The signs of an arriving king

“The Adoration of the Shepherds”, 1622 by Gerard van Honthorst

What kinds of events accompany the coming of a king?

A meditation for Christmas

What does one expect at the arrival of a King? Here in the America, while we have celebrities that are treated as royalty, we have no legitimate king who rules from a recognized throne. But we have a wealth of images from both history and fiction. The below painting of the arrival and reception of King George V and Queen Mary at the West Door of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Jubilee Day, 6 May 1935 confirms common notions of the pageantry, pomp and circumstance that accompanies the coming of a king publicly to his people.

The reception of King George V and Queen Mary at the West Door of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Jubilee Day, 6 May 1935

In such situations the long desired king is invariably accompanied by: Continue Reading

The Final Word on Marriage

Aslan, a type of the Christ, resurrected (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2005)

Just as Aslan, a symbol of Christ, had the final word over death; likewise the Lord Jesus will have the final word on Marriage. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On June 26, 2015, five justices of the supreme court took it upon themselves to   overturn legally enacted state constitutional amendments against same sex marriage that had been enacted in 30 states[1], to redefine the meaning of marriage that has been understood as between a single man and a single woman for multiple millennia by the majority of religious adherents[2] and  thereby disregard the religious beliefs of 2/3 of the world, so that the less than 4% of Americans[3] who identify as gay can legally fulfill their sinful desires. That is to say nothing of the trampling underfoot of the clear teaching of scripture[4], and the disregard for the maintenance of a modicum of morality (having already lost most of it to the sexual revelation) preferring instead to push us over the slippery slope toward polygamy, and a host of other evils.[5]

As one might expect, supporters of the gay-rights movement erupted in all sorts of displays of joy and approval. A new hashtag was born to link like minds: #lovewins. For those not on twitter, you can see a sample of the rejoicing here.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of the scene from the 2005 production of CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Aslan has surrendered himself to the witch. The witch gloats in her apparent victory:

Behold, the great lion.
Bind him.
Wait, let him first be shaved.
Bring him to me.
You know Aslan, I’m a little disappointed in you.
Did you honestly think by all this that you could save the human traitor?
You are giving me your life and saving no one. Ha!
So much for love.

(To the crowd) Tonight – the deep magic will be appeased. (Crowd is increasingly roused)
But tomorrow we will take Narnia forever! (round of cheering)
In that knowledge – despair and die! (thrusts a knife into Aslan)
The great cat is dead! (Cheers)
General, prepare you troops for battle. (General celebration continues)
(To herself) However short it may be.

As usual, Lewis’ allegories are uncannily accurate.  Though I see at least eight parallels, so as not to be tedious, let me point out just three:

Continue Reading

What is Religion? Does evolution qualify? Atheism?

 

A Torah scroll containing the first five books of the Bible Text highlighted: The first words of Deuteronomy 6.5 Atheists and evolutionists claim they have no religion. But is that true?
A Torah scroll containing the first five books of the Bible
 Text highlighted: The first words of Deuteronomy 6.5

Atheists are fond of saying that they have no religion, because atheism is not a religion. Here’s an example from Twitter.

Likewise, evolutionists claim that evolution is science, a  fact, and certainly not religion. Here, for example, is a video of Richard Dawkins at big think claiming evolution is a fact. But are atheists and evolutionists correct in asserting that their respective beliefs are not religions? That of course depends on the definitions.

Evolutionists are notorious for redefining evolution to suit their needs for the occasion. In other words to keep evolution from being exposed as the total fraud it is, they keep changing the meaning of the word “evolution”; so they wind up claiming you’re not speaking about the same thing; though you’re speaking of the same evolution the discussion started with.  For instance, you may start out with a statement like “molecules to man evolution has never been observed.” They’ll return something like, “Do you know what evolution is? It’s a change in the allele frequency of a gene pool.” These are two different things; two different discussions, and thus  you can never convince them of anything.   Steven Meyer and Mike Keas have documented 6 of the common uses of the term “evolution” that evolutionists switch between.1  There’s a term for that tactic.  It’s the logical fallacy known as equivocation.

Religion is the basic belief system of the person
Atheism likewise comes in various flavors. The strong position, those who categorically state there is no God, (or as they would say gods); the weaker position, those who simply do not believe God exists; and finally those who try to be a little less arrogant and more rational (knowing that  proving a universal negative like “there is no God” is impossible.

Therefore to say there is no God is arrogant), and thus they simply say “I don’t know if God exists” – the agnostic position.

And with Bill O’Reilly out there confusing people with his repeated claims that Christianity is a “philosophy” not a religion,2 Christianity is not without those who are muddying the waters. So can we claim any of these are religions?  Yes, these are all religions and that can be clearly seen once we understand the difference between how a religion is recognized, and how it is expressed by adherents.

Religion and the Establishment Clause

The courts have been a favored weapon of atheists and to a lesser degree evolutionists in the battle to silence Christians while simultaneously getting their Godless theories to be accepted and promoted in government sponsored venues like schools. The typical approach is to use the first amendment’s “establishment clause” against anything that even sounds Christian.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

The clause reads as follows: Continue Reading

AD Apologetics – Part 2: Jesus’ Triumphant Resurrection

A light shines during the resurrection of Jesus while Guards at the tomb are unaware.

A light shines during the resurrection of Jesus while Guards at the tomb are unaware. (AD The Bible Continues)

The series “AD – The Bible Continues” presents a strong case for the resurrection of Jesus.

In  part 1, Jesus’ death and the empty Tomb, the uniqueness of Christianity was examined through  a consideration of the following questions:

Why believe in Christianity?
What makes Christianity different from any other religion?
Why not believe in other religions?
What makes Jesus different from the founder of other religions?
How do you know Christianity is true?
Why should I believe in Jesus?

The answer to all those questions is resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – it is the answer to each question, and what makes Christianity unique. Furthermore, Christianity is the only religion which provides hope for us mortal men and women through a savior who has demonstrated mastery over death by himself rising from the dead. And that savior offers the same resurrection to all who believe in him.

That claim – resurrection from the dead –  is so startling, so bold, so beyond common experience that some people refuse to even consider it as a possibility. Such doubt has been expressed by the well known liberal scholar,  the late Rudolph Bultmann who in his disbelief writes,

Continue Reading

AD Apologetics – Part 1: Jesus’ death and the Empty Tomb

Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb

Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb (John 20.1) in “AD – The Bible Continues” episode 2 “The Body is Gone”

The series “AD – The Bible Continues” presents many strong evidences of why the resurrection of Jesus is true.

Why believe in Christianity?
What makes Christianity different from any other religion?
Why not believe in other religions?
What makes Jesus different from the founder of other religions?
How do you know Christianity is true?
Why should I believe in Jesus?


The answer to these an many other question about the authenticity of the Christian faith is the same.  That which:

 – distinguishes Jesus and Christianity from any other religion,
– validates that Christianity is true, and
– proves that Jesus is the son of God

 is the same fact: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus is the most important doctrine of the Christian faith

No other religion has a founder who has proved he is the Lord of Life by showing mastery over death by being raised from the dead. This is precisely the point scripture makes when it proclaims:

…who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Rom 1.4)

The resurrection of Jesus is the most important doctrine of the Christian faith, because without the resurrection there is no point to the Christian faith, and indeed no  faith at all. Or as the apostle Paul put it:

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
1 Cor 15.14, 17

It is no wonder then that of all the doctrines that critics, liberal scholars and those who wish to destroy Christianity could take aim at,  the one they choose to attack early, often and most viciously is the teaching that Jesus Christ rose physically from the dead, after having being put to death on a Roman cross and entombed. Continue Reading

“Killing Jesus” – a review

Jesus overturns the tables of the temple money changers in National Geographic's/Bill O'Reilly's

Jesus overturns the tables of the temple money changers in National Geographic’s/Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus”

“Killing Jesus” presents a Jesus declared to be the son of God by his disciples, instead of the eternal God  made flesh that is presented in scripture.

What can you expect from Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus? Let me borrow a scene from the Bible to explain:

After John the Baptizer1 is  put in prison by Herod Antipas (called Herod the Tetrarch) for preaching against Herod’s immoral, adulterous affair with the wife of his brother Philip, the Bible records John while in prison sends some of his disciples to Jesus to affirm that Jesus is in fact the messiah that John had announced to the world that he was when Jesus came to him to be baptized by John in the Jordan. In answer to John’s question – are you the one – Jesus provides John’s disciples evidence that he is in fact the messiah by performing messianic miracles (Is 35.5) in the sight of John’s disciples, and sends them back with the message that he is doing the works of the messiah as prophesied by scripture; and also sends a word of encouragement to John. (Luke 7.21-23)

Jesus then turns to the crowd and affirms John and his ministry by asking the people a series of questions that hones in on the expectations the people had about John: Continue Reading

“Finding Jesus” – the Shroud of Turin – A Review

The first episode of the new CNN Series “Finding Jesus – Faith Fact Forgery” uses selective evidence to support the unwarranted conclusion that the Shroud of Turin is a forgery.

Sunday night CNN launched a new documentary series on the Christian faith titled “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery”.  The first episode, “The Shroud of Turin” was, as the title implies, a re-examination of the highly venerated, highly questioned burial cloth of Jesus. The question is, of course, is the cloth authentic? Is it really the cloth of which the gospel writer Mark records:

“So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”
Mark 15.46

… or is it a forgery? Based on the title, the producers want to draw a sharp line of demarcation between what is faith (that which science can neither affirm nor deny); what is fact, and what is unwarranted faith (that which science can attempt to either affirm or deny and if denied, declare a “forgery” or false). Based on the first episode, the producers want to remove any scientific basis for faith – even when such evidence is overwhelming. This is clearly the case because of the wealth of evidence that exists concerning the authenticity of the well studied, well researched Shroud that the producers chose to ignore. I say chose to ignore, because as producers of a documentary on the well known relic, they are responsible for being aware of such public domain information and should surely  know about these evidences which contradict their theories. And if they don’t know, they are not qualified to be doing a documentary on it. This first episode (and thus presumably the rest of the series) is clearly biased against evidence that confirms the veracity of Christian claims.

In an apparent effort to cover their bias, the documentary is overall respectful of the faith – providing a traditional retelling of the events leading up to the burial of Jesus.  In my previous article Physical Evidence Jesus Existed I list 6 evidences of authenticity for the Shroud; 3 of which are not mentioned in the documentary, the others are either ignored or outright denied. Below is further exposition and clarification on some of those evidences, and the addition of new evidence from an effort to date the Shroud apart from Carbon dating. Obviously a documentary cannot be expected to present every piece of evidence, but certainly some of the well established evidences – especially those which contradicts your proposed theory – should be presented – if the goal is to present a fair and balanced piece of journalism. Of course if you’re not interested in fair and balanced reporting, then liberal usage of the fallacy of suppressed evidence is a viable course, and the route which they have obviously chosen for this episode, and presumably the series. 

So what is the theory that they resort to suppressing evidence to protect? Continue Reading

The Waning, Great Scientific Hope

  New data from remote
telescope Kepler and a yet to be deployed star shade has put blinders on scientists so they can’t see that the great scientific hope – the discovery of life on other planets – is quickly fading.
 
Depicted: a star shade deployed in front of a remote robotic telescope to provide a man made eclipse to make viewing exoplanets possible.

 

With a new year comes renewed hope in many endeavors. 2015 is no different.  Among materialist scientists (those adhering to philosophical materialism – thus  rejecting anything exists beyond the material world), hopes are high that researchers will find an  earth like “exoplanet” – a planet that orbits a sun other than our own. As space.com’s Mike Wall1 reports:

This week, astronomers announced that NASA’s Kepler space telescope had discovered eight more relatively small planets that may be capable of hosting life as we know it, describing two of the new finds as the most Earth-like alien worlds known.

Mission scientists also announced 554 new unconfirmed Kepler “planet candidates” on Tuesday (Jan. 6); six of these potential worlds orbit sunlike stars, are close to Earth-size and are possibly habitable. [10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life]

The excitement is heightened as researchers prepare to launch a sun shade – a man made device to eclipse a star in front of a remote telescope like Kepler in the next decade – allowing it, and them, to see faint planets that would otherwise be invisible due to the glare coming from the star. But why the excitement? And why the insatiable desire to find earth like planets? Simply put, scientists are rushing head long to find the Great Scientific Hope.

The Great Scientific Hope

For materialist scientists, there is no greater hope than Continue Reading

Revelation by Eclipse – a Christmas day meditation

An eclipse of the sun reveals the hidden corona in the same manner the incarnation reveals the invisible of God.

 

A total eclipse of the sun: modern day scientists have called it “an amazing, awe inspiring, tremendously moving event”1 and ” a spectacle that few people who see one will ever forget.” Total eclipses of the sun have been tracked for over two millennia, as witnessed by the fact that the Babylonians  figured out the Saros cycle – the cycle for when solar eclipses will repeat – 22 centuries ago. Recently it was discovered that the Saros cycle was built into the ancient Greek Antikythera mechanical computing mechanism dating to the second or third century BC – meaning the Greeks too were tracking the total eclipses.

Why this fascination with the total eclipse of the sun? While there are various theories why the ancients tracked them, modern day scientists use eclipses to discover things they couldn’t otherwise see due to the brightness of the sun.  For example:

– A total eclipse of the sun was used to verify the notion of the curvature of space as predicted by Einstein’s theory of General
Relativity.2

– The Corona around the sun  – The solar disk is a million times brighter than the Corona3, so unless the sun is covered – as it is in an eclipse – you’ll never the corona.

The eclipse of the sun makes it possible to see the otherwise invisible corona (depicted above). This is similar to what God did for us that first Christmas. Scripture tells us God is invisible, and even if he weren’t, we still couldn’t see him because he lives in “unapproachable” light:

 15 which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
1 Tim 6.15-16


17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be
honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Tim 1.17

How do you see one who is invisible; who lives in unapproachable light?

The lyrics of the Christmas hymn
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
gives us the answer:

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus our Immanuel4

God, the invisible one was made visible by being “veiled in flesh” as the hymn puts it, nicely capturing the idea that in the incarnation, Jesus’ human flesh acted as the moon does during an eclipse, allowing us to see that which is normally invisible. The incarnation gives new meaning to the early confession “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (1 Jn 4.2) when we realize people who saw Jesus  in the flesh were blessed to see the invisible God who lives in unapproachable  light.

In “being made in human likeness.” (Php 2.7) God gives us the opportunity to know him and see what he is like. That we can see God through Jesus is why scripture tells us that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1.15), and that for those who saw Jesus, they got a glimpse of what the God the father is like, for as Jesus himself said, those who saw him, saw the father. (John 14.9)

So when you consider the baby in the manager this year, consider how great a gift God gave to the world.  Not just the gift of his son – but the gift of a revelation of himself made possible by willfully eclipsing his own glory in order to allow us to see – as we do the sun’s corona when it’s in eclipse –  the wonder and the beauty that is our creator, all wrapped up in the baby in the manger.

 

Duane Caldwell | posted 12/25/2014 | printer friendly version


Notes

 

1. Alex Filippenko The Universe episode Total Eclipse documentary, 2010

 

2. Einstein’s theory of General Relativity says space is curved. If, so light should follow the curvature of space – particularly around massive bodies like the sun. This prediction was tested and verified during a total eclipse of the sun in May 1919 by British astronomer Arthur Eddington.

 

3 Holly Gilbert, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, reference from Total Eclipse

 

4 From the second stanza – Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Note: Immanuel is Hebrew for “God with us”

 

 

“Exodus – Gods and Kings”: a biblically based review

  Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.
Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton as Moses and Ramses in Ridley Scott’s Exodus Gods and Kings

There is no question that Hollywood knows how to make big, beautiful, epic, blockbuster movies with wide appeal. In that regard they are second to none. With the release of the recent Biblical themed movies – the latest of which is Exodus – Gods and Kings by Ridley Scott, the question for Christians is has Hollywood learned, or more appropriately, recalled how to do Biblical themed movies that Christians will both enjoy and approve of? I say ‘recalled’ because of course Hollywood used to know how to make such movies. Anyone who has seen  Cecille B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments understands why it is regarded as the standard against which every other Biblical epic is judged.

To answer the question:  no, Hollywood has not learned or has chosen not to recall how to make movies Christians can both enjoy and approve of.  If Exodus – Gods and Kings is the gauge, then it’s clear Hollywood remains clueless in this regard – or perhaps more appropriately – remains willfully antagonistic toward the Christian messages inherent in Biblical themed movies.

This assessment stands in stark contrast to the article in Christianity Today
from which the caption (Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.) is derived. In that article, Brett McCracken wants to give you “Ten reasons to not be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic.”  Here’s my assessment in a nutshell:

For Ridley Scott, director of films such as Gladiator (2000),  Hannibal (2001) and American Gangster (2007) the account of the exodus is just another story. He could not possibly care less if it is a Biblical story that has theological meanings, symbolism and message. He doesn’t care if it is cherished by Jews and Christians the world over. He’s a story teller, and he’s going to do it his way. And do it his way he did.

After viewing the movie I sat down and wrote over 3 dozen inaccuracies and problems (from a Christian perspective) in the film without having to look hard or dig for them. What follows are what I consider to be 10 of the most egregious.  After that I’ve included commentary on the ten reasons that Brett McCracken thinks it’s okay to see the film.

Here are links to the two sections:
Spoiler Warning: – Many parts of the film are discussed – but if you’re familiar with the Exodus account, not much should be a surprise – other than the many changes Scott made.

 

Part I.  Ten Reasons to be Hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic

 

Part II.  Brett McCracken’s  “Ten reasons to not be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic” – in italics, followed by my comments.



Part I:
Ten reasons to be hardhearted toward Ridley Scott’s biblical epic

1. No concern for Biblical authority
Right off the bat you know that there will be little regard for Biblical authority when the first thing you see is the time period: 1300 BCE. That date – known as the “late date” for the exodus is used because many scholars date the exodus to 1270 BC during the reign of Ramses II.  (In passing, BCE – Before the Common Era – is used by those who don’t want to acknowledge the Christ in BC – Before Christ.) Scholars who affirm the 13th century date do so disregarding recent archeological evidence1, and more importantly the testimony of scripture which says:

Continue Reading