Cum e văzut un creștin în Franța – Amintiri din altă viață: Cum arată un adevărat stat secular?

FOTO kathmandupost.ekantipur.com

FOTO kathmandupost.ekantipur.com

Toleranța selectivă – calea către o dictatură atee?

Dar mă întreb: oare aceasta înseamnă toleranţa? Dacă eu purtam crucea, era o ofensă faţă de religia celuilalt. De ce? Doar nu le transmiteam să nu poarte voalul islamic! Adevărata toleranță, diversitate şi multiculturalitate constau în a-l accepta pe celălalt aşa cum este, fără să vreau să-l schimb; să mă rog pentru el la Dumnezeu şi, dacă este cazul, Dumnezeu îl va schimba. Adevărata toleranță ar însemna ca eu să pot purta crucea şi alții voalul fără să vrem să ne facem rău sau să vrem cu tot dinadinsul să ne schimbăm reciproc. Altfel nu mai vorbim de toleranţă religioasă sau respect pentru celălalt, ci de dictatură atee.

Stânca mea a fost mereu biserica, acolo am găsit sprijin tot timpul de la Dumnezeu, de la sfinți. Se mira șefa mea cum de eram acceptată la atâtea conferințe… Ea nu știa că, de fiecare dată, mă duceam înainte să vorbesc cu Sf. Parascheva și îi spuneam: „Faci cum știi tu că e mai bine”… Adică făcea ea, nu eu. Dacă aș fi făcut eu, n-aș fi fost acceptată peste tot.

Mi-a mai fost de mare ajutor faptul că tot salariul meu, în afară de chirie și alte facturi curente, l-am investit în cursul de pictură de icoane pe care l-am urmat atât la Institutul ortodox rus Sf. Serghie, cât și la atelierul Sf. Iosif. Pictura a fost o pasiune din copilărie. Am început să pictez de la vârsta de zece ani (deși primele schițe cam mâzgălite le-am făcut pe la patru ani pe dicționare și pereți). În prezent, întoarsă în țară, mă ocup de această a doua pasiune a mea și pictez.

Am simțit nevoia să vă spun povestea mea pentru că în opinia mea trebuie să fim conștienți că, dacă nu luăm atitudine, în scurt timp societatea va arăta la fel și la noi. Deja în orașele mari valul secularizării se face resimțit….

CITESTE mai MULT aici – http://stiripentruviata.ro/amintiri-din-alta-viata-cum-arata-un-adevarat-stat-secular/

Reclame

ALIANTA FAMILIILOR din ROMANIA – IDEILE INTOLERANTE ALE LUI YOSSI NEHUSHTAN

secularism
Din nefericire, auzim din partea lui Nehushtan ce auzim din partea majoritatii intelectualilor occidentali privind crestinismul: Biblia e o carte intoleranta, nu un text relevat ori inspirat ori de natura divina. Pe acest argument Nuhustan isi cladesre restul ideilor. Biblia si invataturile crestine nefiind de origine divina, zice el, textele crestine codifica prejudiciile intolerante ale crestinilor. De aceea cretinismul traditional, in opinia lui, este intolerant si irational.
….Premiza cartii e ceea ce titlul spune – religia e intoleranta prin natura ei, societatea cladita pe valori religioase (toate intolerante in opinia lui) trebuie reformata, si democratia liberala si toleranta trebuie sa interzica religiile intolerante si manifestarile „intolerante” ale religiei…
Yossi Nehushtan e profesor de drept la Universitatea Keele din Marea Britanie dar promoveaza idei periculoase. E un exemplu  agresiv al secularismulul irational al zilelor noastre. Anul acesta a publicat una din cele mai anti-religioase (si am putea zice anticrestine) carti pe care, in opinia noastra, secularismul le-a produs in ultimele decenii. Titlul ei e suficient sa intelegi ideile periculoase ale acestui autor: Intolerant Religion in a Tolerant-Liberal Democracy („Religia intoleranta si democratia tolerant-liberala”) Premiza cartii e ceea ce titlul spune – religia e intoleranta prin natura ei, societatea cladita pe valori religioase (toate intolerante in opinia lui) trebuie reformata, si democratia liberala si toleranta trebuie sa interzica religiile intolerante si manifestarile „intolerante” ale religiei.
Cu toate ca Nuhushtan foloseste un termen larg pentru a defini religia, argumentele lui sunt focalizate asupra celor trei mari religii contemporane: crestinismul, iudaismul si islamul. Islamul Nehustan nu il cunoaste nici nu-l intelege, cu toate ca pretinde sa-l cunoasca. Iudaismul ii este cunoscut, Nehushtan fiind evreu. Dar crestinismul il cunoaste si intelege doar partial. Facem afirmatia asta pentru ca isi expune cunostintele despre crestinism din auzite, adica din ce au scris altii despre crestinism dintr-o perspectiva similara: crestinismul prin definitie e intolerant. Budismul nu e inclus in studiul lui Nehushtan pentru ca nu-l intelege si nu-l poate explica. Ca atare, inamicul numarul unu pe care se axeaza Nehushtan si asupra caruia isi focalizeaza furia lui este crestinismul.
Din nefericire, auzim din partea lui Nehushtan ce auzim din partea majoritatii intelectualilor occidentali privind crestinismul: Biblia e o carte intoleranta, nu un text relevat ori inspirat ori de natura divina. Pe acest argument Nuhustan isi cladesre restul ideilor. Biblia si invataturile crestine nefiind de origine divina, zice el, textele crestine codifica prejudiciile intolerante ale crestinilor. De aceea cretinismul traditional, in opinia lui, este intolerant si irational.
Ce-i de facut, se intreaba el? Pentru Nehushtan toleranta si secularismul sunt sunt valorile supreme contemporane, cele mai valoroase cunoscute in istoria umanitatii si ca atare ele trebuie protejate cu orice pret si de oricare amenintare ideologica ori tentatie subversiva. Protejarea tolerantei si secularismului impune, deci, zice el, combaterea religiilor intolerante prin masuri autoritare puse la dispozitia statului secular.
Nehushtan nu e timid in afirmatiile lui. Religiile intolerante, valorile religioase intolerante, libertatea de constiinta pentru persoanele religioase nu trebuie acomodate in societatea seculara. Pentru a-si construi argumentul intolerantei impotriva crestinismului si a religiei in general, Nehushtan face referinte constante la faptul ca valorile traditionale si religioase nu sunt compatibile cu valorile relovolutiei sexuale contemporane. Exemplul pe care Nehushtan il da din nou si din nou e opozitia religiei, in special al crestinsimului, fata de homosexualitate si practicile sexuale imorale. Asta e dovada ultima, in opinia lui, a intolerantei religiei si a crestinismului. In consecinta, religia nu poate fi acomodata cind e vorba de conflictele intre drepturile „minoritatilor” sexuale si religie ori crestinism. Autoritatile publice trebuie constranse sa actioneze impotriva convingerilor religioase ale functionarilor publici, si daca refuza, concedierea lor e justificata. Libertatea de constiinta a persoanelor religioase cind e vorba de avort ori eutanasie nu trebuie recunoscuta atita timp cit statul secular, in numele drepturilor omului, recunoaste avortul  ori eutanasia ca drepturi al omului.
Ideile lui Nehushtan sunt nu doar periculoase, ci foarte periculoase. Din fericire intelectualii, politicienii si jurnalistii care gandesc ca el sunt multi si influenti, cruciati, am putea spune, al razboiului rece al secularismului impotriva religiei si a persoanelor religioase.
Ideile periculoase ale lui Nehushtan sunt listate, explicit si pe intelesul tuturor, in introducerea cartii: „The main arguments of the book are, first, that illiberal intolerance should not be tolerated in a tolerant-liberal democracy; secondly, that there are meaningful, unique links between religion and intolerance, and between holding religious beliefs and holding intolerant views (and acting upon these views); thirdly, that the religiosity of a legal claim is normally a reason, although not necessarily a prevailing one, to reject that claim.” („Argumentele principale ale cartii sunt, in primul rind, ca intoleranta iliberala nu trebuie tolerata intr-o democratie tolerant- liberala; in al doilea rind, ca exista legaturi unice si semnificative intre religie si intoleranta, si intre valorile religioase si pozitiile intolerante; in al treilea rind, ca religiozitatea unei pozitii este, in mod normal, un motiv pentru a o respinge”)

Între viață și moarte: Religia în SUA

Pew research statistics

Moartea religiei a fost anunțată cu mult timp în urmă. La vremea respectivă, a fost un anunț curajos, dacă nu nebunesc, însă sondajele din ultimii ani arată că aceasta ar fi direcția. Dar va fi acesta și finalul?

Per total, neafiliații religios numără 56 de milioane de americani, cu 33 de milioane mai mult ca în 2007, ceea ce înseamnă o creștere de la 16% la 23%. Această categorie îi include pe cei care se declară atei și agnostici, care sunt sub 5%, dar și pe cei care „nu aderă la nimic, în mod special”. Studiul arată că printre aceștia se numără foști creștini. Aproape un sfert dintre persoanele care au fost crescute creștine au părăsit acest mediu, reprezentând acum 19% dintre adulții americani. Cei mai mulți dintre aceștia au plecat din bisericile protestante tradiționale și din bisericile catolice.

Oamenii sunt din ce în ce mai înclinați spre diversitate, îndreptați către includerea altor culturi și religii, toleranți față de diversitatea religioasă în cuplu, familie, relații și cer aceeași flexibilitate și din partea instituțiilor religioase. Aceste informații vin asociate și cu o gândire mai critică față de propria credință și faţă de propriile ritualuri.

Un adversar al religiei ar fi puterea pe care știința o are asupra formării minții. Aici, Wolpe se referă la faptul că majoritatea instituțiilor educaționale sunt pur seculare. Ele sunt ospitaliere în faţa unei mentalități seculare și științifice, nu a unei mentalități religioase, care este mai degrabă o minoritate tratată cu indulgență, dar și cu superioritate. În bestsellerul Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, autorul proclamă că toate valorile umane sunt construcţii sociale, că toate religiile sunt motivatori mitologici și că știința nu are dogme, lucruri admise ca adevăruri pe majoritatea holurilor academice.

Citeste mai mult aici –

 

Ravi Zacharias – Is America abandoning God?

Ravi Zacharias:

  • Somewhere in the 80’s I began to get a sense that the more religion became commercialized, the more we would flirt with making it a target that would be attacked because we marketed it, rather than proclaiming it. And, any time it invades in the political arena, the commercial arena, there will always be those who question the integrity of it’s message.
  • I think the world has changed since 9/11… sometimes they lump all the religions together and they say, „These guys are bent on destroying civilization as we know it.” They never give a fair test to atheism, at the same time.
  • The church has become distant from the locations of discussion and has become distorted in pursuing power and structure.

Ravi Zacharias and Bob Ditmer talk about a recent USA TODAY article that reports more Americans are declaring no religious affiliation according to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey. Published on Jun 11, 2012 by 

Dr. Emil Silvestru – The Darwin Delusion

A lecture by Dr. Emil Silvestru, Romania’s foremost Geologist, born and raised in communist Romania, who founded the world’s first Speleological Institute (speleology is the study of caves) lectures on Charles Darwin who also was a speleologist at the beginning of his career. Dr. Silvestru recounts Darwin’s life and work and the influences that formed him during his lifetime. This lecture gives many historical details spanning several continents and detailing the prevailing philosophies and politics of Darwin’s time concluding with Darwin’s influence on eugenics- including abortion.

A tip for playing the video. Press the play button, wait 5 seconds and press the stop button. Wait a few minutes for the play bar to start downloading on your computer and then press start. For some reason, when the video stopped for me I got a green screen and I had to refresh the page and wait for the play bar to re load again so I could go back to the minute mark where it originally stopped. The video is well worth watching though, so please be patient.

Dr. Emil Silvestru – „The Darwin Delusion” – September 27th, 2009 Evening Service from Peoples Montreal on Vimeo.

Dr. Emil Silvestru’s bio – Emil earned his Ph.D in geology at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania, (where he has worked as an associate professor) in karst sedimentology. An authority on the geology of caves, he has written one book (The Cave Book), published over 48 peer-reviews scientific articles, and co-authored three books: Terra – Catastrophe Naturale (Terra – Natural Catastrophes), The Geologic Column: Perspectives within Diluvial Geology and Rock Solid Answers.

Before moving into full-time creation ministry in 1997 Emil was the head scientist at the worlds first Speleological Institute (speleology = the study of caves) in Cluj. His areas of expertise include: karstology, sedimentology, geology and hydrogeology of limestone terranes, cave glaciology, show cave assessment & design, exploration and geology of metamorphic ore deposits.He has over 30 years experience in climbing and spelunking, educating many young spelunkers and mountain climbing devotees as well as participating in mountain and cave rescue operations.

After becoming a Christian in 1994, Emil began to re-think previously held views on the age of the earth. In particular he became interested in studying the geological processes that resulted from the world-wide flood recorded in Genesis. He became convinced that the flood provided exceptional conditions that greatly accelerated the geological processes commonly thought to take millions of years. In January 2002 he immigrated to Canada from Romania with his family. Emil now works full-time for Creation Ministries International-Canada as a researcher, writer and speaker. (Read it in its entirety here – http://creation.com/emil-silvestru, including links to his published scientific papers )

In the summer of 2012 Emil suffered a stroke from which he has not yet fully recovered. Please pray for Dr. Silvestru.

ALSO READ: Caving in to creation – Dr Carl Wieland interviews Romanian geologist and world cave authority Dr Emil Silvestru

Tim Keller – Leading the secular to Christ

by Tim Keller Pastor Redeemer Church.

Redeemer Church, Manhattan New York

Deconstructing defeater beliefs

Tim Keller on leading the secular to Christ – part 1

A. THE IMPLAUSIBILITY STRUCTURE OF A CULTURE
1. Defeater beliefs

Every culture hostile to Christianity holds to a set of ‘common sense’ consensus beliefs that automatically make Christianity seem implausible to people. These are what philosophers call ‘defeater beliefs’. A defeater belief is Belief-A that, if true, means Belief-B can’t be true.

Christianity is disbelieved in one culture for totally opposite reasons it is disbelieved in another. So, for example, in the West (as we will explore below) it is widely assumed that Christianity can’t be true because of the cultural belief that there can’t be just one ‘true’ religion. But, in the Middle East, people have absolutely no problem with the idea that there is just one true religion. That doesn’t seem implausible at all. Rather, there it is widely assumed that Christianity can’t be true because of the cultural belief that American culture, based on Christianity, is unjust and corrupt. (Skeptics ought to realise, then, that the objections they have to the Christian faith are culturally relative!) So, each culture has its own set of culturally-based doubt-generators which people call ‘objections’ or ‘problems’ with Christianity.

When a culture develops a combination of many, widely held defeater beliefs it becomes a cultural ‘implausibility structure’. In these societies, most people don’t feel they have to give Christianity a good hearing — they don’t feel that kind of energy is warranted. They know it just can’t be true. That is what makes evangelism in hostile cultures so much more difficult and complex than it was under ‘Christendom’. In our Western culture (and in places like Japan, India, and Muslim countries), the reigning implausibility structure against Christianity is very strong. Christianity simply looks ludicrous. In places like Africa, Latin America, and China, however, the implausibility structures are eroding fast. The widely held assumptions in the culture make Christianity look credible there.

2. Dealing with the implausibility structure today

Many books on reaching postmoderns today give the impression that people now need virtually no arguments at all. The ‘apologetic’ is a loving community, or the embodiment of social concern. I couldn’t agree more that postmodern people come to Christ through process, through relationships, though mini-decisions, through ‘trying Christianity on’. They are pragmatic rather than abstract in their reasoning, etc. But the books that are against any arguments at all seem to miss the fact that the extreme pragmatism of non-Christians today is part of a non-Christian world-view. Our post-enlightenment culture believes what has been called expressive individualism. That is — ‘it is true if it works for me’. This obviously is based on the view that truth and right-or-wrong is something I discover within my own self and consciousness.

What then of the claim that ‘postmodern people don’t want arguments — they just want to see if it works for them’? All right — as with any form of contextualisation, let us as evangelists enter — adapt partially — to the culture of expressive individualism. Let us show them the reality of changed lives. Let us use narratives rather than long strings of logic. But at some point you must also challenge the sovereignty of individual consciousness. Jesus is Lord, not my personal consciousness. At some point, the idea that ‘it is true if, and only if, it works for me’ must be challenged. We have to say: ‘Ultimately that is correct — in the very, very long run, obeying the truth will “work” and bring you to glory and disobeying the truth will “not work” and bring you to ruin. But in the short run (like — even throughout all the rest of your life!) obeying the truth might lead to ostracism, persecution, or other suffering.’

There have been many times in New York City that I have seen people make professions of faith that seemed quite heart-felt, but when faced with serious consequences if they maintained their identification with Christ (e.g. missing the opportunity for a new sexual partner or some major professional setback) they bailed on their Christian commitment. The probable reason was that they had not undergone deeper ‘world-view change’. They had fitted Christ to their individualistic world-view rather than fitting their world-view to Christ. They professed faith simply because Christianity worked for them, and not because they grasped it as true whether it is ‘working’ for them this year or not! They had not experienced a ‘power-encounter’ between the gospel and their individualistic world-view. I think apologetics does need to be ‘postmodern’. It does need to adapt to postmodern sensibilities. But it must challenge those sensibilities too. There do need to be ‘arguments’. Christianity must be perceived to be true, even though less rationalistic cultures will not demand watertight proofs like the older high-modern Western society did.

Tim Keller Portrait by Nathan Troeste

B. A ‘SANDWICH’ APPROACH TO SHARING THE GOSPEL

1. Two parts to sharing the gospel

What this means now is that there are two parts to sharing the gospel in a particular culture — a more ‘negative’ and a more positive aspect.

a) The more negative aspect has to do with ‘apologetics’ — it consists in deconstructing the culture’s implausibility structure. In short, this means you have to show on the culture’s own terms (that is, by its own definitions of justice, rationality, meaning) that its objections to Christianity don’t hold up.

b) The more positive aspect of sharing the gospel is to connect the story of Jesus to the base-line cultural narratives. In short, you have to show, in line with the culture’s own (best) aspirations, hopes, and convictions, that its own cultural story won’t be resolved or have ‘a happy ending’ outside of Christ.

2. A sandwich of three layers

But I think the overall best way to ‘present the gospel’ is a kind of ‘sandwich’ approach to these two parts. The following assumes there is a process and a series of conversations between you and the person who doesn’t believe.

a) Brief gospel summary

First, the gospel must be presented briefly but so vividly and attractively (and so hooked into the culture’s base-line cultural narratives) that the listener is virtually compelled to say, ‘It would be wonderful if that were true, but it can’t be!’ Until he or she comes to that position, you can’t work on the implausibility structure! The listener must have motivation to hear you out. That is what defeaters do — they make people super-impatient with any case for Christianity. Unless they find a presentation of Christ surprisingly attractive and compelling (and stereotype breaking) their eyes will simply glaze over when you try to talk to them.

b) Dismantle plausibility structure

Alvin Plantinga wisely asserts that people avoid Christianity not because they have really examined its teachings and found them wanting, but because their culture gives huge plausibility (by the media, through art, through the expertise and impressive credentials of its spokespersons) to a series of defeater beliefs that they know are true, and since they are true, Christianity can’t be. The leading defeaters must be dealt with clearly and quickly but convincingly. Defeaters are dealt with when the person feels you have presented the objection to Christianity in a clearer and stronger way than they could have done it.

c) Longer explanation of the person and work of Christ

Now, if people find you have at least undermined the defeaters in a listener’s mind, you can now return to talking at greater length about creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. If you try to do apologetics before you pull off a quick, attractive presentation of Christ, people’s eyes will glaze over and they will become bored. But if you try to do a very lengthy explanation of the meaning of Christ’s cross and resurrection before you convincingly deal with the defeaters, they won’t listen to you either.

Summary of the approach
1. The attractive gospel — brief gospel connected to baseline narratives
2. Why Christianity can be true — dismantling doubts and defeaters
3. The biblical story of the gospel — a more thorough telling
C. THE PROCESS
1. The gospel connected to baseline cultural narratives

The doctrines of creation, sin, grace, and faith must be presented in connection with ‘baseline cultural narratives’ — Jesus must be the answer to the questions the culture is asking. Don’t forget — every gospel presentation presents Jesus as the answer to some set of human-cultural questions, like ‘how can I be forgiven?’ (Western moral individualism) or ‘how can I be free?’ (postmodern expressive individualism) or ‘how can we overcome evil forces in the world?’ (contemporary Africans), etc. Every gospel presentation has to be culturally incarnated, it must assume some over-riding cultural concern, so we may as well be engaged with the ones that we face! Christianity must be presented as answers to the main questions and aspirations of our culture. Two of the over-riding concerns are:

a) Cultural concerns

First, a concern for personal freedom and identity. Contemporary people ask: Who am I? I’m not completely sure — but I do know I have to be free to create my own identity and sense of self. Whatever spirituality I have, it must leave me free to experiment and seek and not be a ‘one size fits all’.

Second, a concern for unity in diversity. Contemporary people ask: How can we get past exclusion and exclusivism? How can we live at peace in a pluralistic world? How can we share power rather than using power to dominate one another? How can we embrace the ‘Other’ — the person of a sharply different viewpoint and culture?

b) Gospel resources

Gospel resources for personal freedom. Kierkegaard depicts sin in The Sickness unto Death as ‘building your identity on anything but God’ which leads to internal slavery and narrowness of spirit. This is a gospel presentation that connects well today. (Kierkegaard, like Nietzsche and other great thinkers, was a good century ‘ahead of his time’.) Kierkegaard also deconstructed mere religion and moralism and contrasted them with the gospel. (See his Three ways of life: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the spiritual.) Building your identity on any finite created thing besides God leads to the idolisation of that factor and the demonisation of anyone who lacks it.

Gospel resources for living at peace. If you build your identity mainly on your class, or race, or culture, or performance you will necessarily vilify and disdain anyone who lacks what you consider the cornerstone of your own significance. Therefore, building your identity on God leads to hatred of the other, to social conflict and oppression. Jonathan Edwards (again, a man ahead of his time) recognised that if your highest love and greatest is your nation, your family, your career, even your religious performance, then you will disdain other nations, families, classes of people, and other religions. If anything but God is our ‘highest good’ (i.e. if we make anything an idol) then we have to demonise or at least exclude some part of creation. But if God is our ultimate good, then we are free to develop deep love for what Edwards calls, ‘Being in general’. If we truly made the Lord our ultimate beauty and Saviour and good — we would have an equal love and joy equally in all creation, all individuals, all people groups, even in all nature and created things.

In any case, there is no religion with a more powerful ground-motif for accepting enemies and the ‘Other’ than Christianity. We are the only faith that has at its heart a man dying for his enemies, forgiving them rather than destroying them. This must be presented to our culture as an unparalleled resource for living in peace in a pluralistic society.

Summary

As we said above, people’s eyes will ‘glaze over’ if you start your presentation with ‘reasons Christianity is true’. Christianity must be attractive to people before they will sit still for a presentation of intellectual credibility. A person must come to the point where he or she says, ‘that would be great if it were true — but is it?’ Then, and only then, will they sit still for a discussion on why Christianity is true. So Christianity has to first be presented attractively and compellingly. We must show postmodern Western culture — with its aspirations for personal freedom and unity in diversity — that its ‘Story’ can only have a ‘happy ending’ in Jesus Christ. Then we can deal with the main objections (the ‘defeaters’) in our culture that make it hard to believe that Christianity is true.

Example of a brief gospel presentation

Why we are here. The one God is a community — a Trinity of three persons who each perfectly know and defer to one another and love one another and therefore have infinite joy and glory and peace. God made a good, beautiful world filled with beings who share in this life of joy and peace by knowing, serving, and loving God and one another.

What went wrong. Instead, we chose to centre our lives on ourselves and on the pursuit of things rather than on God and others. This has led to the disintegration of creation and the loss of peace — within ourselves, between ourselves, and in nature itself. War, hunger, poverty, injustice, racism, bitterness, meaninglessness, despair, sickness, and death all are symptoms.

What puts the world right. But though God lost us, he determined to win us back. He entered history in the person of Jesus in order to deal with all the causes and results of our broken relationship with him. By his sacrificial life and death he both exemplifies the life we must live and rescues us from the life we have lived. By his resurrection he proved who he was and showed us the future — new bodies and a completely renewed and restored new heavens and new earth in which the world is restored to full joy, justice, peace, and glory.

How we can be part of putting the world right. Between his first coming to win us and his last coming to restore us we live by faith in him. When we believe and rely on Jesus’s work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, his healing kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us. Christ gives us a radically new identity, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation. This liberates us to accept people we once excluded, and to break the bondage of things (even good things) that once drove us. He puts us into a new community of people which gives a partial, but real, foretaste of the healing of the world that God will accomplish when Jesus returns.

This article is copyright to Tim Keller.

(via) Monergism

Michael Easley – Don’t let the world teach you theology

Why we believe what we believe 

 Michael Easley

One of the best lectures I have heard a week ago on the radio (WMBI 90.1 Chicago) by one of the former  presidents of Moody Bible Institute Chicago, as he addresses students at Moody. This is a great lecture for students planning to attend college, those already attending and most especially for parents. The lecture  is only 23 minutes long (and is audio only). The complete CD set of this Moody Today in the Word series can be purchased here.

Dr. Michael Easley

Michael Easley is teaching pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, Tenn., and a former president of Moody Bible Institute. He and his wife, Cindy, have four children.

Link to the Outline/Notes in pdf  form Page 1  and Page 2 here.

“But my fear is that most believers in Jesus Christ have no biblical world theology. They have no clue what it means to live in a world with a biblical grid.”
“Why you believe what you believe must govern all that you do.”
“No fact of contemporary western life is more evident than its growing distrust of a final truth and that is implacable questioning of any sure word”. Karl Henry in God Revelation and Authority
“We fight fact, we fight truth is what he‟s saying.”

Click here to Listen Now (mp3 file) Dr. Michael Easley talks about the crucial importance of knowing why we believe what we believe and reminds us about the role daily Bible reading has in forming our biblical worldview. He talks about how every ivy league university in the US started as theology schools with a Biblical world view, and eventually turned liberal due to the presidents they had.

University Indoctrination- ‘Christianity plagiarizes Mithraism’

Irenaeus on heresies:

„Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than truth itself.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.2)

The word „heresy” originally meant „choose” or „faction,” but as the early church grew, false teachers started to infiltrate.  It became necessary for the early church to determine what was and was not true doctrine.

The Bible condemns false doctrines and false teachers.  Gal. 1:8-9 says, „But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.”  See also 1 Cor. 16:22; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 Tim. 1:18-20; Titus 3:10.

Christians are saved by faith in the work of Jesus on the cross, but faith by itself is not enough.  Faith is not a substance you obtain.  Faith is belief, and faith is only as good as who you place it in.  False gods don’t save anyone.  This is why the True God says in Exodus 20:3, „You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Faith is not what saves, but faith in the true God is what saves.

Many college students’ faith in God gets smashed by secular professors presuming to teach them historical facts that discount God’s existence and attack the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since we now have a prominent pastor who through his video ministry speeches, validates the belief that it’s possible that Christianity borrowed from the cult of Mithra, it is important to know the Christian response.The enlightened professors at universities across the country never present an opposing view in the classroom other than their own personal set of beliefs. Here is a response from www.carm.org/ a Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. There are other excellent articles at this website, on various subjects that are highly informative. Talk to your children about this, and give them historical facts before they head to college. And then again, check and see if what your own church pastor has to say on this subject.

Doesn’t the religion of Mithra prove that Christianity is false?

Some critics of Christianity teach that the Christian religion was not based upon divine revelation but that it borrowed from pagan sources, Mithra being one of them. They assert that the figure of Mithra has many commonalities with Jesus, too common to be coincidence.

Mithraism was one of the major religions of the Roman Empire which was derived from the ancient Persian god of light and wisdom. The cult of Mithraism was quite prominent in ancient Rome, especially among the military. Mithra was the god of war, battle, justice, faith, and contract. According to Mithraism, Mithra was called the son of God, was born of a virgin, had disciples, was crucified, rose from the dead on the third day, atoned for the sins of mankind, and returned to heaven. Therefore, the critics maintain that Christianity borrowed its concepts from the Mithra cult. But is this the case? Can it be demonstrated that Christianity borrowed from the cult of Mithra as it developed its theology?

First of all, Christianity does not need any outside influence to derive any of its doctrines. All the doctrines of Christianity exists in the Old Testament where we can see the prophetic teachings of Jesus as the son of God (Zech. 12:10), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), was crucified (Psalm 22), the blood atonement (Lev. 17:11), rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10), and salvation by faith (Hab. 2:4). Also, the writers of the gospels were eyewitnesses (or directed by eyewitnesses as were Mark and Luke) who accurately represented the life of Christ. So, what they did was write what Jesus taught as well as record the events of His life, death, and resurrection. In other words, they recorded history, actual events and had no need of fabrication or borrowing.

There will undoubtedly be similarities in religious themes given the agrarian culture. Remember, an agriculturally based society, as was the people of the ancient Mediterranean area, will undoubtedly develop theological themes based upon observable events, i.e., the life, death, and seeming resurrection of life found in crops, in cattle, and in human life. It would only be natural for similar themes to unfold since they are observed in nature and since people created gods related to nature. But, any reading of the Old Testament results in observing the intrusion of God into Jewish history as is recorded in miracles and prophetic utterances. Add to that the incredible archaeological evidence verifying Old Testament cities and events and you have a document based on historical fact instead of mythical fabrication. Furthermore, it is from these Old Testament writings that the New Testament themes were developed.

Following is a chart demonstrating some of the New Testament themes found in the Old Testament.

Theme Old Testament
Reference
New Testament
fulfilled in Jesus
Ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God Ps. 110:1 Matt 26:64; Acts 7:55-60; Eph. 1:20
Atonement by blood Lev. 17:11 Heb. 9:22
Begotten Son, Jesus is Psalm 2:7 Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5
Crucifixion Psalm 22:11-18; Zech. 12:10 Luke 23:33-38
Eternal Son Micah 5:1-2; Psalm 2:7 Heb. 1:5; 5:5
God among His people Isaiah 9:6; 40:3 John 1:1,14; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Matt. 3:3
Incarnation of God 1)Ex 3:14; 2)Ps. 45:6 Isaiah 9:6; Zech. 12:10 1)John 8:58; 1:1,14; 2)Heb. 1:8; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:1-3
Only Begotten Son Gen. 22:2. See Typology John 3:16; Heb. 11:7
Resurrection of Christ Psalm 16:9-10; 49:15; Is. 26:19 John 2:19-21
Return of Christ Zech. 14:1-5; Mic. 1:3-4 Matt. 16:27-28; Acts 1:11; 3:20
Sin offering Ex. 30:10; Lev. 4:3 Rom. 8:3; Heb. 10:18; 13:11
Son of God Psalm 2:7 John 5:18
Substitutionary Atonement Isaiah 53:6-12; Lev. 6:4-10,21 Matt. 20:28; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18;
Virgin Birth Isaiah 7:14 Matt. 1:25

(For a more complete list please go to Are the New Testament themes found in the Old Testament?)

As you can see, there is no need for any of the Christian writers to borrow from anything other than the Old Testament source in order to establish any Christian doctrine concerning Jesus. If the argument that pagan mythologies predated Christian teachings and therefore Christianity borrowed from them is true, then it must also be truth that the pagan religions borrowed from the Jewish religion because it is older than they are! Given that all of the Christian themes are found in the Old Testament and the Old Testament was begun around 2000 B.C. and completed around 400 B.C., we can then conclude that these pagan religions actually borrowed from Jewish ideas found in the Old Testament. Think about it, the idea of a blood sacrifice and a covering for sin is found in the first three chapters of Genesis when God covered Adam and Eve with animals skins and prophesied the coming of the Messiah.

Furthermore, those who wrote about Jesus in the New Testament were Jews (or under the instruction of Jews) who were devoted to the legitimacy and inspiration of the Old Testament scriptures and possessed a strong disdain for pagan religions. It would have been blasphemous for them to incorporate pagan sources into what they saw as the fulfillment of the sacred Old Testament scriptures concerning the Messiah. Also, since they were writing about Jesus, they were writing based upon what He taught: truth, love, honesty, integrity, etc. Why then would they lie and make up stories and suffer great persecution, hardships, ridicule, arrest, beatings, and death all for known lies and fabrications from paganism? It doesn’t make sense.

At best, Mithraism only had some common themes with Christianity (and Judaism) which were recorded in both the Old and New Testaments. What is far more probable is that as Mithraism developed, it started to adopt Christian concepts.

„Allegations of an early Christian dependence on Mithraism

Foxe's Book of Martyrs (nearly 3,ooo pages)details ALL historically known and recorded examples of the torture and martyrdom of the Saints from the First-Century Apostles through the Reformation of the 16th Century.(People lived and died for a very real faith)

have been rejected on many grounds. Mithraism had no concept of the death and resurrection of its god and no place for any concept of rebirth – at least during its early stages…During the early stages of the cult, the notion of rebirth would have been foreign to its basic outlook…Moreover, Mithraism was basically a military cult. Therefore, one must be skeptical about suggestions that it appealed to nonmilitary people like the early Christians.”1

What is more probable is that with the explosive nature of the Christian church in the 1st and 2nd century, other cult groups started to adapt themselves to take advantage of some of the teachings found in Christianity.

„While there are several sources that suggest that Mithraism included a notion of rebirth, they are all post-Christian. The earliest…dates from the end of the second century A.D.”2

Therefore, even though there are similarities between Christianity and Mithraism, it is up to the critics to prove that one borrowed from the other. But, considering that the writers of the New Testament were Jews who shunned pagan philosophies and that the Old Testament has all of the themes found in Christianity, it is far more probable that if any borrowing was done, it was done by the pagan religions that wanted to emulate the success of Christianity.

  1. 1. R. Nash, Christianity and the Hellenistic World as quoted in Norman Geisler, Baker’s Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999, p. 492.
  2. 2. Bill Wilson, compiled by, The Best of Josh McDowell: A Ready Defense, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, p. 167.

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