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Posted 5/14/13 at 8:25 PM | Robin Schumacher |
In Part 1 of this post, we looked at a couple of important Biblical distinctions that help interpret the fact and gift of tongues in Scripture, and then we looked at the definition and purpose of tongues as found in the Bible. Let’s now continue to answer the question of whether tongues are truly something that should be normative in today’s Church.
If tongues are a sign to unbelievers, and more specifically a sign of judgment or warning to Israel, then does it have a place in the modern Church? Some theologians do not believe so – for example, O. Palmer Robertson states: “Today there is no need for a sign to show that God is moving from the single nation of Israel to all the nations. That movement has become an accomplished fact.”
Moreover, many Bible teachers point out that, while tongues appear as a spiritual gift in the list given in the very early 1 Corinthians letter of Paul, later epistles that present gifts given by the Spirit omit tongues. Are these mentions just something not meant to be all inclusive whereas the list given in 1 Corinthians is, or does the exclusion of tongues in later letters by Paul signal that it had already served its purpose and was no longer in operation even back in the first century? FULL POST
Posted 5/13/13 at 6:38 AM | Robin Schumacher |
A young Christian guy I know recently started visiting his friend’s church vs. the assembly that his parents attend. The new church is one that believes and teaches that Christians today should speak in tongues, which is something not practiced or taught at his parent’s church. He’s now pretty confused over what he’s seeing and wonders if there is something he’s missing out on by not speaking in tongues like he sees his friend and others doing.
I can relate to him pretty well. When I became a Christian at nineteen, I became involved in a street ministry in our city that was staffed quite heavily by believers who encouraged me to seek the gift of tongues. I, too, became confused and ended up visiting their church where the pastor laid his hands on me and commanded that I speak in tongues (nothing happened).
That was many years ago, but the controversial subject of tongues is just as hot now as it was back then. Is there a systematic and Biblically sound way to answer the question of whether tongues are for today? FULL POST
Posted 5/7/13 at 6:55 PM | Robin Schumacher |
Friday night is movie night in our home. After a week of work, school, and trying to stay on our diets, I get a movie for my daughters and myself, we pile into our theater room with it and loads of junk food, and enjoy while my wife does whatever she wants.
I usually use Redbox for our movies and recently I noticed something that may have been there for a long time, but it’s escaped my attention until now: the occult has an impressive presence in today’s recently-released movie selections. Row after row had at least one if not two supernatural titles for the choosing.
In a way, I’m not surprised at all. Most everyone is intrigued with the paranormal and the vast majority still believes there is more to reality than just matter and energy. For example, the two-year worldwide study done by the Search Institute’s Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence found that only 7% of the adolescents they spoke with were unsure that a spiritual dimension to life exists. FULL POST
Posted 4/28/13 at 8:37 PM | Robin Schumacher |
Those wishing to strip religion from the public arena and ensure that it has no sway over any public policy or matters of government oftentimes point to various Nordic and European countries as models for how good things can be when faith has no public voice. They work hard at trying to produce facts on the higher education levels, lower crime rates, and other various statistics that support their case of secularized societies being ‘better’ than those where religion has a strong presence.
“See,” they say, “how well these countries operate without superstitious beliefs that clearly afford no tangible benefit?”
Moreover, we’re led to believe that such humanistic-driven cultures operate with generous levels of tolerance where individual freedom is concerned (aren’t atheists quick to identify themselves as “free thinkers”?), and that people can live their lives free from any kind of ideological impositions or restrictions. FULL POST
Posted 4/23/13 at 7:42 AM | Robin Schumacher |
Rice Broocks recent opinion piece on FoxNews speaks about the strong popularity of the History Channel’s “Bible” miniseries and describes how it has once again unearthed the debate over whether the events chronicled in Scripture are history or fiction. Atheists and skeptics have consistently answered that question with the assertion that the Bible is nothing more than a collectivized set of fairy tales whose historical validity is on par with Aesop’s fables.
But is this the case? Pushing aside the bias that exists between those holding a wholly naturalistic vs. supernaturalistic worldview, is there a neutral, historical way to examine the Bible to determine whether it fits within the purview of legend and myth?
Historian and Old Testament expert Dr. John Oswalt thinks that there is. In his book, The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature, Oswalt builds a case for the Bible not being myth by carefully identifying and comparing the characteristics of mythology and Scripture. Oswalt says, “If one simply lists the component parts of a dog alongside those of a man, one might conclude that they are essentially the same. But if one takes ‘dog’ as a whole and ‘man’ as a whole, what can one conclude but that they are in their essences different? So also, if we look at the Bible as a whole, where else is there anything like it in its world, or indeed, in the world?” FULL POST
Posted 4/13/13 at 10:56 AM | Robin Schumacher |
Kirsten Powers’ recent article on the trial of abortion “doctor” Kermit Gosnell, which ran in the April 11th edition of USA Today, is something not to be missed. Powers rightly calls out the odd suppression and, in some cases, revisionism being practiced by the media where the current Pennsylvania abortion trial is concerned. Her concerns are echoed by others such as Jon Healey in the Los Angeles Times.
Let’s be clear about what this trial is all about. During some abortions, Gosnell delivered babies alive and then literally beheaded them in his abortion clinic, according to staff that observed the procedures. Performing about 1,000 abortions per year, prosecutors assert Gosnell made millions from taking the lives of both newly born and unborn children. FULL POST
Posted 4/8/13 at 8:04 PM | Robin Schumacher |
In Part One of this post, we looked at the primary Bible translation methods and described their general approach in rendering a copy of God’s Word. Let’s now continue and start by looking at an example of how the dynamic equivalence and literal/formal differ in just one verse in the New Testament.
In Matthew 5, we have the opening lines that kick off Jesus’ most famous discourse, the Sermon on the Mount. The two translation methods deliver the following text:
“Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying” (Matthew 5:1–2, NIV – Dynamic Equivalence). FULL POST
Posted 4/7/13 at 8:59 AM | Robin Schumacher |
When Houston’s First Baptist church made the decision last year to formally discontinue the use of the New International Version (NIV) Bible, it resurfaced the sometimes very touchy subject of Bible translations. Despite the fact that many Christians have never given thought as to how the Bible they were given/bought/use was produced for their native language, emotions can surprisingly and quickly run very hot when someone questions the veracity of a particular Bible translation.
Recently I’ve been asked by a number of other believers my opinion on what the “best” Bible translation is, so I thought I’d cover some ground here that can hopefully be used to answer the question in the future for those who wonder about the same thing. FULL POST
Posted 3/27/13 at 6:57 AM | Robin Schumacher |
How many women were at Christ’s tomb on that first Easter morning – 1, 2, 3, or 5? Were there two angels or only one that announced His resurrection? Did Jesus appear to His followers at Galilee or Jerusalem?
Skeptics of Christ’s resurrection oftentimes claim that the various gospel accounts of Jesus rising from the dead in the New Testament contradict each other. Even some theologians question whether the gospel episodes of the resurrection can be reconciled; for example, listen to Emil Brunner: “The sources contradict one another, and only a ‘harmonizing’ process which is not too much concerned about truth, could patch up a fairly connected account of the events, in which it is only too manifest that the later and less credible witnesses appear more important than the earlier, and more reliable ones. Such a dishonest way of dealing with the subject really has nothing to do with ‘faith in the Word of God’; it only serves to support the disastrous prejudice that Christian faith is only possible in connection with historical dishonesty.” FULL POST
Posted 3/24/13 at 8:23 AM | Robin Schumacher |
With Easter just around the corner, we all are reminded once again that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a miracle. No matter if you believe in God or not, no matter if you’re an atheist or a Christian, the account and effects of Jesus’ resurrection are truly miraculous.
Non-Christians may scoff at this claim, but let me explain. The resurrection is a miracle in one of three ways – it is either:
Before we continue, two quick points are necessary. First, options one and two above are purely natural-only explanations of the resurrection and therefore the definition of “miracle” in their case (a highly uncommon / out of the ordinary, but still natural occurrence) is different than the third option, where the Biblical definition of miracle applies. FULL POST