February 11th, 2014
Question: When I say, “Jonah,” what do you think of?
Historical Background: Eighth century B.C.—Jonah was a prophet from Israel (Northern Kingdom) called to preach repentance to Nineveh (Assyrian). Instead, he attempted to flee to Tarshish (Spain?). Jonah had many reasons not to like Nineveh.
- During Assyrian captivity they would torture. Their methods would be cutting the skin on the side of the body and peeling it off a live person.
- They would place bodies on spears for display.
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December 14th, 2013
The Old Testament is a vastly misunderstood text of Scripture. Many atheists love to point to OT passages and denounce them for some reason or another. Likewise, many [liberal] Christians do the same or simply dismiss many OT passages. In my experience, most misunderstandings about the OT pertains to thee 613 commands in the OT Scriptures. For some reason, and I think due to a lack of understanding and bad exegesis, much of the OT law is dismissed. I’ve never actually come across an atheist who makes an objection to some OT passage whilst offering any exegetical argument or evidence. My intentions are to educate the ignorant pertaining to OT hermeneutics so Christians and non-believers alike may learn how to properly handle the text in an intellectually responsible fashion.
Here are a few [obscure] texts:
You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk. Ex. 34.26b
You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material. Lev. 19.19b
You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself. Deut. 22.12
We consistently violate OT laws.
You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. Lev. 19.32
And the pig, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. Deut. 14.8
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November 21st, 2013
There are four literal interpretations of YOM (as even Dr. DeWitt concedes, cf. p. 73 in the textbook). The four definitions are 1) a portion of the daylight hours (2) the entire daylight segment of a twenty-four-hour day, (3) a twenty-four-hour day, and (4) a long but finite time period. Unlike the modern Hebrew and English, biblical Hebrew had no other word for a finite era or epoch. The figure of speech of “a day is like a thousand years” in 2 Pt. is a a simile, which is noncontroversial; I don’t advocate that 2 Peter permits that interpretation in Genesis. The four definitions of YOM are literal definitions; it’s unnecessary to say it’s non-literal (refer to my previously cited lexicons).
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July 31st, 2013
The following is a guest post by Shaun M. Smith. Shaun is a Masters level student of philosophy and a Graduate Assistant serving as an online philosophy instructor for Liberty University. I do not agree with Shaun’s position and this is not an endorsement of his views.
There is no doubt to me, or perhaps to any Protestant Christian, the term “purgatory” is followed with such nail biting disgust. Seemingly so, almost every Protestant dismisses the doctrine without even coming close to understanding the essential nature and properties of the doctrine of purgatory. Due to the Catholic Church’s overly corrupted use of such a doctrine, most in western theology have grown bitter towards the doctrine of purgatory, as Martin Luther once did (perhaps, rightly so!).
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May 17th, 2013
I just saw one of the comments by Jim in a previous post (Face the Facts–There are Gaps in Biblical Genealogies) and I thought I’d briefly add some thought to it.
Max. Thank you. Excellent post as usual. Hitchens also used the 250,000 number frequently in his debates so as to make the point “look at your horrendous God – willing to allow all those generations to perish before he sent a savior…” He had no idea that Scripture clearly affirms a retroactive efficaciousness to the Atonement.
I’ve seen this objection made against Christianity several times and it’s a rather horrendous objection (bolded). I’ve never researched the numbers on how many people have existed before the coming of Jesus and I don’t know how many people have existed since Jesus. I don’t think the numbers really matter that much, to be honest.
I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is such a horrendous concept. Obviously, this is an internal issue particular to Christianity. Christian doctrine never makes the claim that salvation was impossible prior to the resurrection of Jesus. I think it’s quite clear that the New Testament (well, OT too!) teaches that the atonement applied to those who came before Christ as well as those succeeding Christ. So what’s the problem?
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May 16th, 2013
There’s that one question that has plagued Christians on anthropological origins. Many young earth creationists claim there cannot be any gaps in the genealogy, which is what leads us to dating the time frame of the earth being young. Old earth creationists, like myself, believe that there are gaps in the genealogy. The question is whether it explains anything at all and how much does it explain?
The genealogies are adequate but not complete. No matter how you read the genealogies, you must concede that there are gaps. For example Mt. 1.8:
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah.
However, 1 Chron. 3.10-12 reads it differently:
Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, Jehoram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, Amaziah his son, Azariah [also called Uzziah] his son.
Why did Matthew leave out three generations: Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah? Scholars cite some reasons for the seeming discrepancy. In many biblical lists of descendants, cadence and pattern hold great importance. Matthew presented three groups of fourteen generations each: fourteen from Abraham to David; another fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile; and a third set of fourteen from the Babylonian exile to Jesus.
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