Sunday, February 27, 2011


Nazareth (Ναζαρά Nazara "the guarded one," Arabic: الناصرة) is an ancient town in the North District in Israel. In the New Testament, it is described as ordinary residence and home town of Jesus Christ, and is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical associations.

The etymology of Nazareth from as early as Eusebius up until the 20th century has been said to derive from netser, a "shoot" or "sprout", while the apocryphal Gospel of Phillip derives the name from Nazara meaning "truth". "Nazarene," meaning "of the village of Nazareth," should not be confused with "Nazirite," meaning a "separated" Jew.

Modern-day Nazareth is nestled in a hollow plateau some 1,200 feet (350m) above sea level, located between 1,600 foot high hills that form the most southerly points of the Lebanon mountain range. It is about 25 km from the Sea of Galilee and about 9 km west from Mount Tabor. The modern city lies lower down upon the hill than did the ancient one. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passes by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.

Nazareth has an estimated population of 60,000. The majority of residents are Israeli Arabs, about 35-40% of whom are Christians and the rest Muslims.

Archaeological history
Archaeological research has revealed a funerary and cult center at Kfar HaHoresh, about two miles from Nazareth, dating roughly 9000 years ago (in what is known as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B era). The remains of some 65 individuals were found, buried under huge horizontal headstone structures, some of which consisted of up to 3 tons of locally-produced white plaster. Decorated human skulls found have led archaeologists to believe that Kfar HaHoresh was a major cult center in that remote era.


also includes Mars Hill Church video with @pastormark  in Nazareth talking about Luke 1:46-56.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Song of Solomon

Queen Sheba kneeling before Solomon. TISCHBEIN, Johann Friedrich August (b. 1750, Maastricht, d. 1812, Heidelberg)
Song of Solomon (Hebrew, שיר שיר שלמה shiyr shiyr Shĕlomoh,), is a book of the Hebrew Bible, one of the five megillot (scrolls). It is also known as The Song of Songs, Solomon's Song of Songs, or as Canticles, the latter from the shortened and anglicized Vulgate title Canticum Canticorum (Latin, "Song of Songs"). It is known as Āisma in the Septuagint, which is short for Āisma āismatōn (Greek, ᾌσμα ᾀσμάτων, "Song of Songs").

The protagonists of the Song of Songs are a woman (identified in one verse as "the Shulamite")and a man, and the poem suggests movement from courtship to consummation. For instance, the man proclaims:
" As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. "
The woman answers:
"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."
Additionally, the Song includes a chorus, the "daughters of Jerusalem."

With no explicitly religious content, the Song is often interpreted as an allegorical representation of the relationship between God and Israel , or for Christians, God and the Church or Christ and the human soul, as husband and wife.

It is one of the shortest books in the Bible, consisting of only 117 verses. According to Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, it is read on the Sabbath that falls during the intermediate days of Passover. In the Sephardi community it is recited every Friday night, the beginning of Shabbat (Hebrew for Sabbath).


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Elijah Fed by an Angel.
Artist: BOL, Ferdinand
Date: 1660-63
Elijah (אֵלִיָּה 'Eliyah "Whose/my God is the Lord", Standard Hebrew Eliyyáhu), also Elias, is a prophet of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. His name has been variously translated as ""my God is Jehovah"", "Yah(u) is God"", "whose God is the Lord", "God the Lord", "the strong Lord", "God of the Lord", "my God is the Lord", and "the Lord is my God."

Elijah is first introduced in 1 Kings 17:1 as delivering a message from God to Ahab, king of Israel. He is sometimes known as "The Tishbite", being from the town of Tishbe.

Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by Elijah (1 Kings 17:2-24).


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The term Deconstruction was coined by Jacques Derrida in the 1960s
Deconstruction is a term in contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, and the social sciences, denoting a process by which the texts and languages of Western philosophy (in particular) appear to shift and complicate in meaning when read in light of the assumptions and absences they reveal within themselves. Jacques Derrida coined the term in the 1960s, and proved more forthcoming with negative, rather than pined-for positive, analysis of the school.

Subjects relevant to deconstruction include the philosophy of meaning in Western thought, and the ways that meaning is constructed by Western writers, texts, and readers and understood by readers. Though Derrida himself denied deconstruction was a method or school of philosophy, or indeed anything outside of reading the text itself, the term has been used by others to describe Derrida's particular methods of textual criticism, which involved discovering, recognizing, and understanding the underlying – and unspoken and implicit—assumptions, ideas, and frameworks that form the basis for thought and belief, for example, in complicating the ordinary division made between nature and culture. Derrida's deconstruction was drawn mainly from the work of Martin Heidegger and his notion of Destruktion but also from Levinas and his ideas upon the Other.


Monday, February 21, 2011


The tabernacle (Exodus 25:8-10, 26:1-3) is known in Hebrew as the mishkan ("place of [divine] dwelling"). It was to be a portable central place of worship for the children of Israel from the time they left ancient Egypt following the exodus, through the time of the book of Judges when they were engaged in conquering the land of Canaan, until the time its elements were made part of the final temple in Jerusalem about the 10th century BC.

Hebrew mishkan
The Hebrew word, however, points to a different meaning. Mishkan is related to the Hebrew word to "dwell", "rest", or "to live in", referring to the "[In-dwelling] Presence of God", the Shekhina (or Shechina) (based on the same Hebrew root word as Mishkan), that dwelled or rested within this divinely ordained mysterious structure.

The Hebrew word for a "neighbor" is shakhen from the same root as mishkan. The commandments for its construction are taken from the words in the Book of Exodus when God says to Moses: "They shall make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell (ve-shakhan-ti) among them. You must make the tabernacle (mishkan) and all its furnishings following the plan that I am showing you." (Exodus 25:8-9). Thus the idea is that God wants this structure built so that it may be a "dwelling", so to speak, for his presence within the Children of Israel following the Exodus.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Defeat of Satan

The deceiver was given an advantage when Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted. Jesus was by Himself, none to pray for Him or to give Him any advice during this difficult time of temptation.

40 days.
No food.

Jesus knew His own strength, and could give Satan this advantage. We, on the other hand, dare not.

The Temptation of Jesus
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."
4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'"

5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours."

8 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"

9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

"'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;

11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"

12 Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. —Luke 4:1-13
Jesus was human, like us, depended upon the Father's Providence and promise. The Word of God is our sword, and faith in it, our shield. We must always know that God is faithful and, we can depend upon Him to keep His promises. He has many ways of providing for His children. Satan, on the other hand, tells nothing but lies and if given an inch he will take a mile. He will use any opportunity he has to trap, deceive, and ensnare you to your destruction. We need to reject, without omission, any and all of Satan's deceptions, all opportunities offering sinful advancement or personal gain that are offered as a price for our very souls. Rather, we ought to seek all things in worship and service only of God.


Saturday, February 19, 2011


David (Standard Hebrew, Davíd, "Beloved", Arabic Da'ud, "Beloved") was the second king of the united kingdom of Israel (c. 1005 BC – 965 BC) and successor to King Saul. His life and rule are recorded in the Hebrew Bible's books of First Samuel (from chapter 16 onwards), Second Samuel, First Kings and Second Kings (to verse 4). First Chronicles gives further stories of David, mingled with lists and genealogies.

He is depicted as the most righteous of all the ancient kings of Israel - although not without fault - as well as an acclaimed warrior, musician and poet (he is traditionally credited with the authorship of many of the Psalms). 2 Samuel 7:12-16 states that God was so pleased with David that He promised that the Davidic line would endure forever; Jews therefore believe that the Jewish Messiah will be a direct descendant of King David, and Christians trace the lineage of Jesus back to him through both Mary and Joseph.

The nature of his reign and even his existence have been questioned and debated, rejected and defended by modern biblical scholars, but the account given in the Hebrew Bible remains widely accepted by the majority of ordinary Jews and Christians and his story has been of central importance to Western culture.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Job (Hebrew אִיּוֹב, Iyowb, "hated"), is a character in the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible. In brief, the book begins with an introduction to Job's character — he is described as a rich, blessed man who fears God and lives righteously. Satan, however, challenges Job's integrity, and so God gives Job into Satan's hand, ending in tragedy for Job: the loss of his children, wealth, and physical soundness. The main portion of the text consists of the discourse of Job and his three friends concerning why Job was so punished, ending in God answering Job. Job is also a prophet in Islam.

Job had Seven sons and three daughters and
He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. (Job 1:3)

His sons took turns entertaining each other with feasts; each time they completed a cycle of feast days, Job sent to them and purified them, offering burn-offerings for each one in case any of them had cursed God in their hearts. He was "blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. His good character is discussed in depth later in the book. (Job 1:1;4,5)


Monday, February 14, 2011

Paul Tillich

Albert Einstein (left, standing behind girl) and Paul Tillich (right, standing in front wearing glasses) at a conference in Davos, Switzerland on March 18, 1928. (Courtesy of Image Archive ETH-Bibliothek, Zurich).
Paul Johannes Tillich (August 20, 1886 – October 22, 1965) was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the twentieth century.

Paul Tillich was born on August 20, 1886, in the province of Brandenburg in eastern Germany in the small village of Starzeddel. Tillich's Prussian father was a Lutheran pastor and his mother was from the Rhineland and more liberal, influenced heavily by Calvinist thinking. At an early age Tillich held an appreciation for nature and the countryside into which he had been born. Among the general populace, he is best known for his works The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamics of Faith (1957), which introduced issues of theology and modern culture to a general readership. Theologically, he is best known for his major three-volume work Systematic Theology (1951–63), in which he developed his "method of correlation": an approach of exploring the symbols of Christian revelation as answers to the problems of human existence raised by contemporary existential philosophical analysis.

Paul Tillich’s life has been chronicled in a biography, a partially biographical book (Hopper, 1968), an autobiographical sketch (in On the Boundary), and two autobiographical essays (in Kegley and My Search for Absolutes).


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Wall of the New Testament period (called Bab Kisan) in Damascus where Paul escaped to begin his ministry.
Damascus (Hebrew: דַּמֶּשֶׂק Dammeseq, Damascus = "silent is the sackcloth weaver" of foreign origin), an ancient trading city, capital of Syria, located in the plain east of Hermon, 130 (205 km) miles northeast of Jerusalem Arabic: دمشق‎) is the capital and largest city of Syria, with close ties to Israel. Founded approximately 2500 BCE, it is thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, before Al Fayyum, and Gaziantep. Its current population is estimated at about 4.5 million.


In Arabic, the city is called دمشق الشام Dimashq ash-Shām.

Although this is often shortened to Dimashq by many, the citizens of Damascus, and of Syria and some other Arab neighbors, colloquially call the city ash-Shām. Ash-Shām is an Arabic term for North and for Syria. (Syria — particularly historical Greater Syria — is called Bilād ash-Shām — بلاد الشام, 'country of the north' — in Arabic.) The English name for Damascus is taken from the Greek Δαμασκός, via Latin. This comes from the old Aramaic name for the city — דרמשק Darmeśeq, which means "a well-watered place". However, pre-Aramaic tablets unearthed at Ebla refer to a city to the south of Ebla named Damaski. It is possible that the name 'Damascus' pre-dates the Aramaic era of the city. Damascus is designated as having been part of the ancient province of Amurru in the Hyksos Kingdom, from 1720 to 1570 BC. (MacMillan, pp. 30-31).

Damascus lies about 80 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Mount Hermon and about 60 miles east of Sidon, sheltered by the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. It lies on a plateau 680 meters above sea-level.

The old city of Damascus, enclosed by the city walls, lies on the south bank of the river Barada. To the south-east, north and north-east it is surrounded by suburban areas whose history stretches back to the Middle Ages: Midan in the south-west, Sarouja and Imara in the north and north-west.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


Adolf Hitler, in 1939, age 50,
with Benito Mussolini.
Fascism (in Italian, fascismo), capitalized, was the authoritarian political movement which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Similar political movements, including Nazism, spread across Europe between World War I and World War II.

The most restrictive definitions of fascism include only one government, that of Mussolini in Italy. However, the term is frequently applied to Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and is used to refer to similar regimes and movements across Europe in the same time period, such as Hungary's Arrow Cross Party, Romania's Iron Guard, Spain's Falange, and the French political movements led by Marcel Déat and Jacques Doriot.

More broadly, it is sometimes (by both supporters and opponents) applied to other authoritarian regimes of the period such as those of Imperial Japan under Hideki Tojo, Austria under Engelbert Dollfuss and Greece under Ioannis Metaxas. Its use for similar but longer-lived regimes such as Spain under Francisco Franco and the Estado Novo of António de Oliveira Salazar in Portugal is widespread among opponents of those regimes but is often disputed by their supporters. This trend toward the term being used only by opponents is amplified in the case of more recent authoritarian regimes such as Indonesia under Suharto, and Chile under Augusto Pinochet.

Although the broadest definitions of fascism may include every authoritarian state that has ever existed, most theorists see important distinctions to be made. Fascism in Italy arose in the 1920s as a mixture of syndicalist notions with an anti-materialist theory of the state; the latter had already been linked to an extreme nationalism. Fascism in many ways seems to have been clearly developed as a reaction against Communism and Marxism, both in a philosophic and political sense, although it opposed democratic capitalist economics along with Socialism, Marxism, and liberal democracy. It viewed the state as an organic entity in a positive light rather than as an institution designed to protect collective and individual rights, or as one that should be held in check. It tended to reject the Marxist notion of social classes (and universally dismissed the concept of class conflict), replacing it instead with two more nebulous struggles: conflict between races and the struggle of the youth versus their elders. This meant embracing nationalism and mysticism, and advancing ideas of strength and power as means of legitimacy, a might makes right that glorified war as an end it itself and determinant of truth and worthiness. An affinity to these ideas can be found in Social Darwinism. These ideas are in direct opposition to the ideas reason or rationalism characteristic of the Age of Enlightenment, from which liberalism and, later, Marxism would emerge.

Fascism is also typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic. The fascist state regulates and controls the means of production. Fascism exalts the nation, state, or race as superior to the individuals, institutions, or groups composing it. Fascism uses explicit populist rhetoric; calls for a heroic mass effort to restore past greatness; and demands loyalty to a single leader, often to the point of a cult of personality.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The West Bank

West Bank and Gaza, under israeli
occupation since the Six-Day War of 1967
The West Bank (Hebrew: הגדה המערבית‎, Hagadah Hamaaravit, Arabic: الضفة الغربية‎, aḍ-Ḍiffä l-Ġarbīyä), also referred to in Israel and by Jews as "Judea and Samaria", is a landlocked territory on the west bank of the Jordan River in the Middle East. To the west, north, and south the West Bank shares borders with the mainland Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the country of Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coast line along the western bank of the Dead Sea. Since 1967 most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation.

Prior to the First World War, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the province of Syria. In the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the establishment of Israel in parts of the former Mandate, while the West Bank was captured and annexed by Jordan, who destroyed any existing Jewish villages. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988. Jordan's claim was never recognized by the international community.

The West Bank was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Elohim (אלהים) is a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of divinity. It consists of the Hebrew word Eloah (אלוה) with a plural suffix. Elohim is the third word in the Hebrew text of Genesis and occurs frequently throughout the Hebrew Bible. The most commonly accepted root of this source among Jewish scholars is that the word literally translates to "powers" meaning God is the One in control of these powers.

Bereshit bare Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'arets (Genesis 1:1, Jewish Transliterated text)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1, English Text)
This word choice may be contrasted with the Tetragrammaton, which appears throughout the second telling of creation, in Genesis 2. The documentary hypothesis usually attributes Genesis 1:1 to the priestly source.

Tetragrammaton (from the Greek τετραγράμματον, meaning 'four-letter [word]'), and are usually transliterated JHWH in German, and YHWH or YHVH in English.

In some cases (e.g. Ex. 3:4 Elohim called unto him out of the midst of the bush..), it acts as a singular noun in Hebrew grammar, and is then generally understood to denote the single God of Israel. In other cases, Elohim acts as an ordinary plural of the word Eloah (אלוה), and refers to the polytheistic notion of multiple gods (for example, Ex. 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."). This reflects the use of the word "Elohim" found in the late Bronze Age texts of Canaanite Ugarit, where Elohim ('lhm) was found to be a word denoting the entire Canaanite pantheon (the family of El, the patriarchal creator god).

In still other cases, the meaning is not clear from the text, but may refer to powerful beings (e.g. Gen. 6:2 the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them for wives.., Ex. 4:16 and you [Moses] will be as Elohim to him [Aaron], Ex. 22:28 Thou shalt not curse Elohim, or curse a ruler of your people, where the parallelism suggests that Elohim may refer to human rulers).


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles (in Koine Greek "απόστολος" apostolos: "messenger from God, LXX 3 Ki.14.6; esp. of the Apostles, Ev.Matt.10.2, al." (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott), G652: "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders a) specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ) in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers" (Strong's Concordance) were men that according to the Synoptic Gospels and Christian tradition (see also Oral Tradition), were chosen from among the disciples of Jesus for a mission (see also: Seventy Disciples). According to the Bauer lexicon, Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: "..Judaism had an office known as apostle שליח".

The Gospel of Mark states that Jesus initially sent out these twelve in pairs (Mark 6:7-13, cf. Matthew 10:5-42, Luke 9:1-6), to towns in Galilee .

Literal readings of the text state that their initial instructions were to heal the sick and drive out demons, but some scholars read this more metaphorically as instructions to heal the spiritually sick and thus to drive away wicked behaviour.

They are also instructed to only take their staffs, and that if any town rejects them they ought to shake the dust off their feet as they leave, a gesture which some scholars think was meant as a contemptuous threat (Miller 26). Their carrying of just a staff is sometimes given as the reason for the use by Christian Bishops of a staff of office, in those denominations that believe they maintain an Apostolic Succession.


Monday, February 07, 2011


Syria (Arabic: سوريا ‎or سورية ), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية ), is a country in the Middle East, bordering Lebanon to the west, Palestine to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq to the east (see also: Iraq Maps), and Turkey to the north. The modern state of Syria attained independence from the French mandate of Syria in 1946, but can trace its historical roots to the fourth millennium BC; its capital city, Damascus, was the seat of the Umayyad Empire and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Empire.

Syria has a population of 19 million, of whom the majority are Arabic-speaking Sunni Muslims, as well as 16% other Muslim groups, including the Alawi, Shiite, and Druze, and 10% Christian.

Since 1963 the country has been governed by the Baath Party; the head of state since 1970 has been a member of the Assad family.

Syria's current President is Bashar al-Assad, son of Hafez al-Assad, who held office from 1970 until his death in 2000.

Historically, Syria has often been taken to include the territories of Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and parts of Jordan, but excluding the Jazira region in the north-east of the modern Syrian state. In this historic sense, the region is also known as Greater Syria or by the Arabic name Bilad al-Sham (بلاد الشام ). Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel administers the disputed Golan Heights to the southwest of the country; a dispute with Turkey over the Hatay Province has subsided.

The name Syria comes from the ancient Greek name for the former colonial territories of Assyria such as Canaan and Aram.

At the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and Arabia to the south and Cilicia to the north, stretching inland to include Mesopotamia, and having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including from west to east Commagene, Sophene, and Adiabene, "formerly known as Assyria" (N.H. 5.66).


Friday, February 04, 2011

The Council for Secular Humanism

The Council for Secular Humanism (originally the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism, or CODESH) is a secular humanist organization headquartered in Amherst, New York. In 1980 CODESH issued A Secular Humanist Declaration, an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism. The Council for Secular Humanism does not call itself religious and has never claimed tax-exemption as a religious organization; instead it has an educational exemption.

The council made news in 2006 when Borders Group refused to carry the April-May issue of Free Inquiry in their Borders and Waldenbooks stores because of the magazine's publication of 4 cartoons that originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and sparked violent worldwide Muslim protests, (The reason given by Borders for their decision was not sensitivity to religion but fear of illegal violence.) The Free Inquiry affair was reminiscent of a 1989 withdrawal of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses by Waldenbooks and B. Dalton in the aftermath of a death sentence issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against the British author as well as the recent Everybody Draw Mohammad Day on May 20, 2010 which resulted in Indian Muslims asking the government to ban facebook.

The notion of secular humanism was the topic in a recent Washinton Post article by columnist Kathleen Parker:

All Roads Lead to Heaven? — Kathleen Parker Does Theology
What catches the attention of a columnist for The Washington Post? A recent column by Kathleen Parker indicates that theology has become a focus of national attention. Kathleen Parker used her column in The Washington Post to take on Franklin Graham and his belief that belief in Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.

Edward Tabash-William Lane Craig Debate: "Secular Humanism vs. Christianity: Which One is True?"
February 8, 1999, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, USA. Edward Tabash, a Beverly Hills attorney who is affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism, takes on William Lane Craig, a Christian philosopher and Campus Crusade's full-time anti-atheist debater, arguing that Secular Humanism is preferable and more supported by the evidence than Christian Theism. Tabsh does his usual and emotional "God is a big meanie" routine while Craig took him down with ease. Even atheist Richard Carrier said "the rhetorical victory was Craig's.


Flagellation of Christ

The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is one of the modern alternate Stations of the Cross, but is not in the traditional sequence. The column to which Christ is normally tied, and the rope, scourge, whip or birch are elements in the Arma Christi — various places, including the Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, claimed to possess the original column.

The event is mentioned in three of the four canonical Gospels, and was the usual prelude to crucifixion under Roman law. In the Passion of Christ it precedes the Mocking of Christ and the Crowning with thorns.

It first appears in art in the West in the 9th century. It is almost never found in Byzantine art, and remains very rare in Eastern Orthodox art at any date. Initially found in illuminated manuscripts and small ivories, there are surviving monumental wall-paintings from around 1000 in Italy. From the start there are most often three figures, Christ and two servants of Pontius Pilate who whip him. In early depictions Christ may be naked, or wearing a long robe, facing out or seen from behind; from the 12th century it is standard that Christ wears a loincloth and faces out towards the viewer.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011


To be like Christ; showing the spirit of Christ.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon Peter and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
—Mark 1:35-37, NIV

We know about...
  • Jesus healing the sick;
  • Jesus raising the dead;
  • Jesus throwing the money-changers out of the temple;
  • Jesus having mercy on the woman caught in the act of adultery;
  • Jesus feeding the multitude from a few pieces of bread and a few fish;
  • Jesus performing many miracles.
However, in the above passage we see Jesus in the fullness of His character.

We see Him as one who not only carried out the will of God, but one who sought God's Will during times of solitude in prayer. Jesus sacrificed Himself to carry out the will of God. He could have stopped it at any time, but He allowed it to happen because it was God's Will and because He loves us that much.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
-Matthew 26:39
From the Shadows to the Substance
6-7My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. —Colossians 2:6-7, The Message


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Gospels

Books in the new testament referred to as the Gospels:

In Christianity, a gospel (from Old English, "good news") is generally one of four canonical books of the New Testament that describe the miraculous birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. These books are the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, written between 65 and 100 AD.

Many modern scholars argue that the sequence in which the Gospel accounts have traditionally been printed in the Bible is not the order of their composition, and that the first canonical gospel to have been written is Mark (c 65-70), which in turn was used as a source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke may have also used the hypothetical Q Document. These first three gospels are called the synoptic gospels because they share a similar view. The last gospel, the gospel of John, presents a very different picture of Jesus and his ministry from the synoptics.

The vast majority of biblical scholars believe the canonical gospels were originally written in Greek, although some believe the gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew and later translated to Greek. However, Eusebius wrote that Matthew composed the Gospel According to the Hebrews and his Church Catalog suggests that it was the only Jewish Gospel. Yet, some have accused Eusebius of falsification.

Originally, the "gospel" meant the proclamation of God's saving activity in Jesus of Nazareth, or the agape (love) message proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. This is the original New Testament usage (for example Mark 1:14-15 or 1 Corinthians 15:1-9; see also Strong's G2098). The word is still used in this sense. Ancient, non-canonical works that purport to quote Jesus (e.g., Gospel of Thomas) are also called gospels, and the term refers, in general, to works of a genre of Early Christian literature (cf. Peter Stuhlmacher, ed., Das Evangelium und die Evangelien, Tübingen 1983, also in English: The Gospel and the Gospels).




Blog Archive

Desiring God Blog

Youth for Christ International