Was Mark Confused Pertaining to the Location of the Feeding of the 5,000?

August 22, 2016; Revised August 23, 2016 My next book is scheduled for release this December: Why Are There Differences in the Gospels: What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017—available December 1, 2016). This book is the culmination of seven and a half years of research that sought to… Read More

Source: Was Mark Confused Pertaining to the Location of the Feeding of the 5,000?

It’s All About the Songs

Restoring Kingdom Builders

The Swedish pop group ABBA had a career that roughly paralleled the seven-and-a-half years that I was a youth pastor.

I was never crazy about their outfits … didn’t know the two female vocalists were each married to a different male vocalist … and wasn’t aware of their history or histrionics.

But regardless, songs like “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Super Trouper” and even “Mamma Mia” are superbsongs.

And for me, music isn’t about an artist’s lifestyle or love life.  It’s about the songs … and if a song is great, I don’t care who sings it.

In times past, some Christians have divided music into sacred music (songs to and about God) and secular music (songs about life and/or love, but not God).

I suppose I once thought that way, but as I’ve gotten older, I find that I only recognize two categories of music:

View original post 1,419 more words

Physicists mourn as hinted particle vanishes in leaked LHC data

Results from the CMS and ATLAS collaborations were due today, but a paper accidentally posted last night reveals the Large Hadron Collider is yet to find new particles

Source: Physicists mourn as hinted particle vanishes in leaked LHC data

Christianity in Third-Century Alexandria

Larry Hurtado's Blog

A gem of an essay not often noted today on Christianity in third-century Alexandria: Aline Rousselle, “La persécution des chrétiens à Alexandrie au IIIe siècle,” Revue historique de droit français et étranger 52 (1974): 222-51.

Rousselle considers the references to how Christians were treated, with particular focus on the difficulties experienced in response to imperial edicts in 202 (Septimius Severus), 250 (Decius), and 257 (Valerian).  She highlights the different punishments meted out to various Christians, and proposes that they reflect Roman judicial policy, in which distinctions were made between Roman citizens, Alexandrian citizens, and mere (!) Egyptians.  This means that we can identify the social ranks of the various Christians by looking at the punishments they were given.  Some, especially among the higher clergy it seems, suffered punishments that correspond with higher “honourable” social levels.  This tallies with other indications that by the third century (and likely well before that)…

View original post 167 more words

Resistance to Grace:The Challenge of Pelagius in the 21st century

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”Leo Tolstoy


In the great capital city of the Western half of Rome’s Empire, Pelagius stood at the forefront of a sort of moral and spiritual reform movement, aimed at getting Roman Christians to live up to their professions of faith rather more credibly.[i] [N.R.Needham; The Triumph of Grace]

The question I will be addressing in this short paper is: If Pelagius was a ‘moral reformer’, what was the raison detré  behind his quest for reformation?

In the letter to the Roman church the Apostle Paul presents us with a clear picture of our standing, outside of Christ, before God. It is clear and unequivocal.

All Have Sinned[1] [Romans 3:9-12]

“9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;11            There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Boasting Excluded [Romans 3:27-31]

“27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31

Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”

We have established then that the Scripture we have referred to is clear and, indeed, unequivocal with regards to a) the status of the humanist who would seek to justify himself before the throne of God. b) That there is clearly no room for boasting – moreover nothing to boast about.

According to Pelagius’ disciple Celestius: “ (i) Adam was created mortal, and he would have died whether he sinned or not. (ii) Adam’s sin injured himself alone, not the human race. (iii) The law as well as the gospel leads to the kingdom [of heaven]. (iv) There were people without sin before Christ’s coming. (v) New-born infants are in the same condition as Adam before the fall. (vi) It is not through the death or the fall of Adam that the whole human race dies, nor through the resurrection of Christ that the whole human race rises again.”[ii]
Continue reading Resistance to Grace:The Challenge of Pelagius in the 21st century