Posts Tagged ‘theology’

On a serious note, the bottom of the post quotes an extract from “Unequal Weights And Measures” that illustrates the disparity in exegetical & interpretive methods employed by anti-Missionaries, like Tovia.

The spelling item was too cute to pass up on. Have a listen below. I’m sure Tovia would not have passed on a classic opportunity like this either – if it wasn’t him in the “blooper reel”, of course. The fact is, I’ve listened to Tovia’s show many, many times & grew to like him as a person – hence this isn’t classic ad hominem, but still, I’m stirred by his arrogance at times & the audio extract seemed to balance radio show pride and arrogance with a bit of humiliation nicely – perpetrated by his radio show co-host after all, …so how malicious could it be. 🙂 The word in question wasn’t actually “theology”, it was “piece” – yet the title question remains. 🙂


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When attacking the New Testament — that is exactly what the anti-missionaries do — they often use a three-pronged approach: hyper-literality, alleged contradictions, and alleged misquotations.

In terms of hyper-literality, they will ask: “Do you literally believe what Jesus said? Then, if your right eye is causing you to sin, you should gouge it out and throw it away!” Or, “Didn’t Jesus say, ‘Give to him who asks you?’ Then give me your wallet, your shirt, and the keys to your car!” Or, in abusing the concept of the incarnation (I doubt that many of our opponents actually try to understand the incarnation in any serious way) they will use coarse quips such as, “Does your God wear diapers?”5 The overall effect of their hyper-literality is to try and make our faith seem idiotic and absurd.

In terms of alleged contradictions, these can be divided into two categories: historical problems and apparent contradictions within the New Testament sources themselves. A favorite passage of the anti-missionaries is Stephen’s speech in Acts 7, a speech supposedly brimming with error. And, if we would object that, even if there were errors (I do not believe there are) it would be no problem, since inspiration only means that Luke accurately recorded what Stephen said, the hyper-literal anti-missionaries are quick to point out that Stephen was “filled with the Spirit” when he spoke. Thus, according to them, if he really had spoken in the Spirit, he could not have made an error! As for apparent contradictions within the sources, the Gospel accounts of Yeshua’s betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection, or the accounts of Saul’s Damascus road experience in Acts are singled out as being hopelessly at odds with themselves.6 The overall effect of these accusations is to try and make our Scriptures appear utterly untrustworthy.

In terms of alleged misquotations, we are generally pointed to verses like Mat. 2:23, “He will be called a Nazarene” — supposedly an entirely fabricated verse; and Heb. 10:5, “A body you have prepared for me” — supposedly a blatant alteration of the Hebrew of Psa. 40:6; or, verses allegedly wrenched from their original context, like Hos. 11:1b, “I called My son out of Egypt,” quoted in Mat. 2:15; and Isa. 7:14, the Immanuel prophecy, quoted in Mat. 1:23.7 The overall effect of these accusations is especially serious. It tries to give the impression that the authors of the New Testament were not only idiotic and untrustworthy; according to the anti-missionaries, they were actually devious and deceitful.8

The plain truth is this: It is the anti-missionaries who are often being devious and deceitful. For if they would be honest with themselves, they would have to admit that, using the same canon of criticism on their own sacred texts, they would utterly shipwreck their own faith. In other words, if the New Testament would be disqualified by anti-missionary arguments in one hour, using those same arguments, the Tanakh would be disqualified in a matter of minutes and the Talmud in a matter of seconds! The anti-missionaries will readily accept the views of critical, nihilistic New Testament scholars, while following only rigidly conservative (generally, traditional Jewish) scholars of the Old Testament.9

Stop and think for a moment. What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if the anti-missionaries believed in the New Testament and we were left to defend the Tanakh and the rabbinic writings? What would the anti-missionaries do then? Just imagine what their unsympathetic and shallow hyper-literality would do with passages like Gen. 2:18-20, where the Lord apparently brought giraffes, monkeys, elephants, and armadillos to Adam, only to find that none of them would make a good wife for him;10 or, Exod. 4:24-26, where the Lord sent Moses to Egypt to deliver His people, but tried to kill him on the way — because he failed to circumcise his son. And I’m sure they would also have plenty of comments to make about God’s bow that appears in the sky after the showers (Gen. 9:12ff.), or about the “windows of heaven” that are opened to allow the rain that is above the expanse to fall to earth (Gen. 7:11).

What would the anti-missionaries do with the moving story of the ‘aqedah? Would they ridicule a God Who tests the obedience of His faithful servant by asking him to slaughter his own son? (Of course, they would also point out that according to the text, He is hardly omniscient — see Gen. 22:12). Would they contrast the goodness of the Heavenly Father in the New Testament with the cruelty of Yahweh in the Old — a Yahweh Whose incessant hardening of Pharaoh caused him to lead Egypt to disaster, even when Pharaoh was ready to let Israel go? Just picture how the anti-missionaries would glory in the mercy of the Son of God, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” while denigrating the Lord’s command to exterminate totally the Canaanites — men, women, children, and babies. And would they be sympathetic to the fact that the Torah legislated slavery (Exod. 21:1-11), or that when the Israelites went to war, the Torah permitted them to spare good looking virgins for possible future wives (Deut. 21:10-14)? And have the anti-missionaries forgotten that, historically speaking, the great problem has been that the God of the Old Testament seems to be a less compassionate, gracious, and universal God than the God of the New Testament? This has always been an issue for New Testament theologians, as well as for destructive Gnostic critics like Marcion, or less radically, like Adolph Harnack. One need only think of the vicious work of Friederich Delitzsch — son of the brilliant Franz Delitzsch, a true friend of Israel — attacking the Old Testament as dangerous, and recommending that it be dropped from seminary curriculum.11 Remember, it is Psalm 137 — not the New Testament — that pronounces a blessing on those who smash Babylon’s babes on the rocks.12 What if the anti-missionaries were attacking this?! Source

Audio from: Israel National Radio – Tovia Singer – Tamar Gives Tovia a Spelling Bee. Listen to full audio here.

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The Great Duty of Family Religion

Joshua 24:15 — “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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These words contain the holy resolution of pious Joshua, who having in a most moving, affectionate discourse recounted to the Israelites what great things God had done for them, in the verse immediately preceding the text, comes to draw a proper inference from what he had been delivering; and acquaints them, in the most pressing terms, that since God had been so exceeding gracious unto them, they could do not less, than out of gratitude for such uncommon favors and mercies, dedicate both themselves and families to his service. “Now therefore, fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth, and put away the Gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood.” And by the same engaging motive does the prophet Samuel afterwards enforce their obedience to the commandments of God, 1 Sam. 12:24, “Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.” But then, that they might not excuse themselves (as too many might be apt to do) by his giving them a bad example, or think he was laying heavy burdens upon them, whilst he himself touched them not with one of his fingers, he tells them in the text, that whatever regard they might pay to the doctrine he had been preaching, yet he (as all ministers ought to do) was resolved to live up to and practice it himself: “Choose you therefore, whom you will serve, whether the Gods which your fathers served, or the Gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (more…)

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Let it be known that the author of this blog sees no salvation possible other than “Lordship Salvation”. Simply put, who should wear the crown in your life? See Revelation 4:10.

The following quoted from Theopedia:

Lordship salvation

“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10, ESV)

Lordship salvation is the position that receiving Christ involves a turning in the heart from sin and, as a part of faith, a submissive commitment to obey Jesus Christ as Lord. It also maintains that progressive sanctification and perseverance must necessarily follow conversion. Those who hold to the doctrine of perseverance of the saints see this not only as a requirement, but an assured certainty according to the sustaining grace of Christ.

The doctrine of lordship salvation has implications for evangelism, assurance, and the pursuit of holiness. The grace of God in salvation not only forgives, but transforms, and a lack of obedience or transformation in a person’s life is warrant to doubt that they have been born again. The grounds for assurance include not only the objective promises of God (like John 3:16), but also the internal testimony of the Spirit (Romans 8:16) and holiness the Spirit produces in our lives (1 John 2:3-4,19).

The non-lordship salvation position is popularly known by critics as “easy believism”, and by adherents as “free grace”. However, proponents of Lordship salvation frown upon this usage of the term “free grace”, as the free grace spoken of in the Bible both justifies the sinner and transforms the heart unto obedience.

Media:
Favorable

Critical

Check out Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here.

This is not something to disagree over in a way that causes argument i.e. something that should divide the body of Christ (Yeshua), but for those that have wondered about this & that might find these snippets interesting…

Check out Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here.

The video above is highly recommended before you read further. Context & understanding matters.

The gospel is the singularly most important communication of God to man.  In Jesus, who is God the Son, we have the revelation of God’s love and sacrifice that saves us from God’s righteous judgement upon sinners.

If you are not a Christian and want to know how to be forgiven of your sins and follow Jesus as your saviour, or are just curious to know what the Christian gospel is, then this is for you.

The Bible tells us what the gospel is in 1 Cor. 15:1-4,

Now I make known to you brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

The Bible says that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23).  This means that we have all offended God.  We have all broken His law & fall short of His standard of righteousness (more on this below).  Therefore, we are guilty of having sinned.  Because of this, we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:2), are dead in our sins (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:3), cannot please God (Rom. 3:10-11), and will suffer damnation (2 Thess. 1:9).  The only way to escape this judgement is by receiving Christ, by trusting in what Jesus did on the cross (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Pet. 2:24).

Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 8:58; Col. 2:9), bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24).  He died in our place.  He paid the penalty of breaking the Law of God that should have fallen upon us.  He satisfied the law of God the Father by dying on the cross.

It is only through Jesus that we can escape the penalty that God will execute upon all who have broken his holy and perfect law. Consider that God’s Law is really perfect.  His judgements are really righteous.  Do you want to be saved from the righteous judgement of God?  If so, you must realize that you have sinned against God, and are under his judgement.  You must look to Jesus who died on the cross and trust what he did in order for you to be forgiven of your sentence and be saved from the judgement of God.  Consider also that the cross is where God’s perfect love and perfect judgement meets.  God cannot just forgive since there is a price to be paid – God has declared that is so & that cannot be changed.  God, Himself, however paid the price, though Jesus, His eternal Son, for you.  You cannot add any human works to what Jesus has done, but you cannot continue to live in wilful sin from this point on. You need to consider the truth claims made here & evaluate that for yourself – not if the message sounds ‘nice’ or not.  Truth is all that matters in the end. For help in that regard, ministries like Reasonable Faith might help. Don’t think that Christianity is only for people that don’t deeply consider the choices they make in life – especially where it comes to such a drastic decision as trusting & giving your life to Jesus – if anyone takes a decision like that lightly he/she surely doesn’t understand the personal impact or cannot be too serious about the personal cost involved.

Count the Cost

Jesus said, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?”  (Luke 14:28). Jesus tells us to count the cost.  The cost of becoming a Christian can be quite high sometimes.  In some parts of the world it can cost you your life.  In the western world, it is not really dangerous, but that very likely produced a ‘flaky Christianity-lookalike’ in recent years – which is dangerous & does damage to the gospel if those that carry the name (i.e. they seemingly associate themselves with Jesus) don’t live according to His way.  Nevertheless, if you commit your life to Jesus, God will start to work in your heart and in your life to change you and make you more like Him.  Often this can be difficult, but this is what it means to become a Christian – a follower of Christ (‘Christ’ meaning ‘Messiah’) – to have God work in your life, through His Holy Spirit and to continue to work in your life after you have been saved to, every day more fully reflect the glory of God that we, as His representatives on earth are supposed to do.

Receive Jesus (aka Yeshua, the Messiah, the Deliverer of Israel & the World)

If you desire to give your life to Jesus as your Lord & source of life & deliverance we offer the following prayer as an example.  It is not a formula, but it is a representation of what it means to trust in Him. Read it, change it slightly to make it your own words and only pray it if you mean it.

“Lord Jesus. I come to you and confess that I am a sinner, that I have lied, thought evil in my heart, and broken your word.  Please forgive me of my sins.  I trust in what you have done on the cross and I receive you.  Please cleanse me of my sin and be the Lord of my life – take over the control of my live according to your will, not mine, from this point on.  Give me the strength to persist & hold me close to You from this day onwards.  I trust You completely for the forgiveness of my sins.  Lord Jesus, please save me.”

If you’ve prayed a prayer like this with sincerity, you have just started your walk of the rest of your life as part of the family of God!  Now tell others about your commitment to Jesus.  If you find it too hard to do, be somewhat suspicious of your commitment & keep at it until you shared it with several people – even if it takes you weeks or longer to do.  The Bible says, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).

Examine Yourself!

If you think you are saved, and this post is not for you, that you have been a Christian for a long time, …what does it mean to be a Christian? …and if you think you know, it would be best that you examine yourself, and be sure.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?2 Corinthians 13:5

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List of some scriptures referenced above:

  • Isaiah 59:2, “Your sins have caused a separation between you and your God….”
  • John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
  • John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
  • John 14:6, “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
  • Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
  • Romans 3:10-11, “as it is written,’ There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God…’”
  • Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
  • Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • Romans 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
  • Ephesians 2:3, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
  • Colossians 2:9, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”
  • 2 Thess. 1:9, “And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”
  • 1 Pet. 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

Michael Brown’s story of how he became probably the foremost Jewish Apologist of our time & how he interacted with rabbis in his early days, how he still does (in private) & how rabbis refuse to debate him because … “he’s a good debater”? Where are the good debaters of the Jewish world?

The site here was set up to encourage a debate between Brown & Rabbi Singer some time ago.

Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here.