Easter – Consider the Logos, and the Word was God

You have heard about the “canon of the Bible”, but what does that mean? You have heard people put down Christianity as being based on made-up fiction formulated to strike false doctrine onto others. We Christians hold that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, divinely breathed upon authors by the Holy Spirit. Thus the term “canon” is used to describe those divinely inspired books, which belong in the Bible, and have held up to scholarly review for many centuries. Jewish Rabbis and Hebrew scholars first conducted this review process. But the main energy in the review of these early writings came directly from the Triune God, revealed by Jesus Christ and directed by the Holy Spirit.

The Old Testament was fairly firm early in the process; Hebrew scholars had been using the Torah for centuries and had long believed God’s prophets and accepted their writings as being inspired words. The only issue that remained was the “Apocrypha”, where a majority of Hebrew scholars thought the collection to be good religious documents, but not on the same level as the Hebrew Scriptures. Considering the New Testament and the work of the Apostles, Mark was probably the first Gospel written. This, along with a collection of the sayings of Jesus Christ known as “Q” (a German word for Quelle, meaning “source”), was the basis for Luke’s Gospel, and probably Matthew’s and John’s as well. Paul considered Luke’s writings and Peter recognized Paul’s work, so there was a great deal of continuity in the New Testament.

Also, the discovery of scrolls and thousands of scroll fragments recovered in the Qumran area, an extremely large collection of Jewish documents, has supported the accuracy of the early Old Testament writings. These documents date back to the third century BC, and are written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Among these documents are the “Dead Sea Scrolls” which are all of the books of the Bible except Esther.

Many types of council, such as the Council of Laodicea (363 AD), the Council of Hippo (393 AD), and the Council of Carthage (397 AD), followed affirming the same 27 books are authoritative scripture. Questions asked were: 1) was the author an apostle or closely associated with an apostle? 2) Was the book consistent with Christian doctrine and orthodox teaching? And, 3) did the book put forward high moral and spiritual values consistent with the instruction from Jesus? As stated above, the Bible is God inspired and written by directing men driven by the Holy Spirit; therefore, it can be said that it was God that selected what was to be the Biblical Canon. I would never be so bold to claim to be an expert in the Bible, though I have taught adult Biblical Scripture Classes for over 35 years, anyone who has studied the Bible for any length of time has surely noticed how it all fits together cover to cover inspite of the many authors over centuries.

The Orthodox believer holds on to a theological knowledge based upon God’s Revelation. This Revelation is presented to the world through the written words in Scripture and through what is known as “The Apostolic Tradition”. Christ passed on in Pentecost the power for the apostles to do great things in the name of Christ. Jesus passed on “The Great Commission” for the apostles (and we disciples) to go throughout the world and affirm the foundational Christian Truths as clearly taught in the Bible:

 That the Triune God is three distinct persons in one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

  1. The True Deity and True Humanity of Jesus Christ.
  2. The physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
  3. Salvation of the believer by grace alone, through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
  4. The atonement of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of the sins of a sinner.
  5. The physical return of Christ to earth at the end of time to judge the wicked and reward the righteous.

 Any Christian group that would alter or distort one or more of these orthodox beliefs would be considered an aberrant group. To push the issue farther, theologically a cult is any deviation from orthodoxy, or denial or outright rejection of one or more of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Not to be confused with a “cult”, the occult deals directly with demonic forces; this awful practice has been engaged in throughout all history. Nothing good can come out of it. I once heard a woman on the radio, critical of churches, saying that the church needed to change with the culture; this is the exact opposite of what an Orthodox Christian Church should do! Adapting to the culture only creates aberrant and cult groups; Jesus did not do nor did He teach that we should adapt to the culture. Deviations take all forms with some being very minor; groups normally must pull verse out of context and twist it around (give it new meanings) to create their own new theology. One notable group, that produced “The Jesus Seminar”, goes so far as to uphold that Jesus’ ministry had nothing to do with salvation nor that Jesus viewed Himself as Messiah or the Son of God. Pretty darn blatant when you consider the New Testament is extremely clear that Jesus in fact knew Himself as Messiah and what His role in the salvation of humanity was to be.

 Today, the aberrant churches are growing and the orthodox Christian churches are struggling and are under persecution. We must not change to suit the culture or we risk losing our way. In the first century, lions ate many Christians; today we are nibbled to death by political correctness.

We are not of this world

What is a Christian? Someone who knows Jesus Christ? No…the Bible tells us that the demons know Jesus Christ. Someone who knows Jesus is the Son of God? No…the demons know that too. Fact is, Jesus told us that many so-called Christians will call Him Lord and He will say, “I don’t know you”. So what then is the real Christian? Maybe the Christian is one who does good things. No, many non-Christians also do good things. So what then is the real Christian?

Michael Brown, past professor at a number of seminaries, wrote an article published on January 3, 2013, entitled: “What’s Right and Wrong with American Christianity”. He listed 8 “right things” and 12 “bad things”. The right things were about the things a Christian “does”: feed the poor, generousity, being helpful to others, being moral, pro-life, and pro-Israel. Jesus asked us to go and “do”, strive to be righteous and look after your neighbor; so I agree with Brown’s “right listing”, but these things don’t define a Christian. The bad things consist of having shallow faith, leadership scandals, moving away from orthodoxy, prosperity preaching, false teaching, and changing the church to fit the culture. Here we have a serious and accurate list. If we can reverse this “bad list” we will find out what a real Christian is.

A real Christian has a very strong faith in Jesus Christ and is willing to put Jesus above all things including self. The Bible teaches that leadership will be judged harsher than others; leadership should be stronger and humbly better, no excuses. The Christian’s faith must remain orthodox; the Bible is the very word of God, believe it with all your mind, heart and soul. A Christian does not change Jesus to suit his personal whims or to make the culture like a false message. A Christian loves Jesus no matter what the world thinks, no matter if it costs him his life.

On Chrismas Eve when most in the USA were warm and snuggly in their beds thinking of sugar plums in the morning, Islamic terrorists were killing 12 Christians celebrating Christ’s birth in Nigeria and burning down their church. The USA is quickly moving to demonize Christianity; we have already had church burnings. Please Lord, we pray for those persecuted Christians standing up for Jesus. We ask Lord to help those wayward Christians in the USA to reverse their course to become Bible-centered and become as strong for Christ Jesus as our brother and sisters in Nigeria, for many, Lord, have lost their way.

We are Counter-Culture!

By now, everyone has heard of and probably taken a position on the Chick-fil-A v. gay marriage issue. Have you noticed that the attacks seem to be coming from only one side. Mr. Cathy is a private person and his business is a private business. As long as he follows the laws of the land, no one should be able to tell him what to do. Government should not be able to tell him when to be open for business and when to be closed. If you don’t like his personal opinion on a matter, don’t go to his establishment. Mr. Cathy simply spoke what his personal feelings were…something we have a right to do in this country…so far. Those demanding tolerance instantly became the most intolerant people on the planet.

Read Romans 12 again…to be a Christian is to be “counter-culture”! To be a Christian is to do and be what is pleasing to God, not to do what makes your neighbor happy! We are to love our persecutors and not wish them ill. The fact is simply this (like it or not) marriage is God-ordained and God-created, both physically and emotionally, to be between a man and a woman. The Bible tells us, “The two shall become one flesh.” As the Christian is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, he is to also pray for those who persecute him, as I am sure Mr. Cathy does. Those non-Christians wanting love seem to be the most hateful. I pray for you, as I also pray for the Christians going against the flow, against destructive raging current of a mighty out-of-control cultural river. 

Young people – death is real, it is not a video game!

Dear Lord please comfort those hurt and suffering loss in Colorado this day! 14 innocent have been killed and many hurt while attending the new Batman movie! The youthful killer, decked out in body-armor like in some violent movie, acted for 20 minutes dropping tear gas and shooting the innocent, like he was racking up points in some bloody video game. To blend in, it started during a shooting scene in the movie. At first attendees thought it was part of the show…they expected the violence…but certainly not all real…and this was VERY REAL! Life and death is real; this is not some electronic game…push a few buttons and it is over! Memories of these events are NEVER over! Murdered people have families that love them and have dreams for thier lives. What are we becoming as a society? The ugly insane coarseness of our language! The sloppy way of dressing! The destruction of the body through piercings, tatoos, huffing, and drugs! Violent music! Violent video games! The ugly actions of  6 to 30 year olds upon their peers! The bullying! It is all related together! With the break down of the family, our morals, our integrity, our honesty, we have created generations crusted-over with a shell of deadness! …all the while, our society continues its work to remove God at break-neck speed! Oh, and it will break us alright…is that what you want? Pray and work to change our direction for the sake of the children…and my grandchildren!

Where do you stand?

Jesus tells us the “Parable of the Sower” in the Synoptic Gospels:

“Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away (Mark 4:5-6 ESV).

Fire is coming from those haters of Christianity, seeds not in the good soil of the Bible will be scorched and perish. Where are you? Are you standing on rocky ground? If the answer is yes, then turn toward Jesus, the Great Creator God.

Be like Joseph!

Joseph of the Bible’s Genesis stories had an interesting life; his brothers hated him and tried to kill him. He was sold into slavery. But over and over again the story tells us that God was with him; many might question, where is God in this? Joseph kept going, succeeding at every level; but problems still followed him. Falsely accussed of attempted rape by a jilted high-powered woman, he was wrongly thrown into prison. Prison, where he now had more chances to succeed, which he did. Forgotten by an exiting jailmate, he remained in prison where he continued to do the Lord’s work, not sitting around in self-pity. Joseph got out of prison by following the Lord’s Spirit and succeeded even greater, always keeping his eye on God and doing the right thing regardless of the possibile negitive outcomes when dealing with “the world”.

So what’s in this story for us? We would ALL do well to keep our eye upon Jesus Christ, do His will (not our own), and not worry about what the world thinks of us Christians. Put the Lord first and everything else (be it good or bad) will fall into proper alignment. Just because you follow Christ doesn’t mena your life will be easy; Jesus told us the world would hate us for what we believe (John 17), so don’t worry! Be of good cheer! If you are a Christian, you are a child of God…it doesn’t get any better than that! Blessings to you!

Yes, Mr. Todd, the Bible is the Word of God!

How appropriate for the day to be April Fools Day 2011. For the foolish TV show, “Hardball”, normally with Chris Matthews as host on MSNBC, that we would have Chuck Todd filling in as host. Mr. Todd’s foolish guest, Bobby Ghosh in commenting on the foolish actions of Rev. Terry Jones over a Qu’ran burning which has unfortunatly resulted in over 20 senseless deaths and 80 injuries, claimed that burning the Qu’ran was worse than burning the Bible. Ghosh’s foolish argument, agreed to by Todd, was that the Bible was written by man and the Qu’ran was written by God. Ghosh said that this “fact” was acknowledged by Christains. WRONG!

No, Mr. Ghosh and Mr. Todd, I am a Christian; I say and believe beyond a shadow of doubt that the Bible is in fact the Logos! The VERY sacred word of God! It is not just “the story of Jesus” as you are quoted as saying; it is about the eternal salvation of anyone that will turn to God and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Just because the “real Christians” (not Christians in name only) are peaceful and don’t kill others over the burning of the Bible, does NOT make it any less painful than the Muslims being upset over the regrettable burning of “their book”.

Peace is Impossible as long as there is Evil

A wonderful ministry, Truth for Life, shared the following comment:  “Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; to pretend otherwise would signal a victory for the powers of darkness.”  It was based on Revelation 12:7. Unlike the book entitled, “War and Peace”, peace is not the opposite of war; it is the opposite of threat…threat from evil.  Sometimes to remove the threat, we must engage in war; there is such a thing as a “just war”.

New Book on the Scene

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Muskrat Books would like to announce the publication of a new book for those seekers of life’s great questions and their meaning. Do you wonder about who God really is? Are you seeking real answers to the creation of the universe? This book is a must read for those wishing to really understand the whole Biblical creation and evolution argument; and wishing to see revealed the God-Designed and God-Created Universe.

Steeped in 2000 years of solid Christian Orthodoxy, this book is not “New Age” or some other cultic mish-mash. The purpose of this book is to present a different way of viewing the world and the universe, and to encounter this wonderful loving gracious God of the universe, the I Am, the Great Creator God.

The reason this book is different from the others that search for truth, or deal with theology & cosmology, is that I Am, the Great Creator God shows you how to look differently at the world and universe around you. The answers to your questions, the questions that tear apart religious denominations, and the questions of the ages are truly right in front of you.

Have you ever expressed any of the following questions: How did the universe start? How will the universe end? What existed before the stars? Does your life have any meaning? Does God know me and care for me? What was God’s first gift to the world? Is God still involved with both Mankind and Creation? Can you believe in the Big Bang and still be a Christian? Find answers in the book, I Am, the Great Creator God.