Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Weakness of the Worldview of Atheism

Atheists tend to describe atheism as the most reasonable and rational position to hold. But then again I'm sure most people believe that of whatever worldview they hold to, so I wouldn't hold that against them.

The short explanation is that they believe science is on their side and the evidence for theism is wanting. I will here clarify that by 'atheist' and 'atheism' I refer to the views that "God does not exist" or "God probably does not exist".
This doesn't speak to the agnostic non-theist who is on the fence.

But consider this worldview. Does it stand up? Can it stand up? Maybe. But it is on the thinnest of ice.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Does Galatians 2 refer to the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 or Paul's visit to Jerusalem in Acts 11?

One thing about the Bible that reminds us of God's glory and his perfect plan, is also something that can frustrate those of us who love details and trivia. The Bible is God's story. It only tells us about God and things that are relevant to him. So when we come to read a passage and we can't figure out what historical event it is referring to, we shouldn't take that as some kind of inaccuracy in the book, but a personal nudge that tells us we should probably be focusing more on the message that is being given to us.

Having said that... despite the overall unimportance of the detail of which visit to Jerusalem is described in 'Galatians 2'... figuring out details like this can be of use to us apologetically. In this case, figuring out which visit Paul writes about in Galatians can help us to put a date on when the letter was written, which in turn can give us confidence in how early the things he says were being taught in the Christian church, and go to disproving notions that the message changed over time. So it is with that in mind that I find this debate to have some value.

On to it then... Does Galatians 2 refer to the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 or Paul's visit to Jerusalem in Acts 11?

Sunday, 28 January 2018

14 Reasons Why Jehovah's Witnesses Should Believe In The Divinity of Jesus

Probably the biggest difference in doctrine between Jehovah's Witnesses and the bulk of the rest of Christendom is the belief in who Jesus is.

While most Christians believe that Jesus is God himself incarnate in human flesh, JWs believe that he was the archangel Michael, the first created being, and a lesser god.

There are a number of doctrinal differences between JWs and other denominations but this topic is specifically about who God is, who Jesus is, and our salvation. It is a core issue. So while other doctrinal details are what separate the denominations within Christianity, this topic is what makes most Christians think that JWs are not Christians at all.

To some it may seem pointless to debate details, but this topic is no mere detail. Look at it this way. If we say that Jesus is not God, but he is, then we are not giving him the respect he deserves. On the other hand, if we say Jesus is God, but he is not, then we are not giving God his due respect because we have elevated someone else to be equal with him.

This article will look at the reasons why Jehovah's Witnesses and all Christians should believe in the divinity of Jesus. It will use the NWT version of the Bible to make the points and will be a little more focused than the previous article: What-does-Bible-really-teach-about-Trinity?

Saturday, 6 January 2018

What was the Date of Jesus' Resurrection?

John the Apostle helps to give us a very precise date for Jesus' crucifixion. If we follow a few historical and Biblical clues, we can find the answer!

In 'John 2:20' the Jews tell Jesus during his first year of ministry that the temple has been under construction for 46 years.
The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” -- John 2:20
The historian Josephus in his Antiquities tells us that construction began in the 18th year of Herod the Great, 734–735AUC.  (AUC = "ab urbe condita" a Latin phrase meaning "from the founding of the City" (Rome), 0AUC = 753 BC).
And now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work; that is to build of himself the temple of God -- Josephus ANT XV.11.1
So the year construction began is 734 more than 0 in AUC, or 734 less than 753BC which counts in the other direction.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Generations in Genesis

I have put together this handy chart which allows us to have an interesting glance at the lifespans of the Biblical family tree from Adam to Joseph. There are a few generations skipped, otherwise the chart would be almost double the size.

Monday, 27 November 2017

What's the deal with speaking in tongues?

So you may be familiar with this Christian practice. It may also seem extremely strange for a group of people to be making sounds something like "Walla walla durka durka durka" and thinking that it's ok. You wouldn't be alone in thinking that. Even Paul the Apostle said:
If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? -- 1 Corinthians 14:23
But even for all the admitted weirdness, it is something that has a Biblical basis. '1 Corinthians 12-14' covers much of what tongues is about, but it also crops up elsewhere too.
The first time is in 'Acts 2' when the apostles gather for Pentecost. In verse 4 the Holy Spirit comes to them and allows them to speak in tongues. The following section details how there were Jews around from all over the world:
Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God. -- Acts 2:9-11
The people from these various nations could understand what the apostles were saying in their own languages.
And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. -- Acts 2:6
So, we see very clearly that in this instance, the gift of tongues was given so that the people around the apostles could clearly understand the Gospel message.
Then it goes on:

Monday, 9 October 2017

What Do We Have To Do To Be Saved?

In this article I will unashamedly be paraphrasing the sermon our Vicar gave this Sunday. It was just really well done and I had to use it.

The sermon was on 'Mark 10:13-31' which I will put below.

Let the Children Come to Me

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

The Rich Young Man

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honour your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,[b] “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
a- Mark 10:24 Some manuscripts add for those who trust in riches
b- Mark 10:26 Some manuscripts to one another
There are a few parts that need to be focused in on to understand the message of salvation in this text.

In Verses 13-16, we see Jesus tell us that we should receive the kingdom of God like a child. Many take this to mean we should have blind faith and not think too much about what our Christian beliefs are. This is not how it is meant to be taken, as the idea of blind faith is demonstrably non-Christian.

test everything. Hold on to what is good -- 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Rather what Jesus really meant is exemplified in the following story about the rich man, which is probably why Mark put it here in this order.