THE THIRD DAY OF JANUARY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN. The second year of high school found me enrolled in a vocational class in commercial printing. A loud, smelly machine called a Linotype made a "line o' type" from melted lead. The printing "press" inked the type with hard rubber rollers and "pressed" paper sheets against the type like a giant rubber stamp. My first assignment was to clean the rollers with gasoline and a large cloth. I saw what looked like six or eight large ink rollers, scrubbed them with a vengeance, then asked the boss to check my work. A quick … [Read more...]
How many miles in second coming?
It could scarcely be stated more simply. Our Lord Jesus Christ is "coming again" (2 Peter 1:16). He will "descend from heaven" (1 Thes. 4:16), and he "will come in the same way" his disciples "saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). If asked whether we interpret these phrases literally, most of us would likely say that we do. However, on further consideration we might decide we wish to tweak our original answer. Better to say, I suggest, that we take the language seriously, receiving as unquestionable truth what we perceive it to affirm--namely that we expect to see Jesus again--and that he will … [Read more...]
IF NOT ‘SECOND COMING’ THEN WHAT?
From Jesus' remarks to his apostles at the Last Supper and throughout the New Testament thereafter, believers are repeatedly assured that a day will come when Jesus will return from heaven. Moreover, they are both warned and urged to be ready for this glorious event, which could occur at any moment. This "one hope of our calling" is reiterated throughout the New Testament and it is enshrined in the liturgical core and Confessions of the church. However, the exact phrase "second coming" appears nowhere in the Bible with reference to Jesus' return. When commenting or teaching on that subject, … [Read more...]
JESUS’ THIRD APPEARANCE ENDS WAIT
The New Testament regularly presents Christians as a People waiting for Jesus to reappear. For 2,000 years, in countries throughout the earth and under circumstances of every kind, Christians have waited and continue to wait. Why is this waiting necessary? It is necessary because the work through which God is accomplishing his redemptive purpose does not happen immediately or all at once, but in three separate stages. Each stage begins with an appearance by Jesus Christ. One is present; one is past; one is future (Heb. 9:24-28). Let us consider each of the three in turn. Present ('now to … [Read more...]
Christianity On Trial (Book Notice)
Imagine for a moment that someone was able to locate, juggle schedules, arrange transportation, and bring together into one room all the following: * a high school prodigy whose minister sometimes invited him to preach in the largest congregation of their association; * a biblical languages major and avid Bible student; * a national debate champion in university competition; * a Sunday-school teacher with a class approaching 1,000, whose videotaped lessons are viewed around the world; * a Christian apologist with encyclopedic interests and a memory to match; * a … [Read more...]
LITTLE SHERD VS. GIANT THEORY? (2)
The discovery of any potentially-important ancient writing normally triggers a period of scholarly debate, with the debate's intensity directly proportionate to the writing's significance. Translating a document has its own issues, especially when the writing is faded and some words are missing. Scholars must replace missing words and letters and translate the restored text before they even attempt to interpret the writing's significance in the broader picture. Because scholars are regular people subject to normal prejudices and passions, interpretations often involve considerable … [Read more...]
LITTLE SHERD VS. GIANT THEORY? (1)
On July 8, 2008, 17-year-old volunteer Oded Yair was digging with an archaeological team in the 3,000-year-old ruins of an ancient Jewish village called Khirbet Qeiyafa, just off Israel's Route 38 overlooking the Eila Valley (the biblical Valley of Elah, where David fought Goliath). About ten o'clock that morning, Yair unearthed a six-inch near-square of broken pottery ("sherd" or "shard") and automatically dropped it into a plastic bag holding other finds from the same room. That afternoon, when the team washed their artifacts, they discovered that the sherd was an ostracon, a piece of … [Read more...]
PREACHER URGES SCIENCE/FAITH CHAT – 2
Charles Prince is not the first author with hopes of stirring discussion between scientific folks and people of faith. That was also the goal of Dr. Francis S. Collins, eminent scientist, atheist-turned-evangelical believer, now retired head of the Human Genome Project, and author of the 2006 book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press). Collins writes as a top-tier scientist who became an evangelical Christian. Prince, who in semi-retirement at age 80 still teaches advanced Bible and Koine Greek at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, writes from the … [Read more...]
PREACHER URGES SCIENCE/FAITH CHAT -1
In the Spring of 1949, Charles Prince was studying as a chemistry major at what later became Rice University, taking double-minors classes in biology and physics. He continued his schooling at Abilene Christian University and Harvard Divinity School. For several decades, he was plagued by internal struggles over what appeared to be irreconcilable truths of science and faith. Over the years, he came to see the fight, not as between science and faith at all, but rather between "some scientists" and "some preachers." Now he has written a book for intelligent lay-persons in both fields, hoping the … [Read more...]
TOMB OF JESUS?
With fanfare befitting its subject, The Discovery Channel presented its 2007 pre-Easter special titled "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." The program was directed by James Cameron ("Titanic") and Simcha Jacobovici, the latter being also co-author with Charles Pellegrino of the new book The Jesus Family Tomb. This media sensation stems from the 1980 discovery during routine construction work in Jerusalem of a first-century family burial plot. Inside the tomb were bone-boxes (called "ossuaries") on which were inscribed the names "Mary," "Mariamne," "Matthew," "Jesus son of Joseph," "Joseph" and "Judah … [Read more...]