Monthly Archives: February, 2007

Another Easter Season, Another Skeptical Claim

Pulpit Magazine has a good list of links which respond to the most recent in the modern annual tradition of casting doubt on the historicity of traditional Christianity in the middle of one of its most holy seasons.
Time Magazine ran a piece describing James Cameron’s and Simchi Jacobovici’s press conference during which they announced their upcoming documentary and book, The Jesus Family Tomb.

for your edification, from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible . . .

1 Corinthians 15:1-28
The Resurrection of Christ
15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures,
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time,
most of whom are still alive,
though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,

the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For as by a man came death,
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die,
so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But each in his own order:
Christ the firstfruits,
then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
24 Then comes the end,
when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father
after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
25 For he must reign
until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
Christ is risen–He is risen indeed!

Premature Reports of The Planned Catholic-Anglican Reunion

Here is an excerpt from the official response to a Times of London report (to which I linked you yesterday) about the effort to which those engaged in the effort object.

Growing Together in Unity and Mission has not yet been officially published. It is unfortunate that its contents have been prematurely reported in a way which misrepresents its intentions and sensationalises its conclusions.”

“Both the heading of the article (‘Churches back plan to unite under Pope’) and its opening sentence, which speaks of ‘radical proposals to reunite Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope’ need to be put into proper perspective. For 35 years this dialogue has addressed questions of authority, including the papacy. The so-called ‘radical proposals’ found in Growing Together in Unity and Mission are the same proposals which ARCIC has been putting forward over the past 35 years. What this document says about the Petrine Ministry is not new, but a synthesis of what is said in ARCIC’s documents on authority (Authority in the Church I, 1976; Authority in the Church II, 1981; The Gift of Authority, 1999). While it is encouraging that a document of this kind can be produced and that practical day to day cooperation between Catholics and Anglicans can be strengthened, talk of plans to reunite the two communions is, sadly, much exaggerated.”

“The Times article speculates about the Catholic Church’s response to a possible schism within the Anglican Communion. It should be pointed out that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has consistently spoken of the value of the Anglican Communion remaining a communion, rooted in the Apostolic faith, as indicated in this statement from 2004: “It is our overwhelming desire that the Anglican Communion stays together, rooted in the historic faith which our dialogue and relations over four decades have led us to believe that we share to a large degree.” During the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Pope Benedict in November, 2006, the Holy Father noted: ‘It is our fervent hope that the Anglican Communion will remain grounded in the Gospels and the Apostolic Tradition which form our common patrimony and are the basis of our common aspiration to work for full visible unity.'”
So it’s not like it’s going to happen next week, but they’ve been working on it since about 1966, are currently working on it, and intend to accomplish it one day. In other words, “Rome’s leaving the porch light on for the Anglican Communion.” That being the case, my previous “sensationalised” comments stand.

The Romans Road — Anglican Edition

After 35 years of dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church of England, the groundwork is being laid for re-uniting both religious bodies under the pope. Yes, you read that correctly. The original and largest expression of the historic Reformation in England is undoing the work that had been done. Since the theology of the Reformation was largely abandoned by the Anglican Church up to at least a hundred years ago, it only makes sense that Romanism would rush back in to fill the void. After all, what’s the point of remaining separate from the apostate Roman Catholic Church if you’ve already apostatized from the biblical “Apostolic Succession” which is maintained by “continuing stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42)?

Read, “Anglicans, Catholics Discuss Unity,” from CNN.com.

And then read “Update on Relations with the Anglican Communion” for more information from the Roman Catholic side.

And here is what the Anglicans have to say for themselves . . . “Statement from the Co-chairs of the International Anglican – Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, on Anglican – Roman Catholic relations”

Dear Bloggers, You’ve Got a “Llove” Letter!

Check out my pastor’s new website! www.lloveletters.com. Notice that he’s got a book for sale, too!

Blogging under the identity of “Christian West,” my pastor will be regularly attempting to encourage believers who read his blog to “excercise the Disciplines of Llove.” Click here to read his first post on his blog. . .Failure Is Underrated.

From Rasict Ruckmanism to Reformed Theology

 

I just saw a great Day of Discovery program on television. The month of February is Black History Month. This month was selected because it contains the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. I’ve been noticing that Day of Discovery has been observing this by airing several of their programs which feature the contributions of great Christian African-Americans in American history, many of which I’ve seen in the past. This weekend, however, they kicked off a three-part series called Africa & the Bible. I got really excited about the first one, The Myth of a Cursed Race (at this link, you can watch the video online!). Part of the introduction of this video on the Radio Bible Class website reads, “Are all races created equal in God’s eyes? Down through the ages, some people have viewed those with darker skin as somehow less human—using skin color as an excuse to enslave and marginalize people.”
The reason I found this program so exciting was the fact that, in the past, during my sojourn in the worldview of “Ruckmanism,” I was taught this view that is among the historic blemishes that tarnishes the reputation of Christianity, along with such low points as the Crusades, Inquisition, and the Salem Witch Trials. The view espoused by Europeans and Americans to justify the forced slavery of generations of Africans did not originate in the turmoil which led to the American Civil War, but is centuries old, and is ingrained in the thinking of many in some form or other, to this day.
There are three books by Peter Ruckman in which he perpetuates this harmful interpretation of Genesis 9:20-28, which has been used to subjugate and generally look down on the African race. Their titles are, Segregation or Integration, Discrimination: The Key to Sanity, and Genesis: The Bible Believer’s Commentary Series. Not that I recommend your buying these books, but for your information, these titles may be found at Peter Ruckman’s PDF bookstore catalog.
Segregation or Integration is found on page 15 of the 16 page PDF file; Discrimination: The Key to Sanity is listed on page 9; and Genesis: The Bible Believer’s Commentary Series is on page 1. These writings by Peter Ruckman persuade many of his readers to adopt a racist worldview in relation to the African race. I was persuaded to believe it for a while. I was persuaded to believe it, not because I have any animosity toward black people from my own experience, I was persuaded to believe it because I wanted to believe that Peter Ruckman was a great Bible teacher. Many of his readers adopt this racist view out of a similar motivation. They’re not bad people. They are misled people.
I am thankful that before I adopted the extreme views of Ruckman, I had had enough exposure to the greater evangelical world and its way of thinking that as I forced myself to subscribe to Ruckman’s bankrupt views, I was always aware of the evangelical views, or at least attitudes, which highlighted to various degrees, the holes in his teachings. Luther once wrote that “reason is a whore,” being able to serve whatever purpose you want. For a period of a few long years, I prostituted my mind to this tragic worldview called “Ruckmanism.”
But my mind had a prior commitment to learning the truth. In my late teen years, back when I was considering the claims of charismatic theology, I determined that before I run off willy-nilly from the Independent, Fundamental Baptist tradition in which I was raised, I would first learn exactly what it is that the IFB tradition teaches, and only if they are in error, will I ever leave the tradition in which God had me raised. As I read and thought, I came to the conclusion that the strain of teaching I need to follow is whatever is the most conservative Baptist teaching that I can find. So as I began my journey toward the “right,” eventually I found myself dangling by my fingernails from the lunatic fringe clutching the writings of Peter Ruckman under my other arm. Because I considered Ruckman one of the most “conservative” writers I’d ever read, I figured his were the views I needed to adopt. So, I began the process of assimilation.
I sincerely thought I was learning the truth. I sincerely wanted to believe that I was learning the truth. But even though I wanted to believe the views of this “most conservative” of Baptist teachers, the much more reasonable views of the greater evangelical world always haunted me–the kind that respected the King James Version, but had more confidence in the modern, critical, eclectic text of Scripture; the kind who confessed (whether in a creedal, or non-creedal way) “one holy catholic (universal) church,” as opposed to my “local church only” theology; the kind who thought Martin Luther King, Jr., was a genuine American hero, rather than merely an adulterous, communist-sympathizer who wanted to unleash a dangerous “jungle culture” on this Christian nation.
By God’s grace, as time progressed, and I continued to search for the truth, the holes in Ruckman’s teachings grew and grew, until one day I had to admit to myself, “You know, if I were honest, I’d half to admit that I simply don’t believe this stuff anymore.” In fact, I can tell you the exact spot where I stood when I was finally willing to have this thought. I was mixing ink at the Reformation Station (my nickname for the print shop at which I used to work with my friend, Gage Browning, but this was before he was hired), listening to R. C. Sproul on my Walkman teaching about the inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. This was the moment when enough light had pierced the dark views of Ruckmanism that I began the process of genuine Reformation.
This is the reason I found Day of Discovery’s program, Africa & the Bible, part one: The Myth of A Cursed Race such an exciting and enlightening program. I highly recommend it. In fact, I’m about to go back to RBC’s website and offer my “gift of any amount” to their ministry, so that they can thank me for my support of their ministry with the gift of this three part series. I’m sure someday in the future I will be able to share it with others in my future teaching ministry at church. And then at or around February 23, I’m going to the theater to view Amazing Grace, the film about William Wilberforce’s successful efforts to abolish slavery in England two hundred years ago.
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