Two churches?Last week, we examined ekklesia, the Greek word unfortunately rendered "church." This is sad because its basic meaning is assembly, thus stressing the need to be there -- to be involved -- if you are indeed a church member. "Church" conjures up all sorts of unbiblical notions, from hypocrisy to a building to an anemic collective one may be as committed to as he or she wishes. Please be sure to read Church: Part I. It's short, and this week's lesson is based on it.
EkklesiaThe Greek word ekklesia means assembly. It's pronounced "eck-lay-SEE-ah." The verbal form, egkalein, means to summon or call forth [e.g. to the assembly]. The Romans changed the word to ecclesia, since Latin has no 'k'. Derivatives of ecclesia are Ecclesiastes (assembly leader -- also the 20th book of the Bible) and ecclesiology (the study of church).
Question:What do gravitational waves teach us about creation?
I have a question about Isaiah 59:1-2. I have heard it taught that the last words of verse 2, "your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear", means that when people who are not Christians pray, their prayers are not heard, even if they are sincerely religious. I always found this view strange and wondered what is your opinion on it.
Editor's note: Due to the large number of questions, the answers are interspersed among the different questions. The questions are in italics.
Question:I am trying to share the Gospel message to a Muslim, and I need help in responding to his email.
Here is his response:
Today is the conclusion of the Answering Skeptics series. First, a recap of the 28th lesson, and then some thoughts to help us to confidently stand for the truth. As one person put it, if we don't have the courage to stand for something, we'll fall for anything!
Question:God is, in principle, against human sacrifice: the religious ritual killing of innocents to appease God, or any gods, for that matter. So it would be likewise true that God is, in principle, against anyone’s ever *thinking* that God is ever in favor of such sacrifice. So, if God caused Abraham to think that God wanted for Abraham to sacrifice, then the question arises: What was the principle according to which God was operating in Gen 22? Assuming that, given the above words, you understand the gist of my question, what would you say is the answer to the philosophical problem? Does Genesis 22:18 (God praised Abraham for obeying God's voice) constitute an answer to the problem? I notice that Hebrews 11:17-19 only tells us of Abraham's point of view. But what is God's point of view? Is the text of Genesis 22 the whole story, or merely Abraham's own account?
Reacting to all the suffering inflicted in the name of religion, many modern unbelievers reject all religion as dangerous. When we are asked to account for the problem, the first thing we should do is to concede that it is a problem. Religious violence contradicts the message and "turns people off." We oughtto be ashamed that for many, Christianity is the religion of the oppressor, the bigot, and the persecutor. Possible answers to four common questions: