The Resurrection of Christ: Why It Really Isn’t Critical for Christians

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The fact that someone is quoted by other people doesn’t mean their statement is true or profound.  As a Chinese proverb says: “Paper lets anything be written on it”—meaning that you can write something stupid or something wise and your paper will just sit there and take it.  So will the internet.  But what about your soul?  Is your soul just going to sit there bobbing its head and automatically amening every statement that it comes across about the Christian faith?  You are not a brainless idiot, so don’t act like one.  Instead, make use of the fact that the God of all Wisdom is generously making Himself available to you and ask Him what He thinks of authoritative statements others make about Him.

In our material, we pepper you with authoritative statements, but since you’re not an undiscerning piece of paper, you should not be accepting anything we say as true until you ask God what He thinks about the things we say.  After all, we could be putting out a bunch of useless malarkey.  Sure, we claim that God is the Source of our teaching, but what is that even worth?  A ton of people claim to be passing on pearls from God while they totally contradict each other.  Titles, degrees, and claims of authenticity are utterly worthless.  God is the only Teacher you can trust, so you need to be asking Him directly for wisdom in life.  Continue reading

Understanding the Virgin Birth: Context & Mechanics

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The angel answered and said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Whenever our Gods do something miraculous—like causing a virgin woman to become pregnant—humans can be counted on to become so obsessed with trying to understand the mechanics of the miracle that they miss the important lessons.  To avoid getting sidetracked by miracles in your own life, here’s a good rule to go by:

When God does something miraculous, focus on the why, not the how, and ask Him to help you learn everything He wants to teach you from the experience.

If you abide by this rule, you’ll steer clear of all kinds of silliness—such as dickering about exactly how Mary became pregnant.  Continue reading

Terrible Salvation Songs: BECAUSE HE LIVES (AMEN) by Matt Maher

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Rex is the proud father of two young children: Chris and Hannah.  Rex loves his kids very much and his favorite part of the day is when he gets home from work and sees them running to greet him and tell him all about their days.  Rex’s first wife died several years ago, and he just recently married another woman named Tina.  He’s anxious to see how his kids will adjust to having Tina being their new stay-at-home mom.  Well, one day when Rex comes home from work, he is concerned when he doesn’t see Chris and Hannah waving at him from the window.  When he goes in the front door, he is surprised to see them still playing with their toys on the living room floor, not even looking in his direction. Continue reading

Know Your Bible Lesson 69: Understanding the Cross

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Crucifixion is primarily a means of sadistic torture. The goal is to keep someone in a horrific state of pain for as long as you possibly can, while simultaneously showcasing his personal agony for all to watch. Because victims had their limbs pinned down, they were incapable of defending themselves from any person who wanted to come along and add to their misery. They were also unable to ward off birds of prey and any other creatures who wanted to start eating them before they were dead. This was an extremely horrific situation which makes the sadistic American tradition of publicly electrocuting criminals to death seem docile by comparison. It wasn’t the loss of blood which crucifixion victims died from, but rather the inability to breathe. The nails that were hammered through their limbs were intentionally positioned to cause horrific nerve pain when pulled or pressed on. Victims had to try and push their bodies up in order to take a breath. This resulted in excruciating pain, and eventually victims no longer had the strength to endure the pain, so they suffocated to death. But death could take days, for the self-preservation instinct is very strong within us. Victims were essentially placed in a position where they had to assist in their own torture by inflicting pain on themselves in order to try and breathe. Such is the sadism of human beings: we all have a dark side which finds perverse delight in the suffering of others. Continue reading

Did Jesus spend three days in Hell?

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After Jesus died on a cross, three days passed before He rose again from the grave. What happened during those three days? One popular theory is that He went to Hell. In fact this has been so widely accepted that we’ve worked it into the Apostle’s Creed:

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into Hell. On the third day He rose again; He ascended into Heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead. Continue reading