Mystical YOUnion: Do you want God to write a Gospel about you or are you aching to write it yourself?

Did you know that everyone has a Gospel story inside aching to be written – and a world screaming to listen? “God, says Bill Johnson, has ideas; he puts them into words and speaks them. And those words form inside the heart of surrendered individuals, and from that comes a demonstration of who Jesus is.” […]

You are a unique Gospel that God wants to write: Life or lie message?

You are a unique Gospel that God wants to write: Life or lie message? In “You’re not the message,” Chris Rosebrough’s podcast episode of “Fighting for the faith, he takes Ken Shook to task for saying that the Gospel is all about Jesus but then spends the rest of his sermon showing his listeners how […]

The prosperity and asperity of the Gospel: Strangers and pilgrims on this earth

John writes in his third letter to his beloved friend Gaius: “I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers” 3 John 1, KJV). This greeting was normal for those times as it is for our times and all times. This “prosperity” simply means “best wishes,” […]

My Gospel: Much ado about noting

  There are fictitious stories and non-fictitious stories. French philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, said that we tell stories because human lives need and merit to be told. Writing stories is one of the noblest employments of the mind and soul. Most good stories aim at knowledge and wisdom. This aim is most evident in life stories: […]

The Gospel is more – and less – than a story

There are different kinds of writing such as scholarly books and articles, journalistic writing, non-fiction such as history, travel, art, cooking, (auto)biography, letters, diaries, and imaginative literature such as  novels, poetry and plays. Imaginative literature is called “fiction” – fiction not in the sense that it does not relate to reality, for if a novel (a […]

The Flat and the Fat: The Poetic Gospel of Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann, the biblical theologian, states “the truth of the Gospel cannot be articulated in flat, certain prose, but it must be articulated in a poetic rhetoric in which when you hear it, you as the listener, still get to decide what it means.” (Brueggemann’s Q&A session). I examine this statement in terms of the […]

Universalism, Love, and the Mystical Desertion of the Gospel

In Christian theology, there are two kinds of “universal salvation.” The first kind  is described in one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, “Nostra Aetate,” which is the Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions proclaimed by Pope Paul VI, October, 1965. Nostra Aetate rejects the papal (infallible) bulls of previous centuries by […]

Holy Whore

Jeff Benner writes: “When we use the word holy, as in a holy person, we usually associate this with a righteous or pious person. If we use this concept when interpreting the word holy in the Hebrew Bible then we are misreading the text as this is not the meaning of the Hebrew word qadosh. […]

Muslims don’t have or want to have a clue what their own scriptures say about the Bible.

Islam teaches that Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures, while the Qur’an remains pure and thus free of error. One reason why free of error is that the Qur’an, like Allah, is uncreated, thus, eternal, and so not susceptible to change. I examine the argument of corruption of the Bible with a helping hand […]

John Calvin and the execution of Servetus

John Calvin – we Jews know what we’re talking about – is the greatest theologian since Augustine. Much drivel has been written about Calvinism. Most people, including most Christians, have an abysmal knowledge or understanding of the profound biblical principle that God so loved the world, not Mars, that he elects to save only those […]

Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Qur’an

Robert Spencer on JihadWatch writes: “Ace lawyer David Yerushalmi’s parting words below are worth setting in stone: “A word of advice to government bureaucrats doing the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding: we will sue you and you will lose. Act accordingly.” (AFDI [American Freedom Defense Initiative] free Speech victory: Philadelphia must run ad against  Islamic antisemitism, March […]

All is grace: Now that I’m born again, I can and want to believe and repent. What a logical logos I serve!

What is the relationship between repentance and faith. Charles Stanley writes: “When Peter preached the truth about Jesus Christ in Acts chapter two, he left thousands of listeners wondering what they should do next.  The apostle’s response in verse 38 is simple. He says, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus […]

James White: It’s sad that most Muslims believe in violence and harshness against unbelievers. Sad yes, but is it true?

It’s sad that most Muslims believe in violence and harshness against “unbelievers,” But is it true? James White’s “Dividing line” podcast of 17 Feb 2015 was on the latest ISIS video wherein Coptic Christians were beheaded and criticisms of his article on the issue that he was “soft on Islam (minute 13). Here are a […]

Why do most Christians call grace (that saves) amazing? They can’t see that it is they who are

  When Calvinism is contrasted with Arminianism, what first comes to mind is God’s role and man’s role in coming to faith. The Calvinist says that man plays no cooperative or contributive role in coming to faith, while the Arminian says that man cooperates with God in that man turns his heart to God, that […]

James White: What more does every Christian need to know about Islam and the Qur’an?

James R. White is not Jewish, alas. But I don’t mind. What matters is he’s a Calvinist AND worships Jesus, like I do, that is not to say we worship the same way. He, like me, is a five-point Calvinist, so a consistent one: no fudging with total depravity (radical corruption) and particular (“limited” atonement). […]

What would you say to someone who was adamant that Allah was the only true God? Narrow is the gate

An atheist friend challenged me with this question: “What would you say to someone who was adamant that Allah was the one and only god?” (His small “g”). As far as I  am aware, my friend knows very little about Islam. Here was my answer, which did not try and prove why Allah (described in […]

Suppository preaching: The modern “evangelical” church and getting nailed

Much preaching today does not attempt to relate the Old Testament to Jesus but to their narcissistic audience: Get rid of the frogs in your life, purge yourself of poverty, find your purpose, live your  dream, reach your po-tential. What they don’t do is expository preaching, that is, preach the Bible, verse by verse and […]

Theology, rationalism and ritualism in making man just (justification)

Here is an excerpt from “The doctrine of justification; an outline of its history in the church and of its exposition from Scripture” by James Buchanan. It may be thought by some, writes James Buchanan that the subject of Justification is trite and exhausted; that, as one of the ‘commonplaces’ of Theology, it was conclusively […]

Does the way to conversion of the head lie through a converted heart?

Andrew Murray Jr. (1928 – 1917) was the South African born son of Andrew Murray,  a Dutch Reformed minister and missionary from Scotland based in Graaff Reinet, South Africa, situated 160 kms from my home town in Port Elizabeth. My visit to the parsonage was a wonderful experience. It remains in the  same state today […]

Christianity Today’s “Tragic death of Fred Phelps.” Stop draining the life out of the blood of Christ

The latest issue of Christianity Today, carries the article “The tragic death of Fred Phelps,” The first sentence, short and crisp – you’re toast, reads “Death is always a tragedy.” What! Then no more singing in church those idiotic songs “You’re my greatest treasure” and “I want to be where you are” – that is, […]

O Jerusalem Jerusalem! Grammar is of the Lord

  In the introduction to “Four views off divine providence,” Denis W. Jowers, the editor, provides several examples of ambiguous scriptures about God’s sovereignty. Some of these examples concern God’s total control versus his disappointment that he doesn’t achieve what he wants. “Though God declares, ‘My counsel will stand and I will accomplish all my purpose” […]

Who limits God: Can the Arminian, Roger Olson, and the Calvinist, Michael Horton, hole up together?

What did Jesus see in me that he wanted to save me? Truth be told, I am – there’re many of us – a sensitive Jewish intellectual. Is it because I’m Jewish that Jesus saved me? Not at all. Is it because I am an intellectual, of sorts, that He saved me. That’s silly. Sensitive? […]

Happiness in humanism and Christianity

What is Humanism There exist various definitions of humanism, Here is one: “…a commitment to the perspective, interests and centrality of human persons; a belief in reason and autonomy as foundational aspects of human existence; a belief that reason, scepticism and the scientific method are the only appropriate instruments for discovering truth and structuring the […]

How green is my Tiber: James White’s impassioned plea to Jason Reed to come home from Rome

The Tiber . A boarding pier and shores dotted with waste in front of Castel Sant’ Angelo at the entrance of “Ships of Rome”, the tourist service on the city’s Tiber. Photo: AFP  Tourist cruises along Rome’s Tiber River have stopped for the first time since they began a decade ago because the waterway is too […]

The Times of Israel: How Christians are not fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah

In “TimesofIsrael” (26 Sept 2013), Eliezer Melamed writes on the festival of Sukkot (Booths) and how Christians are Fulfilling the Prophecy of Isaiah. The Isaiah text referred to is “Strangers shall stand and pasture your flocks; aliens shall be your ploughmen and vine-trimmers.” (Isaiah 61:5). The strangers Melamed has in mind are Christians. Here is […]

God seems distant in the midst of personal loss and suffering: When suffering comes to a head, strengthen it

There are three kinds of suffering: 1. suffering we bring on ourselves and others through our own sin, and 2. sufferings through persecution for faith in Christ. 3. There is also much suffering that does not fit into these two categories; for example, accidents, “acts of God” such as earthquakes, and the most ubiquitous of […]

Christian slave learns Midrash magic

Midrash” derives from “drash” (search). It asks from the text more than the surface level (pshat). Here is a description of Midrash” from a comment at “Messianic Judaism and Christianity: Two Religions With The Same Messiah”: “In colloquial English, we speak of ‘teasing out’ a hidden implication from a passage. Midrash is allegorical or homiletical interpretation […]

I won’t accept a virtually unrecognizable Jesus: A Jewish view

Michael Schiffman, a Messianic Jew, writes:  “Jewish rejection of Yeshua was not an act of infidelity towards Yeshua, as much as it was an act of fidelity towards His Father.”Messianic Judaism and Christianity: Two Religions With The Same Messiah).  Dan, a Gentile, living, he says an increasingly Jewish lifestyle comments: “Rabbi Michael… This one statement meant the […]

The slaughter of scripture: Let his blood be on us and our children

Much exegesis is nothing more than “axegesis,” a slaughter of the text. In The Slaughter of Isaac: An Exegesis “Axegesis” of Laughter in Genesis, I examined  laughter occasioned by Sarah’s conception of Isaac. The very thought of it at her age! Though Abraham didn’t ultimately slaughter Isaac (Hebrew for “he laughed”), “axegetes” go all the way: laughter […]

If you improve your naturals, is God bound to give you spirituals? Fiddling with free will

Definitions: A “free-willer” is someone who believes he can use his natural ability to come to faith in Christ. We call such a person an Arminian – after Jacobus Arminius. Most professing Christians are Arminians. “Things of the spirit” refers to the Christian message as a fulfilment of the “Old” Testament. I try to answer the […]

The weight of glory

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17). For my own sake, for my own sake I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another (Isaiah 48:11) Introduction Why did the Son of God […]

Hell in a nutshell

“Any man who thinks he deserves heaven is not a Christian. But for any man who knows he deserves Hell, there’s hope” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones) “Faith ever finds its most precious resting place upon the naked Word of God”  (The Annotated Bible, by Arno Clemens Gaebelein (1861-1945): The Pentateuch) Introduction For most, hell is nuts. Nuts, because […]

Repent so that you can understand

Introduction Faith and understanding, God created both. There are different kinds of faith such as: The atheist’s faith (which he denies is faith) that his reason is rational and that it corresponds to the world out there (physical reality). I’m not talking about the atheist who says there is no way of knowing what is […]

“The labourers are few.” So, send me. “To do what?”: Why John MacArthur thought “enough already!”

Here are a few thoughts on part of John MacArthur’s sermon on “The harvest and the laborers.” Bible text – “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38). Here is […]

Suicide of a – Christian? If YOU’RE sure then I’m not sure.

“God’s way is to speak the truth in love. As Christians we can be great on the ‘love’ part, but the ‘truth’ part is more often than not lacking, simply because we’re immersed in a culture where any pointing out of right and wrong is said to be called “mean” and “judgmental”. (Comment on Michael […]

David Stern’s Torah “Torah” in the Justification of sinners: A legalistic spanner in the works

Introduction David H. Stern is a Messianic Jew whose “Complete Jewish Bible” is a unique melange of translation, paraphrase and commentary. “Unique” in the sense that the New Testament tranche is solely Stern’s execution. Stern’s view is that the New Testament is a book written by Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus for Jewish believers in Yeshua; […]

The Calvinist Robot and the Arminian Zombie: Grammars of coming to faith.

Preamble The term “grammar” has its origin in the Greek word for “letter,” gramma. “Grammar” used to be restricted to language, but no more. There’s now a grammar of all sorts of odds and togs, for example, a “grammar of fashion”: The larger the ‘vocabulary’ of someone’s closet, the more creative and expressive the wearer […]

NT Wright and the Nude Perspective on Grammar

Here is an excerpt of EvangelZ‘s (Zephanja Mel) book review of “The Future of Justification” by John Piper, which is a critique of NT Wright’s “New Perspective on Paul. “Justification happens and becomes a reality because of the sacrifice of Christ and is operated once one places his faith in Christ. He is not justified […]

“Election is for everyone,” which may depend on free will but never on human choice (?).

In his article, “Election Is for Everyone” in Christianity Today! Roger Olson writes: “When I was a kid my brother and I would sometimes spend part of Saturday handing out gospel tracts in our neighborhood. We were pastor’s sons and probably felt some obligation to do it (as it was something promoted in Sunday school […]