Are You the Image of God Or A Cosmic Accident?

Do humans matter? I would love to ask Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, and Noah Harari why do humans matter so much and why would they be outraged over all these issues? Granted, it is a bit late in the game to ask Russell and Hawking. Let’s look at their views of humans:

“Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast heat death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”-Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in Selected Papers of Bertrand Russell (New York: Modern Library, 1927), 2-3. This essay was originally published in 1903.

“In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference”- Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden (New York: Basic Books. 1995), 133.

“The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can’t believe the whole universe exists for our benefit. That would be like saying that you would disappear if I closed my eyes.”- Stephen Hawking,  From an interview with Ken Campbell on Reality on the Rocks: Beyond Our Ken, 1995.

Harari is a historian, futurist, popular author and, most importantly, the chief adviser to Klaus Schwab, founder and director of the extremely influential WEF. He says the following:

In his best-selling book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harari explicitly contrasts his own secular approach with the ideas enshrined in the United States Declaration of Independence. According to Harari, “the idea that all humans are equal is also a myth.” Further, he states, “According to the science of biology, people were not ‘created.’ They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ‘equal.’” He then correctly explains that Americans got the idea of human equality from Christianity. However, he considers this notion of human equality misguided, because, according to him, “Evolution is based on difference, not equality. . . . ‘Created equal’ should therefore be translated into ‘evolved differently.’”- pg. 108-110.

Once again, we see the following: 

1.Most people know this world is not what it is supposed to be?  How do you know what the world should look like unless you have some clue as to what is just and unjust?

2. People complain that real evils — both moral and natural — take place in the world around them. 

3. People fight for justice as if they know how things ought to be, but are not. They assume a standard of justice and goodness. On a secular worldview, things just happen. There is no grand plan or purpose behind the evil/injustice we observe. Evil is just a social construct. 

4. On a biblical worldview, there is a design plan that has gone wrong because humans violated a standard of goodness and justice that has been established by God. To say something is evil in the world already points to a standard of goodness that’s being violated.

Bottom line: There are two views of humans:

Option #1: All humans are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27):  From a Biblical standpoint, all human beings enjoy the right to life and the resources to sustain it, for life is a gift from God. Thus, all humans have a right to human dignity (i.e. the right to receive respect irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or rank or any other way). Because humans are made in the likeness of a personal God, they are essentially valuable.  Rights come by virtue of who we are by nature (or essence), not our function.

Option #2: Humans are the result of undirected natural processes:

All reality is reducible to matter and chance. Biological reductionism, materialism, and behaviorism says that impersonal/physical, valueless processes produce valuable, rights-bearing persons. Humans can assign people value by choice. They don’t appeal to any transcendent source. It is purely subjective.

For further reading, see the short booklet here that can be downloaded for free.

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“Is the Cosmological Argument Still Sound?” With Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Stephen C. Meyer

Most recently Cross Examined with Frank Turek interviewed both Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Stephen C. Meyer on whether we can still use the Kalam argument. In Meyer’s latest book The God Hypothesis, he discusses the history of the science behind the argument for a beginning of the universe and some of the objections that come up when punting to a Creator as being responsible for the start of the universe. Craig has obviously dealt with plenty of philosophical and scientific objections. It is a great discussion and not Craig mentions Wintery Knight’s blog which has a lot of good resources on these topics.

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Quotes on the Genre of the Gospels

 

“Can we speak of the Gospels as biographies!? If by that what we mean modern, Western biographies, then of course not. Jesus lived in the Middle East, not in the West, and he lived long before the modern era. It would be sheer anachronism and a monstrous injustice to evaluate Matthew, Mark, and Luke by twenty-first century standards of precision, some of which they probably never could of imagined.” –Dr. Craig Blomberg

“In attempting to identify the gospels in terms of existing literary genres, it is not always recognized, as it should be, that Mark alone calls his book by that name. Furthermore, the four canonical gospels differ from each other in both character and intention. Mark wrote his text to be read aloud in church meetings (Mark 13:14) to demonstrate that Jesus was the awesome Son of Man who disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. Luke wrote his two-volume “narrative” to confirm catechumens like Theophilus in the truth in which he had been instructed (Luke 1:1-4). Matthew wrote his gospel as a manual for the instruction of disciples, based on the collected teachings of the Christ (Matt 28:19). John wrote his book with special interest in Jesus’ miracle signs and lengthy pastoral and polemical discourse. The character and intention of each gospel are different. Luke and Matthew felt that Mark’s gospel was inadequate, so they adapted it and added other material to suit their purposes. John wrote his “book” to reassure his Christian hearers that Jesus was truly the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31). 

Clearly each gospel is biographical in character and bears some similarities to the Greco-Roman bioi of that general era, e.g., Suetonius’s Twelve Caesars or Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. Nonetheless, the gospels are unusual if not unique because their intended readership and purpose are so exclusively defined. Whereas the contemporary biographers and historians wrote to inform everyone in general and no one in particular, the gospelers wrote their texts narrowly and specifically for Christians for “in-house” use. Accordingly, attempts to classify the gospels according to this genre or that should be regarded as secondary. The primary observation should be to recognize their unique intended audience as church-directed and their function as ecclesial-liturgical (Mark), polemical-apologetic (John), and instructional (Matthew, Luke-Acts).s’ Mark is a special case. The writer’s explicit direction to the lector to explain the meaning of an obscure text (Mark 13:14) and the many implied side comments to those present (e.g., 7:11,19;13:37; 15:21) identify this text as designed to be read aloud in a church meeting. Mark must be classified alongside the letters of Paul and the Apocalypse as a text the author specifically wrote for an aural purpose in a liturgical, ecclesial setting.58 That was also likely true of Matthew, Luke-Acts, and John. The gospels claim another dimension as well, the supranatural. That is to say, the gospels are existentially the word of the risen and ascended Kyrios that are read aloud to his assembled people (cf. Mark 13:14 – “Let the lector explain”). Mark’s opening words indicate that what follows is “the gospel of (i.e., from) Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” that is to say, his word to his hearers in the churches. The man Mark is merely the human cipher through whom the words of the risen Lord come to his people. Using different language, John asserts that the “book” he writes is a “true … witness” to Christ’s “signs” for his hearers to safely “believe” for immediate entry to “eternal life” (John 20:30-31; 19:35; cf. 21:24). Does the supranatural character of Mark suggest that his gospel is a historical, in fact mythical in character? No. Mark roots his narrative in the soil of geography (e.g., Nazareth, Capernaum, Gennesaret, Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon, the Decapolis, Caesarea Philippi, Jerusalem) and (as noted) in the context of John the Baptist and of known political leaders (Herod the king [actually, tetrarch], the high priest, Pontius Pilate). Jesus’ movements as fugitive from the ruler of Galilee (chapters 6-9) are consistent with one avoiding the borders of Herod Antipas’s jurisdiction. Mark’s gospel is the word of the living Christ to the churches and a work that is both historical and geographical. We offer two observations about the genre of the gospels. First, their special readership (church groups) and purpose liturgical/polemical/apologetic/instructional) make it difficult to classify them alongside other contemporary texts. Second, insofar as they are able to be classified, they belong to the broad group of biographies (bioi). In short, they are ecclesial documents that are biographical and historical in character. For both Mark and John their words are supranaturally true. Yet at the same time they must also be historically true. If they are not historically true, they cannot be supranaturally true.”- Finding the Historical Christ (After Jesus) by Paul Barnett

“The Gospels are rooted in the Jewish Scriptures. They explicitly function as the continuation and fulfillment of the story of Israel. That is why they are replete with citations, allusions, and echoes of the Old Testament. The religious content and theological texture of the Gospels is heavily indebted to the worldview, socio-political landscape, and sacred texts of Judaism. Roman biography and Greek legends could refer to various religious literary works such as Delphic oracles or Homer’s Iliad. But for the Gospels, the story and worldview of Israel’s Scriptures are very much what the Gospels are about, namely, the God of Israel inaugurating his kingdom through Jesus the Messiah. It should not raise anyone’s eyebrows to say that the Gospels comprise a form of post-biblical Jewish literature with messianic faith in Jesus as its primary content. The main point of contact with the Gospels is that Jewish biographical literature contains a theography, a story about Israel’s God, working through an agent of deliverance, such as a prophet, king, or teacher. The protagonist leads the Jewish people at a time of national crisis or performs some miraculous deed at an important moment in Israel’s history. The Gospels possess a theological worldview, a geopolitical setting, didactic content, and a deliberate replication of Old Testament literary types that make some kind of connection with Jewish sacred literature irrefutable.”—-Michael F. Bird, The Gospel of the Lord (p. 229). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Bird also says:

The Gospels are the textual imprint of the oral phenomena of Christian preaching and teaching about Jesus. Viewed this way, they are Christian documents related to the needs of Christians in corporate reading, worship, apologetics, and proclamation. So in that sense they are a unique genre with no precise literary counterparts. However, their uniqueness is in many ways inconsequential because they remain largely analogous to Greco-Roman biography, and the biographical genre was typified by innovation and adaptation. The content of the Gospels is singularly determined by Jewish Christian content, while the literary form of the Gospels is a clear subtype of Greco-Roman biography.- Michael F. Bird, The Gospel of the Lord (p. 270), Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

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A Look at Some Obstacles in Getting Apologetics Into the Local Congregation: Part Two

In our previous post, we discussed some of the hindrances and obstacles that we face in attempting to implement apologetics into the local congregations. I will go ahead and list a couple of more obstacles or misunderstandings about this issue here:

#1: We should just give people the Gospel

Response: This is true. By all means, “Preach the Gospel!” But guess what? What do you do when you try to open the Bible and use it with someone who doesn’t think the Bible is an authoritative or inspired book? This happens all the time to Christians. And did you know Muslims and other people think their holy book is just as inspired and authoritative as the Bible? If you keep trying to quote the Bible, you would be “begging the question.”

One of my favorite texts in the Bible is the following:

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”- John 17:1-4

Eternal life is something that involves both quality and quantity. It is a quality of life that starts in this life and extends through eternity. While I am excited that John has recorded what Jesus has told us about ‘what’ we need to believe to have eternal life, it will most likely lead to what Tim Keller calls the ‘why’ question:

“I’ve heard plenty of Christians try to answer the why question by going back to the what. “You have to believe because Jesus is the Son of God.” But that’s answering the why with more what. Increasingly we live in a time in which you can’t avoid the why question. Just giving the what (for example, a vivid gospel presentation) worked in the days when the cultural institutions created an environment in which Christianity just felt true or at least honorable. But in a post-Christendom society, in the marketplace of ideas, you have to explain why this is true, or people will just dismiss it.” – Tim Keller

When I recently spoke on John 17 and talked about the relationship between the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ question, I quoted Keller. After all, to say the average person that the ‘what’ involves believing in the one true God and Jesus for eternal life, it will lead to ‘why’ questions such as:

“Why should I believe in this God and not another God?”

“Why is Jesus unique?”

When these questions come, the Christian will generally punt to the authority of the Bible. But that leads to an entire new set of ‘why’ questions such as:

“Why is the Bible any different from any other book?”

“Why is the Bible reliable?”

“Why are the Gospels reliable sources for Jesus?”

I could go on and on.

Does the Holy Spirit Use Evidence and Reason?

Well if the Holy Spirit doesn’t use evidence or reasons, that seems to contradict the Bible itself. The apostles approach to spreading the message of the Gospel is characterized by such terms as “apologeomai/apologia” which means “to give reasons, make a legal defense” (Acts 26:2; 2 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet 3:15); “dialegomai” which means “to reason, speak boldly” (Acts 17:2; 17; 18:4; 19:8), “peíthō” which means to persuade, argue persuasively” (Acts 18:4; 19:8), and “bebaioō ” which means “to confirm, establish,” (Phil 1:7; Heb. 2:3). (Garrett J. Deweese, Doing Philosophy as a Christian (Downers Grove, ILL: IVP Publishers, 2012), 78-79).

Anyone who does apologetics knows the Holy Spirit has to play an integral part of the entire process. No mature apologist forgets that the Bible stresses that humans are blinded by sin. Therefore, sin has damaging consequences on the knowing process (Is. 6:9-10; Zech. 7:11-12; Matt. 13:10-13; 2 Cor. 4:4). How people respond to God’s revelation depends on several factors such as his/her personal history (both past and present). People can be hardened towards God; sin certainly dampens an individual’s ability to being receptive to God’s invitation to them.

So in the end, this objection misunderstands the relationship between faith and reason. It is not an either/or issue. Apologetics may serve as a valuable medium through which God can operate, but the mature apologist knows faith is never the product of historical facts or evidence alone. For example, in James 2:19, it says that the demons believe that God exists. But just because the demons think God exists, this doesn’t mean they have saving faith. Objectively speaking, apologetics or evidence for God may help someone believe THAT God exists. However, the individual still needs to place their trust IN God. This can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15).

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A Look at Some Obstacles in Getting Apologetics Into the Local Congregation

For those of us that are involved in the apologetic endeavor, we are always trying to come up with new strategies for how to get apologetics into the local congregation. We all know it can be a challenge to get our local pastors and ministry leaders to see the urgency for apologetic training. I am convinced that the leadership of the local congregation sets the tone for the people. So I would like to list some of the hindrances and obstacles that we face in attempting to implement apologetics into the local congregations:

Doubt

It is important to remember that asking questions about what you believe is not necessarily the same thing as doubt. For example, when I was a new Christian, I had all kinds of questions. And I still have questions to this day. Asking questions is a part of spiritual growth.

Let’s look at a more technical definition of doubt.  Daniel L. Aiken says:

“It is possible to have questions (or doubts) about persons, propositions, or objects. Doubt has been deemed a valuable element in honest, rational inquiry. It prevents us from reaching hasty conclusions or making commitments to unreliable and untrustworthy sources. A suspension of judgment until sufficient inquiry is made and adequate evidence is presented is judged to be admirable. In this light, doubt is not an enemy of faith. This seems to be the attitude of the Bereans in Acts 17:11. Questioning or doubting motivates us to search further and deeper in an understanding of faith. However, doubt in Scripture can be seen to be characteristic of both believers and unbelievers. In believers it is usually a weakness of faith, a wavering in the face of God’s promises. In the unbeliever doubt is virtually synonymous with unbelief. Scripture, as would be expected, does not look at doubt philosophically or epistemologically. Doubt is viewed practically and spiritually as it relates to our trust in the Lord. For this reason, doubt is not deemed as valuable or commendable.”- Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary, pg. 186

In many cases, our congregations don’t welcome questions. Doubt an be viewed as a sin which leads me to my next point.

Faith

Many confuse apologetics as something that will take the place of faith. In other words, if we offer reasons and evidence, God won’t be happy with us because what He can only be pleased by faith (Heb. 11:6).  In response, as I have said elsewhere, the Hebrews text is quoted out of context. Furthermore, the apostles approach to spreading the message of the Gospel is characterized by such terms as “apologeomai/apologia” which means “to give reasons, make a legal defense” (Acts 26:2; 2 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet 3:15); “dialegomai” which means “to reason, speak boldly” (Acts 17:2; 17; 18:4; 19:8), “peíthō” which means to persuade, argue persuasively” (Acts 18:4; 19:8), and “bebaioō ” which means “to confirm, establish,” (Phil 1:7; Heb. 2:3). -Garrett J. Deweese, Doing Philosophy as a Christian (Downers Grove, ILL: IVP Publishers, 2012), 78-79.

Also, in the Bible, the object of faith is sometimes described as resting in God Himself (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:24). Even in the New Testament, Jesus confirms this issue (Mark 11:22). And even as God is the object of faith, the author of the Gospel of John directs his audience to Jesus as being the object of faith as well (John 20:31). But let’s look at Acts 17:1-4: “Paul went into the synagogue reasoning and giving evidence that the Messiah had to suffer and rise again from the dead.”

Just stop and ask yourself this question: What if someone had stopped Paul and said, “Paul, you can’t go into the synagogue and reason with them. After all, they need faith.” I think Paul was more than aware that they needed to have faith. However, he knew that they were going to have objections to Jesus being the Jewish Messiah. He needed to be able to respond to their objections. Likewise, if someone came to me and said they were having a hard time trusting in the credibility of Christianity because of the unreliability of the New Testament, I wouldn’t  say, “Just have faith.” Instead, I would give them solid reasons for the trustworthiness of the New Testament. Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Perhaps Christians need to ask, “Is an unexamined faith worth having?”

Christian Escapism

It could not be more evident that many Christians are hoping we get back to the days when we had a so called predominately “Christian culture.” In other words, I run into many older Christians that are just disgusted by the immorality and how the slide into secularism is becoming the reality of our country. So the thinking goes, “I remember the old days when people just read the Bible and assumed it was an authority.” In many cases Christians have decided to separate themselves from the world and  retreat to the local churches where they can find like- minded people. Sadly, the result is that instead of trying to transform the culture, these people have decided it is better for God to take them home or to sit back and wait for Jesus to come back. Perhaps we need to remember that this mindset is not an option and quite frankly is the opposite of how Jesus commanded us to be “salt and light”(Matthew 5:13-16)  in the culture.

Pragmatism

A ways back, Jim Wallace posted an article called One Important Reason the Church Will Continue to Compromise. In it, he discusses the impact on pragmatism on the Church.  Recently, I was told by an atheist that he didn’t even care if Christianity was true. As long as it “works” for me and makes a difference, it doesn’t need to be based in reality.  And when we had Wallace here to speak this past year at our Ratio Christi chapter, he said he isn’t a Christian because it “works” for him.  Rather, he is a Christian because it is true. Sadly, it is not only atheists and others that fall prey to pragmatism.  Christians fall into pragmatism  as well!  I am reminded of J.P. Moreland’s comments:

“Today, we share the gospel as a means of addressing felt needs. We give testimonies of changed lives and say to people if they want to become better parents or overcome depression or loneliness, that the Jesus is their answer. This approach to evangelism is inadequate for two reasons. First, it does not reach people who may be out of touch with their feelings. Second, it invites the response, “Sorry, I do not have a need.” Have you noticed how no one responded to Paul in this manner? In Acts 17-20, he based his preaching on the fact that the gospel is true and reasonable to believe. He reasoned and tried to persuade people to intelligently accept Jesus.”–Moreland, J.P. Love Your God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress. 1997, 25.

Do Christians have a Theology of Mission?

According to a Barna study, 95% of all professing Christians have never attempted to share their faith. Out of that 5%, only 2% share on a regular basis. Now Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Since Jesus commands His people to “make disciples of the nations” (Matt.28:19), the Christian who is not ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16), will desire to share the good news of Jesus with his neighbor. It is my conviction the reason that there is such a lack of interest in apologetics and critical thinking is because evangelism and outreach are neglected. Perhaps the starting place for motivating people to defend the Christian faith in the public square starts with a proper understanding of theology of mission. Almost every time I have even taught an apologetics class, I always start with this topic. After all, why should we as Christians want to reach out into the culture around us with the Gospel? Why should we even want to defend the Christian faith in the marketplace of ideas?If Christians are not engaging the culture, they are not getting challenged in their faith. So I want to go ahead and give a small overview of a theology of mission in the Bible. I have written about that more here:

Conclusion

There are several other challenges apologists face. But hopefully this has stimulated you to think harder about this issue. The good news is that there are resources for you to start an apologetics ministry in a congregation. See The Apologetics 315 resource here. Also see the article called The Tragedy of the Dumb Church. It is a good read!

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Three Things The Gospel Authors Would Have Never Invented About Jesus

 Over the years, one of the common complaints by skeptics of the Gospels is that the Gospel writers supposedly took great liberty to make up or embellish certain parts of their work to make their point. In other words, many parts of the Gospel authors  ‘invented’ or ‘fabricated’ certain aspects of the life of Jesus. Also, the Gospels are supposed to be so biased and given they are written by the ‘insiders’ how can we trust these documents? In response, the more I have studied the Second Temple Jewish period in Jewish history, I have found the exact opposite. Let me offer a few examples:

A Dying Messiah

The crucifixion of Jesus is attested by all four Gospels. Therefore, it passes the test of multiple attestation. It is also one of the earliest proclamations in the early Messianic Movement (see Acts 2:23; 36; 4:10). It is also recorded early in Paul’s writings (1 Cor.15), and by non-Christian authors Josephus, Ant.18:64; Tacitus, Ann.15.44.3. Donald Juel dicusses the challenge of a crucified Messiah:

“The idea of a crucified Messiah is not only unprecedented within Jewish tradition; it is so contrary to the whole notion of a deliver from the line of David, so out of harmony with the constellation of biblical texts we can identify from various Jewish sources that catalyzed around the royal figure later known as the “the Christ” that terms like “scandal” and “foolishness” are the only appropriate responses. Irony is the only means of telling such a story, because it is so counterintuitive.[1]

Even Paul commented about the challenge of proclaiming a dying Messiah to his fellow countrymen:

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Cor.1:21-22)

According to Martin Hengel, “The social stigma and disgrace associated with crucifixion in the Roman world can hardly be overstated.”[2] Roman crucifixion was viewed as a punishment for those a lower status- dangerous criminals, slaves, or anyone who caused a threat to Roman order and authority. Given that Jewish nationalism was quite prevalent in the first century, the Romans also used crucifixion as a means to end the uprising of any revolts. In relation to a crucified Messiah, Jewish people in the first century were familiar with Deuteronomy 21:22-23:

“If a person commits a sin punishable by death and is executed, and you hang the corpse on a tree, his body must not remain all night on the tree; instead you must make certain you bury him that same day, for the one who is left exposed on a tree is cursed by God. You must not defile your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.”

The context of this verse is describing the public display of the corpse of an executed criminal. The New Testament writers expanded this theme to include persons who had been crucified. Just look at Paul’s statement in Gal 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE.” Therefore, to say that crucifixion was portrayed in a negative light within Judaism in the first century is an understatement. In other words, anyone who was crucified was assumed not be the Anointed One of God. Also, Deut. 21: 22-23 does not really speak directly to the matter of crucifixion, nor of the crucifixion of God’s Anointed One. So this passage couldn’t of generated such a belief.

Even Michael Bird says:

Adding the title ‘Messiah’ to a crucified figure created more problems than it was worth given the divisions created in Jewish communities. It is hardly the kind of problem one would wish to create in the effort to venerate a departed leader, nor can messiahship be attached to a crucified Jesus on the back of some ad hoc scriptural proof-texting. Let us remember that the ‘Christ’ element of Christianity proved to be a point of lasting division between Jews and Christians (e.g. John 9:22; 12:42; Justin, 1 Apol. 31.5-6; Dial. Tryph. 10; 49; 90; 108). That is because a crucified Messiah was far more than an ‘insufferable paradox’. A crucified Messiah was, to many, utter madness (Acts 26:23-25) or complete foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18). Yet this is precisely what Christians maintained under trying and difficult circumstances. As Joachim Jeremias put it, ‘the scandal of the crucified Messiah is so enormous that it is hardly conceivable that the community should have presented itself with such a stumbling block.”–Michael Bird, Jesus Is the Christ: The Messianic Testimony of the Gospels

We must also expand on Dialogue with Trypho the Jew:

To build on Bird’s comments, Justin Martyr, the Palestinian Christian who in his mature years taught and wrote in Rome, tries to make the case that Jesus’ Spirit empowered ministry fulfills Scripture at many points and offers proof that he really is Israel’s Messiah to Trypho the Jew. But Trypho is not persuaded by this argument. He replies:

“It has indeed been proved sufficiently by your Scriptural quotations that it was predicted in the Scriptures that Christ should suffer…But what we want you to prove to us is that he was to be crucified and be subjected to so disgraceful and shameful death…. We find it impossible to think this could be so.”[3]

Just look at some other quotes about the failure of Jesus to meet the messianic credentials is seen in the following statements by the following rabbis:

Jesus mistake was that he thought he would be the Messiah, but when he was hanged his thought was annulled.” (R. Shimon ben Tzemah Duran (1361-1444).

We are obligated to believe that a Jewish man will come who will begin to save Israel and will complete the salvation of Israel in that generation. One who completes the task is the one, while the one who does not complete it in that generation but dies or is broken or is taken captive (Exod 22:9) is not the one and was not sent by God.” (R. Phinehas Elijah Hurwtiz of Vilna (1765-1821), Sefer haberit hashalem (Jerusalem, 1990), 521.[4]

I should note that hyper-skeptic Richard Carrier has attempted to show that it would not be hard to get a dying Messiah story going, but I have responded to that here:

Why invent a Messiah who becomes the Temple in person?

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken” –John 2: 13-22

The Temple was the center of Jewish religious, cultural, political, and economic life. The impact of its destruction can be seen in some of the following comments in Rabbinic tradition:

Since the day that the Temple was destroyed, a wall of iron has intervened between Israel and their Father in Heaven. b. Ber 32b

Since the day when the Temple was destroyed there has never been a perfectly clear sky. b. Ber 59a

Through the crime of bloodshed the Temple was destroyed and the Shechinah departed from Israel. B. Shab 33a

Ever since the day the Temple was destroyed the rains have become irregular. B. Ta’an. 29 a [5]

Forgiving sins was something that was designated for God alone (Exod. 34: 6-7; Neh.9:17; Dan. 9:9) and it was something that was done only in the Temple along with the proper sacrifice. So it can be seen that Jesus acts as if He is the Temple in person. Even in the trial scene in Mark 14:58, it says, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’ The Jewish leadership knew that God was the one who was responsible for building the temple (Ex. 15:17; 1 En. 90:28-29).  Jesus is the foundation of the new temple (Jn 7:37-39) and he is the place for worship (Jn. 4:23-24 ). Also, God is the only one that is permitted to announce and threaten the destruction of the temple (Jer. 7:12-13; 26:4-6, 9;1 En.90:28-29).[6] So it is apparent that for the Gospel authors to make up a Messiah who behaves as if He is the physical Temple in person would only make it more difficult to convince a Jewish person about the messiahship of Jesus.This point has been expanded on by N.T. Wright in his book The Challenge of Jesus: See a summary here:

The Son of Man as Lord of the Sabbath

“Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite title for Himself throughout His ministry. First of all, “Son of Man ” is employed to Jesus’ earthly ministry (Mk. 2:10,28; 10:45; Matt. 13:37); Second, his suffering and resurrection (Mk. 8:31;9:31;10:33); Third, his eschatological function (Mk. 8:38;13:26;14:62; Matt.10:23;13:41;19:28:24:39;25:31).

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” –Matthew 12: 1-8.

Given the Sabbath was and still is the most important observance in Judaism, for the Gospel authors to make any figure as having authority over  the Sabbath would only create another huge stumbling block for Jewish people.

As Ben Witherington III says,

“Now in Jewish theology, God of course was the Creator of the universe who set up the sabbatical pattern in the first place, and rested on the seventh day (see Gen. 1). Since God had created the Sabbath, only God was the Lord thereof. Yet here, Jesus’ claims, as Son of man, to be Lord over the Sabbath, and claims that He can reinterpret the Sabbath to mean, this is the perfect day to give sick people “rest” from their illnesses, even though this activity constitutes work by any Old Testament definition. In other words, as Son of man, Jesus felt He could rewrite the Sabbath rules. Why? Because He was Lord over the Sabbath and its proper observance now that God’s divine saving activity was breaking into human history through Him. “[7]

Conclusion

I could cite many more examples. But suffice to say, the more we learn about the Second Temple period, it is clear that it would be counterproductive for the Gospel authors to invent a Jesus that would die, replace the Temple, or be the Lord of the Sabbath.


[1] Donald H. Juel, “The Trial and Death of the Historical Jesus” featured in The Quest For Jesus And The Christian Faith: Word &World Supplement Series 3 (St. Paul Minnesota: Word and World Luther Seminary, 1997), 105.

[2] See Martin Hengel: Crucifixion (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977).

[3] Saint Justin Martyr, The Fathers of the Church, trans. Thomas B. Falls (New York: Christian Heritage, Inc., 1949) pg, 208, 291.

[4] David Berger, The Rebbe, The Messiah And The Scandal Of Orthodox Difference, (Portland: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. 2001), 21.

[5] Michael Brown, Messianic Prophecy Objections, vol 4 of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus(Grand Rapids MI: Baker Books, 2007), 152-161.

[6] Willam Lane Craig,  Reasonable Faith: Third Edition (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2008), 307.

[7] Ben Witherington III. Did Jesus Believe He Was The Son of Man. Available athttp://www.4truth.net.Did_Jesus_Believe_He_Was_the_Son_of_Man.htm

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Does the Resurrection of Jesus mean He is the Jewish Messiah?

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most important doctrines for followers of Jesus the Messiah. The center of Biblical faith is not found in ethical and religious teachings. Instead, it is founded on the person and work of Jesus the Messiah. It is true there is no explicit teaching throughout the entire Tanakh (i.e., The Old Testament) that says, “When the Messiah comes, what qualifies Him to be the Jewish Messiah means that He must rise from the dead.” Eugene Borowitz discusses why the resurrection of Jesus is of relative insignificance:

Jews can see that the story of Jesus’ resurrection is told against the background of Pharisaic belief. Despite this our people has never had difficulty rejecting it. Our Bible is quite clear that the chief sign of the coming of the Messiah is a world of justice and peace. No prophet says the Messiah will die and then be resurrected as a sign to all humanity. Except for the small number of converts to Christianity, Jews in ancient times did not believe Jesus had actually been resurrected. Modern Jews, who believe in the immortality of the soul or in no afterlife at all, similarly reject the Christian claim.[1}

So with these comments in mind, let’s look at the relationship between Jesus being the Messiah and his resurrection from the dead. Remember, the issue that comes up is whether the resurrection of any specific individual is a messianic qualification. The Greek word “christos” from which we get the English word “Christ” carries the same connotations as the Hebrew word — “the Anointed One” from which the word “messiah” is derived. The Jewish Scriptures record the history of those who were anointed for a specific purpose such as priests,  kings, and even prophets.

1: The Resurrection is Necessary for the Messiah to be the Davidic King

King David wanted to build a “house” (or Temple) for the Lord in Jerusalem.[1] God made an unconditional promise to raise up a line of descendants from the house of David. We find texts in the Jewish Scriptures about how the Davidic King’s rule is universal [2] and everlasting. [3]

Let’s look at Paul’s Gospel:

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1-5).

In this passage, Paul says through the resurrection Jesus is declared (by God) to be the Son of God and a descendant of David. As seen in 2 Samuel 7:12-17, the immediate prophecy given to David’s house is partially fulfilled in David’s son Solomon. However, as already said, the word “forever” shows there are future descendants to come. Remember, Davidic kings die. It is the line of these kings that is “eternal.” The promises entailed in the covenant with David are divided by the text into two: (1) those to be fulfilled during his lifetime and (2) those to be fulfilled after his death. As Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum explain this:

The promises to be fulfilled after the death of David are also three: (1) an eternal house, (2) kingdom, and (3) throne. There are two ways in which God could give David an eternal house. It could be that every descendant would be successful in producing a male heir—something which has always created problems for every human royal house. Or it could be that someday, a descendant would be born who would never die. According to the New Testament, this is what happened: the eternal house/seed is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, a descendant of David who according to his resurrection is an eternal person.[4]

 #2: The Resurrection is Needed for Jesus to be the Initiator of the New Covenant

 Christians and Messianic Jews realize the importance of the new covenant and most would be familiar with the following Scriptures:

And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God (Mark 14:24-25).

 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me (1 Cor. 11:23, 25).

There are passages in the Jewish Scriptures that speak of the coming of the new covenant. For example, Moses summons all of Israel and tells them God “has not given you them hearts to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.”[5] He goes onto tell them God “will circumcise their hearts and the heart of your offspring, so that they will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and that they may live.” [6] The Hebrew expression “the stubbornness of his/their heart” occurs ten times in the Tanakh.[7]  So the need for a new covenant is the solution to this problem. The only place the words “new covenant” are seen is the following text:

Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.  “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more (Jer. 31: 31-34).

Though Ezekiel never uses the phrase “new covenant,” as Jeremiah does, he mirrors the concept:

Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ When they come there, they will remove all its detestable things and all its abominations from it.  And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God (Ezek. 11: 17-20).

 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.  For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God (Ezek. 36: 23-28).

Just like the giving of the Torah (with Moses), the new covenant needs someone to inaugurate it. These passages promise the day when God will place his Spirit permanently inside people so they can walk in holiness and love. We can look forward to:

  1. God promises the forgiveness of sin.[8]
  2. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit [9]
  3. Knowledge of God. [10]
  4. Obedience of God by his people.[11]
  5. The fulfillment of Israel’s future restoration to the land.[12]

Before Jesus rose from the dead, he made a promise related to the new covenant passages. As Jesus says:

 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you (John 14:16,17).

We can conclude with the following syllogism:

  1. If Jesus rose from the dead, He can send the Holy Spirit and inaugurate the new covenant.
  2. Jesus rose from the dead
  3. Therefore, Jesus is the inaugurator of the new covenant.

 

 Gentiles Participation in the New Covenant

It is abundantly clear the Lord made the new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (see Jeremiah31:31–34, quoted in Hebrews 8:8–12) and not with the nations of the world, which leads us to ask the question: how do Gentiles get to partake in the new covenant? In response, God’s plan for Israel was to be a light to the nations and be a conduit for Gentiles to come to faith in the one true God.

We see the unique calling in the Abrahamic Covenant. The promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 exhibit’s God’s plan to bless the nations; the Messianic blessing is for all the world. All peoples on all the earth – seventy nations at that time- would be beneficiaries of the promise.[13] So it could not be clearer that God intended to use Abraham as a channel of blessing to the entire world. The election of Israel was for a universal goal— the redemption of humanity. The challenge is how Gentiles comes to appropriate the blessings of the new covenant we previously mentioned. After all, the context of both passages has to do with Israel. Just because the promises about are made to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, we can’t logically conclude others are not able to participate just because they aren’t part of Israel. The Jewish Scriptures reveal that Gentiles would be restored to God through Israel’s end-time restoration and become united to them.[14]  References to the new covenant foresee Gentile involvement and blessing. [15] The prophet Isaiah illustrates that Gentiles will receive the “trickle down” blessings:

Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants, everyone who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered. (Is. 56:6-8)

God’s planned for Israel to be a light to the non-Jewish nations from the beginning. Thus, Gentile believers are grafted into Israel’s new covenant (Romans 11:17). As Michael Kogan says:

Has Jesus brought redemption to Israel? No, but he has brought the means of redemption to the gentiles—and that in the name of Israel’s God—thus helping Israel to fulfill its calling to be a blessing to all peoples. A Jewish Messiah for the gentiles! Perhaps, as I have suggested, an inversion of Cyrus’s role as a gentile Messiah for the Jews. Israel is redeemed by engaging in redemptive work. Perhaps redemption is not a final state but a process, a life devoted to bringing oneself and others before God. To live a life in relationship to the Holy One and to help the world to understand itself as the Kingdom of God—which it, all unknowingly, already is—is to participate in redemption, to live a redemptive life. This has been Israel’s calling from the beginning.”[16]

But even though the nations of the world have been allowed to participate in the new covenant, we see God will fulfill his promises to Israel. Though Gentiles are experiencing spiritual blessings during Israel’s partial hardening, this will escalate with national Israel’s salvation.[17] Though Israel that has been partially hardened, there will be a future group of Jewish people who will experience salvation.[18]

#3: The Resurrection is Important to Jesus being a Prophet like Moses

In the New Testament, the Greek word for kingdom is “basileia” which is considered a present reality and involves suffering for those who enter into it. [19] However, the kingdom is futuristic and involves reward [20] as well as glory. [21] Jesus’s inauguration of the kingdom of God included not only the dispensing of the Spirit,[22] but also the ability to perform miracles. But if the kingdom is breaking into human history, then the King has come. Deuteronomy is a pivotal text that speaks about the first coming of the Messiah:

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (Deut. 18: 15-18)

To be like Moses, the prophet Moses speaks about will have to be a “sign prophet.” Of course, the Torah clearly states even if a prophet’s signs and wonders do come to pass but the prophet leads the people astray to worship false gods, he is a false prophet.[23] So the ability to do signs and wonders is related to being a prophet of God. While actions by other prophets including Ezekiel and Jeremiah show some significant parallels to Jesus, Jesus is closer to the actions of the Jewish sign prophets such as Moses. We see God used signs to convince Moses of his divine mission: God says, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.” [24]

When Moses asks God, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?” the Lord gives Moses two “signs” his rod turns into a snake,[25] and his hand becomes leprous.[26] Moses “performed the signs before the people, and they believedthey bowed down and worshiped.” [27] As far as Jesus being a sign prophet like Moses, we need to remember the word “sign” is reserved for what we would call a miracle.  Nicodemus said of Jesus “We know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him” [28] “Sign” (Gr.sēmeion) is also used of the most significant miracle in the New Testament which is the resurrection of the Messiah from the grave. Thus, when asked for a sign, Jesus repeated this prediction of his resurrection.[29] Not only was the resurrection of the Messiah a miracle, but it was a miracle that Jesus predicted.[30]

#4: The Resurrection is Important to Jesus Being a Priest in the order of Melchizedek

One text vital to understanding the priestly work of the Messiah is in the following text: Psalm 110:1-4:

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”  The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew. The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:1-4)

Who is qualified to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek? While David did perform priestly functions, he could not be a priest forever because he died and remained dead. If the figure mentioned in Psalm 110 is David’s son, how could he be a priest forever and die?  He would have to not die. The individual must be a descendant of David, but one that is greater than David, and he must also serve as priest in some way outside of the qualification of being a Levite.

Here the Psalmist answers saying the priest would be of the order (not the line) of Melchizedek. The word Melchizedek is derived from “melchi,” which means “king” and “zedek’ which means righteousness.” Therefore, Melchizedek means “king of righteousness.” Melchizedek was, as you recall, was greater than Abraham because he existed prior to Abraham. In the Tanakh, the priest was anointed in his role as a mediator between God and the Jewish people through his ability make to make atonement for the whole people (Lev.4:26; 31, 35; 5:6, 10;14:31). By doing this, the priests “sanctified” the people which allowed them to come into God’s presence. Another priestly function in the Tanakhh was to pray or make intercession on behalf of the people. The Messiah’s resurrection is the basis for his priesthood because in that life he can be the “priest forever” (Heb 7:17) who is typified by Melchizedek and portrayed in Psalm 110.  Here we see the purpose of the Aaron-Melchizedek contrast: to establish the permanence of the Messiah’s priestly ministry. One can see how Psalm 110 is stressed throughout Hebrews which is related to the endlessness of the Messiah’s priestly office.

 I discuss these topics in greater length in my book called “The Resurrection of the Jewish Messiah.” 

The Resurrection of the Jewish Messiah by [Chabot, Eric]

 Sources: 

 [1] E. Borowitz, Liberal Judaism (New York: Behrman House. 1984), 216.

[2]  2 Sam. 7:1-4.

[3]  Ps.72:8; Is. 9:7; Zech. 9:9.

[4] 2 Sam. 7:16; Ps. 21:14; 72:17; 89:36-37; Jer. 33:17.

[5] Deut. 29: 4.

[6] Deut. 30: 6.

[7]  Deut. 29:18; Jer. 3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12; 23:17; Ps. 81:12.

[8] Jer. 31:34; Ezek. 36:25.

[9]  Ezek. 36:27.

[10] Jer. 31:34.

[11] Ezek. 36:27; 37:23-24; Jer. 32:39-40.

[12] Jer. 32:36-41; Ezek.36:24-25; 37:11-14.

[13]  Gen. 12:2–3; cf. 22:18; 26:4; 28:14.

[14]  Ps. 87:4-6; Is 11:9-10; 14:1-2; 19:18-25; 25:6-10; 42:1-9; 49:6; 51:4-6; 60:1-16; Jer. 3:17; Zeph. 3:9-10; Zech. 2:11); G.K. Beale and B. L. GladdHidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery (Downers Grove:  IVP Academic. 2014),186.

[15]  Isa. 55:5; Ezek. 36:36; 37:28.

[16]  M. S. Kogan, Opening the Covenant: A Jewish Theology of Christianity (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007), 68.

[17]  Rom. 11: 25-26.

[18]  Rom.11:26–29, quoting Is. 59:20–21.

[19] 2 Thess. 1:5.

[20]   Matt 25:34.

[21]  Matt 13:43.

[22]  John 7: 39.

[23] Deut.13: 1-3.

[24]  Exod. 3:12.

[25]. Exod. 4:3.

[26]  Exod. 4:1–7.

[27]  Exod. 4:30–31.

[28]  John 3:2.

[29] Matt. 16:1, 4.

[30]  Matt. 12:40; 16:21; 20:19; John 2:19.

 

 

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Why Don’t Christians Have a Worldview?

Today, 176 million Americans claim to be Christians—69% of the population. Yet, only 6% of U.S. adults—which is 9% of those identifying as Christians—possess a biblical worldview, believing the Bible to be accurate and reliable, among other convictions. That’s according to a study by researcher George Barna and the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University in Glendale, Arizona.

The study asserts that every person has a worldview—defined as an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual decision-making filter. And though many Americans believe they have a “biblical worldview,” very few do. (A Barna-conducted study published in May found that 51% of U.S. adults claim to have “biblical worldview”—a far cry from the percentage who actually do, according to the latest findings.). We discuss these issues in the clip above.
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