The liberty of the gospel is not the same as freedom from religion

It is becoming ever-increasingly more common to see posts authored by “spiritual” bloggers, hear about sermons preached by “spiritual” speakers or read about books written by “spiritual” writers who make the same spiritual mistake, as politically motivated atheists do, by championing the mantra of “freedom from religion” in such a way to convince others to agree with their point of view. Sounds like religion to me, but anyways. While understanding a person’s point of view is important, it is also true that an individual’s point of view can be easily skewed. That’s because our point of view (our experiences, our study or the lack thereof, our motivations, etc.) can make us completely blind to what we’re saying on a particular topic no matter how plain the truth really is because of the barriers that we self-erect with our position.

A case in point can be seen in the following “anti-religion” statement:

We find it fascinating that every single hostile encounter Jesus has is with highly religious people. Not one of them is with a so-called “pagan.” It was religious people who opposed Christ; it was religious people who had him killed. This ought to give you some idea of the pernicious nature of religion. There is relationship with God and life in his Kingdom, and then there is religion. They are not the same.” (here’s the link to the author’s site so you know I’m not taking anything out of context)

The above quote comes straight from the website of a seemingly fairly well-known author in religious circles…or should I say anti-religious circles? Depends upon your point of view I guess. Either way, the above quote also shows what happens when you want to make a point so badly that you don’t quite stop and listen to what’s being said because it sounds so good to the ears of those who believe it and who want to hear it. So what’s my point about the above point of view? Well it’s this – for multiple reasons, it’s just not biblical!

1) Of course Jesus dealt with highly religious people on a regular basis – he lived in Israel! Israel was where the very people who had the word of God committed to them lived (Romans 3:1-2). By the time Immanuel was born in Bethlehem, Israel was thoroughly finished with the pagan relationships of the past that are so apparent throughout many of the Old Testament letters. So there’s no real point with that point.

2) Contrary to the common belief, pagans did indeed cause grief in the life of Jesus even to the point of being co-responsible for taking it! It was the followers of Jesus who made this clear, and it is the very word of God that plainly says, “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:24-28 – emphasis mine) Whether you call them religious or not, it doesn’t change the point – pagans (or non crediderunt in unum Deum) played a role in the death of Jesus. And even if Jesus would have gone beyond the borders of Palestine preaching the kingdom of God, he would have received the same treatment that the rest of the apostles and prophets and believers received while doing that very thing as can be seen throughout the book of Acts because that’s how the world has always reacted to God’s light whether in Jerusalem or in Jacksonville (John 3:19-21).

Continue reading

#anti-religion, #god, #kingdom-of-god, #religion, #religious-liberty, #the-necessity-of-religion

Two ends of the pendulum about Jesus’ miracles

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” John 20:30-31.

At one end of the pendulum, the postmodern culture we live in works hand-in-hand with liberal theologians who completely discount any supernatural events including Jesus’ miracles recorded in Scripture. They disregard that which John says are written so that they might believe that Jesus is the Savior, the Son of God, and have life in His name. That course is a dead end—literally!

At the other end of the pendulum, are those religious folks who believe Jesus is still doing miracles and wants everyone to be healthy and wealthy. If He’s not working a miracle in your life, you don’t have enough faith. But notice that the purpose of Jesus’ already-recorded miracles were to bring readers down through the ages to faith.

Jesus certainly had to power to do more than we see Him doing to right the many wrongs of ancient Israel, but we always see Him selectively using that power for His true purpose.

Is it a miracle you believe?

Doug Kashorek, Plattsburgh church of Christ

www.plattsburghchurch.com

www.douglaskashorek.com

#miracles, #religion

Why extra-biblical resources for spiritual authority are so frustrating

Last week I posted an article called “Jesus is THE prophet of God” on Keltonburg Preacher and I received a comment that questioned the reliability of such a statement and belief. By doing so the comment revealed why extra-biblical resources for spiritual authority are so frustrating. How’s that? Let me show you how by dropping you in midstream of the conversation.

The reply to my article:

“Well, i’m a Christian and I believe Jesus to be the Son of God, not a prophet”

My reply:

“…Now as to whether or not Jesus was a (and more importantly “the”) prophet of God consider a few things: Continue reading

#bible-discussions, #biblical-authority, #errors-of-denominationalism, #jesus, #jesus-christ, #mormonism, #prophet-of-god, #religion, #sola-scriptura

That’s Messed Up!

I had the chance last week to attend the “Leadercast” event which is held in Atlanta but then broadcast live throughout America and other parts of the world.

This was the second time that I was able to attend the event, and if my mind’s not slipping me; maybe it is, I want to do as I did last time and share a few thoughts about my experience.

Most often, especially in Middle Tennessee, the simulcast events are held at church buildings due to locality and other logistically related issues such as seating. So as the case was last year, this year’s venue was a church building in a neighboring county.

The thought that I would like to share this morning comes from something the church’s pastor said to the people in attendance. He invited everyone to visit the church and then added this caveat: if you’re not messed up don’t visit our church, we don’t want you here, cause we’re a bunch of messed up people.

My first reaction to that was, “That’s messed up.” My feelings had nothing to do with a self-righteous, high-horse, better-than-you attitude. It had to do with the fact that if a person is looking for some spiritual guidance then they need to find it from others who have it together – not from people who are messed up.

This has nothing to do with believing that I’m sinless (outside of the sinlessness that the blood of Jesus provides). This has nothing to do with believing that I’m perfect (outside of the perfection that is found in Jesus). This has nothing to do with with believing that I’m a “holier than thou” individual (outside of the holiness attained and provided through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Jesus as the provider of the church). It has everything to do with the responsibility of the church’s membership to be distinctly and inherently different from the world (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). You know, the very things than an apostle of Jesus Christ corrected the church at Corinth for doing – they were messed up and Paul said that that was messed up!

But before you say Paul was messed up (as it seems a whole lot of religious people like to do), I would like to remind you that it wasn’t only Paul who felt that way – so did Peter (1 Peter 1:13-17), so did John (1 John 2:15-17), so did James (James 1:27, 4:1-4), and so did Jude (Jude 16-18). That doesn’t even include the recorded words of Jesus in the gospels that call us out of our messes and into his light. I can’t resist (Luke 13:1-5).

When I’m having car troubles I don’t want to take my vehicle to someone who has never had car problems. But then again, I don’t want to take it to someone who doesn’t know how to keep their car in good running condition! That doesn’t mean their car never has problems, but it does mean that when the problems come up they know where to order the parts from to fix them.

I’m not looking for a church that’s full of messed up people and neither should you. I’m looking for a church where the people have it together, and doesn’t mean…well, back up three paragraphs because I’m not going to rehash that hot-potato.

Am I messed up for feeling this way? Share your thoughts if you think so, or even if you don’t.

#christianity, #church-family, #church-issues, #holiness, #religion

Wondering out loud about name pronunciations

There are some in the religious world who are quite adamant about biblical names and their pronunciation…or at least a couple of them anyways.

They contend that Jesus isn’t Jesus – it’s Yeshua! They also follow suit with the name YHWH or even Jehovah when it comes to making references about God.

I understand some of the underlying points made by the proponents of the thought, but to me consistency is the key.

Why must the “original” be used with Jesus but not with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua (which is the same as Yeshua), Samuel, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, and on and on I could go up through the biblical names that we find in the New Testament?

If one can understand who is being talked about when other names are being used that have made their way through Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English (etc.) translations then why can’t the same translations be satisfactory when referencing Jesus and the God of Heaven and Earth?

And if one contends that the original name pronunciation must be used then how can one be confident that they are saying the name correctly when past Jewish cultures (according to my understanding) refused to even pronounce such names as YHWH? And what if your English tongue can’t get rid of the accent that you can’t even hear?! If the name is going to be said, isn’t it supposed to said correctly?

Just wondering out loud here.

Don’t create a spiritual impediment by getting hung up on the pronunciation of a name – instead, focus on the person being talked about. For calling on the name of the Lord has more to do with seeking God than it does with saying the name correctly (Acts 22:16, Romans 10:12-13).

#bible-names, #god, #jesus, #religion, #yeshua, #yhwh

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Calendar Apostasy (finis)

Joseph, let me finish this conversation on “fellowshiproom.org” with some comments, and if you have further questions, we can privately discuss them.

Original article:

If they did so [continued celebrating Passover], it was without any authority from God. From Colossians 2:13-17 we learn that the cross of Christ: (1) “wiped out” Moses’ Law with none remaining (just like a sinner’s sins, Acts 3:19); (2) took Moses’ Law “out of the way” (removed it from further use, like sins, John 1:29); (3) “nailed” Moses’ Law at the same time (if there is no “judgment,” there is no law to enforce, Romans 4:15)

 You said: I think that’s a pretty radical reading of Colossians 2:13–17. [Joseph, it’s not “radical reading” to stress the exact words of the text, and then accept it’s teaching. You seem to resort to “radical reading” by looking into the words “bond,” “curse,” “elemental spirits” in passages you use. It is hardly objective to call my procedure “radical reading” and resort to the same thing yourself!] Let’s look at what the Scripture actually says (I’ll even be nice and use a good Protestant translation, the ESV):[What you term “a good Protestant translation” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completely accurate. I find the NKJV a more consistently accurate translation.]

You said: The “bond” is the record of those trespasses, which under the Law, we were legally bound to expiate. What Jesus canceled was not the Law, but this bond, and the legal requirements of the Law upon a Christian. [If what Christ “wiped out” was a written record of our personal sins, how would this prevent being judged “in food or in drink,” “a festival or a new moon or sabbaths?” And if that was the “shadow of things to come,” what was to come? Your interpretation is not consistent with this context. But if what Christ “wiped out” was Moses’ Law, then Christ’s death frees from personal sin and  the food and drink, festival, new moon, and sabbaths requirements of Moses’ Law. AND Christians should no longer follow the “shadow,” but the “substance” of Christ’s Law!] As he says in Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13) — He did not “wipe away” the Law itself. [Moses’ Law contained “the curse,”(Deuteronomy 21:23). Jesus became “the curse of the law” when He was crucified (Galatians 3:13-14). If the “curse” is removed, then the law with that “curse” is removed. If not, why not?] If that were the case, why would the Law itself (the Torah) still be an essential part of Christian Bibles? [“to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3:19-29)]

 What is called a “Christian calendar” is the Catholic calendar of their designated times for spiritual emphasis. However, the New Testament church of Christ never re-enacted events in Jesus’ life, but preached His life, death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven,  that people could believe in Him (Luke 1:1-4; John 20:30-31; 21:25; Mark 16:15-16). Jesus was born, lived, and died under Moses’ Law (Galatians 4:4-5), but in His death, He removed that Law (Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 10:9-10). According to Hebrews 10:9, what “first” did Jesus “take away” and what did Jesus “establish” as the “second” which saves us today?

 It is easy to slip into unscriptural practices by imitating those who practice false religious ways, as Paul warned (2 Timothy 4:1-5), instead of imitating those who are pleasing to God (1 Corinthians 4:15-16; 2 Corinthians 10:18).

—–John T. Polk II

#bible-study, #christianity, #church-of-christ, #obedience, #preaching, #religion

Hugh’s News & Views (Cafeteria-Style Religion)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

CAFETERIA-STYLE RELIGION

In our increasingly eclectic, “many options,” postmodern world, religion is being reduced to a cafeteria-style approach. Just as one can go through a cafeteria line picking the food items he or she wants to eat and rejecting the rest, so many people approach religion in the same fashion: they pick from the Bible (and even from various World Religions) those ideas, notions, commands, and practices they personally like and agree with and reject the rest.

George Barna, in his book If Things Are So Good, Why Do I Feel So Bad?, has correctly captured the contemporary attitude toward religious faith. He writes: “The prevailing concern of people is no longer, ‘Is my faith pure and true?’ The dominant concern today is ‘Does my faith make me feel good and help me understand the world in a way I find reassuring and personally beneficial'” (page 91). Continue reading

#homosexuality, #hughfulford, #religion, #religious-experience

Living in the Athens of the first century today

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ‘Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.’” Acts 17:22.

In many ways we are living in the Athens of the 1st Century today. Whether those around us who worship at their altars will admit to this or not, our culture worships many gods.

There are the gods of hedonism (pursuing sensuality), materialism (pursuing stuff), and egoism (pursuing self). And then there are the postmodern (each is his own god) gods of human secularism (man is man’s savior) whose doctrines are evolution, tolerance, and militant intolerance towards truth.

We could proclaim the same thing today: “Men of America! I see that in every way you are very religious.” The difference is that while the 1st Century Athenians were curious about Paul’s “preaching of the good news about Jesus and the resurrection,” the 21st Century Athenians believe it old news, outdated … and disproved by science and the advancement of human intelligence.

Just as Paul was able to connect with the men on Mars Hill by proclaiming the “unknown god” to them, we must seek and fill the needs of those in today’s Aeropagus, never changing the gospel message, but repackaging it for our audience so they can see its enduring relevance.

Will you stand up or shrink back?

Doug Kashorek

Plattsburgh church of Christ

www.plattsburghchurch.com

author of Kin of Cain

a Christian historical fantasy

www.douglaskashorek.com

#evangelism, #religion, #society

It’s the other way around!

After reading through and comparing the Old Testament to the New Testament many people in the religious world believe that Jesus came to make God feel differently about humanity. Such is not the case! As God in the flesh Jesus came to make humanity feel differently about God.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

#god-of-the-new-testament, #god-of-the-old-testament, #jesus, #reconciliation, #religion

PRACTICAL FOR LIVING!

One evening, as I was leaving our seasonal Winter Shelter, one of the guests asked me of my perspective on religion as compared to certain practices he had observed. Part of my response to him was that religion — as it is expressed in the Scriptures — is not merely ritual, but is practical. It relates to accepting God’s authority for life, good living and helping to meet the needs of others. The questioner then responded, “You are doing that.”

Someone has said, “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” [original source unknown]

The fact that living a life pleasing to God is more than ritualistic observance is made clear through various passages of Scripture. For example, in response to a questioner seeking to justify himself (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35) The priest and the Levite appear to have been too focused on their ceremonial cleanness to help one who had A REAL NEED. To press the point we read. . .

“(36) Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (37) He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “YOU GO, AND DO LIKEWISE.”” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

On another occasion, when Jesus’ disciples were accused of plucking heads of grain while walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded the
faultfinders of David and his men having eaten the bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat. That bread was there was to MEET THE NEED at the time. (Mark 2:23-26) By the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the “doctrines” of work on the Sabbath had been meticulously defined by the teachers of the law. However, in addressing the practicality, Jesus went on to state. . .

“(27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”” (Mark 2:27 ESV)

There are a number of other places Jesus addressed what was done on the Sabbath when He Himself was accused of healing on the Sabbath. In those cases Jesus drew attention to what His accusers were willing to do when it came to their own personal property (i.e. Matthew 12:11-12), exposing more interest in themselves than in being willing to reach out to meet the REAL NEEDS around them.

Perhaps one of the most concise and clearest statements comes from James where we read. . .

“(27) RELIGION THAT IS PURE AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD, THE FATHER, IS THIS: TO VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD.” (James 1:27 ESV)

Living a “religious” life before God and man is both practical and holy. Purity of life is an issue to be taken very seriously. However, our interaction with others and willingness to MEET REAL NEEDS is also of extreme importance. Are we not glad we have a Heavenly Father aware of and willing to provide for both our spiritual and physical needs? May we be mindful of that with regard to others as we live through each day God provides.

Have a great day PUTTING THE ASSETS OF HEART, EAR, AND HAND TO WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD! – Carl Hanson

(“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

Related Articles:

#christian-living, #christianity, #god, #life, #living-the-faith, #practical-lessons, #religion, #service, #serving-god

What Must They Do To Be Saved???

In the recent Christian Chronicle paper there was an article titled, “How the should we interact?” which discussed how certain congregations of the churches of Christ were interacting with three other churches outside their fellowship (a Baptist Church, a First Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church).

Several other issues aside, I want to quickly point out the futility of such work and worship arrangements between “us and them” by using a direct quote in the story.

On page 19 of the (February 2014, Vol. 71, No.2) story a “pastoral minister” for the Southwest Central Church of Christ said, “None of these [works] requires us to deny who we are or compromise what we believe…In a major urban area like Houston, it is not Churches of Christ against Baptists. It is Christians trying to share Jesus with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans.

Did you catch that? Because therein lies the problem. We can’t just simply “share Jesus” along side Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Do you know why? Because we don’t agree, and rightly so, on what those Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans need to do to be saved.

Do they need to say the sinner’s prayer? Do they need to simply “believe” in Jesus? Do they only need to confess Jesus and then all is well? Or do they need to actually obey the gospel?

After Phillip “preached Jesus” to the eunuch of Ethiopia the eunuch was left asking “where’s the water?” When such a one asks that of the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists in relation to the gospel of Christ they are told “the water is over there, but you don’t need that right now, we’ll take care of that next week, next month or maybe even next year; everything is alright, you’re saved just the way you are.” And even when they do get around to baptizing people it’s not for a scriptural purpose.

Now I don’t want to sound argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, but I came from the Baptist background. I have family that I love dearly who refer to themselves as Baptists. I have friends that I love dearly who refer to themselves as other denominational names. But my love for them, and even for others that I don’t know, has nothing to do with replacing the unity of the Spirit that Jesus wants for His church with a spirit of unity that does nothing more than ignore the important issues that must be settled, such as the answer to question of “What must I do to be saved?” For if we do not agree on such an answer then how could we possible “share Jesus” with others along with them?

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

Related Article:

#christian-chronicle, #denominationalism, #doctrine, #ecuminical-movements, #religion, #salvation, #unity, #unity-of-the-spirit

mm

Outline of the Book of Hebrews

There is an outline of the Book of Hebrews now available on: http://doverchurchofchrist.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Book-of-Hebrews.pdf

#angels, #baptism, #book-of-hebrews, #christianity, #church-of-christ, #faith, #god, #gospel, #high-priest, #jesus-christ, #law-of-moses, #marriage, #new-testament-outline, #priesthood, #religion, #sacrifices, #silence-of-scriptures, #sin, #sprinkling, #tabernacle, #worship

The Real Rock of the Church

When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven! And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.” Then he instructed his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matthew 16:13-21 – NET)

Unfortunately there are some in the religious world who completely miss the point of the above exchange between Jesus, the Son of God, and his chosen apostle, Peter. They sadly believe that these verses teach that the church of Christ, both locally and universally, was built upon Peter instead of what Jesus actually said the church would be built upon. Peter, along with the other apostles and prophets of God, helped to establish the foundation of the church through his teachings (Ephesians 2:20), but Peter is not the rock of Matthew 16:18 that the church is built upon.

The rock of Matthew 16:18 that the church is built upon is the foundational principle of Jesus’ sonship, not Peter’s apostleship. Jesus is the rock of the church in every way. And keeping things in the context of the above quoted scriptures, how, outside of the Father’s verbal declaration (Matthew 17:4-5; 2 Peter 1:16-19) and the witness of the scriptures of God (Psalm 2; Hebrews 1:1-4), was Jesus proven to be the Son of God? It was by his resurrection from the dead!

From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. This gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son who was a descendant of David with reference to the flesh, who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:1-4 – NET)

This is why Jesus said the gates of Hades would not prevail or overpower the church’s foundation. Because death itself would not prevent the church from being built! The keys to the entrance of the kingdom were given to Peter (along with the other apostles, prophets and teachers of God) to use to let people into the kingdom, the church – but only Jesus has the keys to let people escape death, and their benefit is enjoyed through a belief in Jesus, the Son of God, and his conquering of death (John 11:25-26; Acts 2:22-41; Romans 10:9-10; Revelation 1:12-18).

This is why the scriptures refer to the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:18-23; Colossians 1:12-18) as the “general assembly and church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23) – because Jesus was, is and forever will be the firstborn from the dead, which is the foundational principle of the church’s existence.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness and his victory over the grave as the Christ, the Son of God, and the rest of the church rests upon that rock for that is the rock, the true word of God’s grace, that Peter, James, John, Paul and the rest of the apostles and prophets built the church’s faith upon (Acts 20:32; 1 Peter 1:3). And to attempt to build the church upon any other foundation is to miss the foundation, the true rock, which was revealed to Peter by the Father through Jesus his Son in Matthew 16:13-21.

We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11 – NET)

#apostle-peter, #christianity, #firstborn-from-the-dead, #foundation, #god, #jesus, #matthew-16, #religion, #son-of-god, #the-church, #the-rock

An Article that has an Interesting Perspective on Perspective

Here’s an article that originated with the E-mail Bulletin from the Lord’s Church in Wise, Virginia. The author (John Gibson) says several things that I have wondered about in relationship to the criticism one can receive when it comes to applying biblical principles to present day situations. I thought some here might find it interesting.

STONES TO BREAD REVISITED by John Gibson

But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Most readers will recognize those words from Matthew 4:4 as those spoken by Jesus when confronted by Satan in the wilderness and challenged to prove that He was the Son of God by turning the stones into bread. While I can’t imagine a Christian questioning Jesus’ answer, based on things I’m reading and hearing from some of my brethren, I’m convinced that if this had been said or written by a gospel preacher it would have been criticized in one or more of the following ways.

  • I noticed you quoted from the Septuagint, but are you sure it translated the Hebrew correctly here? The Septuagint is not a bad translation, but a lot has been learned about Hebrew in the last 250 years. Unless you have done sufficient research on the original language, I would be hesitant to rely too heavily on a translation that old.
  • Have you ever stopped to think that you are reading Deuteronomy as a 1st century inhabitant of Galilee when these words were spoken to a people who had been wandering in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years? To a people living in a barren land like that bread may have had a different meaning.
  • While everyone recognizes there are portions of the Scripture that contain Law, in Deuteronomy 8 Moses is telling a story, and it’s a perversion of the original to go over a narrative in that manner and pick commandments from it that you turn into law. In those sections we need simply to read the story and learn to be more like Moses and other faithful men and women who loved the Lord their God.
  • While your interpretation of Deuteronomy 8:4 has been the prevailing one taught in the stricter synagogues for some time, it is important that we be willing to challenge orthodoxy and not be trapped in a traditional mindset.
  • Why must you come across as so rigid in your approach to questions like this? I can understand why you may not be comfortable with the turning of stones to bread, and if that’s the case, then don’t do it. But why bind your interpretation on everyone else? Continue reading

#bible, #biblical-interpretation, #religion, #truth

“Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow” by Gospel Minutes

I talked to the editors at Gospel Minutes and I received their permission to put up a PDF of the article that I referenced a few days ago written by Clem Thurman called “Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow.” I encourage you to check it out if you don’t receive these papers through your congregation. Brother Thurman did an excellent job relating an “obscure” piece of scripture that’s thousands of years old to our modern-day mindset when it comes to finding fulfillment in the wrong places of life. Just click the link below!

PDF of Bed Too Short and Cover Too Narrow

#culture, #emptiness-of-life, #fulfillment, #god, #gospel-minutes, #isaiah, #pdf, #popular-culture, #religion, #sin