wait who am I kidding? This jackass will only turn around and say God gave us the money. Never mind.

  19. Psalm 2:1-8
    Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
    The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
    “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
    The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the LORD scoffs at them.
    He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
    “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
    I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:
    He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
    You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

    The nations will be destroyed, by the anointed, the messiah, Christ, so why try to preserve what the anointed has been commanded by the LORD to break to pieces?

  20. If borders are ordained by god and inviolate, everyone who isn’t pure Native American should leave.

    Fischer can be the first to go.

  21. Matthew 18:10
    See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

    Mark 10:13–16
    And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And she took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

  22. The bible says you can make slaves of your neighbors, but I don’t think Canada will go along with that idea.

    Leviticus 25:44-46
    As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

  23. Fischer makes a lot of sense… as long as you ignore practically every word attributed to Jesus.

    But then, I don’t think the bible ever said it would be DIFFICULT to spot the false prophets. Just look for the guys who never quote the parts in red print…

  24. -and if the bible turns out to be true, they’ll all have the same surprised expression on their faces when the trap door opens under their feet…

  25. The Cash Raper’s in sheeps clothing bloat my stomach. Their Jesus crossed all kinds of Borders to Run from persecution and Death. Go to Hell!

  26. In that case, America is an abomination because it broke ancient borders, and established a country upon sovereign nations. The U.S. would not be ‘created by God’ in this case, but would be an act of blasphemy.

  27. If set by God why did we need to do the Louisiana Purchase? Why the deal with the British allowing us most of Oregon and Washington?

  28. The American Christian doctrine of Manifest Destiny held that our borders should extend from the northernmost tip of Canada to the southernmost tip of Mexico.

  29. Good grief!!! I live in a Nation full of burglar descendants!!! I guess we can always locate the letters that the native-american folks send to the passengers of the Mayflower… that would clarify that all of them were invited to come over, therefore they didn’t violate America’s land/border/…. WHATEVER!!! These are man of god? What god?? not MY GOD!!!

  30. God save us from your followers! Where do these people keep coming from? Is there a secret farm somewhere outwest where they are producing the mindless wonders? Can we please find it and turn one of our errant misfiring drones loose on it?? I’m so sick of these morons.

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