Eight Benefits of “Solving the Samaritan Riddle”

The New Testament book of Acts says Philip preached about Jesus to Samaritans who then believed (Acts 8.4–12), but they did not receive the Holy Spirit until days later when Peter and John came and laid hands on them (vv. 14–17). After that, Peter preached Jesus to a Gentile household. “While he was speaking,” they believed and “the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word” (10.44). Why did the Samaritans receive the Holy Spirit days after they believed, but the Gentiles received the Spirit w … [Read more...]

What Did Facebook Users Talk About Most in 2014 and 2015?

What did people talk about the most last year, in 2015? The little Gaza Strip made the top ten in 2014. But then, that was because Israel was pummeling it into the ground with many missiles and bombs. How do we know it was such a major topic of conversation? Facebook has a new feature--telling us its users are talking about most.As of the third quarter in 2015, Facebook had 1.55 billion users. That's more than one fifth of the world's population, even counting babies! Facebook analysts … [Read more...]

Am I an Evangelical or Not?

Does the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) say I am an evangelical or not?I was saved when I was thirteen years old by believing in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and confessing this in private prayer with my Sunday school teacher in the Nazarene Church. When I went to college I began attending a “Bible church.” Right away I was taught the doctrine of the Trinity and thus that Jesus is God. I had never heard of that in my previous church or its Sunday school class. So, I believed in the … [Read more...]

Is SBL Purposely Ignoring the World’s Religious Culture?

One time my close friend Professor Scot McKnight, now at Northern Seminary near Chicago, suggested that I do as he had done long ago and join the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). I replied that it was for biblical scholars with PhDs, so that I wasn't qualified. He said that was not exactly correct and that because of my writing theological books, and thus my deep interest in the Bible and theology, that I could join and that I would benefit from doing so.So, I have now been a member … [Read more...]

Jordan Spieth Still Dominates

Twenty-two year old pro golf phenomenon Jordan Spieth won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions yesterday at Kapalua, Hawaai. He leapfrogged the stellar field of all of the PGA Tour tournament winners last year, winning by eight whopping strokes. He joined Tiger Woods as the only two players since WWII who have won seven PGA Tour tournaments by the age of twenty-two, yet two of those wins for Spieth were majors. Thus, the pro golf analysts are beginning to compare Jordan Spieth with Tiger Woods. … [Read more...]

El-Sisi Is Not the Only Muslim Questioning the Qur’an

I posted on January 8, 2015, a piece entitled "Did El-Sisi Say Revise the Qur'an?" It was about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who reportedly is a devout Muslim, having just delivered a speech at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, in which he called for not only a "religious revolution" among Muslims but also seemingly a revision of the Qur'an's verses that advocate violence against non-Muslims. Why? He said these Muslim radicals and their groups such as ISIS were using these verses … [Read more...]

Does the Bible Teach Christians To Be Pacifists?

During the early years of my theological education, for eleven years I attended regularly what I would call a somewhat militant church. The pastor had been a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force during WWII. At our church, he taught the Bible with a military style. He often said President Harry Truman should not have prevented General Doulas McArthur from pursuing war with China following WWII, as he wanted to do. As I look back on it now, I think my pastor there at that church bordered on … [Read more...]

Did Jesus’ Teach Indiscriminantly Non-Violence?

"Theology in the Raw" is a Patheos blog here on the Evangelical Channel. It has an article just posted today that was written by former U.S. Marine Sergeant Dean Meadows and entitled "The Few. The Proud. The Plowshares." Meadows says that he is a Christian and that he later came to a position of "non-violence." I think the article is unclear largely because it does not go far enough. That is, Dean does not distinguish personal non-violence from state and civil defense in the form of military and … [Read more...]