Tag: Bible

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Three Christian Views on Excommunication (And Why Two of Them Are Wrong)

Expulsion of the Cathars from Carcassone in 1209 (1415)
Within Christianity, there tend to be three major views of the place of excommunication: (1) We shouldn't excommunicate anyone, because it's not merciful. (2) We should excommunicate, because we want to purify the Church of the damned. (3) We should excommunicate, because it's merciful to sinners. So which of these views is the one endorsed by Scripture?

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(Why You Can’t Have) Jesus Without the Church

Head of Saint John the Baptist (17th c.)
Contemporary Christianity is fond of pushing Jesus without the Church. Like its secular counterpart (in which people claim to be "spiritual, but not religious"), it's an attempt to have the relationship without the rules. If I'm lonely or going through a tragedy, I can pray, but I don't have to worry about fasting when I don't want to, or being associated with a bunch of fellow believers that I look down upon. But Jesus-without-the-Church is a rejection of Jesus.

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Answering 6 Arguments Against the “Apocrypha”

Zacharias, woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicles (1493)
Protestant Bibles have seven fewer books than Catholic Bibles. These seven books are called "the Deuterocanon" by Catholics, and "the Apocrypha" by Protestants (although, confusingly, they also use "the Apocrypha" to refer to several other books, ones that are rejected by Catholics and Protestants alike). So what's the basis for the Protestant rejection of these books? Matt Slick, at the popular Protestant website CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry), offers six reasons, each of which turns out to rely upon lies, deceptions, or double standards.

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3 Surprising Lessons from Jesus’ Weirdest Parable

Hieronymus Bosch, Death and the Miser (detail) (1490)
The weirdest and most troubling of Jesus' parables is almost certainly the parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16, in which Jesus presents a parable of a manager who, upon being fired, exploits his position to cut deals with his master's clients so that he can try to leverage this into a job with them. Rather than being justly furious, the master *praises him* for his ingenuity. What on earth is going on? Three things to keep in mind with this parable.

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10 Tips on the Art and Craft of Evangelization

Blaise Pascal
Are you interested in sharing the faith more? Are you worried that you don't know how to answer your co-workers' and friends' questions? 1 Peter 3:15 calls us to "always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." That's a tall order. Here are ten tips that might help.

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Sola Scriptura and the Empty Tomb

Workshop of Daniel Chorny and Andrey Rublev, Icon of the Women at the Grave (1420s)
Was sola Scriptura true during the time of the Apostles?Were the Apostles and the first-century Christians bound to follow Scripture alone? These are the two options. You can claim, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, that the Apostles and early Christians believed in Scripture alone. But doing so both undermines John's faith in the Resurrection and renders the New Testament irrelevant. Or you can concede that the Apostles and early Christians didn't believe in Scripture alone. But then you have to throw out all of the alleged "Scriptural proofs" for sola Scriptura, and concede that it's a post-Apostolic man-made tradition that contradicts the written word of God.

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Biblical Double Standards

Simon Hendricksz, Tobias and the Angel Curing Tobit of Blindness (1630)
If Protestants held every book of the Bible to the standards that they hold the books that they reject, they would end up missing a huge number of their books. And conversely, if they approach the Deuterocanon with the same charitable reading with which they approach (say) Judges, there would be no reason not to include it as part of the Scriptures. We can see that clearly by looking at 5 alleged "Biblical contradictions" in the Deuterocanon.

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