Frenetic Friday: Friendly Fire


So tonight’s Frenetic Friday is a rant.

Let me preface this by saying that when I was being discipled in the faith by a former marine he had a saying that as a young Christian I didn’t really understand at the time.  That saying was that Christians are the only army that shoot their own wounded.  As I have grown older in years and in the faith I have come to the conclusion that my dear brother was wrong.  We don’t just shoot the wounded we engage in “friendly fire”, case in point Dr. James White of Alpha Omega ministries.

Now I am a great admirer of Dr. White, I make no effort to hide that fact at all.  He and I are of a similar age, although I believe I am older by one or two years, and when he mentions things like “Modems” or “Bulletin Boards” I know exactly what he is talking about.  In fact I am fairly sure that I saw his nick on some of the BBS’s that I used to log into while reading the religious/theology debate section.  It was his passion for and logical use of the Word of God that impressed me the most and when he came out with the book against K.J.V. Only cult I picked the book up because I had met a few of them.  Later when he came on the internet I listened to him every chance I could  and when podcasting came about his was one of the first podcasts I subscribed to, not to mention buying his books and devouring them.

Yes I learned a lot from Dr. White and so when I learned that he was attempting to preach the gospel to the followers of Islam and debate them in their mosques I knew there couldn’t be a better person for the job than Dr. White.  Indeed I would say that for such a time as this God raised up and prepared Dr. White for this role to be the one to preach the Word of God, the Gospel, to the followers of Islam so that as many are appointed unto eternal life will have their hearts changed by this preaching.

Unfortunately like Alexander the coppersmith, there has risen certain so called brothers in Christ that want to do harm to Dr. White’s ministry to the followers of Islam.  Their agenda is one of fear, and hatred.  They appear to say and think that it is wrong to preach Christ to the followers of Islam.  Or that to dialog with Imams makes you a useful idiot.

Well all I know is this no one can be saved unless they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and the means of this is the preaching of the Gospel.  And to deny that preaching is to be like the Pharisees who told the apostles not to preach  Christ.  And like the apostles we have to we must obey God rather than men.  And Dr. James White is obeying God as he preaches the Gospel to the followers of Islam.  And I and this blog stand with Dr. White and Alpha and Omega Ministries.

Theology Thursday :  8 False Assumptions about Christianity


Originally published at CCC Discover

By Timothy W. Massaroon 

1. Science has disproven Christianity.

Historically, Christianity has often led the way in scientificadvancement. Many leading scientists today believe in a cosmology that is much more open to intelligent design and creationthan most pundits assume. Science has not found evidence precluding the belief in God, miracles, or theresurrection of Jesus. Such fields are outside the competence of science and its methodology.

2. The Bible is based on myths.

History is integral to the Christian faith. The Apostle Paul, who wrote more than half of the New Testament, grounds faith in eyewitness testimony and verifiable events (1 Cor. 15). If these things are myths and fables, Christianity is not useful or good. The tone and tenor of the Scriptures are categorically different from that of Greek myths or Aesop’s Fables.

3. All Religions teach the same thing.

Many people today attempt to dismantle the claims of religion before they even hear them by asserting (not arguing) that all religions teach the same thing. In truth, each religion makes very different claims and assumptionsabout reality. There may be superficial agreement about the Golden Rule, but the gospel of the triune God categorically separates the faith of Christianity from all religions.

4. Jesus never existed as a real person.

While the news media often reports the proposition that belief in Jesus’ historical existence is untenable,most scholars today disagree. Jesus’ existence is one of the best-attested facts available to us. Hostile witnesses attest to his life and death. His life recorded in theGospels is the best explanation available to us about who he was and what he did.
(See 7 Unbiased Facts about Jesus’ Death)

5. There are no such things as miracles.

To assume miracles cannot happen because they do not do so normally is not itself an argument. Rather, most people take their personal experience as the normative basis for judging past events. This subjective view of what is possible does not allow for normal historical events to transpire, let alone miraculous ones. If we look at historical evidence, the question remains an open possibility.

6. Evil precludes a good God.

Only the God of Scripture allows evil to be a problem in the first place. If evil exists, it presumes an original goodness and liberty that makes such a choice evil. Theproblem of evil is actually an argument for Christianity. Evil as a choice that has real consequences cannot be accounted for without God.
Many people wrongly assume that if God is good there should no be evil in the world. And yet, this assumes that as finite creatures we could know God’s purposes. If such a God exists, there are likely reasons he allows evil that we cannot fully comprehend.

7. Christianity is irrational and unreasonable.

Faith is often wrongly perceived as a leap in the dark, irrational, and imaginary. Yet, historically, Christianity has seen three aspects of faith: knowledge, assent, and trust.
Faith is based upon actualhistorical events that are rational explanations of reality. Faith assents to the reliability of thespeaking God. These explanations may not be seen by the naked eye, but that does not mean they are irrational. Rather, the revelation of Scripture reveals a rational, and more importantly, a good God who is saving sinners.

8. There is no evidence for the resurrection.

Many people wrongly assume there is no real evidence for theresurrection of Jesus. Yet, this is incorrect. The women who found an empty tomb attested to the resurrection of Christ. Hundreds of witnesses around Jerusalem saw the resurrected Lord and could be questioned. Hostile authorities among the Jews and Romans attested to his empty tomb and miracles. According to many scholars, the Gospel accounts remain the best explanation of the empty tomb, the transformation of the apostles, and the existence of the early church.
 

Earworm Wednesday: End of the Line ~The Traveling Wilburys


This is dedicated to all my former co-workers and friends at my former place of employment.  We had a good run, we made quality products, and we provided great customer support.  But in the providence of God that came to an end and something else is planned for us.  May we glorify God for that, and not grumble and complain.  

Movie Reviews: GOG2 & Wonder Woman 


I have seen three movies so far in theaters.  This was one of them.  And I will say that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) it is different enough from the super hero ones to be very enjoyable.  And it doesn’t hurt that it has a kicking soundtrack.  And the dancing baby Groot is one of the highlights.  There are adult language and conversations in the film especially one involving Ego and Drax that may want you not to bring too young of children to the movie.  I give it four stars.


This was the second movie that I saw in a theater.  Cast, writing, direction all great.  The only what I would call semi serious criticism I have heard regarding this movie is that’s too Captain America.  But since the original Wonder Woman comic came out during World War 2 just like Captain America’s comic  you would expect some similarities.  And they tried to off set that by having Wonder Woman fight in World War 1.  Now the only other thing I would add to this is that of all the recent DC movies they really got this one right.  It would be great if they could continue this trend.  I give this movie five stars.

Catechism 


What else does Christ’s death redeem?

    Christ’s death is the beginning of the redemption and renewal of every part of fallen creation, as he powerfully directs all things for his own glory and creation’s good.

    Colossians 1:19–20

    For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

    Theology Thursday: Five Myths about the Ancient Heresy of Gnosticism


    Written by Michael J. Kruger on December 20, 2016

    In the world of biblical studies, at least among some critical scholars, Gnosticism has been the darling for sometime now.  Especially since the discovery of the so-called “Gnostic Gospels” at Nag Hammadi in 1945, scholars have sung the praises of this alternative version of Christianity.

    Gnosticism  was a heretical version of Christianity that burst on the scene primarily in the second century and gave the orthodox Christians a run for their money.  And it seems that some scholars look back and wish that the Gnostics had prevailed.

    After all, it is argued, traditional Christianity was narrow, dogmatic, intolerant, elitist, and mean-spirited, whereas Gnosticism was open-minded, all-welcoming, tolerant and loving.  Given this choice, which would you choose?

    While this narrative about free-spirited Gnosticism being sorely oppressed by those mean and uptight orthodox Christians might sound rhetorically compelling, it simply isn’t borne out by the facts.  So, here are five claims often made about Gnosticism that prove to be more myth than reality:

    Myth #1:  Gnosticism was more popular than traditional Christianity.

    Time and again we are told that Gnostics were just as widespread as orthodox Christians, and that their books were just as popular too (if not more so).  The reason they did not prevail in the end is because they were oppressed and forcibly stamped out by the orthodox party who had gained power through Constantine.

    But, this is simply not the case.  All the evidence suggests that it was “the Great Church” (in the language of the pagan critic Celsus) that dominated the earliest Christian centuries, long before Constantine.  Moreover, Gnostic writings were not nearly as popular as those which became canonical, as can be seen by the number of manuscripts they left behind.  For example, we have more copies of just the Gospel of John from the first few centuries than we have of all apocryphal works combined.

    Myth #2: Gnosticism was more inclusive and open-minded than traditional Christianity.

    A popular perception of Gnostics is that they lacked the elitist mentality of traditional Christianity. They were the accepting ones, we are told.

    But, again, it seems that reality might have actually been the opposite. Most people don’t realize that Gnostics were not interested in salvation for everybody. On the contrary, they regarded salvation as something only for the “spiritually elite.”

    As Hultgren affirms, “The attitude of these Gnostics was elitist to the extreme, since they held that only one in a thousand or two in ten thousand are capable of knowing the secrets [of salvation]” (Normative Christianity, 99).

    Myth #3: Gnosticism more accurately reflects the teachings of the historical Jesus than traditional Christianity.

    Some have argued that if you want to know the real Jesus, the historical Jesus, then Gnostic writings (like the Gospel of Thomas) give you a more reliable picture.

    The problems with such a claim are manifold, but I will just mention one: Gnostics were not that interested in the historical Jesus.  For Gnostics, what mattered was not the apostolic tradition handed down but rather their current religious experience with the risen Jesus (Jonathan Cahana, “None of Them Knew Me or My Brothers: Gnostic Anti-Traditionalism and Gnosticism as a Cultural Phenomenon,” Journal of Religion, 94 [2014]: 49-73).

    In other words, Gnostics were concerned much less about the past and much more about the present.

    This sort of “existential” approach to religion may be popular in our modern culture where experience rules the day and religion is viewed as entirely private.  But it doesn’t help you recover what really happened in history. If you want to know what happened in history, the canonical Gospels have always been the best sources.

    Myth #4:  Gnosticism was more favorable towards women than traditional Christianity.

    This is a big one. Popular perceptions are that the orthodox Christians oppressed women, but the Gnostics liberated them.  But, again, the truth is not so simple.

    On the contrary, the historical evidence suggests that women flocked to traditional Christianity in droves. Indeed, they may have outnumbered the men almost two to one. Rodney Stark in his book The Triumph of Christianity argues that this is because Christianity proved to be a very welcoming, healthy, and positive environment for women.

    It is also worth noting that some of the Gnostic leaders’ supposedly pro-woman stance is not all it is cracked up to be.  The Valentinian Gnostic Marcus was actually known for bringing women into the movement so that he could sexually seduce them (Irenaeus, Haer. 1.13.5).

    Moreover, the Gnostic view of women seemed particularly negative if one considers the final verse in the Gospel of Thomas: “For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven” (logion 114).  It is hard to see this as an endorsement of women!

    Myth #5: Gnosticism was more positive towards human sexuality than traditional Christianity.

    A final myth about Gnosticism is that it was pro-sex and that traditional Christianity was anti-sex.  In other words, Gnostics celebrated sexuality and traditional Christians were puritanical prudes.

    Again, the reality is very different. While some Gnostics were quite sexually licentious (as noted above with Marcus), a large strain of the movement was utterly against sex. Indeed, much of the movement advocated a harsh asceticism and celibacy.

    For example, the Book of Thomas states, “Woe unto you who love the sexual intercourse that belongs to femininity and its foul cohabitation. And woe unto you who are gripped by the authorities of your bodies; for they will afflict you.”

    While many orthodox Christians certainly viewed celibacy positively, it was always regarded as voluntary. Marriage, and sex within marriage, was celebrated and viewed as a gift from God.

    In sum, popular perceptions about Gnosticism are just that, popular perceptions.  And thus they do not necessarily have a basis in history.  As we have seen here, the real Gnosticism was very different. And it reminds us that perhaps Gnosticism failed not because it was politically oppressed by those crafty orthodox folks, but because it simply proved to be less attractive to those in the earliest centuries who were seeking to follow Christ.

    Earworm Wednesday: Mike Massé ~ America (Simon and Garfunkel) 


    So I see this commercial all the time where this family takes a road trip because of the dying request of their grandfather who wanted to see America but time and other things made it impossible.  And this is the song playing as this car commercial does its level best to wring all the emotional content it can and maybe bring a tear to your eyes. 

     So I give you Mike Massé, Sterling Cottam, and Jeff Hall singing America.