Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Good News, Bad News For the Vatican?

Interview with Shroud of Turin Expert (Real Audio Link)

There aparently is blood in the James ossuary. They want to see if they get a DNA match with the blood on the Turin Shroud. Good news, the shroud's authentic! Bad news, Jesus had a brother!

That would be interesting.

What I'd really like to ask John Kerry About Vietnam

I know you were against the war. I don't care what you did in the early 70's. But given the fact that the North Vietnamese victory led to the deaths of over 2 million people and the lack of freedom for millions more, how do you really feel about your anti-war protests?

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Kudos to the Roman Catholic Church in actually exercising church discipline in regards to Kerry and abortion. If you want to be a part of a church, you should abide by their rules or leave. Stop treating religion like a cafeteria. You don't get to pick and choose all the time. If you want to start a new religion or denomination, that's fine. That doesn't mean you're still not a heretic, but at least you'll have a bit of honesty.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

This is what the Messianic Jewish movement doesn't need. Frankly, I don't want to get into politics. Israel is not perfect, etc. But when a Jewish person releases states secrets, doesn't really understand why people are upset, gets a little self-righteous (on the surface appearance), continues to thumb his nose at his own government (does not remind me of the early Christians' view of government), and then converts... it doesn't look good for the faith. It associates the Christian faith with rebellion against being Jewish, at least on appearances.

I've been thinking about critiquing an article by Rev. Cynthia Jarvis of Presbyterian Concerned for Christian Jewish Relations. In many ways, it is a confused mess. Do you believe Jews need Jesus for salvation? She didn't want to come out and say it, but I know the answer is no. She said as much to me in our interview for the Avodat Yisrael controversy.

The most distressing thing about her sermon is how it pulls Scripture out of context so those passages utterly lose their meanings. I'll be addressing the situation soon.

I've had a lot to write about. But I can't get my beloved Phillies out of my mind. They need to understand something: people need to get on base. Go read Moneyball.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Chris Matthews didn't look too good tonight on his show. In the middle of interviewing Rep. Toomey regarding his conservative challenge to Sen. Specter, Matthews goes off regarding abortion, barely concealing his pro-choice sympathies. Here was what Toomey was trying to say:

Roe v. Wade was a bad legal decision and should be overturned.

Matthews wanted to force him to say we would then execute women who get abortions. I exaggerate, but you understand my point.

In today's society, it is next-to-near impossible to argue the nuances of jurisprudence. Once Roe v. Wade get overturned, that will open up a whole slew of legal battles. That will be good for democracy. Legislatures will legislate instead of judges. Guess what? There will be a lot of pro-choice victories.

I'm less upset at Matthews because I'm pro-life than because I did a thesis on jurisprudence as an undergrad. It was sad to see Chris Matthews badgering Toomey into giving short answers to very complicated legal matters the public is largely unaware of.

Then, Matthews completely (with a priest) misunderstood Roman Catholic teachings on being pro-choice, pro-death penalty, etc. But I'll leave that to my Roman Catholic friends to explain those misunderstandings.

Oy vey...

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I had a nice, quick conversation with Dr. James White on his last webcast. Towards the end of Tuesday's program if you are looking for the conversation. He brought up a great point. An entire book of the Bible, Hebrews, was written to encourage Jewish believers not to fall from the faith. This does horrible damage to the belief of those who take a two covenant position. It also pertains to the UMJC anonymous Christian controversy. The Jews of that time were under persecution, had family strife, etc. And you know what? God did not excuse unbelief even though those would be huge obstabcles to overcome.

Dr. White also mentioned that Peter felt Cornelius needed the gospel, so their use of Cornelius seems askew.

Monday, April 12, 2004

I noticed that one of the people in support of the UMJC pointed to the example of Cornelius as someone who was probably saved without explicity confessing Christ. After reflecting on this, there are some problems with using this as a normative situation.

1) Cornelius knew about the true religion of the Jews explicitly. The message of Christ didn't get to him yet. There was no way for him to know. No one argues that in 300 BC someone went to hell because they didn't explicitly know Christ. Cornelius would seem to be in a similar situation. But they were held accountable for what light they had.

2) As soon as Christ is preached to Cornelius he believes. I would gather that someone who is in a regenerate state without explicitly hearing about Jesus, would accept the gospel immediately. His sheep hear his voice. If Cornelius consciously rejected Jesus, what escape would he have? None. The UMJC debate is about people who have heard about Jesus, reject him, but are secretly unbeknownest to themselves believers. The Cornelius story does not support this. As we are noticing on this point, the Cornelius narrative would only have application to people who never heard of Jesus.

3) God made sure Cornelius got the gospel. God can get the gospel to you by any means necessary. By now, we know of many instances in closed Muslim countries where our Lord appears to Muslims in dreams, thereby converting them in His great mercy.

4) Paul says "how can they call on the Lord if they do not hear the message?" (Romans 10) How beautiful are the feet who bring good news! If you follow Paul's chain of reasoning, those who have never heard of Jesus cannot be saved because they can't call upon the Lord. God has ordained the spread of the gospel through missionaries and preaching.

So can people who have never heard true religion be saved? They aren't innocent. So start spreading the gospel, God's only means of escape for the coming wrath.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Kudos to the Phillies! The Phillies, in their new ballpark, have a bunch of local eating establishments...and a lot of local breweries are represented as well. Flying Fish, Victory, Yards, Manayunk, even Dock Street. Support your local breweries, that I can get behind. Granted, you will pay major league prices. Somewhere between $5.50 and $6.00 probably. Relative to quality at a major league park, that is still really good. The local breweries aren't going to make a ton of money, but it will be incredible advertising for them. I can only hope that people who drink the normal macrobeer will try some of good local beers.

I wonder how many other ballparks are supporting local establishments as much as the Phillies. I doubt it. The Eagles sure don't.

I'm not sure why the Phillies have decided to do this. But it will engender goodwill among local beer lovers. More power to them.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

I was thinking more on the letter from the UMJC member. I think there is another issue which may pertain here. Many Christians believe that the only thing about going to heaven is whether you have Jesus or not. Granted, you cannot get into heaven without having faith on Jesus. However, Jesus said those without faith in Him are condemned already (John 3:18). The writer of Hebrews wonders how we can escape if we ignore such a great salvation (Heb. 2:3). When people in the UMJC wonder about people not believing in Jesus, they must keep in mind our sin and condemnation goes beyond rejecting Jesus.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I got a nice and respectful email today which I have yet to respond to. The person is Messianic Jewish and is trying to defend Jews not believing in Jesus. I will have to get into this issue in depth in the future. However, these are my initial thoughts.

The root of this erroneous view is that an unbiblical belief of libertarian freewill has trumped the clear teachings of Scripture. I do not mean to say that you have to be a Calvinist in order to support Jewish evangelism. But some non-Calvinists (Arminians) see something impossible. How can a people historically persecuted by Christians (true or false) believe in Jesus? Well, yes, that's impossible. Except for one thing. Faith is a gift from God.

This is not to say Arminians by and large do not support Jewish evangelism. Most I know do. Many pray better than they believe in their head ("Lord, work on their hearts"). And many can see the clear readings of Scripture which state that everyone needs Jesus, both Jew and Gentile.

But some are denying the gospel, at least for Jewish people. And I believe they are doing so because they don't see how someone in their free will can choose Jesus. And because God is just, He would never hold someone accountable for someone who can't choose. Would He?

This is the underlying flaw which ultimately leads to ignoring or explaining away other portions of Scripture which are abundantly clear on the need for faith in the Messiah (Deut. 18, John 3:18, etc.).

For those interested, the following article prompted the email: Controversy and Concerns With Avodat Yisrael

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

This is my first blog entry. In the coming months and years hopefully everyone will enjoy my intellectual ramblings. Cheers.

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