Showing posts from December, 2010

Is Jesus God?

Is Jesus God? And if so, to whom is Jesus praying when the Bible speaks of him praying? Is he praying to himself? To the first question, “Is Jesus God,” I answer, “Yes, he is.” But having said this, I must be careful to explain exactly what I mean. When we say that Jesus is God, we are talking about his nature, not his identity. In other words, we are not saying Jesus is the Father. Rather, we are saying that with respect to his nature, Jesus is what the Father is . Sometimes when we use the word God we specifically mean God the Father . When we speak about praying to God, for instance, we are identifying the one to whom we are praying. But sometimes we use the word God in a different way. For instance, when we say Jesus is God, we are saying he is God as opposed to human or angelic . We’re talking about his nature . We are talking about what he is. The Scriptures are very plain on this point. John makes it quite clear when he says at the very beginning of his Gospel, “In the beg

Is the Devil real?

I’ve heard it said that the devil doesn’t really exist and that whenever the Bible mentions the devil it is simply a personification of evil. What do you think? Many people have questioned whether or not it’s possible in this day and age to believe in a personal devil. Many otherwise sincere Christians, who have been affected far more than they should by the Enlightenment, have suggested that “Satan” or “the devil” is simply a personification of evil; that there is no real personal being, no real malevolent spirit, known as Satan. They think this is just the Bible’s way of speaking about evil to a pre-scientific and superstitious people. “ Now , of course,” they say, “we know better. Now we’re scientific. We’re rational. We now know that this is just a figure of speech.” We know nothing of the sort . In fact, just the opposite is true. The devil is mentioned often in such a way and in such contexts that lead us to exactly the opposite conclusion. He is a very real being, spiritual

On Jesus' Genealogy

In Matthew it says that Jesus’ father was Joseph, and in Luke it says that his father was Eli. How can this be? The genealogy of Christ is given by both Matthew (1:1-17) and Luke (3:23-38). There are some important differences between them. In Matthew, the genealogy runs from Abraham forward to Jesus, while in Luke it runs from Jesus backward to Adam. From Abraham to David, the two genealogies agree. But from David, Matthew traces Jesus’ descent from Solomon, while Luke traces it from Nathan. So here is our first question:  How can Jesus be descended from two different sons of David? But more importantly, how can Joseph be the son of Jacob as Matthew asserts, and also the son of Eli as recorded by Luke? Several theories have been advanced to reconcile this apparent discrepancy, but the two most probable ones are as follows: Some have suggested that Matthew gives Joseph’s genealogy, while Luke gives Mary’s. In this case, Eli (Joseph’s father according to Luke), was really Mary’s f

Why was Jesus Baptized?

Why was Jesus baptized? The Bible says that John preached a baptism of repentance, but Jesus wasn’t a sinner who needed to repent. So why was he baptized? It’s interesting that John wondered about this himself. So we’re in good company if we wonder why it should be that Jesus came to him for baptism. Scripture tells us that when Jesus came to be baptized, “John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by you , and do you come to me ?’” (Matt. 3:14). John was aware that he himself was a sinner and needed cleansing. He was also aware that Jesus was not a sinner in need of repentance. But Jesus didn’t come to John and receive baptism for the purpose of confessing his sins and seeking forgiveness. His baptism served a different purpose. He hinted at this when he said, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). This fulfilling all righteousness has to do with Jesus fulfilling the Law and the Prophets. In the Sermon on

From our dear friend, Rev. Steve Schlissel

Ministering in Corinth, NY An intro to the texture of ministry in NYC by Steve Schlissel The report on the radio said a husband in Coney Island became enraged when he found his wife with another man. He stabbed his wife, his two daughters, seven and three years of age, then stabbed himself and set his apartment on fire, further injuring himself. No one died, all were hospitalized in stable condition. I wondered if I would meet any of them on my rounds as a volunteer Protestant chaplain at the local municipal hospital. Later that week, I did. As I left off speaking with a patient in a ward I turned toward the Chaplain whom I assist and found him speaking in Spanish with a Black female patient who appeared to be in her early thirties. The woman’s head was bandaged. Her sister, a portly and pretty woman, was visiting her. The sister did most of the talking. My grammar school Spanish helped me to keep up with much of the conversation. She said the children were on the ninth floor of the

A solution to Tiger's golfing woes

The LPGA just voted  to allow "transgender women" to play on the tour. As I read the story, it occurred to me that this may be the solution to Tiger Wood's golfing woes. Since returning from his short, self-imposed exile from the PGA, he's been having difficulty regaining his pre-scandal form. Perhaps he can undergo "gender reassignment" surgery and compete as a woman. I'm sure in the interests of egalitarianism no one would complain that he...uh, she ( it? ) would have an unfair advantage. It's just this sort of thing that demonstrates the absurdity of rebellion against God. When we fail to acknowledge him, we lose touch with reality and seek to create an alternate reality--an enterprise which is inevitably doomed to failure. How ironic is it that the man/woman/thing's name  is Lana Lawless ? "Sin is lawlessness" (1 Jn. 3:4).