The Josephus Mirror Code is CRACKED

This might give you a taste of wht is coming from

About a week ago, we received on our Ratio Christi at Germanna Facebook page a summary of a work by someone who embraces the claims made in the Zeitgeist movie. Apparently he has written his own work entitled, “The Josephus Mirror Code: How and Why the Romans Invented Christianity.”

Apparently the synopsis takes issue with the historicity of Christianity, Jesus and the Gospel records. What I would like to do is take on some of this writer’s problematic assumptions over the next few posts. I won’t give you the full quote of what he put on our wall. It was rather humorous, and disturbing at the same time. The disturbing fact of this is not because of any truthfulness of what he wrote. Rather it is the fact that anyone claiming to “do history” would even venture to write such a poor attempt to discredit historical Christianity.

The writer challenges Jesus’ existence in history as well as the historical fact of the development of Christianity in the First Century. How does he do this?

He makes a faulty assumption based upon the Jewish and Roman historian stating (from his quote on the RC Germanna wall),

The New Testament documents have no contemporary historical evidence written by anyone (outside) those documents to prove Jesus Christ and his followers ever lived.  The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is said by (Church Tradition) not official history to have happened around 33AD. . . Why Josephus and all the 1st century historians neglect to mention Jesus Christ or any Christian person until 94AD, leaving a GLARING (61 year gap) of any written mentioning, makes the origins of Christianity appear extremely suspicious. please note – there were over 38 historians actively writing during the years of Jesus Christ and none of them wrote one word about him or any of his miracles or followers. 
This is a multi-angled “crack”at biblical authenticity and a committal of genetic fallacy, putting the credibility on later sources. It is clear that the writer has not honestly looked at history. How so? (Mind you that there will be more coming in the days ahead).

Cowards or Overcomers? Standing Strong on God’s Word

from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association by

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Heaven is not for cowards! Recent comments I made while speaking at an event in Washington, D.C., have drawn some controversy. In a challenge to those who are afraid to speak out on moral issues addressed in the Bible, I referenced a chilling passage—a warning from God about the most catastrophic indictment the world will face someday:

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:7-8).

Christians cannot ignore parts of God’s Word because they are unpopular or cause division. Our commission is to proclaim Christ and all He stands for. This is what the church’s presence in the world is all about. We cannot sincerely proclaim the truth of God’s love while ignoring what He hates, and God hates sin. His love pours out the remedy for sin that holds mankind in bondage. It is found in His unmerited grace—the gift of salvation. For this reason, the whole Gospel must be preached, as demonstrated by the Apostle Paul.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes … For in it the righteousness of God is revealed” (Romans 1:16-17). What immediately follows this bold declaration demonstrates the importance of God’s entire message to the human race.

The rest is at: http://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/july-august-2014/cowards-or-overcomers-standing-strong/

The role of the Holy Spirit

The place of the Holy Spirit

Kicking and screaming

kicking and screaming

I Am a Church Member

from Thom Rainier - 73 Comments

UPDATE: Listen to the podcast episode about this post.

I am a church member.

I will seek to be a source of unity in the church. I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But neither am I. I will not be a source of gossip or dissension. One of the greatest contributions I can make is to do all I can in God’s power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the gospel.

I am a church member.

I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self-serving. I am in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to a cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that are just not my preference or style.

I am a church member.

I will pray for my pastor every day. His work is never-ending. His days are filled with constant demands for his time; with the need to prepare sermons; with those who are rejoicing in births; with those who are traveling through the valley of the shadow of death; with critics; with the hurts and hopes of others; and with the need to be a husband and a father. My pastor cannot serve our church in his own power. I will pray for God’s strength for him and his family every day.

I am a church member.

I like the metaphor of membership. It’s not membership as in a civic organization or a country club. It’s the kind of membership given to us in 1 Corinthians 12: “Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it” (I Corinthians 12:27). Because I am a member of the body of Christ, I must be a functioning member, whether I am an “eye,” an “ear,” or a “hand.” As a functioning member, I will give. I will serve. I will minister. I will evangelize. I will study. I will seek to be a blessing to others. I will remember that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

I am a church member.

I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church, because He gave His life for her.

I am a church member.

This membership is a gift. When I received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others, and to be a part of something so much greater than any one person or member.

I am a church member.

And I thank God that I am.

Why would Gandhi reject Jesus?

from Come Reason’s Apologetic Notes by LENNY ESPOSITO

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about why mixing belief systems is dangerous. The post stemmed from an article in the Vancouver Sun that held up Mahatma Gandhi as “one of the most famous people to openly promote mixing religions.” 1 But, I don’t think Gandhi’s mixing of faith helped him. In fact, I think it may have caused him to miss the central message of Christianity.

In An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi discusses his various interactions with people of faith, his study of religion, and how it shaped his nonviolent resistance. He recounts in some detail his different conversations with Christians, and the impressions they made. He states the primary message of Christianity did not resonate with him:

One of the Plymouth Brethren confronted me with an argument for which I was not prepared:

http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/07/why-would-gandhi-reject-jesus.html

7 Different Ways to Read a Book

Tim Challies at Christianity.com

Reading is kind of like repairing a bicycle. Kind of. For too long now my bike has been semi-operational. It has one brake that just doesn’t want to behave and all my attempts to fix it have failed. Why? Well it turns out that I haven’t been using the right tool. To get the bike working I need to use the right tool. And when it comes to reading, well, you’ve got to use the right tool—you’ve got to know what kind of reading to do. Here are seven different kinds of reading.

Studying. Studying is reading at its best, I think, but reading that can and should be done with only the choicest books. Life is too short and there are simply too many books to invest a great deal of time in every one of them. And this is where so many readers go wrong—they spend too much time and invest too much effort in books that simply don’t deserve it. When you study a book, you labor over it, you read it with highlighter in hand, you flip back and forth, you try to learn absolutely everything the book offers. Only the smallest percentage of books are worthy of this level of investment, so choose carefully which books you study. (Suggestions:Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen or The Holiness of God byR.C. Sproul)

Pillaging. Pillaging is one of my favorite forms of reading, and especially when the book is in a familiar category and written to be very practical. I will often buy the latest and greatest books on business and productivity and read them at a rapid pace. As I do this, I am looking for tips that I can ponder and apply. I do not intend to allow these books to teach me a whole new form of getting things done—I have my system and it works well. However, I am eager to pillage these books for ideas that can tweak my system and make it better. (Consider: Essentialism by Greg Mckeown or Habit Stacking by S.J. Scott)

Devotional. Devotional reading is reading deep truths meant to make a deep impact on your faith. This is slow and meditative reading that requires an open Bible and plenty of prayer. The Christian faith has many wonderful devotional works that are drawn from the Bible and will, in turn, draw you to the Bible. Read these ones day-by-day and allow them to lead you closer to God as he reveals himself through his Word. (Consider: The Reformed Expository Commentary series or Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon)

Skimming. In recent years we have heard a lot about the evils of skimming, and it is true that for many people skimming is now their dominant form of reading. This is not a good development. But having said that, skimming still has its place. Some books are worthy of little more than a skim, and especially if you have already read extensively in that category. If you have read six books on marriage, you probably don’t need to do more than skim the seventh. Most books will benefit from a skim before in-depth reading as it will both help you understand whether it is actually worthy of study and help you better understand the flow of the author’s argument. Do not making skimming your only form of reading, but also don’t feel guilty if you find yourself skimming twice as many books as you read in depth. The more books you read, the more you earn the right to skim.

Stretch. Stretch reading is going beyond the popularizers and reading the sources. Some of us find that we much prefer reading books by the people who write on a popular level and who make their topic eminently accessible. But sometimes we ought to force ourselves to read more difficult texts—the Church Fathers or Reformation-era writers, the historians or scientists. (Suggestions: The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards)

Rerun. Rerun reading is returning to an old favorite to read it again. This may be that old novel that you fell in love with so many years ago and returning to that novel is like journeying back to an old vacation spot. It may be that formative Christian living book that meant so much to you when you were first saved. Either way, your purpose in reading this book is almost entirely pleasure; you are not reading it to learn from it as much as for the plain enjoyment of finding comfort in its familiar words and phrases.

Failed. Failed reading is an important part of any balanced reading diet. I speak to far too many people who feel it is wrong to stop reading a book before they have finished it. But sometimes you just need to admit defeat and stop reading. The more books you read, and especially the more books you study, the more you earn the right to give up on a few of them.

 

Comment at http://www.christianity.com/blogs/tim-challies/7-different-ways-to-read-a-book.html

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