Daily Archives: April 3, 2014

Get Thee to Sunday School!

Zwinglius Redivivus

If you don’t already know all of this…  (and note, I LOVE the little tiny disclaimer at the bottom- because evidently people are so daft that they don’t know the difference between the Bible and a Hollywood production…)

noah

Yes, thank you Captain Obvious…

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Questions about Bible Misinterpretations: John 1:1—Is Jesus God or just a god?

 

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 divinea 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).[1]

 

 

[1] Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (pp. 159–160). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Questions about Bible Difficulties: 1 John 4:2–3—Does this refer to Jesus being in the flesh before or after His resurrection?

 

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).[1]

 

 

 

[1] Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (pp. 539–540). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

GodLife: Trials Allow Us to Comfort Others

Trials Allow Us to Comfort Others

Why does God put His children through such terrible situations? Is there a purpose for our trials?

Just for You

Do you want to be a source of comfort and encouragement to others? Click to learn more about how your trials can be a testimony in the Perspectives From Church History series

Personal Help

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.

Prayer Points

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

GodLife Family

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!

Connect with Us

Do you have questions? Need prayer? Connect with someone who cares for you!

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Jesus already defined marriage for his creation

Feelings about the recent kerfuffle around World Vision’s almost decision to begin hiring Christians in same-sex marriages have calmed somewhat. So in this new piece Apprising Ministries takes another look at critical issues same-sex marriage touches upon. View article →

God’s gifts in suffering (8) Suffering teaches us to number our days

You can read the previous posts in this series here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7.

flickr: Robert Couse-Baker

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.

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Honor Diaries: What It Say’s About The True War On Women

I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel Of Christ!

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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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The Story of Easter Told Through Social Networking

It’s hard to envision the world without social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter–platforms that allow us to share information, memories and continue relationships like never before in history. Imagine if social networking existed around 33 A.D.–the most pivotal moment of history. This video illustrates how Christ’s death and resurrection might have been perceived had social networks existed during this defining moment of our faith.

4 lessons in World Vision’s Flawed Vision

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.

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A Conscience Captive to God’s Word – John MacArthur

 

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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