Explaining Advent

photo-1421906375741-f6bda4abe433_optHappy New Year!  That is to say, Happy Advent, the beginning of the new church year.

Many Christians, including those from churches that haven’t usually done much with the church year other than Christmas and Easter, are discovering Advent.  (See, for example, this piece from the evangelical radio program Breakpoint.)

After the jump is an excellent explanation of the season from the website of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

The meaning of Advent has some specific content beyond just getting ready for Christmas.  As the website says, the season–in the Bible readings and the devotions for the days–the season reflects on the “advent” or “coming” of Christ in three senses:

  1. In the past (the prophecies of Christ’s coming)
  2. In the future (Christ’s second coming)
  3. In the present (How Christ comes today)

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The curses on vocation

Picking up from yesterday’s post, something else I learned from Jordan Cooper’s presentation on the Two Kingdoms and Creation.  He pointed out that just as God established human culture by appointing the vocations of marriage, parenthood, and work in Paradise, the curses after the Fall are directed specifically to vocation:  conflict within marriage; pain in parenthood; frustration with work.

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“See the place where they laid Him”

We blogged about the excavation of what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.  When the marble cladding was removed over the place where the body would have been laid, there was a layer of debris.  Under that was another marble covering.  The researchers removed that, exposing the original limestone burial slab.

The researchers only had permission to study the slab for a short time, but they collected and recorded all the data they could.  They continue to study the rest of the tomb.  They have determined that the site, which also encloses six other rock tombs, was, in fact, a Jewish cemetery at the time of Jesus.

After the jump, read the latest details.  And click the link for PICTURES.  (They are copyrighted by National Geographic, so I’d better not copy them here.)
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Hezekiah’s toilet

Archaeologists have excavated a site identified with the rule of Hezekiah.  It includes a shrine with horned altars with the horns knocked off.  Also in the shrine:  a stone latrine.  Scientists have determined that it had never been used, so it was apparently put in just to desecrate the shrine.

This would seem to be evidence of Hezekiah’s crackdown on idolatrous worship.  In fact, there is a Biblical text about it:

“Then they demolished the pillar of Baal, and destroyed the temple of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day” (2 Kings 10:27).

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Solo scriptura vs. sola scriptura

A new study of evangelicals has found a surprising amount of out-and-out heresy when it comes to their understanding of the Trinity–particularly in regards to the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.  Among other things, such as a basic relativism and a repudiation of the church’s authority over them.

Mathew Block, communications director of the Lutheran Church-Canada, discusses the findings.  He argues that part of the problem is a misunderstanding of the authority of the Bible.  People say the Bible is their authority, then consider that to be a license to interpret scripture any way they want to.  Instead of sola scriptura, we have solo scriptura. [Read more…]