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A Look at Christmas – Some Different Viewpoints

 

Image result for christmas pictures of baby jesus in the manger

Merry Christmas everyone!

Around the world, people (Christians and non-Christians alike) are celebrating this perennial winter holiday.

Here are some interesting articles I recently came upon that explores what the Bible says about the Virgin Birth (really technically the “Virgin Conception”) and the genre of the gospels as well.

The Not-So Virgin Birth of God” and “Six Problems with the Virgin Birth: Biblical and Historical Perspective“.

And an interesting article on how the date of December 25 came to be celebrated as Jesus’ birthday.

Here are our group’s personal reflections on Christmas and the Virgin birth as well from earlier in the year.

Some things to chew on for this Christmas season.

 

 

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Was God Pro-Choice?

 

 

Every election year, many Christians (Evangelical and Catholic) gather together to make the issue of abortion a major topic in politics.  They cite the sanctity of life all together and tell how abortion is murder of the unborn.  Many also claim that abortion is impermissible on any grounds because of the Bible, even in cases of rape, incest, or even if a woman’s life is in jeopardy due to complications in a pregnancy.

 

OK, maybe God being “pro-choice”as the title states might be a bit of an anachronism, but it seems rather clear that in some instances he does sanction abortion or at the very least, permit ways to allow for a woman to have a miscarriage if she’s pregnant due to adultery.

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UPDATE: Final Thoughts on Diarmaid MacCulloch’s “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years”

Well, we’ve come to the end after two years of reading “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years” and we share our final thoughts here.

Howard and Chris share what they have learned and gained from reading this book; Michael writes about the historical development of how Greek pagan philosophy seeped into Western theology and how it has affected our contemporary reading of the Bible; I share my thoughts on divine intervention (or non-intervention more specifically) and history or my attempt to understand God’s role in history after having read this book.

We hope and pray that we will use the knowledge gained from this session wisely.  I believe that this is just the beginning of our journey into learning more about the history of the Church.

“The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin” by Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek

A friend sent me a link to this article about the Bible and biblical illiteracy among evangelicals today from the January 2015 issue of Newsweek.

The author makes the argument that modern American evangelicalism (aka the popular conservative portrayal of Christianity many have in mind in America) is quite at odds with what the Bible actually teaches, particularly when it comes to issues about the inerrancy of the Bible, issues on homosexuality, women’s roles in the church, the formation of the canon, and other issues.  In fact, the Bible condemns the style of Christianity modern evangelicals are practicing now, the article states.

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UPDATE: Chapter 25: Culture Wars (1960 – Present) – Part II: Doctrine of Hell in 20th century and the Orthodox Church after the Soviet Union

Russian church

Russian Orthodox Church has enjoyed a resurgence since the end of atheist Soviet Communist rule in 1991. (Reuters)

This will be our next to last submissions on MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years: two essays on the relevancy of the doctrine of hell in churches today and how the Orthodox Church has changed after the collapse of communism in Russia after 1991.

In our last entry for this series, coming next month, we will reflect on how a knowledge of Church history has impacted our understanding of the Christian faith.

Chapter 25: Culture Wars (1960 – Present) – Part II

Pope John Paul II (1920 - 2005)

Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005)

It has been a long journey that dated back almost two years ago in April of 2013 when we first started reading Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.  And now we have come to its conclusion.

Please read the remainder of Chapter 25, the last chapter of the book, where we will cover: A Cultural Revolution from the Sixties, Old-Time Affirmations, and Freedom: Prospects and Fears.

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Chapter 25: Culture Wars (1960 – Present) – Part I

Vatican II Council 1962

Vatican II Council 1962

 

 

Next week we will be covering the final chapter of MacCulloch’s book, Chapter 25.  Please read the first two sections, The Second Vatican Council: Half a Revolution and Catholics, Protestants and Liberation, and answer one of the following questions:

 

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The Evolution of Satan

Statue of Satan at the Satanic Temple in Detroit, MI.

Statue of Satan at the Satanic Temple in Detroit, MI.

 

Great article and post on the development of Satan/the Devil in Judeo-Christian thought and theology through the centuries over at isthatinthebible.wordpress.com.

Highly fascinating.

“Princes of Darkness: The Devil’s Many Faces in Scripture and Tradition”

Chapter 24: Not Peace but a Sword (1913-60) – Part II

 

Adolf Hitler greeting Catholic leaders during a Nazi rally.

Adolf Hitler greeting Catholic leaders during a Nazi rally.

 

We will finish up the rest of Chapter 24 and discuss the impact World War II had upon Christendom.

 

Please read the last three sections: The Churches and Nazism: The Second World War, World Christianity Realigned: Ecumenical Beginnings, and World Christianity Realigned: Pentecostals and New Churches.

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UPDATE: Chapter 23 – To Make the World Protestant – Part II – Great Indian Rebellion, the Taiping Rebellion (1850 – 1864), Hong Xiuquan, Pentacostalism, dispensationalism, the Rapture, charismatic

 

These are our essays from this past Sunday.

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