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by Friday, 17 April 2015 11:20

Douglas Jacoby on Building Bridges

During these recent weeks of poring world's religions, we've tried to be fair. We haven't pretended to be comprehensive, just honest.

It's time to summarize our findings. It's also a good time to think strategically: how can we best represent Christ as we continue to interact with followers of other world faiths? That's the purpose of today's bulletin. By the way, I've certainly appreciated all the feedback on the series. Please know that your feedback is valued.

by Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:56

Q: How Do I Respond to Muslims who Claim the Bible is Corrupt?

Question:

I have a question regarding the disputed texts in the Bible i.e. the Adultery Pericope, the extended ending of Mark 16 and the Comma Johanneum. I've encountered some Muslims who try using these disputed texts in the Bible to prove that the Bible has been corrupted. While I'm aware that there is overwhelming consensus that supports the fact that the Comma Johanneum is probably a later addition to the Bible (and as such many modern Bible versions have removed it), the same can't be said for the Adultery Pericope and Mark 16, where there are still strong arguments both for and against retaining them in the Bible.

Regardless of whether these two parts of the Bible are original or not, what I'd like to know is how should I respond (and how you would) if Bible critics and especially Muslims use the Adultery Pericope and Mark 16 controversies as ammunition to prove that the Bible has been corrupted, unlike the Quran. According to them, since even Christians cannot agree if these two parts of the Bible are original, what is there to say that the Bible, even if just in parts, hasn't undergone corruption that has gone undetected over the centuries? And sometimes they may even cite the Comma Johanneum as evidence that corruption has crept its way into the Bible in the past.

by Thursday, 09 April 2015 09:04

Douglas Jacoby on Judaism: Revolutionary Truths!

In our series on world faiths we've just explored Buddhism and Hinduism -- along with their popular western progeny, the New Age Movement. Previously we zeroed in on Islam. All our lessons were based on a biblical understanding of tolerance and "judging." Review the previous newsletters whenever you like.

by Monday, 06 April 2015 12:12

Q: Can you answer criticisms from RationalWiki that the Old Testament has a number of false prophecies which were never fulfilled?

Question:

I stumbled upon a website known as "RationalWiki" which lists supposed unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible which deeply trouble me in my understanding of the Bible. The most difficult of these prophecies are those listed below. Thank you for your time concerning these issues.   "Ezekiel 29:8-12 This passage is one of the most erroneous in the Bible. Since Ezekiel was penned, Egypt has never been a desolate waste, there has never been a time when people have not walked through it, there has never been a period of forty years when Egypt was uninhabited after the civilization started there, and it has never been surrounded by other desolate countries."
by Thursday, 02 April 2015 12:15

Q: Is Jesus eternal? Do we have any choice/role in our own salvation?

Questions:

I hope you don’t mind but I have a couple questions that have served as mental stumbling blocks for me.

1. Are all Persons of the Triune God eternal? For instance, while Christ is the Alpha and the Omega and the Firstborn of all creation, does Scripture indicate what Christ’s existence (as the Second Person of the Triune God, and equally God and humanity in nature) was before the creation of time and space? Is there an existence in which the Second Person of the Trinity does not exist? Is there only One Person of God in His eternal Being?

2. I’ve read your previous answers to the problem of free will, but all that I have read misread the problem and therefore answer the wrong question. Is human will free in terms of salvation choices before the enabling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit? For instance, Scripture indicates that it is only through the Holy Spirit that faith is possible, that an individual can profess Christ as Lord, please God, and live a sanctified life, and that all of humanity is a slave to sin and entirely corrupted by this sin as to not be able to arrive at its own salvation or find God on its own. If humanity can only choose its actions according to its everyday life, but not its salvation and corresponding actions, does it have free will and consequently, is it morally responsible for its state before God has enabled and empowered it to saving faith?
by Sunday, 29 March 2015 12:16

Q: Am I Talking to Myself When I Pray?

Questions:

I have a couple questions that are generally vague concerning God.

  1.  Why is it that when I pray it seems as if I am talking to no one? Usually during prayer in a private space there is just silence and no indication of any connection with some sort of immaterial creator being of the universe present.
  2. Is it wrong for a Theistic Christian to be an Agnostic Theist who is open to the possibility of there being no god?
  3. Doesn't it seem that Heaven and Hell are just concepts which humans have designated as mandatory since there must be some sort of justice system in the after life? I feel as if Heaven and Hell are fabrications of the human mind that demand justice no matter what realm we may exist in, physical or spiritual.
So that sums up all three questions I have. Thanks for any insight.
by Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:30

Douglas Jacoby on Islam: Making the Connection with Muslims

In the last few weeks we've had three bulletins centered on Islam: Take the QuizIslam Basics: 5-4-3-2-1, and Jihad. Hopefully by now you're feeling more familiar with the subject, so let's turn our attention to connecting with Muslims.

by Monday, 23 March 2015 23:08

Q: If God is a God of Love, Why is He a Jealous God?

Question:

The Bible says that God is a jealous God; the Bible also says that God is love. Despite all this 1 Corinthians 13:4 says "love does not envy" (NKJV). So my question is: how can God be a jealous God and a God of love when the Bible says that love is not jealous?
by Thursday, 19 March 2015 09:59

Douglas Jacoby on Islam: Jihad

Last year Boko Haram, the West African ultra-radical group opposed to all things western (except guns), kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls. On one of their notorious raids, they carried off sisters from my own fellowship, the Churches of Christ. The goal: forced conversion, followed by sale as brides.

by Thursday, 19 March 2015 01:37

Q: Is the New Testament Reliable?

Question:

Do critics have a case for the allegation that since Jesus' life and events were recorded way after his actual death that they cannot truly reflect his image and deeds during his life? Are there any other examples of historical texts that were recorded 20 to 40 years after the fact? Is the reason behind why the gospels were written in the 50's, 60's and 70's because of persecution and state of poverty, thus taking it longer to obtain materials to record such things, when other wealthy nations had these materials readily available?  I often see this complaint against the New Testament as a reason to dismiss it along with Tacitus, Josephus, Seutonius and other historians that refer to Jesus. Thanks.