Interfaith service surprise

geograph-3219323-by-Dave-KellyThe Anglican cathedral in Glasgow, in its interfaith zeal, invited a Muslim to read from the Qu’ran in the divine service for Epiphany.  The purpose was to show that Muslims too honor Jesus.  The reader did read the accounts of Jesus’s birth in the Muslim holy book, but then went on to read the passage that specifically denies that Jesus is God’s son.

A controversy has broken out, but the point should be clear:  All religions do NOT teach the same things.  And to pretend otherwise, as interfaith services do, is a failure to respect the integrity of the different religions. [Read more…]

The origin of the Bible’s chapters and verses

photo-1470859624578-4bb57890378a_optImagine trying to look something up in the Bible if it didn’t have chapters and verses.  But the Bible didn’t come with them.  They were added to make the Scriptures more accessible.  We have two men from two different centuries to thank for these innovations.

Mark Wood at Christianity Today tells the tale, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

90,000 Christians died for their faith last year

nazarene-889300_640Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, according to a European study.  In 2016, 90,000 Christians were killed because of their faith.

This, however, was an improvement over 2015, when 105,000 Christians were martyred.

 

Illustration:  The Arabic equivalent of “N” for “Nazarene,” the symbol used by Islamists to mark Christians and their property for destruction.  By Phillip Barrington, CC0, Public Domain. [Read more…]

The Eighth Day

All_Saints_fontThe Gospel reading for yesterday, commemorating the Circumcision and Name of Jesus, was Luke 2:21, the shortest text in the Lectionary.  (See our recent post on the subject.)  In the course of an excellent sermon that explored the depths of this one verse of the Bible, our pastor cited the significance of “the eighth day.”

God created the universe in six days and on the seventh, He rested.  Then on the eighth day, the creation began to unfold.  Jesus rose from the dead on the day after the Sabbath; that is, the eighth day.  Christians worship on Sunday, the eighth day, which is also the first day of a new week.  With Christ’s resurrection on the eighth day, God has initiated a new creation.  Those with faith in Christ are part of this new creation.  Thus, very early, Baptismal fonts were made in the shape of an octagon, the eight sides symbolizing the eight days.   [Read more…]

Top 5 heresies of 2016

Andy_stanley_2499 years after the Reformation, 1691 years after the Council of Nicaea, theological disputes and charges of heresy are still going strong.  Emily McFarlan Miller of the Religious News Service looks back on the Top 5 Heresies of 2016.

Could you list some more?  Are some brewing that will come to a head in 2017?

After the jump, I’ll list the five.  But go to the link for explanations and details. [Read more…]

The Name of Jesus

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).  So tomorrow, the 8th day after Christmas, which falls on New Year’s Day, the church year commemorates the Circumcision and Name of Jesus.

With the baby’s circumcision, He took upon Himself the burden of the Law, which He fulfilled on our behalf.  And with His naming, His identity and purpose are made clear.  “Jesus” means “Yahweh saves.”  God saves.  His very name proclaims His divinity and His saving work.

[Read more…]