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Heaven Is For Real vs. Bible 2/2

Heaven Timeheaven time

Still, how could Colton see all this? His father Todd mentioned a possibility of “heaven time”, suggesting that concepts of – past, present and future are perhaps valid only for earth, while time in heaven might not be linear. The nature of time and Gods relation to it is closely related both to our individual but also collective future “times” and I will assess it at least briefly. Grudem agrees with God being a timeless being, which does not experience a succession of moments, as his experience of time is qualitatively different. He does not attempt to specify how this could be but only writes, “To God himself, all of his existence is always somehow “present,” (Grudem 1994: 169). Divine timelessness has been the dominant view of Christian orthodoxy throughout the history of the church. However, Grudem suggests that it is not true that heaven itself will be timeless. Based on several descriptions of heaven from the book of revelation[1] he argues that “there will be a succession of moments one after another” and that we will not experience “an exact duplication of God’s attribute of eternity” (Grudem 1994: 173). Others like Professor William Lane Craig, who worked extensively with the Christian philosophy of time deny divine omnitemporality[2] altogether. Craig argues for temporal becoming or a dynamic theory of time (also called an A-Theory of time) in which past is no longer here, future has yet to come and the only thing that is really in existence is present. In his essay “God, Time, and Eternity”, he concludes: “God is timeless without creation and temporal subsequent to creation.” (Craig 2002).

In both cases, Todd’s proposition of heaven time seems inadequate. Cessation or interfusion of time after our physical death is certainly not a doctrine held by most mainstream evangelicals; neither has it been well established in the belief systems of other major Christian denominations. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Heaven Is For Real vs. Bible 1/2

Heaven is for realA New York Times article from March 11, 2011 describes the Thomas Nelson broken sales records after publishing the book “Heaven is for Real.[1]  While there were initially in print only 40,000 copies, this book has gone back to press 22 times, now reaching 8 million printed copies. In a similar article[2] almost 3 years later, we follow its still continuing success on popular bestseller lists. With the TriStar Pictures movie version of this book, released on April 16, 2014 this story became a great deal of the western popular discussion about heaven and the life after life. In the following lines I will analyze some of the main ideas one can extract from reading this book and compare them to what some of the Biblical scholars have over centuries orderly summarized in doctrines of eschatology. After all the reasoning I will try to show how can we correctly understand what truly happened but also what meaning can Colton’s story have for you.

Heaven is for Real

Over 6000 Amazon customer reviews speak of the impact this publication had on peoples lives. To mention a few, B. Prickett wrote “This is a wonderful book. If you have any doubts about what happens after death, read this book. It will become clear to you.” or Sophia Maria Hall said, “We all need hope that there is better after the life we have here on this crazy earth…this is proof we are getting that!” Also, Cynthia Trueblood shared that “This book was written in an easy style and yet impacted my view of heaven profoundly!”[3] While one can find also more disapproving comments, those above do represent the majority. Words like “clear”, “proof” or “profound impact” are frequently used to describe the effect this material had on its readers and their view of heaven. Now, what does this book actually say about heaven? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Reasonable Faith, Reviews, Theology

 

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William Lane Craig comes to Denmark!

Does God Exist?Yesterday we had a wonderful opportunity to witness the long-awaited debate between Prof. Klemens Kappel and Prof. William Lane Craig trying to answer the question: Does God exist? Over 600 people gathered in Bethseda building in Copenhagen. Both theists (Christians, Muslims…) and atheists under one roof in expectance to find some answers for their questions that would support their worldview as more rational. The debate had its traditional form:

2 x 20 min presentation (positive case goes first)
2 x 12 min rebuttal
2 x 8 min rebuttal
2 x 5 min closing statement
Break
Q&A

First one to present his positive case was Prof. Craig, who guided us through 3 reasonable ways of inferring that something might be one way rather than the other.

  1. Logical argument
    1. Cosmological argument
  2. Argument from the Best explanation
    1. Fine-Tuning of the universe
    2. The origin of the universe
  3. Historic explanation
    1. Resurrection of Jesus Christ (and the 3 indisputable facts rooted in historic sources)
      1. The empty tomb
      2. Post-mortem appearances of Jesus
      3. Strong faith of disciples that even lead them to die for their cause

After this Prof. Kappel compared God to other mythical beings like Thor or Aphrodite in effort to show the absurdity of such reasoning. Afterwards he explained that we ought to give space to science and common sense that tells us that such creatures do not exist and even though there are areas that science cannot yet give account for, we ought to stay careful in filling them with God. He stated that he will not respond to the arguments given by Prof. Craig for we should not give them so much credit, rather he will only give reasons to show why atheism is a better option. For it is most likely impossible to show somehow with arguments that God does not exist. Quote: “Not to persuade you, but to illustrate“. Then he presented some kind of dialectical issue in which we deal with two people who come to different conclusions based on the same evidence. However they are so convinced that their explanation is the right one that they are beyond the reach of reasoning and no debate will persuade them otherwise, thus only some sort illustrations can bear meaning. At last he elaborated on the origin of belief stating, that the reason why people believe in various religions is to large degree the background in which they were born to and raised in. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in News, Reasonable Faith, Reviews

 

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Constatine’s Edict of Milan: Blessing or Curse of Christianity?

It all happened in 313 A.D. when Roman emperors Flavius Valerius Constantinus and Licinius made a political agreement in Milan that permanently established religious toleration for Christianity within the Roman Empire – Edict of Milan. This initially meant that everyone was free to worship whatever deity he pleased to, yet its final result was Christianity as the only legitimate religion of the court.

Until now all Christians were facing persecution mostly because they refused to submit to the claim of “Caesar as Lord“. Their loyalty and allegiance steadfastly belonged to Christ following His example. They were a marginal movement, grassroots phenomenon, a people that had no definable institutions, no HQ or buildings designated for special purpose. There was no “staff” with fancy youth ministry, amazing Sunday school, Bible commentaries,  educational seminaries, stunning worship band or a preacher with highly developed rhetoric skills using presentations and pictures to even better illustrate his point. In fact they didn’t even have Bible, only occasionally they got their hands on few pages that circulated among their small local communities. All this time they were hiding, meeting in small groups in their own houses, spreading the Gospel by using the social rhythms and structures of the day, and if they were exposed they faced an imminent danger of being killed. Thus I believe that Edict of Milan surely had to be something everyone was waiting for, a triumph of Christianity, something that was expected to bring safety to people and unleash the underground Christian movement to its full potential. Positively, many significant changes took place after this event. But was it really for good? Mr. Stuart Murray (“Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World, p.p. 76-78”) outlined some of the major shifts that shaped Christendom after Constantine’ deal with the church.

  • The adoption of Christianity as the official religion of a city, state, or empire
  • The movement of the church from the margins of society to its center
  • The creation and progressive development of a Christian culture or civilization
  • The assumption that all citizens (except for the Jews_ were Christian by birth
  • The development of the corpus Christianum, where there was no freedom of religion and where political power was regarded as divinely authenticated
  • Infant baptism as the symbol of obligatory incorporation into this Christian society
  • Sunday as an official day of rest and obligatory church attendance, with penalties for noncompliance
  • The definition of “orthodoxy” as the common belief shared by all, which was determined by powerful church leaders supported by the state
  • The imposition of a supposedly Christian morality on the entire society (although normally Old Testament moral standards were applied)
  • A hierarchical ecclesiastical system, based on a diocesan and parish arrangement, which was analogous to the state hierarchy and was buttressed by state support
  • The construction of massive and ornate church buildings and the formation of huge congregations
  • A generic distinction between clergy and laity, and the relegation of the laity to a largely passive role
  • The increased wealth of the church and the imposition of obligatory tithes to fund this system
  • The defense of Christianity by legal sanctions to restrain heresy, immorality, and schism
  • The division of the globe into “Christendom” or “heathendom” and the waging of war in the name of Christ and the church
  • The use of political and military force to impose the Christian faith
  • The use of the Old Testament, rather than the New, to support and justify many of these changes

Around the year 100 A.D. there were as few as 25,000 Christians and despite all the trials and tribulations by the year 310 A.D. their number grew up to 20,000,000. How did they do this?

It seems that (besides other) comfort, safety and cosiness that came with the “triumph” brought further all sorts of other features that have only a little in common with the church that is in the Bible portrayed to be Jesus’ bride.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Mission, Reviews

 

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Merry Christmas or Xmas?

A little reflection I heard from a friend on one lenghtly road trip caught my attention since it was somewhat very noteworthy.

Today many people started to use the expression “Merry Xmas”, which might appear completely insignificant, and merely practical or original, however after a closer second look we might find a deeper importance in it, let’s have a look…

Xmas

X – is commonly used as variable, thus it stands for something unknown or uncertain. People who use this expression can possibly apply it because they do not know the true meaning of this holiday and therefore correctly put a variable to define their unawarness. Second part of the word “mas” can then closer specify the actual practice or custom that takes place during this time. In most cases this akronym could stand only for “meat and soup“.

Christmas

Christ – is the very meaning of this event. Such person surrounds everything around His birth, for that is the core idea of this session. Again, second part of the word develops this idea further and could stand for “master and savior

Note: Any resemblance of thoughts in this post to actual persons and events is purely coincidential. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Reviews

 

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Brains of Atheism are chickening out!

Richard Dawkins

A.C. Grayling

Polly Toynbee

Once again our focus falls on events happening around the Reasonable Faith Tour 2011, where 3 prominent defenders of atheism have declined or withdrawn from the debate with Christian apologist, theologian and philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig, for rather peculiar reasons. It appears that an open academic discussion were the focus is on real “arguments, counter arguments, truth of premises of those arguments and objections to them” does not fit into the repertoire of these great humanists who are otherwise putting enormous effort into promoting atheism often by shabby ad hominem (personal) attacks, instead of engaging in the factual realm of the issue, which can be a debate like this one.

If Christianity is truly so ridiculous and everyone who believes it is simply deluded, why won’t these representatives and spokesman of rational scientific thinking just step up, throw themselves into a discussion and defend their confident words of mockery with authentic and sound arguments? Enjoy the following video 🙂

UNOFFICIAL PRESENTATION: (Independent commentary from an anxious Brit.)

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Mission, News, Reasonable Faith, Reviews

 

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Knowing God, Jealous God?

It is my pleasure to offer you a review of the book called “Knowing God” written by Mr. J.I. Packer who was one of the contemporaries of the famous C.S. Lewis and general editor of the ESV Bible Translation as we know it today. “Knowing God” is considered to be his absolute master piece, though it was surely not the last book he wrote. In following lines I will usher you through the outline of the book as well as point out some of Packers typical features related to his form and content of writing. Then I will concentrate on a chapter embracing Gods attribute of jealousy and offer discussion regarding the difficulties in presenting it to unchurched people. Last part opens up this same matter from another angle, which is application for Christians.

Resume

The book “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer is truly a must for every Christian. It begins with a thought-out clarification of what actually knowing God means and sets for elaborated definition in connection to wording of “knowing him (God)” in comparison to “knowing about him” as well as makes a reader examine his reasons for reading such a book as this one. This “spiritual classic” as Mr. John Stott called it, covers most of the basic attributes of God starting with easily and generally accepted ones like his Majesty, Wisdom or Love all the way to his other characteristics as Severity, Wrath or Jealousy which would perhaps be linked to pagan gods of Greece, however we would not naturally consider the latter to be in any way associated with a good Christian God. In this section of the book  reader is introduced to concepts which to high extent expound these contradictions and put them under the light in which they fit perfectly together creating the unanimous harmony of a perfect being know as God. The third and last part deals with a various themes in relation to God and people. Notions as propitation, son-ship, adoption, guidance are presented likewise the core message of Romans in its breaking point from transition from chapter seven to eight, verity of blessings of God together with a divine unification with Him that, when is once made, can emphatically be not broken, by any possible earthly or heavenly force.

Professor Packer of Regent College in Vancouver positively used his broad and eloquent vocabulary which on the one hand secured accurate formulation of offered propositions, yet on the other it may have complicated the situation for an average English reader. Still to make sure the message would go through, repetition is used abundantly; he is pinpointing deep ideas emerging from scriptures from different angles with usage of genuinely illuminating illustrations. One of the things that makes this book priceless is that besides new, original thoughts brought forth also the primary essentials are put together in such a way that one can be up and down struck by their appositeness in which lays the key of simplicity to thorough comprehension. Because of his long studies and experience we can find here many references to other authors, to their quotes, discussing their opinions in particular areas as well whereby our perspective becomes surely enriched. Application of (fact-finding) poems from these authors is furthermore used to our credit, for it again adds another dimension to already colorful source of inspiration. One of the most influential evangelicals in North America does not merely leaves us with the brain knowledge and intellectual gratification, too encouragement and warmth of heart is here passed on, for this record overflows with a revelation of Gods grace, of his gift for us that we are easily to lift up, put on ourselves and walk with for the rest of our days here on earth and eternity with him in heaven. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in Reviews, Theology

 

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