Misinterpretation: The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation renders this verse, “The Word [Christ] was a god” (insert added). The Watchtower magazine states that “because there is no definite article ‘the’ (ho) it means Christ is only a god, not the God” (The Watchtower, 7 December 1995, 4). They in fact believe that Jesus is only a created being, Michael the Archangel (The Watchtower, 15 May 1969, 307). The Greek of John 1:1 “is not saying that the Word (Jesus) was the same as the God with whom he was but, rather, that the Word was godlike, divine, a god” (Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1989, 212).
Correcting the Misinterpretation: It is not proper to translate this verse “The Word was a god” so as to deny the deity of Christ. The full deity of Christ is supported by other references in John (e.g., 8:58; 10:30; 20:28) as well as the rest of the New Testament (e.g., Col. 1:15–16; 2:9; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8). Further, it is not necessary to translate Greek nouns that have no definite article with an indefinite article (there is no indefinite article in Greek). In other words, theos (“God”) without the definite article ho (“the”) does not need to be translated as “a God” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses have done in reference to Christ. It is significant that theos without the definite article ho is used of Jehovah God in the New Testament. Because the lack of the definite article in Luke 20:38 in reference to Jehovah does not mean he is a lesser God, neither does the lack of the definite article in John 1:1 in reference to Jesus mean he is a lesser God. The fact is, the presence or absence of the definite article does not alter the fundamental meaning of theos. If John had intended an adjectival sense (the Word was godlike or divine—a god) he had an adjective (theios) ready at hand that he could have used. Instead, John says the Word is God (theos).
Contrary to the claims of the Watchtower Society, some New Testament texts do use the definite article and speak of Christ as “the God” (ho theos). One example of this is John 20:28 where Thomas says to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” The verse reads literally from the Greek: “The Lord of me and the God [ho theos] of me” (see also Matt. 1:23 and Heb. 1:8). So it does not matter whether John did or did not use the definite article in John 1:1—the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God, not just a god.
Greek scholars have thoroughly refuted the Watchtower translation. Dr. Julius Mantey says of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation of John 1:1, “Ninety-nine percent of the scholars of the world who know Greek and who have helped translate the Bible are in disagreement with the Jehovah’s Witnesses” (Mantey, 3:3, 5).
That Jesus is Jehovah (Yahweh) is clear from the fact that the New Testament consistently applies to Jesus passages and attributes which in the Old Testament apply only to Jehovah (compare Exod. 3:14 with John 8:58; Isa. 6:1–5 with John 12:41; Isa. 44:24 with Col. 1:16; Ezek. 43:2 with Rev. 1:15; Zech. 12:10 with Rev. 1:7).
 Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (pp. 159–160). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Problem: John declares that those who deny “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” are of Antichrist. While all orthodox Christians take this to mean Jesus was fully human, including having a physical body of flesh before His resurrection, some contend that Jesus was not raised from the dead in the same body of flesh and bones in which He died, but in a body that was not essentially material. What does this verse mean?
Solution: John uses the perfect tense here in Greek, meaning past action with continuing results in the present. Thus, he affirms that Jesus came in the flesh in the past and continues in the flesh in the present (i.e., when he is writing, which was after the Resurrection).
This is further clarified by John’s use of the same phrase, only in the present tense. He declared that many deceivers do not “confess Jesus Christ as coming [present tense] in the flesh” (2 John 7). From this it is clear that, even after the Resurrection when John wrote, he insisted that Jesus was still continuing in the flesh.
Finally, in addition to these two passages in John’s epistles, there are two other NT texts which explicitly declare Christ’s resurrection body to be one of flesh. Referring to the resurrection of Christ, Peter declared that “nor did His flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:30–31). Jesus Himself said to His disciples in one of His post-resurrection appearances, “Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).
 Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (pp. 539–540). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
Why does God put His children through such terrible situations? Is there a purpose for our trials?
Do you ever wonder about the purpose of the trials in your life? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.
Will you pray this week:
• For your eyes to stay focused on your hope in Jesus Christ, no matter what the trial
• To feel God’s presence and be encouraged by God’s promise to be with you
• For God to give you opportunities to comfort others
• That your life may be a witness to God’s love, power, and hope
• For God to help you share the hope of salvation with those going through hard times
Where can you go online to get daily encouragement and inspiration, and to discuss trials in your life? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!
Do you have questions? Need prayer? Connect with someone who cares for you!
All our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away…
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Ps 90:9-10, 12)
When you’re young, life seems long and full of promise. A young woman told me she hopes Jesus doesn’t come back till she’s experienced career, marriage, children. I remember thinking the same when I was eighteen. Life stretched ahead, and I wanted to see and do it all. Can you recall it? Standing at the brink, ready to plunge in?
As you get older, life sometimes seems very sharp and short. Family members become ill. Friends get divorced. Parents age. We go to more funerals. We grow weary of the long battle with sin. On the bad days, when another burden is added, we wonder if we can bear any more. The years that once seemed endless now speed past, and they are often full of pain.
This is something that weighs very heavy on my heart. At times the MSM here has made a circus out of what they say is the ‘Rights’ and Republicans war on women. You see in this country women and pro choice organizations are saying that we have waged a war on women’s rights, and are oppressing them, because as Christians we don’t feel Abortion is right, or we don’t feel that we should pay for this, or someones birth control. Remember Sandra Fluke? I am ashamed to be called an American woman. When you see what is happening to women in middle eastern countries and even this country, you too will feel that way. I have one thing to say to American women. Shame on you! What if you faced even one of these things these women face.
What if you couldn’t go to the grocery store unless a male…
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Last weeks gay-marriage flop-flip with World Vision did not come out of left field. (Monday they announced that a monogamous homosexual relationship was in-step with Christian faithfulness, and on Wednesday they said ‘ummm…nevermind; sorry about that’). But this was a schisim that was a long time coming, and illustrates a profound danger inherent in mercy ministries that are not built upon a theological foundation.
When Martin Luther was summoned to the Diet of Worms in 1521 and asked to recant his teaching, he replied:
Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe. God help me. Here I stand, I can do no other.
Luther’s well-known formulation, “Scripture and plain reason,” is the only basis on which we can properly ground true spiritual discernment. Discernment is the ability to understand, interpret, and apply truth skillfully. Discernment is a cognitive act. Therefore no one who spurns right doctrine or sound reason can be truly discerning.
Authentic spiritual discernment must begin with Scripture—revealed truth. Without a firm grounding in divine revelation, human reason always degenerates into skepticism (a denial that anything can be known for certain), rationalism (the theory that reason is a source of truth), secularism (an approach to life that purposely excludes God), or any number of other anti-Christian philosophies. When Scripture condemns human wisdom (1 Cor. 3:19), it is denouncing not reason per se, but humanistic ideology divorced from the divinely revealed truth of God’s Word. In other words, reason apart from the Word of God leads inevitably to unsound ideas, but reason subjected to the Word of God is at the heart of wise spiritual discernment.
The Westminster Confession of Faith clearly recognizes the formula of Scripture and sound reason as the basis of discernment. The Confession states, “The whole counsel of God . . . is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture” (chapter 1, section 6). In other words, sound and careful logic must be applied to Scripture to yield a full and mature understanding of the spiritual truth God has revealed. This is no denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. The formula is not Scripture plus philosophy, but Scripture interpreted by careful, sensible, thoughtful, Spirit-directed reasoning. That is the essence of discernment.
In short, anti-intellectualism is incompatible with genuine spiritual wisdom. Those who think of faith as the abandonment of reason cannot be truly discerning. Irrationality and discernment are polar opposites. When Paul prayed that the Philippians’ love would “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9, emphasis added), he was affirming the rationality of true faith. He also meant to suggest that knowledge and discernment necessarily go hand in hand with genuine spiritual growth.
Biblical faith, therefore, is rational. It is reasonable. It is intelligent. It makes good sense. And spiritual truth is meant to be rationally contemplated, examined logically, studied, analyzed, and employed as the only reliable basis for making wise judgments. That process is precisely what Scripture calls discernment.
God’s truth is a precious commodity that must be handled carefully—not diluted with whimsical beliefs or bound up in human traditions. When a church loses its will to discern between sound doctrine and error, between good and evil, between truth and lies, that church is doomed.
The apostle John drew a very sharp distinction between Christianity and the spirit of antichrist—and he zealously held the line.
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds (2 John 9–11).
Thus John commanded those under his spiritual oversight to be watchful and discerning—and to have nothing to do with Christ-denying error or the purveyors of it.
Contrast that with Christians today who soothe themselves with the opinion that few things are really black and white. Doctrinal issues, moral questions, and Christian principles are all cast in hues of gray. No one is supposed to draw any definitive lines or declare any absolutes. Every person is encouraged to do what is right in his own eyes—exactly what God forbade (cf. Deut. 12:8; Judg. 17:6; 21:25).
The church will never manifest its power in society until we regain a passionate love for truth and a corollary hatred for error. True Christians cannot condone or disregard anti-Christian influences in their midst and expect to enjoy God’s blessing.
Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (Romans 13:11–12 KJV)
(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)
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So far, I’ve reviewed the preface, chapter 1, chapter 3 (more chapter 3), the first part of chapter 5 as well as the second part of chapter 5, and chapter 7. Fred has review chapter 2, chapter 4, chapter 6 and chapter 8.
Let’s get going…but first:
Cute little lamb thanking George “Giblets” Rodriquez for taking the hit at thanksgiving?
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We reminded this audience in Dallas of the birth dates of this generation, 1980 to 2000, and then proceeded to share our research. We had commissioned LifeWay Research to survey 1,200 of the older Millennials; the researchers did an outstanding job. We have thus been able to share incredible amounts of data and insights from these young adults.
The Question about Worship Style
As in most of our speaking settings, we allow a portion of our presentation to be a time of questions and answers. And inevitably someone will ask us about the worship style preferences of the Millennials.
Typically the context of the question emanates from a background of nearly three decades of “worship wars.” In other words, on what “side” are the Millennials? Traditional? Contemporary? Or somewhere on the nebulous spectrum of blended styles?
And though Jess and I did not originally ask those questions in our research, we have sufficient anecdotal evidence to respond. And our response is usually received with some surprise. The direct answer is “none of the above.”
The Three Things That Matter Most
You see, most Millennials don’t think in the old worship war paradigm. In that regard, “style” of worship is not their primary focus. Instead they seek worship services and music that have three major elements.
A. No mere man, since the fall, is able in his life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, (Ecclesiastes 7:20) but does daily break them in thought, (Genesis 8:21) word, (James 3:8) and deed. (James 3:2)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism
With so many professing Christians who, by their lives, deny the truth of the gospel, these messages are good for all! While no human is without sin until he dies or Christ returns, there is no basis for comforting a soul as being in Christ if there is NO mark of being a new creature in Christ. There is no litmus test to prove one is redeemed, there will be signs of life in everyone who has been born of the Spirit of the Living God!
Guest Post: I asked Pat Quinn, our Director of Counseling Ministries, if he had any thoughts on the latest exchange between David Murray and Heath Lambert (both friends of mine) on the topic of mental illness. Pat’s reflections struck me as wise, balanced, and Christ-centered. So I thought it would be good to share them.
Looking for resources to enrich your gospel-understanding this Easter? Then look no further. Here we have compiled our Easter favorites, and we pray the rich teaching will cause you to rejoice more deeply in Jesus Christ.
Why Do Christians Celebrate Easter? – Explore two main reasons for our celebrating.
Living Hope Through the Resurrection of Jesus – What difference does Christ’s resurrection make for our lives today?
10 Reasons the Resurrection Is Meaningful – Why has the resurrection been so celebrated throughout history?
The Crowd, the Savior and the City – When it comes to Jesus, are you broadly supportive or easily swayed?
Jesus Offers Life to His People – Christian faith hangs not only on what God has done, but on God’s explanation of what He has done.
The Day God Turned His Face Away – What happened in the darkness of the cross?
Why Was Jesus Christ Raised from the Dead? – How the resurrection is like a two-sided coin.
How does God speak to us today? How do we understand the sufficiency of God’s Word? Carl, Aimee, and Todd take Sarah Young’s popular devotional “Jesus Calling” to task. In it, Young claims to need more than Scripture to hear from God and has written words “from Jesus” she heard outside of her Bible study. The “Spin Doctors” mortify the book, a product of modern individualism, and offer a few replacement suggestions. What responsibilities do pastors have in confronting this kind of book, or any cultural artifact with which their congregations are interacting?
Former Senator Rick Santorum and I cited these facts in a recent op-ed we wrote for CNN.com, warning that the Iranian regime appears to be following Adolf Hitler’s playbook of calling for peace while actually building a war machine of devastating proportions.
Now, an official of the Iranian regime has responded, attacking our arguments as “ludicrous, counterproductive, and unfortunate.”
Hamid Babaei is counselor and head of press office for the Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations.
“The recent op-ed by Rick Santorum and Joel C. Rosenberg is yet another attempt to stymie and shackle…
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Here is Senator Santorum’s and my response:
The American people are not fooled by the lies of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. Americans understand that Iran’s illegal nuclear program poses a grave danger to U.S. national security, to Israel, to NATO, and to our Arab allies in the Middle East.
As we stated in our column, a new poll shows that 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if the world allows Iran to build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Given that the Khamenei regime is one of the world’s worst state sponsors of terror, Americans are right to be so deeply concerned
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According to stunning new numbers just released by the federal government, nine of the top ten most commonly held jobs in the United States pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year. When you break that down, that means that most of these workers are making less than $3,000 a month before taxes. And once you consider how we are being taxed into oblivion, things become even more frightening. Can you pay a mortgage and support a family on just a couple grand a month? Of course not. In the old days, a single income would enable a family to live a very comfortable middle class lifestyle in most cases. But now those days are long gone. In 2014, both parents are expected to work, and in many cases both of them have to get multiple jobs just in order to break even at the end of the month. The decline in the quality of our jobs is a huge reason for the implosion of the middle class in this country. You can’t have a middle class without middle class jobs, and we have witnessed a multi-decade decline in middle class jobs in the United States. As long as this trend continues, the middle class is going to continue to shrink. (Read More….)