Many religions tell of God becoming man, because humans sense that we could not know God otherwise. But Jesus is different…divinely different.
In 1819 using a razor and glue, the former American President Thomas Jefferson, one of the most brilliant men of his age, cut and pasted passages of the New Testament to create The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, popularly known as the Jefferson Bible. Jefferson’s Bible removed all of the miracles of Jesus, most mentions of the supernatural, the Resurrection, and all mentions of His divinity. In a letter to William Short (1820), Jefferson wrote that “Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God.” Thomas Jefferson clearly regarded the man Jesus as a great moral teacher, but rejected the concept of Jesus as God.
He was not alone. The Koran teaches that Allah has no son, and that those who believe that he does will be destroyed. Many critics throughout history have lauded Jesus for his moral example but lambasted early Christians for making him God. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity; without Him Christianity could not exist. At the same time, Jesus is the stumbling block of Christianity; the gospel as written in the New Testament is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks (1 Corinthians 1:23).
Continue reading “The Inevitable Incarnation” →
Science requires that we repeat events. History doesn’t allow it. Does science prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead?
Last Easter I was reading an article in the Washington Post about the Resurrection of Jesus, a popular topic at that time of year. Considering the source, I knew that the author’s conclusion would be something other than affirming the physical, bodily resurrection that is the cornerstone of authentic Christianity. As Paul wrote, “if Christ is not raised then our preaching is vain and your faith also is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).” Genuine Christians may disagree on many things, but to deny the bodily resurrection of Christ is to deny Christianity; no real Christian can do it. The article met my expectations, stating that the sightings of Jesus after the crucifixion had a “dreamy sense” and suggesting that His resurrection was either spiritual or illusory altogether. This is a standard line of secularists and others seeking to discredit Christianity. Unfortunately, such people never provide reasons for their arguments except that “people can’t rise from the dead.” This apriori assumption makes it impossible for those who hold it to ever believe in the resurrection of Jesus.
On the face of it no other reason is necessary because in all of human history, as far as many people know, everyone has died. There have been many stories of people physically rising from the dead, but most are rendered suspect by the circumstances. Was the person really dead? Did they merely resuscitate? Is the whole story a myth? In most cases, it is impossible to verify the medical diagnosis of death, which is typically brain death. In other cases, the story bears all of the traits of myth, such as the Egyptian story of the “resurrection” of Osiris. Considering the purported resurrections commonly noted in history, it is easy to conclude that since everyone else died and stayed dead, Jesus must have also. If this is true, there must be some other explanation for the story in the Gospels, and Biblical Christianity must be false.
Continue reading “Singular Events and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ” →
Jesus commands us to go and make disciples. Why don’t we take Him seriously?
By Mark D. Harris
18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19″Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This passage, so brief and so full of meaning and power to the followers of Jesus Christ, has changed the world. The day that Jesus died, probably sometime in the spring of 30 AD, there were about 120 people who followed Him. That night and the following Sabbath they cowered, despairing at the death of the One they loved so much, bewildered about what they were supposed to do next, and desperately hoping that the authorities were not going to murder them too. When Sunday came and they found the tomb empty, these emotions mixed with a too-good-to-be-true excitement. When they finally saw Him and realized that Jesus had really risen from the dead, the worries and questions dissolved into answers. The One they loved had beaten death, their next task was whatever He directed, and they no longer cared what the authorities did. If Jesus defeated death, those who loved Him would too.
Continue reading “A Theology of Missions” →
We can try to ignore the Bible, but we will fail. We can minimize its import, but we are only kidding, and hurting, ourselves.
The Bible is the most popular, and controversial, book in human history. There are those who love and live by it, those who revile and attack it, and those who ignore it. Great leaders in the past have honored it:
“The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be written in the world.” Charles Dickens
“The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it.” Napoleon Bonaparte
“The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible, ‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.’” George Washington Carver
“That Book accounts for the supremacy of England.” Queen Victoria
“In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for this Book we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable to man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.” Abraham Lincoln
Continue reading “The Bible – Word Above All Words” →
Do we believe in one God or in three gods? How do we explain it? What do we do about it?
I had never expected to meet a Muslim from Lebanon during my family medicine rotation at the Indian Health Service Hospital in Barrow, Alaska in December, 1990. Nonetheless, there I was, eating flat bread in his living room with a few other friends who also happened to be visiting Barrow a month after the sun went down. It was 30 below outside but warm and comfortable within, with conversation ranging from the weather to politics to local events and back to politics again. I stumbled as I tried to say “Good Afternoon” (Masah al Kheir), and the other phrases in Arabic that my new Lebanese friend patiently taught me, in between tending pots and trays to prepare what turned out to be a delicious meal.
Continue reading “Mysteries of the Trinity” →