THE FORUM

“Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” (St. Francis of Assisi)

Joseph Sunde: Peter Greer on the ‘Spiritual Danger’ of Service and Charity

Peter Greer has spent his life doing good, from serving refugees in the Congo to leading HOPE International, a Christian-based network of microfinance institutions operating in 16 countries around the world. Yet as Greer argues in his latest book, The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, “service and charity have a dark side”…. “When I looked to Scripture for guidance, what I found troubled me,” Greer writes. “Men and women who had heard from God—who even performed amazing miracles—were just as likely to blow it as everyone else.” And alas, in all of our discussions about how to best serve our neighbors, how often do we focus on surface-level externalities to the neglect of the human heart? How often do we narrow down our “metrics for success” to exclude any discussion or contemplation about the motivations driving our actions or the potential for pitfalls along the way?….  Indeed, as I’ve argued in the past, just as important as ensuring positive outcomes of well-intended service is the basic process of ensuring that our “good intentions” are actually good. As Lester DeKoster and Gerard Berghoef write, “The quality of stewardship depends on obedience to the Master’s will.”  MORE…

 

Protesters challenge ban on truth about ‘choice’


A Colorado court’s decision that revealing the truth about abortion – through images of the results of the violent procedures – can be banned is being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court by pro-life advocates who charge that such content-based restrictions are unconstitutional. The case is being presented to the high court by officials with the Thomas More Society….

At issue are graphic images that the abortion opponents have displayed to try to convince observers that abortion is not a good thing. A Colorado appeals court said the images would have to be censored, and the state Supreme Court refused to take the case. But that, according to the filing, means that a “content-based” restriction, acknowledged as such even by the court, is law in Colorado. “And it does not enjoy the support of a single Supreme Court precedent involving political speech on any other subject,” the brief explains.  MORE…. 

Keith Akers: Was Jesus a Zealot? Part I

It’s a pleasure to encounter a book about Jesus that acknowledges the critical importance of Jesus’ disruption of the animal sacrifice business in the last week of his life; that acknowledges that Jesus was a Jew and tries to understand him in terms of the Jewish thought of the time; and that understands the historical importance of the shattering of the early church due to the dispute between Paul on the one hand, and James the brother of Jesus and the other disciples on the other. Such a book is Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, 2013).  This book is sufficiently interesting that I will devote two blogs to issues which it raises, even though there is no mention of vegetarianism or the Ebionites.  In this first one, we’ll look at the incident in the temple, to which Aslan attributes central importance.  In the second, we’ll look at the early Christian attitude towards war.

For Aslan, Jesus was a “zealot” in the original meaning of the term — someone full of zeal.  Aslan’s discussion of the primary example of Jesus’ zeal, the celebrated incident in the temple, is what gives Aslan’s views bite.  During the Passover, Jesus disrupts the animal sacrifice business in the temple (Matthew 21:12–13 and parallels).  Jesus “releases the sheep and cattle ready to be sold for sacrifice and breaks open the cages of the doves and pigeons, setting the birds to flight” (Zealot, p. 74).  This event is central to Jesus’ life, was the immediate cause of his arrest and crucifixion, and is undoubtedly historical, as Aslan rightly maintains (and as I discuss in The Lost Religion of Jesus).  MORE…

Hilary White: Europe’s bishops discover what we all knew: most Catholics reject teaching on sexual morality

For four decades, faithful Catholics throughout the western world have publicly lamented the near-total absence of teaching on moral issues from Catholic pulpits – now a Vatican survey has incontestably shown their concerns were justified. The German and Swiss Catholic bishops have issued the results from their countries of a survey initiated by the Vatican in October asking what Catholics believe and adhere to when it comes to Church teachings on sex and the family…. It said “‘pre-marital unions’ are not only a relevant pastoral reality, but one which is almost universal” and that the great majority of respondents felt Catholic teaching on sexual morality is “unrealistic.”“Between 90 percent and 100 percent of couples who seek a Catholic wedding are already living together, despite church teaching that sex outside of marriage is sinful.

…. Many, in fact, consider it irresponsible to marry without living together beforehand,” the German report said. The Swiss report, which surveyed Catholics who attend church regularly, found that while they “fully agree on the importance of sacramental marriage” it is “difficult to accept the Church’s doctrine on the family, marriage and homosexuality.” About 60 percent said that the Church should “recognize and bless” same-sex unions, and there was “strong disagreement” over contraception. The “number one” request of Swiss Catholics, however, was that people who had been divorced and remarried outside the Church should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. MORE…

 

Keith Akers: Was Jesus a Zealot? Part II

Reza Aslan’s Zealot provocatively places Matthew 10:34 as the book’s motto: “I bring not peace, but the sword.” What was the attitude of the early followers of Jesus towards violence? One might conclude from the title and the motto that Zealot would be a rehash of the “Jesus as violent revolutionary” idea. S. G. F. Brandon, Robert Eisenman, and others have all made the case that Jesus was a militant Jewish nationalist. But Aslan’s book is more sophisticated than this; Jesus was a “zealot” with a lower-case “z,” not a member of the Zealot party….  Aslan alludes to, but does not discuss in detail, the complexity of Jesus’ views on violence. Obviously Jesus’ disruption of the temple raises problems for the idea of a pacifist Jesus, since Jesus seems to employ some sort of force even though no one is killed. What exactly does the “pacifism” attributed to Jesus mean here?

Walter Wink gives a slightly different translation of Jesus’ saying in the gospel, “do not resist one who is evil” (Matthew 5:39).  Wink states that the word translated as “resist” (antistenai) “is used in the LXX [Septuagint, Greek translation of the Old Testament] primarily for armed resistance in military encounters (44 out of 71 times).  Josephus uses antistenai for violent struggle 15 out of 17 times, Philo 4 out of 10.”  This suggests that a better translation of Matthew 5:39 would be “do not go to war against one who is evil,” rather than “do not resist one who is evil.” This is exactly the sort of distinction that would make sense both of Jesus’ pacifism and the incident in the temple.  Nonviolent resistance is still resistance. This is likely what Jesus intended in the temple: resistance, throwing yourself in the way, but not military action.  MORE…

Ed Stetzer: The Role of Faith in Public Life

For theists and atheists alike, the phrase “separation of church and state” is integral to just about any conversation on the relationship of faith and politics, particularly in the present day United States of America. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Since the ink dried on the Bill of Rights, there has been controversy regarding the religious implications of this statement, much of which surrounds the correct answer to the following question: “Was the religious portion of the First Amendment added to protect the church or to protect the state?”

…. LifeWay Research has conducted a number of studies regarding pastors, Christians, and their political stances. You can find those articles here, here, and here…. The thoughts from Protestant pastors were fascinating. The full report of that study can be found here. MORE…

For Christians, a silver lining to losing the culture war? (Matt K. Lewis)

As I wrote last year, the culture war is over, and conservatives lost. For Christians, though, there might just be a silver lining. Now, of course, it’s understandable why many of my fellow cultural conservatives mourn the decline of Christian values in the public arena, inasmuch as they had a powerful influence on the rise of western civilization. Historians like Rodney Stark and sociologists like Mary Eberstadt (and many others) have chronicled this phenomenon. It’s not simply about “losing power and market share,” but mourning the very real downstream effects of secular liberal policies on issues such as defending the unborn. But there are reasons for Christian conservatives to be optimistic about these societal changes, too. For one thing, the good times weren’t always so good. The peak of “Christian America” was probably the 1950s, and while this era had a veneer of spirituality and perhaps the post-war evangelical movement was at its apogee (think Billy Graham), America was plagued by the ugly reality of racism, which goes against the gospel. In many ways, the 1950s was a gilded age. While a lot of Americans presented themselves as Ward Cleaver, they drank and philandered like Don Draper.

…. Christ promised that genuine Christianity would be met with opposition. And the entire book of 1 Peter was written for this purpose: How do we live as a faithful minority? I don’t think anyone should be rooting for persecution, of course, but I do think there may be some very positive developments to come from a nation that no longer pretends to be Christian. It’s hard to be a rebel when you’re The Man. MORE…

Facing Death With Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy died from pneumonia, aged eighty-two, at the railway station of Astapovo, a remote Russian village, on November 7, 1910. He had left his family home on October 28, in the middle of the night, walking out on his wife of forty-eight years—the long-suffering and increasingly paranoid Sonya. “I am doing what old men of my age usually do: leaving worldly life to spend the last days of my life in solitude and quiet,” he wrote in the uncomfortably chilly letter of explanation he left for her…. Vegetarian, pacifist, and enemy of private property, he was, over the last decades of his long life, a persistent critic of the Russian imperial regime (hence the government spies infiltrating the crowds at Astapovo) and of the Russian Orthodox Church. He came to favor a primitive version of Christianity based entirely on the teachings of Jesus, rejecting the dogma of Orthodoxy (hence his excommunication by church authorities in 1901). And he was a vigorous supporter of the Russian poor.

He had launched welfare programs, including soup kitchens, and funded schools. In a gesture of solidarity with the underprivileged, he renounced his aristocratic title (“Count” Leo Tolstoy) and took to wearing the characteristic dress of the peasants—though neither contemporary photographs nor the comments of eyewitnesses suggest that he ever really looked the part of an authentic laborer. It was perhaps fitting that his final days became so celebrated across the world because, throughout his life but particularly from the late 1870s on, death was another of Tolstoy’s obsessions. He had firsthand experience of death and the dying that was unusual even for a man of his era.  MORE…

The Mystery of Original Sin

Legend has it that G. K. Chesterton, asked by a newspaper reporter what was wrong with the world, skipped over all the expected answers. He said nothing about corrupt politicians or ancient rivalries between warring nations, or the greed of the rich and the covetousness of the poor. He left aside street crime and unjust laws and inadequate education. Environmental degradation and population growth overwhelming the earth’s carrying capacity were not on his radar. Neither were the structural evils that burgeoned as wickedness became engrained in society and its institutions in ever more complex ways. What’s wrong with the world? As the story goes, Chesterton responded with just two words: “I am.” His answer is unlikely to be popular with a generation schooled to cultivate self-esteem, to pursue its passions and chase self-fulfillment first and foremost.  MORE….

Glenn Fairman: Being Good

For the non-believer, the Christian church can appear to be a formidable Wall of Judgment: a suffocating penitentiary of insufferable restraints and caveats that vie against the prevailing culture’s humanist zeitgeist. And in many instances this may, on its surface, seem to be a reasonably valid point. So often, that putrid stench of the Pharisee rears its ugly head in our corruption of the sublime Gospel message; and law, rather than grace, is unwittingly given theological ascendance for the Christian who still wrestles with the diabolic worm of pride — that most deadly of sins. Be that as it may, hypocrisy is not the divine measure of our orthodox belief, for Jesus strongly condemned those who took refuge in their false righteousness and warned those who would erect stumbling blocks for men who dangled over the razor’s edge of belief.

In his three-year ministry, Jesus was determined to live a life consumed with service, and the objects of his longing were to be found in the destitute, the helpless, the outcast, and the despised. Though He was no respecter of persons, from the Gospels we are told that He was drawn to the lost and the broken. The Biblical Jesus was not an aggrandizer of self, although he called all men to Him. He was and is, above all things, the Hero of a great reclamation project wherein a Father and His wayward sons could be eternally reconciled if the latter consented to being washed, healed, adorned, and made whole. If He discounted men at all, it was those who assumed the air of self-sufficient satisfaction: those whose religion extended only to the minimal limits of their legal obligations — and not a step further. MORE…

Stephen H. Webb: Karl Barth’s Finite God

The concept of infinity has a long pedigree in philosophy. Taken on its own terms, it surely exceeds all the efforts of our understanding, but the story of its appropriation by Christian theologians can be briefly told. The ancient Greeks equated the infinite with matter in its unformed and thus chaotic state. The infinite was just another name for everything we can never know, since we know material objects only according to their form. When Christian theologians realized that an infinite nature is also eternal, they concluded that God’s freedom and power should not be limited. So they transferred the concept of infinity from matter to the divine, which laid the foundation for most of the philosophical moves that have come to be associated with classical theism. That’s where the matter rested until Karl Barth rejected the whole thing. We are still too close to Barth’s theology to grasp the revolutionary potential of his doctrine of God, but his discussion of divine omnipresence in the second volume of Church Dogmatics is a good place to start.

Barth begins this discussion by redefining the idea of divine simplicity to mean that “at no time or place is He composed out of what is distinct from Himself,” instead of opting for a more typical definition such as “no parts.” God cannot be divided, not because he is immune to quantity, but because he is wholly himself. Beginning with this clarification, Barth begins to dismantle the conceptions of God provided by classical theism, pointing out the ways in which they impoverish our understanding of Jesus Christ. Barth observes that idealists of all kinds have always romanticized the possibility of experiencing something beyond the physical world, and fallen prey to “the ambiguous charm of the number ‘one.’” But God is not to be found there. The idea of something radically simple was born of the effort to imagine a being beyond matter and its inherent divisions. For Barth, this idea does not apply to God, and is a “flat contradiction to the way in which this recognition originally forced itself on the Church.” No matter how hard we try, we cannot get from the Trinity to God’s simplicity. (Barth is not above joking about this issue: “The absolutised idea of simplicity itself belongs to the complexity from which man must be delivered.”) And positing the material world as “the sum of finite reality” creates a reality “distinct from God,” something Barth rejects. After all, that which bounds the finite (which we could call the infinite) must be bounded by it in turn, placing God beyond even it. MORE…

Ray Nothstine: Money, Greed, and God

The belief that the essence of capitalism is greed is perhaps the biggest myth Jay W. Richards tackles in his new book, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and not the Problem. One reason for confronting this challenge is that many freemarket advocates subscribe to the thought that capitalism produces greed, and for them that’s not necessarily a negative. But for those with a faith perspective, greed and covetousness are, of course, serious moral flaws. It’s also the kind of myth that less articulate writers would rather not challenge, especially in this troubling economic climate.

Richards does, however, have a skill for tightly honed logical arguments, and he not only is able to defend free markets but to tear lethal holes into many of the economic ramblings of the religious left. He even takes on holy of holies like fair trade and Third World debt relief. Richards argues that the free market is moral, something that may come as a surprise to many people of faith. This book provides a crushing blow to those involved in the ministry of class warfare or those who wish to usher in the Kingdom of God through “nanny state” policies.  MORE…

Philip Booth: Solidarity, Charity and Government Aid

Of all Christ’s teachings as reflected in the gospel accounts, there is none as consistent as his defense of the poor and downtrodden. This teaching applies also to international relations and individual and societal responsibilities toward the poor and marginalized beyond one’s own borders. The Christian desire to assist the economic development of poorer peoples is founded on the principle at the heart of the Christian life: love. To be concerned about and act in favor of the poor around the world is to practice the virtue of charity. However, in this context, it is a mistake to equate charity with government aid. When the Church talks about solidarity and the preferential option for the poor, it usually refers to these concepts in the context of charity: the service of love in providing for one’s neighbor without expecting anything in return. In his 2009 World Peace Day message, for example, Pope Benedict XVI said: “[I]t is timely to recall in particular the ‘preferential love for the poor’ in the light of the primacy of charity, which is attested throughout the Christian tradition, beginning with that of the early Church.”

This is not to say that there is no role for governments in providing aid for poor nations. However, such aid does not fulfill our duty of solidarity, and it is for individual Christians to make prudential judgments as to whether government aid is effective in aiding the poor. That government provision of any good, service, or assistance does not discharge our duties and cannot bring the world to perfection was made clear by Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate: “Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone, and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State” (no. 38).  MORE…

School claims right to censor pro-life 6th-grader

A charter school in Minnesota has told a parent that administrators claim the right to censor whatever they want of a student’s speech outside of class time, including a 6th-grader’s expression of her deeply held pro-life views. The result?  A lawsuit over the school’s alleged violations of the student’s constitutional rights. Brian Bloomfield, executive director of the Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul told a parent, “The school has a right to censor students without violating their free speech.” He cited the Tinker and Hazelwood opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court as his support. He also cited “wikipedia” in writing, “In short, public schools have every right to prohibit student speech.”  MORE….

Christian Vegetarianism


Would Jesus Eat Meat Today? Perhaps not. Here’s why Modern animal agriculture causes immense pain and suffering to animals, harms the environment, and damages our health. Yet many Christians believe that the Bible gives us permission to eat animals. Can Christian teachings and principles help guide our food choices? As Christians, we are called to serve God, which means that we must be mindful of how our choices affect God and God’s Creation.


The Bible relates that God gave humanity “dominion” over creation (Genesis 1:26), and we see this as a sacred responsibility, not a license to ruin the environment and torment God’s creatures. Indeed, many of the world’s problems are due to human heartlessness and self-indulgence. Moving toward a plant-based diet is a responsible, effective, and faithful way to serve God and to protect God’s Creation. How is vegetarianism good stewardship?  MORE…

Adam Gopnik: Bigger Than Phil: When did faith start to fade?

In Tom Stoppard’s 1970 play “Jumpers,” the philosopher hero broods unhappily on the inexorable rise of the atheist: “The tide is running his way, and it is a tide which has turned only once in human history. . . . There is presumably a calendar date—a moment—when the onus of proof passed from the atheist to the believer, when, quite suddenly, the noes had it.” Well, when was that date—when did the noes have it? In 1890? In 1918, after the Great War? In 1966, when Time shocked its readers with a cover that asked whether God was dead? For that matter, do the noes have it? In most of the world, the ayes seem to be doing just fine. Even in secularized Manhattan, the Christmas Eve midnight Mass is packed tight with parishioners, and the few who came for the music are given dirty looks as they sheepishly back out after the Vivaldi. The most generous poll never seems to find more than thirty per cent of Americans saying they are “not religious or not very religious,” though the numbers get up to around fifty per cent in Europe.

But something has altered in the course of a century or so. John Stuart Mill said in the early nineteenth century that he was the only youth he knew who was raised as a skeptic; by the end of his life, skeptics were all around him. Yet, though the nineteenth-century novel is roiled by doubt, there isn’t one in which the doubters quite dominate. Whatever change has occurred isn’t always well captured by counting hands. At a minimum, more people can say they don’t think there is a God, and suffer less for saying so, than has been the case since the fall of Rome. The noes have certainly captured some constituency, obtained some place. What, exactly, do they have? There’s a case to be made that the change is more like pulses than like tides. MORE…

St. Francis’ charism of simplicity, service still a draw in modern age

Up until a few weeks ago, Iliana Maldonado was a typical 20-something in the U.S. She had a steady job and income. On her days off, she went out with friends her age, regularly posting and commenting on Facebook from a Samsung Galaxy smartphone that she rarely left behind. But there was something more attractive to her than the smartphone and her group of friends. A man had entered her life. That man was St. Francis of Assisi. These days, the 21-year-old is experimenting living in a community of cloistered nuns in a Wilmington, Del., convent, embracing the life of poverty, service and community that St. Francis and his followers, including St. Clare, began in the 12th century.

…. If all goes as planned, she will one day be a religious sister like the rest. Her life now means no money, no cellphone, no car, no night out with her friends — only a series of prayers, manual labor, and instruction about the Franciscan way of life as a postulant with the Poor Clare sisters at the Monastery of St. Veronica Giuliani. It is a vastly different way of life from the one most of us live, but it is not surprising that people today still choose to follow the more austere way of Francis, said Franciscan Father Larry Dunham, guardian of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington.  MORE…

Deacon Keith Fournier: Humility, Choosing to Take the Lowest Place

When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man, ‘and then you would proceed with  embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For every one who exalts himself, will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself, will be exalted.

True humility is rare in this age of narcissism and self idolatry. When we encounter it in a leader it moves us deeply. That is partly because we are used to experiencing its opposite in some who hold worldly power. But it is also because authentic humility reveals the God who emptied Himself for you and me. Jesus took the lowest place.  MORE…

The saint who ‘never allowed himself the luxury of a bed’

One of the most influential figures in Christian history in the second millennium, St Dominic invigorated the Church during one of those periodic times when man’s imperfections had led it down the wrong roads and so inspired heresy…. In 1214 De Montfort (father of the English political leader in the Barons’ War) gave him a castle at Casseneuil. Dominic, along with six followers, founded an order devoted to converting the Cathars, and though canonically approved, failed to win approval at the Lateran Council of 1215. It was only a year later that Pope Honorious III allowed him to set up the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans…. Influenced by the Benedictine vows of his youth, Dominic lived an austere life, abstaining from meat and observing periods of fasting and silence. He always, according to one chronicler, “selected the worst accommodations and the meanest clothes” and “never allowed himself the luxury of a bed”. He would also walk barefoot, “however sharp the stones or thorns, he trudged on on his way”. Before Christmas 1218 Dominic arrived at Bologna, where he established a convent and he settled in a nearby church, where he died in 1221, “exhausted with the austerities and labours of his career”. In the last moments of life he asked his followers to “have charity, to guard their humility and to make their treasure out of poverty”. He was canonised in 1234 and his remains, buried in a simple coffin, were moved to a shrine in 1267.  MORE…

 

R. Cort Kirkwood: Pelosi’s Support for Abortion Tells a Larger Story

Outstanding article. Since VCII, more than any other institution or group, the “universal” Church and its so called “faithful” Catholics have been responsible for the deplorable moral, social, and cultural conditions of this country, and the world in general. “We have met the enemy, and it us”.

It’s hardly news to faithful Catholics that the Democratic Party is the evil party for championing abortion and sodomy. And the chief pro-abortion Democrat in this country beside Barack Hussein Obama and his vice president is Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the U.S. House who proclaims herself a good and devout Catholic…. But Pelosi’s eyewash aside, the real import of her remarks is that they remind us of an ugly truth: Catholic Democrats played a significant role in the creation of the contraceptive culture that led to the legalization of abortion. A Catholic, for instance, invented the birth-control pill, and it was Catholic clergy in Boston, for example, who cooperated in repealing the state’s ban on the sale of contraceptives. In 1963, Cardinal Richard James Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, appeared on a radio program and suggested that laws forbidding the sale of contraceptives should be repealed because “I have no right to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do,” a reversal of his publicly stated position in 1948. Cushing was merely repeating what John F. Kennedy told the Houston Ministerial Association in 1960, which also prefigured Catholic New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s famous “personally-opposed-but …” position on abortion.  MORE….

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Catholicism: Scandalous in Every Age (Anthony Esolen)

A few weeks ago, a Catholic priest caused quite a stir in one of our local diocesan high schools. He spoke the truth about sex. Pause here to sigh, and to wish that our heresies were more interesting. Some of the parents and students objected. They did not say, “The...Read More »


The Lessons of Noah (Matthew Scully)

I have still not seen the new movie Noah, although I have a feeling I’m going to like it after reading about the screening party last month, an affair not quite up to the standards of the New York Post’s entertainment writer. “The buffet tables,” he reports, “were loaded with various...Read More »


Parable of the Good Samaritan: Meaning, Summary and Commentary (Jack Wellman)

What is Jesus trying to tell us in the Parable of the Good Samaritan?  What is He trying to tell us today in the church? Today, we call someone who helps another that they are a Good Samaritan.  This is because they are helping someone even at their own expense. ...Read More »


China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years (Tom Phillips)

It is said to be China’s biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross. The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster...Read More »


Christianity Without Christ (Fr. Dwight Longenecker)

This Lent I’ve gone back to basics and not only read Mark’s gospel, but have posted a daily Bible study here on the blog. In reading the gospels again what strikes me is the radical, bare bones, rock solid, bottom line approach of Jesus. He is not...Read More »


Good Friday: A day of redemption to humankind (Neisievilie Joseph Lhousa & K. A. Jacob)

In the Old Testament, God, showed through a system of sacrifices by which ancient Israel acknowledged their sins. The nature of these rituals made it clear that without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness/remission of sin (Hebrew. 9:22). God commanded the congregation of Israel to shed the...Read More »


Peacemakers: Jesus, Ethical Vegans, Animal Advocates (Frank L. Hoffman)

Over the years we have found a very interesting comparison between Jesus on one hand, and ethical vegans and animal advocates, including peaceful animal rights activists, on the other hand. The example Jesus set for us leads us to do every peaceful thing in our power to free creation...Read More »


New Life in Jesus and Living in the Heavenly Will of God (Frank L. Hoffman)

We hear many religious leaders speaking about being born again, but not in connection with our new life in Jesus and living in the heavenly will of God. Most people who claim to be born again are still living the same worldly lives they formerly did, only we hear...Read More »


The Protest Against Evil and the Rise of Atheism: Is Evil Really the Problem? (Deacon F. K. Bartels)

Man was originally “not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself” and with the created universe…. However, at the dawn of time, humankind fell from God’s grace through the commission of original sin by our first parents. Adam...Read More »


Righteous living: What it means to have a contrite heart (Joseph Parker)

The Bible tells us that every person was born into sin, this is found in Romans 5:12. It says: ”Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” We were all shaped in iniquity and...Read More »


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