Tomorrow, we celebrate the most significant event during the entire panoply of human history: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his substitutionary death on the cross. Every other founder of every other world religion has a grave someplace where their decaying corpses still reside.
Not so with our Lord — His grave is empty!
Continue reading “He is Risen! #3”
The so-called “blood libel” is a theological fiction perpetrated by both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions — and decades later carried to its logical conclusion by the Nazis during the Holocaust — that was used to justify the persecution and murder of literally millions of Jews over a time period spanning most of the last two millennia.
It was this very issue that caused many Jewish community leaders to be up in arms protesting Mel Gibson’s excellent movie The Passion of the Christ because they were terrified that this historically accurate portrayal of Jesus’ trial, torture, and execution might have incited yet another generation to embrace this lie from hell and Jews would be subjected to yet another round of persecution as a result. Can’t say that I blame them, either!
You would think that people would have moved away from such theological drivel as they became more “enlightened,” but this false doctrine is evidently alive and well in one of the bastions of American liberalism with its Newspeak definition of “tolerance,” Harvard University. Just this week, the student-run “Christian” club at that august institution published an op-ed piece in their newsletter beating this same dead horse yet again. I mean, really — is this actually the highest excellence our so-called “best and brightest” can come up with? But I digress…
We Christians look at the Jews and marvel they cannot see that Yeshua (Jesus) is in fact their Mashiach (Messiah). I mean, it’s pretty obvious to us, right? While there are certainly multiple reasons for this disconnect, the persecution of Jews by people who purport themselves to be Christians ranks at or very near the top of that list.
Let me speak plainly here: Anti-Semitism is inconsistent with the Spirit of Christ and the New Testament, period.
Continue reading “The Jewish "Blood Libel"”
Over the last 39 years I’ve been a believer, one of the topics that I’ve received an abundance of teaching on is divine healing. I’ve even taught on the subject myself occasionally, though not in the depth I’m about to undertake.
So why am I approaching this topic at this particular time? Well, to be honest I’ve been presented with some significant health challenges over the last week, one of them life-threatening, specifically a cancerous tumor eating away my right kidney. And one of the things I’ve learned about God’s Word is that no matter how well you know it, you can always learn more — and the best way to learn more is by teaching it to others.
Unfortunately, divine healing is one of the most divisive doctrines within Christendom (the institutionalized expression of Christianity, aka denominations, church associations, etc.), second only to speaking in tongues in my opinion.
So what’s that all about? Why would some Christians get all bent out of shape over people getting healed by the power of God?
The answer to that question is a complex one, an answer that might require a later article wholly dedicated to exploring it. But in the interim, I’ll give you a simple answer that covers much of it: many people erroneously assume that to accept and believe that God is willing, able, and going to heal those who trust Him for it is to swallow the whole charismatic experience as a doctrinal bundle, primarily because “gifts of healings” are listed among the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12.
Because many Pentecostals and charismatics present flaky doctrinal teachings about their experience and have demonstrated arrogance toward those who are outside their movement, most non-charismatics are unwilling to explore the Bible’s teachings on the subject of healing, relegating it to “those crazy tongue-talkers” or explaining it away by saying God stopped healing with the demise of the Apostle John (the last of the original 12).
However, though bundles may be a convenient way to buy cable services or software, they make a terrible mechanism for conveying complex biblical truth. So I’m going to break divine healing and health out from the rest of the charismatic experience and we’ll explore whether it can stand on its own doctrinal “legs” without the divisive baggage of charismata.
Continue reading “By His Stripes We Are Healed #1 — Healing in the Atonement Part 1”