Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jesus Accused before Pilate, Part 1 (#2 of 3)



We now meet another of the corrupt characters in the unfolding drama of the death of Christ. We add Pilate and we will soon add Herod to the list of Judas, Annas, Caiaphas and the entire Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of Israel. They are a Mosaic of tragic figures. All of them thought that they had the power or the influence to determine the destiny of Jesus, to render judgment on Jesus. They were wrong and that is the strange irony of this Mosaic. In reality, the destiny of Jesus had been determined by God. Jesus was never the victim of human decisions. He wasnt the victim of a corrupt disciple that betrayed Him. He wasnt the victim of a couple of corrupt High Priests who arraigned Him. He wasnt the victim of the Jewish Supreme Court who condemned Him. Nor was He the victim of Pilate and Herod who ultimately executed Him. He was Gods chosen Lamb, and God had predetermined that He would die.

Ways to avoid dealing with your sin

Dan Phillips@ http://teampyro.blogspot.com has a tongue-in-cheek look at ways to avoid dealing with sin. He covers:
Romans 1:18 - 3:20,Luke 6:46

  1. The "grace" card.
  2. The "judge not" card.
  3. "Yeah... but you did it with the wrong attitude."
  4. Three magic words: "You're not loving."
And we must also remember Scripture has a good deal of wisdom for the rebuked, as well. Here's a mere smattering:
Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it (Psalm 141:5a)

If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you (Proverbs 1:23)

...reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning (Proverbs 9:8b-9)

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray (Proverbs 10:17)

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,

but he who hates reproof is stupid (Proverbs 12:1)

There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way;
whoever hates reproof will die (Proverbs 15:10)

Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence (Proverbs 15:32)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jesus Accused before Pilate, Part 1 (#1 of 3)



We now meet another of the corrupt characters in the unfolding drama of the death of Christ. We add Pilate and we will soon add Herod to the list of Judas, Annas, Caiaphas and the entire Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of Israel. They are a Mosaic of tragic figures. All of them thought that they had the power or the influence to determine the destiny of Jesus, to render judgment on Jesus. They were wrong and that is the strange irony of this Mosaic. In reality, the destiny of Jesus had been determined by God. Jesus was never the victim of human decisions. He wasnt the victim of a corrupt disciple that betrayed Him. He wasnt the victim of a couple of corrupt High Priests who arraigned Him. He wasnt the victim of the Jewish Supreme Court who condemned Him. Nor was He the victim of Pilate and Herod who ultimately executed Him. He was Gods chosen Lamb, and God had predetermined that He would die.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sermon Outline: Galatians 6:1-5. “Bear with One Another”.

1) Restore the Broken: Galatians 6:1

· Romans 15:1

· 1 Thessalonians 5:14

· Matthew 7:1-5

· 1 Corinthians 10:12


2) Relieve the Burdened: Galatians 6:2

· James 5:16


3) Repent of Bragging: Galatians 6:3-4

· Proverbs 6:16-17

· Romans 12:3


4) Respect your Boundary: Galatians 6:5

· 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

· 2 Corinthians 5:10

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Way of the Master - Season 3


Although it's eye-catching and entertaining, its main purpose is to educate and equip. Our goal is to teach the Body of Christ around the world how to reach the lost biblically--the way Jesus did. http://www.wayofthemaster3.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Did Jesus Pray?



Jesus is our perfect example of prayer. So, how did He pray? What can we learn about prayer from Him?

This clip is taken from the sermon Pray Like Jesus, which can be seen in its entirety at http://marshillchurch.org

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Humour: "Prayer Tips" from Johnny & Chachi

Description:

Prayer can be a confusing topic. Pray without ceasing, unspoken requests, and prayer positions are just a few examples of prayer’s complexities. Enter Johnny and Chachi with their tips for a better prayer life.

Too busy to pray? For a fee, a computer will do it for you

In the "Too Sad but True" department, Bruce Tomaso from the Religion Blog @ http://religionblog.dallasnews.com reports that there's a Web service that uses computerized voices to say daily prayers for subscribers.Official PayPal Seal

From the site:

"It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget,"

There are prayers for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and others.

The cost varies by prayer, but most are $3.95 US a month.

Bruce Noted:

My first thought when I found this was: No one would be dumb enough to send these people money. My next thought was: Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Is A Successful Christian?

Stephen Altrogge @ http://www.theblazingcenter.com asks the provoking but important question: What Is A Successful Christian?

He asks: Who’s number one on God’s “most impressive Christian” list? Is it:

  • The mega-church pastor who preaches six times on Sundays, writes chart-topping books, and has his own podcast with really cool rock music (probably U2) at the beginning? Maybe.
  • The children’s ministry volunteer who dispenses fifty-three pounds of goldfish crackers to sweaty three-year olds every Sunday? Maybe.
  • The homeschooling mom who deals with large volumes of laundry and baby poop on a daily basis? Maybe.

The focus on the answer is in Matthew 25:14-28

Matthew 25:14-28 [14]"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. [15]To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. [16]He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. [17]So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. [18]But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. [19]Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. [20]And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' [21]His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' [22]And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' [23]His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' [24]He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, [25]so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' [26]But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? [27]Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. [28]So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. (ESV)

What's NOT there:

No reference to the numbers. No talk of the bottom line. The master highlights the faithfulness of the servants. You have been faithful over a little. That’s it.

The conclusion:

A successful Christian is someone who faithfully uses their talents and circumstances to further the cause of God. Numbers don’t equal success. God is impressed with faithfulness.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Book Review: The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf

The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf is subtitled, Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, and it is essentially that.

The book is divided into four parts:

  1. Pro-Life Christians Clarify the Debate
  2. Pro-Life Christians Establish a Foundation for the Debate
  3. Pro-Life Christians Answer Objections Persuasively
  4. Pro-Life Christians Teach and Equip


Far from showing all the complexity of these issues, The Case for Life strips away appeals to complexity from claims of choice, privacy or scientific research. The fundamental appeal rests on the question of what’s the issue: in considering who are the unborn? That human beings of every stage of development are made in the image of God, puts everything into perspective.


For too long, non-Christians have been allowed to frame this debate. Klusendor advocates that Christians step up to define the ground rules in establishing a foundation for the debate. Metaphysics, the myth of “moral neutrality” the person of God and Scripture must be referenced in this debate. Yet, if I would see any lack in this work it would be in the content of scriptural examination. Since there is an obvious apologetic aim of this work, the limit in this mater is understood. Its brief highlight however endangers this book in being too tied to the immediate and not transcendent enough. That the material is presented in a well-researched, well-written, logical and clear manner, its usefulness should prove itself.


Arguments cannot be won without dealing with the issues and presuppositions of the opponent, thus Klusendor covers the most frequently argued objections in real dialogue formats. From illegal abortions, tolerance, focus, rape, personal attacks to personal freedom, The Case for Life helps those who would argue for life to both understand and counter what is presented against those who would stand for life.


Finally, hope for this battle is secured with accounts of how pro-life Christian are making an extraordinary impact. The training resources outlined in the Appendix give the motivated reader direction for further action. Each chapter includes review questions and helpful resources for further study and consideration.


In terms of complexity of writing, Klusendor’s work here could be considered to be written at the intermediate level. The detail supplied provides a helpful context without coming to the point of losing the novice. Copious links are provided for further detail when needed.


The Case for Life can have an immediate impact for someone to speak on fundamental issues of bioethics like abortion, cloning and embryo research. The challenge with a work on this subject is its natural dating of material to contemporary science. The obvious challenge is to continue to use this source in light of undoubted forthcoming medical changes. The transcendent usefulness of this work will be in the philosophical approach demonstrated. Defining the transcendent issue, ground rules and arguing against common objections, these frame this debate regardless of future medical changes.


The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf should be considered an essential tool in the present battle for life. For everyone who stands idly by while millions are slaughtered, “I don’t know what to say” can no longer be an answer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

SPAM?



Due to the fact that I tend to cite my sources, Blogger auto detect has mistakenly taken this blog as spam. I have submitted a request to have this reviewed. I will keep you updated.

Matthew

Some of the worst of "Christian" TV: Chaser's war on everything - 2.30 report

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Money, Morale, and Momentum

Mark Driscoll @ http://theresurgence.com has started a series on financial stewardship. In part one, he covers:

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Prov. 22:3; 27:12).

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Tim. 6:6–10).

  • Covetousness or Contentedness?

  • What About the Rich?

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Tim. 6:17–19).


3 Principles to Guide Financial Decision-Making

1. Spending

Spend money on those things that grow the ministry and not simply on those things that make it easier on your staff. If we spend money on facilities, it has to be for increasing seating capacity so that more people can meet Jesus.

2. Pruning

Without pruning, a ministry is wasting energy, time, resources, and leaders on proverbial branches that are no longer bearing lots of good fruit.

3. Core

Don’t make cuts on your core essential ministries but rather on your secondary and auxiliary ministries.

5 More Principles to Guide Financial Decision-Making from Part 3 of the Money, Morale, and Momentum series.

4. Fairness

Instead, fund your core ministries and key leaders first and best.

5. Terminations

6. Hiring

Financial downturns are a great time to hire strategic senior-level leaders because the market for them has shrunk and they are available.

7. Real Estate

8. Visibility

Therefore, to not give the impression of greed, we need to watch the appearance of lavishness personally and organizationally.


Shack Author Denies Substitutionary Atonement

Ingrid Schlueter @ http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com has a helpful link and comment:
For those who suspected that there were serious theological problems with the popular book, The Shack, an interview with William Young should confirm your suspicions. In this sound bite, William Young denies the Penal Substitutionary Atonement and espouses other strange doctrines. The entire interview can be heard here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sermon Outline: Galatians 5: 22-23. “The Fruit of the Spirit”

  • John 15:1-8

  • Matthew 7:16-18

1) Love.

  • 1 John 3:14; 4:7

2) Joy.

  • John 16:20-24

3) Peace.

  • Philippians 4:6-9

4) Patience

  • Ephesians 4:1-7

5) Kindness.

  • 2 Timothy 2:20-26

6) Goodness.

  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

7) Faithfulness.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
  • Revelation 2:10

8) Gentleness.

  • 1 Timothy 6:11-14

9) Self-control.

  • 2 Peter 1:3-15

What Pastors and Hearers Owe to each other

From the Table of Duties in Luther’s Small Catechism first attends to the vocations in the Church posted @ http://www.geneveith.com :

For Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers.

A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; not a novice; holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 1 Tim. 3:2ff ; Titus 1:6.

What the Hearers Owe to Their Pastors.

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. 1 Cor. 9:14. Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Gal. 6:6. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the Word and doctrine. For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn; and the laborer is worthy of his reward. 1 Tim. 5:17-18. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you. Heb. 13:17.]

Friday, March 13, 2009

Learn2Discern - Are Babies Bad for the Planet?



Is having a child a selfish act? Are children a burden on the environment or is this thinking dangerous for the planet? Learn to discern and understand God's truth.

Giving up Carbon for Lent

In the modern religion that is environmentalism, Chuck Colson reviews some modern practices in light of historical practices.

First, about Lent:

Western Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, are currently observing Lent, the 40-day season preceding Easter. Through self-denial, alms-giving, and prayer, many Christians prepare themselves to properly commemorate our Lord’s passion and resurrection.

The modern twist:

Lenten self-denial traditionally includes giving something up we enjoy, like a particular food or pleasurable activity. Well, this year, clergy in Britain are asking their dwindling flocks to give up coal for Lent.

Well, sort of. The Anglican bishops of Liverpool and London have called for a “carbon fast” this Lent. Instead of giving up, say, chocolate or meat, people should reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they produce.

Thus, preparing for Good Friday and Easter consists of actions such as the following: “avoiding plastic bags”; “giving the dishwasher a day off”; “insulating the hot water tank”; and “checking the house for drafts.” I’m serious.

How it has become the new religion:

Perhaps the bishops were aware of how, well, silly this sounds because they had to cloak it in language like this: It is “individual and collective action” on behalf of the poor. According to the Bishop of Liverpool, “it is the poor who are already suffering the effects of climate change,” and “to carry on regardless of their plight is to fly in the face of Christian teaching.”

Acknowledging our true Christian duty:

It’s true that “carrying on” while ignoring the plight of the poor violates Christian teaching. What’s not so clear is how giving your dishwasher a day off or using paper instead of plastic fulfills your Christian duty to the poor.

Why this is the new religion:

Then again, as Frank Furedi of the University of Kent reminds us, the religion being appealed to here isn’t Christianity but, instead, “environmentalism [as] a caricature of a religion.” He calls the carbon fast a “morally illiterate attempt to recycle” Christian practices “as a form of environmentally correct behavior.”

In this caricature, according to Furedi, “original sin has been reinvented as a wicked act of ‘carbon emission.’” Instead of the Seven Deadly Sins, we have “everyday behaviors,” including your morning latte, turned into an offense against the planet and, oh yes, the poor.

The essence of the folly:

Of course, recycling and conserving energy, however sensible, won’t make any difference whatsoever in the lives of the poor. And it certainly shouldn’t be passed off as a “sacrifice” for their sake. Its only beneficiaries will be westerners who will feel better about their own lives, even as the lives of the supposed beneficiaries remain untouched.

The saddest part about this “carbon fast” business is that our preparation for Good Friday and Easter ought to include an examination of our assumptions about what constitutes the “good life.” The global recession is a painful reminder of the dangers of laying up our treasures where moths, rust, and thieves—including those in expensive suits—can take them from us. This will be the subject of tomorrow's broadcast.

The final plea:

God may be calling us to live more simply—but it ought to be as an expression of our trust in Him, not fear of an environmental doomsday. This, in turn, will enable our concern for the least of our brethren to go beyond choosing paper over plastic.


For Further Reading and Information

Frank Furedi, “Climate Change and the Return of Original Sin,” Spiked Online, 25 February 2009.

Bishops of Liverpool and London Call for ‘Carbon Fast’ During Lent,” Guardian (UK), 24 February 2009.

Bishops Call for Global Carbon Fast This Lent,” Anglican London Diocese, 25 February 2009.

Christians Told: Give Up Carbon for Lent,” Telegraph (UK), 5 February 2008.

A Disordered 'Amen': The Environment or Humanity,” BreakPoint Commentary, 10 March 2009.

Getting Gaia's Goat: Advice for the Eco-Conscious,” BreakPoint Commentary, 9 March 2009.

Culling the Herd: Misanthropic Environmentalism,” BreakPoint Commentary, 5 February 2009.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Difference Between Adult and Embryonic Stem Cells



What is the difference between adult and embryonic stem cells? Adult stem cell research does not take human life and has led so some 72 successful treatments. Embryonic stem cell research takes life and has led to no cures or treatments.

Sacrificing the Unborn to the Idols of Our Age

You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD
Leviticus 18:21 (ESV)

The Canadian scientific community has discovered in recent days, the ability to create non-embryonic, stems cells from human tissue. This has created a set of stem cells that are less likely to be rejected, since they come from the individuals own shin, and do not destroy human life (embryos) in the process.

In a drive to achieve personal improvement at any cost, the Karios Journal outlined the medical position:
In June 2003, the American Medical Association declared its approval of human cloning for research purposes. The association also issued guidelines for doctors who wished to harvest stem cells from cloned embryos for their own research.1 Thus, the USA’s largest professional organization for physicians has publicly supported creating human life, in order to destroy it, in the hope of medical advances.
Reflecting on the Biblical parallel:
Preparing Israel for life in the Promised Land, the Lord warned His people not to be like the nations they would replace in Canaan. God had separated them from other nations to belong to Himself (Lev. 20:22-26). One of the Canaanite practices that He forbade was serving the false god Molech. The precise identity of this idol is uncertain. However, Molech worship clearly involved child sacrifice. Children were offered to him; literally, “caused to pass through” to him. This is further explained in 2 Kings 23:10, which says that they were “caused to pass through the fire.” The children were burned as an offering to seek Molech’s favor.

The mention of children (literally “seed”) recalls God’s covenant with Abraham, where the Lord promised to be with Abraham and his seed (Gen. 17:7). If Israel sacrificed their children to Molech, they would be rebelling against God’s promise of blessing for their offspring. Worse, they would be killing the children to seek blessing from an idol. Hence, they would deny God’s fidelity and power to bless, and so profane His name among the nations. But the Lord would not tolerate His covenant being despised and His reputation being defamed (Lev. 20:2).
Modern North America has engaged in the basic form of idolatry, in worshiping the god of self-gratification:
Health and longevity are among the most prominent modern idols. For many, gyms have become modern shrines and diet guides their Bibles. Medical advances offer the hope of lasting life, whilst surgery provides redemption from past illness. None of these things is inherently bad. Health, long life, and medical progress can be signs of God’s blessing. Nevertheless, they easily become all-consuming, replacing the Christian hope of eternal life after death with the materialist hope of prolonged life and blessing in this world only. Killing other human beings—even the tiniest members of our species—to restore personal health or add years to life is a heinous perversion of medicine and an evidence of technological idolatry. It should seem shocking that a nation’s doctors appear willing to create human babies and then destroy them.
This should impact which medical procedures you consider:
Church members may have to refuse some medical treatments because they are morally tainted. But Christians must remain resolute in modeling the fact that the Church is not like the nations around. Any scientific innovation that requires the willful destruction of human lives is Molech-like. Pagans deities must be refused, even if they appear in temples called laboratories and have priests called doctors. The Lord alone is the God of the covenant.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sermon Outline: Struggling with Sin. Galatians 5:20b-21


A) Relational Struggle (Galatians 5:20b-21a)

1) Emnity/Hatred: Titus 3:3

Murder: 1 John 3:15

2) Strife/Variance/Discord/Wrangling/Contention/Quarreling

· 1 Corinthians 1:11-12

3) Jealousy/Emulations: 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

· Selfish ambition: Romans 2:8

4) Fits/Outbursts of Anger/Wrath: Ephesians 4:31-32

5) Rivalries/“Factions/Seditions/Dissensions/Divisions/Rebellion

· Romans 16:17-18

· Heresy: 2 Peter 2:1-3

6) Envy/malice/ill will: 1 Timothy 6:3-5

B) Personal Struggle (Galatians 5:21b)

1) Drunkenness: 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9-10

2) Orgies

· 1 Peter 4:3

· Romans 13:13

· “Practice”: 1 John 3:4-10

· The Kingdom of God: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

ESV Study Bible Online: Free for the Month of March

Crossway announced yesterday that they were making the Online ESV Study Bible available free to anywhere, anywhere, for the entire month of March.

A couple of features worth noting:
  • You can listen to the audio of the ESV from narrator David Cochran Heath.
  • You can take and save your own notes in the Online ESVSB.
  • You can highlight words and verses in several different colors.
Justin Taylor @ http://theologica.blogspot.com listed the links to everything in the Study Bible, along with contributors:

Introduction
The Old Testament
Pentateuch

Introduction to the Pentateuch (Wenham)

Historical Books

Introduction to the Historical Books (Howard)

Poetic and Wisdom Literature

Introduction to the Poetic and Wisdom Literature (Reimer)

Major Prophets

Introduction to the Prophetic Books (House)

Minor Prophets
Background to the New Testament

The New Testament

Gospels and Acts

Reading the Gospels and Acts (Bock)

Epistles

Reading the Epistles (Schreiner)

Articles
  • Biblical Doctrine: An Overview (Thoennes)
  • True Theology: Knowing and Loving God
  • The Bible and Revelation
  • What It Means to Know God
  • The Character of God
  • The Trinity
  • The Person of Christ
  • The Holy Spirit
  • The Work of Christ
  • Mankind
  • God's Relationship with Creation
  • Sin
  • Salvation
  • The Church
  • Last Things
  • Biblical Ethics: An Overview (Grudem, Heimbach, Mitchell, and Mitchell)
  • Biblical Ethics: An Introduction
  • The Beginning of Life and Abortion
  • Bioethics
  • The End of Life
  • Marriage and Sexual Morality
  • Divorce and Remarriage
  • Homosexuality
  • Civil Government
  • Capital Punishment
  • War
  • Lying and Telling the Truth
  • Racial Discrimination
  • Stewardship
  • Interpreting the Bible
  • Interpreting the Bible: An Introduction (Doriani)
  • Interpreting the Bible: A Historical Overview (Hannah)
  • Reading the Bible
  • Reading the Bible Theologically (Packer)
  • Reading the Bible as Literature (Ryken)
  • Reading the Bible in Prayer and Communion with God (Piper)
  • Reading the Bible for Personal Application (Powlison)
  • Reading the Bible for Preaching and Worship (Hughes)
  • The Bible in Christianity
  • Roman Catholicism (Gregg)
  • Eastern Orthodoxy (Letham)
  • Liberal Protestantism (Ware)
  • Evangelical Protestantism (Ware)
  • Evangelical Protestantism and Global Christianity (Netland)
  • The Bible and World Religions
  • The Bible and Contemporary Judaism (Wilson)
  • The Bible and Other World Religions (Netland)
  • The Bible and Islam (Tennent)
Maps in the back of the Bible.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Chrislam"



Christianity-Islam Religion Fused in lagos, Nigeria

Who is the Greatest Prophet According to the Qur’an?

The following thought provoking piece was taken from What Does the Qur’an Teach About Jesus?

While Islamic teaching holds that Jesus was merely a prophet, the witness of the Qur’an itself is that Jesus is an exceptional prophet. Amar Djaballah explains:

In summary, the titles of the Quranic Jesus show him to be a highly esteemed prophet and apostle, with a uniqueness that Muslim tradition is not able to explain satisfactorily.*

Djaballah is referring to the different texts in the Qur’an which point to Jesus as being in a special class of prophet, a class that Mohammed himself does not seem to attain. For instance, the Qur’an testifies to the following regarding Jesus:

  • Jesus was born a virgin (Surah 3:45-50).
  • Jesus is sinless (Surah 6:85).
  • Jesus is the Messiah (Surah 3:45).
  • Jesus performed miracles (Surah 3:49).
    • One of these miracles is especially interesting (although only attested elsewhere in the Gospel of Thomas). Surah 3:49 and 5:110 teach that Jesus created a bird out of clay while He was upon this earth.
  • Jesus ascended into heaven in bodily form (Surah 3:55).
  • Jesus spoke at his birth (Surah 19:27-35).
  • Jesus raised the dead (Surah 3:49).**

Question for Muslims: since none of the above is true of Muhammed, how can he be called the greatest prophet?

*See Amar Djaballah, “Jesus in Islam,” SBTJ 8:1 (2004), 14-26.

**Whole list taken from Norman Geisler, “Jesus and Muhammed in the Qur’an: A Comparison and Contrast,” SBJT 8:1 (2004), 50-58.

Roman Catholics, Hindus, and Evangelicals: Finding Unity in Their Atonement?

Erik Raymond @ http://www.irishcalvinist.com reviews a recent trip to India and reflects on similar practices. He covers similar practices with Roman Catholics & Ash Wednesday:

Having grown up Catholic the connection is easy to see. Ash Wednesday (which occurred this past Wednesday) marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is the roughly 40 day period of grief, sacrifice and repentance that culminates on Easter. As the RC priest applies the ash (from the burnt previous years’ burn palm branches) he reminds the worshiper that man is from dust and to dust he shall return. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Roman Catholics are to fast (translation: only eat one full meal) and avoid meat. The avoidence of meat (and it used to be sex too) extends onto all Fridays throughout lent (thus broadening your fried fish choices on Friday nights).

During Lent Roman Catholics are encouraged to sacrifice something they enjoy and to do other deeds of penance. Again, the emphasis is upon dealing with sin. And please remember the Lenten practice is mandatory for Roman Catholics. (It is helpful to note also that Lent has traditionally been a way to bring new folks into the church by demonstrating to them what it means to follow Christ).

Lent is a big deal for Roman Catholics. It is supposed to be a time of spiritual concentration and action. As one priest put it:

Lenten practices of penance have great benefits for our spiritual lives. A serious Lent will be like a spring cleaning which will purify the clutter that has accumulated in our souls. A serious commitment to penance will also help us to conquer addictions, obsessions and compulsive behavior. A serious Lent will purify our soul and allow us to experience a deeper interior freedom. (my emphasis)

How do we deal with guilt over sin, trials, questions about assurance, etc?

Many evangelicals when feeling guilty about sin or when they are facing ‘big’ events in their lives find themselves becoming quite serious all of a sudden. We say things like, “I am going to start reading my bible more. I am going to go to church more. I am going to start evangelizing more. I am going to start praying more.”

And then if we actually begin to do them we start to feel better don’t we? We aren’t as guilty over sin and we begin to feel better about ourselves and our relationship with God.

What is the Problem?
The Hindu does not think he needs Christ’s righteousness, he is able to do all the gods require through his earnest sacrifice.

The Roman Catholic does not think he needs Christ’s righteousness, he is able to earn this himself by his sacrifice and penance during Lent.

The Evangelical does not think he needs Christ’s righteousness, he is able to cleanse his guilty conscience by just resolving to act more like a Christian.

What is the Solution?

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-(Phil. 3.8-9)

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (Gal. 4.8-9)