Muhammad and Jesus Contrasted
Have you noticed that whenever there is a terrorist attack that certain people rush to the defense of Islam saying "Well there are extremists in Christianity too" No doubt there are professing Christians who have committed despicable and inexcusable acts but it really misses the point entirely. There is something intrinsic to teaching in the Quran and early Islamic history that is somehow being missed in these online discussions.
Muhammad directly taught, in many circumstances, that we ought to kill or subjugate our enemies (e.g.. Surah 9). Christ by example taught we ought to die for our enemies and liberate them ... It is recorded in history that Mohammed had murdered dozens of his enemies by the time of his death. Jesus, having killed no one, died to reconcile his enemies to himself, calling us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek when we are persecuted by them. Following these teachings, the first 500 years of Islam was a story of bloody conquest. The first few hundred years of the church was one of weakness and severe persecution for the followers of Christ, not conquest. So we can see that the teaching of the two heads of these faiths could not be more sharply contrasted. One leader in many circumstances gives justification to sacrifice others, the other only justification to sacrifice self for others.
Confusing the Gospel with the Fruit of the Gospel
by Graeme Goldsworthy
It cannot be stressed too much that to confuse the gospel with certain important things that go hand in hand with it is to invite theological, hermeneutical and spiritual confusion. Such ingredients of preaching and teaching that we might want to link with the gospel would include the need for the gospel (sin and judgment), the means of receiving the benefits of the gospel (faith and repentance), the results or fruit of the gospel (regeneration, conversion, sanctification, glorification) and the results of rejecting it (wrath, judgment, hell). These, however we define and proclaim them, are not in themselves the gospel. if something is not what God did in and through the historical Jesus two thousand years ago, it is not the gospel. Thus Christians cannot ‘live the gospel’, as they are often exhorted to do. They can only believe it, proclaim it and seek to live consistently with it. Only Jesus lived (and died) the gospel. It is a once-for-all finished and perfect event done for us by another.
When we confuse the fruit of the gospel in the Christian life for the gospel itself, hermeneutical confusion is introduced. The focus easily turns to the life of the believer and the experience of the Christian life. These can then become the norms by which Scripture is interpreted. Instead of interpreting our experience by the word, we start to interpret the word by our experience. Such reversal of perspective from Christ to self really begins the movement towards the autonomy of human reason in hermeneutical theory.
The Book of Revelation Is Not Just about the Future
This post is adapted from the chapter entitled "Revelation" by Charles E. Hill in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized , edited by Michael J. Kruger.
The Denouement of Scripture
The “Revelation of Jesus Christ” portrays in dramatic fashion the paradoxical present rule of Jesus Christ as King of all the kings of the world, his ultimate triumph, and the salvation of his people through tribulation. As monumental as this is, it is not all. In the course of reexperiencing the visions John saw on Patmos, John’s audience witnesses not only the salvation of man, God’s image, but also the reclamation of the heavens, the earth, and the subterranean regions (i.e., the sea, the abyss, hades, fountains of water), the domains of man’s dominion as originally given in Genesis 1–3. Revelation presents to us a great Serpent, a woman who brings forth a male child who is to rule the earth, and a final restoration of the tree of life. The symbolism of the book ranges through the entire Old Testament canonical Scriptures and drives us back to the very beginning for some of its most elemental imagery.
The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ
by Sinclair B. Ferguson
“The Spirit’s coming inaugurates a communion with Christ in which the Spirit who dwelt on Christ now dwells on and in believers… The coming of the Spirit is the equivalent of the indwelling of Jesus…
Having the Spirit is the equivalent, indeed the very mode, of having the incarnate, obedient, crucified, resurrected and exalted Christ indwelling us so that we are united to Him as He is united to the Father.
It is this sense that John sees the difference that Pentecost signals in the ministry of the Spirit. Now, as the bond of union to God, the Spirit indwells all who believe as the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a development of epochal proportions.
The Spirit who was present and active at Christ’s conception as the head of the new creation, by whom He was anointed at baptism (John 1:32-34), who directed Him throughout His temptations (Matthew 4:1), empowered Him in His miracles (Luke 11:20), energized Him in His sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14), and vindicated Him in His resurrection (1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 1:4), now indwells disciples in this specific identity.
This is the meaning of our Lord’s words, otherwise impossible to comprehend: ‘It is for your good that I am going away’ (John 16:7).”
From Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit: Contours of Christian Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 71-72.
Making a Case for the Resurrection
A Guest Post by Steve Hays
Over the years I've read a number of prominent Christian apologists make their case for the Resurrection. Notable examples include John Warwick Montgomery, C.E.B. Cranfield, William Lane Craig, Timothy and Lydia McGrew, Richard Swinburne, Gary Habermas, N. T. Wright, and Mike Licona. Craig in particular has been influential in making a stereotypical case for the Resurrection, based on his minimal facts strategy, that's widely copied.
So I was thinking recently about how I'd make a case for the Resurrection if I was asked to give a presentation at church or college.