Archive for April 17th, 2006

Re-Post: Book of Matthew And ”New Thinkers” by Hal Lindsey

Monday, April 17th, 2006

The Book of Matthew has been under attack since the beginning of the alleged “New Thinking” of the late 19th century. It was about that time that it was decided that Matthew wasn’t an eyewitness account of the life of Christ, but rather that Matthew was a later forgery.

These alleged New “Thinkers” decided that Matthew wasn’t the author, eventually assigning authorship of the book to a mysterious author, or group of authors, collectively known as “Q” from the German word “quelle,” meaning “source.”

The New “Thinkers,” after much exhaustive study, concluded the following: Most of what Jesus said, He didn’t say; He wasn’t the Son of God; He didn’t perform miracles; He was just a guy to whom people assigned god-like powers after His death.

Recently, the incongruously-named “Jesus Seminar” produced “The Five Gospels” that went into great detail about the things that Jesus never said, as if that would have any meaning, if one accepted the earlier premises that He was a fraud in the first place.

The whole basis for the credibility of the four Gospels – and their contents is this: All four Gospel writers claim to be eyewitnesses of the events they describe.

If Matthew, Mark, Luke or John were written after their deaths, then why were they named for them? If this were the case, they certainly couldn’t be their eyewitness accounts. At best they would be second-hand accounts based on hearsay. So the issue of when Matthew and the other Gospels were written is of more than passing importance to Christianity.

It should be noted that the favorite tactic of unbelieving “liberal theologians” is to seek to “late date” the writing of every biblical book they attack.

An amazing story in the Kansas City Star detailed a find from a most unlikely source. It was a source the “scholarly” Jesus Seminar evidently overlooked in their “exhaustive research.” And mind you, they are so confident of their “research,” that they have no compunction in using it to declare the faith of a billion people to be built upon a fraud.

Interestingly, although the piece details considerable new information that tends to support the authenticity of the Bible and cast doubt on decades of the liberal’s “New Thinking,” the Star ran the story in its “Entertainment” section.

In an essay written for the book, “Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times,” Israel J. Yuval of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, reports the Star, writes about a leading rabbinical scholar of the first century named Gamaliel, who is mentioned in Acts 5:34 and 22:3. Yuval declares that Gamaliel is “considered to have authored a sophisticated parody of the Gospel according to Matthew.”

Because the date of Gamaliel’s death is known, it places the publication of the Book of Matthew some time before AD 73. The fact that it was a parody demands that the Book of Matthew had extensive circulation and was well known. Otherwise, no one would have gotten the joke.

The fact the parody exists, and the date it was written is known, “badly undercuts (the biblical critics’) claims of a late date of A.D. 85-90 or later,” said Bob Newman, professor of New Testament at Biblical Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, according to the article.

Similarly, the earlier the Gospel was written, the more likely eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life would still be alive.

The Gospels relate events such as the time a man was carried through the streets of Jerusalem on a pallet. The roof was ripped off a synagogue so the man, bed-ridden from birth, as attested to by witnesses, could be lowered into the crowded room. There, according to the Gospels, Jesus told the man to pick up his bed and walk. The man walked out the front door.

Imagine how a book that claimed Kennedy was really killed by a fall in a bathtub in Boise, Idaho, would be received today, 40 years after the fact. The conspiracy nuts would love it, but there are just too many eyewitnesses that saw his assassination at Dealey Plaza as it happened for that story to ever fly. There would be a firestorm of contradiction from those eyewitnesses.

There are thousands of specific details in the Gospels that were witnessed by contemporaries who were hostile to Jesus and his disciples. If they could have disproven any of them, they had every reason to do so. But there is no evidence of any attempts to prove factual contradictions in the Gospels found in the writings of that period. And this despite the fact that Jerusalem was a small place with one of the most highly literate societies of antiquity. Instead of attempting to disprove the testimony of the eyewitnesses, they sought to put them to death, which in itself proves they had no answer.

The eyewitness accounts concerning Jesus were so well known and documented, that when the Apostle Paul was on trial in Caesarea for his faith in Jesus as Messiah before the royalty and officials of the region, “For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26) And this was only 27 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.

Dr. Simon Greenleaf is one of the greatest legal minds in American history. He was head of the Harvard Law School for some 30 years. He wrote the definitive work for evaluating evidence in the courtroom called, “The Laws of Legal Evidence.”

He was challenged to use these laws to investigate the claims of Christianity. The result was a book he wrote called, “The Testimony Of The Four Evangelists.” He concluded that the evidence supporting the Gospels is better than the evidence supporting any history of antiquity.

Dr. Greenleaf is the kind of scholar that most impresses me. He evaluates evidence objectively. Not in the highly subjective manner of the Jesus Seminar group. These so called “scholars” are best described by this Scripture about false teachers in the Last Days: “… holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

Opus Dei Asks for ‘Da Vinci’ Disclaimer

Monday, April 17th, 2006

For those of you who have not read this book, the Opus Dei are portrayed as being a fringe group, almost terrorist in nature, who runs interference between the book’s hero and the church. The real Opus Dei is asking Sony, the maker of the Da Vinci Code movie, for a disclaimer at the start of the movie. I’m not Catholic and don’t believe in a lot of their church doctrine, but I have to admit that if this movie was about islam, you can bet there would be a disclaimer.
Let me take this a step further before I post the article.
Hollywood has such a liberal spin whenever Christian’s, of any denomination, are shown. They choose to make us out as religious fanatics who want to take over the world, while ignoring the group (islam) which has made it clear of their intent to do exactly that.
Some of you may remember the Tom Clancy movie “The Sum of all Fears”. In the book, it is islamic terrorist who construct a crude atomic bomb and set it off at the Super Bowl in Denver, driving the U.S. and Russia (U.S.S.R. at the time) to the brink of nuclear war.
After Hollywood was done making the movie, the islamic terrorist are gone, to be replaced by European Neo-Nazis. Once again we see Hollywood’s attempt to show Christians (as if neo-nazi’s are Christians) in a poor light. The Da Vinci Code is more of the same.

ROME — The conservative religious group Opus Dei has asked for a disclaimer on the upcoming film based on the best-selling novel “The Da Vinci Code.”
Opus Dei, portrayed as a murderous, power-hungry sect in the novel by Dan Brown, wrote in an April 6 letter to Sony Corp. that a disclaimer would show respect to Jesus and to the Catholic Church.
“Any such decision by Sony would be a gesture of respect toward the figure of Jesus, to the history of the Church and to the religious beliefs of viewers,” Opus Dei wrote in the letter, which was posted on its Italian Web site.
“The Da Vinci Code” contends that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had descendants, and that Opus Dei and the Catholic Church were at the center of a cover up.
A spokesman for Sony Pictures Entertainment declined to say whether the film would bear a disclaimer.
“We have no plans to reveal any details regarding what is or isn’t in the film until the release,” the spokesman, Jim Kennedy, said in a statement. Kennedy’s statement said the film was “a work of fiction, and at its heart, it’s a thriller, not a religious tract.”
The film starring Tom Hanks is slated for release next month.
Opus Dei, which has close ties to the Vatican, has described “The Da Vinci Code” as offering a deformed image of the Catholic Church.
On Friday, the priest who preaches before the pope in Advent and Lent denounced what he called works that slander the church for profit.
“Christ is still sold, but not any more for 30 coins,” the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in his Good Friday homily before Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica, referring to Jesus’ betrayal by the Apostle Judas before his crucifixion, “but to publishers and booksellers for billions of coins.”

The Latest Zionist Conspiracy

Monday, April 17th, 2006

More craziness from the leadership of wacky Hamas. I’d hazard a guess that they have ingested too much mercury in the water, but that wouldn’t explain why everyone else who drinks the water is still reasonably sane. Maybe being crazy is just a Hamas thing.

A PROMINENT HAMAS member of parliament has explained why most American Christians support Israel. The churches are run by “converted” Jews who are exploiting Christians for Zionist purposes. “Even the churches where the Americans pray are led by Jews who were converted to Christianity, but they were converted to keep controlling the Americans,” Sheikh Mohammad Abu Tir explained on an American radio show on April 7.
A Gallup poll released on April 6 shows that religious Americans tend to be more pro-Israel. But Gallup, according to Abu Tir, did not understand the real reason for this. “I made a study and I know very well that all this radicalism in some parts of the Christianity, [including] the Anglicans who are being led by Bush, is because of the control of Zionists,” said the orange-bearded Abu Tir.
Jewish control of the media is, of course, old hat. Jewish control of the churches, however, is a new twist. Thanks partly to the antics of Hamas officials such as Abu Tir, Americans sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians by 59 percent to 15 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. But 64 percent of regular churchgoers sympathize more with Israel, compared to 45 percent of Americans who never attend church.
Meanwhile, the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) conference held at Georgetown University in March offered helpful advice on how pro-Palestinian activists can penetrate American church groups. A report from the American Jewish Congress provided an account of the PSM event.
Activists were encouraged to “look Christian,” to “study Christian culture, understand it, so you can create Christian solidarity to then reach out to Palestinian solidarity,” to dress conservatively, maintain proper grooming and a good social demeanor, and to “become the Ned Flanders (a Simpsons’ character) of your church.”
PSM activists were also instructed to avoid profane language, say “God blesses you” after a sneeze,” and act “Christian like.” They were told to provide gifts of Holy Land holy water and rosaries and talk about children dying at the hands of the Israelis. Above all, the PSM told their activists-in-training to speak in the language of spirituality and not politics, to ask the priest or pastor to pray for Palestinians during worship, and to hook up with anti-Iraq war groups.
As the Palestinian activist gains trust by becoming part of the church “family,” they should “educate” the Christians about Zionist exploitation. Once the Christians understand, they will not stand for what is happening to the Palestinian Christians, the PSM activists were assured.
IN SOME WAYS, the PSM’s work is unnecessary. Mainline Protestant officials in the United States have been repeating anti-Israel mantras for years. The PSM should be pleased by how “educated” these prelates already are.
But the anti-Israel bias of some left-wing church officials has not influenced most churchgoers. According to Gallup, American Christians are overwhelmingly pro-Israel, Catholics as well as Protestants–which rebuts the popular notion that pro-Israel Christians are simply evangelicals obsessed with the biblical end-times.
Some 64 percent of white Catholics sympathize with Israel, compared to 63 percent of white Protestants. Blacks were less pro-Israel, with whom they sympathized over the Palestinians by 40 to 24 percent. Only 12 percent of all weekly churchgoers more sympathized with the Palestinians, compared to 20 percent of those who never attend church.
Why are American Christians across the board inclined to support Israel more than those without strong religious ties? Certainly some religious Americans, especially–but not exclusively–among evangelical Protestants, may see Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Other church goers may simply have a sentimental attachment to the besieged Chosen People of the Old Testament, of whom their Scriptures speak so powerfully, and around whose memory and symbols much of their worship still revolves.
It is also possible that religious Americans have an innately strong attachment to democracy and human rights. Most probably share the conviction, which President Bush often articulates, that freedom is a divine gift, not a conditional right granted by the state–which puts Israel’s democracy in stark contrast with their Palestinian neighbors.
Whatever the reasons, Sheik Mohammad Abu Tir and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement will likely be disappointed if they believe that American Christians will turn against Israel in the near future.

India: Christians Attacked, Charged with Illegal Conversion

Monday, April 17th, 2006

Jesus tells us that all the world will hate us because of Him. Every day we see more and more of this as Christian brothers and sisters around the world experience true persecution. Pray for these fellow believers in Christ.

In Madhya Pradesh state, Hindu extremists brutally beat Christians; police take no action.
NEW DELHI, April 13 (Compass Direct) – Extremists attacked two Christian schools and a private Christian gathering last week in Madhya Pradesh state and accused several Christians of carrying out “illegal conversions.”
Christians responded with a protest march in Jabalpur city on Monday (April 10), demanding justice.
In a memorandum submitted to District Collector Sanjay Dubey, the Christian community called for the arrest of several Dharma Jagran Sena (DJS or Army for Religious Revival) members who launched three attacks in Jabalpur city on April 5, 6 and 7. Christians denied the charge of illegal conversions.
In the final attack, which took place at around 9 p.m. on April 7, “police stormed a prayer meeting in the home of an Assemblies of God church member, Nitin Bergman,” lawyer Ralph Ambereesh Robertson told Compass. “Then they took the seven Christians who were present to the police station.”
The seven were Bergman and his wife, Sushma Bergman; Ram Chandra Pandey and his wife, Anju Pandey; Sandeep Singh; Jantika Dan; and the Bergmans’ maid, Sunita Thakur.
Police said a complaint had been lodged accusing the seven of illegal conversions under the Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantraya Adhiniyam (Freedom of Religion) Act.
When the Rev. Kishan Singh, pastor of the affected church, heard of the arrest at midnight, he went immediately to the police station with two dozen church members. As they approached the police station, however, a crowd of about 80 people shouting anti-Christian slogans blocked their way into the station.
The mob started beating the Christians with their hands, legs and belts as police looked on. Seven Christians, including Pastor Singh, sustained internal injuries in the attack, despite the pastor’s emotional appeals for the mob to leave them alone.
Police released the accused Christians the following morning, after the mob had dispersed. They took no action against the mob for beating Singh and his companions.
The victims identified eight of the attackers by name and reported them to Superintendent of Police Srinivas Rao. At press time police had not arrested any of the attackers; rather, they were concentrating on an investigation against the accused Christians.

Schools Attacked
In other attacks last week, DJS members stormed the Christ Church Boys School at Thaiyavali Chowk on April 6, reprimanding them for not closing the school to mark Ram Navmi, a Hindu festival held that day.
The DJS members physically assaulted a teacher and threatened principal Ladly Matthew in front of the students and staff. They also shouted slogans accusing Christians of being “anti-national” and unconcerned about the feelings of Hindus.
The school resumed classes after the interruption and chose not to lodge a complaint.
On April 5, extremists of the same group barged into the Christian High School operated by the Methodist Church in India at Naudara Bridge, accusing the school staff of forced conversions.
Ramakant Mishra, a former teacher at the school, arrived before the extremists and began shouting that he had been forced to convert to Christianity.
Mishra had earlier lodged a complaint against school staff members in 2002, alleging that they were attempting to convert him. An investigation by the police and the Madhya Pradesh State Minorities Commission found the allegation was false.
When the state government cut funding for English-medium schools in 2002, Mishra was one of several teachers who lost their jobs. He was later re-employed, but according to school staff members, he regularly threatened to implicate the school in a false case if he were not promoted.
Mishra filed a case at the Omti police station on the day of the April 5 attack, naming three school staff: Sunil Singh, a clerk; Shakuntala Martin, a manager; and Sanjeev James, a teacher.
Police were still investigating the complaint at press time.