Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

April 4, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Charlie

by Max Andrews

I was raised in a few different households. My mother was addicted to drugs and my father was running around on her. I was taken in by my father when my mom was deemed unfit to have custody of me. My stepmother was the woman my father had been seeing while he was married and saw me as a reminder of my mother, but played the part of caring mother to please my father.

I was beat, harassed, and ridiculed by my stepmother for the sole reason of not being her child. To her, I was a constant reminder of a burden that she had no intention to bear. I recall her taking me with her children to church on the “important days” of Easter and Christmas. She claimed she was a believer of God.

My grandmother, who had adopted my mother, got to see me every other weekend. I recall that she would take me to church whenever I was spending the weekend with her and worked hard to get me to see all that Christianity had to offer. She truly was a loving woman. When she was seven years old she was given 7 months to live and she lived to be 70, dying 7 days after being admitted to the hospital and 7 hours after I had last visited her. I did not see it then.

read more »

Advertisements
April 4, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Miles

by Max Andrews

I was not raised in a religious home (unless you count praying over dinner to be religious). I don’t recall having many, if any, conversations about religion with my parents when I was a child. I went to maybe two or three Catholic Masses with my grandparents (not of my own volition). I had no idea what was going on during these services. Moreover, I’ve never really had a “religious” experience, that I can recall except a minor one a few months ago.

I’ve believed in God as long as I could remember, although my definition and concept has not always been clear, consistent, or obvious to me. When I was younger I reeled at the concept of God, not quite understanding His nature fully (perhaps from some terrible definitions and explanations given by my parents and others). I also found myself dumbfounded at the possibility of the universe being infinite in volume (extending in each direction forever), and also the fact that I would cease to be (I was about 8 years old, for reference). So, I’ve always been curious and interested in deeper “philosophical” issues. My parents were not much help in consoling me over the latter concern of death.

read more »

April 4, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Nick Peters

by Max Andrews

I grew up in a small town in Tennessee and went to church regularly with my parents. At the age of 11, I gave my life to Christ and my faith was always an integral part of my life. I was a unique child as at an early age I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum having Asperger’s. This caused me however to have a difficult time socially and was usually to myself a lot of times. I would not even spend much time with my family as I wanted to avoid such situations.

When I was in High School, I started suffering from panic attacks and depression. That started me on a long quest to see what my life really meant. The one area of interest I really had when I graduated from High School was the Bible and I went to Bible College with that. Already, I had been doing online evangelism as the internet had been for me, like it has been for many on the spectrum, a way to improve my social skills.

read more »

April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Juan

by Max Andrews

I am a Christian because I didn’t choose God, rather He chose me.

I was 18 years old in college. After experiencing the human condition; the lack of love, care, charity and the abundance of pain and suffering in the world and in myself. I realized that although I had a very good life, I was loved and cared for, and suffered comparatively to others very little; my own struggles always took precedence over others and realized that even when I did something good it was often with selfish reasons (It felt good or I will be liked). I looked in the mirror attached to my combination dresser/desk of my small dorm and wondered, why are we the way we are? It was then that I realized that there was something intrinsically wrong with all of us.

In my search for answers; I engulfed myself in searching for that silver bullet that could explain this predicament. It wasn’t until my second year in college that I really started to get depressed over this seemingly unattainable goal; I saw no explanation in sight. Until one night as I cried on my mother’s lap and she asked me what was wrong. I asked her in the hopes that maybe she knew the answer but she didn’t.

read more »

April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Kevin

by Max Andrews

I departed from Christianity as an act of rebellion from the cold religion that my parents raised me in. I was blinded, most likely by my ambitions, to the rich, colorful, robust Christianity that laid in wait for me.

I went to a secular State college and Jesus found me. Woke me up with reason and thoughtful reflection from the slumber my mind was in. It was by reason (and the Holy Spirit’s leading) that I became a Christian.

Why do I stay a Christian?

Experience, Reason, the Universe.

The first three, despite their short comings, tell of the Glory of the Lord. They tell of his love, mercy and Grace,

They tell, each in their own ways, of his existence in a way that denying his existence does not make sense. 

read more »

March 31, 2012

Parallelomania and the Chronological Fallacy

by Max Andrews

Pagan Copycat Theory: The story of Jesus Christ as presented in the gospels is a myth incorporating various aspects of other ancient pagan religions.

–“Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysius, Adonis, Mithras, and other Pagan Mystery saviors as fables, yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context and believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem.” (Freke and Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries, 9)

The Chronological Fallacy

  • In order for the copycat charge to work the parallel must chronologically precede the development of Christianity.
  • Some of the mystery religions developed after the birth of Christianity
    • Example:  Appolonious of Tyana was a contemporary of Jesus (3BC-97AD) but was not written about until 220-230AD
    • While several of the religions preceded Christianity themselves, many of the parallel claims about them do not.
      • While the Horus myth precedes Christianity by 3000 years, claims that Horus  birth was marked by a star in the east  or three kings adored him are found only in post-Christian secondary sources.
      • While there is evidence of Christianity employing some aspects of mystery religions late (4th -5th c.) evidence of borrowing earlier (3rd c.) suggests reverse: mystery religions borrowed from Christianity.
        read more »

March 30, 2012

Parallelomania and the Terminological Fallacy

by Max Andrews

Pagan Copycat Theory: The story of Jesus Christ as presented in the gospels is a myth incorporating various aspects of other ancient pagan religions.

–“Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Mithras, and other Pagan Mystery saviors as fables, yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context and believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem.” (Freke and Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries, 9)

Common religious figures Jesus is usually compared to:

  • Appolonius of Tyanna (Greek)
  • Horus/Osiris (Egypt)
  • Dionysus – Bacchus (Greek/Roman)
  • Attis (Phrygian)
  • Mithra (Persian/Roman)
  • Zoroaster (Persian)
  • Krishna (Hindu)
    read more »

March 30, 2012

Why Does God Love Us? — I Don’t Know

by Max Andrews

One of my friends, who is also in the philosophy class I help teach, emailed me several weeks ago asking why God loves us?  It’s a great question.  In light of our sin and the darkness within us why would a perfectly moral and holy being love us?  I responded to her question and I thought I’d share it online here.  So, to jump to the end and give you my answer up front: I have no idea why God loves us.

This is one of those things that you can surely put the puzzle pieces together to say that God is just and that God is loving. Any philosophy of religion text or systematic theology can articulate the theological coherence of these things.  The hardest thing about this is that, like you, I still don’t get it. It’s certainly not a simple answer in my opinion.  I’m an existentialist at heart.  I think we find ourselves on the scene thrusted into existence without any ability to say otherwise.

read more »

February 4, 2012

The Historical Context for Pilate’s Release of Barabbas

by Max Andrews

Matthew 27.15-23

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted.  16At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.  17So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”  18For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over.  19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”  20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.  21But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”  22Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!”  23And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”

The Matthean passage is Pilate’s offer to exchange Barabbas for Jesus.  This historical background information given for this passage of Scripture was extremely helpful in understanding the context of the situation.  Though, admittedly, there are no extrabiblical references to a release of prisoners at a festival time, there is an account of a release of prisoners.

read more »

February 2, 2012

Biblical Principles for Purity in Ministry

by Max Andrews

Purity in Ministry:  Biblical Principles

  • Leaders are held to a higher standard (James 3:1)
    • I Tim 4.12- youth (thirty something)
    • II Tim- youth (teenage)
    • Ecc. 8.11- why we still sin (because He doesn’t drop the hammer doesn’t mean He won’t)
    • Eph. 4:17
  • Process of Church discipline—Matt. 18.15-17 (transcending fifth step of judgment on a leader) –group rebuke to safeguard your own self—vv18-20 (controversial) God confirms His support of spiritual Church Leaders who make difficult spiritual decisions!
    read more »