Sunday, August 06, 2006

Apostle's Witness

The Faith Question

What do you think about the written report that we have from the eyewitnesses of Jesus? Do you think they are trustworthy today?

My Answer

Yes, the eyewitness accounts of the apostles are true. They have been corroborated by historians (both secular and Christians) throughout the ages.

I was having an interesting debate about this with a friend. He mentioned that if the accounts weren't true, the apostles wouldn't have died for it... To which I retorted that by that logic, all the fundamentalist suicide bombers would also justify their faiths. But his response was truly amazing. He said that the Jehadis believe in the preaching of their faith and can easily misunderstand what is being written, But the Christian apostles were present to verify the truth. If they wouldn't have seen these things with their own eyes, they would have have gone to their deaths without giving up there faith.

Awesome isn't it ...

...Whole in One

Monday, May 01, 2006

Curiosity about God

The Faith Question

What do you think was the reason the Pharisees came to see John? How do we show we are curious about God today? In what ways can curiosity about God be beneficial to us today?

My Answer

In my opinion, the Pharisees would have come to see John for a couple of reasons:

  1. Curiousity - To find out who was this 'voice in the desert'. If there was any substance in what he was preaching. The Pharises were well read and they too could see the resemblence between John and Elijah.
  2. Hope - Since there had been no prophet for 400 years since Malachai. There would have been a sincere effort by the Pharises to verify the authenticity of John's claim that he was a witness of God.
  3. Malicious Intent - Was there anything they could learn about John's ministry? Could they use that knowledge to subvert it if it went against their interest.

There are a few ways we express our curiousity for GOD -

  1. Reading religious publications like local church journals
  2. Attending Bible studies, having discussions on theological themes
  3. Reflecting on the national and global events that have serious religious overtones
  4. Most importantly, reading from the Bible, which is the best source for information on the nature of God

With a serious increase in information 'overload' it is very easy for people, especially young , impressional minds to be influenced by the negativity that is present in popular media. Curiosity for God gives people an avenue to access devine and moral codes that allow them to sieve out the unwanted content that they are exposed and live a holistic life.

...Whole in One

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Growing in the Lord

The Faith Question

How do you feel about your own relationship with God? For example, do you think God is answering your prayers? What is the most important NEW thing you have learned about God?

My Answer

Over the year, I have seen an increase in my understanding of Him and thus have started appreciating His grace in my life more. Very recently this understanding has also enabled me to help my closest friend realise the seeds of bitterness that had crept into her life and were keeping her from realising His grace.

My church life has also taken a surprising and positive turn. I have joined a small New Life congression near my house, in within a month, I am part of the worship team. I have also been able to connect to the messages being delivered by the Pastor. Praying that this time, my church experience will be from wholesome.

I had already mentioned the amount of success at work. Please pray that He sustains this phase.

In a nutshell...YES...God is anwering my prayers. After all the ups and down I have had in my personal life, my family will be meeting my prospective fiance's family this Thursday to discuss engagement plans. Please keep us in prayer.

...Whole in One

Thursday, January 12, 2006

God has spoken Judgement

The Faith Question

What do you believe about the coming judgment?

My answer

...Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29)

Going through some of the ideas stated on Judgement made me shudder about some of the statements that represent God's judgement.

In management school, students are taught McGreggor's theory, which is a glorified version of the 'Carrot and Stick' principle of motivating people. The Bible offers such a 'carrot and stick' approach in the form of 'Eternal Preservation v/s Utter Destruction'.

Eternal Preservation

...that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:15)

Such a powerful promise of hope is enough to make you fall on your knees with reverence. To think that we may receive the 'Water of Life' is the motivation for so many Christians. Some say this is hypocritical and selfish, but if wanting Him to flow in you in selfish, so be it.

Utter Destruction

It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. (Hebews 10:31)

The switch in the Bible from God - the giver of Eternal Life, to God - the Judge and Destroyer is truely awesome. Personally, I haven't yet come to terms with the kind of Wrath that has been professed during the judgement. Is God telling us that if we don't yield to the 'carrot' we will be maimed by the 'stick'? For some reason, this 'Or else...' proposition is something that I am having trouble understanding.

The books of Romans and Corinthians talks about the corruption of the lands and people taking to false and idol worship, but why does God proclaim in this respect, that He is ...a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-6)? Once again, this confusion leads me back to my earlier discussion on CHOICE. Why would the Lord want Satan to exist in the first place? Is it, that like everyone else, the Devil had a choice, and chose to rebel against God and now awaits jugdement?

...Whole in One

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Significance of Choice

The faith question

Why do you think God gave man the privilege of choice - choosing whom we will serve?

My answer

This is one of those questions that I have not been able to satisfactorily answer to myself. I guess as you keep growing in the Lord, the questions you have to overcome get more complex.

The question of CHOICE goes far beyond a single book of the Bible. It appears in the books of John, Jude and Matthew among others. Since the question of choice is inextricably linked with the Day of Judgement, the most notable source for the CHOICE question is the Book of Revelation. This book, mind you, is a full force gale of allegory and interpretation...not to embarked by anyone without appropriate education and guidance. What make it most daunting is that this is the book that exposes you most to the risk of misinterpretation and derailment. This doesn't however mean that other books of the Bible are open to rampant interpretation...just that the Book of Revelations has far too much symbolism for an amateur discussion.

"Worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone" (Matthew 4:8-10)

As a believer, I don't have a problem understanding the Lord's command to server him alone, but I am still at a loss about the following:
...nor does he temp anyone (James 1:13)

Yet God allowed Satan to test Job (Job 1:12; 2:6)? We are in a position to question why this apparent dichotomy takes place, but what does it mean to us?

Since the Lord is not the source of the temptation that we have to struggle with every day...we know that it is Satan's work. Yet, unfortunately, I have not yet been able to understand why God has allowed Satan to continue to rebel...even if it for a while...

Another interesting theme in the CHOICE question is that Satan is not allowed to force us. He can only misguide us to make our own (inevitably fatal) choices. What is the corresponding reference to the scripture that gives us this assurance? Secondly, if the coming of Christ, our Lord, was a sign of the destruction of the devil, then what is the significance of our continuing struggle with temptation?

I am sorry that this question of Faith leads me to more questions than any conclusive answers.

...Whole in One

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Old v/s New covenant

The Faith Question

How would you answer a friend who asks you, "Should we follow the laws of MOSES or the commandments of CHRIST?"

My answer...

Once again, the Bible is the clearest source for this answer - the commandments of Christ have renewed the laws of Moses. My first reaction to the question however would be one of sympathy (and I don't know if that would be derogatory under the circumstance)...but, for any Christian, not being able to understand that the 'Laws of Moses' have been completely circumscribed by the message of Christ shows a lack of understanding of the word. I would only sympathise because a few years ago I would had been posing such questions to my Christian friends. Hebrews is repleat with verses that point to the fact that Jesus has made the old laws obsolete, however, I'd like to draw your attention to the following verse:

1 John 4:1-4 (Test the Spirits)

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God....

Here it is clearly stated that commandments of Christ are foremost and anything other message is the work of the 'antichrist'.

...Whole in One

p.s. Here's my previous post about the words of Jesus

Heal, Forgive, Save

What a powerful Christmas message. I was quite anxious to know what the theme of this Sundays service would be...and three words covered the gamut of what had to be said...

Heal

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. Matthew 21:14

Forgive

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

Save

He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved. Acts 11:14

Halleluja...the Christ is born

...Whole in One

Sunday, December 18, 2005

John the Baptist's cave 'found'

Source: BBC

A British archaeologist says he has found a cave used by the New Testament figure John the Baptist.

Shimon Gibson spent five years excavating the site near Jerusalem, unearthing objects apparently used in ancient purification rituals.

Images carved on the walls include that of a man with wild hair and carrying a staff, said to be reminiscent of John, whom the Bible says baptised Jesus. Biblical scholars have questioned the find, which they say is inconclusive.

Oil

The 24m (79ft) deep cave is situated on present day Kibbutz Tzuba, about 4km (2.5miles) from John's birthplace of Ein Kerem. Mr Gibson's team found quarter of a million pieces of pottery apparently from artefacts used in the immersion process.

Foot-shaped niche in cave

Worshippers are believed to have had their feet anointed here. The explorers also uncovered 28 steps leading to a chamber containing an oval stone with a foot-shaped indentation and a niche apparently through which oil would flow onto a worshipper's foot.

"John the Baptist, who was just a figure from the Gospels, now comes to life," said Mr Gibson.

A wall carving appeared to depict John, who belonged to a sect which forbade followers from cutting their hair. Another carving of a face was symbolic of a severed head: John was decapitated by Herod Antipas, who ruled the Holy Land at the time of Jesus.

"Nothing like this has been found elsewhere," Mr Gibson said. "It is the first time we have finds from the early baptismal period... It is an amazing discovery that happens to an archaeologist once in a lifetime."

But some biblical scholars are treating Mr Gibson's claim with caution. Stephen Pfann, president of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, said the find was intriguing, but that more work needed to be done.

Related Links

  1. Related article in Fox News
  2. My previous post on Christian Archaeology