Never Forsaken reflects on the promise of God found in Hebrews 11:5-6 and fulfilled in the history of His people and brilliantly in the death of His Son.
The lengthy quotation that follows can be found on pages 206-207 of Andrew T. Le Peau’s book Mark Through Old Testament Eyes. Le Peau’s quotation is a brief summary of a lengthy discussion found in two of Rodney Stark’s books: The Triumph of Christianity (p.114-119) and The Rise of Christianity (p. 73-94). I offer the quotation from Le Peau without further comment for your personal reflection.
“In AD 165, a terrible plague hit the Roman Empire that lasted for fifteen years. Some historians think it was smallpox, but whatever the cause it was devastating. Perhaps a quarter or more of the population died. A hundred years later another plague hit Rome, with similar results. Bodies were piled up in the streets, some being thrown there before people actually died. Thousands abandoned the cities for the countryside in an attempt to escape the pestilence.
A unique form of murder known as fratricide (brother killing brother) introduced humanity to death as Cain killed Abel. Having read the story of Genesis 4 over and over we tend to gloss over the events and fail to appreciate all the entailed.
- Imagine being Adam or Eve and having to attend or conduct your first funeral.
- Imagine learning how to cope with death, and not just any death, the death of your child.
- Imagine having to explain to the rest of your children (and even possibly grandchildren) why they will never again see Abel.
- Imagine having to cope with knowing your sin brought this death into the world.
- Imagine carrying the burden of Abel’s death around for 900ish years.
- Imagine experiencing both loss and estrangement for the first time simultaneously.
- Imagine witnessing hoping you would never have to experience the death of a loved one again and yet coming to grips with the reality of a flood of violence, murder, and death that would consume nearly all of humanity.
- Imagine witnessing the pandemic of sin that made God regret that He had made humanity.
- Imagine not living to see the work of Christ that would conquer sin, death, and the grave.
Thank God for His mercy, grace, and long-suffering goodness embodied in the person of Christ - the Greater Adam and Abel.
Questions About Baptism
Yesterday I posted the following blurb on Facebook:
Food for thought regarding baptism and “deathbed conversions”:
The necessity of being baptized as an act of faith in order to have ones sins forgiven and receive salvation as is taught in Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21, is often rejected on emotional grounds. In response to Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21 people make emotional arguments and appeal to the inability of baptism to save a person who is on his or her deathbed. Criticizing the preacher’s inability to baptize a person on their deathbed and thus save them is like criticizing a doctor who is not able to save the drug addict that has overdosed with medicine. The doctor didn’t make the man take the drugs that cost him his life. The doctor did not cause the addiction that resulted in death. The man chose his path knowing full well the end result. When the drug addict dies it is not the doctors fault. No matter how much the drug addict might regret his decision to do drugs in the final few minutes of life, the doctor cannot save him, and it’s not the doctors fault. In the same sense, the person who has pursued sin, practiced sin, and reveled in it all his life, constantly refusing the salvific hope of the gospel, and waits too late to receive that which can save him (baptism as an act of faith - 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38), can no more blame the preacher for his lost condition than the drug addict can blame the doctor for his overdose.
Some who read the post posed the following four questions and one argument. I have responded to each question and argument at length and am sharing my answers for the benefit of anyone interested.
So far in 2020 I have found three articles that have been extremely beneficial in my studies, and I wanted to share them with my reading audience.
The first can be found in the Introduction of Gordon J. Wenham's commentary on the Book of Numbers. Within Wenham's introduction to Numbers are two sections titled Theology and Christian Usage. These two sections are worth the price of the book. Wenham's commentary on Numbers is part of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series.
The other two articles I am recommending are provided below in PDF format for a free download.
The following article contains sermon notes centered around a discussion of James 2:8-13. The notes were compiled by Nathan Battey and are not copyrighted. We simply ask that the material not be altered or quoted out of context.
Here is a free PDF version of a good and provocative work.
Below you will find a transcript of the material presented in the Been There / Read That Podcast regarding Biblical Theology. If you would like to listen to the episode, CLICK HERE.
The following document contains reviews of various reader's favorite books of 2019. Feel free to download, enjoy, and share as we seek to encourage the reading, learning, and enjoyment of God's Word.
is an evangelist of the Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas.