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Archive for December, 2009

Christmas 2009

December 25th, 2009 No comments

Wishing a Rich and Rewarding Christmas to my Readers

Just thought I would post some end of 2009 updates:

I will address the Shreveport, LA chapter of Reasons to Believe on the 3rd Monday of January, 2010 on the subject ‘The Testimony of the Witnesses’, an investigation into the credibility of the Christian Holy Writ. We will consider the weight of the earliest written testimony in regards to the claim of resurrection of Christ. And we will examine how writers such as Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, and Elaine Pagels can proceed from the the early Christian literature and arrive at results in diametric opposition to the views of both its authors and its recipients.

Sistine Chapel in Rome

Michelangelo - Fresco From The Sistine Chapel

I posted the following on Facebook in response to various discussions. It is not complete, but holds the germ of a theme upon which I would like to expand  in the future, God willing:

People think that because we live in a free society, we may practice Christianity, when actually the converse is true. Because we practice Christianity we live in a free society.

Ultimately we will each act according to our most deeply held convictions. Likewise, a society will be shaped by the ideology of its members. In predominately Hindu society, for instance, there will be little compassion for the downtrodden – after all, they are merely reaping the fruits of their actions in a previous life. In the Islamic world, there exists little tolerance for opposing viewpoints – possession of a Bible is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, for instance; even though that nation is generally considered to be a rational, modern society. Likewise Marxism is a jealous god, accepting no rivals.

“But I believe in nothing,” one might say. “I have a secular viewpoint, bound by no primitive superstition.” Even so, this person has a core ideology. After all, this person believes in and wants good things for their self. And with no outside constraint, ethics for each ‘secular’ person generally devolves into ‘what’s good for me’. This leads to a materialistic, self centered society; such as we see developing in the United States as we renounce our Christian heritage, or as we saw in the Roman world after they left Stoicism.

All of the common principles of freedom that we have come to cherish – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. were birthed in western Christian society. The rest of the world not only does not practice these ‘freedoms’, they do not see the advantage in practicing these freedoms. They are ‘foolishness’ to the non-Christian world.

We may judge the viability of a belief system by the merits of the society it produces. And before we run headlong to accept an ‘enlightened’ diverse viewpoint, we should examine the societies where it has been established to see where it leads – to see the conclusion of its adoption. Likewise, we should have a BETTER society in clear view before we renounce a way of life that has led us to freedom, prosperity and world hegemony.

November 24 at 6:19am ·

Here is an open letter from Bishop Tobin to Congressman Kennedy which I found quite interesting: Dear Congressman Kennedy

I will be making submittals to major publishers again in January. I have been somewhat remiss and have not contacted anyone in about 9 months. Depending upon which statistics program referenced, this website generated between 22,830 – 28,608 hits during the month of November from 1974 sites and 984 unique visitors. And this for a one year old site whose readership spreads solely through word of mouth. Many thanks to my readers. The increasing readership of the website should at some point provide additional inducement to prospective publishers. I am very interested in IVP Academic, and would be much obliged to anyone capable of a positive referral.

I am also aware that some of the footnote links are not functional. Its on my ‘to do’ list. You can still scroll manually to find the reference.

Best Wishes to all for 2010,

John Takach

Categories: The Big Question

Jesus Raises a Close Friend

December 13th, 2009 1 comment

The Resurrection of Lazarus

John records a third resurrection which was performed by Jesus, shortly before the crucifixion. This is the story of Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus’ from Bethany. Unlike the widow’s son at Nain or Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days prior to Jesus’ arrival. Commanding the removal of a stone which had blocked the entrance of Lazarus’ tomb for over half of the Jewish week of mourning was the most inexplicable of actions. The only possible justification for such a request would have been the resurrection of the occupant. This account demonstrates more clearly than any other the foreknowledge; the prophetic insight that Christ held concerning these miracles.

Vincent Van Gogh: La Résurrection de Lazare (d’après Rembrandt)

Vincent Van Gogh: La Résurrection de Lazare (d’après Rembrandt)

Before we examine the passage from John’s Gospel, a little background is in order. Some have questioned why John alone would chronicle this most remarkable of pre-crucifixion revivifications. One might reason that such an amazing incident should have been a keynote feature in the Synoptic Gospels as well. The answer to this seeming paradox, once again, depends on when each account was written. All four Gospel accounts record that Jesus’ life had been threatened by the Jewish authorities prior to the events at Lazarus’ tomb[1]. In Chapter IV we examined the reasons for this conflict between Christ and the Jewish rulers. John’s account preserves considerable detail of how this underlying premise affected the decisions and actions of the participants. Read more…