Who Were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

bible, scrollAs books were chosen to represent a New Testament of the Bible, conveying the biography of Jesus and the formation of the Christian Church, a few were chosen and many others passed over. The writings that were chosen by the early church leaders become Bible canon, but there are many gnostic Gospels and falsely ascribed (pseudepigraphal) epistles that still exist today. There is even some disagreement between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians about what is considered scripture.

Michael Patton, author of the Parchment & Pen Blog published by Creedo House, finds it interesting that while some Gospels with recognizable names, i.e. Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary, were passed over we have four Gospels included in the Bible that are essentially anonymous. Each book is named for the person believed to be the author – namely Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – but none of the writers identify themselves as such. Patton further believes this anonymity adds to rather than detracts from the works credibility.

Please read 4 Gospels or 4 Forgeries and see for yourself. I found the post engaging and his reasoning sound but you’re entitled to agree or disagree.

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A Defense of The Apostle Paul

PaulSaul of Tarsus developed quite a reputation in the world of the early Christian church, zealously hunting down those who taught and preached in the name of Christ. He was on his way to Damascus, with arrest letters from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin in hand, when he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul he became one of the most prolific church planters and writers of the first century; 14 of the 26 New Testament books are his letters (epistles) to various individuals and churches.

But here’s the rub: Do we today make too much of Paul? Does our attention become Paul-centered rather than Christ centered? Just because he wrote many epistles that become a major component of the New Testament, is everything Paul wrote the Word of God? Which is why I propose a defense of Paul to consider and respond to these criticisms. Continue reading

Discussion: The Altar

altar prayerDoes you church have an altar (or more than one altar) in the sanctuary? Does each service end with an altar call style invitation? What are we being invited to do at the altar if/when we get there? I would like to put aside personal feelings, experiences and what any particular local church does or doesn’t do and look into the Bible as we analyze the purpose of the altar. Ultimately I would like us to answer this question: what is the place of the altar in the New Testament church? Continue reading

God is Near: Spoiler Alert!

Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert

Earlier this week I revealed a book in the works that should roll off the press in the next 10 -12 weeks. This has been a long time coming. In January 2011 I posted Where is God? I actually thought about deleting this post before the book came out; a good poker player doesn’t show his hand. But we’re not talking about poker, we’re talking about sharing the Gospel. Continue reading

You’re Right, I Must be an Idiot

Don’t you love it when non-Christians, atheists, gay-rights activists, etc. reference the Bible and tell you that you’re reading it wrong? “Most of the Old Testament was negated and set straight by Jesus” and “You go out and stone a bunch of people, I’ll be living to please Jesus in the meantime” are on the list of things I’ve been told. I was told “the Old Testament pretty much doesn’t matter anymore” and the evidence for this claim was Jesus responding to the question about the greatest commandment. Kudos for knowing Jesus’ answer to that question; Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. A second is just like it, love your neighbor as yourself. This was an example of Jesus setting things straight.

The problem is that Jesus responded by quoting the Old Testament. Continue reading

What Shall We Do?

Peter preaches In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus told the Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the promise. He then ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. In Acts 2 they were gathered in one place and the Holy Spirit filled the entire house. Each one filled with the Spirit began to speak in tongues, and they went out into the streets of Jerusalem. This event is known as Pentecost and is still celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday. Some in the crowd that day objected that the Apostles were merely drunk and Peter responded with a turning point sermon in the history of the church.

Continue reading

Reading 2 Timothy

By modern standards, 2 Timothy 1:8-12 is something of a run-on sentence.  I am going to break my own rule and quote only a portion of the complete thought:

“…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace…”  2 Tim 1:9

That is the verse I quoted to the church the night I announced my call to preach, and still one of my favorites in all of scripture.  I have just finished reading 2 Timothy, and like Reading 1 Timothy will be sharing some of the more prominent passages.  The format is a little different, and I will be sharing more of my own comments. Continue reading