Galatians

I am posting to take another shot at the “Historical Jesus” nonsense that has dominated academic programs of study. You know the university “Religious Studies” classes that teach Jesus as a myth-embellished street preacher instead of as the Right Hand of G-d. In this post I want to dispute against the anti-Christian notion that the initial Jesus movement did not consider Jesus to be divine, and that the idea of Jesus as G-d is something that developed later and came from sources in the surrounding Pagan culture.

Allow me to direct your attention to evidence found in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. There are several reasons for choosing to argue from Galatians. First, it has widespread acknowledgement as a genuine letter by Paul, even among anti-Christian academics.

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Josephus on James the Just

Josephus was a Jew who became a leader in the Jewish rebellion of AD 69. He was captured and ended up working for the Romans as a slave translator during the siege of Jerusalem. After being defeated and humiliated by initial Jewish victories, the Romans had called old General Vespasian out of retirement to lead the army that crushed Judea. While the siege of Jerusalem was going on, word came from Rome that the Praetorian Guard had arranged a new vacancy in Rome (Emperor Vitellius had been murdered after 8 months of rule), and they wanted Vespasian to come to Rome and become Emperor. Vespasian left his son Titus in charge. Titus befriended Josephus.

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First Thessalonians

I am writing to oppose an anti-Christian tall tale that says the New Testament is full of Pagan ideas. There are several logical arguments against this popular anti-Christian slander. I want to concentrate here on just one source of good information. This post is to consider some of the evidence provided by St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians.

Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians is my choice for this exercise because it has been overlooked but it sheds a lot of light that should be helpful in considering anti-Christian allegations. Thessalonians I is commonly acknowledged among historians, even anti-Christian historians, to be a genuine writing of Paul, and, crucial to my argument, the consensus among both Christian and anti-Christian scholars is that it may be dated from 51 or 52 AD. This provides a fatal flaw in theories about the “evolution” of Christian thinking over time.

Matters such as the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity are commonly alleged by anti-Christians to have developed over three or four generations, incorporating ideas from Pagan culture in the process. Nope.

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Christianity Today — and Yesterday

The magazine “Christianity Today,” like the old abolitionists, claims religion’s sway over Christians’ voting preferences and instructs the faithful how to vote. Conservative Christians, like defensive conservatives generally, beg to differ and respond by telling “Christianity Today” to stay out of politics. “We are not voting for Preacher-in-Chief,” the conservatives say. “Stay in your lane.”

But staying out of politics was not the conservative Christians’ stance 21 years ago, nor was it the position of conservative Christians during the temperance crusade which, after decades of effort, resulted in Prohibition. ... [Read More]

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Gratefulness and Common Grace (a re-post)

[F]or he makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ~Matthew 5:45b

Somehow we survive on this small blue planet, we fragile bipeds vulnerable to the elements, to disease, to time, and to each other. Logically, our lot is sustained misery, ended only by a merciful death. Yet mankind has done far more than survive. Our life experiences are a rich intermingling of joy and angst, satisfaction and boredom, love and suffering. We look back on our early years and we remember carefree, secure innocence. Centuries’ worth accumulated knowledge was ours to study. Next we loved, and married, and cherished children. We are paid well for skills that we are pleased to perform. And all this while we are nourished with good food, warmed with comfortable clothing, and aided when we are ill.... [Read More]

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Sacred Names

Nomen Sacrum” is the term used for certain abbreviations that are found in ancient manuscripts of the New Testament books. These abbreviations for the “sacred names” are well known by church historians, theologians and text critics but not much known outside of those circles. I thought that Christian Ratburghers would be interested in the way the earliest Christian scribes abbreviated the names for God and Jesus.

This post is a follow-up to my post last month, which was a book review of The Earliest Christian Artifacts, by Larry Hurtado.   That book was a historian reporting on what he found when he spent some time speaking with the papyrologists who study the earliest New Testament manuscripts, and what he saw when he examined these precious fragments of early Christian culture.

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Papyrus Manuscripts

You learned in school how the Egyptians took the pith from papyrus sedges and used it to make a writing product like paper. We study ancient Egyptian society because they were literate and left a lot of written records. Also, their dry climate preserves papyrus, so that Egypt has yielded a lot of ancient writings. This makes Egypt a favorite field of archaeological study.

Some of the most-studied artifacts of the ancient world are papyrus copies of New Testament books. Scholars study, debate, quarrel, and publish frequently regarding these precious bits of early Christian culture.

        Christian “book culture”

There are some interesting things that can be learned about the early Christians from their manuscripts. This is to pass along a few things I have learned that may be of use to some of you.

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Book Review: Diabolical

Milo Yiannopoulos has a well-deserved and hard-earned reputation as a controversialist, inciter of outrage, and offender of all the right people. His acid wit and mockery of those amply deserving it causes some to dismiss what he says when he’s deadly serious about something, as he is in this impassioned book about the deep corruption in the Roman Catholic church and its seeming abandonment of its historic mission as a bastion of the Christian values which made the West the West. It is an earnest plea for a new religious revival, from the bottom up, to rid the Church of its ageing, social justice indoctrinated hierarchy which, if not entirely homosexual, has tolerated widespread infiltration of the priesthood by sexually active homosexual men who have indulged their attraction to underage (but almost always post-pubescent) boys, and has been complicit in covering up these scandals and allowing egregious offenders to escape discipline and continue their predatory behaviour for many years.

Ever since emerging as a public figure, Yiannopoulos has had a target on his back. A young, handsome (he may prefer “fabulous”), literate, well-spoken, quick-witted, funny, flaming homosexual, Roman Catholic, libertarian-conservative, pro-Brexit, pro-Trump, prolific author and speaker who can fill auditoriums on college campuses and simultaneously entertain and educate his audiences, willing to debate the most vociferous of opponents, and who has the slaver Left’s number and is aware of their vulnerability just at what they imagined was the moment of triumph, is the stuff of nightmares to those who count on ignorant legions of dim followers capable of little more than chanting rhyming slogans and littering. He had to be silenced, and to a large extent, he has been. But, like the Terminator, he’s back, and he’s aiming higher: for the Vatican.... [Read More]

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Spiritual Question 3

Is there such a thing as sin?

Which is to say, is there any real meaning to our understanding of how people ought to behave? We talk a lot about right and wrong, or about good and evil. This Question 3 is to explore the spiritual question of sin v. righteousness. Are our ideas about how people ought to behave just conceptual? Is there any reality to the concept of sin? Are there any real spiritual consequences, other than logical life consequences, involved with sin?

Before we get very far with this, we have to have a definition for what we mean by “sin.” It is clear that there are Ratburghers who think of “sin” as a personal shortcoming, like a lack of musical talent or poor eyesight or weak willpower. However, I mean something very different. Here is a dictionary definition:

an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

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Reincarnation: the Answer to the Question

Dennis Prager often talks about the most common question that he gets when religion is the topic. He speaks all over the country and the world and often speaks of religion. Here’s the gist of the questions: “How can God allow such suffering for some people and yet let others skate through life.” Prager also states that most religious teachers get this question often.

This post has been gestating for several years but I remember when it first came to me. It was while I was listening to Dennis Prager interviewing Eben Alexander (36 minutes). Alexander and Dennis were having a wonderful discussion until Alexander brought up reincarnation and how that explains so many things. Prager immediately was surprised and thrown off his stride but recovered and the rest of the discussion is great. Take a listen — it’s toward the end at 29:18.... [Read More]

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