Busy Weekend

It’s coming soon, really soon. And there is no kidding about it. This site is one of the best designed on the web, based on some of the best site designs out there. But it’s not just a copy…it’s ten times better than a basic copy. It’s unique in it’s own way, allowing you to find what you want fast, and reading what you want to read easily and efficiently. It’s Agent Tim Online.

Coming Monday, May 1 or 2. Rated G. Look for cool pictures

Great Stories…Great Lives.

iwojimaTwo nights ago, I picked up “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper and began to read the seventh chapter. I was struck with these stories to show what truly is “cool” in life. It’s not the clothes, the friends, or your looks. It’s more than that. And living your life the right way is being willing to give it away because you know Christ is all there is to live for.

Liar, Lunatic, Or Lord?

Most People would probably agree with me in saying that he was a great teacher, with great teachings that were very true. But they go on to say that he was just that–a teacher. Or just a prophet.
C.S. Lewis put it well:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make you choice. Either this man was, and is the son of God: or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His Being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

This statement does get worn out. There is no doubt about it. But if you think about it, it holds so much truth. If Jesus’ claims are false, then really there is just two more options left. He either knew that his claims were false…or he didn’t know. I can’t think of any other options.
So, was Jesus a liar?
If Jesus was a liar, he would have to be the biggest liar in all of history. He would be a demon, telling other that he was the only way to heaven. And to top it off he foolishly threw his life away by dying on a cross, something he claimed God led him to do.
Now, to those who say Jesus was just as great moral teacher because he would have been a huge hypocrite, teaching one thing and the next minute doing the opposite of what he taught. There is no way that he could have been a great moral teacher if his teaching was not backed up with actions. He would be what Josh McDowell calls a “deliberate liar.”
But we don’t see him as a deliberate liar. His actions do support his words. We see lives changed wherever Jesus was. People were changed for good. Men, women, children, even nations, were changed for good. I don’t see a liar and terrible hypocrite being so pure and honest and true all through his life. It’s nonsense!
Phillip Schaff:

“How in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an imposter–that is a deceitful,selfish, depraved man–have invented, and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality?”

The life of Jesus does not point him to be a liar.
But, hey, was he a lunatic?
Maybe he really thought he was God, and was very sincere, but just flat out wrong. I mean, couldn’t that be a possibility? It certainly seems so.
I mean, if someone were to come up to you and tell you that they were Napoleon…Well, you’d probably laugh (hard?) then call the authorities if he was was insane like that. Who knows, he could hurt someone!
If Jesus claimed he was God, and was not, but really believed he was…He really was not in his right mind.
Again, I go back to the lifestyle of Jesus and point out his teachings, and his sayings. His teachings were too sound and great that it doesn’t really point to the fact that he was a lunatic. Josh McDowell wrote of a Psychiatrist who said that all you have to do is read portions of Christs’ teaching to patients, and that’s all the counseling they need.
His intellect and theological knowledge do not point to a point of insanity, but of firm mental soundness.
So, was he Lord?
I’m not concluding that Christ was a liar or lunatic. So what else is there to choose from? To conclude that Christ is not a liar or a lunatic, is to conclude that he is Lord. Think about it…Which of these three “L’s” are more probable? Christ is not just a great moral teacher…He’s something that you have to choose.
Next, I will conclude this series with a defense on the reliability of the New Testament, and a complete wrap up on this series.

Objections Addressed

In my last post on Why Is Christianity the Only Way, I began to answer a question by a secular humanistic Jew:

But how can you be sure that your way is right? What actual, physical proof do you have that says that Christianity is right and Islam (or Judaism, Hinduism, etc.) is wrong? All you have to go on is your faith and your particular holy book. What makes the Bible any more or less true than the Torah or Koran? Why is Jesus any holier than YHWH or Allah? There is no real way to know who is right in religion. Maybe none of the modern religions are right. Maybe Zeus et al. Are sitting up on Mount Olympus right now shaking their heads at us. Until we stop declaring that we are right and nobody else is, the world will constantly be in a state of turmoil. (Oh, and in case you couldn’t tell, I’m an secular humanistic Jew.)

I started to answer the last question, why Jesus is holier than other gods (and also said that he was the One True God)*. I touched on just few of many prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, and now will proceed to defend my stance to some regard.
One of the objections to these prophecies (or rather the reasons people give for Christ fulfilling the prophecies) is to say:
Christ purposely fulfilled them to make it look like he was the messiah.
This statement cannot stand, due to the fact that it would be impossible for Christ to decide to fulfill all the prophecies. How could he decide that his mother would be a virgin? How could Jesus choose that he would be born in Bethlehem? And what about the many things that happened around his death? Like his bones that were not broken, the soldiers gambling for his clothes, and even his betrayal for 30 pieces of silver?
So now you may say that the Disciples fabricated the story.
At this point many apologists will ask you if you would die for a lie. And of course you would probably say “no.” But there are exceptions. I would go deeper and wonder why a disciple would write a gospel that teaches good, not evil and lies, and still stick a big lie in it. And to top it off, he really would die for that lie.
Now, perhaps you’re saying that physics always foretell the future and are correct. Be realistic…They are mostly wrong. But Jesus’ record of fulfilling prophecy is absolutely astounding when you look at it.
Many Jews, I would suspect, would tell me that the Disciples misinterpreted the prophecies when they wrote their gospels, especially the one’s that seem to refer to Israel, not a messiah. Norm Giesler explains:

“The New Testament did apply certain Old Testament passages to Jesus that were not directly predictive of him. Many scholors see these references as being ‘typologically’ fulfilled in Christ…in other words, some truth in the passage can approprietly be applied to Christ even though it was not specifially predictive of him. Other scholors say there’s a generic meaning in certain Old Testament passages that apply to both Israel and Christ, both of which were called God’s ‘son.’ This is sometimes called a ‘double reference view’ of prophecy.”

Lastly, what if Jesus accidentally fulfilled the prophecies?
The odds of that happening are overwhelmingly slim. Basically, it’s impossible…Somewhere around 1 in 1,000,000. It’s equal to the number of 1 1/2 inch squares it would take to cover all dry land on the earth. Not going to happen.
We can see that we can rely on these prophecies so far, and next I will look at why we can rely on Christ…Whether he’s a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. Stay tuned.
*Error Fixed

Why Is Christianity the Only Way?

For this series of posts, I want to respond to a comment made on my post on Tolerating the Intolerable:

But how can you be sure that your way is right? What actual, physical proof do you have that says that Christianity is right and Islam (or Judaism, Hinduism, etc.) is wrong? All you have to go on is your faith and your particular holy book. What makes the Bible any more or less true than the Torah or Koran? Why is Jesus any holier than YHWH or Allah? There is no real way to know who is right in religion. Maybe none of the modern religions are right. Maybe Zeus et al. are sitting up on Mount Olympus right now shaking their heads at us. Until we stop declaring that we are right and nobody else is, the world will constantly be in a state of turmoil. (Oh, and in case you couldn’t tell, I’m an secular humanistic Jew.)

I think I’m going to go at it backwards and answer the last question first:
Why is Jesus any holier than YHWH or Allah?
Since this person is Jewish, I will respect that and leave out all vowels in YHWH. First of all, in the New Testament, Christ refers to himself as God, YHWH:
“I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58)
So what makes that claim true? How can I say that Jesus really is God?
Well, as Lee Strobel puts it, “Anyone can believe that he or she is God. [But] Jesus didn’t just consider himself God’s Son, but he also fulfilled the attributes that are unique to God.”
He was omnicient, omnipotent , and omnipresent. During His time on earth, as recorded in Phillipians 2, he emptied himself of his attributes when he was incarnated.
“He made Himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Phillipians 2:7)
Collosians 2:9 states, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”
And John 8:29 tells of his eternality, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Jesus was God and he did claim to be God.
How can we believe that Jesus was and is God? I’d like to take a look at the prophecies of the Old Testament.
You will have to admit that all prophecies of the coming Messiah were written some 400 years before Christ was born.
Many Christians will first point to what looks to be a fortelling of the Messiah in Isaiah 53, which points out 12 aspects of Christ’s Passion:
He would be rejected, a man of sorrow, live a life of suffering, be despised by others, carry our sorrows, be smitten and afflicted by God, be peirced for our transgressions, be wounded for our sins, would suffer like a lamb, would die for the wicked, would be sinless, and would pray for others.
All of these things were fulfilled in the life of Christ, but many modern Rabbis reject that Isaiah was talking of a coming messiah, and insist that he referred to the Jewish Nation. Norman Geisler says, “It was common for Jewish interpreters before the time of Christ to teach that Isaiah here spoke of the Jewish Messiah. Only after early Christians began using the text apologetically with great force did it become in rabbinical teaching an expression of the suffering Jewish nation. The view is implausible in the context.”
Lee Strobel lists some of the other major predictions about the Messiah (all fulfilled by Jesus):

  • He would be born of a Virgin (Genesis 3:15)
  • He would be of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18)
  • He would be of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10)
  • Of the House of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
  • Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
  • He would be heralded by the Lord’s messenger (Isaiah 40:3)
  • He would cleanse the temple (Malachi 3:1)
  • He would be “cut off” 483 years after the declaration to
  • reconstruct Jerusalem in 444 B.C. (Daniel 9:24-27)
  • He would be rejected (Psalm 118:22)
  • He would have his hands and feet peirced (Psalm 22:16)
  • His side would be peirced (Zechariah 12:10)
  • He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10)
  • He would ascend into heaven (Psalm 68:18)
  • He would site down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1)
  • Lee Strobel then goes on to say that the “exact fulfillment of so many specific predictions is such a persuasive apologetic that critics have reapeatedly raised objections to try and negate them.”
    And I’m going to attempt to address some of those in my next post.
    Part Two: Objections Addressed

    Homeschooling Is Not A Good Idea

    [My NEW SITE is Coming Soon and the ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION IS UP and you have to check out this blog]
    I’m going to get tons of hits from google on this one. Of course, it will be better than hits from the guy who searched for “Amish Speaking in Tongues.”
    Scott Thomas believes Homeschooling is a bad idea. So do I agree with him? Nope.
    So why do I not agree with him and his article?
    Well, first of all, Mr. Thomas makes a few decent points, saying that public schooled teachers are trained to be the best in what they do. They go to college and get degrees, Ph.D’s and whatever else. Most homeschooling parents would go under the “untrained” category.
    Point made and filed.
    So he goes on to say:

    “From my observation[s]…parents choose to home school as a form of protection for their children.”

    And then goes on to list some of the bad things that homeschoolers may want to protect from.

    “I don’t like all of that junk, either. But, at what price, protection?”

    So his next point to make is that homeschooling parents are not qualified for the job.

    “As one public school teacher told me, “As a teaching professional, I am deeply hurt by the Christian community’s pull-out from the public school system. The (public school) teachers I know are excellent! And many of them are Christians! They have a wealth of experience and resources that can’t be matched by home schooling parents. Not only are teachers highly-educated (all having Bachelor’s degrees, and many having Master’s or Ph.D’s), but they are specialists in their fields. We go to conferences, read up on the latest research and have teams of Master Teachers who mentor educators new to the profession.

    “Most parents do not have the level of expertise that we do. The parents that I have seen home school their children often struggle along needlessly, comparing various curriculums, uncertain of what their children should know. Add to that children who are struggling with disabilities or learning to read, and the gap between what parents know about teaching and what the trained professionals know, widens. Most adults wouldn’t rewire the electrical system of their home on their own, they lack the expertise to do it right. Many would hire a professional. That, in one sense is what teachers are hired to do.”

    He’s stuck on the knowledge only.

    “Let’s give parents, most of whom are NOT great teachers, the option to send their kids to real, professional, great teachers.”

    Let’s just take a look at some official stats Mr. Thomas:

    “Dr. Brian Ray, in the most in-depth nationwide study on home education across the United States, collected data on 5,402 students from 1,657 families. Homeschool students’ academic achievement, on average, was significantly above that of public-school students. In addition, the home educated did well even if their parents were not certified teachers and if the state did not highly regulate homeschooling.
    –Home educators are able to be flexible and tailor or customize the curriculum to the needs of each child.
    –In study after study, the home educated score better, on average, than those in conventional state-run schools (see table).
    [Table states that in Reading, Language, and Math those in Public schools scored 50, and homeschoolers 65-80 (percentile).]
    For learning disabled students, there are higher rates of academic engaged time in homeschooling and greater academic gains made by the home educated.”… [P]arents, even without special education training, provided powerful instructional environments at home…”

    In regards to being socially able to function, you said “If you perceive problems with your public schools, you can choose, as a family, to be part of the solution, or you can run from the problems and home school.”
    Well, as to those avoiding the problems:

    “–Studying actual observed behavior, Dr. Shyers (1992) found the home educated have significantly lower problem behavior scores than do their conventional school agemates.
    –Multiple studies show that the home educated have positive self-concepts.
    –Homeschool students are regularly engaged in field trips, scouting, 4-H, and community volunteer work, and their parents (i.e., their main role models) are significantly more civically involved than are public school parents.”

    You were probably expecting all these stats and rebuttals, etc.
    I’d like to ask you if the teachers are bad and unqualified, how are homeschoolers getting such good stats when taking these tests? All of these homeschoolers are able to have a tailored education that many times is robbed them in public schools. Yes, there are teachers in public schools who are great teachers and are even Christians, but you can’t assure me that all my teachers will be able to effectively and personally teach me so that I can learn well.
    And even if I had a Christian teacher, how would that help since the curriculum is totally Atheistic.
    Quoting from Jake Smith of Virtue Magazine answering the question if he missed anything from being homeschooled:

    “Of course you do! I missed hearing evolution being taught as a scientific fact; I missed the chance to be in a clique; I missed people trying to pressure me into drinking and smoking; I missed the chance to ignore people, just because they look, act or talk different than me.”

    He’s homeschooled and goes to a technical school with those in public schools, so he would know something about it.
    We do have to be careful thought that we aren’t so protected “that we don’t know how to engage those who don’t share our values.”(From the mailbag–My Uncle) He went on to say that sometimes we as Christians do the same, getting stuck in our protected churches, and not going and sharing to the society around us. But of course that doesn’t mean that we need to send kids to public schools to do it. Most times, we are better grounded in our faith and are ready to respond to the society when the time comes to do so better than those in public schools.
    Now, before anti-Homeschoolers email me in droves, I hope you’ll ask yourself if you really are, at the end of the day, someone who can honestly say that the public schools are showing the best statistics knowledge wise and social wise. Please show me the stats…and keep the response clean.

    Linkage Galore

    Talk about at lot of fun for liberals and conservatives alike! Go here to shoot paintballs at your least favorite website, or maybe you’d rather flood it?
    Liberal Bloggers go here
    Conservatives go here.
    By the way Catez, that was wrong (just kidding).
    HT goes to Rebecca Writes for that one.
    A Physcisicst’s Perspective has moved! Still Thinking should do his site in my opinion.
    The Christian Carnival is up.
    Total Depravity and Divine Knowledge by Tim Challies (I love this guy and his site. I like his style and it’s affected mine a lot). What in the world does that mean? Well, it has to be good with about 65 (er..make that 67 and growing) comments on the post. I won’t steal anything from Tim, except to say that if you read anything or click on any links in this post, this is the one to visit.
    Catholic Blogs to visit: The Anchoress and I looked at theRoman Catholic Blog, and I stopped into The Corner. You can find more links from them.

    New Pope: And More

    Well, the new Pope has been elected by the conclave of Cardinals in the Vatican. And as you may well all know, his name is now Benedict the XVI.
    I was very happy to hear that Benedict is a conservative Pope, and we hope that he will lead to more reformation in the Catholic Church.
    What reformation? Don’t the Catholics believe the same things as you do as an Evangelical?
    Well, not quite. I won’t go into deep detail, but I believe that much of the Catholic Churches teachings are in error. They have almost created a religion of their own.
    I believe that there are many Christians who are Catholics. I believe it whole heartedly. They just have a different worship style, one that is much more formal. Their “good works” are just acts of their faith that follow belief in Christ.
    But I’m here to tell you, living in a state that has more Catholics than almost any state, most Catholics believe in a works religion. They believe it takes more than faith to get to heaven, and they do that by doing good works. It’s by grace through faith that your are saved, not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. They have the wrong theology. If the Catholic church is teaching this, they are absolutely wrong. Benedict must believe that it is by grace you have been saved, and that works is just the fruit of your salvation.
    I will go on to say that we must remember that Christ did tell us to store up treasure in heaven. And how do we do this? By living a righteous life. Nothing we do can get us into heaven, and even when we get to heaven, will we not turn all of that treasure back to our Creator?
    A huge problem in the Catholic church is one that I found out just recently. They have removed the second commandment. And to keep it ten they’ve split the tenth into two parts.
    Just read it for yourself:
    “The Tenth embraces both the Ninth and Tenth of the Catholic division. It seems, however, as logical to separate at the end as to group at the beginning, for while one single object is aimed at under worship, two specifically different sins are forbidden under covetousness; if adultery and theft belong to two distinct species of moral wrong, the same must be said of the desire to commit these evils. ”
    So they can keep worshipping Mary and other objects. And because they have learned their catechism well, they see no fault in this. But they must read Exodus 20:4,5:
    “You shall not make for yourself any graven image…You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them.”
    I pray this pope will fight relativism as he has said he will. I like that, I like it a lot.

    Drudge: Boy, You’re In Trouble With Me

    Matt Drudge (in the Times) on blogs:

    ?I don?t read them. I like to create waves and not surf them. And who are these influential bloggers? You can?t name one because they don?t exist.

    Um, Matt. How about Glenn Reynolds? Hugh Hewitt? The guys at Power Line? Dude, you’re totally missing it. He’s in trouble with me on this one…

    Back in the 1990s Drudge was a believer in the empowering potential of the internet. In a speech he said, ?We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be.?

    Alex King Interview

    “I wonder if he has read Hugh Hewitt’s book Blog, because before I read that I couldn’t have told you who the “influential bloggers” were. But I’m sure someone like him could have figured it out though.”

    Could be that Drudge might have a point?
    Patrick Ruffini on Drudge vs. Blogs:

    Bloggers are scratching their heads over this. After all, isn’t Drudge the ultimate new media maven? Why is he saying this? The reason is actually quite simple.
    Blogs are a threat to Drudge’s leadership of Internet media. Major blogs like InstaPundit, and emerging Drudge competitors like The Roth Report, The Daou Report, and Memeorandum may be big fish by blogosphere standards, but they are a small but emerging threat to Drudge’s millions of daily uniques. They’re the Firefox to Drudge’s Microsoft.

    I’m with you all the way Patrick…he’s right. Bloggers are a threat to Drudge, and he’s not willing to help them out.
    The Political Teen,has some thoughts:

    Drudge is entitled to his opinion, however not when he steps over the hypocrisy line.

    Drudge cannot be really telling the truth…he must be reading blogs daily. There is no doubt about it. Lies? Could possibly be. Double crosser? Hmmm…should I go that far?
    InstaLink: He’s talking about it: “Comparing Drudge to Microsoft? Them’s fighting words!”
    That’s right Glenn. We don’t take to supposed friends turnin’ on us.
    Also: When I search for blogs on the Drudge Report, guess what I get.