Update on the 80 North Koreans summarily executed in public, some may have been killed for possessing Bibles

Source Mission News Network and Daily Mail UK

I have been watching this news item for a few days, and up until yesterday there was no evidence that Christians were also targeted. Originally, the North Korean government stated that the 80 people rounded up and publicly executed had a committed the crime of possessing South Korean Movie DVD’s and for ‘prostitution’ (could it be possessing pornography?). However, in the last 2 days, several news outlets are revising the story and are also reporting that, at least some of those executed, may have been killed for possessing a Bible, and, reportedly, the families of the victims and friends have been sent to gulags (forced labor camps).

north korea gulag

Here’s the report from the Daily Mail:

Several large-scale public executions of around 80 people have taken place in North Korea, according to a South Korean newspaper.

In one, woman and children were herded into a sports stadium and forced to watch people being shot dead by machine gun fire.

The executions took place on Sunday November 3, a source told the paper.

Why the executions took place is difficult to ascertain, but the paper speculates that they may have been carried out to quell unrest and stop capitalist ideology from growing, as they took place in areas of recent economic growth.

Some of the deaths may also have been a punishment for the perceived crimes of watching South Korean movies, distributing pornography, using prostitutes and possessing Bibles.

JoongAng Ilbo reported that in Wonsan, in Kangwon Province, 10,000 people were ordered into Shinpoong Stadium, and forced to watch eight people, who were tied to stakes with sacks over their heads, being killed by machine guns.

Its source said: ‘I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterwards.’

Other executions took place in Chongjin in North Hamgyong Province, Sariwon in North Hwanghae Province and Pyongsong in South Pyongan.

North Koreans are forced to adhere to the Juche ideology – a doctrine which mixes Marxism with the worship of North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung and his descendents.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Please continue to pray for the world wide persecuted church, and for the persecutors. May God give the brave persecuted men and women, who have done no wrong, the strength to stand, and their families comfort for the losses they are experiencing.

Reclame

Codex Vaticanus B, un manuscris al Bibliei, din secolul IV, de acum la Cluj-Gherla

Cel mai vechi manuscris in Limba Greaca al Noului si Vechiului Testament. Anul 350 A.D. Photo credit si citeste mai mult aici – en.wikipedia.org

Citeste Codex Vaticanus b (Greaca) online integral aici  in format pdf- https://ia700303.us.archive.org/6/items/CodexVaticanusbFacSimile/Codex-Vaticanus-NT.pdf (aveti rabdare ca se descarca incet)

Cu cateva zile in urma, la sediul Diocezei greco-catolice de Cluj-Gherla a sosit un Codex Vaticanus B – Bibliorum Sacrorum Graecorum Codex Vaticanus B – manuscris al Bibliei datând din sec. IV (copie fidelă după original, editat în anul 1999 la “Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato”, Roma), conform unui comunicat al Bisericii Greco-Catolice.

Manuscrisul a fost scris în limba greacă. El se afla, in prezent, in grija Episcopului Florentin Crihălmeanu, urmand sa fie prezentat cu ocazia diferitelor întâlniri, conferinţe, expoziţii, ce vor fi organizate în cadrul Diocezei de Cluj-Gherla, sau în colaborare cu diferite instituţii de cultură, conform comunicatului.

Conform Episcopului Crihalmeanu, lucrarea reprezinta „unul dintre cele mai vechi manuscrise majuscule ale Sfintei Scripturi (alături de Sinaiticus şi Alexandrinus), transcris în prima jumătate a sec. IV. Se presupune că manuscrisul ar fi fost compus dintr-o transcriere completă a textului Vechiului Testament după tradiţia greacă, Septuaginta, la care a fost adăugat Noul Testament.(…) Codicele Vatican B a fost considerat cel mai vechi text manuscris majuscul uncial al Bibliei, până la găsirea Codicelui Sinaitic. Pentru Noul Testament manuscrisul depăşeşte de departe celelalte documente prin «neutralitatea textelor» (nu este integral identic cu textul original, dar este o versiune ce nu conţine ulterioare denaturări sau modificări ale textelor), de aceea a fost utilizat ca text de bază în numeroase ediţii ale Noului Testament încă din sec. IX. Datorită asemănării textelor Evangheliei după Luca din Papirusul Bodmer P75 şi Codex Vaticanus B 03, se poate afirma că textul de bază, din care ambele au recopiat, poate fi datat cel mai târziu ca fiind de la sfârşitul sec. II dupa Hristos!”.

– informeaza Agentia de stiri Lacasuri Ortodoxe prin: Redactia Stiri 

 

Is Christianity really rational? by R.C. Sproul

rc sproul 2Have you ever had a nonbeliever say that your argument is not rational? Or that Christianity is not rational? Here’s R  C Sproul answering this very same question in a post from August 2013 on the ligonier.org website:

By all means! It is intensely rational. Now, I’ve had the question asked of me, “Is it true that you are a Christian rationalist?” I said, “By no means! That’s a contradiction in terms. A rationalist is somebody who embraces a philosophy that sets itself over and against Christianity.” And so, while a true Christian is not a rationalist, the Christian faith is certainly rational.

Is Christianity coherent? Is it intelligible? Does it makes sense? Does it fit together in a consistent pattern of truth, or is it the opposite of rational—is it irrational? Does it indulge in superstition and embrace Christians who believe that Christianity is manifestly irrational? I think that’s a great tragedy. The God of Christianity addresses people’s minds. He speaks to us. We have a Book that is written for our understanding.

When I say that Christianity is rational, I do not mean that the truth of Christianity in all of its majesty can be deduced from a few logical principles by a speculative philosopher. There is much information about the nature of God that we can find only because God himself chooses to reveal it to us. He reveals these things through his prophets, through history, through the Bible, and through his only begotten Son, Jesus.

But what he reveals is intelligible; we can understand it with our intellect. He doesn’t ask us to throw away our minds in order to become Christians. There are people who think that to become a Christian, one must leave one’s brain somewhere in the parking lot. The only leap that the New Testament calls us to make is not into the darkness but out of the darkness into the light, into that which we can indeed understand. That is not to say that everything the Christian faith speaks of is manifestly clear with respect to rational categories. I can’t understand, for example, how a person can have a divine nature and a human nature at the same time, which is what we believe about Jesus. That’s a mystery—but mysterious is not the same as irrational.

Mystery doesn’t apply only to religion. I don’t understand the ultimate force of gravity. These things are mysterious to us, but they’re not irrational. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t understand from my finite mind how these things work out,” and it’s another thing to say, “They’re blatantly contradictory and irrational, but I’m going to believe them anyway.” That’s not what Christianity does. Christianity says that there are mysteries, but those mysteries cannot be articulated in terms of the irrational; if that were so, then we have moved away from Christian truth.

Read more questions (about 100 of them) and R C Sproul’s detailed, 1 page answers, here – http://www.ligonier.org

Open Doors USA 2013 world ranking of persecution by country – North Korea still #1, Mali newcomer to list #7

WWL-Main-Download

Information and watch list from the non denominational group http://www.OpenDoorsUSA.org. Rankings released January 8,2013

North Korea – For the eleventh year running, this is the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. In a country of 24.5 million, there are just 400,000 Christians. North Korea is one of the remaining Communist states, and it is vehemently opposed to religion of any kind. Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution. There is a system of labor camps including the renowned prison No. 15, which reportedly houses 6,000 Christians alone. But despite severe oppression, there is a growing underground church movement of an estimated 400,000 Christians. We have written on North Korea several times in the past year. At the bottom are some noteworthy articles you can read in order to become more familiar with the brutal hardship that is endured by the Christians of North Korea. You can also read about North Korea’s hidden gulag, below all of the links, and visit the website that published The Hidden Gulag Report.

African countries surge – Open Doors reports that persecution of Christians in Africa vastly increased in 2012. Mali is a newcomer on the list and holds the No. 7 position. Tanzania (No. 24), Kenya (No. 40), Uganda (47) and Niger (No. 50) also moved onto the World Watch List and Ethiopia is one of the strongest risers (from No. 38 to No. 15) on the list. In addition, the small African country of Eritrea made the Top 10 for the first time at No. 10. Libya climbed from No. 26 to No. 17.

Syria made the largest jump on the World Watch List. The country is No. 11 on the list, compared to No. 36 in 2012.

Christians are persecuted in at least 60 countries for their faith. They suffer interrogation, arrest and even death in some of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world. For 58 years Open Doors has supported and strengthened believers worldwide through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development and prayer and presence ministry. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at http://www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

Related articles

From around the web

The Hidden Gulag

Second Edition

The Lives and Voices of
“Those Who are Sent to the Mountains”

David Hawk

Description: Based on extensive interviews with over 60 defectors and more than 40 satellite photos of North Korean political prisoner camps, the report calls for the dismantlement of the vast North Korean gulag system in which 150,000 to 200,000 are incarcerated.

From Page 158: In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, crimes against humanity are committed against persons sent to the political penal labor colonies. Evidence shows that:

1. Perceived or suspected “wrong-doers” or “wrong-thinkers,” or in some instances, persons with“wrong-knowledge,”123 and/or their family from the DPRK State Security Agency,124 which refuses to acknowledge the deprivation of freedom and refuses to provide information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons with the intent of removing those persons from the “protection of law” for a prolonged period of time.

2. The abducted persons are subjected to deportation or forcible transfer from the area in which they were lawfully present without grounds permitted under international law.

3. The abducted and deported persons are deposited at distant, remote, penal labor colonies or encampments, where they are subjected to “imprisonment or severe deprivation of physi- cal liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law.”129 These abductions, deporta- tions and the subsequent imprisonments all take place without any judicial process. There is no arrest, charge, trial, conviction or sentence, as provided in the DPRK Criminal Code and the DPRK Criminal Procedures Code.

4.The prolonged, indefinite detention of family members is a violation of Article 26 of the ICCPR, “…the law shall prohibit any discrimi- nation and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” The imprisonment of family members amounts to what the ICC Statute terms as “persecu- tion.” Most family members of suspected wrong-doers or wrong-thinkers are detained for the rest of their lives in sections of the prison camps termed “total control zones.”

5. Once cut off from any contact with the coun- try or world outside of the prison camp, including former family and friends, the imprisoned persons are subjected, usually for a lifetime, to arduous forced labor under extremely severe circumstances. This begins with the provision of below subsistence level food rations.

7. Prisoners are regularly subjected to beatings and sometimes more systematic torture for infractions of prison camp regulations and during interrogations.

8.On numerous occasions, prisoners compelled to observe executions (which are carried out publicly to demonstrate to other prisoners the severe consequences of escape attempts and/or non-compliance with camp regulations) …

9. Prison camp officials and guards are regularly able to exact sexual relations with female prison- ers under circumstances that have been judged to constitute rape or sexual violence …

These are just a few excerpts from the CONCLUSIONS in the Hidden Gulag Report. You can read the entire report here – http://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/HRNK_HiddenGulag2_Web_5-18.pdf

Photo via Google satellite via stormfront.org –

the rear of a secret Gulag (internment camp for Christians)

Where Christian Persecution is Worst

World Watch List 2013

Created by Open Doors, the World Watch List (WWL) is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is worst. The list covers persecution of Christians of all denominations in an entire country and focuses on persecution for their faith, not persecution for political, economic, social, ethnic or accidental reasons. VIDEO by Open Doors USA

Open Doors World Watch List 2012

The top 10 countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe… The church around the world is facing times which are unprecedented in many ways. For the tenth year in succession, the Open Doors World Watch List is topped by North Korea, and in places as diverse as Libya, North Korea, Pakistan and Burma, significant events are shaping society. But despite the many hardships, the body of Christ continues to grow.

Find out more about our World Watch List by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/countries VIDEO by Open Doors UK & Ireland

The First (1385) English Bible Translator – John Wycliffe’s Life – (Video)

„John Wycliffe” is a dramatic biography of the life of the 14th century scholar and cleric who translated the Bible into English for the first time. Wycliffe found himself in the middle of religious, political and social conflicts. An Oxford scholar, one of Europe’s most renowned philosophers, he was a defender of English nationalism against the power of the pope and a champion of the poor against the injustices of the rich. John Wycliffe taught that God’s forgiveness couldn’t be bought with indulgences. He preached that the only true authority is the Word of God, and the Word could only be understood by all if the people could read it in their native tongue. „John Wycliffe” captures the trials and heroic struggles of this significant man of faith – the „Morning Star” of the Reformation.

(DVD available at Amazon) Other video of interest – Martin Luther (English with Romanian subtitles)

You can read an in depth  biography on John Wycliffe here.

VIDEO by poftc

MARTIN LUTHER (Black and White) Reformation Day October 31, 1517

Another, older film version of Martin Luther’s life. (Photo wikipedia)

English: Postage stamp depicting Martin Luther...

Martin Luther is a 1953 film biography about the life and times of the greatest figure of the Protestant Reformation – Martin Luther, a 16th century German monk, priest, and theology professor’s efforts to reform the Catholic church, his excommunication, and the developments that started the Protestant Reformation.

Luther’s observations and studies led him to be critical of the materialism of the Roman Catholic church; with its use of indulgences, relics and other wayward teachings and practices that are unsupported by the Bible (scripture) forced him to write and nail his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg church that was pivotal in leading a ‘spiritual revolution’ shaking the principalities of the Holy Roman Empire and the entirety of Medieval Europe that changed history forever. VIDEO by emmthreejonny

‪The Forbidden Book – „History of the English Bible”

A 1777 Philadelphia edition of the English Bible – photo source here

Discover the fascinating story behind the preservation of the Bible, the best selling book of all times.

During the Dark Ages, superstition and ignorance controlled the minds of the masses.A few brave men obeyed God and brought the Scriptures to the world…..historical figures responsible for bringing us the Bible as we know and love it today: Wycliffe, Hus, Gutenberg, Colet, Erasmus, Tyndale, Luther and so on.

John Wycliffe, the brilliant 14th century Oxford scholar, translated the Bible from Latin into English in order to enlighten the masses oppressed through ignorance. His work was so despised by the established church, that Pope Martin the Fifth ordered Wycliffe’s bones to be dug up and burned forty years after his death.
Martin Luther was one of the few who challenged church authority in the 16th century and lived to tell the tale. In exposing the folly of indulgences (paying money to the church in order to obtain favor with God), he revealed what had always been written in Scripture, that justification was through faith and faith alone.
William Tyndale was not spared like his friend Luther. Tyndale spent the last 500 days of his life in a cold castle dungeon. He was then tied to a stake, strangled, and burned. His crime?.. printing Bibles in the English language!

This one-hour documentary takes us on a fascinating journey through time. It was shot all across Europe and shows all the important places of Christian history. Here you will learn how God’s Word was originally scribed and discovered and how the Word was preserved through the 1,000 year period of the Dark and Middle Ages. It will also enlighten you how the King James version was created.

There are many amazing facts worked into the presentation. Dr. Lampe shows a scroll that is 1000 years old, and tells the viewer that it is word-for-word the same as the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were written a full millennium before.

Being reminded of the blood that was shed to bring the Bible to common folk like us will make us consider just how flippantly we treat the Scriptures. It will make us truly realize how privileged our generation is to have not just one Bible but an entire stack of them in many outstanding translations. It will make us thank God for the faithful men and women who gave their lives that we can have unlimited access to His Word.

See also these other great links (some containing videos) 

VIDEO by abramski2

How did the Bible become the Bible? Carl Trueman & G. K. Beale

carl-truemanCarl Trueman: The history of the production of the Canon is a long and complicated one. And it really doesn’t come to a close until the 16th century, with the struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism, when canonical issues really become somewhat acute, somewhere in the middle of the 16th century. Now that can be a very disturbing thought to people. (Thinking) Oh wow, so we didn’t have a Bible ‘til the middle of the 16th century? Well, no. The story is less disturbing than that when you look at the details. I think, by the middle of the second century, if you look at the writings of the apostolic fathers, or the writings of the Greek apologists, you already have functionally in place, the vast majority of the books of the New Testament- the canon. Canon formation is generally, christians are concerned about the formation of the New Testament. I mean, they’re really interested, how did the church decide that these New Testament works were part of the New Testament and not just early christian writings that weren’t inspired. I think, by the middle of the second century, (aprox 150 A.D.) you can make a good case for saying the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), most of the letters of Paul are already in place, as authoritative in the church. And the debates tend to be about the smaller epistles. I’d want to say (they are) not lesser material, because it’s all divinely inspired. But, in terms of constructing a coherent Gospel theology, the shorter epistles make less contribution to that overall theology.

G. K. Beale:

One of the criteria among the church fathers was apostleship, apostolicity. If you can demonstrate that in a book, it should be seen as included in the canon. But, then some will say, „But, wait a minute. How about Luke? He wasn’t an apostle.” And the author of Hebrews, we don’t know who that was, though the early church, some held it was Paul.  But it’s been pretty well concluded that we don’t know who that was. Some have even contended that even the Book of Revelation is not the John the apostle. Those who weren’t apostles were a part of the apostolic circles. Take Luke. Luke was a traveling companion with Paul. And so, those in the apostolic circle are considered New Testament prophets. We know Ephesians 2:20 talks about „the church is founded on the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus, Himself, being the cornerstone…” And so, we know there were a group of prophets attached, or in some way associated with the apostolic circle. So, all of these writings that can be traced back to the apostolic circle become canonical. They are the legal representatives of Christ, now that He’s left the earth. You might remember when Christ said, „He who receives you, receives Me. He who receives your word, receives My word”.

The idea of apostleship, they were like lawyers.  The lawyer in court represents the defendant. And so, the lawyer’s words are the defendant’s words. The apostles’ words are Christ’s words. This is really laid out nice in a book by Herman Ridderboss, called ‘Redemptive History and The New Testament Scriptures – Biblical and Theological Studies’.

Was there an official council that settled this, even beyond second century?

Carl Trueman:

In the 4th century, at the Council of Constantinople. The role of the church becomes acute because one of the things that is debated in the 16th century is why do people believe the canon? Is it because the church says these books are canonical, or is it because the books are in and of themselves canonical? And it’s a division, really, between Catholics and Protestants, that to an extent persists to this day.

I think, the Protestant response that I agree with is that the church recognized those books that were inspired. The church didn’t make them inspired, the church didn’t make them canonical, the church came to recognize them as canonical. One of the things, though, I think we need to do as individual christians is to understand how that dynamic works out in our own lives. When I was converted from a non-christian background,the first Sunday I go along to church, why do I take the canon of the Bible as the canon? Well, I did it that Sunday because the church told me. I was in a church and this was the canon, as far as the church saying it’s so. Over a period of time though, as the Bible was consistently preached and applied to me by ministers, and as I read it for myself, I saw the beauty and the coherence and the power of those books, which impresses itself on the individual. So, I think, as Protestants, it’s worth acknowledging that often, early in our pilgrimage we believe the Bible because the church tells us so. But, on the bases of that we move on ultimately to believe the Bible because the Bible itself is self authenticating. You don’t need an external authority to authenticate the Bible.

G. K. Beale:

Another way to put it is: Did the church create the canon or did the canon create the church? The canon created the church, the church recognized it. There’s a nice book that argues well with this. Because of the flurry of some scholars saying that a lot of the apocryphal Gospel really should have been in the canon and that it was really just a political power move that they weren’t in it. The book is The Heresy of Orthodoxy and its authors are Andreas Köstenberger and  Walter Kruger.

Here’s a little more on this second book from Amazon:

Beginning with Walter Bauer in 1934, the denial of clear orthodoxy in early Christianity has shaped and largely defined modern New Testament criticism, recently given new life through the work of spokesmen like Bart Ehrman. Spreading from academia into mainstream media, the suggestion that diversity of doctrine in the early church led to many competing orthodoxies is indicative of today’s postmodern relativism. Authors Köstenberger and Kruger engage Ehrman and others in this polemic against a dogged adherence to popular ideals of diversity.

Köstenberger and Kruger’s accessible and careful scholarship not only counters the „Bauer Thesis” using its own terms, but also engages overlooked evidence from the New Testament. Their conclusions are drawn from analysis of the evidence of unity in the New Testament, the formation and closing of the canon, and the methodology and integrity of the recording and distribution of religious texts within the early church.

VIDEO by DESERT SPRINGS CHURCH

Tim Keller – What Role Should the Bible Have in Society?

From the Q conference in Chicago, February 2010. Panel Discussion featuring Tim Keller, Alister McGrath, Brian McLaren, and Dempsey Rosales-Acosta regarding the Bible’s role in society.

Interpreting the Bible has become a divisive issue for some and little more than sport for others. Some want to talk about the “authority” of Scripture. They’re asking questions like, “How is the Bible authoritative in our lives today?” Others are wondering if the word “inerrancy” is making a comeback. Is it? Or is the term only useful for theological debates, to separate those who are “in” and those who are “out”? How then should we interpret the Bible as God’s word for our culture today?

Keller has some very useful apologetical comments in this panel discussion, the other 3 panelists- McGrath, coming from across the pond in UK, surprisingly dances around the question. MacLaren, we have all come to know his evolving religion since this video, and Dempsey Rosales-Acosta is a Catholic priest. Read Kevin DeYoung’s commentary and take on the subject of inerrancy, as represented in this video discussion, at this link- http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/09/24/whos-afraid-of-inerrancy/

VIDEO by Jacob Mitchell

Leonard Ravenhill – Why, O why, do we settle for minimum spirituality?

What Do I Still Lack?
By Leonard Ravenhill

leonard ravenhillWhat percentage of responsibility for my spiritual maturity is the Lord’s, and how much of it is mine? To say that I alone am responsible for my soul’s development is conceit. To say that all the responsibility is the Lord’s is impudence.

I find it humbling, inspiring, and challenging to recognize that the greatest saints who ever lived did not have a bigger Bible than I have. They just knew it better. Indeed, they had far less of the divine Revelation. Today we have the complete message of God to man. He has nothing more to say to us. As the old hymn says, „What more can He say than to you He hath said?” God has no „P.S.” to add to the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For years the Holy Scriptures were wrapped up in tongues that only the scholars could read. „There was no open vision in those days” (I Sam. 3.1). Then, blessed day, the whole counsel of God was released in our mother tongue. With this unveiling came the glad news of the priesthood of believers – Hallelujah!

Do you wonder that Bishop Walsham How bursts into song about the Holy Word:

„It is a golden casket,
where gems of Truth are stored.
It is the Heaven-drawn picture
of Christ, the Living Word.”

      Trees are fascinating to most of us. I like to see the burdened fruit trees showing off their labor. The English like their mighty oaks and the Americans their redwood trees. At the moment, in the area where I write, the peach trees are richly endowed with fruit; but, it does not grow already canned. No! God gave us the fruit; we do the canning. Trees do not grow furniture, even in this scientific age. We have the trees. From them we make the chairs, etc. So it is with the spiritual life. Here is a stunning truth from Second Peter, Chapter one, verse three: „His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain TO LIFE AND GODLINESS.” Paul backs up Peter in this area when he says, „How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom.8:32). And to top these precious words, here comes Paul again with a staggering statement: „The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; HEIRS OF GOD, AND JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST.” Stop there? NO, add the remainder:„…if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom. 8:16-17) (Photo credit www.sciencedaily.com)

With all this limitless resource to inherit in this life, why then, O why, do we settle for minimum spirituality? These scriptures just quoted shatter all our excuses for carnal Christianity and explode all our feeble bumper-sticker excuses on bumper-sticker evangelism: „Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.” (Some backslider must have written that one.)

Sinning is not permitted to believers. „Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” (I John 3:9) Not that it is impossible to sin; but it is, by the blood of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, possible not to sin. John again shouts the triumphant note, „Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

God, then, has made it possible for you and me to have victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil!

Here are the Master’s commandments to His own. These are not options but imperatives. With His enabling and our striving, we can explore what Lowrey called „the possibilities of Grace.” We can leave the playpen in the Spiritual Nursery and „go on unto perfection.” (Heb. 6:1) Here are His commands:

– „Little Children, keep yourselves from idols (I John 5:21)
– „Building up yourselves on your most holy faith…” (Jude 20; Rom. 10:17)
– „Keep yourselves in the love of God ..” (by obedience to His Word) (Jude 21)
– „Put on the whole armor of God…” (equipment for beating Satan) (Eph. 6-11)
– The Scnpture is very clear here: „Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4 :7)

      Christian maturity is not a weekend operation. On the other hand, remember there is no finality to the Christian life this side of eternity. While we are in the flesh, we „press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14)

      We hear continually about „Weight Watchers.” O that we watched our spiritual growth as carefully!

      I believe in instant purity: „The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:7) I do not believe in instant maturity. Faith in the finished work of Christ is one thing. To add to your faith, as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:5-7, is something else. As a tree must be pruned regularly to bring it to maturity, so we need pruning. It is easy to sing, „And pour contempt on all my pride.” If I do that at all, I will do it conveniently protecting myself from any „bleeding.” It is when the Lord does it – or worse still when He uses some other human being (less spiritual than I am) to do the pruning – then can I kiss the rod? This is a process in spiritual growth. Can I take it cheerfully when I am slighted, when my name is cast out as an evil thing (though I am totally innocent)? Can I joyfully help to promote another to a position that I would like and which I am more capable of handling?

      I heard a preacher asking another if folks came to the altar at his last meeting. He replied, „Yes, but most of them are altar tramps.” It’s easier to go to the altar than to get on the cross. There is no magic in a trip to the altar. You will not grow an inch by walking a few yards to the altar, unless there is a total repentance and a holy vow to God that you will not fall into the same hole again.

Heroes of the Faith Hebrews 11That holy band of „Heroes of Faith” in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews staggers me. They had no Bibles, no millions of cassettes as we have, no Bible seminars, no daily radio Bible teaching, and (fortunate souls) no Gospel T.V. preachers whining about lack of funds. (When did the Lord run out of supplies?) Yet what things these folks in Hebrews 11 accomplished: subdued whole kingdoms – (O that some person rich in faith could subdue the worldwide kingdom of the drug trade)– wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. What miracles, what men, what faith! (Photo credit bereabaptistchurchbookstore.com)

      These „pattern” folks of our faith did not get to the heights in one leap:

„They climbed the steep ascent to Heaven
Through peril, toil, and pain.
O God, may grace to us be given,
to follow in their train.”

      Asked why he was used of the Lord so greatly in China, Hudson Taylor replied, „God had looked long for a man weak enough, and He found me.” He takes the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. Spiritual wisdom does not come with years; neither does maturity. The key to both is obedience. Whatsoever He saith unto YOU, do it.

An insatiable thirst for God will produce an unquenchable love for holiness (as He is Holy), resulting in a passion for the lost.

Remember, friend, you are just as spiritual as you want to be.

Copyright (C)1994 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale, Texas – http://www.ravenhill.org/

Leonard RavenhillIn Romanian – De ce intirzie trezirea de Leonard Ravenhill (Top carte – essential reading)

Did the Ancient Church Muzzle the Canon? Daniel Wallace

Photo credit bible.org

Dr. Daniel Wallace addresses the mystery of the gospels and books that were excluded from the New Testament by the ancient church, such as the Gospels of Mary and Judas.

He teaches some of the rhetoric and restrictions on the church’s decision-making process and confronts the complexities of these decisions that were made so long ago.

VIDEO by WA BibleDepartment This lecture took place at Biola University in 2011.

There are 2 other lecture videos on the subject from Biola University:

Dr. Daniel Wallace – Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary (Photo credit www.dts.edu)

Dr. Wallace influences students across the country through his textbook on intermediate Greek grammar. It has become the standard textbook in the English-speaking world on that subject. Dr. Wallace is also the senior New Testament editor of the NET Bible and coeditor of the NET-Nestle Greek-English diglot. He has been a consultant on four different Bible translations. Recently his scholarship has begun to focus on John, Mark, and nascent Christology. He works extensively in textual criticism, and has founded The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (csntm.org), an institute with an initial purpose of preserving Scripture by taking digital photographs of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts. He has traveled the world in search of biblical manuscripts. His postdoctoral work includes work on Greek grammar at Tyndale House in Cambridge, textual criticism studies at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, and the Universität Tübingen, Germany. He is in demand as a speaker at churches, colleges, and conferences.

The Size of the New Testament Books by Verses

Photo credit http://visualunit.files.wordpress.com

The Malaysian court rules that the word ‘Allah’ is to be used exclusively by muslims

Photo credit http://www.bbc.co.uk

Source: http://www.mnnonline.org

Malaysia ― „Allah” is the word for „God,” unless you’re a Malaysian Christian.

A Malaysian court ruled that the word Allah can only be used by Muslims to refer to God, overturning a 2009 lower court ruling. Paul Estabrooks, a minister-at-large for Open Doors, says, „In 2009, there was a court case by a Roman Catholic newspaper (called ‘The Herald’) about this. It was a civil court, and it happened to be a Christian judge. She ruled that it was okay for Christians to use the word ‘Allah.'”

The Home Ministry filed an appeal against the decision on Jan. 4, 2010. Estabrooks explains that the upper court was made up of Islamic judges. As a result, „Monday, they issued their ruling that you cannot use the word ‘Allah’ unless you are a Muslim.”

The court also claims banning the word in non-Muslim contexts was „no infringement of any constitutional rights,” but the decision furthered the debate on whether Malaysia is a secular state or an Islamic state.

Despite alleged constitutional freedoms, discriminatory legislation and actions against minorities seem to be creeping in. Sharia law–applicable for Muslims only–actually supersedes constitutional law on some issues.

Malaysia’s Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu minorities have often complained that the government infringes their constitutional right to practice religion freely. Christians make up more than 9% of Malaysia’s nearly 28 million people, according to Operation World.

On a positive note, Estabrooks notes that the exclusivity issue does not seem to pose the same problem in other Muslim-dominated countries. „Ironically, it’s not an issue in Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim nation population in the world. It has the same basic characteristics as the Arabic-speaking world.”

Although it’s unlikely another appeal will follow, the issue is anything but closed. Since the 2009 decision was followed by attacks on churches, there are expectations that tensions could explode anyway. The Christian Federation of Malaysia issued a statement on the decision, expressing disappointment over the decision and noting the further erosion of unity among Malaysians.

The impact of the decision could be devastating to Gospel outreach. „What it means, of course, is that there won’t be any Bibles distributed for a while until this is resolved because the current Bibles do have the word ‘Allah’ whenever God is mentioned in the Bible. So now, these Bibles will not be allowed to be distributed.” What’s more, says Estabrooks, „The Bible translators are going to have the biggest challenge here. How do you come up with a substitute word [for God] and make the Bible available in the country?”

If it is true that other Arabic countries and Muslim nations do not have an issue with the „Allah” usage, why is it such a prevalent issue in Malaysia? Estabrooks hazards, „There is a general knowledge that the Church is growing. Muslims are accusing the Christians of using the word ‘Allah’ in order to open a door for them to evangelize. This is the real reason, I believe, why they’ve made that decision.”

Now what? During his visit last month, Estabrooks noted that the „Allah” issue was the „water cooler” topic of the moment because the outcome would affect many aspects of Gospel work. He remarks, „If you’re a Christian, you have a tremendous opportunity to share your faith with others just because of this current event.”

Pray that Christians will stand firm in their faith, despite opposition. Pray that Malaysian Christians will be free to practice their faith in Jesus Christ. Pray that all Christians in Malaysia will be able to freely access the Bible.

Analysys from Jennifer Pak – BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

The verdict does not come as a surprise to the two million Christians in Malaysia. Many of them believe that the case stems from a tight race between the governing Malay-Muslim party, UMNO, and the opposition Islamic party, PAS.

The Allah ban is seen as an attempt by UMNO to boost its Islamic credentials and win back votes. It’s an issue that crops up in the government-linked media ahead of an election and promptly dwindles after the vote.

Christians are so convinced that this issue is about political posturing that most followers say they will continue to use the offending Bibles and use the word Allah in their worship.

Not all Muslims back the ban. But one of the most outspoken supporters is an influential group called Perkasa, which is backed by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad – a champion of Malay-Muslim rights.

10 Accusations Against Today’s Church – Paul Washer – Zece Acuzaţii Împotriva Bisericii Contemporane

1. Suficienţa Scripturii
2. Caracterul lui Dumnezeu
3. Păcatul omului
4. Evanghelia
5. Regenerarea
6. O invitaţie nebiblică la Evanghelie / Rugăciunea păcătosului
7. Biserica
8. Disciplina bisericească
9. Sfinţenie / Separare
10. Familia + Îndepărtarea de la credinţă

Paul Washer | http://heartcrymissionary.com

VIDEO BY http://illbehonest.com/romana/zece-ac… Youtube-I’ll Be Honest – Global

 

 

D A Carson – Going Beyond Cliches: Christian Reflections on Suffering and Evil

d a carsonSee an in depth article below video, with link to the full article on the Gospel Coalition website:

Lecture – Dr D.A. Carson – given Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, TX. Topic:Going Beyond Cliches: Christian Reflections on Suffering and Evil.

Dr. D. A. Carson is a Research Professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. He came to Trinity from the faculty of Northwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he served for two years as academic dean. He also taught at Northwest Baptist Theological College, Richmond College, and Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto.

Dr. Carson’s areas of expertise include biblical theology, the historical Jesus, postmodernism, pluralism, Greek grammar, Johannine theology, Pauline theology, and questions of suffering and evil.

He is a member of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Evangelical Theological Society, the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, and the Institute for Biblical Research. Dr. Carson was founding chair of the GRAMCORD Institute, a research and educational institution designed to develop and promote computer-related tools for research into the Bible, focusing especially on the original languages. He is also a founding council member of The Gospel Coalition.

Carson was born in Montreal, Quebec, but grew up in Drummondville, Quebec. He earned his B.S. (1967) in chemistry and mathematics from McGill University, his M.Div. from Central Baptist Seminary (Toronto), and his Ph.D. (1975) in the New Testament from the University of Cambridge. Carson married his wife Joy in 1975. They reside in Libertyville, Illinois, and have two children.

Carson is the author or coauthor of over 50 books, including the award-winning book The Gagging of God (2010) and An Introduction to the New Testament (2005). He is general editor of Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmodern’s (2002) and Worship by the Book (2002). His other books include, Exegetical Fallacies (1996), Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon (2005), and also The Intolerance of Tolerance (2012). He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.

Six Pillars to Support a Christian Worldview for Stability Through Suffering

  1. Insights from the beginning of the Bible’s storyline
  2. Insights from the end of the Bible’s storyline
  3. Insights from the place of innocent suffering
  4. Insights from the mystery of providence
  5. Insights from the centrality of the incarnation and the cross
  6. Insights from taking up our cross (insights from the persecuted global church)

VIDEO by fleetwd1 for more information http://www.laniertheologicallibrary.org/

Going Beyond Cliches:

Christian Reflections on Suffering and Evil

Here is a very helpful article that outlines Carson’s 6 pillars of a Christian view of suffering – http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs In the blog post, Matt Smethurst, of the Gospel Coalition lists the 6 pillars:

After differentiating „natural” evil (e.g., tornados), „malicious” evil (e.g., sexual assault), and „accidental” evil (e.g., a bridge collapse)—and observing that this isn’t a uniquely Christian challenge („No matter your worldview, you must face the reality of suffering and evil”)—Carson proceeds to reveal the six pillars.

  1. Insights from the beginning of the Bible’s storyline. Carson observes: „What Jesus seems to presuppose is that all the sufferings of the world—whether caused by malice [as in Luke 13:1-3] or by accident [as in Luke 13:4-5]—are not peculiar examples of judgment falling on the distinctively evil, but rather examples of the bare, stark fact that we are all under sentence of death.”
  2.  Insights from the end of the Bible’s storyline. The believer’s ultimate hope is that the created order—now so disordered by the effects of sin—will one day be set right (Rom. 8:18-25)
  3. Insights from the place of innocent suffering. „Job 42 is to the rest of Job what Revelation 21-22 is to the rest of Revelation,” Carson observes. „Not only is justice done, it’s also seen to be done.”
  4. Insights from the mystery of providence. Here Carson sketches a brief defense of compatibilism in which he demonstrates two scriptural tensions: (1) God is absolutely sovereign, but his sovereignty never functions to mitigate human responsibility, and (2) men and women are morally responsible creatures, but their moral responsibility never makes God absolutely contingent.
  5. Insights from the centrality of the incarnation and the cross. God was not blindsided by Calvary (Acts 2:234:27-28).
  6. Insights from taking up our cross (learning from the persecuted global church). Though we often think of suffering primarily in terms of „cancer or old age or poverty or war,” Carson notes, the New Testament texts that most commonly speak of suffering have to do with Christian suffering—”and they are remarkable” (see, for example, Acts 5:40-42;Rom. 8:17Phil. 1:293:101 Pet. 2:20-23). As he observes, „There have been more Christian conversions since 1800 than in the previous 1,800 years combined, and there have been more Christain martyrs since 1800 than in the previous 1,800 years combined. And to this you have been called [1 Pet. 2:21].”A robust theology of suffering is necessary but not sufficient, Carson insists, for at least two additional attitudes characterize mature Christians: (1) they admit their guilt before God and cry to him for renewal and revival (see, for example, Neh. 8-9), and (2) they are quick to talk about the sheer goodness of God.

How Could A Good God Allow Suffering?

This video is from the Gospel Coalition LA Regional Conference on November 6, 2010. D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has written or edited more than forty-five books, including An Introduction to the New Testament, The Gagging of God, and The Gospel according to John. VIDEO by WA BibleDepartment

Ravi Zacharias „The Death of Truth and the Decline of Culture” VIDEO of the live stream

From Oct 17, 2013

„The Death of Truth and the Decline of Culture”

English: Ravi Zacharias signing books at the F...On Thursday, October 17th at 7:00 pm, nationally syndicated radio show host Dennis Prager (www.dennisprager.com) and world-renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias (www.rzim.org) will appear on stage together at Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, GA.

The evening will be hosted by comedian, actor and best-selling author Jeff Foxworthy.

American radio talk show host, columnist, and ...We live in trying times. Those of us who take belief in the God of the Bible seriously feel burdened by the problems that arise in our increasingly secular, pluralistic society. People are abandoning truth, Western culture is dying, and the lines between right and wrong are becoming irrevocably blurred.

The goal of this event is to allow two prominent voices in the public square – one Jewish (Prager), and one evangelical Christian (Ravi) – to engage in an open, honest and entertaining dialogue about these challenges we face as a nation and civilization. This is about asking and answering tough questions in a God-honoring and purposeful way.

IF YOU CANNOT WATCH THE LIVESTREAM, the VIDEO WILL BE AVAILABLE on THIS SAME YOUTUBE PAGE, AFTER THE LIVE STREAM. VIDEO PAGE by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

The Story of Jacob (2) the Father of Israel) Genesis 25-33

See Jacob – Father of Israel & Joseph(1)

Post includes charts of the 12 tribes of Israel and the lineage of Jesus, traced back to Jacob.

The Story of Jacob (2)

Click here to read Genesis 25-33, the Biblical account of the life of Jacob.

excerpts  from D.A.Carson’s ‘For the Love of God” Volume I:

by D.A Carson

Genesis 27 is in many ways a pathetic, grubby account. Earlier Esau had despised his birthright (25:34); now Jacob swindles him out of it. In this Jacob is guided by his mother Rebekah, who thus shows favoritism among her children and disloyalty to her husband. Esau throws a tantrum and takes no responsibility for his actions at all. indeed, he nurses his bitterness and plots the assassination of his brother. The family that constitutes the promised line is not doing very well.

Yet those who read the passage in the flow of the entire book remember that God himself had told Rebekah, before the twin brothers were born, that the older will serve the younger (25:23) Perhaps

Jacob blessed instead of Esau

that is one of the reasons she acted as she did: apparently she felt that God needed a little help in keeping his prediction, even immoral help. Yet behind these grubby and evil actions God is mysteriously working out his purposes to bring the promised line to the end he has determined. Certainly God could have arranged to have Jacob born first, if that was the man He wanted to carry on the line. Instead, Esau is born first, but Jacob is chosen, as if to say that the line is important, but God’s sovereign, intervening choosing is more important than mere human seniority, than mere primogeniture.

The name „Bethel” means House of God. The event that gave rise to the name (Gen. 28) was a mixed bag. There is Jacob, scurrying across the miles to the home of his uncle Laban. Ostensibly he is looking for a godly wife–but the previous chapter makes clear that he wishes to escape being assassinated by his own brother in the wake of his own tawdry act of betrayal and deceit. Judging by the requests he makes to God, he is in danger of having too little food and inadequate clothing, and he is already missing his own family (28:20-21)Yet here God meets him in a dream so vivid that Jacob declares,”How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven” (28:17).

For his part, God reiterates the substance of the Abrahamic Covenant to this grandson of Abraham. The vision of the ladder opens up the prospect of access to God, of God’s immediate contact with a man who up to this point seems more driven by expedience than principle. God promises that his descendants will multiply and be given this land. The ulrimate expansion is also repeated: „All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” (28:14). Even at the personal level, Jacob will not be abandoned, for God declares, „I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back over to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (28:15).

Awakened from his dream, Jacob erects an altar and calls the place Bethel. But in large measure he is still wheeler-dealer. He utters a vow: If God will do this and that and the other, if I get all that I want and I hope for out of this deal, „then the Lord will be my God” (28:20-21).

And God does not strike him down! The story moves on: God does all that he promised, and more. All of Jacob’s conditions are met. One of the great themes of Scripture is how God meets us where we are: in our insecurities, in our conditional obedience, in our mixture of faith and doubt, in our fusion of awe and self interest, in our understanding and foolishness. God does not disclose Himself only to the greatest and most stalwart, but to us, at our Bethel, the house of God.

When I was a child in Sunday School, I learned the names of the twelve tribes of Israel by singing a simple chorus: „These are the names of Jacob’s sons:/Gad and Asher and Simeon,/Reuben, Issachar, Levi,/Judah, Dan and Naphtali-/Twelve in all, but never a twin–/Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin.”

But many more years passed before I grasped how important are the twelve tribes in the Bible’s storyline. Many of the dynamics of the rest of  Genesis turn on their relationships. The organization of the nation of Israel depends on setting aside one tribe, the Levites, as priests. From another son, Judah, springs the Davidic dynasty that leads to the Messiah. Over the centuries, the tribe of Joseph would be divided into Ephraim and Manasseh; in substantial mesaure, Benjamin would merge with Judah. By the last  book in the Bible, Revelation, the twelve tribes of the old covenant constitute the counterpoint to the twelve apostles of the new covenant: this twelve by twelve matrix (i.e. 144, in the symbolism of this apocalyptic literature) embraces in principle the whole people of God.

Jacob meets Rachel by Raphael 1518

But, what tawdry beginnings they have in Genesis 30. The deceit of Laban in Genesis 29, which resulted in Jacob’s marrying both Leah and Rachel, now issues in one of the most unhealthy instances of sibling rivalry in holy Scripture. Each of these women from this family is so eager to outshine the other that she gives her handmaid to her husband rather than allow the other to get ahead in the race to bear children. So self-centered and impetuous are the relationships that another time Rachel is prepared to sell her husband’s sex time to her sister Leah for a few mandrakes. Polygamy has taken hold, and with it a mess of distorted relationships.

From these painful and frankly dysfunctional family relationships spring eleven sons and one daughter (the birth of the last son, Benjamin, is reported in chap. 35). Here are the origins of the twelve tribes of Israel, the foundations of the Israelite nation. Their origins are not worse than those of others; they are merely typical. But already it is becoming clear that God does not deal with this family because they are consistently a cut above other families. No, he uses them to keep his covenantal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He graciously perseveres with them to bring about his grand, redemptive purposes. The tawdry family dynamics cannot possibly prevent the universe’s  sovereign from keeping his covenantal vows.

In Genesis 32 Jacob is returning home  and he is still frightened half to death of his brother…Jacob left the tents of his parents a single man, taking almost nothing with him, while here he returns home a rich, married man with many children.

But the deepest differences between the two journeys are reflected in Jacob’s changed attitude toward God. On the outbound trip, Jacob takes no initiative in matters divine. He simply goes to sleep (Gen 28). It is God who intervenes with a remarkable vision of a ladder reaching up to heaven. When Jacob awakens, he acknowledges that what he experienced was some sort of visitation from God (28:16-17), but his response is to barter with God: if God will grant him security, safety, prosperity, and ultimately a happy return home, Jacob for his part will acknowledge God and offer him a tithe.

Now it is rather different. True, God again takes the initiative: Jacob meets angelic messengers (32:1-2). Jacob decides to act prudently. He sends some of his people ahead to announce to Esau that his brother is returning. This spawns devastating news: Esau is coming to meet him, but with 400 men.

On the one hand, Jacob sets in motion a carefully orchestrated plan: successive waves of gifts for his brother are sent ahead, with each of the messengers carefully instructed to speak to Esau with the utmost courtesy and respect. On the other hand, Jacob admits that matters are out of his control. Bartering is gone; in „great fear and distress” (32:7) Jacob takes action, and then prays, begging for help. He reminds God of his covenantal promises, he pleads his own unworthiness, he acknowledges how many undeserved blessings he has received, he confesses his own terror (32:9-12). And then, in the darkest hours, he wrestles with this strange manifestation of God himself (32:22-30).

Twenty years or so have passed since Jacob’s outward-bound journey. Some people learn nothing in twenty years. Jacob has learned humility, tenacity, godly fear, reliance upon God’s covenantal promises, and how to pray. None of this means he is so paralyzed by fear that he does nothing but retreat into prayer. Rather, it means he does what he can, while believing utterly that salvation is of the Lord. By the time the sun rises, he may walk with a limp, but he is a stronger and better man.

Jacob’s story with his 12 children, who are the 12 tribes of Israel continues through Joseph. You can read Joseph’s story here (in English-including maps of Joseph’s journey when sold into slavery by his brothers) and you can read an English illustration of Joseph, the  foreshadow to the Savior here; also read a Romanian article (excerpt from book by Iosif Ton- Ce l-a tinut pe Iosif curat, aflat atit de departe de casa? Part 1 & 2). Lastly you can view the story of Joseph and his brothers in a film (English with Romanian subtitles)

The epilogue:

One of the most difficult things to grasp is that the God of the Bible is both personal–interacting with other persons–and transcendent (i.e. above space andtime–the domain in which all our personal interactions with God take place).As the transcendent Sovereign, he rules over everything without exception, as the personal Creator, he interacts in personal ways with those who bear his image, disclosing himself to be not only personal but flawlessly good. How to put those elements together is finally beyond us, however frequentlythey are frequently assumed in Scripture.

When Jacob hears that Joseph is alive, he offers sacrifices to God, who graciously discloses himself to Jacob, once again: „I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes” (Gen 46:3-4).

The book of Genesis makes it clear that Jacob knew that God’s covenant with Abraham included the promise that the land where they were now settled would one day be given to him and his descendants. That is why Jacob needed the direct disclosure from God to induce him to leave the land. Jacob was reassured on three fronts: (a) God would make his descendants multiply into a „great nation” during their sojourn in Egypt, (b) God would eventually bring them out of Egypt, (c) at the personal level, Jacob is comforted to learn that his long-lost son Joseph will attend his father’s death.

All of this provides personal comfort. It also discloses something of the mysteries of God’s providential sovereignty, for readers of the Pentateuch know that this sojourn in Egypt will issue in slavery, that God will then be said to „hear” the cries of his people, that in the course of time he will raise up Moses, who will be God’s agent in the ten plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the granting of the Sinai covenant and the giving of the law, the wilderness wanderings, and the (re)entry into the Promised Land. The sovereign God who brings Joseph down to Egypt to prepare the way for this small community of seventy persons has a lot of complex plans in store. These are designed to bring his people to the next stage of redemptive history, and finally to teach them that God’s words are more important than food (Deut 8).

One can no more detach God’s sovereign transcendence from his personhood or vice versa, than one can safely detach one wing from an airplane and still expect it to fly.

IS THE BIBLE RELIABLE AND ACCURATE? Josh McDowell

Photo credit www.amazon.com

You can bookmark this link and read the book (pdf form) for free at Josh McDowell’s website here http://joshmcdowellmedia.org/FreeBooks/JoshMcDowellAnswersFiveToughQuestions.pdf

Here is a wealth of Bible research and point-by-point logic to answer 65 of the toughest questions asked by skeptics – and to show precisely why Christianity stands up to even the toughest scrutiny. For more than 20 years, Josh McDowell has been one of America’s most powerful and persuasive defenders of the Christian faith. An important resource for any apologetics class. VIDEO by WA BibleDepartment

Ravi Zacharias quotes from 2 books

English: Ravi Zacharias signing books at the F...

Read more quotes and/or buy the books here- http://www.goodreads.com/

“Time is the brush of God, as he paints his masterpiece on the heart of humanity.”

“To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge”

“These days its not just that the line between right and wrong has been made unclear, today Christians are being asked by our culture today to erase the lines and move the fences, and if that were not bad enough, we are being asked to join in the celebration cry by those who have thrown off the restraints religion had imposed upon them. It is not just that they ask we accept, but they now demand of us to celebrate it too.” 

“There can be no reproach to pain unless we assume human dignity, there is no reason for restraints on pleasure unless we assume human worth, there is no legitimacy to monotony unless we assume a greater purpose to life, there is no purpose to life unless we assume design, death has no significance unless we seek what is everlasting.”

  1. “We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.” 
  2. With no fact as a referent, what is normative is purely a matter of preference.
    ― Ravi Zacharias, in his book The Real Face of Atheism
  3. “Every worldview has to bring together reason and faith.”
  4. “Goodness can endure a few moments; holiness is life-defining.”
  5. “I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him.” ― Ravi Zacharias, in his book Has Christianity Failed You?
  6. “A friend asked the author,”If this conversion you speak about is truly supernatural, and why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians that I know?”  Ravi Zacharias, in his book Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend

Description for the book (Amazon):

Atheism is a world without God. Its true nature–whether disguised in Eastern mysticism or American cynicism–is despair. In this thought-provoking and witty book, Ravi Zacharias provides Christians a clear apologetic for their faith.

Formerly published as A Shattered Visage, The Real Face of Atheism systematically examines atheistic positions on human nature, the meaning of life, morality, the „First Cause,” death, and more. With a new introduction and revisions throughout, The Real Face of Atheism is the perfect text for pastors, students, and thinking laypeople who want to improve their apologetic skill and reach out to non-believers.

On marriage:

Ravi Zacharias, from his book I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah: Moving from Romance to Lasting Love

  1. “Unless I understand the Cross, I cannot understand why my commitment to what is right must be precedence over what I prefer.” 
  2. “Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”

Description for the book (Amazon):

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis a beautiful young woman offers assistance to a weary traveler and his camels, and out of that simple action, a marriage results-a marriage that offers profound lessons to couples today. Bible scholar and renowned speaker Ravi Zacharias draws five points critical to the long-lasting success of every marriage from the biblical story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah.

„Real love folds together both the emotions and the will,” writes Zacharias. „Without the emotions, marriage is a drudgery; without the will, it is a mockery.” Building upon that foundational truth, Zacharias goes on to explain the principles of seeking the counsel of others when finding a mate, cherishing your partner, remaining pure, becoming a man or woman of prayer, and, finally, risking everything in a relationship in order to experience God’s ideal for love.

Couples everywhere, from those about to be married, to those who have been married for decades, will draw strength and wisdom for the journey of marriage as they learn from Ravi what it means to move from romance to lasting love.

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