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Christianity [OT] The Word became flesh and dwelt among us

Karma Jawa

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I know I already quoted this, but I thought of you while beginning St. Thomas Aquinas' masterwork, the Summa Theologica. This is actually happens to be the very first question addressed in the first Article of the first part of the work:




It's really interesting to read and work through, although a little heavy.
For me God is the totality of the universe. If God was a person making decisions I would happily strangle the monster to death.

The kindest, honest, selfless person I’ve ever known, died at 37. She saved the life of a heroin addict by mouth to mouth, and organised a massive Christmas hamper for a friend of ours who tried to kill themselves. She raised money for charity and always did what she could to care for others, despite being poor.

I’m proud to be her fiancé. She was a good person because she was a good person. There is no God, and if there is I’d kick his head in.
 

Bolivar687

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For me God is the totality of the universe. If God was a person making decisions I would happily strangle the monster to death.

The kindest, honest, selfless person I’ve ever known, died at 37. She saved the life of a heroin addict by mouth to mouth, and organised a massive Christmas hamper for a friend of ours who tried to kill themselves. She raised money for charity and always did what she could to care for others, despite being poor.

I’m proud to be her fiancé. She was a good person because she was a good person. There is no God, and if there is I’d kick his head in.
I'm really sorry to hear that.
 

Ornlu

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For me God is the totality of the universe. If God was a person making decisions I would happily strangle the monster to death.

The kindest, honest, selfless person I’ve ever known, died at 37. She saved the life of a heroin addict by mouth to mouth, and organised a massive Christmas hamper for a friend of ours who tried to kill themselves. She raised money for charity and always did what she could to care for others, despite being poor.

I’m proud to be her fiancé. She was a good person because she was a good person. There is no God, and if there is I’d kick his head in.
Sorry for your loss, it sounds like you are grieving. Unfortunately we are all going to pass sometime, be it young or old. Hopefully you can move on with your life and remember her fondly.
 

Game Analyst

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Free theology course: Is the God of the Old Testament nothing but a bully, a murderer, and an oppressor?

Many today--even within the church--seem to think so. How are Christians to respond to such accusations? And how are we to reconcile the seemingly disconnected natures of God portrayed in the two testaments?

In these timely sessions, apologist Paul Copan takes on some of the most vexing accusations of our time, including:

God is arrogant and jealous
God punishes people too harshly
God is guilty of ethnic cleansing
God oppresses women
God endorses slavery
Christianity causes violence

Copan not only answers the critics, he also shows how to read both the Old and New Testaments faithfully, seeing an unchanging, righteous, and loving God in both.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Been reading some Origen, some St Maximus the Confessor, some Clement of Alexandia.

I continue to be shocked by the expanse of territory these early church fathers covered, and much of these conversations were prior to the canonization of the modern Bible. Many denominational arguments today are discussed in those early centuries. Fascinating.
 

Tesseract

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Been reading some Origen, some St Maximus the Confessor, some Clement of Alexandia.

I continue to be shocked by the expanse of territory these early church fathers covered, and much of these conversations were prior to the canonization of the modern Bible. Many denominational arguments today are discussed in those early centuries. Fascinating.
post any choice quotes or passages you come across, always looking to expand my horizons
 

Game Analyst

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I continue to be shocked by the expanse of territory these early church fathers covered, and much of these conversations were prior to the canonization of the modern Bible. Many denominational arguments today are discussed in those early centuries. Fascinating.
Do you think Solomon was right, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun"?
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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post any choice quotes or passages you come across, always looking to expand my horizons
I will try, but tbh it feels a lot like when I was reading through Kant or Nietzsche or Wittgenstein: very difficult to quote in a meaningful way because the most profound takes are the ones build up from paragraph upon paragraph of discussion.

Solomon was right, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun"?
In a way it is comforting that those early churches -- so close to the time of Christ -- were puzzling over similar mysteries and struggling with similar paradoxes that we are today.
 

Tesseract

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I will try, but tbh it feels a lot like when I was reading through Kant or Nietzsche or Wittgenstein: very difficult to quote in a meaningful way because the most profound takes are the ones build up from paragraph upon paragraph of discussion.


In a way it is comforting that those early churches -- so close to the time of Christ -- were puzzling over similar mysteries and struggling with similar paradoxes that we are today.
np, sounds perfectly sensible

i'll try to dig into that stuff when i can
 
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Airola

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For me God is the totality of the universe. If God was a person making decisions I would happily strangle the monster to death.

The kindest, honest, selfless person I’ve ever known, died at 37. She saved the life of a heroin addict by mouth to mouth, and organised a massive Christmas hamper for a friend of ours who tried to kill themselves. She raised money for charity and always did what she could to care for others, despite being poor.

I’m proud to be her fiancé. She was a good person because she was a good person. There is no God, and if there is I’d kick his head in.
If God exists, why wouldn't you be happy she's in heaven?

What comes to death, whether God exists or not, grief for a lost loved one is a bittersweet thing. It would be easier if a dead person is someone who had no-one who would be sad about their death, it would be a lot less grief and sadness, but then again I'm not sure I'd want to be that person who has no-one who would mourn his death. It would mean I had no friends, and that no-one really cared for me. So for death to be something that makes people grief it really means it's the peak point of once loving and being loved.

Some say Jacob wrestled with an angel, some say he wrestled with God. Either way, I don't think God has much issue with people wanting to kick his face in. He endured getting tortured and then executed in the cross. I think he understands if someone feels anger towards him even if it comes from misplaced thought of vengeance. He knows there are people who want to direct their anger, sadness and grief towards him, and he knows every possible way a person might want to punish him for it, and all of those people he still loves.

While I never want to downplay hardships, and I'm really sorry for your loss that must still feel terrible, there is something I have never really been able to understand what comes to the mix of loss, grief, atheism and the hate towards the idea of God. It's basically what I wrote in the first sentence of this reply. A person does not believe in God, but to hate the idea of God this person is ready to give him all the properties that make it easy to hate him for some terrible thing that has happened. Yet the person ignores all the properties that make it easy to be glad for the idea of God and glad for there being the possibility of eternal bliss for those who have stopped existing in this world.

In moments of grief it's often hard to think how grief actually proves the existence of love. It is better for a lost person to have people who have to endure grief and sadness than to have people who will never feel that way after this person is lost. As I mentioned above, grieving people are a proof of a person being lovable and not alone when there's also the possibility that a person either never was lovable or never had people around sharing love.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Tesseract Tesseract you asked for quotes and I found two sections from my Clement of Alexandria book that were right up your alley. You'll see what I mean and I hope you're amused. Both sections (Chapter IX and Chapter X) are about 1 page long but here is one clip from each.

WHY WE ARE TO USE THE BATH
Unless, then, the bath is for some use, we ought not to indulge in it. The ancients called them places for fulling men, since they wrinkle men's bodies sooner than they ought, and by cooking them, as it were, compel them to become prematurely old. The flesh, like iron being softened by the heat, hence we require cold, as it were, to temper and give an edge. [...] But most of all is it necessary to wash the soul in the cleansing Word (sometimes the body too on account of the dirt which gathers and grows to it, sometimes also to relieve fatigue) [...] The best bath, then, is what rubs off the pollution of the soul, and is spiritual. Of which prophecy speaks expressly: "The Lord will wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Israel, and will purge the blood from the midst of them" -- the blood of crime and the murders of the prophets. And the mode of cleansing, the Word subjoined, saying, "by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning".


THE EXERCISES SUITED TO A GOOD LIFE
But let not such athletic contests, as we have allowed, be undertaken for the sake of vainglory, but for the exuding of manly sweat. Nor are we to straggle with cunning and showiness, but in a stand-up wrestling bout, by disentangling of the neck, hands, and sides. For such a struggle with graceful strength is more becoming and manly, being undertaken for the sake of serviceable and profitable health. But let those others, who profess the practice of illiberal postures in gymnastics, be dismissed. We must always aim at moderation. For as it is best that labour should precede food, so to labour above measure is both very bad, very exhausting, and apt to make us ill. Neither, then should we be idle altogether, nor completely fatigued.
 

Tesseract

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Tesseract Tesseract you asked for quotes and I found two sections from my Clement of Alexandria book that were right up your alley. You'll see what I mean and I hope you're amused. Both sections (Chapter IX and Chapter X) are about 1 page long but here is one clip from each.

WHY WE ARE TO USE THE BATH
Unless, then, the bath is for some use, we ought not to indulge in it. The ancients called them places for fulling men, since they wrinkle men's bodies sooner than they ought, and by cooking them, as it were, compel them to become prematurely old. The flesh, like iron being softened by the heat, hence we require cold, as it were, to temper and give an edge. [...] But most of all is it necessary to wash the soul in the cleansing Word (sometimes the body too on account of the dirt which gathers and grows to it, sometimes also to relieve fatigue) [...] The best bath, then, is what rubs off the pollution of the soul, and is spiritual. Of which prophecy speaks expressly: "The Lord will wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Israel, and will purge the blood from the midst of them" -- the blood of crime and the murders of the prophets. And the mode of cleansing, the Word subjoined, saying, "by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning".


THE EXERCISES SUITED TO A GOOD LIFE
But let not such athletic contests, as we have allowed, be undertaken for the sake of vainglory, but for the exuding of manly sweat. Nor are we to straggle with cunning and showiness, but in a stand-up wrestling bout, by disentangling of the neck, hands, and sides. For such a struggle with graceful strength is more becoming and manly, being undertaken for the sake of serviceable and profitable health. But let those others, who profess the practice of illiberal postures in gymnastics, be dismissed. We must always aim at moderation. For as it is best that labour should precede food, so to labour above measure is both very bad, very exhausting, and apt to make us ill. Neither, then should we be idle altogether, nor completely fatigued.
thanks DunDunDunpachi DunDunDunpachi

what made you dig into clement of alexandria?

not so sure what to takeaway from these sections, maybe i need to read the full chapters for context

(just downloaded the books)
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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thanks, what made you dig into clement of alexandria?

i'm reading through machiavelli right now, will dig into this stuff after
I've had this book for awhile. He caught my attention because he was educated in greek philosophy prior to converting to Christianity, so a lot of his writings pertain to "rectifying" the prevailing greek stoicism of the era with Christian values. He taught Origen who also had some remarkable ideas, some of which were later cast out as heretical. I think it's interesting (but hardly essential to one's personal faith) to know where the early church drew the line since those first centuries laid the groundwork for the canonicity of the Bible.
 
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Tesseract

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I've had this book for awhile. He caught my attention because he was educated in greek philosophy prior to converting to Christianity, so a lot of his writings pertain to "rectifying" the prevailing greek stoicism of the era with Christian values. He taught Origen who also had some remarkable ideas, some of which were later cast out as heretical. I think it's interesting (but hardly essential to one's personal faith) to know where the early church drew the line since those first centuries laid the groundwork for the canonicity of the Bible.
oreigen huh, another name i'm not familiar with

harmonizing stoicism with christian values is kinda what i've been looking for

thanks, i'll check these dudes out
 
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Helscream

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For me God is the totality of the universe. If God was a person making decisions I would happily strangle the monster to death.
While the definition of "God" will change depending on the faith of your choosing. The God of the Bible is very personal. As I described in my reply to boutrosinit mankind is created in the image of God. Every person is a "imager" of God. In short what makes a person a person, what makes humanity "human" is intrinsically part of what God is.

I am curious as to what information has brought you to the conclusion of what defines God as a monster (Assuming you are speaking about the God of the Bible).

The kindest, honest, selfless person I’ve ever known, died at 37. She saved the life of a heroin addict by mouth to mouth, and organised a massive Christmas hamper for a friend of ours who tried to kill themselves. She raised money for charity and always did what she could to care for others, despite being poor.
Clearly your fiancé meant a great deal to you. Seems that her good character made a profound impact on your life. For what it is worth, you have my condolence's.

There is no God, and if there is I’d kick his head in.
When you say "there is no God" are rejecting the idea of a higher power? In whatever form it takes. Or are you rejecting the person-hood of that higher power? You state that "God is the totality of the universe" yet say there is none. I am not making a petty attempt to twist your words here. My questions are genuine.

our community here is growing well, the quality of discussion is deep and respectful

you guys are wiser than i'll ever hope to be
King Solomon (The Wisest man to ever live according to the Bible) wrote;

"The fear of The LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."

If you want some serious deep insight I would highly recommend the book of Ecclesiastes.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth in knowledge increaseth in sorrow."
 

Game Analyst

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Is there any scientific evidence that prayer works?

The Blind Receive Sight: A Peer-Reviewed Modern Miracle

"According to the authors of the article, “At the close of the prayer, his wife opened her eyes and saw her husband kneeling in front of her, which was her first clear visual perception after almost 13 years of blindness.” In 1974, her visual acuity was 20/100 without correction, and then in 2001, she vision had improved to 20/40 in each eye. Except for common age-related problems, her sight has remained intact for the past 47 years. A psychosomatic condition Authors of the article entertain the possibility that the healing was due to a conversion disorder (psychosomatic condition). Yet they conclude, “However, this is unlikely, as there was objective evidence for organic macular disease at the diagnosis, which is inconsistent with a purely psychogenic etiology. A ‘conversion disorder’ could not explain the yellowish white area of atrophy involving each fovea, nor could it explain resolution of the macular atrophy in the images obtained since the recovery of vision.”" (3/3/2020)

Journal article: Case report of instantaneous resolution of juvenile macular degeneration blindness after proximal intercessory prayer

"An 18-year-old female lost the majority of her central vision over the course of three months in 1959. Medical records from 1960 indicate visual acuities (VA) of less than 20/400 for both eyes corresponding to legal blindness. On fundus examination of the eye there were dense yellowish-white areas of atrophy in each fovea and the individual was diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration (JMD). In 1971, another examination recorded her uncorrected VA as finger counting on the right and hand motion on the left. She was diagnosed with macular degeneration (MD) and declared legally blind. In 1972, having been blind for over 12 years, the individual reportedly regained her vision instantaneously after receiving proximal-intercessory-prayer (PIP). Subsequent medical records document repeated substantial improvement; including uncorrected VA of 20/100 in each eye in 1974 and corrected VAs of 20/30 to 20/40 were recorded from 2001 to 2017. To date, her eyesight has remained intact for forty-seven years."
 

Kamina

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New sermons or theological discussions from the past few weeks:
That one is tricky and complicated.
Especially the part where he talks about the “Person being looked at has a sexual dignity, that shall not be harmed in someone elses mind.” This is tricky in a way that we live in a very sexualized world where we grow up with sex as a good, and people openly show their availability or physical gifs in that regard.
That way it is very hard for most of us to not look lustfully at other human beings sometimes, when what they wear is not leaving much to the imagination and they openly want to be desired. In other words, we are being seduced subconsciously every day and our evolutional heritage jumps onto the seduction so quickly without out spirit having much time to put a hold to it.
The question i ask myself often is “when does admiring someone elses beauty turn to sexual desire? At what point do we cross the limit?”
Personally i have made it a habit to purposely push away the mind-image of a woman i just saw and found pretty, and replace it with thoughts of my wife, and how pretty she is to me.
 
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Game Analyst

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Article: Responding faithfully to the Coronavirus (3/5/2020)

"Church historian Eusebius recalls the response of Christians to the two plagues in Rome, according to the account of Dionysius: The most of our brethren were unsparing in their exceeding love and brotherly kindness. They held fast to each other and visited the sick fearlessly, and ministered to them continually, serving them in Christ. And they died with them most joyfully, taking the affliction of others, and drawing the sickness from their neighbors to themselves and willingly receiving their pains. And many who cared for the sick and gave strength to others died themselves having transferred to themselves their death. Truly the best of our brethren departed from life in this manner, including some presbyters and deacons and those of the people who had the highest reputation; so that this form of death, through the great piety and strong faith it exhibited, seemed to lack nothing of martyrdom. And they took the bodies of the saints in their open hands and in their bosoms, and closed their eyes and their mouths; and they bore them away on their shoulders and laid them out; and they clung to them and embraced them; and they prepared them suitably with washings and garments. And after a little they received like treatment themselves, for the survivors were continually following those who had gone before them. But with the heathen everything was quite otherwise. They deserted those who began to be sick, and fled from their dearest friends. They shunned any participation or fellowship with death; which yet, with all their precautions, it was not easy for them to escape. Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. 7.22.7-10" (Theologian Ian Paul)
 
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boutrosinit

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As long as I can bring greater clarity to these subjects (even if disagreed upon) then I have done my part. And that is what matters.
(If I made any major typo's I'll correct it later)

Dude; your depth of thoughtful analysis is awesome. I appreciate the time and energy you put into your posts. Even if we don't share the same views, I have a lot of respect for how you've absorbed and shared the material you've worked through.

You've certainly helped remove a few misconceptions I had and I appreciate it.

A juice / beer and long theological banter await you if you ever make it to wherever I might be living in the next year (L.A., San Diego, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii, AZ...?)
 

Game Analyst

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New Resources:

Viruses and God's Providence
Does that mean that God created pathogenic viruses? I suggest that the answer is yes. Pathogens control plant and animal populations and consequently play an important ecological role. What about viral pathogens that infect humans? In this case, I argue no. Rather, I propose that human viruses evolved from animal viruses, jumping hosts. Recent examples of this phenomenon include the emergence of the HIV and SARS viruses.
Dear Christian, When The Pandemic Hits, This Is Our Time
This is our time. God has raised us up for such a time as this. It’s no accident you’re here. This is our time to hold out the Word of Life.
Video: The Revolution the West Wishes It Could Forget | Tom Holland | Gospelbound
In this episode of Gospelbound, Collin Hansen interviews Tom Holland about his book “Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World.”
Video: Exposing the 12 Most Common Erroneous Arguments That Muslims Make Against Christianity - Jay Smith
Muslims love to confront what Christians believe, while most Christians find themselves incapable of responding to these challenges. Jay employs his almost 40 years of experience to show you how to identify the errors in their arguments (i.e. their 'Logical Fallacies'), and then demonstrate how to introduce the Gospel through them.
Video: The Truth Behind the Emergence of Islam - Jay Smith
So much of what we have been told concerning how Islam began is proving, through historical research, to be quite false. In this session, Jay introduces some of the newest and most exciting research which is undoing Islam's historical credibility. This lack of historical credibility is one of Islam's greatest weaknesses and, Jay believes, will prove to be the religion's 'Achilles Heel' .
Understanding how men and women approach parenting and work
The study found that men and women both prefer to have flexibility regarding their paid work and unpaid work (work outside the home and work inside the home). This is largely owing to the reality that all work is created by God, and when we engage in this work we are imaging the God who created us to work (Gen. 1:27-28, Col. 3:23). There should be no competition regarding our work.
These Iranian Christians were imprisoned for giving away 20,000 New Testaments
After converting from Islam to Christianity, Marziyeh Amirizadeh and Maryam Rostampour were bold in sharing their faith, even though their actions could have cost them their lives
War Language as Hyperbole: "Total-kill"
War-genre hyperbole complicates the reading of ancient battle reports for modern readers attempting to understand ancient accounts, but awareness of these techniques becomes a hermeneutical key for correctly reading descriptions of warfare in the Old Testament.
Intersectionality and the Church
Intersectionality creates a metanarrative (grand story) out of oppression. It maintains that the world is made up of power struggles, and that white male heterosexual patriarchy must be destroyed in order to liberate those who are oppressed by it. It understands the biblical complementarity of husbands and wives as perverted and “weaponized.” It believes that if we can expose the myriad ways in which people suffer down to the smallest detail and then rearrange the power-oppressions, we have the ability to reemploy a person’s history (of oppression) and destiny (of liberation).
Peter’s Freedom Before the Rooster Crowed
You’ve noted that there are some questions that have kept you up at night for long periods of time. The question that has caused me to lose a tremendous amount of sleep is regarding Peter’s freedom to deny or not to deny Jesus three times after Jesus told him that he would deny him three times. So, did Peter possess the libertarian freedom not to reject Jesus three times before the rooster crowed?
Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga and Why We Need Fantasy
True fantasies fill us with longing for a world beyond our own, where death is defeated and wrongs made right.
A Beginner’s Guide to the Argument from Design
The Watchmaker argument hasn’t fared well over the centuries. Skeptics often point to David Hume’s critical analysis of design arguments, which appeared in his 1779 work Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, as devastating to Paley’s case for the Creator. Hume leveled several criticisms against design arguments. The foremost, however, centered on the nature of analogical reasoning.
Where Is the Trinity in the Old Testament?
Accepting the invitation to reread the creation in the light of the more developed New Testament doctrine of the Trinity, we can begin to see a fuller manifestation of the threefoldness of the Creator incipient within it. Francis Watson, in Text, Church and World, remarks upon three inseparably interwoven models of creation that we encounter in Genesis 1, each revealing something both of God himself and of his relation with his creation.
5 Lessons From Rhett and Link’s Spiritual Deconstruction
Apologetics has its place, but apologists need to understand what they are up against here. You can build your cumulative intellectual case for Christianity and poke holes in Bart Ehrman’s bad books all day long. In fact, you should. It is very meet, right and our bounden duty as apologists so to do. But just know that at the end of the day, it is entirely possible that the new sexual revolution will come along and sweep away every one of those castles like a tsunami in the lives of the people you know and love.
‘Progressive’Christianity: Even Shallower Than the Evangelical Faith I Left
Progressives had become just as fundamentalist as the fundamentalists they despised. But instead of traditional values being the litmus test, it was now wokeness.
Video: Is the Bible Good News for Women?
Jo Vitale speaks to young adults on the question "Is the Bible good news for women?"
Video: How were people saved in the Old Testament?
"How were Old Testament saints saved? How were people saved before Jesus died for our sins?"
 

Helscream

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Dude; your depth of thoughtful analysis is awesome. I appreciate the time and energy you put into your posts. Even if we don't share the same views, I have a lot of respect for how you've absorbed and shared the material you've worked through.

You've certainly helped remove a few misconceptions I had and I appreciate it.

A juice / beer and long theological banter await you if you ever make it to wherever I might be living in the next year (L.A., San Diego, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii, AZ...?)
What better way to to have a Theological Banter than over a few cold ones? Glad I could be of service.
 

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Coronavirus resources:

Article: Coronavirus: A Biblical, Historical Perspective

"I am reminded of the many times in history where the light of Christian charity has shone with dazzling brightness amidst dark times of infectious disease and societal upheaval. In fact, Christians overcame the impulse to flee to safety and isolate themselves from the suffering of others: “In 165 a plague swept through the mighty Roman Empire, wiping out one in three of the population. It happened again in 251 when 5,000 people per day were dying in the city of Rome alone. Those infected were abandoned by their families to die in the streets. The government was helpless and the Emperor himself succumbed to the plague. Pagan priests fled their temples where people had flocked for comfort and explanation. People were too weak to help themselves. If the smallpox did not kill you, hunger, thirst and loneliness would. The effect on wider society was catastrophic. Yet following the plagues the good reputation of Christianity was confirmed, and its population grew exponentially. Why is this? Christians did not come armed with intellectual answers to the problem of evil. They did not enjoy a supernatural ability to avoid pain and suffering. What they did have was water and food and their presence. In short, if you knew a Christian you were statistically more likely to survive, and if you survived it was the church that offered you the most loving, stable and social environment. It was not clever apologetics, strategic political organisation or the witness of martyrdom which converted an Empire, so much as it was the simple conviction of normal women and men that what they did for the least of their neighbours they did for Christ.” Now, of course, we know that thoughtful apologetics did in fact play a very important role in the conversion of the Roman Empire, so it’s not an either or. Ravi Zacharias has said it beautifully, “Love is the greatest apologetic. It is the essential component in reaching the whole person in a fragmented world. The need is vast, but it is also imperative that we be willing to follow the example of Jesus and meet the need.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if in our time, too, we Christians would primarily become known for the generous, selfless love of our neighbours, rather than the many things we oppose and judge?" (3/14/20)
Article: Love in the Time of Coronavirus

"This essay has four parts. Feel free to skip to the one that is most relevant for you: What is happening? An overview of the most important things for Christian leaders, anywhere in the United States, to know about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. What should we communicate? A list of the most helpful messages others can hear from us — and the most harmful messages as well. What decisions should we make? Recommendations for decisions about large gatherings, medium-size gatherings for Christian worship, and small groups meeting in households. What can we hope for? A few reflections on the genuine possibility that our decisions in the next few weeks could reshape the practice of Christian faith in our nation and, God being merciful, lead to a revival of the church of Jesus Christ in America." (3/12/20)
 
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Game Analyst

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New resources:

Sermon/Video: 3/15/20 - How to Treat Your Family (Romans 16.1-26)


Video: Is Environmental Justice Possible? | Nathan Rittenhouse
"You can't really virtue signal about the environment on social media if you're using a device that causes a negative environmental impact."
What does a Christian owe their neighbor in a time of crisis? Martin Luther and an ethic of responsible love.
Here is one quote from Luther that I think captures the heart of his advice: Now if a deadly epidemic strikes, we should stay where we are, make our preparations, and take courage in the fact that we are mutually bound together (as previously indicated) so that we cannot desert one another or flee from one another. First, we can be sure that God’s punishment has come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love — our faith in that we may see and experience how we should act toward God; our love in that we may recognize how we should act toward our neighbor.
5 Tips for Living from Love, Not Fear
Nathan Betts shares five tips for living in love and not fear during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What the Early Church Can Teach Us About the Coronavirus
How might we put that posture into practice in the face of COVID-19, setting ourselves apart from the world in how we respond to the growing epidemic? Perhaps we begin by resisting the fear that is leading to panic in various sectors of society—instead modeling peace and calm in the midst of rising anxiety all around us.
Three Bible passages to Replace Fear of Coronavirus with Hope in God
In today’s 24/7 globalised information-rich and wisdom-poor society, we are faced with such an unrelenting stream of bad news that it seems as though we are drowning. The temptation to bury our head in the sand is understandable. “Oh no,’ we cry, ‘not another article/report/analysis about coronavirus!'” We’re fed up with hearing about it and just wish that we could go to sleep for six months and wake up when it’s all over and normal life has been restored.
The End Is Coming
The philosopher Samuel Scheffler illustrates the problem with reference to the “infertility scenario” in the movie Children of Men. In the film, people have stopped being able to get pregnant, and the knowledge that there is no future for humanity has produced a world filled with equal parts catastrophe and indifference. We witness suffering on a massive scale, terrorism, genocidal racism—and none of it seems to really matter to anyone.
Fears, hearts and clean hands
Fear distorts what we are, and what we are supposed to be. In the Bible we read the phrase ‘perfect love drives out fear’ (1 John 4:18) but the opposite is also true: ‘perfect fear drives out love’. It drives a lot of other things out as well. Much that is wise is said at the moment about the virtues of handwashing and I am happy to endorse that wisdom. Yet in thinking about fear and morality it’s interesting that the one celebrated biblical case of handwashing – that of Pontius Pilate at the trial of Jesus – involved a man failing to do what was obviously the right thing because he was in the grip of fear (Matthew 27:24). There’s a lesson there.
Will coronavirus change the world?
As we await a new contagion, the legacy of the Black Death is worth remembering
The Coronavirus: Choosing Love in a Time of Fear
From Washington State, Nathan Betts writes a challenge to us in the midst of global panic about the coronavirus (COVID-19).
8 Things the Coronavirus Should Teach Us
Italy currently has the highest reported number of coronavirus cases outside of China: 9,172 cases and 463 deaths. As a result, 60 million people have been told to remain in their homes unless absolutely necessary. How are we, as Christians, to respond to such a crisis? Answer: with faith not fear. We are to look into the eye of the storm and ask, Lord, what are you wanting me to learn through this? How are you seeking to change me?
The FAQs: Coronavirus Explained by an Infectious Disease Expert and Pastor
Along with being pastor for preaching and vision of the International Baptist Church in Santo Domingo, Dr. Miguel Núñez has practiced medicine in different capacities for more than 35 years. He is board-certified in internal medicine and in infectious diseases. He was also an assistant professor of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (1989-97) at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey. For this reason we contacted him for information related to the current outbreak of coronavirus from the medical point of view and to offer some words of pastoral wisdom.
 

Shaqazooloo

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I guess Coronavirus is gonna be a hot topic in christianity as well for the foreseeable future.

I mean, I understand why but I kind of wish it wasn't..
 
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iconmaster

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I guess Coronavirus is gonna be a hot topic in christianity as well for the foreseeable future.
Definite differences of opinion within my own session.

Many churches cancelled services on Sunday but I was able to attend one that hadn't. The leaders had however put several smart precautions in place: they officially discouraged handshakes and instructed the collection plate not be passed.

(I don't know what would need to be done about the Lord's Supper: that's very tricky.)
 

Teslerum

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Definite differences of opinion within my own session.

Many churches cancelled services on Sunday but I was able to attend one that hadn't. The leaders had however put several smart precautions in place: they officially discouraged handshakes and instructed the collection plate not be passed.

(I don't know what would need to be done about the Lord's Supper: that's very tricky.)
Extensive use of disinfectant.
 

#Phonepunk#

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From the papal basilica, the pope walked about half a mile on foot to the Church of San Marcello al Corso to pray before a miraculous crucifix, which was once carried in procession through the streets of Rome during the plague of 1522.

According to the church’s rector, Fr. Enrico Casini, Francis also stopped to pray before a statue of St. Joseph.

Pope Francis “implored healing for the many sick, remembered the many victims of these days, and asked that their family and friends find consolation and comfort,” a Vatican statement said.

The pope also prayed for healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and those working to keep society functioning while many are under forced or voluntary quarantine.


Pope Francis prays before the crucifix of the Church of San Marcello al Corso March 15. (Vatican Media)


Pope Francis visits the icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani at the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome March 15. (Vatican Media)


Salus Populi Romani

The Byzantine icon of Salus Populi Romani was also processed through Rome by Pope Gregory I in 593 for an end to the plague known as the Black Death.

The icon has been revered by the people of Rome for centuries and is considered a symbol of the city and its people.

According to Lops, Pope Francis wanted to make the visit to encourage Italians during the quarantine conditions across Italy.

“It was all a surprise,” Lops said, adding that Francis had wanted to go to the Basilica of St. Mary Major on March 13, the seventh anniversary of his pontificate, but being unable to, had told Cardinal Rylko he would come at another, unspecified time.

Rome, like all of Italy, is currently under lockdown, with people required to stay home except for strict cases of necessity. All non-essential businesses are also closed.

The action by the pope was not in any way intended to be against the decrees of the Italian government, Lops explained, but was meant as a sign of encouragement to Romans. It was “also risky in a certain sense for his health, because he is old,” Lops added.
 
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Game Analyst

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Article: Fear not, sneer not: A healthy Christian response to COVID-19

"What does this mean for us and COVID-19? Our attitude toward COVID-19 should be marked by the Christian virtue of measured concern (“temperate prudence” in classical terms): measured, not panicking but heeding our Saviour’s encouraging warning, “Do not be anxious about your life ... Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 6:25, 10:28); and concern, recognising the evil for what it is and not comforting ourselves with falsehoods. Instead of panicking and stockpiling so many masks that there aren’t enough for healthcare workers, or so much pasta and toilet paper that others can’t find any, we should be asking: How can we as a church and I as an individual help those in need?" (Virologist Dr Mirjam Schilling, Bioethicist Joel Gamble, & MD student Joel Gamble)
 

Game Analyst

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"What would it look like to live out of love instead of fear in this moment?... There is a fine line between self-care and self-absorption. Fear tends to ask the question, “How do I get out of here?” Love asks, “How can I be a light in this situation?” RZIM apologists Daniel Gilman and Nathan Betts will be taking your questions and discussing what it means to be Christians in the middle of a worldwide pandemic." (3/17/20)

 

Game Analyst

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New Coronavirus resources:

Video: Stunning insights into the Corona-panic by Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg.
The corona hype is not based on any extraordinary public health danger. However, it causes considerable damage to our freedom and personal rights through frivolous and unjustified quarantine measures and restrictions. The images in the media are frightening and the traffic in China's cities seems to be regulated by the clinical thermometer. Evidence-based epidemiological assessment is drowning in the mainstream of fear mongers in labs, media, and ministries.
NIH Director: ‘We’re on an Exponential Curve’
Francis Collins speaks about the coronavirus, his faith, and an unusual friendship.
What We’ll Learn about Civil Society, Family, and Technology from Coronavirus
Our creative inquiries and our communal responsibility are two sides of our human nature. Both our innovations and our stewardship are aspects of our dominion over the world, the office we occupy as beings created with the radical capacity to preserve what is good by nature and to generate new goods by artifact. We go wrong when we abdicate this office, either by using our technological innovations to injure our given nature or by undermining the civil liberties and institutions that make human creativity possible. This challenging moment will reveal that we are succeeding in some ways and failing in others.
Lessons from Spurgeon on coronavirus
Charles Spurgeon was one of the greatest preachers of the Victorian era. Known as the ‘Prince of Preachers’, it is estimated that he preached the gospel to over a million people, and personally baptised 15,000 new believers converted under his ministry. He was called to pastor New Park Street Chapel in Southwark, London in April 1854 aged just 19 years old. Later that summer there was a cholera epidemic.
Plague and Providence: What Huldrych Zwingli Taught Me About Trusting God
The following is a guest post by Stephen Brett Eccher (PhD, University of St. Andrews; Reformation Studies Institute), assistant professor of church history and Reformation studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Stephen is married to Cara (20 years), and they have four daughters (Victoria, 13; Emma, 10; Sophia, 10; and Juliana, 7). The Ecchers have been members of Open Door Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the past 20 years.
How to Talk to Your Family About Social Distancing
As a preventive measure to contain the spread of disease—such as COVID-19—social distancing is the simple practice of maintaining a distance (in this case, at least six feet) between you and other people. This also entails minimizing contact with people, such as avoiding public transportation or social gatherings. Social distancing has proven to save lives in the past, such as during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the 2009 flu pandemic in Mexico City, and is expected to save lives today—if enough people adopt the practice.
10 ways churches can help during the coronavirus pandemic
We're living in unprecedented times, but the opportunities for the Church to minister the love of God are massive, says Krish Kandiah
 

Helscream

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During the Black Death of Europe around 1340s-1350s the Jewish communities around Europe were able to keep themselves in relatively good health and were the least affected by the Black Death. While this unfortunately lead to the unwarranted suspicion that the Jews were responsible for the outbreak and thus persecuted.

My main point here is that by simply observing the laws in the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) they maintained good hygiene and prevented sickness from spreading throughout their communities. Just something to dwell on during these times.