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Presented by Gary Fakhoury at the One God Conference, Seattle WA May 31st 2008, commentary by John Obelenus. Click here to listen to this talk.

Gary starts by providing the stalwart belief of Judaism to be the belief that YHWH was God. YHWH is a personal name, of a single Person who alone truly holds the title of God. He notes that all serious scholars and pastors agree this is the essential statement of the Old Testament and Judaism until Jesus. We know revelation to be progressive and new truths are given over time to us. However, is this single person of God changed by subsequent revelation in the new covenant?

Dinesh D’Souza was born in Bombay, India; he came to America at the age of 17; and he eventually graduated from Dartmouth. He was a policy adviser in Ronald Reagan’s White House until 1988. His latest book, What’s So Great About Christianity? is a response to many of the new atheists who are traipsing around saying that the greatest problems of the world are caused by religion (in particular Christianity and Islam). Surprisingly, even Michael Shermer, publisher of the magazine, Skeptic, and an ex-Christian, had this to say of D’Souza’s book, What’s So Great About Christianity?:

I just came across this 7 minute video about whether or not it is arrogant for Christians to say that there is only one way to be saved. This is a common complaint about Christianity–we are intolerant of other spiritual paths. But, suppose, just suppose, that there really is only one way that God has provided. If this is the case, then the other religions are the guilty ones, for they purport to provide a way to salvation and are unwittingly deceiving people into a false sense of salvation. It reminds me of the story of the guy who was shipwrecked and was the only one to survive. After floating around on his plank of wood for a day someone came by in a motorboat and threw him a rope to save him. Would the castaway respond with smugness and ingratitude, “What, you think you are the only person with a rope to save me?” No! He would grab the rope, because whether or not there are others to save him, this person is here and has the means to save him now. God has made a way for people to be saved, and that way is through Jesus, his only begotten son who died for our sins and was raised for our justification. If we turn him down, he will honor our right to choose, but let no one say that God is cruel to only make one way; that only insults the one who loved so much that he gave.

Over on the He Lives blog David takes a look at one of the counter-points made by Dawkins in his book ‘The God Delusion’. Specifically, Dawkins apparently loves it when people of faith ask him how morality exists without God. In fact, this is one of William Lane Craig’s main arguments for the existence of God – the existence of morality. It is also a big part of the foundation of CS Lewis’ ‘Mere Christianity’ work. To Dawkins:

my [Dawkins’s] immediate temptation is to issue the following challenge: ‘Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple polishing [etc.]’ The God Delusion, p. 259.

A few weeks ago, an atheist visitor to this site posted something that I’ve heard many a person say who was raised in some form of Christianity as to why they no longer believe in it. I’ve also read quotes from several famous atheists and agnostics over time expressing the same basic complaint. “Hell” as traditionally taught in mainstream Christianity is too absurd, too cruel, and too unconscionable to have come from any real Supreme Being of the universe . And you know what? I would agree with them.

Just a blurb

It’s very hard to post after a blitzkrieg of sorts involving theological conference papers. I trust that it was fun. Unfortunately I couldn’t go, I was stuck working back at North Hills. 

It is hard following up such great scholarship as those who write papers for the Theological Conference and sometimes I find it quite daunting to come up against such great minds. I found myself reading some of the papers and I got stuck on Kent Ross’s paper on Heresy, or at least the so-called heresy of the Radical Reformation.  For those of you who are unsure of what the Radical Reformation was, it was a part of the Anabaptist movement that desired to get back to the truths of the Bible, to get back to the original teachings of Jesus and the apostles. Radical meaning “back to the roots” they desired to get back to Christianity’s roots which are where many of us in that line of thinking get our Unitarian and soul sleep beliefs, from this desire to get back to the roots of Christianity.

Click here to listen to Looking for the Historical Jesus: In Between Evangelical and Liberal Scholarship presented by Sean Finnegan, Apr 29th 2008, Atlanta Georgia. Commentary by John Obelenus

Sean tells us a story of a girl he met in Borders. He was unable to give her a good introductory book to the Christian faith. He knew the kinds of books on the shelves: the evangelical ‘Jesus-is-God’ type, and the liberal ‘there are no miracles-Jesus is a failed prophet’ type. We need to find a middle road between these two, as they both offer good points and bad points.

He starts with the good news about evangelical scholarship:

Click here to listen to The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament presented by Jesse Acuff, Apr 29th 2008, Atlanta Georgia. Commentary by John Obelenus

“Whatever holds back a spirit of inquiry is favorable to error, whatever promotes it, to truth. But nothing, it will be acknowledged, has a greater tendency to obstruct the spirit of inquiry, than the spirit and feeling of party. Let a doctrine, however erroneous, become a party distinction, and it is at once entrenched in interests and attachments which make it extremely difficult for the most powerful artillery of reason to dislodge it.” – John Wilson

Click here to listen to Anabaptists/The Radical Reformers as delivered by Kent Ross, Apr 28th 2008, in Atlanta Georgia. Commentary by John Obelenus

Anabaptist, lit. to baptize again, refers to anyone outside the norm.
Heresy – “the minority opinion which those of the majority opinion have the power to suppress”

Kent tells us a story to warn us from letting tradition define our scriptural understanding. He asked his Ph.D professor at North Park Seminary where in the New Testament the Trinity is defined. The response was that New Testament scholarship is on your (Kent’s) side. But the councils have given us greater understanding.

Recently, I have been reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The book was published in 1937 in Munich, Germany. The church had to a large degree lapsed into a doctrinal pride based on Luther’s view that justification occurs by faith alone apart from any works. Bonhoeffer writes with passion and confronts this luke-warm mentality. Though he confronted his fellow countryman in an effort to bring revival to the church, sadly, Bonhoeffer failed, and the church was whisked off her feet by a zealous new leader–Adolf Hitler. As time went on the church became more and more afraid of opposing the Nazi regime and Bonhoeffer and a few others eventually broke away forming “The Confessing Church” which opposed Nazism publicly. I find his words surprisingly relevant to the state of Christianity today.

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