Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
“As we celebrate the Jubilee of our justly popular monarch, we have an opportunity to ask some wider questions in the spirit of Jubilee, to pause, look back and ask where we are as a nation, and where we are going.
“Promiscuity, separation and divorce have reached epidemic proportions in our society. Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be surprised that depression and the prescription of anti-depressants has reached a similarly epidemic level.
“Literally millions of children grow up without knowing a stable, loving, secure family life - and that is not to count the hundreds of thousands more who don’t even make it out of the womb each year."
Bishop Richard Chartre June 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
"The only conclusion one can make is that this by no means can be considered as legend. Indeed this creed is an eyewitness account of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This eye witness creed dates back to with a couple of years of Jesus' resurrection!"
The above is how I concluded my last post. Having shown beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus' Apostles clearly taught that Jesus had died on the cross and risen from the dead, the only lingering doubt is whether they were telling the truth.
Clearly the Apostles knew the truth about whether Jesus did in fact die and rise again - they should have known - they were there!
The Apostles were teaching about the resurrection of Jesus only a few days after he had died. All of a sudden Peter (who was so frightened of the authorities that he three times denied he knew Jesus) was preaching with authority (and indeed to the authorities!) that he was risen!
But what if he was lying? Well the same authorities that put Jesus to death were still very much around to try to do the same to Peter. Indeed history records that both Peter and James (Jesus' brother) and many others who knew the truth about Jesus' resurrection did pay the ultimate price of death for their belief in a resurrected Jesus:
"Ananus who took the High Priesthood ... assembled the Sanhedren of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus (who was called the Christ), whose name was James, and some of his companions; and when he had formed an accusation against them, he delivered them to be stoned" (The Jewish Historian Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1)As I have already stated the likes of Peter and James (who are shown in my last post to be the most likely authors of the earliest creed about Jesus' death and resurrection) KNEW THE TRUTH! They KNEW if Jesus was dead they KNEW if Jesus had risen! If the latter is true, then they died for the truth. If the former is true then they had died for a blatant lie.
This leaves us with a fundamental question:
It is true to say that many people will die for something they believe to be true. But I have not met any sane person who would die for what they know to be a lie.
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO WOULD DIE FOR A LIE?
WOULD YOU DIE FOR A LIE?
It seems to me that the witnesses of Jesus' death were also witnesses of His resurrection! Yet another piece of my 1,000 + piece jigsaw in place!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
"Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.Why is this an important piece of the jigsaw? Well because a number of my friends believe that Jesus' resurrection is a legend, that it was made up many years after Jesus died, in the same way of the legendary activity of say Robin Hood or King Arthur. A Muslim friend and some of my blog readers believe this to be so.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the twelve. After that he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me." 1 Corinthians 15: 1 - 7
Here lies the unbeliever's problem:
- The first is the media used in this document: Paul is writing a letter to his friends in Corinth. Not primarily to boast about the Cross and Resurrection but to tick off his friends for their ungodly conduct and to show people how to conduct themselves in church. Now I don't know about you, but I am not in the habit of (a) lying to my friends ('last of all he appeared to me') or (b) including legendary material as if it is real ... when I write to my friends.
- Reputable neutral (non Christian!) scholars believe that this letter was indeed written by Paul
- Neutral (non Christian!) scholars date the letter around AD 55 only 20 years after Jesus' death. This is in itself by definition doesn't leave sufficient time for 'legend' to be formed.
"For what I received I passed onto you as of first importance."You see Paul wrote this letter 20 years after Jesus' death - but he quite clearly received those words in red in in the first quote even earlier - most certainly a number of years earlier!
See what Paul wrote in Galations:
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem, to get aquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw no other Apostles - only James the Lord brother. Galations 1:18 - 19It is most interesting that Peter and James are mentioned together as witnesses to the death and resurrrection and in the above letter to the Galations. Equally interesting is the Greek word 'historio' used in the Galations passage.
"This word ... shows this was an investigative inquiry. Paul was playing the role of an examiner, someone who was carefully checking this out." (The Case for Christ: Lee Strobel)Almost certainly the words in red in the first quote is an early creed given by Peter and James themselves.
The only conclusion one can make is that this by no means can be considered as legend. Indeed this creed is an eyewitness account of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This eye witness creed dates back to with a couple of years of Jesus' resurrection!
Sunday, April 29, 2012
What does it mean to confess that Jesus is Lord?"If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
Surely in declaring Jesus as your Lord you are submitting your life into His hands. You are saying that you will do anything that Jesus asks. You are asking Jesus to rule, to reign over EVERY aspect of your life. It means that you have decided to follow Jesus in ALL of his ways . Such a confession means that you repent of (turn away from) all the stuff that you have been doing that God's Word declares you shouldn't do. It means that you have chosen to be 'Holy' - set apart from all worldy acts and values and desires.
When we confess 'Jesus is Lord' we are acknowledgeing our wrong doing before Him and asking Him by the power of the Holy Spirit to change us. Some of that change takes a life time (that is sanctification) but the desire to change is instant and therefore some changes are instant.
Quite often when I speak to people who are near to confessing that Jesus is Lord, there is one thing stopping them. It is the one thing that they are holding on to and desperate not to let go. Hearts have been convicted in the sense they know that one thing is wrong, they know or at least believe that the Bible says it is wrong, but they can't yet trust God to give it up. If this is you - at least you are counting the cost. Failure to count the cost will not end up in new birth but still birth.
If this is you, I urge you to submit to Jesus as Lord. He can not be your saviour until he is first your Lord. Whatever Jesus is asking you to forsake is for your own good and he will exchange the stuff that is not of God for blessings.
"Choose Life ... for the Lord is your life." Deuteronomy 30: 19, 20
"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family. But a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John8: 34 - 36
Thursday, April 12, 2012
title that he bore as governor. It is now on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
If a piece of ancient writing is historically accurate you would of course expect that archaeology would support what has been written.
By means of contrast, it is worth thinking about the claims of the Book of Mormon. There has never been any archaeology discoveries that confirm:
- Book of Mormon cities, places, nation or name
- Book of Mormon people
- Book of Mormon artifacts
- Book of Mormon inscriptions
There is no evidence whatsoever to support the Mormon claim that Jesus made a physical appearance to walk the streets of America.
John McCray a Professor of New Testament and Archaeology states that 'Archaeology has not produced anything that is unequivocally a contradiction to the Bible. On the contrary, ... there have been many opinions of skeptical scholoars that have become codified into 'fact' over the years but that archaeology has shown to be wrong.' (The Case for Christ: Strobel)
Friday, March 23, 2012
For example in John 5: 1- 15 we hear that Jesus healed a man by the Pool at Bethsaida. In John's account it describes the pool as having five colonaided porches (porticoes). For many years people argued that John was inaccurate in his recording because no such pool had been found in Bethsaida. More recently however archaologists have discovered this pool which has 'yes you guessed it' five porticoes!
For me one of the most interesting discoveries was that of the dead sea scrolls.
Lee Strobel in his book: 'The Case For Christ' explains:
"The gospel of Matthew describes how John the Baptist, imprisoned and wrestling with lingering doubts about Jesus' identity, sent his followers to ask Jesus this monumental question: 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?' (Matt. 11.3). He was seeking a straight answer about whether Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.
Through the centuries, Christians have wondered about Jesus' rather enigmatic answer. ... 'Go back and report to John what yu hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.' (Matt. 11: 4 - 5)
Jesus response was an illusion to Isaiah 35. But for some reason Jesus included the words the dead are raised which is conspicuously absent from Old Testament text.
This is where 4Q521 comes in. This non-biblical manuscript from the Dead Sea collection, written in Hebrew, dates back to thirty years before Jesus was born. It contains a version of Isaiah 61 that does include the missing phrase the dead are raised."
'[Scroll scholar Craig] Evans has pointed out that this phrase in 4Q521 is unquestionably embedded in Messianic context' 'It refers to the wonders that the Messiah will do when he comes and when heaven and earth will obey him. so when Jesus gave his response to John, he was not being ambiguous at all."
Jesus is saying 'Yes I am the one to come - I am the Messiah.'
My critics will ask the question: 'But what does this prove?' The answer is 'in itself not a great deal'. But it is another piece of the jigsaw that reveals the truth of who Jesus really is - the truth of who Jesus claims to be.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
without someone who has absolute authority to declare what is right and just. Since everyone falls short of the absolute moral standard (who has ever kept the 10 commandments?) no person can claim to have that absolute authority! This authority belongs to the Author of Life alone!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
A judgement poured out by the angry authoritiies on someone whose wayward ways had caused havoc in a particular organisation. And in many ways I could not disagree with their verdict and fully understood their anger.
But what if the ones giving this verdict had in an earlier discussion agreed that effectively all we are is a product of an accident of colliding molecules. How justified would their anger at this man be? How justified their judgement? How can a conglemerate of molecules lie? After all if I angrily shouted 'YOU LIAR!' at a chair that on the face of it looked quite stable and therefore promised to hold me but collapsed on my sitting upon it, then you could quite reasonably call me stupid. Things (a table, a chair, a set of atoms or molecules)can not lie!
For anyone to be convicted of a crime the presence of 'mens rea' (a guilty mind) has to be proven. It is the capability of knowing what is right and wrong. But if all we are is:
FAT enough for 7 bars of soap
IRON enough for one medium size nail
SUGAR enough for seven cups of tea
MAGNESIUM enough for one dose of salts
PHOSPHORUS enough to tip 2,200 matches
POTASH enough to explode one toy crane
SULPHUR enough to rid one dog of fleas
(Professor C Joad)
then no matter what terrible crime they have committed - everyone has an instant defense and can claim that 'mens rea' is not present - how can I be guilty of anything since I am merely a thing, an object.
However, we are more than an accident, more than the above. We are moral beings and are created in God's image. God (the moral law giver) has clothed us with a sense of morality. Morality (writes Edgar Andrews: 'Who Made God?') is a form of law and moral law necessitates a law giver.
To be completed
Sunday, January 22, 2012
When I look at the blood
All I see is love, love, love.
When I stop at the cross
I can see the love of God
But I can't see competition
I can't see hierachy
I can't see pride or prejudice
or the abuse of authority
I can't see lust for power
I can't see manipulation
I can't see rage or anger
or selfish ambition
But I can't see unforgiveness
I can't see hate or envy
I can't see stupid fighting
or bitterness,or jealousy.
I can't see empire building
I can't see self importance
I can't see back stabbing
Or vanity or arrogance.
Love Love Love........
When I Stop!....at the cross
I can see the love of God.
Godfrey Birtill 2004 © Whitefield Music UK Admin Copycare