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Sunday sermon

SUNDAY SERMON [C.U.- Mass]
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
https://youtu.be/Uzzg9W4wJTQ Sunday sermon
https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/5-7-17-sunday-sermon.zip
https://ccoutreach87.com/5-7-17-sunday-sermon/
ON VIDEO-
.Good shepherd
.Liturgy
.Sheep door
.Media?
.Top news?
.Dallas shooting
.Soren Kierkegaard
.R.C. Sproul
.Alexander the Great
.The 2 ‘Gadflies’
.Socrates and Kierkegaard
.Philosophy
.Apologetics
.Greek city state of Athens
.Sparta
.Pantheon
.Objective truth
.Relativism
.My encounter with the Berkeley professor

PAST POSTS- [My past teaching and links that relate to today’s post- SUNDAY SERMON
http://www.ancient.eu/Battle_of_Issus/ This was the battle I refereed to on the video- Alexander’s stunning defeat of Darius the 3rd- the Persian king. Alexander was the son of the Macedonian king- who after the death of his father ascended to the throne at a very young age. I was quoting from memory on the video- and that’s why I confused Macedonia with Persia- but I got the battle right.
The other battle I mentioned was the defeat of Athens by the Spartans- I actually wrote on this before and will add that section below.
https://ccoutreach87.com/john-complete-links-added/
https://ccoutreach87.com/overview-of-philosophy/
https://ccoutreach87.com/2017/01/26/acts-2/
https://ccoutreach87.com/qm/
https://ccoutreach87.com/galatians-links/
https://ccoutreach87.com/genesis/

(739)ACTS 2- The Apostles are gathered together in the upper room. As they continue in unity and prayer the Spirit of God comes upon them like a rushing wind. There appear ‘cloven tongues’ like fire above each of them. Why this image? Why not ‘ears’ or some other sanctified body part? God is going to give supernatural power to the words that they will speak. In a few chapters we will read how an angel will supernaturally deliver Peter from prison and say ‘go, speak the words of this life’. These tongues are a precursor to the tremendous fire that will be loosed from their lips. James says the tongue is a little member but boasteth great things, it has the ability to start fires. Jesus said he came to earth to ‘start a fire’ and how he wished it were already burning. Here he gets his wish! Now the Apostles and early believers experience the gift of tongues. They begin speaking and prophesying in the unknown languages of all those who are gathered together to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. God ordained this event to be strategically done at this time. All the surrounding regions heard the believers speak the ‘wondrous works of God’ in their native tongue. Peter stands up and delivers a scathing message! He basically tells Israel ‘this is that which the prophet Joel spoke about’ he goes on and says this outpouring is part of Gods predetermined plan to pour out his Spirit on all flesh in the last days. He speaks of divine manifestations [dreams, visions] and carries the prophecy right to the end of the age. He then speaks the gospel of Christ and tells Israel ‘this is the Jesus you killed’. Wow, these guys are bold. Peter leads them to faith in Christ, their public baptism is the immediate sign of their willingness to be identified with Jesus and 3 thousand Jews become believers this day. Now, what is the church? This corporate group of first time followers do 4 basic things. They ‘continue in the Apostles doctrine and breaking of bread and prayers and share their goods with all in need’[true fellowship]. This early community was a brotherhood who actually gave priority to the teachings of Jesus passed on to them from the Apostles. Don’t miss this! Many will develop all sorts of practices and beliefs that ‘make up church’. Some will justify extra biblical beliefs under the guise of ‘the Apostles doctrine’ as in if it were something totally contrary or not known thru the gospels or the writing of scripture. Paul will tell Timothy to stay true to the traditions he passed on to him. But I want to focus on the fact that the Apostles doctrine was not something different then the basic instructions Jesus left us in the gospels. Paul will add to this basic body of Christian doctrine thru his letters to the churches, as well as the whole New Testament. But we do not see a bunch of strange or unknown doctrines that come from this time period. The basics are mentioned above. I do want to stress the fact that this early expression of church life had no ‘Pastor’ in the sense of their gatherings being a time where a singular authority figure had oversight of the entire community. They had strong leaders to be sure, but would avoid the Protestant idea of Pastor. They had no church building or belief in a strong liturgy. The ‘breaking of bread’ was a common meal where they all shared together in a real life setting. And of course their giving was radical, it was not ‘a tithe’ and it was done to meet the real needs of the community around them. All these elements are basic to what the New Testament church is. A functioning society of people in whom Christ Spirit dwells and who see themselves as a real spiritual community of people. As we progress thru out the history of the church as seen in Acts we will never lose this basic mindset. It will be carried into the epistles of the New Testament and remain the best idea of ‘local church’ as found in the first century. There is a trend going on right now in Evangelicalism that says ‘lets return to the ancient practices of the church and see what we can find’. As an avid reader of church history I am not totally against this movement, but I do see a danger in thinking ‘the ancient practices’ are the 2nd or 3rd century development of liturgy and Eucharist and other early ideas, and by passing the ‘real ancient’ story in the book of Acts. To put it simply, some of the Protestant and Evangelical ‘practices and beliefs’ that have developed since the reformation are ‘ancient’. I believe we all have a long way to go, but the ‘low view’ of the Lords Table [low as opposed to ‘high church view’. Though I personally believe in the Lords table as a memorial, not as the actual Body and Blood of Jesus. Yet I personally don’t like referring to such an important practice as low!] seems to be the true ancient practice as seen in Acts. The absence of the Priest officiating over the altar is no where to be seen in the actual ‘church’ setting. This ancient church is really a simple brotherhood of believers having all things common and having the resurrection of the Son of God as the central organizing principle of their lives.

(588)John 10[radio # 593]- I forgot to mention in John 9 when they asked Jesus who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus said ‘no one’. Later in the chapter after the Pharisees get done with the guy, they say ‘you were altogether born in sin [after all you were BORN blind!] who do you think you are, trying to tell us what to do!’ that secret mentality of condemnation came out. Religion does this to people. It treats them like ‘yes, God is merciful and we are all sinners’ but in the heat of the argument the mentality of ‘we are really better than you’ exists. Now in this chapter Jesus says ‘I am the door’ and also ‘I am the shepherd who comes thru the door’ how can he be both? Jesus was the one who would fulfill all the required prophetic aspects spoken of in scripture. There were tons of Old Testament prophecies that Jesus met to the tee. These requirements were like a door, as the Jews were waiting for their Messiah they were looking for someone who met this criteria, Jesus met them! He also IS the door, from this time onward all other future leadership in the church would have to come ‘thru’ him and exemplify the servant attitude that he had. Jesus says ‘the hireling flees when the wolf comes’ the hireling is a mentality that looks at church leadership as a hired position. People vote on their pastor, if he does a good job he stays, if not he leaves and they screen for another hired position. Many good men have been down this road. Often when the ‘wolf comes’ he actually says to the leader ‘you cant stay in this town any longer, look at all the mistakes you made’ the accuser gets the hireling to flee, sometimes without the pastor realizing what’s going on. Jesus wants us to ‘come thru the door’ into the sheepfold. The ‘prescribed way’ of servant hood and giving your life for the sheep. I want to encourage all the pastors who read this site, don’t see your job as completing some vision, or rallying people to a cause. Though these things are included in pastoring, the main job for all of us is to give our lives unselfishly for others. It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘the hireling’ but God wants us to view our callings thru a servant hood mentality. The good shepherd gives his life [goals, dreams, etc…] up for the sheep. The Pharisees say ‘he is a mad man, he has a devil, why do you even listen to him?’ The leaders decided to bypass Jesus, they thought ‘we will just ignore him and he will go away’ the only problem was the average ‘congregant’ was listening! Often times in prophetic ministry you will find the bulk of leadership by passing the prophetic word [that which God is saying at the season] it is only later, after the ‘people’ hear it, that leaders will give it a second look. Leaders, don’t fall into this category, if you get in on what God is saying from the start, then you can partake of the good stuff along with the people! Jesus in these last few chapters said he is Gods Son and the Jews understood it to mean his claim of equality with God. They understood right! I mention this because some feel that Jesus didn’t claim deity, he most certainly did. Even 1st century historians noted this in their writings, that the believers worshipped ‘a God named Jesus’. The deity question is vital, if you miss this one, you’ve missed it all! NOTE; Let me make a note here. It would be very easy for me to develop a teaching from this chapter that says ‘because of all you have seen about the idea of modern church, and the unbiblical roles of the hired clergy. That therefore all ‘pastors’ are hirelings’. Some have actually taught this. There are a few reasons why I don’t fall into this camp. First, when God initiates reformation ‘a reforming of the practices of modern church’ he does it with the sheep in mind. Jesus told the disciples ‘I have many things to say to you, but you are unable to hear it’ he could have blown them away with doctrine, but the goal was their development. If all doctrine, even true doctrine, does not build you up in some way, then it is not accomplishing the purpose that God intends. So in all the stuff I have taught you guys, the goal is for all of us [Pastors and people] to grow and change in Gods timing. To use my influence in a way that would split churches, or have the people viewing their pastors as ‘hirelings’ would be unprofitable. Eventually we all, as a Body, will change and reform as God directs. But to use this chapter to tear down all current forms of leadership presently functioning in the church would be irresponsible. With knowledge comes responsibility. God will give us knowledge and wisdom for the purpose of edification, not destruction.

(1124) Let do some more apologetics [by the way, the word means ‘give a defense’ it does not mean to apologize! It comes from the bible, in Peter it says ‘be ready to give an answer to those who ask for a reason for the hope in you’] One of the other areas of doubt raised by the atheist is the fact that there are various accounts of creation and the ‘flood story’ found in other civilizations. The Babylonians have ‘the epic of Gilgamesh’. This is an account of a worldwide flood. The fact that there are other stories about a major world event, would not in and of itself cast doubt on the event! Where I grew up in New Jersey you would have been able to actually see the world trade center disaster on 9-11. As an Italian, say if I wrote a report of the events for my fellow Italian buddies. Then lets say a thousand years go by and you find out that the Cuban papers also reported it, and the Puerto Ricans, as a matter of fact you might find many cultures that have their own reporting of this event. Would that cast doubt on my report? No, as a matter of fact if no one else had a report, except me, then that would cast doubt! Now, how do we know which report is true? Out of the various other stories about creation and a flood, the one that is the ‘least fantastic’ is the biblical one. The others definitely have a tinge of unreality about them. Some say the earth was flooded, but it rained for 7 days [not long enough to flood the earth!] and the waters receded in one day [cant happen!] the biblical account has both a longer period of rain as well as a longer period of the waters receding. The actual dimensions of Noah’s Ark were huge! The huge boat looked more like a giant rectangular barge, you could fit huge jetliners in the thing! It was three levels high, but not like the silly kids pictures found in fables. That topsy turvy thing with animals peeking off the deck! The actual dimensions could have worked, really! The point is the simple fact of other cultures having their own stories of events like this does not mean the events themselves were fake, to the contrary, if only one culture had these stories, that would cast more doubt on the events themselves.

(1123) FORM CRTICISM back in the early part of the 20th century you had various scholars come up with new ways to approach scripture, it seems as if the intellectual capacity of certain scholars was not being satisfied by the normal historical approach and belief in scripture. While most scholars accept the reality that there are different styles of writing in the bible; poetry, symbol, apocalyptic, etc. The form critics would take this study another step [out in left field!] and say that the gospels are actually stories that ‘were formed’ by the evangelists from small portions of deeds and sayings of Jesus. In essence they were saying that between the time of the actual events in the gospels and the recording of them [20-25 years] that the early Christian communities simply developed the stories in the gospels for the sake of the community, the only ‘reliable’ historical portion was the passion narrative. One of the most famous of the form critics was Rudolph Bultman. Over a period of time these brothers would make it next to impossible to accept the basic truths of the gospels. The famous writer C.S. Lewis found it amazing that these 20th century German thinkers, some 2 thousand years removed from the actual events themselves. Those who did not live in the actual culture of the time, didn’t speak the language. Yet these modern day critics somehow stumbled across this way of interpreting the bible that really unlocked the true intent behind the writers. Lewis himself lamented many times over the way the critics of his own writings were almost always 100 % wrong when it came to their judgment of his own motives behind what he wrote. He did not ‘mind’ the actual criticism of his writings, but the criticisms that said ‘this is what he really meant to say’ or ‘this is why he said this’ Lewis would testify that they were almost always [if not always!] wrong when they leveled these charges at him. He then turned the table on the form critics and said that they were engaging in this same type of criticism of the gospel writers, who were removed from the present day by some 1900 years! Lewis simply found it unbelievable to accept the possibility that they were even right 1% of the time. Ultimately these higher critics would be proven wrong for the most part by the discoveries that were taking place in archaeology. Many doubted the stories of scripture, their historical accuracy; things like the names of families in the book of Genesis, many said these family trees were fake, archeology proved otherwise. Or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, most of the new critics simply saw these stories as ‘myth’ symbolic stories meant to convey spiritual truths, but were not really true. Then lo and behold, they uncovered the historical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and also found evidence of some type of natural disaster that actually ‘rained down hot hailstones that burned up the cities’ Ouch! The higher critics were squirming in their seats as these historical facts were being uncovered. For the most part these popular early 20th century ways of approaching scripture have now been rejected. Of course you still find some who lean towards that system, but most able scholars realize that these brothers went so far out into left field that they were ignoring the most basic principles of true historic criticism and were engaging in a type of philosophical critique that had no real basis in truth. How in the world did these brothers determine what sayings of Jesus were really his, and which were not? The same goes for Paul’s letters and the rest of the New Testament. C.S. Lewis was open to modern ideas and concepts about Christian truth, but he could also see the things that were simply trends that had no real foundation in truth, Lewis was a wise man indeed.

[parts]
Okay- in the last few posts we talked a little about the first century world that Christianity was birthed from. We call this Greco/Roman culture.

Though Rome was the ruling empire at the time of Christ- they were ‘Hellenized’. Hellenization is the word we use to describe the Greek kingdoms efforts- under Alexander the Great- to ‘Cosmopolitanise’ the world.

Whenever Alexander would conquer a people- he would allow them to stay in their land- they could hold on to their customs and habits but at the same time become part of Greek culture.

Alexander even translated the Jewish bible [Torah] into Greek. This version is called the Septuagint [means 70] and comes from the story that 70 scholars put this version together under Divine inspiration.

This Greek ‘bible’ was the bible that the Jewish people who lived outside of Israel would use. These scattered Jews are referred to as the Diaspora.

Okay- during the time of Christ more Jews lived outside of Israel than in the land. And the influence of the Greek world upon all the people under the Roman Empire was very great.

Our New Testaments were originally written in Greek- this is the reason why. Now- the other day I mentioned how the Synagogue rose up during the time of this Diaspora- this scattering of the Jewish people before the time of Christ.

So during Jesus day- you already had a habit of Jews meeting for study and prayer- in these ‘church’ like buildings. These places of worship had no sacrifices or priestly ordinances- they were places of prayer and ‘bible study’. Do you now see how the culture that surrounds a movement does indeed have the potential to shape that movement?

Yes- early Christianity took on a form of Synagogue worship and order of service. The New Testament teaches us that we have no more animal sacrifices- but offer spiritual worship to God.

In the book of Acts we read about a group of people called God Fearers. This designation refereed to gentiles [non Jews] who enjoyed the Synagogue ‘services’ and wanted to attend- but they were not willing to go all the way- so to speak- and make the final ‘cut’.

Yes- if you wanted to completely convert to Judaism as an adult- you could- but you did have to go thru the rite of passage- circumcision.

So for those who liked the ‘bible study’ but also liked to keep all their body parts as well- they became God Fearers.

A while back I read an article [book review?] about a book some scholar put out- and he had an interesting twist on why the early Christian’s had friction with the early Jews. He posited the idea that the Gentile converts to Judaism were the main pool of people that the early Christians were converting- and that simple statistics said if all these former God Fearers became Christians- well the synagogue membership would go down- and the offerings too!

It’s an interesting idea- but we do read in the bible that the friction came because the early Jewish Christians accepted Christ as their final sacrifice and they did indeed ‘leave’ Judaism and identified themselves with Christ and his Church. [I put ‘leave’ in quotes because what actually happened was these Jewish converts to Christianity were simply receiving all that the prophets said- they did not see what they were doing as being unfaithful to their faith- they saw it as simply completing their journey].

But to know the context- the world in which these things took place- that helps us to see a little more into the story.

This past week I read Mark chapter 1 and John chapter 1. These chapters cover the ministry of John the Baptist. John was called ‘the Baptist’ because he was baptizing people in the river Jordan. How come we never read anyone saying ‘hey John- what the heck are you doing- this new rite of dunking people in the water’?

Well no one said it [as far as we know] because it was not a new rite [ritual]. During the rise of synagogue worship- and thus the rise of gentiles who wanted to join the ‘church’ on their block [non Jews who liked the readings and spiritual atmosphere of the synagogue] the Jewish people developed a type of Baptism that was used as a sort of entry rite [along with circumcision] to join their religion.

But the thing about John was he started using this rite as a means to call the Jewish people to repentance- this was a first of its kind.

So Johns Baptism said ‘you religious folk- you Jewish people- yes- you need to repent just like everyone else’. Yeah- John was a unique person- and his baptism was one of a kind.

Okay- that’s it for today- maybe try and read the chapters I mentioned above- do a little study on your own.

In this month’s issue of Christianity Today magazine they started a 5 year study on classic Christianity and it looks like it’s going to be very well done- something Protestants and Catholics would benefit from.

I have been reading this magazine for many years- and the last few years they have really taken a step up in their scholarship- maybe go on line and subscribe? You can also read the articles right from the computer.

I also read the Catholic Magazine called First Things- both of these are on my blog roll. First Things is top rate- but might get a little too ‘intellectual’ for first timers [don’t want to sound condescending here] they cover issues of Philosophy and Science form a Christian perspective- and they too have great stuff.

But I think the C.T. 5 year program that they are just starting might be the way to go for new learners- or ‘old’ learners- who want to brush up on the faith.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John

[parts]
LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD?

I read an article the other day- some guy got busted for assault- because of Facebook. It went on to say how he posted a status update when his mom died- and he was waiting for his estranged wife to ‘like’ it.

She never responded- so he did what any normal person would- he jumped in the car and drove over to her house. Okay- I’m gonna ad lib here ‘knock knock’ she comes to the door and he says ‘go into that damn computer room right now and Like the status’!

One thing lead to another- and he got busted.

What’s wrong with this picture? I mean he was talking to her- in the ‘real world’ face to face- yet instead of saying ‘ex- are you sad that mom died’- no- he says ‘go like the post!’

Okay- this will be the last post for a while on philosophy- I think I did about 3 or 4 the last week or so- I used to do one subject and stick with it for around a month.

Then at the end of the study [Physics, History, etc.] I would stick them all together on the blog as a single study.

But I realized that new friends who are just reading the site- post by post- they might think that’s all I write about- so now I’m trying to just do a few at a time.

Okay- we made it all the way to Plato and his famous school that he founded at Athens [Greece]. Though Socrates was his teacher- yet Socrates never founded an actual school.

Like I said earlier- Plato had a view of Reality that was a bit strange. He was an Idealist- not in the way we use the term today [mostly] but he believed that Ideas themselves were the real world- and what we see/experience in the material world are not ‘as real’.

Plato believed that knowledge was A Priori- which means the actual knowledge about a thing exists before the thing comes into being.

The famous example he used was a Chair. He would ask ‘what is that’ pointing to a chair. The student would respond ‘a chair’ Plato would say ‘and how do you know this- how did you obtain that knowledge’ and he argued that in the Idea realm- there is a perfect form of Chairness that exists- and that’s why we can identify ‘the chair’ in the material realm.

Now- Plato’s most famous student was a man named Aristotle. He actually respected his teacher a lot- but there was some tension between the 2. Plato was more of a down to earth type guy- liked to wear plain clothes- did lots of his teaching by walking around the classroom- interacting with people.

Aristotle was more of a ‘Fancy Pants’ type guy. He had a little bit of the elitist thing going on. He was more of a book worm than Plato- and he would eventually start his own school to compete with Plato’s Academy.

Aristotle’s school was named the Lyceum. Aristotle was more of a Realist than an Idealist. He believed that this material world was more than just a copy of the Idea world. He taught that Substance and matter were very real- and that contained within the thing is the actual form and future potential of ‘that thing’.

For instance- the Acorn has within it the actual form of the Oak Tree. This form did not come from an Idea world- it came from the thing itself- the Acorn.

So matter has within it both the potential of its future form- as well as eventually becoming that thing.

For Aristotle- knowledge is more A-Posteriori- that is we obtain knowledge about a thing- from the very thing itself. We see/touch and experience that thing- and by our senses interacting with the substance- we get knowledge- after the fact.

Okay- to Aristotle all substance has both Form and Matter. Then what he called substance- had 2 categories as well. The ‘substance’ [actual thing it is] and the Accidens [not accidents- not a typo].

The Accidens was simply the outward appearance- what we see on the outside. It might not be what the substance really is- or it might.

This teaching would eventually become a major way that our Catholic friends would come to define the doctrine of Transubstantiation- during the 13the century the great thinker Thomas Aquinas would re-discover [and introduce] Aristotle’s teaching back into the church.

In his theological works [Summa Theologica] he would use Aristotelian thought to explain how the Bread and Wine become the actual Flesh and Blood of Christ. Thomas explained that the actual substance of the thing was Flesh and Blood- but the Accidens- what you’re seeing on the outside- looks like Bread and Wine.

Catholic scholars have debated for centuries on whether or not they should stick to the hard line teaching from Thomas on this. They are not challenging the belief in the Real Presence [that Jesus is really there at the Eucharist] they simply wonder whether or not explaining it this way is right.

Finally- after many years of certain Catholic scholars asking this question- in 1965 the Pope [I think it was Paul the 6th?] put out a Papal Encyclical [an official Vatican teaching] and he stated clearly that the way Aquinas taught it is the official doctrine of the church- so that settled that.

Okay- Plato was an Idealist [Dualist] and Aristotle was a Realist. That’s the major difference.

I will note that Aristotle’s most famous student was Alexander the Great. And during the great conquests of Alexander he took with him a whole team of scientists who brought back all types of specimens of things and he gave them to his famous teacher Aristotle- to advance the cause of learning at the Lyceum school.

It has been said that Alexander’s efforts at collecting and bringing these things back after their victories- that this was probably the most expensive scientific endeavor of all time- right up until the modern space Era.

Note- I try to avoid too many ‘big words’ in these posts. Not because people don’t understand them- but because I forget how to spell them! And in this post- there are around 10 words that my spell check has no idea how to spell- so just a warning- there might be a few misspelled words in this one.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

[1741] GO SPARTANS?

I really have too much to cover for one post- so let’s see what we can squeeze in.

I have a catalog sitting here- from the company that I order courses from. A few years ago I got on their mailing list [How- ?] and ever since I have been bombarded with monthly catalogs.

I mean every month- a bit much. Then I realized that one month out of the year they put a bunch of courses ‘on sale’ for around 70% off the regular price- and that’s probably where they do their best business [I now only buy from the discounted monthly catalog].

Anyway- I read the intro to their course on Dark Matter/Energy- these teachers are really good- they are professors from the premiere universities of the world [Oxford, Harvard, etc.] and to get the courses at this price- well it’s really a bargain.

But over the years- studying various disciplines [Theology, Apologetics] it’s easy to see when some smart men- make really bad mistakes.

Especially when dealing with the whole ‘proof for/against God’ type stuff.

In this short intro to the Dark Matter course [Physics- these courses cover everything- history- science- religion- the whole 9 yards] they start out okay- they explain that according to the standard theory of modern physics- that there is about 95 % [wow- that number has jumped these last few years!] of matter ‘missing’ in the universe.

What do they mean by ‘missing’? They go on to explain that the effects that we see in the universe- the gravity and function of the universe- well according to standard theory- there is simply not enough matter to explain how all this is held together- how everything actually works.

Okay- so they admit that there are a whole bunch of phenomena- that we see taking place- that modern science has no idea how it’s taking place.

Now- as the intro continues- they say in order to ‘fill the gap’ they have come up with the idea of Dark Matter.

Dark Matter is simply a name given to nothing- that is nothing that we can detect thru the means of modern science.

Okay- by definition- it is a Metaphysical reality- something that science has espoused as a possible cause for the effects we see in the universe- and by their own definition- its invisible- undetectable and unseen- it is metaphysical [just like the argument for the existence of God].

So they go on to say ‘we know that this matter exists- because how else could you explain how everything works’- now- to those who get into these debates- the guy who wrote the intro- I’m sure he means well- but his whole argument is a materialistic one.

He is saying that there is no chance that some type of ‘non matter’ can be making this happen.

So he then says ‘because WE KNOW that there has to be a material explanation for this- no ‘God stuff’ here- therefore its Dark Matter.’

Okay- and what is Dark Matter again? O- it’s this non detectable- unseen matter- that just happens to make up 95 % of the universe.

Okay- Mr. smart guy- you don’t go for those Intelligent Design guys- the ones who argue that some non material force might be behind this- you rejected their argument because you say they are arguing from a non material realm [called metaphysical].

So how again have you proven that your idea- all this missing matter- exists? O- easy- because we see the effects OF IT all around us.

Actually- no we don’t. We see the effects of SOMETHING- that is- modern science has this huge gap- there are effects taking place in the known universe- that have no materialistic explanation for- we can’t find a material, observable cause for these effects.

The Christian says ‘Okay- I stick God in that gap’ [which many materialists accuse us of doing- they call it the ‘God of the Gaps’ approach].

But the materialistic scientist [one who says there can only be a detectable- material cause to things- in order to classify it as science] he then comes up with the whole Dark Matter argument- an argument based on non detectable- unseen- unproven matter.

And he then says ‘it must be there- because how else can you explain how everything is functioning?’.

The point is- your argument is based just as much on ‘unseen- unproven’ ideas as the Christian. You assume that this matter ‘must be’ simply because you leave no room for a non material explanation.

Then you say ‘yeah- but our idea is based on science/matter’ actually it is not- you argument is based on an idea- non proven by your own standards of modern science- and your idea- your Dark Matter- as of today is nowhere to be found.

These debates can go on forever- and my point is to simply challenge the believer- and the scientific community- to try to be more honest in the approach of seeking for truth.

In the last post I mentioned the pre Socratic philosophers- the 6th century B.C. guys who came before Socrates.

In the 5th century B.C. you had Socrates [born around 468 B.C.] and he would become one of the titans of Western thought.

He had a famous student by the name of Plato- and Plato would follow in his master’s footsteps. Plato founded a famous school at Athens- the land was donated by a man by the name of Academe- and till this day- that’s where we get the modern term for Academia.

Socrates started well- his ideas are not to be confused with Christian belief [he taught that the soul of man always existed- even before he was conceived- not a Christian belief] yet he did have lots of ‘Christianized’ ideas.

Socrates was of the school of thought that wanted to seek for absolute truths- to find out the purpose and meaning behind things.

Like his student Plato- they were what you would call Idealists- that behind this natural world- there exists Ideas- principles that are ‘more real’ than what we see [he would too laugh at the dark Matter intro I hit on at the top].

Socrates lived at a very advanced stage of the city/state of Athens- Greece. For their day- they had quite an advanced society- Jury system- somewhat of a Western style Democratic process- pretty good for the day.

But something happened during his lifetime that would change the whole direction of Athens [and Greece]. They would suffer a huge military defeat by another city/state that seemed to be no match for the Athenians.

Do you remember their name? Do you Remember the Spartans? Yes- we see these brothers in the famous movie ‘The 300’. The Spartans were indeed a fighting machine- just like depicted in the flick [one of my favorites by the way].

They had a famous motto ‘either come back holding your shield high [in victory] or come back lying on it’ [dead- like a stretcher].

So when Athens fell at the hands of the Spartans- they went through a sort of depression- a malaise came over them. They began to resent the thinkers who were always searching for ultimate answers to things- and they embraced a new type of philosophy- called Sophism.

The Sophists were thinkers who said ‘lets just learn the most pragmatic approach- how to get things to work- and how to win the argument’ and they didn’t really care a whole lot about whether they were ‘right’ or wrong- they just wanted to master the practical side of life.

Socrates and his crew thought this approach would ruin Athens and he continued to fight for the search for ultimate truth- the real reasons behind things.

He went around town debating the other thinkers- he had a system- called the Socratic method- where he would engage you in a debate- ask you questions- and let you too ask them back- sort of like the Detective Columbo.

After a while this got him into trouble with the authorities and they sentenced him to death.

He was given his choice of execution- and he chose to drink the Hemlock.

We are told that his famous student Plato visited him on the eve of his execution- and he was surprised to see his master relatively at ease with his impending death.

Socrates believed that the unseen things- the non material realm- was actually more real than the seen- detectable realm. He did not need some Dark Matter idea to explain how things worked- he believed there existed unseen things- God- Soul- etc. and that these things were more real than his own natural life.

Plato would make his teacher famous through his school- and thru his many writings about his teacher. We know these writings as Plato’s Dialogues- he wrote these papers in dialogue form- having Socrates debating the other schools of thought- just like he did in real life.

So you never really know who to attribute the famous quotes to- Socrates- or Plato? Was Plato putting his own words in the mouth of his beloved teacher? We don’t always know for sure.

Okay-maybe a bit much for today- actually had more I wanted to do- but we’ll call it quits for now. Maybe do a quick search on some of these subjects- see how they affect the contemporary arguments for the existence of God.

See how modern science is a noble field- but one in which the Christian does have a say- and how we should challenge the assumptions that are passed down to us.

Socrates refused to settle for the purely practical outlook on life- he continued to seek truth till his last day- he dialogued with those who had other ideas- he listened to them and they heard him- and at the end of the day society was better off for it.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

[1740] THE UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING- PLATO.

[parts]

Soren Kierkegaard- the 19th century Christian/Philosopher is considered to be the Father of Existentialism. Existentialism is the philosophy that says you start with ‘existence’ that is you begin the journey with real life passion- real interaction in life. Your failures and your high points- all these real things we experience in life- these are the things that shape us- that make us real.

Soren lived in a day where the Danish state church was dead and formal- and he spoke out against the dead lukewarm orthodoxy of his day.

One time he would say when he got tired of all the religious formalism- the fake plastic face we all put on so other people can’t really see our struggles- he said he would go read the Old Testament- the stories of murder and adultery and covering up crimes- he said these were real stories- of failure and success- of sitting in jail and thinking you might get out- but instead you get your head taken off.

These are the real stories of some of the most hallowed saints of history- yes- human frailty runs right through it all- like some scarlet thread.

One time Jesus said to Peter ‘I have prayed for you’ that sounds great when it stands alone- but when you see it in the context of the whole verse- then you realize that you just might be in for something that you never expected would happen- you might be getting ready to go through a real existential moment- face to face with your own failures and humanity.

Peter will later write ‘beloved- when you go thru trials- don’t think it strange. Realize your brothers are also going through them’ and ‘it is not only our privilege to believe on the name of Jesus- but it is also our privilege to suffer with him’.

Yes Peter went on to get past the sifting- the memory of being the disciple who denied Jesus. I mean Peter was the only one who walked on water [ besides Jesus]- he raised the dead in the book of Acts- how we remember him?

We remember the day he got sifted like wheat. It’s not easy to forget those days- and even harder to live through them.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
[parts]

Existentialism is a philosophy that says there is more than just head knowledge- pure rationalistic approaches to God and life. Kierkegaard wrote his famous book Fear and Trembling- he talked about how when God told Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice- that Abraham had to rise above pure rational thought [God says ‘don’t kill’ and yet he’s asking me to kill my son]. Kierkegaard says true faith rises above rational thought and embraces God in an experiential way.

Sartre wrote a few books too. Titles; Nausea, No Exit, Being and Nothingness. He was famous for saying ‘Man is a useless passion’. Jesus warned of the danger of looking to human systems and saying ‘father’ that is choosing any system of man [like atheism] over and above the Fatherhood of God. You might be part of the Catholic community of Violet that brought their faith to the area over a century ago- or maybe your more comfortable ‘under the tent’ with my Pentecostal friends- either way the job gets done. But you do need to find a ‘tent’ a community that embraces the reality of God- because if you place yourself outside the tent- then according to Sartre- you are a useless passion.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

[parts]
So let me just give a short quote- Socrates said ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. Philosophy- as a system- started around 6oo years before Christ in Greek society. The popular guys we hear about- Socrates, Plato and Aristotle- they lived around 3-350 years before Christ. Christian teachers have taken different stances for and against philosophy. The church father Tertullian said ‘what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem’ meaning philosophy and Christian teaching don’t go together. Yet the great Swiss reformer- Ulrich Zwingli [16th century] was a well schooled theologian- learned in many of the subjects of his day- like the great Catholic scholar Erasmus. These guys were a little more refined [though Zwingli was actually a warrior- killed for the cause] and they saw the Greek philosophers as precursors to Christ- Zwingli believed he would see the great Greek philosophers in heaven some day. So as you see the church has taken different stances on the subject. It’s hard to say that philosophy had no role on Christian thought- many Christians don’t realize that the apostle John almost quoted verbatim from Greek philosophy when he used the phrase ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God’ [John’s gospel- chapter 1]. In Greek philosophy there was what was considered this ultimate unified principle- that would bring all learning together as one giant truth- this was called Logos- the Word. Greek philosophy had been looking for the Word [Logos] for years- trying to find the one key truth that would tie all other truth together- John was simply saying to Greek society ‘Look- we have found the Truth- the Divine principle that you have been looking for’. So for John to quote this in his gospel was not plagiarism [as some atheists contend] but wisdom- he was speaking to the people in ways that would connect with them. Yes- because scripture is Divine- Inspired- we believe Jesus is very much The Word- the one who proceeds from God- but we also realize that in a sense John borrowed this form of words from the Greek philosophers- nothing wrong with it.

Okay- that’s it for today- I hope you guys always pick something up that sticks with you- you know a little nugget of wisdom that in 30 years from now if I see some of you at an old school reunion you can walk up to me and say ‘John- Jesus is the Word of God’ something that I will be proud about. O wait- just had a thought- if someone walks up and says ‘John- I hear you like Hanson’ I will respond ‘Who’s John?’

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

[parts]
The Sophists were thinkers who said ‘lets just learn the most pragmatic approach- how to get things to work- and how to win the argument’ and they didn’t really care a whole lot about whether they were ‘right’ or wrong- they just wanted to master the practical side of life.

Socrates and his crew thought this approach would ruin Athens and he continued to fight for the search for ultimate truth- the real reasons behind things.

He went around town debating the other thinkers- he had a system- called the Socratic method- where he would engage you in a debate- ask you questions- and let you too ask them back- sort of like the Detective Columbo.

After a while this got him into trouble with the authorities and they sentenced him to death.

He was given his choice of execution- and he chose to drink the Hemlock.

We are told that his famous student Plato visited him on the eve of his execution- and he was surprised to see his master relatively at ease with his impending death.

Socrates believed that the unseen things- the non material realm- was actually more real than the seen- detectable realm. He did not need some Dark Matter idea to explain how things worked- he believed there existed unseen things- God- Soul- etc. and that these things were more real than his own natural life.

Plato would make his teacher famous through his school- and thru his many writings about his teacher. We know these writings as Plato’s Dialogues- he wrote these papers in dialogue form- having Socrates debating the other schools of thought- just like he did in real life.

So you never really know who to attribute the famous quotes to- Socrates- or Plato? Was Plato putting his own words in the mouth of his beloved teacher? We don’t always know for sure.

Okay-maybe a bit much for today- actually had more I wanted to do- but we’ll call it quits for now. Maybe do a quick search on some of these subjects- see how they affect the contemporary arguments for the existence of God.

See how modern science is a noble field- but one in which the Christian does have a say- and how we should challenge the assumptions that are passed down to us.

Socrates refused to settle for the purely practical outlook on life- he continued to seek truth till his last day- he dialogued with those who had other ideas- he listened to them and they heard him- and at the end of the day society was better off for it.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com
[parts]
Apologist is a word we use to describe those who defend the faith- it comes from the Apostle Peter’s letter in the N.T. where Peter says ‘give an answer to those who ask you about the faith’. In the Greek language- the original language the N.T. was written in- this phrase is talking about a defense- an ‘apology’ in the sense of ‘making the case’ not in the common sense of apologizing.

In the book of Acts- chapter 17- we read the famous sermon of the apostle Paul- given at Mars Hill. He was in Athens at the time- and he was debating with all the philosophers of the day. He tells them ‘as I was looking around town- I saw that one of your altars is addressed to The Unknown God’.

He would go on and declare unto them that this Jesus is the true God- the one raised from the dead.

Paul also said ‘in Him we live and MOVE and have our being’. Kind of a popular verse quoted by preacher’s today- but we often overlook the significance of the MOVE part.

I mean- why say we MOVE in him too? Paul was a smart guy- he knew these children of Socrates questioned where motion came from [Remember Thales?] So he was basically saying ‘I am declaring to you the one true reality- the true 5th Element- the missing God particle from your system’ and he went on and preached Christ- being raised from the dead.

Paul knew that you can’t really do true philosophy- to grapple with the questions of life and being and ‘motion’ without realizing that God is indeed the ultimate answer to all things.

Even Peter Singer- who claimed that you don’t need God or religion in order to do Ethics- even he unknowingly quoted Jesus in attempting to give a basis for his Philosophy- yes- he quoted a God- one unknown to him- just like the altar at Athens- but a God never the less.

An inescapable 5th element- the missing part to the whole puzzle.

http://www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

[parts]

(739)ACTS 17- Paul heads to Thessalonica and preaches 3 Sabbath days in the synagogue. Once again the unbelieving Jews follow him and stir up trouble. Paul heads to Berea and speaks the word. The Bereans are said to be more noble because they heard Paul out and then searched the scriptures to see if he were telling the truth. The message he preached is that Jesus is the Messiah that the Old Testament prophets spoke of. In 1st John, John says ‘whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ Paul was showing them that Jesus was the Christ. Again trouble arises and Paul sails off to Athens and sends for Timothy and Silas later on. Now, Paul spent 3 weeks at Thessalonica. No huge budget, no message on ‘how can we reach Thessalonica without lots of money’ [I have heard it taught that you cant even begin to think about planting a church unless you have $250,000 dollars!] Paul believed in the power of the gospel. It took 3 weeks of simply sharing the gospel to plant this church! He will write them a few letters and give them some instruction, but the simple truth is every believer has the ability to ‘plant churches’ [speaking the gospel to people groups and those people believing and becoming ‘the church’]. At Athens Paul is troubled by all the ‘superstition’ [religion]. He runs into the philosophers. It said the people there spent all their time in either telling or hearing some new thing. An ancient form of ‘the view’ [the television show where the ladies talk about nothing all day long!] So Paul disputes with them and uses their own altar to ‘the unknown God’ and declares Christ unto them. Recently a Catholic priest made headlines because he advocated for Christians to use the name Allah instead of God. He felt the name was referring to the same God. Does Paul’s use of the ‘unknown God altar’ fall into this category? No. When any religion names their god and defines him, then this god is a false god [unless your speaking of the true God]. So in this case Paul was simply saying ‘this altar to the God you don’t know, I will show you how to come to know him’. Now, why were these philosophers in Athens? A few centuries before Christ you had the rule of Alexander the great. The Old Testament prophet Daniel speaks in detail of his rule. Alexander ruled one of the greatest empires known to man. He established the greatest library of the ancient world. He made Greek the common language. This is why the New Testament was written in Greek. Though Rome was the ruling empire of Jesus day, the culture was still Greek to a degree. This is called ‘Hellenization’. The Greeks even translated the Old Testament into Greek before the days of Christ. This translation is called the Septuagint, which means 70. This comes from the supposed number of scholars who worked on the translation. This period just prior to Christ was the time of the great philosophers. Plato, Aristotle and others. These Philosophers laid down a foundation of sorts for morality and the cultures that would develop down the road. The church fathers disagreed somewhat to the degree of mixing Christian faith with the thought of the pre Christian philosophers. Origen thought these men were Christian to the degree that God used them to instill types of thought and belief in the immortality of the soul and other concepts as a precursor to Christ. Others thought they were competing worldviews for the religion of Christianity and should be rejected. Paul himself will write the Colossians and warn them of the philosophies of men. Many thinkers were affected by the ‘new age’ concepts that came from these groups. Augustine, the great 4th-5th century Bishop from North Africa was into Manichaeism prior to his conversion to Christianity. He eventually would sit under the sound teaching of Ambrose and leave his former ideas. These groups had strange beliefs and concepts that would sound like the scientology adherents of our day. Others were not as drastic but would still be seen as on the verge of Christian truth. Marcion was sort of in this class. The point is Paul will take advantage of the philosopher’s willingness to delve into all types of ideas, and use this as an open door to preach Christ. Some breakaway groups from the more Orthodox churches will claim that the Catholic churches belief in the immortality of the soul is not scriptural. These groups teach that the ancient church picked these beliefs up from the philosophers of the day [some of the seventh day brothers say this]. You also find some Protestant brothers challenge the authenticity of various bible translations based on the Septuagint translation from ancient Greece. The church father Jerome will use the Septuagint in his popular translation of the Latin Vulgate. Some Protestants see Jerome’s version as less than pure. This is also why the Catholic bibles have the Apocrypha in them [The books between Malachi and Matthew that the Protestant bibles don’t have]. When Jerome translated his vulgate, he brought these books over from the Septuagint version. Jerome did put an asterisk next to the apocryphal books, he noted they were included from the Septuagint, but were not seen as authoritative. Simply added for historical content. So we see the tremendous influence that Greek culture and philosophy played in the early stages of the church. Paul knew their thought, but his gospel was founded on more than some new belief system. Paul claimed that Jesus had been raised from the dead!

VERSES-
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
John 10
1 Peter 4:16
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations
Proverbs 24:3
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations
1 Kings 10:4
And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built,
In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations
2 Chronicles 9:3
And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Cor.
Matthew 12:42
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations

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About ccoutreach87

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