28 December 2009

Reinventing Jesus (Pt. 2)

In continuing the look at the book Reinventing Jesus that I started discussing yesterday, we move into section three, which discusses the canonizing of Scripture. For those not familiar with the term, when we say canon, we are speaking of those books of the Bible that are included as authoritative. The Protestant church has held that there are 66 books in the canon of Scripture, and those outside of that are considered non-canonical, or extra-biblical, and not authoritative or necessarily inspired.

Eventually, four Gospels and twenty-three other texts were canonized (declared to be the Holy Scriptures) into a Bible. This did not occur, until the sixth century.
-Dan Burstein Secrets of the Code, 116

27 December 2009

Reinventing Jesus (Pt. 1)

Reinventing JesusOne day last week, I rented and watched the Dan Brown inspired movie "Angels and Demons." Unlike the previous "Da Vinci Code" movie, which had it's little 15 minute segment directly attacking Scripture and the historic Jesus, this movie was pretty tame. It was more an "attack" on fictitious corruption in the Roman Catholic Papal system and the Vatican, and nothing against Christianity itself. After watching the movie, it made me recall a book I had started reading about two or so years ago called Reinventing Jesus: What The Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don't Tell You, which I know I never finished. So, I went and got it off the shelf and started up where I left off (though I do plan to go back and re-read the early sections), and spent part of my Christmas vacation reading (surprising I know).

07 December 2009

Star of Bethlehem

And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matt. 2:9-11)

I watched a pretty fascinating DVD presentation today on the Star of Bethlehem that I wanted to share. The DVD presentation is not too technical, not too scientific to understand, and is presented quite well. My wife watched this video months ago, and I have had it laying here to watch but only just got around to it. Aside from further disrupting the traditional view of the nativity scenario (something that seems to have already been traditionally misconstrued as I examined HERE), it answers and connects many other issues that have been of concern.

01 December 2009

I Feel Like Such a Gentile: Grief & the Early Church

Since, then, there is certainty as to the resurrection of the dead, grief for death is needless... For why should you grieve, if you believe your loved ones have not perished? ... We wound Christ when we do not accept with equanimity the summoning out of this world of anyone by Him, as if they were to be pitied. - Tertullian (c. 200)

Although the death of a children leaves grief for the heart, it is not right to either go forth in black garments, or to bewail them. The Lord prudently says that you must grieve with the mind, not with outward show... Are you not ashamed to lament your children without restraint, like the Gentiles do? You tear your face, beat your breast, and take off your garments. Do you not fear the Lord, whose kingdom you desire to behold? - Commodianus (c. 240)

When the dear ones whom we love depart from this world, we should rejoice rather than grieve. Remembering this truth, the blessed apostle Paul in his epistle lays down , saying 'To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' - Cyprian (c. 250)
Our brethren who are freed from this world by the Lord's summons are not to be lamented. For we know that they are not lost. Rather, they are sent before us. Departing from us, they precede us as travelers - as navigators are accustomed to do. They should be envied, not bewailed! The black garments should not be taken upon us here, when they have already taken white garments there... The Gentiles can deservedly and rightly criticize us that we mourn as though our dead were extinct and lost. For, we say they are alive with God... There is no advantage in setting forth virtue by our words, but then destroying the truth by our deeds... The Holy Spirit teaches by Solomon that those who please God are taken from here sooner and are more quickly set free. Otherwise, while they are delaying longer in this world, they might be polluted with the pollution of the world... - Cyprian (c.250)
Words of wisdom and comfort from the early church.

Jonathan, you are free from the pains and weaknesses of this world; your days are now full of joy and life and comfort with our Lord. I miss you terribly but will see you soon, son.