Mistaking the bricks and mortar for the bride of Christ
Atheism is rare and on the whole unpopular in the US, however this is changing. While Richard Dawkins and others have promoted atheism, a major factor is the behaviour of organised religion. Christianity contains less of Christ and more focus on itself, it’s structures and traditions rather than its mission. This feeds increasing disillusionment in and out of the church. As will be seen in Psalm 53 and Psalm 10, this is akin to a denial of the power and presence of God – atheism in practice if not name. Going through the motions, maintaining ethical habits is not true religion a form of rebellion and stubbornness – idolatry to use the biblical term. Believers need to know and live Jesus Christ and him crucified, nothing more, nothing less.
Continue reading “The Fool Hath Said In His Heart”
Apologetics is the domain of defending Christian faith and has a role in strengthening faith
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Heb 11:1 NET
The words of Hebrews 11:1 (especially as rendered in the King James Version) are sometimes taken to be a definition of faith, however this is not the intention of the text. John Carter makes the observation “Primarily faith is trust in God’s word…[which] has the result of producing confidence concerning the future, and a conviction concerning things not seen.”
Continue reading “An evidence-based faith”
How Christ’s audience would have understood his teaching on the salt of the earth
Very early in the Sermon on the Mount, straight after the opening discourse on the blessings on mourners, peacemakers, and the merciful, Christ used two metaphors to describe what the disciples were to be: they were to be the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. We’re going to look at the first of these.
Continue reading “The Salt of the Earth”
A summary of the rational, supporting evidence for the resurrection
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless” 1 Corinthians 15:17 NET The resurrection is the critical doctrine and historical basis of our faith. The case for the resurrection can draw on both biblical and external evidence. This article provides a brief summary of the evidence.
Continue reading “Evidence for a resurrection?”
How Metzger’s “Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament” helps us identify insertions into the Biblical text
The shocking headline above recently featured on a meme alongside a list of verses that the RSV is said to have removed from the Bible. Other such memes exist for other translations like the NIV and with different lists, but the complaint is one that has abounded since well before the existence of the Internet.
Continue reading ““They changed the Bible – RSV removes entire verses””
The ancient context of Psalm 29
Through our 21st century, western eyes, Psalm 29 seems to be about how God shows his strength in the natural world. He thunders, he breaks cedar trees, and he sits enthroned on a flood. The psalm also contains language that is not so familiar and gives us the uneasy feeling that we possibly don’t understand it as well we might. For example, God’s voice flashes fire (v7), he makes Lebanon skip like a calf (v6), and he shakes the wilderness of Kadesh (v8) – the significance of these phrases is not obvious. By the end of the psalm we’re not sure exactly what it’s about, but are pretty comfortable that it’s somehow a declaration that God’s power is shown in dramatic weather events like thunder, lightning, and floods.
Continue reading “Ascribe to Yahweh”
How Christ’s audience would have understood his teaching on the eye being the light of the body
Compared to the verses that surround it, Matthew 6:22-23 is hard to understand:
Mt 6:22–23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
It is not immediately apparent how the eye is the body’s lamp, or in what sense the eye was said to be healthy/unhealthy, or how a healthy eye results in the body being full of light, or how a body can be full of light at all. Our natural instinct when reading this section of chapter six is to concentrate on the familiar verses that come before (“store up for yourselves treasures in heaven”) or after (“you cannot serve God and wealth”) because they’re more easily understood. The passage in question appears unrelated to its surrounding context; it’s as if Christ began in v. 19 on the topic of the disciple’s relationship with the temporary things of life and then went off on a short tangent before coming back to his original topic. Our aim is to understand what Christ wanted to communicate in these two verses.
Continue reading “The Lamp of the Body”