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Showing posts from May, 2006

Sting's Sacred Love -- Is He Searching for God?

I have been a fan of the rock/jazz musician Sting since I first heard Roxanne shortly after its release back in the 1970s. I have always enjoyed his music, and have all of his albums from his very greatest efforts(Nothing Like the Sun and Ten Summoner's Tales) through his very worst (Mercury Rising). His latest release, Sacred Love, has left me wondering: is Sting seeking God?

The album's name alone should alert the reader that he is somehow seeking something of the divine since "sacred", by definition, is something related to deity or deserving of worship. In Christian thought, "sacred love" is what Jesus demonstrated when he died on the cross in forgiveness of sin. The album is dedicated to the memory of a couple of individuals, and this leads me to believe that the album is intended to be an introspective look at Sting's own life and mortality, and in many ways that is exactly what the album delivers. Sting admits that he has been thinking about Chri…

Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt Part V: The Surprise: The Quiet Time is Optional

Greg Johnson, founder of the St. Louis Center for Christian Study, has written a very pertinent series of chapters on the modern invention of "Quiet Time", and how the church has turned our devotion to God into an issue of guilt. Each day this week, I will quote a chapter and comment as necessary. Below is part four in the series of six entitled, "Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt Part IV: The Shocker: Grace for the Christian." Part I can be found here. Part II can be found here. Part III can be found here. Part IV can be found here.
The Surprise: The Quiet Time is OptionalImagine for a moment you’re meeting a Christian friend. “How’s your relationship with God going?” they ask you. “Well, I’m struggling with my attitude about my job—but God is teaching me to be content and to not gossip when people rub me the wrong way.” A silent stare greets the words, your inquisitor’s eyes staring you up and down. After a moment of awkward silence, the question comes again, “But how…

Jesus' Divinity in Early Christianity: Some Raw Data

In an earlier post, BK noted just how erroneous is Dan Brown's assertion that the early Christians did not believe Jesus was divine until the Council of Nicea. Just to drive the point home, I thought I would provide a sampling of some pre-Nicene writings that prove up that fact. I have already noted many statements affirming Jesus' divinity in the New Testament, here. I will proceed in this post to discuss early non-New Testament writings that do so too.

The first reference is actually from a pagan. Pliny the Younger was a Roman governor who wrote to the Emperor for advice on how to hande the "Christian problem." The letter was written around 111 AD, or more than 200 years before the Council of Nicea. In the letter, Pliny notes the following:

They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god,....
Thus, even the pagans ne…

Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt Part IV: The Shocker: Grace for the Christian

Alas, I have returned from my trip to Oklahoma where I was a counselor at a Christian Youth Camp. Details and pictures of the weekend will follow this on-going series that picking up today. Here is the fourth installment. Comments, critiques, and disagreement are welcomed.

**************************************************************************** Greg Johnson, founder of the St. Louis Center for Christian Study, has written a very pertinent series of chapters on the modern invention of "Quiet Time", and how the church has turned our devotion to God into an issue of guilt. Each day this week, I will quote a chapter and comment as necessary. Below is part four in the series of six entitled, "Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt Part IV: The Shocker: Grace for the Christian." Part I can be found here. Part II can be found here. Part III can be found here.
The Shocker: Grace for the ChristianThis grace is for you right now, now and tonight and tomorrow and next week and foreve…

The Disputed Location of the City of Sodom

Genesis 19:24-29
Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Now Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace. Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.
The account of the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19 is one of the better known from the book of Genesis. Yet, as is true of virtually everything with the Book of Genesis, whether Sodom and Gomorrah we…

Thank You

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From a grateful citizen of a nation you made great.

Happenings at the CADRE

Made some changes to my Virtual Office, which now includes audio files of my radio appearances and a link to my online library.

For the online library I use LibraryThing, which is available for anyone at librarything.com. You type in a title or author and it pulls up all possible selections from the Library of Congress and Amazon.com databases. You then simply select the matching book and it, and all of its information, is added to your library. It also has nifty statistics and shows you who has the same books as you (if they choose to make their library public). The library is also downloadable as an Excel spreadsheet.

I also have revised my article on Acts, A Discussion of the Genre, Historicity, Date, and Authorship of the Acts of the Apostles. The revisions include grammatical improvements, updates to the section on genre, the use of footnotes instead of endnotes, and the addition of a table of contents. The revision is available in Word and I hope to have a PDF version av…

Social Constructs and The Absence of Beleif

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Thomas S. Kuhn


Atheist trade constantly upon their lack of belief. It's the absense of a belief sothey have no burden of proof, they are merely sketpically asking questions, they have nothing to prove. But Derrida shows us that absence is a form of presence. In tendeing their lack of beliefs as an unassailble world view pradigm they forge a posative beilef system out of doubt.
Atheists are always saying we can't prove God, there's no reason to believe in God, ect. There is a particular atheist on a message board that I frequent, who is fond of saying that he was so disappointed when he realized there was no basis for belief in God. But when one trys to make arguments for God, of course like most atheists, he resists them no matter how logical they seem. Well that's fair enough and to be expected. But he does on other thing that used ot drive me up the wall, but now I understand it. He moves the bar further and further until there is no meaning left in even considering th…

Dateline: Da Vinci Code

From Dateline NBC Friday: Secrets of the Da Vinci Code:

Friday, May 26, 8 p.m.: Secrets to the Code
It's the fiction that launched the phenomenon that will not stop: The DaVinci Code. It's now a blockbuster movie, and started with a mega-selling novel loaded with intrigue and ancient mysteries. But what's the truth? With some leading scholars and theologians, Dateline deconstructs the Davinci Code and its controversial theories about Jesus and Mary Magdelene.
Everyone pull up a chair and grab some popcorn -- looks like tonight's episode of Dateline NBC is gonna' be a real hoot! After all, it's always fun to watch the reporters who don't really know much about Christian history blandly accept the views of people like Dan Brown as deserving of equal respect as scholars who have actually studied the New Testament and take it seriously.

But maybe . . . just maybe, the reporters will critically examine some of the absurd claims behind the book and movie and simpl…

Was Jesus Made Divine at the Council of Nicea?

The most objectional claim of The Da Vinci Code is not that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene. Certainly, there is no historical evidence that Jesus and Mary had a child, and consequently I reject the claim on that basis. Still, if Mary and Jesus had a baby, I don't know if that would necessarily have any major impact on my faith or the faith of thousands of other Christians. After all, the central claim of Christianity is not that Jesus Christ was celibate, but that Jesus Christ, God-incarnate, died on the cross and rose again from the dead to save everyone who believes in Him from their sins. But, of course, that is exactly the claim that The Da Vinci Code attacks.

Slate Magazine has a nice article responding to this claim entitled "Ungodly Errors: Scholarly gripes about The Da Vinci Code's Jesus" by Larry Hurtado, Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Hurtado notes:

The belief that Jesus is somehow d…

Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt Part III: The Remedy - Weakness Christianity

Greg Johnson, founder of the St. Louis Center for Christian Study, has written a very pertinent series of chapters on the modern invention of "Quiet Time", and how the church has turned our devotion to God into an issue of guilt. Each day this week, I will quote a chapter and comment as necessary. Below is part three in the series of six entitled, "Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt Part III: The Remedy - Weakness Christianity." Part I can be found here. Part II can be found here.
The Remedy: Weakness ChristianityThere are two religions calling themselves evangelical Christianity today: Strength Christianity and Weakness Christianity. Strength Christianity is that religion which places both feet squarely on the Bible and proclaims, “I am strong. I sought the Lord. I’m a believer. I’ve turned away from sin. I read my Bible and pray every single day. I’m for God!” Weakness Christianity, by contrast, places both knees squarely on the Bible and says, “I am weak, but the Lord…

NCC Misses the Mark on The Da Vinci Code

The National Council of Churches ("NCC") has released a statement on the heels of the release of The Da Vinci Code movie that has raised concerns. It isn't what the statement says that causes concern since it says all of the right things, but simply the focus of the statement that seems wrong-headed.

First, let's recall what the church at large has seen as the main objections to The Da Vinci Code: it portrays Jesus Christ as a man who was not God, but who was deified by the Council of Nicea in 350 A.D. As noted in Stand to Reason's fine essay "The Da Vinci Code Cracks", available through STR's newsletter, Solid Ground, The Da Vinci Code claims through historian Sir Teabring that:

. . . these records [i.e., the true accounts of the life of Jesus that existed prior to the Council of Nicea] were tampered with by Constantine at the Council of Nicea. To advance his own political agenda, the Roman emperor rewrote history, destroying the true records that c…

Are Christians Losing Their Free Speech Rights in High Schools?

The audio for my most recent appearance on Just A Woman Radio is now available. The topic was a recent Ninth Circuit decision which may have chilling effects on the free speech rights of Christians and others on high school campuses.

Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt Part II: The Culprit - Legalism

Greg Johnson, founder of the St. Louis Center for Christian Study, has written a very pertinent series of chapters on the modern invention of "Quiet Time", and how the church has turned our devotion to God into an issue of guilt. Each day this week, I will quote a chapter and comment as necessary. Below is part two in the series of six entitled, "Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt: The Culprit - Legalism." Part I can be found here.
The Culprit: LegalismThe root of Quiet Time Guilt is legalism. Often when we think of legalism, we think of the petty man-made rules that have so often strangled the churches—rules against dancing or drinking or makeup or ‘secular’ music. But these legalistic rules are merely an outward sign of a deeper legalism of the heart. When prayer and Bible study are thought of primarily as duties (‘disciplines’) rather than as grace, both prayer and the study of Scripture become unfruitful in our lives. We put ourselves on a performance treadmill and c…

Blog Topic of the Week: "Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt"

Greg Johnson, founder of the St. Louis Center for Christian Study, has written a very pertinent series of chapters on the modern invention of "Quiet Time", and how the church has turned our devotion to God into an issue of guilt. Each day this week, I will quote a chapter and comment as necessary. Below begins the first part in the series of six entitled, "Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt: The rare beauty of Weakness Christianity."
The Diagnosis: Quiet Time Guilt I recently watched as a congregation I love was spiritually raped. A Christian ministry came into the church for a three-day program whose purpose was to encourage believers to pray more. During one of the breakout sessions, a man expressed his frustration with unanswered prayer. He had faithfully prayed with and for his daughter for years, and still she was not walking with God. He was broken, depressed, perhaps more than a little ashamed. How does God in his grace speak to this man? A bruised reed was crying …

Hobbit-man: New species or flawed research?

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It was about two years ago that scientists uncovered yet another new member of the human family tree -- homo floresiensis, aka the "hobbit." According to the report in National Geographic entitled "Hobbit-Like Human Ancestor Found in Asia" by Hillary Mayell, October 27, 2004:

Scientists have found skeletons of a hobbit-like species of human that grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child (See pictures). The tiny humans, who had skulls about the size of grapefruits, lived with pygmy elephants and Komodo dragons on a remote island in Indonesia 18,000 years ago.

Australian and Indonesian researchers discovered bones of the miniature humans in a cave on Flores, an island east of Bali and midway between Asia and Australia.

Scientists have determined that the first skeleton they found belongs to a species of human completely new to science. Named Homo floresiensis, after the island on which it was found, the tiny human has also been dubbed by dig workers as the &q…