Category: Apologetics

The Exaltation of Jesus: More than Just a Philosopher or Prophet

The Son of God as the focal subject in Hebrews 1:1-4 is that Son who was preexistent, became incarnate, and was then exalted to the right hand of God. We might say that the contemporary Jesus has come a long way since Hebrews was written- a long way down to earth. This exaltation, according to some modern Jesus scholars, only occurred in the minds and theologizing of the early church. Thus, the exalted Jesus of the New Testament is being recast variously today as a cynic philosopher, a charismatic man of the spirit, an eschatological prophet, a prophet of social change, and a sage. The modern studies of Jesus have been popularized by most of the Jesus Seminar a group of seventy-four scholars who meet regularly to vote on the authenticity of the Gospels’ accounts concerning Jesus. Among their “findings”: Only eighteen percent of sayings ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels are authentic, and Jesus did not really rise from the dead. The latter, not surprising (given the Seminar’s commitment to philosophical naturalism), directly contradicts a basic tenant inherent in the exaltation proclamation of Hebrews 1:3. Although the Seminar has been harshly criticized for poor methodology, outdated presuppositions and neglect of work done among New Testament scholars outside their group, their media machine has given them a broad hearing in popular culture. Earlier in this century G. Campbell Morgan...

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The challenge of naturalism and relativism

The book of Hebrews speaks to our contemporary context concerning philosophies that have made great inroads to the church itself. A fundamental aspect of modernity, and an aspect that still holds profound influence even as our culture is shifting to a postmodern orientation, is naturalism. Naturalism holds that nature constitutes the totality of reality. There is no “supernature” that stands outside the cause-and-effect natural process of the universe. Therefore, all your thoughts, all your feelings, every event you ever experienced (including what you would classify as “religious experiences”), can all be attributed to nature. Thus, religion becomes a process “from the bottom up,” consisting of human reflections on a concept called “god.” That is, religion originates in the minds of people. There is no such thing as revelation, since there is no god standing above or outside of nature to act upon it. For some modern theologians and biblical critics, this philosophy is a basic assumption. However, the Book of Hebrews boldly proclaims a perspective diametrically opposed to naturalism. God stands above the natural processes of this world (since He created them) and speaks to humanity. For Hebrews religion works “from top down”; that is, God reveals His truth and His will. His revelation is coherent, consistent and authoritative, and we are obliged both to listen to it and obey it. This brings us to the problem of relativism...

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The Issue of Truth

In our culture today many people are asking, “What is truth?” People approach truth from two vantage points; one, a pursuit of knowledge and two, a desire to confirm what one believes to be truth. Other factors play into how one finds truth, and we they must find out if they are influenced by relativism or subjectivism. In this post, I will address some of the issues facing Christians by raising a number of objections that people have to Christianity and then I will offer a few answers. Objection 1: My truth is your truth so really there is no truth. This objection is centered on the belief that Jesus was just a good man and not really God. To make this argument, they have to say they know all that one can know about Jesus. This argument is known as relativism which holds that truth is relative and no truth can be absolute. Truth then would be whatever that a person, or a people group believe to be true, is true. This objection focuses on what we think to be true. How can we know Jesus is more than just a good person? In order to know this, we would have to take a look at what He said and did. John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The claims...

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Contending for the Faith

With few words Jude in Jude 1:3-4 reveals the reason for the composition of his letter: first, he wants to encourage the readers to affirm their faith; next, he alerts them to the danger of immoral people who have slipped in among them; and last, he opens the eyes of the believers to the life and doctrine of their opponents. Jude 1:3, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” “Love.”  Jude addresses his readers with a common greeting of that day” beloved”.  Here put this greeting in the context of the address (“to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” v.1) and the blessing (“mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you” v.2). As a Pastor, Jude clearly distinguishes between the recipients of his letter and the false teachers. He expresses his love to the readers, but also tells them to be aware of the pernicious teachings of these heretics. The term beloved demonstrates his affection for the members of the Christian church. “Salvation.” Because of his pastoral love, Jude composes his letter and writes, “although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for...

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Speaking the Truth in Love and Apologetics

The past decade or so has seen perhaps the greatest increase in information the world has ever known. The internet is loaded with good information and also information that isn’t helpful. Christians are thrust into this environment as we have been called by Jesus to be in the world, but not of the world. The Bible teaches Christians to speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and to “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15) Ephesians 4:15, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” The idea of full Christian maturity is characterized in verse 14 from its negative aspect; in verse 15 positively. In striving to reach the goal and in advancing in that direction believers are goaded by the desire that they may no longer be like children in a tempest-tossed boat which they cannot manage. Error is never overcome by mere negation. Over and against the deceitfulness of the errorists, the Ephesians should adhere to the truth that is practice integrity. And what ministry (Ephesians 4:12) can be more noble than that which, while resolutely opposing deceit, sets forth the truthfulness of life and lip over against it and does all this in the spirit of love?...

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