AD

Guest Post: Is Circumcision a Christian Thing to Do?

admin December 10, 2011

Today we have a guest post by Lori Winter, of Laurel of Leaves.  Circumcision is yet another topic I’m passionate about, but one I haven’t yet posted on.  Lori’s passionate too and offered to write on the topic, so I took her up on it!  We chose not to circumcise our boys after extensive research.  Lori’s addressing the topic from a religious standpoint today.  There’s some really excellent information in here.  Thanks Lori!

If you are the parent of a baby boy, the issue of circumcision has most certainly come up. Maybe you didn’t give it a second thought, simply accepting it as a natural course of action for babies born in these days of modern civilization. Maybe you believed the doctors when they said it was a necessary medical procedure for males, required for the prevention of infection or the growth of abnormal body parts. Or maybe you are still researching the issue, deciding if circumcision is indeed necessary.

But if you live anywhere else in the world other than America, you’re probably reading this thinking, WHAT?!

That’s because only 2% of the world’s population is circumcised (9/10ths of those being in America). That’s right, a whopping 2%. And I don’t see American men being particularly healthier in general than the rest of the world’s population, do you? I recently spent nine months traveling in New Zealand and an informal poll among people we met revealed that circumcision isn’t even considered at the birth of baby boys anymore. Further research revealed that people all over the world find it odd that infant male circumcision is a routine medical process in America.

Even many big, “official” organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society, etc. don’t find any overwhelming medical benefit to routine circumcision. Dr. Richard Gates says, “It’s probably safe to say that the science is relatively thin on any true medical benefit.”

Other organizations do their best to convince people that modern circumcision will reduce the male’s risk of penile cancer or HIV (and while it might slightly reduce these risks, it’s only by a very small margin), but when these issues can be easily prevented through other methods like nutrition, reduced exposure to toxins, using proper protection during sex, etc., why do we as a culture still remove a male baby’s entire foreskin? Did God accidentally create us with extra body parts that need to be removed?

Of course the answer to that question is no, but I’m sure many of you are crinkling up your forehead as you read, wondering why then did God command it of His people in the Old Testament, and why was Jesus Himself circumcised?

Why Is Circumcision in the Bible?

First, it helps to understand why circumcision took place among the Israelites at God’s command. The practice itself took place in many other cultures for various reasons before Abraham was asked to do it. But in Genesis 17 we see that it was as a “sign of the covenant” between God and His people.

It wasn’t for medical reasons that God’s people started the practice of circumcision. It was a sign of God’s covenant with the Jews. It was a foreshadowing of the blood that Jesus would ultimately shed on the cross. It was a reminder to the people that blood was necessary for the forgiveness of sins (like animal sacrifices), but it’s not the blood of bulls and goats that wipes away offenses anyway. It would be the blood of a perfect Messiah, born into the world as a little baby, that would ultimately bring redemption and healing to the people.

And now that His sacrifice is finished, we live on the other side of the cross. New Covenant writers talk about the need for faith, not circumcision, to enter into the promises of God. It’s not about the body anymore!

Same Word, Completely Different Process

This is probably the most important part of this whole article. Not only is circumcision not needed as a Christian, for spiritual or medical reasons, but modern circumcision is completely different from the process that took place in Biblical times.

Even if circumcision in the Old Testament was meant to be a symbol of the sin of the world, it would seem cruel of God to ask His people to chop off a very sensitive and functional part of their body, right? That was my first thought as I began to research circumcision. And yes, while the process the Israelites went through was still painful (I mean, come on, it was a foreshadowing of the incredibly painful death and bloodshed of the Messiah), it was nothing like what happens in hospitals (or even Jewish ceremonies) today.

Biblical Circumcision

Here’s what happened when Abraham was circumcised (all the way up to about A.D. 140):

 

The loose edge of the foreskin was pulled down and just the tip was removed. Most of the foreskin was still left intact. This means that the penis did not lose its sensitivity, the protective benefits of the foreskin, or the natural lubrication for sexual intercourse that comes from having a mucoid lining of the inner prepuce.

Pharisaic Circumcision

Because so little of the foreskin was removed during circumcision, some men were able to pull the foreskin down and make it seem as if they were uncircumcised. This caused the Pharisees to throw a bit of a hissy fit and create new rules and new procedures to make sure that Jews were circumcised and stayed that way.

Since about A.D. 140, circumcision has looked like this:

 

The foreskin was forcibly retracted and the mohel (the circumciser) would tear the foreskin with his fingernails. All the flesh from the base of the glans up to the tip was removed. The result?

  • Penis loses its sensitivity
  • Flesh becomes thickened and scarred
  • Natural lubrication qualities are gone
  • Ridged bands of highly specialized nerve endings are gone

(Thanks to FishEaters for the images and great information)

Modern Circumcision

Fast forward to Victorian America in the mid-1800s and you find doctors like Edward H. Dixon who claimed he ‘cured’ masturbation by circumcising infants. The process was much the same as Pharisaic circumcision, but with the use of a Plastibell or clamp shoved between the foreskin and the glans, tearing the tissue in its way.

As I said above, most doctors and major medical associations now agree that there is no medical need for circumcision. Why, then, is it one of the most common routine medical procedures in the world?

I chalk it up to ‘cultural momentum’ and tradition. It reminds me of the story of one wife and mother who always cut the end off their Sunday roast. Her daughter asked her one day, “Mom, why do you cut the end off the roast?” The mother said, “Well, that’s what my mother always did.” So she called up her mother to ask about the roast. Her mother had a similar response. “That’s what my mother always did!” Another phone call to her mother finally gave them an answer. The great-grandmother told them, “We were a poor family and the roast wouldn’t fit in the one pan we had, so I always cut off the end.”

If you’d like to read more about circumcision as a medical procedure, check out my recent post: Modern Circumcision is Not Necessary, Natural, or Biblical.

What are your thoughts? After reading this, do you think modern circumcision is a Christian thing to do?

 

 

 

Lori Winter is the voice behind Laurel of Leaves. She writes about getting back to her roots: real food, barefoot running, herbal remedies, and more. She cooks, bakes, puts food on her face, and don’t be surprised if she stirs up a little controversy!

 

Confused about vaccines?

Vaccine guide ck

Get our FREE no-nonsense vaccine guide. Answer your questions with rational, fact-based information instead of fear.

This is the writings of:

admin
AD

37 Comments

  1. I have no boys yet, but you have certainly given me much to think about.

    Reply

  2. There is nothing good about circumcision. Like you stated, most doctors readily agree that there is no medical reason for circumcising baby boys. So, if we're not helping them at all, then the useless, aimless, awful pain and potential for emergency, injury, and even hemmhorage and death is just for vanity? Doesn't seem Christian to me! 😉

    Reply

  3. What musn't be forgotten is that there are far-reaching effects of circumcision. I am a woman, yet I am a victim of my husband circumcision, as are many, many women. I am so very heartened to have found that there is hope in restoration.

    Reply

  4. The "reasons" for circ-ing do not stand up to any evidence (as you state in your post). If we lived in a place lacking nutrition, clean water, hygine, etc, then perhaps there would be a reason. But we do not.

    My family upholds our Christian beliefs to the fullest, but circ-ing our little boy is not one of them. He is intact, and I know he will thank us one day.

    Reply

  5. Being from new zealand, I found it very strange when I found out that circumcision was pretty much almost compulsory in america. Its not something that anyone ever considers here unless for religious reasons, but I've never met anyone who has circumcised their baby. As a Christian its not something that I would have ever considered personally, as I believe the new covenent is about circumcision of the heart not the body.

    Reply

  6. The diagrams you've posted showing the difference in modern day circumcision and, for lack of better word, "historical," circumcision are interesting. I have one son and three daughters. We never even considered having our daughters circumcised. Interestingly enough, that practice is called female genital mutilation here in the US! Nor did we circumcise our son. We decided to keep him whole for many reasons, but a Biblical reason was never something we thought of, honestly. Your discussion from a Biblical perspective is very interesting. Thanks for this post! If you save just one baby boy, you've done a fantastic thing!!!

    Reply

  7. Thanks for all the comments and encouragement everyone! This can tend to be a very polarizing topic – even among Christians (believe it or not). Thanks also to Kate for letting me get the facts out there! 🙂
    -Lori @ Laurel of Leaves

    Reply

  8. I have to say this post is very well constructed and very easy to read and follow. I would forward this to anyone needing a good explanation on circumcision and why it shouldn't be done. Very good job!

    I must agree too, that modern day circumcision is probably done "just because." Like a habit. Parents do it just because they think it's the way it needs to be.

    Honestly, it has never made any sense to me. Why cut off something that was meant to be there? As if it were a mistake?

    But I never knew the reason why circumcision started in the first place, so I was very glad to have that explained in your article.

    Reply

  9. I used to be adamantly against circumcision, though my husband insisted our 2nd boy was circ’d like his older brother (I was ignorant with the 1st). We went on to have 2 more boys, and neither one were circ’d. I thought I had one!

    Then we realized that (I’ll just be blunt here) Christianity is based on a lie and is a false religion, and that we SHOULD follow God’s law (Torah). In fact, I guess I never noticed in all my 30+ years of Christianity, but at least TWICE in the Torah (Deut 4:2 and 12:32) God says not to add to or take away from His commands……. How many books were added after that? So then they should ALL be tested against God’s commands, and if they disagree, then they are wrong.

    Much, much study went into that, and I don’t expect most Christians to agree with me (at least not without a ton of study and prayer, lots of revelations and “unlearning” false doctrines), but what I got out of this blog post is how the biblical circs were done so differently than modern medical circs. So now I am on a mission to find someone who will do this for our 3rd and 4th boys, not in the modern, barbaric way, but in the way God intended., and as a SIGN that we are His. 🙂

    Thank you for the info!

    Reply

  10. I’m going to be wildly unpopular for saying this, but I want to offer a couple thoughts for perspective…
    First off, there actually ARE benefits to circumcision. One is the reduced risk of transmitting bacteria such as HPV (human papilloma virus) to a sexual partner. Studies have shown that cervical cancer rates in women are significantly lower in populations where their partners are circumcised. And, right or wrong, let’s face the fact that not every baby boy is going to grow up to marry as a virgin and stay monogamous. Even if a man was free of HPV or other STD’s, it is still 100% more likely that he and his wife will pass a yeast infection back and forth, should she break out with one. This makes both partners miserable and interrupts their sex life in a big way. Circumcision prevents the man from harboring yeast and bacteria. In this way, many women are not “victims” of their husbands’ circs but rather beneficiaries. Ask me how I know. 🙁
    OK I’m going to be really frank here… Smegma is another consideration… that is the name of the nasty film of skin cells, urine, and bacteria that build up underneath the foreskin. Even if a man yanks the skin back all the way and washes every single day, there’s enough there after just a few trips to the little boys’ room to create an odor that is a sexual turnoff and passes that odor on to his partner. To prevent this, he’ll have to wash underneath his foreskin right before sex every time, which seriously hampers spontaneity. Not to mention that this hygiene is going to have to continue his entire life, even after he’s too old to do it himself. He’ll have to endure the humiliation of having nurses or other family members wash under his foreskin for him. My sister had to perform this task as a nursing assistant and she can vouch that the men HATED it and were humiliated.
    There isn’t a day that goes by that my husband doesn’t question why his parents didn’t get him circumcised. He does NOT thank them for leaving him “intact,” he wishes he didn’t have all these issues to contend with. He has even considered circumcision as an adult. Not for religious or medical reasons at all… just for hygiene reasons and out of sheer annoyance.
    I appreciate all you mommies just wanting to do the right thing by your sons, but please open your minds to the fact that there can be good reasons for circumcision that you’ve never considered.

    Reply

    • Thanks for your perspective, Lisa.

      I do have to point out that the issues your husband experiences are not universal. I know uncircumsized men who have never had much of an issue with smegma — it didn’t seem to build up too much or cause a big issue. And I don’t personally consider the cleanliness factor a reason to amputate a part of the body. With the older men, they probably also need help eating and wiping their bottoms after they use the bathroom…right? If they need help cleaning their penises they probably need the other help too. I’m sure all of that is humiliating. I don’t see that this is a special circumstance. Even circumcised men would need help bathing, the only difference is there wouldn’t be a foreskin to retract….

      Bottom line, for me…at least he has a choice. He could totally get circumcised if he chose to do so and that would be completely fine. It’s his body, and nobody is against circumcision of a consenting adult! Once it’s done, though, it can’t be undone, which leaves a man with no choice in the matter. You know men who wish their parents had done it…I know men who wish their parents hadn’t. Only one group of men actually has a choice, “annoyance” or not.

      Reply

    • Smegma is found in both genders and is actually a build up of natural oils and skin cells and actually moisturizes the glans/clitoris and has microcidal benefits – regular bathing doesn’t along smegma to accumulate and myself and my friends who are intact have never had a smegma build up. The HIV claims have proven to be false as the African trials were methodologically flawed – in fact research the same year conflicted female circumcision (removal of the clitoral hood) also had the same benefits – which many Egyptians promote female circ for the same exact reasons Americans do so for males. Much more research across the globe including India Australia and the US concluded circumcison offered now benefit in regards to HIV an STDs especially as America has the highest rates of these infections in the first world 😉

      Reply

  11. Circumcision Verses:
    Verses compiled from drmomma.org, specifically for Christians to consider:

    “Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you.” – Gal 5:2

    “And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples.” – Gal 6:13

    “For there are many who rebel against right teaching; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money” – Titus 1:10-11

    “Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits.” – Phil 3:2-3

    “And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from Christ…you have fallen from grace.” – Gal 5:3

    “As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision [Old Covenant]? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision [New Covenant in Christ]? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called.” – 1 Cor. 7:17

    “And some men came and were teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’ But Paul and Barnabas together had great dissension and disputing with these men. . . Then Peter stood up and said to them ‘…Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” – Acts 15:1-2, 7, 10

    “But if I still proclaim circumcision. . . then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.” – Gal 5:11

    “I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!” – Gal 5:12
    “[Keep in Step with the Spirit] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
    But we were gentle[a] among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 1 Thessalonians 2:7
    And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31
    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
    But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:18
    Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:7
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
    Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— Galatians 3:13
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

    How can you NOT back it up with the Bible? Forget circumcision! There would be several “benefits” to hacking off all kinds of body parts. But it’s not the right thing to do, unless necessary. God created the human body, and God doesn’t make mistakes. Done.

    Reply

  12. Circumcision wasnt a sign of God’s covenant. In fact, circumcision was not mentioned until the SECOND time the covenant was mentioned. This is because the first time, Abraham’s fertility was not dependant on circumcision. However, he then lay with haagar and it was after this sin that circumcision came into play. He had to be punished, to cut off that which caused him to sin. Circumcision was not ever PART of the covenant, it was PENANCE that he had to pay before the covenant could be fulfilled.

    Reply

    • I realize this thread is ancient and you may never see this. But Why did God also have to punish little 8 day old babies, the descendants of Abraham too?

      Reply

  13. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article! We had every intention of circumcising our son due to the “cultural momentum” you mentioned above…We had our son peacefully at home… A few days postpartum our midwife sat us down and explained the risk and how unnecessary circumcision truly is. We listened and held our perfect little boy even closer! I was a little hung up on the biblical side of circumcision as everything my parents had taught me said that it was the best and only thing to do. My husband (who is circumcised) was quick to reassure me that circumcision is by no means biblically necessary and he was all for leaving our son intact. I am so thankful for the information I received and a supportive, loving husband…We did get plenty of resistance from my family but I have never had an issue standing up for what I believe in, and hope to continue spreading the knowledge I have little by little! Thank you for this clear, concise and intelligent post!

    Reply

  14. I think it comes down to parental preference…pure and simple. I don’t think it is either a Christian or non-Christian thing to do at all. Salvation is NOT dependent on circumcision nor is it a sin to circumcise or not to circumcise. I think some of the comments are a bit ridiculous and take this to the extreme. Bottom line – do your own research, make your own judgements, and do what you feel is best for your own child…circumcision or not 🙂

    Reply

    • Hi Litlle Polly,

      Better yet, how about leaving it up the child to have it done as an adult.
      After all it is his penis right? His parents will never use it.

      His Body, His Choice

      Reply

  15. The Old Testament Laws were largely for protection of the Jewish race. The dietary laws and cleanliness laws protected them from disease, including circumcision.
    With that said, I don’t care either way what people choose. During my days working in the medical field, I will say that I regularly saw grown men come into the hospital for circumcisions due to frequent infections both bacterial and fungal.
    I have a friend who had to take her young son for antibiotics and antifungals a few weeks ago for his uncircumcized penis.
    My husband is circumcized and we have a very active and satisfactory sex life. Do penises really need to be more sensitive than they already are if circumcized?!

    Reply

    • I think the “circumcision reduces sensitivity” argument is just to guilt trip women who make the decision to circumcise (but don’t have the anatomy to know the argument is a lie).

      The absence of an unneeded flap of skin hasn’t affected (in a negative way) you or your husband’s lives, or millions of other couples since Abraham.

      I’ve even read of “reduced sensitivity” as being a good thing, and enabling a man and his wife to enjoy intimacy for longer, though such accounts are rarer as they require a guy to have experienced such as uncut and cut, when most are snipped at birth.

      Reply

      • You are wrong.

        The foreskin contains 20,000 nerve endings. Those are removed during a circumcision. Plus, the glans are exposed, and become chapped (instead of soft. Both of these result in the loss of sensitivity.

        Circumcision can cause painful erections, difficulty achieving orgasm, and much more. It can even, when botched, cause excessive bleeding, loss of the penis, and even death. It certainly has hurt people!

        Besides that, Biblical circumcision is nothing like it is today. It did not used to be the complete removal of the foreskin. I suggest you research it before sharing uninformed opinions.

        Reply

  16. Circumcision in the Old Testament was NOT done for sanitary reasons. It was done as a sign of the Covenant with God, literally the Old Testament. OT circumcision as NOTHING like today’s procedure, which removes all the foreskin, and completely exposes the glans. OT circumcision, was simply removing the excess hanging skin at the very tip. Thus, most, if not all, of the glans was still covered.

    It was the evil, religious, ungodly leaders, the Pharisees, which came up with the more radical method of circumcision. Why would Christians want to follow their example? Did not Jesus say to beware the leaven of the Pharisees?

    Christians today are unfortunately very foolish, and do not know the word of God, or basic historical Jewish and Christian teaching. If they did, they would NEVER allow their boys to be mutilated in this way. God is NOT pleased with this perversion that is forced on many American boys.

    Reply

  17. Since I’ve never had a penis, I left the decision of circumcision for our two boys up to my (uncircumcised) husband. Because of his experiences, he chose to have them circumcised. Just food for thought from that perspective.

    Reply

  18. Wow, my husband is uncirc’ed and we have never had any of the issues mentioned above…and we’ve been married 33 years!

    Reply

  19. Hmm…my lengthy comments on the tagged FB page at Modern Alternative Mama were mysteriously deleted. Let’s try again. We do want open argument when we post things publically, now don’t we?

    I find the lack of understanding the Jewish roots of the New Testament to be a huge problem in modern Christianity. An honest reading of the NT from a biblical-Jewish perspective makes it clear that the 1st-century “church” never thought of herself as separate and excluded from Judaism. She never imagined herself as replacing Judaism. She might have conceived herself as a reform with Judaism, but NOT as a separate entity.
    The writing of the Apostles assumes the believers to be a sect within the larger religion of Judaism. Yeshua (Jesus) was actually a Jewish teacher of the Torah. He kept the Torah, taught the Torah, and lived by the Torah. He taught his talmudim (disciples) to keep Torah in imitation of Him. He denounced the Sadducees, rebuked the Pharisees and brought correction to errant teaching, but He did not institute a new religion, nor did He cancel the Torah. He sought to bring restoration to the ancient faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He diligently sought after the lost sheep of Israel. He affirmed the words of Moses and brought clarification regarding the proper observance of G-d’s Law. His followers, the Apostles, also remained within the parameters of normative, 1st Century Jewish expression. They met daily in the Temple. They congregated in the synagogues. They proclaimed the Scriptures of Israel. They kept the biblical festivals, Sabbaths, dietary laws, and the whole of the Torah as best they were able.
    When Gentiles began to enter the faith through the ministry of Shu’al (Paul) of Tarsus, they too congregated in the synagogues and embraced the standards of biblical Judaism. They understood themselves to be “grafted in” to Israel and made citizens of the larger “commonwealth of Israel”. They were allowed certain dispensations. Ritual conversion through circumcision was not required of them. Neither were they forced to forsake their ethnic identity and ‘become Jewish’. Yet their faith was the faith of Israel, placed in the Messiah of Israel.
    The inclusion of Gentiles in the big tent of Judaism was unpopular. Jewish authorities in local synagogues pressured non-Jews to undergo formal conversion. So did many of the Jewish believers. Enter Sha’ul. In his epistles, Paul argued vociferously for the right of non-Jews to be recognized as “fellow heirs” with Israel but he NEVER abandoned the Torah. He was a Torah-observant Jew until the day he died. His enemies clamed otherwise. False rumors circulated regarding Paul and so he was asked to appear before the Jerusalem Council….not because they believed it, but because they wanted to clear his name.
    According to James (the brother of Yeshua), there were 3 specific allegations: he was teaching Jews to turn away from Torah, he was teaching Jews not to circumcise their children, and that he was teaching Jews not to live according to their customs. It is ironic that most Christian theologians have accepted these false allegations as gospel truth. In their zeal to believe that Paul taught against Torah, they naturally want to believe that the accusations were founded in the actual teachings of Paul. According to Christianity’s traditional view of Paul, they are quick to agree. “Of course Paul taught against Torah, against circumcision and against Jewish customs.”
    But he did not. His opponents and adversaries were misconstruing his inclusion of and leniency toward the new Gentile believers as an anti-Torah posture. James and the Jerusalem leaders had already endorsed that leniency and understood the rumors about Paul to be patently false. They said, “All will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law (Torah)”. – Acts 21:24 They rejected the notion that Paul was not Torah-obedient. Had Paul been anything other than a Torah-observant Jew, he should have seized the moment to correct the Jerusalem elders. He did not. Instead, he consented to their plan to demonstrate to all of Jerusalem that he was, indeed, Torah –observant.
    It is alarming that Christians have refused to accept the testimony of Paul, James, the elders of the Jerusalem assembly and the book of Acts. Instead, we have, for centuries, clung to the idea that Paul taught against Torah and lived a Torah-less life as a Christian. From our perspective, it is almost impossible to read Paul in context. We live in a day when the majority of Christians do not keep the particulars of Torah (Sabbath, festivals, etc.) Therefore, when we read Paul’s letters, his arguments often seem to be anti-Jewish and anti-Torah in defense of modern Christianity. But Paul did not live in our day. He never knew modern Christianity or even the Christianity of the Second Century Church Fathers. In Paul’s day, believers were still part of the larger Jewish community.
    It is important to remember when reading Paul’s letters, that we are reading only one side of an argument. Paul was locked in a long-term argument with other Jewish believers over the role and position of non-Jews in the Kingdom of Heaven. His opponents asserted that before a Gentile could be saved, he must first be circumcised (which is Paul’s day meant conversion to Judaism) and keep the whole Torah of Moses. Paul regarded these requirements, which they regarded as NECESSARY FOR SALVATION, as an insult to the grace afforded in Messiah.
    From Paul’s vantage, for a Gentile believer to become circumcised under the aspics of a ‘conversion’ to Judaism was redundant. It was an insult to Messiah because it implied that faith in Him was not adequate to secure a position in the covenant with Israel. The convert has opted to accomplish his participation in Israel through his own physical efforts.
    In Galatians, Paul responded to his opponents’’ teaching by forbidding the Galatians to circumcise. He may have gone so far as to discourage all Gentile believers from circumcision as long as the commandment of circumcision was being misunderstood as a means for acquiring salvation. In the case of Gentiles with Jewish heritage, however, Paul did not hesitate to CIRCUMCISE. In fact, he PERSONALLY oversaw Timothy’s circumcision. Gentiles like Titus were encouraged to remain uncircumcised so long as circumcision was understood as the ticket into the Kingdom.

    When read outside the context of this argument, though, we are apt to misunderstand Paul completely. When we forget that he was arguing against requiring Gentiles to be circumcised in order to merit salvation, we are apt to suppose that he was arguing against keeping Torah. But he was only arguing that Torah and circumcision could not be regarded as prerequisites for salvation.

    Reply

    • Hi Liz,

      The comment itself is no issue, I often post points that disagree with me. I do NOT, however, like it when people are rude and condescending, as you are in the beginning of the comment, and I will not post comments from you in the future if you speak that way.

      Reply

  20. If I may ask, for the person who said “food for thought,” how is it food for thought with nothing specific as to reasons? Just that a husband chose to do it? I personally believe that each spouse should be actively involved in important decisions.

    The main reason I wrote though, was, I’d really like to read what else Laurel has to say about this, but the link appears to be dead. Did her blog move?

    Thanks.

    Reply

  21. Great article. I chose to have my son circumcised after conversations with doctors and two specific men in my life. The doctors gave me all medical info, but my dad and another good friend really changed my mind. Neither of those 2 men had been circumcised as babies and each had strong opinions in favor of circumcision based on their experiences. They lived it and I really listened to their arguments. I don’t feel I can give their stories here, they are not mine to share, but it was enough to convince me to change my mind.

    Reply

    • Good for you, Mary. I respect parents who do the research, and decide to go ahead with what they think is best for their children.

      I also respect women who choose to circumcise, and post their justifications for it, as there are many haters who try to shame people, especially women, from even posting their opinions.

      I think men can actually be more emotional about this issue than women (focusing on the pain and wanting to be like dad), and think women are therefore in a better position to make an objective decision, once they are aware of all the facts.

      Reply

  22. Anyone who takes a knife to a helpless infant or lets a doctor take a knife to that most sensitive skin is a butcher. We are not Israelites and we do not torture our children thus. Let him, the child, determine what his body should look like. The foreskin is the most natural, whole vestige of his humanity. The minute you touch it or allow a doctor to touch it you have committed a sin.
    Leave him whole. He can decide upon maturity whether he wants the most sensitive part of his body to be excised.

    Reply

  23. Hi I am a male nurse. I and my son are both circumcised and I am glad we are. I work in a pediatric hospital and I see cases of phimosis and posthitis all the time. Some require circumcision under general anesthesia. And all involve needless suffering and antibiotic use. These cases are not always among uneducated parents, many of these parents are very educated and aware of the need to clean the under the foreskin. Little boys can get these infections from almost anywhere… From swimming in natural bodies of water to using public restrooms. It is the wiser and safer choice to circ with the plasti-bell method at 1 week of life.

    Reply

    • Oh gosh…please don’t give such wrong advice!

      You should NOT try to clean under the foreskin in infancy! It is fused to the glans naturally and retracting causes it to tear, which can lead to adhesions, scarring, and infections. THIS is why these boys end up with problems that “require” circumcision.

      As long as it’s fused, leave it alone. Just wipe the outside of it, that’s it. Only once it naturally retracts should you encourage the boy to do so himself and rinse with water.

      Reply

  24. Old Law is still in Full Effect! Western Christendom reinvented itself after the Second Jewish Revolt of 134 a.d. After this schism Roman banned circumcision and most everything else that appeared Jewish.

    After 140 a.d. a Roman Merchants son named Marcion came up with a hyper grace doctrine that we merely need to claim the name Jesus and all will be well; we can remain in our state of disobedience until the end. Marcion was deemed a heretic in 140 a.d., but most of his doctrine was cannonized by the Roman Church Council of Laodecia 363 a.d., and “the Law was done away with,” has been the Western (Roman Tradition) ever since.
    Paul was battling Orthodox Jews that were claiming that all one needed to do in order to be saved was adhere to there lifestyle which included circumcision. These people were negating Messiahs atonement on the Cross.
    But as Paul stated in Romans ch 3: 31 “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary we establish the Law.”

    Paul earlier in the same chapter asks, “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect.”
    Paul frequently makes reference to Jeremiah ch 4: 4 and a circumcision of the heart made without hands, but if we look at the passage in Jeremiah this circumcision of the heart begins with our physical circumcision. Just as Avraham divided the flesh of beast and Yahova passed through the midst as a Pillar of Fire and Column of Smoke, he finishes the process with a “circumcision made without hands.”
    When the Covenant was given to Avraham it was for Avraham’s offspring and the alien among them. When the Law was given at Sinai, it was given to Israel and the Alien Sojouner among them. Paul says there is now no distinction between Jew and Gentile.

    If you will look in Colossians ch 2, we have the famous verse that has been spuriously interrupted “the Law has been hung on the Cross,” but the actual greek reads that “the Record of Sin has been cancled out.” Paul goes on to instruct the gentile colossians to not let other gentiles judge them for their observance of Jewish customs.
    If we back up in this same chapter of Colossians Paul says in verse 8, “and in him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands…” “You were also circumcised…” The Colossians were circumcised and practicing Jewish Law.

    If Paul were so adamit about circumcision, why does he circumcise Timothy in Acts ch 16.
    In acts ch 15 the elders give the gentiles some preliminary instruction, and then in verse 21 state “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogue every Sabbath.” They were expected to keep Mosiac Law; the whole deal!

    Ezekiel ch 44 speaking of Messiah Kingdom Come states in verse 9 “Thus says the Lord God, no foriegner uncircumcised of heart, and uncircumcised of flesh, of all the foriengers among the Sons of Israel shall enter My santurary.”

    That’s pretty strong language, and I’ll trust it over a Tradition advocating disobedience!

    Shalom

    Michael W Cuber

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

Meet My Family
Top
Confused about vaccines? Grab our FREE Vaccine Guide for real, science-based answers.