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The Importance of Textual Criticism

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For those who do not know, I am a student at Wesley Biblical Seminary, where I am pursuing an M.Div. One of the graduates recently started a group within Wesley Biblical for studying various methodologies and areas of biblical studies. The first topic that we are tackling is the topic of textual criticism. Prior to this class, I knew what textual criticism was, but since I am still learning the Greek and Hebrew languages, my interaction with the field of textual criticism was severely limited. As I have studied textual criticism in this group and grown in my understanding of the original languages of the Bible, I have come to a deeper appreciation for the discipline of textual criticism. In this post, I want to share some of my thoughts regarding this important discipline. For those who do not know, the discipline of textual criticism  is essentially the practice of examining the manuscripts that are available to us in order to determine what the original reading of a particular passag

How To Shine Like Lights In The World

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  Scripture : Philippians 2:14-18 I have a friend who once took his son to some caves in the next state over. These caves were famous as a tourist attraction. After packing up and taking his family a couple of hours away, he took them on a guided tour of the cave. When they made it halfway through one of the larger caves, the tour guide made them shut off all lights. Then they sat there in complete darkness. It seemed like an eternity, but it was actually only about a minute. Then, tour guide pulled out a lighter and lit it. That one small light seemed to illuminate the entire cave. A few seconds later everyone turned whatever lights they had back on, and the cave was illuminated again. Why is this story significant? Because as Christians, we live in a dark world. In the same way that my friend could not see anything at all in the cave, so is there no light to see in the world unless we, as Christians, are that light. The world will not be that light. They cannot be. It is up to us. In

Why You Should Get Help For Your Pornography Problem

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Pornography is one of the biggest problems in our world today. While you may think that this is an overstatement, the fact is that one prominent pornography website is viewed approximately 100 million times per day . It is not a problem that only affects adults, either. Just over half of preteen and teenage kids have viewed pornography. Some of them stumble on pornography as early as seven or eight years old. This is not okay! I have posted elsewhere about some of the problems that pornography causes, but will rehash some of them here briefly. Pornography is harmful to you. Studies have shown that pornography affects even your brain. It does this by molding the way that your brain thinks. This is why, when you are a regular consumer of pornography, something random may seem to trigger you into thinking about the scene that you watched on the website you visited the other day. It also negatively affects your ability to relate to the opposite sex. It has been noted that " Pornogr

What Did The Earliest Christians Believe?

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There is a myth out there that goes something like this: The Christianity that we know today was not what the earliest Church believed. The earliest Christians believed something different (which is usually claimed to be Arianism or a more naturalistic view of the faith). However, the claim is that they did not believe what orthodox Christianity claims they believed. However, despite the fact that this is a popular myth, it is baseless. In order to see what the earliest Christians believed, it is important to look at the earliest records we have. As it stands, we have incredibly early accounts that show that the earliest Christians did, in fact, believe what orthodox Christianity claims. One such record is a pre-Pauline creed that Paul quotes in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. When I say that this is pre-Pauline, I mean that this creed predates Paul's conversion to Christianity. This is clear when Paul states that he is simply passing on what he has received (v. 3). Most scholars who have st

What Is The Kalam Cosmological Argument?

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The Kalam Cosmological Argument is possibly the most-discussed argument for the existence of God today. Some of you who are reading this may already be familiar with the argument. There are those who are reading this, however, who may not be familiar with the Kalam Cosmological Argument. It is for this second group that I am writing this post. If you are looking for an in-depth treatment, I recommend reading about the Kalam Cosmological Argument from William Lane Craig's book by that name. In short, this is a popular-level post rather than an academic treatise. With that being said, let's take a look at the argument. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is a simple syllogism that consists of two premises with a conclusion. It can be stated as follows: I. If the universe began to exist, then the universe has a cause for its existence (or, alternatively, whatever begins to exist has a cause for its existence). II. The universe began to exist. III. Therefore, the universe has a cause f

The Church As The Guardian Of Truth

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  In modern times, when we speak of the work of the Church, we often think of several things: Evangelism, Preaching, Pastoral Ministry, and Christian community. These are all valid ministries of the Church, and we should focus on these things and do these things well. However, I want to propose something that we often do not think about: the Church as the guardian of truth. Let me explain what I mean. We, as the Church, have been entrusted with a truth that the world does not have. Namely, we know Jesus Christ, who He is, what He has done for us, and we are striving to live in a manner that honors Him. Namely, we have the Gospel and strive to live our lives in accordance with it. This is significant, because the apostle Paul commanded his young protégé, Timothy, to guard the deposit of faith that had been handed on to him (2 Timothy 1:14). This command should be understood to extend to us today. It is important to define my terms. By Church, I am talking about the Church universal, not

Prayer as Polemic

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Some time ago, when I was involved in apologetics, I shied away from mentioning my prayer life, for two major reasons. First, because it was all but nonexistent. My prayer life has never been the strongest part of my Christian walk, and it is something that I am working on. Second, because I didn't see any practical value in using it in defending the faith. In this post, I confess, I have changed my mind. I think that prayer does have some polemical value, and I believe that the biblical authors did, as well. In 1 Kings 8:59-60, King Solomon connects prayer (although possibly in an indirect way) with people seeing and knowing that Yahweh is God and that there is no other. If we are going to recognize prayer as a type of polemic, it is important for us to understand what kind of argument we have. I would classify it as an argument from experience. If someone affirms that personal experience is valid for understanding truth, as in the way that the scientific method uses the experienc