Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What does it mean to be created in the Image of God (Imago Dei)?

Personality: Like God, people are individual beings with self-consciousness.
Eternality: Like God, people will exist into eternity.
Relationality: Like God, people have a capacity and drive for relationships.
Volitionality: Like God, people have the freedom and ability to make volitional choices according to their will.
Rationality: Like God, people have the ability to think, contemplate, and reflect on abstract ideas, future plans, and past events, advancing toward a more beneficial existence through problem solving.
Spirituality: Like God, people are spiritual beings possessing an immaterial part of their constitution.
Physicality: Unlike God, people have a material part of their constitution that is corporeal. But like God, people have senses that come as a direct result of our physicality, such as man’s ability to see and to hear.

Morality: Like God, people are inherently moral creatures, understanding that there is good and evil (although this was gained as a result of the Fall).
Dominionality: Like God, people have been given authority to rule over creation, using all its resources for their benefit, enjoyment, and survival.

The Theology Program (C. Michael Patton)

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Word Begotten in Reference to Jesus

What does the word Begotten mean?

There are a total of seven definitions within the KJV Bible. The Strong’s numbers would be the following: 313, 1080, 3205, 3318, 3439, 4138, and 4416. As you can see in some instances the word begotten can be in the
form of verbs, nouns, or adjectives.

313 – anagennao (verb)
1080 – Gennao (verb)
3205 – yalad (verb)
3318 – yasta (verb)
3439 – monogenes (adjective)
4138 – mowledeth (Feminine Noun)
4416 – prototokos (adjective)

The two definitions we are focusing upon deal with the Son of God. The terms monogenes and prototokos are both adjectives. Adjectives describe a quality of a thing named—a distinction from something else. This distinction (From a humanity aspect) from something else would be the distinctness of Jesus from Adam, and his descendants in the formal sense; Jesus was not prone to sin and of course would bear sin from the Virgin Birth. However, the term monogenes is typically meant as Jesus the Son of God in his uniqueness. The book of John describes the nature of The Word in relationship to the Father.

1) Single of its kind, only
a) Used of only sons or daughters (viewed in relation to their parents)
b) Used of Christ, denotes the only begotten Son of God.

1) The firstborn
a) Of man or beast
b) Of Christ, the first born of all creation

The following verses are where we find the terms monogenes and prototokos.

3439 = Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, Luke 9:38, John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, John 3:18, Heb 11:17, 1 John 4:9

4416 = Matt 1:25, Luke 2:7, Rom 8:29, Col 1:15, Col 1:18, Heb 1:6, Heb 11:28, Heb 12:23, and Rev 1:5

Let us first recognize that “First born” (prototokos) does not mean that Christ was a created being. Either in Scripture it could mean, “the first born Child,” or it often meant, “one who possessed priority.”

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What about those that have not heard the Gospel?

The Bible states that if one believes upon Jesus Christ he or she will be saved (Acts 16:31). So where does that leave those that that have not heard, what is their fate?

I do not believe God is unjust, and that he leaves certain responsibilities to us (Imago dei). Well we know that God desires all people to be saved (but not in a universal sense).

1 Timothy 2:4
English Standard Version (ESV)
Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

At the same time, we are really without excuse to believe in God.

Romans 1:20
New International Version (NIV)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

We also know it is not up to us to decide ones fate through judgment calls without authority.

Romans 2:1
New International Version (NIV)
God’s Righteous Judgment
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

And of course, we have a conscious.

Romans 2:15
New International Version (NIV)
They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

So really, there would be a judgment upon the person who has not heard the Gospel (not through stubbornness per se) and that would be dependent upon their consciousness to their heart. The Bible was written to a high-context society, you also have to factor this in.  That means that it would be common knowledge (widely accepted) that such beliefs would be reputed. Secondly, the Bible was written to believers. Therefore those that have not heard will be judged according to their heart.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Review on "Countering Rabbinic Judaism" by Louis Ruggiero

by D. Adams
Louis Ruggiero explains the common misconceptions that counter-missionaries use to support their case against Christ as being the fulfillment of the Messiah.
One point the author makes is that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 53. Isaiah 7:14 speaks of the Messiah's virgin birth that is clearly being taught. One point the author makes is the historical significance outlined in Isaiah chapter 7. The second main point is the Hebrew definition of the word “almah”. The author then draws a solid conclusion based upon the context of “almah” as being a young woman—who is a virgin.
Another concept is the about the Messiah's Deity. Part three of the book outlines the Messiah's Deity (The Shema). The author goes on to describe how the Messiah is God in the flesh—within the Old Testament scriptures. The author also answers the common objections raised by the Rabbinical Jews against the Messiah's Deity. The one eternal king is described in the book of Zechariah, and the book of Ezekiel. The author builds a solid case for the eternal king as being fulfilled with Jesus, based upon scriptures in the OT. Chapter 14 of the book is dedicated to answering the most common objections against Christ's Deity.
A final important point is how Christ fulfills the prophecy in the book of Isaiah, and how the case is built around this prophecy coming to light (progressive revelation). Part three of the book also describes how the trinity is clearly articulated within the New Testament scriptures. Chapter 15 outlines the understanding of the Trinity in six steps, and finishes with confirming the person of the Holy Ghost. The chapter closes with a final summary by the author on the importance of reaching out to others that may be struggling with the concept of the trinity.
In conclusion, "Countering Rabbinic Judaism" by Louis Ruggiero discusses the incorrect positions of the Rabbinic Judaism community who are often called Counter-Missionaries. The author has spent many years in answering their arguments, and their haphazard use of scripture. The counter-arguments (against counter-missionaries) the author makes are clear, concise, and put the scriptures in proper context as the Biblical authors intended. My opinion of the book is that the author has spent a great deal of time in his research, and he has a vast knowledge of scripture. Many valuable resources are utilized within the book, and the book is very well outlined from start to finish. I found the book easy to read, and it heightened my awareness to the counter-missionary movement. If you are countering Rabbinic Judaism, or even a skeptic for that matter, I highly recommend adding this book to your shelf as a valuable reference tool. The book distinctly covers how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Messiah in the OT prophecy.

A Review on “A Basic Guide to Interpreting the BIBLE” by Robert H. Stein

by D. Adams 
November 10, 2006
Robert Stein (professor of NT at Bethel Theological Seminary) explains the importance of playing by the rules of Bible interpretation to grasp the author’s original intent.
One point the author makes is to establish the Rules of Interpretation. Stein breaks this into a four part teaching consisting of Hermeneutics, Vocabulary, Spiritual and Biblical, and the different Forms of Scripture. Stein lays out the roles of the Author, the Text, and the Reader. The second main point in the book is the specific rules of the individual games such as; Wisdom, Prediction, Poetry, Idioms, Hyperbole, Parables, Biblical Narrative, Epistles and Treaties, Laws, and Songs.
Another concept is the literary genre (literary form) being used by the author that governs that form. An example is the author had previously struggled with the correct meaning of the Beatitudes. Stein realizes that the Beatitudes were not addressed as “conditions for membership” rather, as blessing addressed to “as blessings pronounced upon those already within the kingdom” The author gives very convincing details as to why we should believe this interpretation.
A final important point is the Sensus Penior (fuller meaning) of the text in chapter six. And the difficulties when this speaks about when the author willed to convey one truth, God had a different truth he willed to convey by the same vocabulary and grammar. An example of this is addressed in Isaiah 7:14 and Hosea 11:1 (Isaiah’s day) which would mean a maiden (described as a virgin in the NT) would give birth to a son named Immanuel.
In conclusion, "A Basic Guide to Interpreting the BIBLE" by Robert H. Stein discusses a myriad of scriptures, putting them in the proper literary form to discover the original intention of the author. The author has presented the necessary steps needed to put the scriptures in proper context as the Biblical authors intended.
My opinion of the book is that the author has spent a great deal of time in his research, and he has a vast knowledge of scripture. Many valuable resources are utilized within the book, and the book is very well outlined from start to finish. I found the book challenging and difficult to read at times, yet it heightened my awareness to the importance of proper hermeneutics. If you are countering struggles in understanding scriptures, I highly recommend adding this book to your shelf as a valuable reference tool whether you are an apologist or lay Christian. Each chapter ends with a questionnaire to get you engaged with the concepts.

A Review on “Reinventing Jesus” by Daniel B. Wallace, M. James Sawyer, J. Ed Kromoszewki

By D. Adams(Ham) 
December 4, 2006
This book boldly answers the most common expostulations raised against Christ by the skeptics. The authors cover the historical controversies, and the questions posed by The Da Vinci Code, Jesus Seminar, Acharya S., Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, and the likes. The topics include; Oral traditions, memorizing culture, textual criticism, canon, the Jesus mythical god parallels, council of Nicea.
The authors have embarked on a journey into the insights of the historical accounts of the first century culture that memorized oral locutions in a community setting. This book exemplifies Christianity on a positive level, not so much as merely answering the claims set forth the by skeptics. The authors point out the erroneousnesses of the skeptic mindset, and their discrepant partial construction of the facts.
An immense number of pages cover textual criticism and the canonization of scripture. The book commences with terms such as; source criticism, redaction criticism and literary dependence of the Gospel writings and the oral tradition and a memorizing culture. In the last chapter the Christ mythers originally set forth by James Frazer in 1906, the book answers back with a death blow to these concepts by exposing their frail and fragile constructs by the misuse of Christian terminology.
In conclusion, "Reinventing Jesus” may have a misconceived incantation at first glance, but nevertheless the book is a great resource for the newfangled and the well-seasoned Apologist. This book is an absolute must have for anyone entering the debate arena.
My opinion of the book is that the authors have spent a great deal of time (decades) in their research. It is truly time for other scholars to step up and answer the claims of the skeptics. This book may well be the start for a new gyration of inspiration of upcoming apologetic authors. You can find a helpful set of endnotes (64 pages to be exact) and handy resources for further reading. I highly recommend adding this book to your shelf as a valuable reference tool whether you are an apologist or lay Christian.