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The movie based on the book releases this week. Since this child's account of his near death experience is consistent with Christianity, it may be tempting for Christians to find this story encouraging. But we've got to be careful accepting people's experiences as confirmation of the truth of Christianity. People of other faiths and no faith have near death experiences that are quite different and supposedly teach us things that are inconsistent with Christianity. So if you take some experiences as reliable testimony, how do you counter the others?
In the fall of 2012, Harvard historian Karen King announced she'd been given a fragment of a manuscript that mentioned Jesus' wife. It's in the news again because studies have indicated it's not a modern forgery. But whether or not it was a forgery isn't the main issue. The date of the manuscript is what's relevant, and even in 2012 when the announcement was made, it was considered to be a few centuries after Jesus – and long after the New Testament documents were written. So it presented no authoritative rival to those documents about Jesus.
Angie Mosteller has some simple suggestions for celebrating Advent this week that will help you keep the focus on the reason for the season and give you time to meditate on the significance of "God with us." COMMENTS Stand to Reason Blog
Dorothy Sayers expresses well and in clear vernacular the reason for Christmas, the purpose of the incarnation: "God chose to make man as he is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He [God] had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine."
A caller to the radio program asked about answering a historical challenge to Luke 2 that Bart Ehrman has raised. I have to confess, I wasn't aware of this apparent problem, and researching it has actually been quite fascinating. Ehrman mentions it in this week's Newsweek magazine. Part of the key to the answer is what the Greek text of Luke 2 actually says, as opposed to what we've come to think it says.
I’ve had Logos Bible Software for some years. It’s a vast Bible study tool with tons of features and an enormous library of resources; I’ve only scratched the surface in my use. I recently had the opportunity to learn more about it and read one of their new resources that I’ve been anxious to read.
I think one of the biggest obstacles to people grasping the meaning of the Gospel is that they misunderstand the message. For various reasons, people think what we're offering them is a way to be good enough to go to Heaven. It's the message of every other religion – a system to follow to be moral enough or appease God. It's what has been preached in a lot of purportedly Christian churches.
You may know that one of the topics Greg teaches on is "Decision Making and the Will of God." Greg shows that the Bible teaches us not to listen for God's voice in order to make decisions, but to develop wisdom. (If you're not familiar with it, you can read out it here.)
John Shelby Spong, a retired bishop of the Episcopal church and participant in the Jesus Seminar, has a new book he summarized in a recent article. He gives six reasons his book expands on for why the Gospel of John is not a reliable, historical source. J.
Alan and Greg wrote about the "Insider Movement," a missions movement that, in some circles, has gone beyond contextualizing the Gospel to compromising key elements of doctrine. In attempts to remove the stumbling block that Jesus is the Son of God - a particularly offensive concept to Muslims - some Bible translations were actually changing the meaning of Bible passages with divine familial references.