Category Archives: Christianity

Papyrus Fragment Claiming Christ had a Wife

Matthew was written A.D. 65-70, Mark was written A.D. 48-55, Luke was written A.D. 57-62, and John was written in A.D. 90, all of the authors were disciples of Christ or in the case of Luke, able to talk with eye witnesses about  the events of Christ’s life. This is the verified truth. Any document, especially one that comes several hundred years after Christ walked on the earth and does not line up with biblical record must be found wanting. Jesus talked about the Church being His bride, thus His wife, and perhaps this is where an error was made in this manuscript.  To believe that the inspired Word of God would leave out the fact that Jesus was married, when it covered every other aspect of His walk here on earth is absurd.

Papyrus Fragment Claiming Christ had a Wife

Karen L. King,  Hollis Professor of Divinity, a historian on early Christianity did caution that this fragment of papyrus, which according to the article in the New York Times is smaller than a business card and its origin unknown,

“should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married. The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question, she said.”

Her excitement hinges on her hope to show that marriage and sex, was part of Christ’s life and therefore a life of celibacy not a requirement to be a follower.  However, the translation of the text is lacking much context and similar to the Gnostic writings of Gospels of Thomas and Mary, and not included in the Canon of the Bible.

Somehow the idea of a tiny fragment, lacking clarity and context, hundreds of years after Christ walked the earth, and  upheld as the proof text that Jesus was married, seems reaching at best.  The documents most closely written to when Jesus walked on earth are  the Gospels found in the New Testament and these do not allude to such a life.   Because God  created marriage and does say much about it through out the Bible, it follows that had Jesus been married, He too, being God, would have spoken about His own married life and how to live and love successfully.  But the text of the Bible, not silent on marriage, but deathly silent on Jesus being married, makes suspect any text found that makes such claims, especially when it is so many years past the time of Christ.

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Leadership Material: Sarah Palin

An animated conversation ensued around the lunch table, as Sarah Palin, her leadership and potential as a Presidential candidate was heatedly discussed.  The women, all home schooling moms and conservative Christians from various backgrounds, passionately voiced opinions that ranged from a high level of respect for Governor Palin, to a concern for her family, if she runs for President.

One mom held the conviction that women should not be in positions of leadership over men.  I respect her opinions, though I do not agree with them.  I decided to do some Biblical digging to see what women in the Bible were leaders and what qualities they possessed.  The woman that immediately came to mind was Deborah, the Judge of Israel around 1200 B.C. found in the book of Judges chapters 4 and 5.  One commentary stated the following:

Deborah was unique among the women and men of  Bible history in that she was a prophetess, a judge and a military leader all in one – a powerful triple combination of authority and responsibility held by only two other Israelites, Moses and Samuel.
She was referred to as the “mother of Israel” because of her leadership in the battle against Canaanite oppression.

Biblically, women have been raised up “for such a time as these“, and have been mighty leaders, used to serve God in various capacities. Deborah is an inspirational woman who not only led in a judicial and legislative role, but also led in a victorious military role as well.  The Bible says that under her leadership Israel enjoyed peace for forty years.

Many women throughout history have demonstrated an exceptional ability to lead.  Sarah Palin is such a woman, and perhaps this is what has caused intense fear in those who oppose her point of view.  She is, in fact, a threat, because she stands against everything women on the left have put forward as leaders.  Her point of view reflects that of millions of American women; where as the feminist voice that has had the bully pulpit for so long, has finally been muffled by one that rings truer to most.

Is Sarah Palin the next President?  Maybe.  Is Sarah Palin a leader that speaks of a reality that millions of Americans live and adhere to everyday?  Absolutely!  Perhaps she has also been raised up for such a time as these.


“And He Did Evil in the Sight of the Lord”

“After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them.  They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols.  Because of their guilt, God’s anger came upon Judah and Jerusalem.  Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.  Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest.  He stood before the people and said,  “This is what God says:  “Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands?  You will not prosper.  Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.” II Chronicles 24:17-20

When one reads the Old Testament and the history of the kings of the nation of Israel and Judah, one phrase becomes very repetitive in the narrative.  “He did what is right in the eyes of the Lord” or “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord”.

The narrative always includes the acts and character of said king and the “why” behind the label of “right” or “evil”.

I wonder if God were to write an narrative about America, how  would our “kings”  be labeled.  For the sake of stimulating conversation, which presidents “have done right in the eyes of the Lord” or “have done evil in the eyes of the Lord”.   If the character of the kings of Israel affected  the nation and its morality, how has the character of our Presidents affected the morality of our nation?  Does character matter?

We as citizens have a responsibility to individually do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, for we are each held personally culpable for our actions before God.  We also must be praying for our leaders.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2: 1-4

Finally, as Christians we must work to elect those who hold to the truths set forth in the Bible.  God has given us a great privilege to elect those who govern over us.  But He has grave word for us to consider when we are choosing our elected officials.  Never does God give us the option to elect the better of two evils.  God spoke through Zechariah with these grave words,  “Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands?  You will not prosper.  Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.”   When we as believers vote for those who disobey the Lord’s commands, we reap the results of our voting record. Our nation is not prospering.  Most of our leaders have forsaken the Lord and our Nation is Christian in name only.  When will we as a people, humble ourselves, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways? How long will God be patiently gracious toward America, before the latter part of this verse comes to fruition?  Will God one day sadly say, “Because you have forsaken the Lord, I have forsaken you”?

Psalm 67 May this be our prayer for America.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,
Selah

2 that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.
Selah

5 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

6 Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.

7 God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.


Music, the Language of Men and Angels

“If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians 13:1

What tongue do both angels and men have in common? Music. The angles and elders worship around the throne.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:


“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” Revelation 4:6-11

In heaven the shared tongue is perfect because it has perfect love as its object of worship.

We on earth also have been given the gift of music as an instrument of worship, but so many times we don’t use it as a voice of love for God and it becomes noise.

The voice of love for God and man can have gilded edges of heavenly perfection when our hearts are in perfect communion with God and man. But so many times we bang our gongs and cymbals because we are part of the worship team or some other form of “service” and our hearts are far from the Lord of heaven and earth.

We are to do all to the glory of God. He doesn’t require a perfect performance, a specific type of music or the approval of man, but rather a broken and contrite heart deeply in love with Him.

As in communion, we are commanded to let the plate pass if our hearts are not right, or to leave our gift at the alter and be reconciled to the one with whom we have a broken relationship; so too, it is our responsibility as worshipers and servants of God to do this before we come into worship. We must come pre-prepared to worship God on Sunday mornings and our mid-week services. We are labourers together with God (I Corinthians 3:9) and we must abide with God, if our congregations and our world are going to see God’s face and be led to the throne of grace. We are called to a work that God has ordained in advance for us to do and we are to do it to the Glory of God alone. (Ephesians 2:10)

Oswald Chambers, “ We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notion as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us, our one great aim is to pour out a whole hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.”

What does this look like for a church worship team, an elder board, Sunday school teachers, or those sitting in the pews? For me it means that I do all to the glory of God, not as a man pleaser but as a God pleaser. It means I diligently seek His face in worship at home and not just corporately. It means I let Him lead in the areas in which He has called me to serve and I prepare myself to do this service to the best of my ability. However, when all this is done, I must come before God’s throne only concerned that my heart is lined up with His heart and whether I am worshiping in Spirit and in Truth.

This is a high calling: the worship of the King of kings, and not one that should be taken for granted or as an entitlement because one has a voice, or a musical talent, or the ability to teach. It is about one’s heart and not about the technical skill one possesses, but about the love one must pour out for God. If this is why we serve God, to be a poured out drink offering to the Almighty, then our service is a sweet-smelling fragrance on His sacrificial altar.

Sacrifice costs. Worship team requires sacrifice. Preaching requires sacrifice. Serving in the nursery requires sacrifice. It should be a joy to sacrifice for Jesus. If the cost is not one we are willing to pay with a hilarious and extravagant heart, in light of all He has sacrificed for us, then we must evaluate our love relationship with the Lord. We must truthfully ask God, as the Psalmist did,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139: 23-24

Christians should only be concerned with God looking over our shoulders and into our hearts and seek His approval alone, not the worlds. When one worries about what other’s think, one loses the “heart of worship”, and the focus becomes self centered and not God centered. We should as a church desperately desire to be face down, poured out in the worship of our Savior and Lord. He should be our audience of One.

Angels worship around the throne and we too should be worshiping at His feet, moment by moment offering a sacrifice of praise. It is our shared language, the praise of our King. Brother Lawrence said, “We should dedicate ourselves to becoming in this life the most perfect worshipers of God we can possibly be.” The time we spend loving our Lord extravagantly, worshiping as He alone deserves, will ultimately catch the attention of men, but it will be because they see God holiness radiating through us and not our feeble attempts to do good works for the sake of service.

Sing praise to the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever! Sing praise!