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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/21 13:50:00 (585 reads)

Are Rabbinic Interpretations of the Bible Accurate?

By Alice C. Linsley
April 19, 2014

A great deal of misunderstanding can result from the mechanical reproduction of previously published ideas either because those ideas are taken out of context or because they are based on factual errors. The manner in which authors sort and select data, without verifying the source or checking the facts, can lead to distorted interpretations. This problem must be anticipated in Bible interpretation where it is common to rely on what the rabbis have written.

As the Bible is viewed as a Jewish religious text, it is natural to seek rabbinic guidance. American Christians tend to read the Old Testament through rabbinic sources. Many seminaries and pastors use commentaries written by non-believing Jews. This is especially true among American Evangelicals. They appear to be unaware of the antecedents of Messianic expectation among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan and Saharo-Nubian ancestors. They also are generally unaware that Hebrew is an African Language.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/17 8:20:00 (811 reads)

Time for the Church of England to cut the knot: Parts 1 and 2


This is the first in a two part series on establishment. Next week another guest blogger will argue that the Church of England should continue to be established.

Three issues vexing the Church of England right now, and two more that could lurch into view very soon, suggest that the time has come for the Church to initiate steps towards disestablishment.

The Church is already embroiled in two controversies which bring to the fore the irksome constraints on its freedom of action that even our diminished form of establishment still imposes. The first is its increasingly angst-ridden struggle to approve women bishops.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/15 12:50:00 (643 reads)

It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship

April 14, 2014

The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” is back in the news and back in public conversation. The story first broke in a flurry of sensationalism back in September of 2012 when Smithsonian magazine declared that a papyrus fragment had been found which would “send jolts through the world of biblical scholarship.” Well, it didn’t jolt much of anything.

In 2012 Professor Karen King of the Harvard Divinity School announced that a papyrus fragment that had come into her supervision made reference to Jesus having a wife. Professor King announced that the papyrus fragment included the words, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.’” Smithsonian, which also produced a major television program on the finding, promised that the fragment would “send shock waves through the Christian world.”

As might be expected, numerous major media outlets jumped on the story. The Telegraph [London] ran a headline that stated: “Ancient Papyrus Could Be Evidence that Jesus Had a Wife.” In reality, even if the fragment is authentic in terms of dating to ancient times, the fragment revealed nothing that would have jolted anyone familiar with the early centuries of Christianity. The fragment of papyrus contained only about 30 Coptic words in eight fragmentary lines of writing.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/8 9:10:00 (743 reads)

Palm Sunday: Let’s talk about Jesus!

By Andrew Symes
April 8th, 2014

Over the last few weeks, all over the country the church has been engaged in mission. Local churches have been running “Real Lives” and “Passion for Life” events, student Christian Unions have followed up the successful one-to-one “Uncover” Gospel reading programme with the traditional Lent mission weeks. Alpha and Christianity Explored courses have continued to draw in those from the fringes and on the outside of church life. Even some Bishops have been leading evangelistic events, talking about Christ from the Scriptures, sharing their own faith in him, and urging listeners to repent and believe. Congregations have also been demonstrating Christ’s love in practical ways, hosting food banks, debt counselling services, cafes, and parent and toddler drop ins. We look forward to hearing stories of lives transformed and numbers increasing in churches!

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/6 6:20:00 (671 reads)


By Roger Salter
Special to Virtueonline
March 6, 2014

The consummate experience in human life is union with Christ. It is through the God-man that mankind attains the joy of of being joined to the Divine, and it is through association with the Ideal Man that defective human nature becomes pure and recovers its rectitude. The Son of God and Son of Man is our only hope for the reversal of our Fall and for our assured welfare in the future. God the Father sent him to us, God the Son fulfilled our failed obedience on our behalf and cancelled the consequences of our vagrancy from God and breach in fellowship, and God the Holy Spirit performs the renovation of our spirits that renders us compatible with our Maker, now our beloved Redeemer.

The salvaging of our race is entirely the work of the Sovereign Deity through his “unmotivated” and gracious determination. We are dependent upon an awesome monergism. Our harmonious relationship with God is enabled through an interior act of divine re-creation as uncaused by human participation, and as powerful as the creation of Nature and the variety of phenomena found within it. The Word of God expresses the truth simply: salvation is of the Lord.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/4/5 3:00:00 (879 reads)

The Offense of the Cross

By Bruce Atkinson
Special to Virtueonline
March 5, 2014

As we work our way toward Good Friday, it is important that we remind ourselves of why this particular Friday is so good and why so many other people see it otherwise. Unbelievers are always repulsed by the "offense” of the cross. The manner of Jesus’ death and even the requirement of it by God for our salvation is regarded by unbelievers as a scandal. Atonement makes no sense to them. But Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, was very clear that he did not want this scandalous offence removed from its position as the centerpiece of the gospel message. The theology of the cross is crucial.

In the circumstances of Paul’s church planting, the Judaizers were still insisting that even gentiles should follow all the Jewish laws and be circumcised as Jews in order to become Christians. They were leaving behind the essential gospel truth that it is faith in Christ and His work on the cross that saves people, not obedience to all the rules (which in fact is patently impossible).

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/3/31 9:00:00 (1165 reads)

Southern Baptist Policy Wonks Know More About Executing Justice on Sodomites Than God, Apparently

By Gordan Runyan
March 28, 2014

Confused. Convoluted. Self-contradictory. Laughable and arrogant. But enough about me. What I am here to say is that two leading spokesmen for the Southern Baptist Convention have really blown it out their ears.

Russell Moore is the President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) for the Southern Baptist Convention. He has co-authored an article called “What Should Christians Think About Governments that Criminalize Homosexuality?” with Andrew Walker, Director of Policy Studies for the ERLC.

With all Christian charity, my evaluation of their piece is that, if brain-farts actually smelled bad, these guys could clear an outdoor stadium.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/3/24 19:30:00 (1722 reads)

Church Boundaries from One Anglican’s Perspective

By Bruce Atkinson
Special to Virtueonline
March 25, 2014

My earliest experiences with VirtueOnline included debating with a few radical and aggressively entrenched Calvinists. And then David Virtue invited me to write some articles. The rest is history. I have seen my role on VOL as primarily to “contend for the faith once and for all delivered,” that is, promoting the doctrines of Scripture versus today’s relativistic ideological and cultural encroachment into the Anglican Communion. Sadly, this worldly PC invasion has been evident not only in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada but even in the Church of England itself. Secondarily, I have accepted the role or working toward the reconciliation of the Reformed and Catholic aspects within Anglicanism —as much as is possible given my evangelical bias— and encouraging Anglicans on either extreme to move toward the middle. However, in interacting with those of a different perspective, I have noticed that it is easy for both sides to become unnecessarily polarized.

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Posted by David Virtue on 2014/3/24 6:30:00 (1036 reads)


(The noble army of martyrs : praise thee. The Te Deum Laudamus)

By Roger Salter
Special to Virtueonline
March 24, 2014

No major English leader of the Reformation era has been more seriously misjudged than Thomas Cranmer. The Protestant martyrs of his generation have been admired, deservedly, for their courage. Latimer has been lauded for his fearless preaching, Ridley for his wisdom and measured theological pronouncements, Bradford for his bold doctrinal stance and benign nature, and Jewel for his masterly defense of the Reformed Catholicism of the Church in England. Cranmer is appreciated by liturgiologists and lovers of the traditional 16th/17th century services of the Book of Common Prayer. Scarcely anyone is familiar with the person of Cranmer, his integrity as a servant of the divine appointment of the monarchy, as he believed, his skills as a careful scholar cautious in arriving at sound conclusions, his thoroughness as a theologian with profoundly pastoral motives, and his tenderness as a true child of God. The mind of Cranmer conceived the mental and spiritual architecture of authentic Anglicanism and the mildness of his temperament determined the mature mien of Anglican character. He fashioned both the essence and ethos of Anglicanism as an instrument in the hand of God for the blessing of his nation.

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