Morality: A question of law or opinion

Arguments for the existence of an absolute moral law.

In our age of multicultural relativism, the ten commandments are often viewed as dead platitudes, antiquated and irrelevant for modern man. Several years ago, there was a long and furious debate when a judge in America placed the ten commandments in his courtroom. Despite the fact that they were eventually removed, the judge received a lot of support for his action. In the last century, God was declared dead and yet it appears that it is only His detractors who have died and He is still alive. Various countries have tried, and yet have been unable to banish God. A zampolit (protector of Soviet dogma) pressuring a Christian pastor, was asked by that pastor, “If the party told him tomorrow to go to church and light a candle, what would he do?” He responded, that it would never happen. Well, that “never” has happened and that tomorrow has come. Many years later that same zampolit printed Gospel tracks for me, an American missionary. Continue reading “Morality: A question of law or opinion”

Awakened to sin

In trembling hands, the fruit rolled off his fingers and dropped to the ground. The fruit had an overpowering taste that was different than anything he had eaten before. And yet, no sooner had he tasted the sweet juices of the fruit than he was filled with a bitterness that reached deep into his soul. No one needed tell him what had just happened. It was all too painfully clear as a new sensation arose within him. What was it? Though he had never even thought of such a word, “guilt” seemed to be appropriate description of what he was feeling. It seemed to become apart of his innate knowledge of himself. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, did indeed impart a deep knowledge. The knowledge itself was of no abstract theoretical type. Continue reading “Awakened to sin”

Fears of uncertainty and fable creatures

Stories of a creature with a head like a dog and hind legs like a kangaroo, which sucks the blood out of chickens and rabbits take us back to the old country. Yes, it may be part of what we call the Old Country, however it is in modern day Ukraine that these stories live. Not long ago, I was made aware of these creatures roaming the western Ukrainian countryside. By all accounts, this creature or creatures have even made it to the outskirts of Kiev. It would normally be worth little more than a short account in your supermarket tabloids if it weren’t for the level of publicity and actual concern of people. Several news stories have been dedicated to sightings of chupakabra, the above described creature. Continue reading “Fears of uncertainty and fable creatures”

Churches in conflict

I am pained to write about church conflicts. Yes, it is a reality and that does not bother me as much as what impression it leaves upon others. When there are conflicts within the Christian community, those unaffiliated smirk. It seemingly gives the onlookers ample justification for their rejection of the Gospel. “If the good news of Jesus is full of peace and love, then why all this bickering?” There are some merits to this line of argument, but I believe it is intentionally short-sighted and a superficial evaluation of the situation. Here are some important aspects that the outsider does not consider.

  1. A functioning church is not a place of superficial contacts. Continue reading “Churches in conflict”

Fundamentals of the Gospel

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7

The question arises, “What defines a different gospel?” Or rather, “How far can we move away from the gospel before it is no longer the gospel?” The answer lies in the gospel itself. For to understand a perverted gospel we must understand the true gospel. Upon some meditation, I have compiled a list of five essential points. These are fundamental aspects of the gospel, with which if there any variance the gospel ceases to be the gospel.

Continue reading “Fundamentals of the Gospel”

Kindle Russian Bible and Greek NT

For all my e-reader Bibles go to my Bibles for e-readers page.

I have formated the   Russian Synodal Bible for Kindle with Cyrillic letters.   Parrallel I have formated the Greek NT WH with accent marks.   Both are laid out similar to my KJV format for Kindle.  They are saved in .mobi format so they may work on some other devices as well.   Let me know if you find these useful.

UPDATED: Navigation upgraded. ePub format made available. Go to here for the latest.
http://believingthomas.org/ebook/free-ebook-bibles/ If you are interested in these versions you would also be interested in the Bilingual versions of the Bible. There is also a multi-language Bible with KJV-RUS-URK-GRK.

NOTICE:  Works for Kindle 3. For Kindle 2, the kindle needs to be jail broken and the Unicode font hack applied, which can be found here  http://blogkindle.com/unicode-fonts-hack/ .   I have successfully used this hack, but use it at your own risk.

Allah & Elohim

Contextualization is a popular word in missiology (though neither word is very popular with my spell checker).  This is rightly so.  Contextualization in the context of missiology is the process of taking the gospel message from the context of the Hebrew and first century New Testament world and relaying it in terms that is understandable to present day cultures, especially as it relates to cultures foreign to our own.

Now how does this relate to the terms Allah ( الله‎ ) and Elohim (אֱלהִים)? Continue reading “Allah & Elohim”

Bible KJV in Kindle format for free

For all my e-reader Bibles go to my Bibles for e-readers page.

For myself and everyone else who might have got an Amazon Kindle for Christmas, here is the KJV formatted for the Kindle. There is a table of contents to jump to each book and a table for the chapters at the beginning of each book. I hope you find this useful.  Here is the link to download the Bible.  Bible-KJV.mobi  Just place it in your Documents folder on your Kindle. If you are interested in Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Epub, I have various combinations and formats you can find in Bilingual Parallel Bibles, Multi-language Bibles and Free ereader Bibles. UPDATED: Here is an updated version of the KJV. It has better navigation with Link to the beginning of a book and a link to a simplified Table of Contents at the beginning of each chapter. This I implemented due to my own personal difficulty of moving around the Bible. Bible-KJV.mobi Thank you for all that commented.
UPDATED: Navigation upgraded. ePub format made available. Go to here for the latest.
http://believingthomas.org/ebook/free-ebook-bibles/For all my e-reader Bibles go to my Bibles for e-readers page.

 

Awakening to life

With this, he opened his eyes wishing to see the source of this enchanting music. With this, he opened his eyes wishing to see the source of this enchanting music.

Adam awakened to life with a powerful innate sense of his Creator near. He takes a deep breath of gratitude for the life he now possesses. He looks around and begins to explore his new world. He caches a glimpse of a brightly plumed bird and calls out “parrot”, as if it could not be named anything else. He walks over to a pool of water and bends down. Seeing his reflection he studies himself, smiling as he does, pleased at what he sees. He playfully dips his hand into the pool to catch a “fish”, as he so declares it to be. No sooner has he done so, than he forgets his intentions and with elation revels in the feel of the water. Cool and refreshing, he instinctively drinks in the water from his cupped hands.

He continues to walk through the garden, careful to name every creature that comes within his field of vision. It was an interesting job, endued with purpose. He liked to hear the new sounds roll off his tongue. Each name was unique and meaningful. He felt a sense of duty and pride in his accomplishment as he named each creature. Yet, slowly an emptiness of that pride came over him. The sound of his own voice began to satisfy him less and less. It was as though the sound was meant to be shared. The animals each in turn responded to his voice, but none were able to grasp the significance. Through it all, there was a growing sense of his loneliness, as he noticed that each creature had a companion comparable, yet not identical.

Thirsty, he returned to the pool of water. Before drinking, he again desires to admire his reflection. He grinned but it slowly faded away. Yes, he was handsome but what did it matter? Who would even notice him? He realized a reflection is a poor companion in deed. He quickly thrusts his hand into the water, more out of a need to disrupt his sad thoughts than out of thirst. Tired of exploring his new world and with a desire to forget his somber feelings, he lies on a fresh carpet of grass and enters a deep sleep of dreams.

As he enters his world of dreams, he meets a friend. Together, they walk along throughout the garden enjoying each individual flower tending as they go. They run across the meadows, climb some trees and play in the water. The joy he feels plays across his face as he sleeps. But his smile is not alone, for God also stands by smiling in His own way knowing the dream and its present fulfillment. Deep in sleep Adam feels no pain, yet senses as a rib is carefully removed from his body.

He continues to smile as he slowly begins his ascent from dream land. A smile only disrupted by the remembrance of the last conscience thought of loneliness. He would have desired to return to the land from whence he had just come, if it was not for the sense of another presence. Whatever it was, it was close enough for him to feel its breathing. Not sure what he should do, he remains still, trying to hide his wakefulness. But it was to no avail for the one present was little fooled by this tactic and as such a soft giggle escaped. To him, the giggle was more melodious than any of the song birds he had already named. With its sound, faded all the feelings of loneliness he had experienced and in its place returned the pleasant smile to his face. This came to the great delight of the beholder who responded with another soft giggle. With this, he opened his eyes wishing to see the source of this enchanting music. He could not believe what he saw. Gazing into his eyes were eyes just like his, but not quite his own. The smile that followed the movement of his smile was similar, but not quite the same. It was as though he was looking at his reflection, improved upon many times over. So similar, it was, yet so different. He was bewildered as to what intrigued him the most, the similarities or the differences.

As he looked, he began to raise himself up to get a better look. His recent dream flashes across his mind, but this far surpasses in idea and substance. It is undreamable yet real. New feelings of exhilaration filled his soul. Just as he had named the many other creatures, he understood that this one must have the greatest honor, being the fairest of all. He opened his mouth and declared, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Though many a creature he had named before, none responded with such pleasure and delight as this one, upon hearing her name. Adam felt satisfied. For him, at last, Paradise had real meaning. Paradise had someone to share it with. Paradise had truly become paradise.  Thomas Fleming Oct 11, 2007

Related Post: Awakened to sin

The Audacity of Theology

In a couple of weeks I will begin to teach an Introduction to Systematic Theology. I added the word “introduction”, because I dare not think that in a two week span I can purport to teach anything comprehensive about theology. But one could go further. How dare we purport to know anything about God? Isn’t it the ultimate pride to study God? As if He is susceptible to man’s peering eyes of curiosity? But isn’t that very thing, “the study of God”, the very definition of theology? Isn’t this in and of itself the very audacity of theology? Continue reading “The Audacity of Theology”