Atonement Part 1-Made-up Words

Anonymous Portrait of William Tyndale
This image is in the Public Domain

Atonement Part 1-Made-up Words

The Bible is one of the world’s most incredible documents. Christian or not, any objective thinking person has to admit that. In, in my opinion, you don’t even have to believe what the Bible says to respect it. There are few documents that have been so meticulously assembled, cared for and studied in all the history of human literature. Now, I am certain that scoffers and atheists may argue that I’m being a little hyperbolic but I honestly believe that most who have spent a decent amount of time researching its history would have to agree with my above statements. Like no other literature of any sort…religious or not…an unbroken documentary trail leads all the way back to the origins of this very ancient collection of writing. This is a beloved and revered book and we know that because of how much priority those that love God put on it. To us IT IS THE WORD OF GOD…the mind of God…the precious thoughts, instructions and judgments of a loving, living Father.

As proof, one need only look at the efforts that men and women have put forth down through the millennia to make the Bible available for all to understand. Though difficult to accurately estimate, some have said that the Bible has been translated in part or in whole into more than 3,000 languages. Now, the important part of that statistic is to realize that the VAST majority of those translations have been completed in recent times…certainly not more than 200 years. Another important fact to realize here is that the growth in the number of languages into which the Bible has been translated is accelerating largely BECAUSE there are so many translations. You see, linguists and etymologists will tell you that there are very few isolated languages. In other words, almost all languages are related to some other language. Without getting too bogged down in the details let me just say that the more languages something is translated into the easier it is to accomplish that next translation. Each translation is used as reference for other subsequent translations. That is partly why there are so many language versions of the Bible.

Now, imagine having almost NO other translations to work with AND throw in the fact that the language you want the Bible translated into is new and, frankly, incomplete. That is what faced William Tyndale in 16th Century England. At the time, the Bible had only been translated into a handful of languages. The only “authorized” version was written in Latin; a language very few of Tyndale’s countrymen spoke. That alone severely limited access to the Word. In addition, Tyndale lived at a time of transition in England. His country was slowly defining a unified identity which would eventually include a national language. It may be difficult to believe, but the language we refer to today as English has only been spoken in England for less than 600 years. That means when God got a hold of William Tyndale and inspired him to write a Bible in the language the people of England there was hardly enough of a language to work with. Well, God always chooses the right person to accomplish His difficult tasks. So, take a moment to pray for guidance and help in understanding and then have a listen to this week’s episode as we dive into the fascinating subject of the English Language Bible.

Resurrection-Part 1 Why Bother?

The Resurrection by Claude Mellan
The Resurrection by Claude Mellan
Image in the Public Domain

Resurrection Part 1-Why Bother?

In the past, I have been accused (with an inference of derision) of being a Christian “apologist”. In case you don’t know, an apologist is defined by Webster’s as someone “who speaks or writes in defense of someone or something”. Well, I thought that’s what guys like me are supposed to do. In fact, isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do? Isn’t that what Peter meant when he said:

(1Pe 3:15)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

I don’t believe in arguing about the things of God. I normally don’t engage in debate about these sorts of things but I have and will continue to present the things of God in a way that will allow the listener or reader to make an informed decision. If you want to call that “defending” the Faith; that’s fine with me. I simply want to encourage a habit of critical thinking and I believe that’s God’s Way, as well. God is not afraid of our questions. He’s not afraid of our doubts. He knows our limitations because, frankly, He set them. He established the boundaries of our intellect, for some reason, and so He is aware of how much we can learn and it is obvious that He has a lot more confidence in our intelligence than most of our church leaders do.

All of that to say that, in this ministry, I won’t apologize for being…an apologist. I trust you and I trust the Spirit of Truth to do His job and guide you (and me) into all Truth (John 15:26). This lesson is the beginning of a series and this series is going to challenge you. We will be taking a detailed look at the most important event in human history: the Resurrection of Jesus. Why is that important? Well, that is the point of this first installment. It is here that we examine whether or not believing Jesus rose from the tomb is important. I mean, we talk a lot about the “Risen Christ” in church. At Easter time (I don’t like that word but that’s for another day) we plaster all over the place “He is Risen!” We see it on church billboards, in the pastor’s newsletter, we post it on Facebook and even occasionally (with ever-dwindling frequency) give each other greeting cards that tell us that the tomb was empty. But, do we really believe it? It’s pretty spectacular, when you think about it. A dead man is placed in a grave and He is not there 3 days later. And, listen, that does not mean He’s now a ghost…whatever that is. We don’t have trouble with the concept of someone’s spirit going…somewhere after they die. That is NOT what happened in this instance. His BODY rose. He had a body. What was once dead flesh got up and left that boulder-sealed cave. Can you believe that? By the way, that’s a legitimate question. I want to know. Can you believe that Jesus rose, BODILY, from the dead because if you can’t or you won’t then Paul says your faith is in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:17) Now, if you need more information to make a decision, I get that. That’s okay. That’s why this series is here. We want to make sure to give you as much information as possible so you CAN decide because decide you must and, if we fail at that, we hope that, at least, this series gives you a genuine desire to learn enough to make a decision. I am hoping you’ll see how important this is and that you take it upon yourself to seek out Truth…no matter the personal cost. This is NOT to be taken lightly. The Resurrection is the central, pivotal fact of human history. The Resurrection is the dividing line between the saved and the damned. Those that accept its Truth will live and those that don’t…won’t. So, I implore you with every ounce of my being to find a way to bring yourself to full acceptance of the Truth of the Resurrection. May I humbly suggest that you start by listening in to this series. If nothing else, it should give you a foundation upon which to build your continued pursuit of the most startling claim in human history. BUT before you do ANYTHING take this to God in prayer. Ask Him to guide you. Ask Him to show you Truth and, I believe, He will open up His Word to you in ways that may surprise you. If your heart is sincere and you truly want what He wants, God will answer your doubts and strengthen your Faith.