September 28, 2010

Being a Christian Ain't Easy! (Part 1)

I started reading my New Testament looking for some requirements for Christians.  In Matthew 5, Jesus does indeed give some “rules” for living a Christian life. Then I got to the 48th verse and read the killer command, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect.” Perfect, are you kidding? Sin and imperfection  greets us at every corner. After re-reading the Sermon on the Mount, it became painfully obvious that I for one could not be “perfect.” Consider the following.

Matt 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment, ...anyone who says , 'You fool,’ will be in danger of the fire of hell!” I suspect I will have a lot of company in the fires of hell, if those who are angry with his brother ( and presumably his sister as well) are subject to judgment.

Matt 5:28. “But I (Jesus) tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery

September 20, 2010

I Believe the Bible is my Spiritual Guidebook

The last post was titled “I Believe in the Bible (Mostly)” and ended asking the question, “Can I still use the Bible though I believe there are some errors, or at least some significant potential for errors?” The answer is a resounding, "Yes" with a qualification.  I would not use the Bible as an absolute historical record.  I would not use the Bible as an accurate record of the conversations and dialogue of the Hebrews as they interacted with God and their neighbors.  I would not use the Bible as an accurate timeline for the development of mankind.  I would not use the Old Testaments as a list of specific laws required to become a follower of God and His son Jesus Christ. I would not use the New Testament Gospels as exact timelines of Jesus ministry.

The reason I would not use the Bible for these reasons is because I don’t believe the Bible was intended as a history or scientific book but rather a spiritual guidebook.  Whether the Flood happened or Abraham argued with God or Joseph had a conversation as recorded, word for word, with his brothers is not important to me in my growth as a Christian.

September 9, 2010

I Believe in the Bible (Mostly)

In previous posts, my beliefs are fairly consistent with traditional Christian beliefs. At a minimum, a Christian must believe in God and in Jesus.  Belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus are essential parts of the Christian belief for without these beliefs, neither God nor Jesus make any sense and we are practicing a false religion.  These are my basic beliefs from which I will not vary, can not deny. 

You will notice in prior posts, I reframe from quoting scriptures as “proof” of either God or Jesus.  It would be relatively easy for someone to advocate a belief in a certain religion if they only used a book they had written to prove the religion. The Christian New Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament were written by humans with common religious beliefs. This does not negate the validity of their writings, but it would not be good scholarship to use what they have written to prove what they have written. Using a scripture that says, “God exists” can not be used to prove that God exists.

I believe in a creator God and a savior Jesus because of the non scriptural evidence that convinces me.  But

September 6, 2010

I Believe in Jesus

When discussing Jesus, there are at least two questions that must be asked. Was the Jewish man whose name translates into Jesus, who is proclaimed by his followers as the Christ, an actual person in history? The answer to the second question has much larger implication. Is this Jesus who his followers say he is, i.e. the prophesized Messiah of the Jews, the Son of God, Immanuel, God with us?

Probably the most universally accepted fact about the Jewish carpenter, Jesus, is that he actually lived. Wikipedia, certainly not a scholarly source, does offer several references to the historic Jesus. While there are some historians who reject the notion of the historic Jesus, the vast majority accept his existence in history.  Major religions also accept Jesus as having lived in the approximate time frame indicated in the Bible. Muslins accept Jesus, but do not see him as the prophesized Messiah.  They see him as a great teacher and a prophet of the one God. But Islamic texts do not accept the concept of God having a partner in the Lordship of the earth. But they do recognize that Jesus lived.

Judaism rejects the idea of Jesus as the prophesized Messiah. In fact, they do not consider him to have been a

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