For the CNN story go here.
Many Jews are condemning this act – e.g., see here.
See a Jerusalem Post article here.
I don’t personally see this being a dangerous situation for Messianic Jews in Israel. But I do notice a growing Jewish concern over Messianic Judaism and an increasing Jewish suspicion re. Christianity.
“One of the seven million people who watched the National Geographic documentary was April D. DeConick. Admittedly, DeConick, a professor of biblical studies at Rice University, was not your average viewer. As a Coptologist, she had long been aware of the existence of the Gospel of Judas and was friends with several of those who had worked on the so-called dream team. It’s fair to say she watched the documentary with special interest.”
“Some of the sharpest digs have been reserved for Ehrman, who was the first member of the National Geographic team to publish a book on Judas. Publicly Ehrman has been the most vocal in embracing Judas as hero, and he has been pilloried for it. Scholar after scholar at the Rice conference took shots at him. Turner said he didn’t read Ehrman’s book because he “wouldn’t expect to learn anything from it.”
“Then, concerned that she has been too harsh, DeConick tries to soften the blow. “I don’t want you to print that they messed up,” she says. “Say there were errors. There were serious errors.””
It’s Memorial Day and I’m enjoying the sun and 80 degrees and doing lawn work and listening to Lenny Kravitz’s songs about God and Jesus. I’ve been playing his “Baptized” over and over -whew! It’s a killer song with a deep groove.
Also – “Believe,” “Love Revolution,” Storm,” “Bring It On,” and “God Save Us All.”
Yesterday, in West Virginia, a woman died. She had had three heart attacks. She was on life support. The doctors took her off life support. Rigor mortis had set in.
Ten minutes after removing the respirator she came back to life and spoke. Now she’s sitting up in bed talking. She has no heart damage even after three heart attacks. Her heart has an electrical problem that will be looked at. “Even the doctors are baffled.”
Check out the news video here.
This AP story appeared today. I picked it up at msnbc.com. Here it is in its entirety.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – It seemed like an almost literal answer to their prayers. When two New Zealand pilots ran out of fuel in a microlight airplane they offered prayers and were able to make an emergency landing in a field — coming to rest right next to a sign reading, “Jesus is Lord.”
Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson, both from the town of Blenheim on the country’s South Island, were flying up the sloping valley of Pelorus Sound when the engine spluttered, coughed and died.
“My friend and I are both Christians so our immediate reaction in a life-threatening situation was to ask for God’s help,” Stubbs told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
He said he prayed during the ill-fated flight Sunday that the tiny craft would get over the top of a ridge and that they would find a landing site that was not too steep — or in the nearby sea.
Wilson said that the pair would have been in deep trouble if the fuel had run out five minutes earlier.
“If it had to run out, that was the place to be,” he said. “There was an instantaneous answer to prayer as we crossed the ridge and there was an airfield — I didn’t know it existed till then.”
After Wilson glided the powerless craft to a landing on the grassy strip, the pair noticed they were beside a 20-foot-tall sign that read, “Jesus is Lord — The Bible.”
“When we saw that, we started laughing,” Stubbs said.
Nearby residents provided them with gas to fly the home-built plane back to base.
Stephen Curtis Chapman’s adopted daughter Maria Sue was hit by a car driven by her brother in the family’s driveway yesterday. She died later at the hospital.
Many, including myself, are thankful for the loving authentic integrity-filled compassionate ministry of Chapman. Pray for them today.
(Mount of Olives, Jerusalem)
In Luke 12:49 Jesus tells us that he has come to the earth to bring fire, and adds “I wish that it were already kindled.” In our church we sing some worship songs that cry out for God to send us His fire. What might that mean? What did Jesus mean when He said He’s come to bring fire on the earth? Do we know what we’re really asking for?
The first thing Jesus means by this has to do with “judgment.” For many people the idea of judgment is offensive. It’s one of the things some people don’t like about Christianity. But the Real Jesus did talk about fire and judgment and crisis, and I think that’s a good thing and to me it makes a lot of sense. And, by the way, anyone who says it’s wrong to talk about judgment is themselves making a judgment. So I conclude that the judgment-thing is unavoidable. The deeper issue is always: what is the truth? All truth divides.
In Luke 3:9 Jesus says that “every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Jesus views people, and you, like fruit trees. You exist, from Jesus’ POV, to produce fruit. In this regard there are only two kinds of trees; viz., trees that bear fruit and trees that don’t bear fruit. There are no quasi-fruit-bearing trees. This is an either-or situation (also called, by theologians, “Two-Way Theology). To bear fruit or not to bear fruit; that is the question. To find the answer to that question is, precisely, to render a judgment. The fire Jesus brings renders such a judgment.
From this it follows that Jesus-fire purifies. A refiner’s fire falls on a lump of gold and burns away all impurities and leaves pure gold (Micah 3:2-4). In this sense such a fire, ipso facto, judges. It burns away the “either” of impurity and leaves the “or” of pure gold. In this sense, when you cry out to God “Baptize me with fire!” you’re asking for God to refine your heart so that He will burn away impure things and leave a heart pure towards Him. It’s a heart-cry for holiness. It’s a way of seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Jesus says that He came to bring fire to the earth, and part of what this means is that He came to call forth a pure “Bride.”
Fire-baptism is also about an impartation of power given by the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said that after him comes a more powerful One who will not baptize with water but baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3:16). The initial Spirit-fire-baptism happened in Acts 2, where the Holy Spirit comes on people accompanied by what look like “tongues of flame” (Acts 2:3). This Spirit-baptism-fire event brings “power” (Acts 1:8-9) for real Jesus-followers to be His “witnesses.” So, when we cry out to God, “Baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire,” we’re asking God for two things: 1) purification of the heart; and 2) power to be witnesses to Jesus and His Kingdom and all that this entails. And it is precisely this that then makes a separation or division. It creates a di-vision; viz., two visions of reality, or two visions of the truth.
(The Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem)
This week, like every week for the past 38 years, I am going to spend time praying. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll go, probably to one of my favorite prayer places – Sterling State Park, and pray for 3-5 hours. This is a habit I’ve been doing for 26 years. Here are some basics about prayer that are important to me.
For my birthday I received a copy of Eugene Peterson’s The Jesus Way: Conversations on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way. I’ve long been a Peterson fan, way before he translated the Bible into The Message.
I read the Introduction, called “The Purification of Means,” and was blown away. Peterson, now writing late in his life, is talking about the Real Jesus. And the Real Jesus is NOT the American Jesus. Of course Peterson is correct about this. Listen to some Peterson quotes… and think…
“The ways Jesus goes about loving and saving the world are personal…; …The ways employed in our North American culture are conspicuously impersonal.”
In churches today “the vocabulary of numbers is preferred over names…”
“Jesus is an alternative to the dominant ways of the world, not a supplement to them.”
“The North American church at present is conspicuous for replacing the Jesus way with the American way.”
In America “we are the world’s champion consumers, so why shouldn’t we have state-of-the-art consumer churches?… [T]his is the best and most effective way for gathering large and prosperous congregations. Americans lead the world in showing how to do it. There is only one thing wrong: this is not the way in which… we become less and Jesus becomes more.”
“A consumer church is an antichrist church.”
“We can’t gather a God-fearing, God-worshiping congregation by cultivating a consumer-pleasing, commodity-oriented congregation.”
“North American Christians are conspicuous for going along with whatever culture decides is charismatic, successful, influential – whatever gets things done, whatever can gather a crowd of followers – hardly noticing that these ways and means are at odds with the clearly marked way that Jesus walked and called us to follow.”
“Jesus’ metaphor, kingdom of God, defines the world in which we live. We live in a world where Christ is King. If Christ is King, everything, quite literally, everything, every thing and every one, has to be re-imagined, re-configured, re-oriented to a way of life that consists in an obedient following of Jesus.”
“The ways and means promoted and practiced in the world are a systematic attempt to substitute human sovereignty for God’s rule. The world as such has no interest in following the crucified King.”
“Once we start paying attention to Jesus’ ways, it doesn’t take us long to realize that following Jesus is radically different from following anyone else.”
Uh-huh. That’s exactly right. I’ll be reading this book very slowly…