Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy

“Serious historians do not really believe that the teachings of the historical Jesus are better traced through the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Philip, or even the Gospel of Thomas than through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” Charles E. Hill, Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 234.

I won’t change, ever, for anybody

That’s a common phrase these days. People say it on the wave of the self-entitlement culture. “I am what I am, I fully embrace it, and you have no right to tell me I am wrong. I won’t change, ever, for anybody. Those who love me must accept for what I am”.

Definitely common. And definitely personal, as well. In the sense that someone I once called friend actually said this to me.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to focus on the phrase “I won’t change, ever, for anybody”.

I sure hope that even a non-Christian sees how that’s the very opposite of love. To say that you’re unwilling to change even the slightest thing about yourself out of love for somebody is the antithesis of love.

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Penn Jillette: I don’t respect people who don’t proselytise

The outspoken atheist Penn Jillette once said:

I don’t respect people that don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell — or not getting eternal life, or whatever — and you think that, “Well, it’s not really worth tellin’ ’em this, because it would make it socially awkward”, and atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize, “Just leave me alone. Keep your religion to yourself”… How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it —that truck was bearing down on you — there’s a certain point where I tackle you, and this is more important than that.

That is logical, right? Unfortunately, logic has very little place in society these days. The spiritual battle has reached a whole other level, and God’s enemy has made sure that every single last tool that could be used to get closer to the truth of God was removed from education. Logic and sound reason have just no place in school and society these days. Everything has become a function of self, an emotional entitlement at being whatever one wants to be, even if that means you will forfeit the most precious gift of all: eternal life purchased for you by God in the flesh dying on a roman cross for crimes not His, but ours.

The candle and the note

Chris and Lucy entered a building looking for Manuel. In a room they found a note and a lighted candle. Chris looked at the note and read it aloud:

“Hi! It’s 2:30, and I’m leaving to run some errands. I’ll be back in a couple of hours. BTW, the electricity is out, so I lit a candle for you. — Manuel.”

Then Lucy said, “I know how we can find out how long it’s been since he left! Look, the candle has been burning since he lit it and has a significant amount of wax that’s melted and dripped down. If we figure out what the rate is which the wax is melting and measure the amount of wax that has thus far dripped, we can work backwards to find out how long it has been since he left.”

Chris said, “Why waste your time? The note says he left at 2:30.” Lucy said, “Don’t believe everything you read.” Chris replied, “Look, I’ve known Manuel for a long time, and this is his handwriting. Don’t be ridiculous.”

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BTh Essays – Module 4 – The Synoptic Gospels

Complete three gobbets (short comment questions). Chosen texts: Matthew 2:14-15; Mark 4:38-39; Luke 8:48.

Matthew 2:14-15

This is a notoriously difficult text (Beale, 2012). Luke, the only other synoptic recording Jesus’ early life, provides no parallel;[1] but once we understand Luke and Matthew differ in their primary purpose and audience, it becomes clear that the text’s role is unique to Matthew’s intent. The latter, however, seems to be subject of debate, too (Carson, 2017), with some suggesting we should never look for a single audience and purpose (Blomberg, 1992). Blomberg, Carson, and many others seem to believe Matthew does not state his purpose clearly, though Blomberg does conclude that Matthew’s theological emphasis points to the primary purpose being apologetics directed to a Jewish audience.

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