Tag: Jesus Christ

IS THERE A GOD?

Multitudes of people write off the promise and hope of eternal life, and meaning in this one, with one stroke of their closed minds. Why? Because they choose to write off the existence of an eternal and meaningful God…

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He isn’t peering through the clouds, he didn’t fix things up with their desired lover, he didn’t make all their lottery numbers come up at the right time as repeatedly requested, and the world is in a terrible mess. As if that weren’t enough to make them want to ignore the concept of God, it seems that all the people with power and influence are either agnostic or atheistic, and they must be right-right? Haven’t scientists demonstrated, for example, how some cells reproduce themselves, in which case, there’s no God making them? On one level I understand this thinking, apart from the fact that it really isn’t thinking-on any independent level.

It seems to me that we’re here-we exist. Descartes figured that one out many moons ago, and I’m sure he wasn’t the first. Amusingly, even the fact of our existence is questioned by some people determined to remove all meaning from the world.

We’re here. That seems pretty clear to most of us. But how did we get here? Did some alien race “seed” us here? Did we evolve, or did God create us? These are the most realistic options.

If we were seeded here on this planet by aliens, where did the aliens come from? Didn’t they also have to come from somewhere? Didn’t there have to be some point in time when life began and was not “seeded”? The alien race hypothesis is a total flunk, with no evidence whatsoever.

If we evolved, where’s the evidence? Ask yourself what evidence you have personally seen for evolution. What have you seen evolve from one thing into another? What physical, tangible evidence have you seen that one type of creature changed into another? Have you ever witnessed life arising from non-life? The half-baked “evidence” of bacteria developing a resistance to something proves nothing, because bacteria remains bacteria: all it’s doing is surviving and adapting, as it was designed to do.

Perhaps you like to rest in the knowledge that “all scientists” believe in evolution in the Neo-Darwinian style, and that they possess all the evidence you need that we came from the slime. No, it isn’t true that “all” scientists believe in Neo-Darwinian evolution, or even that they all believe in evolution at all in the sense of one creature gradually turning into another. But given that the majority do, does a majority prove Darwin’s tree of life, picturing life forms developing over time? Could it not be that that majority not only began their careers already wishing to sweep away the notion of God, and that they continued in that vein in order to pass exams, get degrees, get a job, gain tenure, and maintain their positions and incomes without being written off for insanity or heresy? Could it not be that they were willingly indoctrinated and brainwashed into an unproven hypothesis? Is a majority always right? Do we have to follow the herd? Do we have to go with the flow of godless thought like a bunch of obedient unquestioning sheep?

Failing the “evidence” test for evolution, the final and most logical option explaining our apparent existence is that there really is a God-a creator. Cells reproduce themselves because they were designed to do that. The universe is a beautiful, intricate, rich and orderly place because it was created by an even more beautiful, intricate, rich and orderly God. We are amazingly complicated and intelligent creatures because there is an even more complicated and intelligent being who made us: one who is immortal, eternal, and who had no beginning. Don’t sweep him away.

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WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS?

What is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it socialism? Is it just one of many ways to God? Is it an invention of white American men? I’ve posted this message before…and I’ll post it again…

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life. The gift-if we accept it for ourselves and change our ways-takes us from being subjects of God’s wrath into eternal life, even though for now we are in mortal bodies.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood, the education establishment and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented or altered hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth.

Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ”(note 1) interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, which contains a clear definition of the gospel as outlined below, can be confidently dated to around 55 AD.

Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and writes that the gospel existed in the form below even before Paul’s letter:

That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum”(2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first-century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…(1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophesied in Old Testament Scriptures. We can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross;

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

The gospel is here spelled out for you. Accept it, believe it, pray it, confess it, and live it.

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” Pg 230. Pub. By Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49130. © 1998 by Lee Strobel.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

IS GOD CRUEL?

One of the countless reasons people give for not having faith in the God of the Bible is that He’s cruel, angry and sadistic. Are they right?

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Perhaps the most important answer to this question is that the universe is not a democracy. The God of the Bible created it and sustains it. He has no equal, and He therefore has every right to do with it what he wants to do. God is God, and we are not. Not only that, be we can’t stop him doing what he wants to do. So perhaps the question should be worded differently: Can I believe that there is a God such as this, one who appears to be so cruel?

Surely, even if God were terribly cruel and sadistic, the fact would not rule out the reality of his existence, except perhaps from the point of view that no all-powerful being who is also mean and sadistic could or would create and maintain such an amazing and  beautiful cosmos. So then the question must be more correctly worded this way:

Is God so cruel that I don’t want to know him?

Here we’re getting down to the nub of the problem, because such questions are usually-but not always-thrown out as an argument from people who have no desire to know God in the first place. It’s a cop-out; an excuse.

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But what about it: is the God of the Bible cruel? He doesn’t claim to be cruel. In fact, scripture says that, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

The gospel is all about the love of God for the pinnacle of his creation-mankind. He didn’t send his son to condemn the world, but to save it.

What about suffering? Why, if there is a God of love, do humans suffer so much, and then die? This is a subject for another post, and I’ve answered this question to the best of my ability in several posts. Please see the links below *

The skeptic will raise the subjects of God’s treatment of the Canaanites and the ancient Israelites, and the whole concept of hell.

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God told the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites under the leadership of Joshua, including women and children. This is seen as extreme cruelty. The charge is made by people who are either ignorant of all the facts, or who are determined to deny God the right to decide how mankind will behave on his earth. The Canaanites had descended to the lowest pits of human depravity, so that they were sacrificing their own children to their idols. They had abandoned their creator and were worshiping wood and stone. They were engaging in every depraved activity they could imagine. And God did not suddenly decide to swat the Canaanites without giving them a chance to change. In fact, he gave them more than four hundred years to repent (Genesis chapter 15).

We humans don’t have a “right” to do what we want without consequence, because we are owned by our maker. Our maker has standards. I’m personally very thankful for that. How could The master mathematician, biologist, scientist and philosopher, not have standards? Why should he not want to enforce and maintain those standards? Does he not have a right to run his universe his way?

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And what about hell? Is the concept really so awful? Well, it certainly is awful for anyone who may go there. But suppose for  now, if you don’t believe, that God is indeed our creator and the creator of our universe, as the Bible claims he is. Where then can those people go who do not want to know their creator and refuse to adhere to his standards? Where can they go, if once having failed his standards, they then refuse his mercy also? Can they create their own universe? Can they go and settle another part of his universe? Unfortunately, God cannot, according to his nature, tolerate willing rebellion, anywhere in his creation.

He therefore has a special place reserved which we call “hell”, away from Him and the universe which those who love him will inhabit. Without God Hell can have no light, no love, no comforts, no hope, no fun, no beauty. It can only be a terrible place without God. Choose Him or lose Him and all his benefits.

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There is, therefore, no part of His universe people can move to to escape his will. And if he sent everyone, against their will, to his heaven, it would be mean to those people who hate him, his ways, and his people, to make them endure all three for all eternity. Not only that, but it would be cruel also to those who do love him and his ways, to then have to endure the godless for all eternity. Heaven would be just like the earth is now, with war, aggression, immorality, hatred, abuse, decadence, and all the evils men and women perpetrate upon each other.

The  Bible says that “God is love”. God created love, and God is love. But that doesn’t preclude the need for right, wrong, and the necessary judgment of wrongdoing. God is as just as he is loving, and the two go hand in hand perfectly. True justice is as beautiful as is true love, for all eternity. Glory to God!

*Below is a link to the first part of my series on the subject of suffering. You can search for subsequent parts in the search box above, using the words “Why do we suffer? Part 2”, Part 3, etc. You can pay a lot for some “expert’s” book on the topic, or you can read these for nothing:

https://nickyfisher.com/2017/05/31/why-do-we-suffer-part-1/

POLITICS, CHRISTIANS AND REVELATION

A good friend who is a godly man recently commented on social media that Christians should keep their opinions to themselves on the matter of politics, for fear of upsetting someone. I respectfully, but very strongly, disagree…

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John Adams and other founders of the United States feared that under a two-party system in politics the people would end up being polarized and divided. Well, like it or not, that’s what has transpired. And how could it be any other way, given human nature and the truth we Christians profess? Read the gospels, or Revelation, which is as much about division of opinion as any piece of literature could be! The division of mankind is as unavoidable as the dawn. Not only so, but it’s God’s prescription for humanity. Didn’t Jesus say, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”? (Matthew 10:34).

The U.S. Revolutionary War-itself a fundamental and open division of political opinion-is won, the nation is founded, and the internal political division has set in. What do we do now? I’m not going to say that all on the Right of politics are right and all on the Left are wrong-they aren’t. But it’s a recognized fact that most people with faith vote “right”. So should the half of us on the “right” hand the nation to the half of us on the “left”…on a plate… without comment… and go quietly to the abortionist’s knife and suction pumps? Should we smile sweetly while those who work hard to overthrow all human dignity of marriage and sexuality get their way and our children? Should we take a bow with our hands behind our back while the champions of all that’s ungodly stuff moral anarchy and propaganda down our throats, and trash the man we elected to the once-hallowed office of President? I say NO!

We have the ability to help influence how millions of people are treated; what kind of society we have; whether godly standards are implemented or if immorality will dismantle our families and our homes; whether money will be used wisely or wasted; whether or not the nation and the world is secure and whether or not we have real freedom of speech or a creeping media hegemony, and a belief system attempting to shut down our minds and our way of life. Life is all about politics!

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If we fail to engage, the enemies of all that’s right and all that is of God will not. Make no mistake, the ungodly and the anti-Christs of the world are increasingly proactive. Do we then shrink back and hand the nation…the world over to them, for fear of upsetting someone’s feelings? Do we keep pertinent information and the illumination of truth and logic to ourselves while others feed a pack of lies to all around us?

Whose world is it anyway? Didn’t God create, with the intention that mankind would dominate the earth? I’m not talking about a theocracy here, that’s the last thing we need: I’m saying that in a republic or as some call it a “democracy”, for which millions of young men and women have died and still fight to defend, we have as much right to take part in decision making and in influencing thought and opinion as does the abortionist, the socialist, the communist, the atheist, the gay and trans-gender, the Christ-hater and anyone else you can name. More than that, we have a duty to care about how all people are going to be treated in our nation, and about what kind of society our children will grow up in.

Some will say that the Bible doesn’t tell us to get involved in politics, but only be concerned with the spiritual. I don’t see how you can separate the two. Isn’t sexual immorality sin? Then isn’t it a spiritual matter as well as a physical one? So how can we, who have the ability and right to say something, stand back while some in our world promote gross immorality? Didn’t John the Baptist stand up to Herod for his immorality? Isn’t the murder of a man as spiritual as it is physical? So how can abortion, a physical act, not also be a spiritual matter? And how can we stand by silently while it goes on, supported wholeheartedly by one of the political parties?

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I know that Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world”, and I know well that it isn’t-and thank the Lord for that. Jesus didn’t run for office or vote. But then, he wasn’t a politician, and there were no votes. There was no democracy, and there were no elections. But Jesus Christ let his opinion be known without reservation. He called the Pharisees-the politicians and bureaucrats of his day, “Whitewashed tombs!” (Matthew 23:27).

On another occasion, when Jesus had spoken very plainly to the Pharisees, the disciples tried to educate the Son of God in political correctness:

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” (Matthew 15:12).

Hey Jesus! Watch your mouth-you might upset someone! Keep your opinions to yourself! You’re embarrassing us! You’re going to lose us some friends, and boy do we need friends!

To those wanting to let politics be run by the ungodly, I say read about any great person in the Bible and you’ll find someone confronting the ungodly of their day:

Moses confronted Pharaoh;

Daniel confronted Nebuchadnezzar;

David confronted Goliath;

Samuel confronted Saul;

The Baptist confronted Herod;

Elijah confronted Jezebel and Ahab;

Paul confronted Peter.

Painting by Osmar Schindler (1869-1927)

The book of Revelation is as much political as it is spiritual. Those who stand against God will have their own distinct political views-you can be sure of that, as will those they oppose. And don’t the references to “kingdoms” and their leaders refer to some sort of political structure gaining dominance?

There is no reasonable escape from politics. We either disengage and stick our heads in the sand, or we take what opportunity we have to influence as many as we can to turn against the ways of darkness, and the ways of bad logic. One side of the political world is working very hard-through education and all forms of media-to lead as many young people into a one-world, immoral, anti-Christ world as they can. Why should we not do our part to counter them? In fact, how can we not?

For God or for tyranny!

BIG GOD LITTLE GOD

The efforts of mankind in and out of “religion” are aimed at shrinking God to a manageable size, so that he’s no longer God but “a” god, and only one of many…

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THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING GOD

Even in the professing Christian world there are many individuals and organizations claiming to represent him who want the rest of us to see God as they do: small, ineffectual, effeminate, powerless, weak-minded and irrelevant. He can’t create and he certainly couldn’t do it in six days. He can’t say anything truthful and he has no ability or will to preserve even what he does say. He has no power over death, he doesn’t know his own mind, his promises are empty and vacuous, and his standards sway in the winds of time, opinion and fashion. In the words of a certain world-leading, head-of-the-Church type person, God “doesn’t have a magic wand”.

The message of the Bible is totally opposite to this attitude of “experts”. God, according to everyone from Genesis to Revelation, is unimaginably huge, powerful and holy. He is so amazing in his being, his character and his standards that were we able to get a glimpse of him in our present form we would immediately die-if only from the shock and awe of seeing him.

…who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? (2 Chronicles 2:6).

The most intense target of the “Make God small” movement is Jesus Christ. Entire religions and pseudo-Christian cults fiercely contest and deny the idea that Jesus was anything more that a prophet, a teacher, a radical, a revolutionary…a man.

 

Any reading of the New Testament to an open mind demonstrates the complete antithesis of this view. Not only is Jesus Christ declared to be the Son of God, but God incarnate, and the creator of all that exists:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16).

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The diminishers not only work to wipe away or allegorize indispensable Old Testament books such as Genesis, but fundamental New Testament books also. John’s gospel, they say, is a fantasy. Paul’s writings are faulty. The gospels are flawed and need to be hugely edited, or to use a popular political tool these days-“redacted”. It  makes me wonder why people claim to even be Christian when they don’t actually believe anything of it. Why don’t they take up Buddhism or origami instead?

John Doe’s writing are far more reliable they say, and proceed to create their own version of the ancient Scriptures, when the originals claim to be the very Word of God…a dangerous risk and miscalculation.

John wrote,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Paul said that Jesus Christ is:

“The image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15).

Philip, one of the twelve disciples, said to Jesus one evening:

“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered:

“Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9).

The present-day deniers of Jesus’ divinity claim that John’s gospel is unreliable, so we can’t believe what it says. Really? Then take a look at the other gospel authors, and the writings of Paul, who all preached the same message. In fact, Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and therefore God was the reason he was crucified:

“The high priest said to him, I charge you under oath by the living God: tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

“Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied. But I say to all of you: in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered (Matthew 26:63-66).

Jesus Christ was crucified because he was claiming to be God’s one and only Son. He was “blaspheming”. Therefore, in their minds, he had to be shrunk. The fact that he had worked incredible miracles meant nothing to them. After all, anyone can walk on water, right? Anyone can turn water into wine and make a blind man see and a lame man walk, right?

I’m so glad that my God is much, much bigger than theirs. And I’ll say to him, with Thomas,

“My Lord and my God!”