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When the Pope Passes Away

I was really disturbed at the passing of Pope John Paul II. I was not disturbed at the passing itself, since it seemed that the man had only days to live. What I was disturbed by was the way people in the news and in our society were speaking about the deceased pope. Allow me to identify just a few of these disturbing instances. "Before we were praying for the pope. Now we will pray to the pope." Was Pope…

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Some Things Said… (Apr 05)

Jackson tops poll of fools Michael Jackson has been crowned the US s most foolish person for the third consecutive year, snatching the dishonor from the likes of President George W. Bush and society heiress Paris Hilton. Eighty per cent of 1030 people who took part in an annual April Fools Day survey felt that Jackson, on trial for molesting a 13-year-old boy, deserved the top spot on this year's list, which also featured his bra-popping sister Janet Jackson and…

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What is a church? (6)

The next few mentions of the word for church or assembly are found in Acts 16:6 and 18:22 and they are incidental to noting the growing strength and spread of the gospel through the churches. But following these is a record worthy of more particular note. In Acts chapter 20 beginning with verse 17 is the text of Pauls remarks to the Ephesian elders as he prepared to leave for Jerusalem. Gathered at Miletus, they came to hear Pauls parting…

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Did Jesus Die In Our Place? (2)

Problems with Substitution While many people accept the belief that Jesus died in their place on the cross, receiving the wrath due to them, many cannot explain how Jesus was their substitute. In this section, we will consider all the possible ways Jesus could be considered our substitute. 1. Jesus did not take our place in physical death. Since Jesus died for all people, how can it be suggested that Jesus physically died in the place of all people? If…

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When The Easter Bunny Comes Early

Perhaps some of the readers noticed that Easter came fairly early this year. Many of us have been used to Easter falling either at the end of March or at the beginning or middle of April. But what you may not have noticed this year is that the Passover is four full week AFTER the celebration of Easter. Does anyone find this surprising? Does anyone find this troubling? The last time I read my Bible it declared that Jesus was…

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On Ignorance and Spiritual Gifts

I’m interested in identifying and dealing with a specific issue amongst teachers and learners of Gods word. As I receive letters and e-mails from time to time, and read the work of some teachers, I have become convinced that we are ignorant on one of the main topics of what I might call "religion de jour." The whole of uneducated Christianity (meaning those outside the body of Christ - those thinking that they are Christians when in fact they are…

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Did Jesus Die In Our Place? (1)

Substitution Assumed We have songs that assert the substitution theory as scriptural fact. The song He Bore It All says "…stood condemned to die, but Jesus freely took my place." The song Hallelujah, What A Savior says "Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood." The doctrine of substitution has become so ingrained among the denominations and among Christians that it is stated as an assumed fact. But popularity does not establish truth. This theory of substitution…

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Some Things Said… (Mar 05) (2)

Fear of God "There was a time when "fear of God meant piety, or at least conscience. Today, it more accurately describes the worldview of secular liberals who get itchy and twitchy at any reminder of our religious roots as a nation." --Mona Charen from www.federalist.com 03.17.05 MTV "In 171 hours of MTV programming, PTC analysts found 1,548 sexual scenes containing 3,056 depictions of sex or various forms of nudity and 2,881 verbal sexual references. That means that children watching…

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Savior in the Roman World

In the last article we noticed that the phrase "Son of God" had a different message to Roman ears than to our ears. In this final article, I would like for us to look at the implication and significance of teaching Jesus to be the Savior. Roman context In secular Greek, the word "savior" was "a laudatory name that men bestow in recognition of noble actions." Performing deeds that safeguarded the people or preserved what was precious could earn a…

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Son of God in Roman World

In this series of articles we have been trying to take a look at the message of the New Testament from the eyes of the people alive in the first century. We have been asking the question: what would the apostles message sounded like to the average Jew and Roman. In the last article we noticed that the gospel of peace would have an additional message beyond what the 21st century mind would recognize. While the gospel of peace was…

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