jtrhart

Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

Did Christianity get its religion from Egypt?

In news on February 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Here is an interesting article, no, I’ve never heard of the Jamaica Gleaner News either, but the content caught my eye and it’s very informative. The article attempts to show that some big differences between ancient Egyptian religions and Judeo-Christianity prove that Judaism and Christianity did not derive itself from these religions in Egypt.

There has always been discussion of the actual source of the Jewish religion and the Christian religion. This is an obvious question to ask when you look at some of the similarities between different religions. For instance, the Bible teaches that we should love our neighbor as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18), this same principle is also taught in Hinduism. The logic goes, if two religions are similar, one religion must have stemmed from another and hence did not come from God, therefore you can discount that religion since it is just a copy of another one. This argument is then taken further to say that all religions are the same so it doesn’t really matter what you believe, etc.

Actually, when you look at the command that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves, you will find it in just about every major religion. So, when we look at the similarities and differences in the major religions, there is only one thing we can prove: The human condition is universal. Every human has looked at himself and the world he lived in and realized something was wrong. And every human has tried his best to fix it himself. Has anyone succeeded?

This is exactly what “religion” is. Religion is man’s attempt to fix his relationship with God. As Tim Keller puts it, “religion says I obey and therefore I am accepted by God.” So yes, you will find a lot of similarities when you look at what all the major religions teach, because all of them agree that there is sin and that if you stop people from sinning, things will be better. But what did Christ say? “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Christianity is the only “religion” that teaches that we are “saved by grace through faith not as a result of works” (Ephesians 2:8-9). “God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ did not come “to call the righteous to faith, but the sinners” (Mark 2:17), this would be you, and me. The difference between Christianity and all other religions is not in how we’re commanded to be good and do good things, the difference is in how we restore our relationship to God. Tim Keller finishes off his statement with, “religion says I obey therefore I am accepted by God. Christianity says I am accepted through Christ therefore I obey.”

If you have an interest in getting a big picture look at the major religions, have a look at this book by Huston Smith.

Advertisements

Accountability Request

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Justin Taylor posted an article from Christianity Today magazine by Darrell Bock, research professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. Professor Bock gave some great guidelines for Christians responding to the media’s reporting of current events in Christendom. Lately, the media has been reporting on the many books and movies coming out with unorthodox views of the history of Christ and His church:

Topics like the James ossuary and the Gospel of Judas have hit Times Square, not only pricking the attention of seminary students, but also garnering coverage from journalists and culture-watchers, from CBS News’s traditional news team to 360 Degrees’s Anderson Cooper.

The typical response by Christians (and this includes myself) is to call out these articles as attacks on the faith and just dismiss them as being slanderous. In the article Bock addresses what he thinks the response from pastors, seminaries, and Christians in general should resemble. When he lays out some principles for individuals, I took this to heart because I often write about this type of reporting here. Bock says:

Rather than seeing new media reports as conspiracies to rail against, why not see them as opportunities to discuss faith with friends and neighbors who will find them intriguing? Only we mustn’t do so with an angry or dismissive tone. Rather, we ought to respectfully explain the historic Christian view. Becoming equipped for such discussions may require seminars organized by local churches. Imagine churches working together to help believers contend for the truth in their communities.

So I am asking you for your assistance in keeping me accountable when I post on these types of things. Call me out if I am dismissive or arrogant. I think a good test would be this: would you be ashamed to send these posts to those who don’t call themselves Christians? Thanks for your help!

The Vatican and The Promises

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Reuters is reporting on comments made by the Vatican in response to a lot of criticism they are receiving for their perceived methods of evangelism. Some groups have gone so far as to call it:

proselytism, or seeking new members aggressively or through coercion

Rome defended its methods of evangelism and even called it:

an inalienable right and duty, an expression of religious liberty …

Is this true? Without getting into a discussion on Roman Catholic theology, can we correctly say this about evangelism, that it is a God-given right which cannot be taken away by man? Is there any such thing as a God-given right that cannot be taken away?

My thought would be no, evangelism is not something that cannot be taken away from us, because it was never promised to us. What has been promised to us?

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Matthew 10:16-23

For the true Christian, that is our promise. That when we go to these places where God’s established government will not allow us to preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) that we will be persecuted for His Name’s sake.

So, there are such things as inalienable rights. To the Christian, they are called the promises of God:

I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Romans 8:1

that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ
Philippians 1:6

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
Revelation 3:5

These are just a few of God’s promises to us, thank God for His Word that we can rely on to be true. These promises are meant for us to rest upon, to give us hope during the difficult and the easy times in our lives. These are the only things we can rely on, those things promised by God. Anything else is fleeting and will not last.

Now it’s your turn, what other promises does the Christian have? What promises does the non-Christian have?

The article also says the Roman Catholic church is working on a missionary “code of conduct”. I think I would like to write more about this tomorrow (what the Scriptures say about a code of conduct for missionaries) unless someone cares to pick up on it on their own blog?

Dawkins Surprise: Take 2

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2007 at 7:22 am

A few days ago I posted an article on “famed” atheist Richard Dawkins’ recent comments on the Christmas holiday and tradition. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on this today, and here is why I respect him so much:

The sight of an avowed atheist joining in the Christmas chorus is a bit hard to imagine. At the same time, there is something comforting about the idea that even the world’s most famous atheist will move his lips to the songs that celebrate Christ’s birth. Perhaps those words will move from his lips to his head and his heart. We should pray that it might be so.

Look at Dr. Mohler’s heart. He sees a man so lost in his unbelief of Jesus Christ our Lord and what is his reaction: compassion. I am humbled. Please join Dr. Mohler in praying for Dr. Dawkins and all those he has had an influence on.