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Our group continued last week's study in Hebrews; this week finishing Heb 10-14. In Heb 11:1-2 we discussed how the text speaks of how the Jews were waiting for the Messiah and now that Jesus had come, those things commended to the "ancients" were seeing their fruition.
Next, as we read verse-by-verse, we came to Heb 12:18-21 where there was discussion about the contrast between how the Hebrews/Jews were unable to come unto the mountain when Moses went up to receive the 10 commandments, but that when people come to the NT, new covenant they are not coming near that dreadful mountain but rather to something better.
Serbia, a landlocked country in what is considered Eastern Europe is perhaps one of the most pivotal countries as it relates to Christianity's past AND its future. First, Serbia is where Constantine I was born. As you know, Constantine, whether loved or hated by modern Christians, was in fact the Roman emperor that in 312 A.D. converted to Christianity and then set about Christianizing the Roman Empire. (source) This is significant because this was the beginning of what we might call Western culture.
Serbia itself, throughout the centuries began the gateway to the Eastern Christian empire, the Byzantine Empire and its capital Constantinople.
This week, our Bible study group read Hebrews 7:11-10:39. The focus was on how the Old Covenant was unable to do as the New Covenant does. There was discussion on how Jesus could not have been a priest on earth because He was not from the priestly Levite tribe. (Heb 7:11-8:3)
There was interest in the fact that the earthly temple (the one the Jews worshipped in during Jesus' earthly ministry) was merely a copy patterned from the true temple where God resides. We also talked about in what sense the Old Covenant was "faulty". The question was raised whether it meant God made the Old Covenant, knowing full well that it couldn't actually bring salvation. The comparison was made that the Ten Commandments were also given knowing full well that no one could actually keep those commands. (Heb 8:4-7)
Now that it has passed I thought I'd make a few comments on the Qur'an Burning episode (see background here). First, let me say I have read the Qur'an about 4 times through and have extensively studied its background, which is what I wish more people would do before they go around claiming "Islam is a religion of peace". Next, let me say immediately that although I didn't agree with Terry Jones' plan to burn Qur'ans, I think the entire episode has brought out some very useful points of discussion; for Muslims, Christians and all.
Burning Qur'ans just because seemed pointless but if I'd been allowed to interview both Terry Jones and leading Imams (Muslim clergy) I would have asked the following questions.
TO TERRY JONES:
This week's study looked at 1 Cor 2:6-16 through 1 Cor 3:1-23 and focused especially on 1 Cor 3:11-16 wherein we read:
The group discussed whether the context of 1 Cor 2:6-16 through 1 Cor 3:1-23 was about general Christians or was about Paul attempting to demonstrate that the apostles "have the mind of Christ", or inspiration. There was some talk about 1 Cor 2:15 as to what it means. Does it mean Christians can't be judged or is this Paul again asserting his authority as an apostle, which is often the theme with Paul?
While within the environs of the independent fundamental baptist denominations, an often quoted and topic-launching verse was Proverbs 22:6
The implied contention is (at least within that denomination) that if you raise your children correctly, they will remain good, Christian persons.
Attached to this idea that you simply need to raise your child correctly are all sorts of other aspects such as; to home school or not, Christian school or not, sheltering or not.
Interestingly, some of the worst behaved children within the church structure tend to be the "pastor's kids"...at least this is what is often said. Is it the stigma and pressure of being the pastor's kid that would cause them to tend to rebel?
Further, children raised in strict Christian homes, sheltered from "the world" are often said to "go wild" later in life. If this is really true, why is this and how does it compare with what Proverbs 22:6 says?
As we know, the media often portrays Muslim or Islamic extremists as a different and minority group within the larger religion of Islam. We are told that most Muslims aren't terrorists and don't want to harm other people. We are told that "Islam is a religion of peace". And there is some truth to at least one part of these claims; most Muslims aren't terrorists, otherwise the situation would be worse. So, then why does a group of Muslims turn to terrorism? Are they merely taking an extreme, literal interpretation of the Koran?
Then, when we think of Christian extremism, is it groups like the Branch Davidians, the Jim Jones sect or other such groups? Or is it more accurate to consider groups like the Amish, Quakers, and Mennonites as the comparison to the so-called Islamic extremists. After all, the ones that are labeled extremists are those who take the actual text the most literal -- and with Islam that is the terrorists and with Christianity that is the Amish/Quakers/Mennonites and such.
Although the salvifici message of Christ is not one where a person tries to be better so that they can get into heaven, there is an element where Christians are called to live God-honoring lives.
This weeks Bible study will focus on some simple proverbs that not only promise to help us live God-honoring lives, but also productive lives.
Perhaps it is best to start with Proverbs 1:7
As we go through these proverbs, supposedly composed by Solomon, the son of David, perhaps to his children or as a general collection -- let us consider how the proverbs applied affects our daily life.
Barack Obama made the following statement:
Perhaps at face value and after decades of liberals trying to tell us the United States of America wasn't built on Christian values, Obama's stand sounds simply like a man defending the rights of his fellow Americans. But upon further consideration, we should look at the contrast of Obama telling Israel that they shouldn't build more settlements in their own territory because it would be insensitive to the surrounding Muslims.
Well, I was away from July 27, 2010 to August 8, 2010 on a vacation to Hawaii for my 20th wedding anniversary. Although it was a vacation, I'm constantly looking for how life relates to theology and theology relates to life. So, while sharing a little about the vacation, I'd also like to share some interesting theological perspectives about Hawai'i.
In Indianapolis, near where I live every summer the city hosts an event called The Indiana Black Expo (IBE). Typically, the event experiences some sort of violence but in the summer of 2010 there was a mass shooting where 9 people were injured (source). But it was the response to this situation that highlights the real trouble.
Tanya Bell, president and CEO of the IBE said a task force was being formed to examine "the root causes of youth violence" (source). Here is where there seems to be a very huge blind spot in much of the black community. When you have groups that focus on race; such as calling an event "Black Expo" or having "Black History Month", "Black Miss America", "Negro College Fund" and such then it should be clear that is seeding and perpetuating a root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:14-15) and resentment.
This week we tried something a little different in the Bible study. Instead of having a specific topic or specific verses to examine, we each took a blank piece of paper and divided it into two categories:
At first, there was a little confusion (as is to be expected) as to what the difference is between being saved and being part of the Christian community.
To keep our understanding of the Bible in order, it is important that we know the basic chronology of the main Bible figures. This week's study will focus on building a "family tree" of those main figures, patriarchs ("fathers"). See the graph below (shown in full article).
By now most people have heard at least sound bites of Mel Gibson's horrid comments toward his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva who is also the mother of one of his children (source). But the purpose of this article ISN'T to get on the bandwagon of "Oh did you hear what Mel Gibson said?" Rather, as a Christian website I want to address Gibson's Christian connection and how this issue intersects.
Let's first look at the title, Son of God. In the Christian understanding, Jesus is seen as the unigenitus Dei Filius or the only begotten Son of God, whereas general humanity may be considered "sons of God" generically since God is called The Father. An example of the general use can be found in Gen 6:1-2 where it is said the "sons of God" copulated with the daughters of men. This verse is often interpreted as the "sons of God" being either angels or righteous men. The dominant interpretation is that "sons of God" indicate, humanity within the covenantal relationship with God, or specifically in Gen 6:1-2, the offspring of Seth rather than the offspring of Cain. The view that "sons of God" relates to angels is typically held by heretical or cultic groups, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses.(source #1, source #2 see also: Job 1:6, Job 38:7, Psalm 29:1)
The Obama White House has tasked NASA to "find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering." -- source
The elites often like to claim that while pre-Medieval and Medieval Europe was groping around in the so-called "Dark Ages", Islam and Muslim culture was imparting to the world, great scientific strides. But let's back up a little. Where were the great centers of learning and knowledge resource BEFORE the advent of Islam?
In light of Google's recent announcement that it is paying extra toward benefits for homosexual employees to have "partner" health benefits (source), I took an interest in a new search engine - Yippy.com.
Although, it is going to be difficult to top Google's reach, Yippy looks very interesting. One thing Google has tried to do, that Yippy seems to be following is to make the actual search page ad-minimal. When people go to a search engine, they don't want to have to navigate through a bunch of clutter. Yippy maintains the nice, clean page. Yippy does offer something different than other search engines; a menu bar. But the menu bar is simply icons, which makes you curious (at least it did me) as to what each menu does. I especially liked the Yippy radio, Blues channel. Cool stuff.
I signed up for an account to be able to check out some of the other features. Take a look, Yippy.com
Sometimes when Christians think of the word presuppose they consider it a negative since Christians want not to presuppose or assume but rather allow the Bible to determine our beliefs. But theologically and philosophically speaking, everyone presupposes when is comes to claims or propositions. What is important is whether our presuppositions are accurate or are flawed.
In this 44 minute podcast Roderick is joined by Dr. James Anderson of the Reformed Theological Seminary as Dr. Anderson gives an introductory summation of Presuppositionalism and especially how it is articulated from the two dominant "schools"; that of the late Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Clark.
My family has been thinking about hosting a foreign exchange high-school student. Tonight we attended the "return ceremonies" for the previous year students as they return home. Host families provided a food dish so there was plenty of good eats.
We were able to speak with a few of the students; one from Columbia, Thailand, and Germany.
So far in this weekly study, we have examined why and how we became Christians, perhaps the next question is what does this mean to our interactions with other people. Can we just go on like we did before we we're Christians? Does it mean we are suddenly going to be "goodie-goodies"?
First, I'd like to look at some biblical accounts that discuss the contrast between who we were before we became Christians as opposed to being Christians.
This article has been categorized as philosophical since as Christians we need not entertain or even attempt to resolve this issue. Contrary to at least one person I've heard say, the purpose of theology ISN'T to resolve paradoxes or contradictions.
So, when we discuss omnipotence, or God's ability to do all things, with nothing beyond His ability we encounter the dilemma of paradox versus contradiction. The proverbial question:
"Can God make a rock so heavy that He can't lift it?"
There have been several approaches toward this dilemma. One is to consider God to be outside or before logic. This means that we can only ascertain God and His abilities within the confines of our perceptual logic, and this is not a sufficient perception, thus requiring revelation. This is the position adopted by most Christians and seems to accord with much of the biblical propositions that present God and His actions as paradoxical.
"A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often abuse on the part of individual members occur continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal. Dysfunctional families are primarily a result of co-dependent adults, and may also be affected by addictions, such as substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, etc.) Other origins include untreated mental illness, and parents emulating or over-correcting their own dysfunctional parents. In some cases, a "child-like" parent will allow the dominant parent to abuse their children." -- source
Yet, another aspect of a dysfunctional family (or even a dysfunctional system) is to blame the dysfunction on others.
This week's study is on the word fool and especially how it is contrasted with being a Christian. Further, how Christians should not call each other, fool per Jesus' admonition in Mt 5:22.
The text of the study was presented as follows:
This podcast discusses what a consistent application of Full/Hyperpreterismi might look like. Roderick is joined by a Full/Hyperpreterist using the Internet pseudonym, "Rivers Of Eden". Rivers has used many of the common Full/Hyperpreterist teachings to conclude that God redeemed His Elect (genetic Abrahamic offspring only) in the year AD70 and no longer has any biblically expressed plan for people on earth after AD70.
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