Neither poverty nor riches – Craig Blomberg at Trinity International University

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What exactly does the Bible teach about material possessions? What does faithful New Testament stewardship entail, since it’s not a tithe? What does generous, sacrificial giving look like in an area as wealthy as Chicago’s North Shore-for individuals? for churches? for a seminary? Craig Blomberg doesn’t pretend to have all the answers but he has lived here, gone to seminary here, and, more recently, studied and written a lot about a biblical theology of possessions, especially in his book, „Neither Poverty nor Riches” (Inter-Varsity Press, 1999), and in his Bible study guide for individuals and groups, „Heart, Soul and Money” (College Press, 2000).

VIDEO by TheHenryCenter Published on Aug 6, 2013

Did Marx get his idea for socialism from the Gospels?

Does Acts 2-5 command socialism?

Having been born and raised in a communist country, with first hand knowledge of the impact of socialism, I found this article very interesting and on target. It is an article posted on the Gospel Coalition website, in which Art Lindsley discusses the claim made on a Washington Post blog, by writer Gregory Paul that ‘Marx likely got the general idea for socialism from the Gospels’.

„A truly strange thing has happened to American Christianity,” Gregory Paul writes for The Washington Post’s „On Faith” blog. He claims that Christians who defend the free market are in a profound contradiction because Acts 2-5 is „outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx—who likely got the general idea from the Gospels.”

Acts 4:32-35, referring to the early congregation, says,

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. . . . There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Though these passages may sound like socialism to the average reader, such a superficial reading may miss what a closer examination of the text reveals. There are three major reasons why Acts 2-5 does not teach socialism. 

Lindsley quotes Craig Blomberg from his study  Neither Poverty nor Riches, in which Blomberg comments on  Acts 4:34b-35 and states:

The periodic selling of property confirms our interpretation of Acts 2:44 above. This was not a one-time divesture of all one’s possessions. The theme „according to need,” reappears, too. Interestingly, what does not appear in this paragraph is any statement of complete equality among believers.

Lindsley also points out that –

John Stott affirms Blomberg’s conclusions on property in the early church, also underscoring Luke’s use of the imperfect tense:

Neither Jesus nor his apostles forbade private property to all Christians. . . It is important to note that even in Jerusalem the sharing of property and possessions was voluntary . . . It is also noteworthy that the tense of both verbs in verse 45 is imperfect, which indicates that the selling and giving were occasional, in response to particular needs, not once and for all.

Finally, Lindsley gives 2 reasons why, even if  all believers sold all their possessions and redistributed them among the community, this still would not prove socialism is biblical.

  1. The act in Acts was totally voluntary — Socialism implies coercion by the state…
  2. The narrative was not a universal command. — To prove Acts 2-5 commands socialism, you would have to show that this historical precedent is a mandatory prescription for all later Christians.

Click here to read the entire article at the Gospel Coalition website.

Why Did Jesus Come To Earth? – Lee Strobel and When Was the Gospel of Luke Written?

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Why Did Jesus Come To Earth? – Lee Strobel, posted with vodpod

Q. In one of your videos at, you mentioned the gospel of Luke. When was Luke written? I thought it was at the end of the first century.

A. You’ve brought up my favorite gospel – Luke’s account of the birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus. I especially appreciate Luke because he was like a first-century investigative reporter. A physician and close associate of the apostle Paul, Luke stresses in the introduction to his gospel how he “carefully investigated everything from the beginning” in order to write “an orderly account” about “the certainty” of what took place.

When was Luke written? According to New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary, the standard scholarly dating, even in very liberal circles, is Mark in the 70s, Matthew and Luke in the 80s, and John in the 90s. “That’s still within the lifetimes of various eyewitnesses of the life of Jesus, including hostile eyewitnesses who would have served as a corrective if false teachings about Jesus were going around,” he pointed out in my interview with him for The Case for Christ.

However, Blomberg said there’s evidence Luke was written much earlier than that. “We can support that by looking at the book of Acts, which was written by Luke. Acts ends apparently unfinished – Paul is a central figure of the book, and he’s under house arrest in Rome. With that the book abruptly halts. What happens to Paul? We don’t find out from Acts, probably because the book was written before Paul was put to death.

“That means Acts cannot be dated any later than A.D. 62. Having established that, we can move backward from there. Since Acts is the second of a two-part work, we know the first part – the gospel of Luke – must have been written earlier than that.” Keep in mind that Jesus was put to death in A.D. 30 or 33.

In his classic book Scaling the Secular City, leading apologist J. P. Moreland of Talbot Seminary offers half a dozen arguments that combine to make a strong case that Acts was written around A.D. 62 to 64 (and thus Luke’s gospel slightly before that). These include:

• Acts doesn’t mention the fall of Jerusalem in 70, “and this is quite odd since much of the activity recorded in Luke-Acts centers around Jerusalem…. The omission of any mention of the fall of Jerusalem makes sense if Luke-Acts was written prior to the event itself.”

• There’s no mention in Acts about Nero’s persecutions in the mid-60s.

• Acts doesn’t refer to the martyrdoms of James (61), Paul (64) and Peter (65). “This is also surprising,” said Moreland, “since Acts is quick to record the deaths of Stephen and James the brother of John, leaders in the early church. These omissions are even more surprising when one realizes that James, Peter and Paul are the three key figures in Acts.”

• Acts deals with subjects that were important prior to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

• Acts uses several expressions that are very early and primitive. The phrases the Son of man, the Servant of God, the first day of the week (regarding the resurrection) and the people (referring to the Jews) would not need to be explained to readers prior to 70. After that, they would need an explanation.

• Acts also doesn’t mentioned the Jewish war against the Romans, which started in 66.

Taken together, these points make a strong case for an early dating of Luke. Mark dates back even earlier, given that Luke used it as one of his sources. Paul’s writings generally predate Mark – and have embedded in them even earlier creeds and hymns of the first Christians that “consistently present a portrait of a miraculous and divine Jesus who rose from the dead,” said Moreland.

Thanks for bringing up Luke’s gospel at this time of year, since it contains such a detailed and moving account of Jesus’ birth.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 8-12)

–>The Son of God who risks by Craig Blomberg (essential reading)

This is a very interesting article addressing thoughts and questions we all have that we will never fully have answers for, here in our limited thinking, but will certainly one day have the full answers from our glorious God. Still, it is very interesting to follow the debates between the esteemed men of  God who delve into these deeper studies. I first learned of Craig Blomberg from Lee Strobel’s testimonies as one of the expert contributors to Lee Strobel’s investigation for the Case for Creator,Faith and Jesus book series. Here is a short bio for Mr. Blomberg from Denver Seminary:

Craig Blomberg is Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary and who has written numerous articles in professional journals, multi-author works and dictionaries or encyclopedias, he has authored or edited 15 books, including The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (now revised in a 21st century edition), Interpreting the Parables, Matthew for the New American Commentary series, 1 Corinthians for the NIV Application Commentary series, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey; Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions; Making Sense of the New Testament; Preaching the Parables; Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners; and From Pentecost to Patmos: An Introduction to Acts through Revelation.(See complete bio here)

In a post dated Jan. 04,2011 Craig Blomberg writes:

So, too, we don’t have to solve the probably insoluble questions about how much Jesus knew of his identity and mission and when he knew it. Only the apocryphal Gospels ever suggest he sprang from Mary’s womb able to speak and discourse about his deity! But even as he became more and more cognizant of his role on earth, there is no reason to conclude that it was ever revealed to him that he could not sin. In other words, at some point, he is likely to have known about his need for a sinless life, in order to atone for the sins of the world, without knowing for sure that he could fulfill that task. Now that is a God who risks! Or to put it more precisely, the Son of God who at least senses great risk. What if he failed? Had God no backup plan? His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane disclosed something of his inability to answer this question but his hope that there was one. No wonder he was in such agony—agony that went beyond his understandable horror at the physical suffering he would endure on the cross.

Such risk magnifies the glory of the incarnation and the inscrutability of our Triune God far more than simplistic affirmations that it was all certain, all known, all understood, by all persons of the Trinity at all points along the way. Jesus of Nazareth would have sensed enormous risk and felt that he might prove wholly inadequate to the task. What an encouragement to us about his ability to empathize with every kind of weakness and temptation we experience (Heb. 4:14-15a), including when we do sin, which of course he didn’t.

You can read the full article on his Denver Seminary Blog – New Tstament Musings.

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