How Christianity forgot its Jewish roots

Dr. Michael l. Brown, a Messianic Jew and a leading figure in Messianic Judaism in the short video below gives a quick overview of how the Church “lost” its Jewish roots. Continue reading “How Christianity forgot its Jewish roots”

The Jesus of Faith and The Jesus of History

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

For over 100 years, there has been a quest to identify the historical Jesus and differentiate between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of faith. Here are some of the aspects of these quests.

Books That Deal With These Issues

I quickly want to mention two books. I advise reading The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition: By: Paul Rhodes Eddy, Gregory A. Boyd and Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (second edition) by Richard Bauckham. Bauckham’s book is very significant in that he lays out some of the differences between ancient and modern historiography. After all, this issue plays a tremendous role in understanding the Gospels/New Testament (see more below). And by the way, The Jesus Legend is critical response to legend theorists. For those that want to see how silly it is to propose the theory that…

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The Jewish Nativity

When you look at all the nativity stories in the gospels it is clear that for the significance of Jesus’ birth concerns the destiny of Israel. If the New Testament writers are clear that Jesus’ birth was for Israel then for the subsequent generations of believers who created a tradition of marking the day of his birth should also recognise that. However, this intensely Jewish focus is often missing among contemporary believers celebrating Christ’s birth. Continue reading “The Jewish Nativity”

Shoring up the Shortcomings of the Apostles’ Creed

Last year I posted an article by Eric Chabot titled Why the Apostles’ Creed Falls Short. In it the author highlights the great shortcoming of the Apostles’ Creed, which is there is no explicit reference to Jewishness and why that is a terrible omission. New Testament scholar Matthew Bates in his excellent book Salvation by Allegiance Alone constructs an analytical summary of the Gospel according to the New Testament. The structure of his creedal summary was partly inspired by the Apostles’ Creed. The crucial difference is Bates’ distillation of the New Testament’s proclamation does contain explicit references to Jewishness. His creedal formulation is as follows: Continue reading “Shoring up the Shortcomings of the Apostles’ Creed”

Answering Questions with Questions

The Jews of Jesus’ day were meticulous educators, as they have been throughout most of their history. A passage from the Mishnah demonstrates their active concern about what their students absorbed:

There are four types of people who sit in front of the sages: The sponge, the funnel, the strainer and the sifter. The sponge – it soaks up everything’ the funnel – it takes in at one end and lets out at the other; the strainer – it lets out the wine and retains the dregs; and the sifter – it lets out the bran dust and retains the fine flour. Continue reading “Answering Questions with Questions”

Between Malachi and Matthew

I remember as a child coming across the term the “intertestamental period” in a study Bible my parents owned. I remember I was intrigued by the brief history of developments after the events of the Old Testament leading into the New Testament. Unfortunately, the study Bible did not make much of it when it actually got to the New Testament and this is the attitude most Christians take. In the following interview on OnScript podcast, Bible scholar Matthias Henze discusses why this period is absolutely crucial for understanding the New Testament based on his book Mind the Gap: How the Jewish Writings between the Old Testament and the New Testaments Help us Understand Jesus (Fortress Press, 2018.)

Continue reading “Between Malachi and Matthew”

The Firstfruits of the Spirit

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. – Romans 8:23 ESV

Many modern people, particularly those living in urban settings, are far removed from the natural world and what has to happen to before you get food on the table (and no food does not grow in the market in plastic packaging.) It’s only fairly recently in human history that a large section of society is not engaged in agriculture but even today a lot of people are involved in the actual production of food, not only for their livelihood but sometimes it is their meal for the day. In a world where people directly depend on the soil for their daily bread, firstfruits are very important. So while it might not seem much to us but for Paul’s audience “firstfruits” is a very potent metaphor. As the name suggests it is quite literally the “first fruits” i.e. the first crops that are ripe for harvest. Continue reading “The Firstfruits of the Spirit”