Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Man's biggest problem is sin. We all agree with that. But it's an even bigger problem for the Calvinist caste system because if God ordains all actions deterministically, then God has ordained sin, as opposed to simply allowing it. This makes God responsible for sin, and makes God a sinner. This is the logical conclusion. But God cannot sin!
Arminians rightly put the blame for sin on humanity. We are so dead in our sins that only the grace of God can awaken us to accept Jesus Christ. But we do have the responsibility to have faith. Before I get a hundred "that's semi-pelagian 99% God 1% you," faith is not a work of salvation. The work of salvation was done on the cross by Jesus Christ. Faith is the recognition and surrendering to that work, and it's described that way in Holy Scripture.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Two thousand years ago, the Creator of everything joined His creatures on the planet He created for us. He became one of us, lived in one of the worst times of human history, and then died in the most terrible way imaginable. But He is not dead! Nay! He had the power to lay down His life and the power to take it back up again! He rose from the dead to defeat death for us. He took His Father's wrath for the sins we have committed, and endured the penalty for those sins on the cross of Calvary. Now, if we repent of our sins and trust Jesus for our salvation, we will join our Savior in an everlasting paradise, never to die, but to live for eternity praising the God who loved us so much!
While we reflect on the baby in the manger, Mary and Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds, the star, etc, let us remember that that little baby died from a Roman crucifixion for us.
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!!!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
- Wise men
- Black Thursday
What Christmas is all about
Jesus Christ being born and 32 years later dying on a cross, then raising from the dead three days later. This paid for the sins of those who trust in Him.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Do we remember that it's because of God's lovingkindness that He forgives us? It's not because He's obligated to. And it's only because of Christ's work on the cross that we are even able to come to God for forgiveness.
8 Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. 9 The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. 10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. 11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.Only God is good. He is the standard bearer for us to follow. We must be humble to follow Him, because the proud don't think they need forgiveness. And in verse 11 it's made clear that God does this, forgives the unforgivable, to display His glory, and mercy, and love. Praise be to God!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Bible IS inerrant and IS infallible and IS reliable. Modern liberalism says pish-posh to that and even in conservative circles about the best you get is, "oh, well it's certainly 'authoritative.'" Yeah, because it's INERRANT.
The Bible says it about itself in 2 Timothy 3:16. If you think the New Testament is scripture, then Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was writing about the New Testament as well. The book of 2 Timothy included. Key words, "GOD BREATHED." Otherwise, on what basis is the Bible authoritative?
You can keep your theological liberalism, I rest on the Word of God.
And kitten kitten, or whatever you call yourself, because I've forgotten since I deleted your comment. Anonymous filthy comments are kind of silly, especially when it comes to political satire. I'll be praying for you, my friend. I urge you to read other posts of mine and visit the blogs I link to over on the right.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We're too comfortable. Read the book of Judges to see what happened when His people became complacent, and even antagonistic toward God. God judges nations, ours is no different.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
He was right and almost prophetic. I fear that we are at the point in history when Americans have forgotten God, and therefore our Constitution has no basis. This is why it is ignored today, and will be ignored even more so tomorrow.
Frederick Douglas said in 1849, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or by both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress."
The American people have become sheeple. We do not stand up against injustice anymore. Therefore, we will be ruled by whatever we let our leaders get away with.
"I am concerned for the security of our great nation, not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.” -General Douglas MacArthur
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater
"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." -Mark Twain
"The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed." -Patrick Henry
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." -John Adams
"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government. Far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." -James Madison
We shall see what happens.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Now the Church is infatuated with the culture. We worry more about the multimedia displays than the word. We expect entertainment instead of repentance. Silly skits take the place of expository preaching. People have a cow if the sound isn't adjusted just right, instead of having a cow that people are completely ignorant about the wonderful doctrines of our faith. We sit, expect a nice cooshy message (Nothing too deep, mind you. Wouldn't want people to know too much about their faith) and hope it gets done before the football game is on. Oh! Don't forget, we must have our rock and roll concert Sunday morning, too.
Yep, we should definitely let culture dictate what we do for church...
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I'll tell you when there definitely will be death. When The Most Merciful, Lord Barack Hussein Obama signs the Freedom of Choice Act, hello unrestricted abortion! Yeah, good job with the whole "reducing abortions" thing.
If you're one of those people the Lord Obama has fooled into thinking that baby death isn't the most important issue, let's ask this aborted baby. "Baby, do you think abortion is the most important issue?"
Well there you have it, folks. Let's welcome our new Democratic Overlords.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
- Vote yes on Amendment 1
- Vote no on Amendment 4
- Vote no on Propositions A, B, and C
- Governor: Kenny Hulshof (R)
- Lt. Governor: Peter Kinder (R)
- Secretary of State: Mitch Hubbard (R)
- State Treasurer: Rod Farthing (Constituion)
- Attorney General: Mike Gibbons (R)
- District 1: Robb Cunningham (Libertarian)
- District 2: Todd Akin (R)
- District 3: Cindy Redburn (Constitution)
- District 4: Jeff Parnell (R)
- District 5: Jacob Turk (R)
- District 6: Sam Graves (R)
- District 7: Travis Maddox (Constitution)
- District 8: Richard Smith (Constitution)
- District 9: Blaine Luetkemeyer (R)
- President/Vice President: John McCain/Sarah Palin (R)
Monday, October 20, 2008
A quick jump over to Wikipedia and a few other sources shows that most claims concerning the similarities between Jesus and Horus are bogus. For instance, Horus' mother Isis was NOT a virgin when she conceived Horus, as shown by an ancient Egyptian relief that depicts the conception by showing his mother in a falcon form, hovering over an erect phallus of a dead and prone Osiris in the Underworld. Another claim these people find shocking is that supposedly Horus was born on December 25. That's irrelevant (and only has a 1 in 365 chance of being true). Nowhere does the New Testament associate this date with Jesus' birth at all. This is simply the date Christians have chosen to celebrate the birth. Did I mention Horus' head was a bird head?
It's convenient that the conspiracy books and websites have trouble producing the original Egyptian sources of these dumb claims.
This guy also threw around obscure and most certainly misquoted or out-of-context Bible verses to try and prove his point. When witnessing, I let most of those things go on by and focus on Christ. I did address some of them though.
Everyone deep down knows there's a God. His creation screams that He exists. We know paintings have painters because the painting exists. Same with buildings and builders. Creation has to have a creator. And don't use the, "but we can go see the painter or builder!" argument. I don't think any of you could go see DaVinci. The moral code that is pretty much universal to humanity is made evident in our conscience, which is an aspect of what God has written on our hearts. Evolution can't explain that (among a whole lot of other things).
The fact is, so many people love their sin so much they will use any excuse to not follow God. They will do anything or read anything that will help to convince themselves there is no God. Why? They don't want to believe there is Someone that expects certain things from us and knows when we fail because of our own stubborn choosing.
There is hope (do I sound like Obama there?). Put aside your pride. Repent of your sins. Trust Jesus Christ, the only wise and true God, for the forgiveness of your sins. He died 2000 years ago to pay the fine for breaking God's law.
It's okay. These guys heard the gospel.
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
Here is a great explanation of Osiris, Horus, and Jesus (the true God fyi ;-))
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Bush has 40 judicial appointments that the dems won't vote on. If Obamuhh gets in, he'll slap huge liberals into those spots. Any supreme court opening will also see a liberal appointment. That means for at least 20 years, and more likely forever, the face of America will be irrevocably changed. Abortion will continue unimpeded. We'll also likely see gay marriage down the road. But why stop there? With the definition of marriage destroyed, why not allow polygamy? Who wants to marry their goat? Everything goes!
We'll have a beefed up nanny state. More and more regulations not only on business, but on individuals. I love it when the government tells me how to live my life...not. He has already confirmed his belief of a Robin Hood style economy. Taking from the rich and giving to the poor will cause record unemployment and a general crap economy. Just look at where the dems have gotten us in two years.
So if he's elected, could anything stop the dem congress and Obamuhh from getting whatever they want? With Obama in the White House, the Dems controlling Cnogress and Obama's newly shaped Supreme Court seated, exactly what would there be to stop it? The leftwing media?
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
- “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — Santayana
- Speeches in stadiums filled with mesmerized, adoring audiences - Check
- An uninspiring background before meteoric rise - Check
- Creates his own new symbols of power - Check
- Associates with racists, hatemongers and violent radicals - Check
- A propaganda machine willing to show him only in the best possible light - Check
- Uses, “glorious leader” style Agitprop posters common in totalitarian nations - Check (see German campaign poster for example)
- Wants Secret Police force - Check
- Somebody powerful people think they can control - Check
- Often dismissed as a light-weight by his opponents - Check
- Seeks to replace God with the State - Check
- People adopting his name as their own - Check
- Inspires adoration art - Check
- Appropriates symbols of past German glory - Check
- Never plans on giving up power - Check (Obama to be president for the next “eight to 10 years”)
- A narcissistic megalomaniac - Check
- Brazenly Takes credit for other people’s accomplishments - Check
- Wants to build “youth” movement through Universal National State service - Check
- Acts as if in power before he is - Check
- Some followers believe him to be divine - Check
- Worshiped and aided greatly by the media - Check
- Has his own salute - Check
- Has thuggish supporters intimdating political opponents – Check
- Using the power of the State to silence critics - Check
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Martin Luther said, "The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men or women; for they despise the blessings of God, the Creator and Author of marriage." That's pretty direct.
Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute and the Bible Answer Man, says if you take chldren out of the equation of marriage, then sex becomes nothing more than a "profound form of play."
Other protestants who spoke against contraception (just to name a few):
- John Calvin
- John Wesley
- Robert Dabney
- Charles Spurgeon
- A.W. Pink
- Zacharius Ursinus
- Heinrich Bullinger
- Cotton Mather
- Herbert Leupold
- Johann Keil
- Franz Delitszch
- Matthew Henry
- Adam Clark
- John Machen
Remember, all of these guys used very strong language against the practice. They called it sin, and they didn't mince words.
One last question. If you're a parent, can you name me one of your children that you regret having? Are they a financial burden? Think about it.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
In times like these, it's easy to get discouraged or anxious or stressed out. We must remember who's in charge. We must have our theology in place as to who is soverign over our lives. God numbers each and every hair on our heads. He is eternally in control.
This is one of the most well know hymns of the faith, along with the possibly lesser known story that led to the writing of the hymn.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
So, I know some of you will continue to blindly follow the messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, but do some soul searching. Think about the fact that there were 9 months where you had no rights. Kind of like a slave...
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
This, my friends, is what we call MEDIA BIAS. Barack Hussein Obama has been in the eye of the media for 16 months. He's had glowing article after glowing article, even after stupid things he's said and done. "Don't want my daughters punished with a baby." Ring any bells? He's admitted to smoking crack and doing drugs. He can't speak without a teleprompter (see here and here). He ran down the country to a little girl (here). He still won't acknowledge the progress in Iraq due to the surge. HIS RUNNING MATE IS A PLAGARIST!!! My point is not to run the guy down, he's doing a good job of running himself down. I am pointing out the inconsistency of our drive-by media.
So here we have a devoted wife and mother who gave birth to a precious baby that happens to have down syndrome. How dare she!!! Oh, her daughter gets pregnant. Since when is the media concerned about that? Since it's a strong conservative woman who poses a political threat. They are questioning whether a mother should be vice president. Well Barack Hussein is a father of two young girls. Shouldn't he rethink running for president? It's disgusting to see this done by a media who stresses "Political Correctness" when it comes to people they like, but if it threatens their political aspirations, there be heck to pay.
In 2007, Newsweek did an article praising Mrs. Palin, but now that it's politically expedient, they throw together 3, count 'em, 3 full page articles bashing her in one day!
Let's review what they have against her:
- Her daughter is pregnant
- She's a mother
- uhhhhhh...yep that's what it comes down to
It's bull! Absolute crapola. It's sexism. And I don't go throwing "ism-s" around willy-nilly. Journalism is dead.I'd like to see an article, "Why Barack loves baby killing."
Sunday, August 24, 2008
- 47% of the congregation doesn't believe in salvation by grace
- 57% don't believe in the authority of the Bible
- Only 41% love God more than anything else
- 56% don't believe Jesus is the only way to heaven
Now, this is a "seeker sensitive" church, so maybe this is normal? According to the results, most of the respondents have attended the church for 1-5 years. Only 12% had been there less than a year. If you're still "seeking" after over a year (and up to five years!!!) of attending a church, something isn't going right.
The pastor, Tim Stevens, has written a book called Pop Goes the Church where he tries to get across that the way to reach people is to embrace pop culture and apply it to the church. I'm guessing he thinks he has some credibility on the issue since his church is huge. Well, I think these results show what you're getting in a church that has this kind of approach. You have a bunch of people sitting in the comfy chairs who don't believe in the essentials of the Christian faith. They do not have a Biblical worldview.
We need to be learning the BIBLE!!! The pastor is responsible for teaching the Bible and encouraging his congregation to study their Bibles. This modern approach is failing. I think this is obvious and don't understand why others can't see this. If we are preaching sermons based on "spandex," there's a problem. As Todd Friel says, "these are boys playing at church."
You can find the survey results here.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The most effective pastors I have met are the ones who let the elders and others take care of peripheral ministries in the church. They, in turn, were more prepared to teach and council people.
So should pastors just preach and council? No. As I said, he is the spiritual leader in the church. His managerial position is to make sure people are growing spiritually.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I could go on and on...and on about the reliability of the Biblical texts (which I did in a previous post). But I'll just post what Jesus said, "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished," (Matthew 5:18) and, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away" (Matthew 24:35), not done yet, "Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:17-18).
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
As you have seen, I will talk about passages of the Bible that I have been reading that catch my attention (as if any of them don't, lol). I try my best to write out what is going on and then try to make sense of how to apply the Biblical principles taught to people's lives. Keep in mind, I am not trained as a theologian or minister. Therefore, I won't ever try to exegete something that is beyond my capability. I will also research the passage and read what well respected Christian leaders have to say. If anybody sees something they think I should re-think, comment and I'll look into it.
I also will talk about things I see happening in the Church universal that are potentially harmful. This includes aberrant teachings and teachers. It is important for the body of Christ to always keep vigilant about what is being taught. The Bible makes it clear that false teachers will enter the church, and therefore we are to be discerning.
Less frequently, I will discuss the political spectrum.
What I believe:
- I affirm the five "solas" of the reformation
- The Bible, in its original autographs, is inerrant and infallible
- My theological stance Classical, Reformation Arminian
- Politically: I am conservative. I believe in a small government, I believe in a strict constructionist view of the Constitution, I believe abortion is evil and should be illegal, I believe society should help provide for those who cannot help themselves (i.e. physically or mentally disabled).
I may elaborate on specifics later, but if you keep reading this blog, you'll see what I believe.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Just think about that for a second. That man had more than likely been led around by various friends and family members for years. Yet they were never able to lead him where he ultimately needed to go. Now, although he probably didn't even realize it at this point, he was being led gently by the hand by the incarnate God. The one who spoke the universe into existence was taking him where he needed to go. Jesus cared enough for the man to lead him away from prying eyes and preserve his dignity.
After getting outside the village, Jesus does something I have always wondered about. He spit in the man's eyes, then laid His hands on them. The first time He asks the man if he sees anything. The man couldn't see clearly. He saw "men like trees" walking around. Jesus then laid his hands on his eyes again, and this time the man could see perfectly.
Did Jesus mess up the first time? Of course not. Nothing Jesus did was coincidental or accident. Jesus constantly taught with parables and used different things as examples to teach spiritual truths. The best explanation I have read to why Jesus performed this miracle in stages is that He was teaching His disciples, who in this chapter were blinded by their misunderstanding of Jesus right before and after this miracle, that they were growing in their understanding of who Jesus is, but couldn't see clearly yet. I think this applies to us as well. We are all growing in our walk with Jesus. Many things we can't see clearly. But one day, we will stand before Christ, and He will lay His hands on our eyes.
Why did Jesus use spit? He could have simply spoken, or thought it, to heal the man. One commentator I read pointed to Deuteronomy 25:8. Here spitting in a man's face was done by his brother's widow when he refused to take care of her. It was meant as a curse to the man. This could point to the curse that all men share because of their sins, a separation from God and an inability to come to Him through our own works and abilities. We need Jesus. Another view is that this method paints a good picture of the gospel. It seems offensive and in bad taste to us. It's the last method you probably think God would use to heal someone. Just as Paul says about the gospel in 1 Corinthians 1:18, "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Whatever the case may be, Jesus knew exactly what He was doing. He loved the man so much that He personally led him outside the city by the hand to heal Him. And even though we can't see everything clearly now, if we repent and trust wholly in Jesus, He will save us from our sins (through His sacrifice on the cross) and make it all clear to us someday.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
1. Sola Cultura - let culture define church life
2. Sola Successa - let numerical success legitimize activities
3. Sola Entertaina - let entertainment be the guiding principle
4. Sola Edificia - let the edifice be the center of church life
5. Sola Programma - let programs dominate the peoples time
6. Sola Thralldoma – let the people be enslaved by whatever thrills them
7. Sola Processa – let the church be managed by business philosophies and processes
check out his post here.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
This man is the most liberal person in the U.S. senate. He is running for president. He openly opposed the The Born Alive Infant Protection Act which would have saved little babies that somehow survived abortions in Illinois. He was also against the partial-birth abortion ban. He has received a 100% rating from the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL). No one who fights against the rights of babies should receive a vote.
Friday, June 20, 2008
One of the favorite claims of these authors is that Jesus' death on the cross wasn't to pay for our sins. The reason Jesus suffered and died on the cross, according to these people, was to show us an example, and also show us the injustice in the world. Really? They need to ask Paul why he wrote in Romans 3:24-26:
being justified as a gift by His grace through the
redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
The word "propitiation" in Greek is hilasterion, which refers to assuaging God's wrath by being an atoning sacrifice. In fact, in the NIV, it translates that word "atoning sacrifice." This doctrine, called "substitutionary atonement," is affirmed by the Bible in numerous other places such as Isaiah 53, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 2 John 4:10, and many many more. One of the authors, Steve Chalke, has gone so far as to call this act of God "cosmic child abuse" in his book The Lost Message of Jesus (pg. 182). I would point him to John 10:17-18:
"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may
take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My
own initiative I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it
up again. This commandment I received from My Father."
Brian Mclaren, probably the most outspoken figure in the emergent church movement, endorsed Mr. Chalke's book. He has stated that "clarity is overrated," but in his book The Secret Message of Jesus he clearly asserts that the church has always misunderstood the message of Christ. Really? So two thousand years later, and McLaren has finally figured it out!? Oh thank goodness.
The fact is that McLaren and these other emergent writers are focused on this world, as evident in McLaren's book Everything Must Change. He offers his alternative explanation that "the Bible instead is the story of the partnership between God and humanity to save and transform all of human society and avert global self-destruction" (94). They all are very humanistic and focus on this world and disregard parts of the Bible they don't like (i.e. hell, which Jesus talked about more than heaven). They say Jesus' focus was on helping people in this world and helping the physical environment (one of McLaren's big issues is global warming). Jesus made it clear that His kingdom was not of this world. Humanity has a sin problem. He came to save us of our sins.
That being said, we should ABSOLUTELY help the poor, the suffering, the hurting. We are also to be good stewards of what God has given us. We are commanded to show Christ's love to the world. We should want to sacrifice for others because of what Jesus did for us. That's one thing I agree with McLaren and the other emergents on. Perhaps some in the church recently haven't focused on this enough, although I think they overstate this. The church in general has given massive amounts to charities and does tons for the suffering not only in the US, but all around the world. The Christian church is historically responsible for hospitals, universities, charities, etc. However, you can build mud huts and feed people till the sun goes down and they will still not be saved. The ultimate focus shouldn't be on this world. While feeding and providing for people, you need to share the gospel. Christ came to save their souls from eternal suffering and separation from Him. Jesus is "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9 b).
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Meanwhile, the disciples are dealing with a storm on the sea. Now, in verse 25, Matthew writes that Jesus went out to them. He walked to them ON THE WATER! Wow! The disciples saw Him, but from a distance and through the storm, they couldn't tell it was Jesus at first. The first thing I want to point out here is what Jesus says to comfort them. "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." The phrase "it is I," according to my Bible footnotes, can also be translated "I AM." (See Exodus 3:14) I checked my handy dandy E-sword and sure enough the Greek word eimi can be AM and ego can be I. Some interpret this as a claim to deity. I don't speak Greek, but it wouldn't surprise me that Jesus is trying to console His disciples by telling them, "Hey! I'm God! You're lives are in My hands!"
Also, in the midst of this storm, they are told to "be of good cheer." Is it because it's a pleasant situation they're in? Nope. It's because Jesus is there with them.
So anyway, Peter at this point may have realized what Jesus was saying about being I AM. He was, after all, the first disciple to affirm that Jesus is the Messiah. He tells Jesus that if it is Him, allow him (Peter) to come out to Him (Jesus) on the water. Here Peter had faith in Jesus. So guess what, Peter got to walk to Christ on the water. But then, Peter got distracted. There was a storm going on after all. He saw all the problems and hubbub going on around him, and he began to sink. "Lord, save me!" That's all he said, and Christ rescued him.
"O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Why did Peter doubt Jesus? Because he got distracted. Things around him took his eyes off what really matters--Jesus! After Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the storm stopped (another amazing miracle) and the disciples worshipped Jesus.
This whole narrative is all about maintaining your faith in Christ. We all start to sink at times. Life distracts us with its stresses and worries. Life also distracts us with suffering and death. But through it all, Christ has promised to never leave or forsake those who have faith in Him (see Hebrews 13:5). Through the hard times when we start to sink, we need to call out to the Lord like Peter did, and He will bring us through whatever our situation may be.
Monday, June 9, 2008
We aren't supposed to come to Christ because we could become happy. Don't get me wrong, happiness and inner joy and inner fulfillment are a result of becoming a Christian, but that isn't the reason Christ came and suffered and died on the cross. Jesus said "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) We have broken God's law. As a holy and just and loving God He must punish us for that. But also being a merciful and loving God, He has provided the way of salvation. Jesus was sent to pay our penalty. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
I am always just dumbfounded when I think about this. God came down from heaven, became a man, and then lived a sinless life. Then he was brutally executed for our ugly, hideous sins! "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
My point here is not to tell everyone that shoving the gospel down people's throats in a "fire-and-brimstone" manner is how to do it. This is also not saying that our lives will definitely be awful either. But, life may not be always be super happy as a Christian. You may be chastised, persecuted, tortured, or killed. Remember, 11 out of 12 of the original apostles were martyred for their beliefs.
There's a somewhat contemporary saying that accompanies pictures of Jesus sometimes. Even though it is not in the Bible, I believe it sums it up pretty good. "He never said it was going to be easy, He just said it would be worth it."
Monday, June 2, 2008
Many ideas abound today about the historical reliability of the Bible. Many think it is an outdated book full of stories that don’t apply to society anymore. Some people think it was written and compiled in a dark room by powerful men who wanted to use it to subvert the weak. Others see it as a book with good rules to live by but nothing more. Still others hold it to be the inerrant and infallible written word of God. Overall, though, there is a profound ignorance about the origins and reliability of the Bible. There is simply a profound lack of knowledge of the best selling book in history.
Historians view the Old and New Testaments separately because “…much of the evidence is different” (McDowell 69). The New Testament, the focus of this paper, tells the story of Jesus’ ministry and the subsequent ministry of His apostles. The New Testament can be proven reliable through textual criticism, internal evidence in the texts, and external evidence including ancient extra-biblical writings and archaeology.
The original manuscripts, or autographs, of the New Testament are gone. They have most likely “…disintegrated into dust more than a thousand years ago” (Jones 19). The manuscripts we do have are copies of copies, and no two manuscripts are exactly the same. So how can we know they are reliable, and how is the original meaning of the text reached? The answer is through textual criticism.
Textual criticism is “[t]he study of various copies of a manuscript with the goal of determining the wording of the autograph” (Jones 18). Since textual criticism involves comparing manuscripts, the number of manuscripts available to compare has a great deal to do with how accurately you can determine what the original text said. It is actually one of the most important aspects in textual criticism. In his book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell quotes F. E. Peters: “On the basis of manuscript tradition alone, the works that made up the Christians’ New Testament were the most frequently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity” (34). McDowell goes on:
"There are now more than 5,686 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions, and we have close to, if not more than, 25,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today." (McDowell 34)
The number of New Testament manuscripts dwarfs any other work of antiquity. “Next to the New Testament, the greatest amount of manuscript testimony is of Homer’s Iliad…There are fewer than 650 Greek manuscripts of it today” (Strobel 60). Scholars rarely, however, question the reliability of The Iliad’s text.
Another important point to consider in textual criticism is the age of the documents being examined, and how far removed they are from the original autograph. Again, the Bible is the clear winner compared to other books of antiquity in terms of the closeness of the copies available to the originals. The Iliad was written around 800 B.C. The earliest copy is from around 400 B.C., a 400 year gap. Other popular ancient manuscripts such as those from Herodotus and Plato are separated from the originals by at least 1,000 years. In comparison, the Bible was written from A.D. 50-100. The earliest fragment is dated around 114, while an almost complete copy has been dated to 250 (McDowell 38).
Skeptics often point out the numerous differences between the ancient manuscripts of the Bible. Since all ancient manuscripts were hand copied by fallible human beings, discrepancies naturally entered the text. Most scribes tried to copy manuscripts faithfully, while others did minor, and sometimes major, editing. Well known Christian-turned-agnostic, Bart Ehrman, says in his book Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, “Scholars differ significantly in their estimates—some say there are 200,000 variants known, some say 300,000, some say 400,000 or more” (89). This, however, may be a little misleading.
"Ehrman’s estimate of 400,000 variants among the New Testament manuscripts may be numerically correct—but what Ehrman doesn’t clearly communicate to his readers is the insignificance of the vast majority of these variants.
Most of these variations stem from differences in spelling, word order, or the relationships between nouns and definite articles—variants that are easily recognizable and, in most cases, virtually unnoticeable in translation." (Jones 43, italics his)
The way variants are counted also adds to these high numbers. For instance, when counting variants, if one word is misspelled in 1,000 manuscripts, it’s counted as 1,000 variants (Strobel 64-65). As amazing as it sounds, there are 20,000 lines that make up the New Testament, but only 40 of them in dispute (Bible Manuscripts). The level of accuracy shown by the New Testament is unrivaled by any other ancient document. Even in the 40 disputed lines of text, no doctrine of Christianity is put in jeopardy.
Many think the text of the Bible provides enough evidence internally to explain away most questions. John Warwick Montgomery argues that scholars need to follow “Aristotle’s dictum that the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated by the critic to himself” (Montgomery 29). The gospels were written by people who were eyewitnesses, or were recording eyewitness testimonies of the ministry of Jesus. All of these people were equally reliable sources (Montgomery 29-30). Since the writers used primary sources, their writings should be considered reliable. Additionally, the Pauline epistles, which were written several years before the gospels, confirm many aspects of all the gospels. Take, for example, the creed found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8:
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. "(NKJV 1 Cor. 15.3-8)
This agrees with the resurrection accounts in the gospels, giving the gospel accounts greater credibility.
Writings of early church leaders and early non-Christian historians outside of the New Testament also help confirm the New Testament’s reliability. Citations of Scripture by early church fathers in the Patristic period (A.D 100-400) aren’t primary sources, but they do serve two very important secondary rolls. First, they support the existence of the twenty-seven authoritative books of the New Testament canon. While their quotations were often loose, in some cases the Fathers were very accurate. Nonetheless, they at least reproduce the significant content of the original writings. Second, the citations are so numerous that if there were no manuscripts of the New Testament in existence, the New Testament could be reproduced using the early church Father’s writings alone (McDowell 42-43).
In addition, Papias, the bishop of Heirapolis in A.D. 130, was alive at the same time as the apostles. He recorded the sayings of “the Elder” (the apostle John):
"The Elder used to say this also: 'Mark, having been the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately all that he (Peter) mentioned, whether sayings or doings of Christ, not, however, in order. For he was neither a hearer nor a companion of the Lord; but afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who adapted his teachings as necessity required, not as though he were making a compilation of the sayings of the Lord. So then Mark made no mistake writing down in this way some things as he (Peter) mentioned them; for he paid attention to this one thing, not to omit anything that he had heard, not to include any false statement among them.'" (McDowell 53)
Other early church writers include Irenaeus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, and many others.
Non-Christian writers and historians of the first century mention the church and some events that are recorded in the New Testament. Although some of these writings were actually attacking Christians, they ironically end up affirming that the early church did believe what the church of today believes, contrary to some critics.
Josephus was a first century Jewish historian. His writings do much to affirm the Bible as a whole. He confirms the existence of Jesus and His brother James, when writing about the High Priest, Ananias: “...he assembled the Sanhedrin of the judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others…” (qtd. in McDowell 56). He also confirms the existence of John the Baptist when he wrote: “Now, some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and very justly, as punishment of what he did against John, who was called the Baptist” (qtd. in McDowell 56).
Another non-Christian writer, Pliny the Younger, a Roman author and administrator, in a letter to the Emperor Trajan in A.D. 112 describes early Christian worship practices:
They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to do any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. (qtd. in McDowell 58)
Finally, archaeology has provided remarkable confirmation of the historical reliability of the Bible. Nelson Glueck, the renowned Jewish archaeologist has written: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference” (qtd. in McDowell 61). W.F. Albright also states:
"The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history." (qtd. in McDowell 61)
In other words, historians of the past who have used archaeology to try to discredit the Bible have been proven wrong with recent archaeological discoveries.
Archaeological discoveries that support the historical reliability of the New Testament include the court in which Jesus was tried by Pilate. The court had been buried for centuries, but was discovered recently to be the court in the Tower of Antonia. Another example is the Pool of Bethesda, recorded previously only in the New Testament. Found in 1888, it has been identified near the Church of St. Anne. The discovery of Yohanan, a victim of Roman crucifixion, corroborates the description of the crucifixion in the New Testament, including nails in the wrists and feet, and crushed legs. For years, historians doubted the existence of Pontius Pilate. Then in 1961, Italian archaeologist Antonio Frova discovered an inscription on a stone slab at Caesarea Maritima. On it was written in latin, “Tiberium; Pontius Pilate; Prefect of Judea.” These are just a very few examples of the archaeological evidence that supports the Bible (McDowell 66-67).
Do these facts prove 100% the historical reliability of the Bible? No, just like no historical fact could ever be proven 100%. But, through textual criticism, internal evidence in the texts, and external evidence including ancient extra-biblical writings and archaeology, the support for the reliability of the New Testament as an historical document is unparalleled compared to any other ancient document.
Research Paper Bibliography
"Bible Manuscripts." All About the Journey. 20 Apr 2008
Ehrman, Bart. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
Jones, Timothy. Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus". Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2007
McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999.
Montgomery, John Warwick. History and Christianity. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1964-1965.
The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version. Thomas Nelson Inc, 1997.
Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Today, Glenn Beck compiled a list of why the crap gas is so high. I give him full credit for this list and it's from this website: http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/10286/
Here it is (I have done some slight editing, including adding the bullet marks):
- congress has said no drilling in the ANWR
- no drilling off the coast of Florida and California
- we're not getting any new 100-year leases to drill in the Gulf while China and Venezuela and Cuba are going in
- Congress, as well as all three presidential candidates, said there's going to be a cap and trade legislation introduced that will increase the price of gas, according to the EPA, by at least $1.50 a gallon
- We're shutting down oil fields in Colorado
- we won't develop shale oil fields in western states
- Yesterday...congress passed legislation that let us sue OPEC. I'm sure they're not going to retaliate
- We have allowed environmental attorneys to sue the oil companies for possible future destruction of an Alaskan Eskimo village
- We also have protected the polar bear and its habitat right where the oil deposits are located
- We're talking about seizing windfall profits
- won't allow anybody to drill in some small areas -- no, I'm sorry. We have allowed them to drill in small areas in Alaska while creating very generous environmental laws that have tied up the very production because the oil companies are in court
- We've also not allowed anybody to build a new refinery for 30 years
- we've cut our operational refineries in half since 1982
- congress has refused to fund or allow the deployment of coal-to-oil technology which has been around since the 1930s
- congress has mandated that oil companies have to make different blends of gasoline and let states like California dictate what unique gasoline blends they have to make for them.
- Congress will not reduce our federal gasoline tax. They won't even consider reducing it for the summer months
Glenn also mentioned, although not in this list, the fact that China and India are catching up to us in fuel usage. These countries used to hardly use any, now they're using a crap load.
So why is gas so high? Huh...you'll have to figure it out.