Jesus in Contemporary Culture: Part 7; Jesus, Judas, and Our Conceptions of Spirit & Matter (Skinner)

Crux Sola

JudasIn preparation for yesterday’s class we had students read the Gospel of Judas and exposed them to the issues surrounding its discovery, translation, and dissemination to the wider public. We felt that this text had an important connection to the film we just finished watching. In Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus and Judas are depicted as the best of friends and Jesus ultimately asks Judas to betray him so that the will of God can be done. This is not unlike the situation we see in the Gospel of Judas.

If you haven’t read the Gospel of Judas, you should know that it is dripping with a heavily Platonic understanding of the spirit/matter duality that was critical to various expressions of Gnosticism in the first few Christian centuries. Spirit is “good” and matter is “evil,” and Judas is the hero figure who betrays Jesus so that he can die and be…

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Four ways that the progress of experimental science conflicts with atheism


Here is an excellent post by Wintery Knight:

When people ask me whether the progress of science is more compatible with theism or atheism, I offer the following four basic pieces of scientific evidence that are more compatible with theism than atheism.

Here are the four pieces of evidence best explained by a Creator/Designer:

  1. the kalam argument from the origin of the universe
  2. the cosmic fine-tuning (habitability) argument
  3. the biological information in the first replicator (origin of life)
  4. the sudden origin of all of the different body plans in the fossil record (Cambrian explosion)

And I point to specific examples of recent discoveries that confirm those four arguments. Here are just a few of them:

  1. An explanation of 3 of the 6 experimental evidences for the Big Bang cosmology (From an article from Caltech)
  2. Examples of cosmic fine-tuning to allow the existence of conscious, embodied life (From…

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What will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 NASB)

A very important person in my Christian walk died this week. My dear brother in the Lord Ken Silva died on Sunday, September 28th. God used Ken in a huge way in directing my paths in 2004-2005 into how to do the right research into the…

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You Are What You Think!


I have often heard the saying “You are what you eat!” Well, there is some truth to that. But I think a more pressing issue is “You are what you think.” I am convinced the pressing problem in our lives is that we don’t think well. And every action begins with a thought.  Every day I get up, I first give  my mind to God and ask him to help me to think well during the day.

In other words, I want a mind that is used for his glory. I don’t always do this. But with God’s grace I strive to improve in this area every day. So let me give a few tips for thinking well.

First, Paul gives us some helpful tips:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about…

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Creating the Sermon on the Mount

Reading Acts

Matthew 5:1-2 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying…

The Sermon on the Mount is the first of five sermons in Matthew.  Notice that the first and the last are given “on a mountain,” all of them are addressed to the disciples, although in the case of the Sermon on the Mount there is a crowd that is listening to the teaching.

The five teaching sections in Matthew form a chiasm. The Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7) is about the law and the Olivet Discourse, another “sermon on a mount,” but this time the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem (chapters 24-25, similar to Mark 13 and Luke 21).  Chapters 10 and 18 are shorter sermons on discipleship. In the central position is a collection of Parables of the Kingdom…

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Simply the Best: James Warner Wallace


The other day, our Ratio Christi chapter hosted James Warner Wallace at our Ohio State University Chapter. In my personal and humble opinion, I think James is simply one of the top speakers in historical apologetics. His approach to the Gospels is unique and he is a tremendous asset to the Church.  James is also a fantastic example for someone that wants to truly help others become Christian Case Makers.

One thing that stands out to me about James approach is his evidential based apologetic approach. I previously wrote a post called “Why Christians Can’t Avoid Being Evidentialists” I am convinced that if Christians really sat down and looked at all the competing revelatory/religious experience claims, they would see that they can’t afford not to go deeper on the evidential based approach. That’s why James work is so important. So try to pick up the book Cold Case Christianity or…

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Apostles Creed: The Holy Catholic Church

Deeper Waters

Can a Protestant say they believe in the Holy Catholic Church? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Sometimes, I discuss the question of Catholicism, but in the long run, it doesn’t really interest me that much. As it stands, I have numerous other things to study and I tend to focus on what Lewis referred to as “Mere Christianity.” I am Protestant and actually attend a Lutheran church at the moment. Am I ready to sign on the dotted line and say I’m a Lutheran? No. Still, I think our church right now is simply wonderful and I look forward to what we’re doing and I’m honored to get to serve.

My own position with regards to Catholics and at this point I could say members of the various churches called Orthodox (With a capital o as really, all churches should seek to be orthodox in their teaching) is…

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Biblical Studies Carnival – September 2014

Reading Acts

Winter CarnivalMike Skinner has posted the September Carnival at cataclysmic.  The theme is college football, which appears to be some sort of mid-western cult that takes over the entire culture for a few months each fall. Maybe the two top teams in the NTC (New Testament Conference) can play in the Schweitzer Bowl in January?

This is an excellent collection of links highlighting the best of September. Head over to cataclysmic, read the Carnival and click all the links, and thank Mike for his hard work.

In other blogging news, Jim West offers his own collection of carnival links. Brian Small has a few Hebrews HighlightsBrian Renshaw is hosting the October Carnival at his new eponymous blog, and Jim West will unite the schismatic Blogging Community once again in November. I have no more volunteers, so if you were thinking of hosting a carnival, now would be a great time…

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Biblical Studies Blog Carnival | September 2014

Cruciform Theology

Welcome to the September 2014 Biblical Studies Blog Carnival!

September means one thing in Texas: football season is back! And of course, I’m speaking of American football – both college and NFL teams are now on the field once again. I know that many of our biblical studies bloggers are more inclined towards the internationally recognized form of “football” (what we down here in Texas call “soccer”), so please accept my apologies for picking such a culturally-biased theme. You might enjoy the video below of a confused “football” coach attempting to coach a “soccer” team.

College football divides each team into certain conferences – the SEC (Gig ‘Em Aggies!), Big 12, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, etc. Thus, I’ve divided this month’s excellent blogging into four conferences:

– The OTC (Old Testament Conference)
– The NTC (New Testament Conference)
– The CHTC (Church History, Theology, and Hermeneutics Conference)
– The BRC (Book Review Conference)

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