Christmas Greeting

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Enjoy Christmas Day

Eat Turkey

Eat a prawn

Sip some eggnog

Avoid Christmas pudding…yuck

Smell the Christmas tree

Be patient with excited children

Don’t forget the hurting, the lonely, and the poor

Sing,  ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’, because if you live in Australia that’s as much snow as we’re going to experience

Tonight, watch Carols by Candlight at the Myer Music Bowl. Yes, I know it’s lame but it is our lame Melbourne tradition.

Remember, Christ has been born. The eternal God, God the Son, took on flesh and made his dwelling among us

Remember, Christ died for our sins

Remember, God raised this Jesus to life on the third

Remember, the hope of the world is now seated at the right hand of God the Father

Remind your children, your friends, and your family, that in Christ there is a joy that will outlast everything you may enjoy on December 25th.

Come Boxing Day, remember that every truth about Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, remains true

An opportunity to show grace

UPDATE (Dec 23, 2pm): Peter Dutton has announced that Hassan Asif’s family will now be granted visa to Australia to visit their son/brother.

Good news

A good decision

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You may have heard the heart wrenching story of Hassan Asif today. A 24 year old student from Pakistan who has terminal cancer. His mother and brother have been refused visas to enter Australia, so that they can be with their son and brother, as he dies.

You can read the story here on ABC news.

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This is dreadfully sad, and of course I am not privy to all the story. From the report, it sounds as though the family were denied because it was believed that they might out stay their visa time frame.

Tonight, I wrote this brief letter to our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull,  asking him to reconsider the decision. Perhaps you might like to consider contacting Mr Turnbull or Mr Dutton also.

 

Dear Prime Minister,

I have heard of the extremely sad situation facing Mr Hassan Asif, and I am asking that we show compassion and grace to him and to his family, by allowing Mr Asif’s family to travel to Australia. No one should have to face death without being surrounded by loved ones. Sometimes this happens, but when the power is in our hands to avoid it, we have the moral imperative to act.

Perhaps there is reason behind declining visas to the family, but I am wondering whether we can show kindness to them, given the circumstances.

I am sure that there will be many Australians who will be willing to assist in bringing the family to Australia, and to caring for them while they are here.

Yours Sincerely

Murray Campbell

Senior Minister, Mentone Baptist Church

 

 

 

Christmas Carols with Chill/i

So it’s a stinking hot morning in Melbourne today. 34º degrees by 7:30am. I reckon that must be close to a record for a Melbourne morning.

News is, the cool change is heading our way and will be sweeping across the Bay by 1-2pm. That’s great news for emergency services and home owners out bush and in outlining parts of Melbourne. It’s also great news for everyone who love Christmas Carols.

Even if the heat persists Mentone Baptist can keep make the auditorium as cold as Montreal on Christmas Eve, and we can even add in the snow…maybe not.

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For Christmas singing, lights, something for the kids, fun, BBQ, and a message about the joy God can give, join us for this wonderful  Christmas tradition.

 

Starts 6pm and will finish around 7pm

Everyone around Mentone, the Bayside and beyond are very welcome

The Creeds, Wheaton College, and the same God theory

Last week a Professor at Wheaton College tweeted, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book”, and “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

The College has since suspended Dr. Larycia Hawkins. News of the suspension has caused a bush fire of controversy among American Christians, and the debate has also spilled over into Australia.

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Islam and Christianity share with Judaism a heritage from Abraham, and all three are monotheistic religions, but the similarities don’t extend much beyond.

Dr Hawkins is rightly seeking to express Christian love toward Muslim people. At this troubled time in world history, it is vital and godly for Christians to show love, grace, and hospitality to our Muslim neighbours and friends, including welcoming Muslim Refugees from Syria. But stretching commonalities in theology doesn’t help anyone, let alone glorifying God.

Miroslav Volf is a notable Christian scholar whom I’ve benefited from in my own thinking on other issues. He has weighed in on this debate in a significant way, arguing while Muslims and Christians hold different views of God,  ultimately the same God is worshiped. That doesn’t mean there is not crucial disagreement about God, however. It is worth reading Volf with his own words.

As I read an update of this story this morning, I was reminded of the Creeds. The historic creeds give articulation to the Christian understanding of God, as is found in the Bible. Do they help us in grappling with this question as to whether Muslims and Christians believe in the same God? How would a Muslim respond, for example, to the Nicene Creed?

“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of Sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

My point is simple, we mustn’t neglect the Creeds as we consider God.

It’s an opportune time of the year to consider who is God, for at Christmas the invisible God took on flesh, in order to take and die for our sins.

This Christmas we will sing, among other carols, ‘O Come all ye Faithful’ which has these words remarkable words about the incarnation of the eternal God, God the Son,

“True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
lo, he shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten not created;”

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Ed Stetzer has also weighed in on the controversy. As usual he makes a lot of sense.                                       http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/december/my-daughter-wheaton-college-protests-and-why-we-are-more-in.html

Al Mohler has written this importance response to the issue – http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/12/18/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-the-same-god/

Kevin De Young has written a useful piece on The Gospel Coalition website

Christmas Carols in Schools: the directive given to Principals

UPDATE as of 8pm December 22nd

Later this afternoon Education Minister, Mr James Merlino, issued a statement via The Australian newspaper, seeking to douse once for all the questions and confusion over whether schools will or will not be allowed to reference God and Jesus Christ in Christmas singing, as of 2016.

I am not interested in the politics being played out between the Government and opposition MPs, but I am concerned about Government overstepping the mark over freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

In his statement, Mr Merlino has reiterated (he made a comment on his website a few days ago) that there is no ban on carols in schools, and he has now specified that songs such as Away in a Manger and O Come all ye faithful, can be sung.  This is most encouraging to hear. I am not sure why it took several days for this clarification to come, but nonetheless, many people will be relieved to hear the news.

This statement is an improvement on and somewhat different to what he said a week earlier, “As with other curriculum decisions, schools will make the decision as to which Christmas carols feature as part of classroom activities.”

Does this mean the end of the matter? Unfortunately no, because  Mr Merlino’s statement is at odds with the Departmental directive sent to school principals. In light of this,  I am requesting that the Minister revise this messy piece of policy, and clarify in writing to schools so that there can be no ambiguity. Better still, why not drop the whole issue and allow schools to return to a practice that has work well for many decades

As I have earlier said, the directive is at best confusing, and a natural reading leaves people sensing that Christian carols are probably not permitted, except for within the very strict parameters of SRI and perhaps the General Religion classes.

The contention now is whether schools will follow Mr Merlino’s comments or will they adhere to the Education Department’s directive.

below is the post I wrote on December 17 with details concerning the directive sent to Principals

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I would prefer to spend this time enjoying the lead up to Christmas, not defending the freedom of children to celebrate Christmas, but unfortunately this is a sign of the times in which we live.

Following on from yesterday’s developments regarding Christmas songs in our schools, I have read a copy of the Government’s directive given to school principals. Below is a screenshot of the most relevant section. The left side describes what is permissible only in a SRI class, and the right hand side outlines what is acceptable as non-SRI activity.

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Logically, these two lists clash. The directive is clear, songs that praise God or some other deity are strictly prohibited outside SRI. The only exception to this rule are songs considered ‘societally recognised’, but even they are limited to General Religious Instruction. However, the right side column says that Christmas carols are permitted. Which is it?

A generous reading of the directive could conclude that children can keep singing ‘Away in a Manger’ and other songs about Jesus’ birth, but in my view that is not the natural reading of the document.

Education Minister, Mr James Merlino, yesterday commented that Christmas carols can still be sung in our schools, which was I was pleased to hear, but his own Department’s notice to school principals puts this in doubt. Unless of course, his meaning of Christmas Carols is limited to those non-religious festive favourites such as ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’.

I’m curious, what will happen to classic songs like John Lennon’s, ‘Imagine’ ,which is often sung at Christmas time. Are anti-God lyrics ok for our children to sing?

One thing is clear from the directive, members of the community can no longer be invited to help schools in their Christmas celebrations, which is sad given how most people appreciate these ties with community groups.

At best this policy is ambiguous (perhaps deliberately so), and that is evident from the disparate interpretations being proffered by various MPs and even schools.

For me, reading the directive raises more questions:

  1. Is a ‘societally recognised’ song permitted to be sung at a Christmas celebration outside of General Religious classes?
  2. By Christmas Carols, are songs about Jesus, the Bible, and God permitted in school celebrations? For example, ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Silent Night’.

If the answer to these questions is yes, and many Victorians will be encouraged to hear this, I would then ask Mr Merlino and the Education Department to clarify the confusion for schools, in writing. Better still, I recommend that the directive be revised to support these important clarifications.

What do others think?

Developments on the ‘ban’ of Christmas Carols in Victorian Schools

Over the last few days there have been developments on the issue of Christmas songs in Victorian State Schools.  Although, perhaps ‘side-step’ or ‘entanglement’ is a better description than development!

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This week, the Geelong Advertiser’s front page headline is, ‘Don’t Take Our Carols. Religious Xmas songs could be banned at schools, claims Katos”

On December 12, former Attorney General and current member for Box Hill, Robert Clark, wrote this.

“It’s hard to believe it could happen, but this year’s school Christmas concerts may be the last at which children are allowed to sing traditional carols, under new State government rules quietly introduced last month.

Well known and much loved Christmas carols like Silent Night, Away in the Manger and Come All Ye Faithful are all caught by the new bans.

The Education Department has instructed government school principals that parent volunteers or outside music instructors are not allowed to teach carols or other “praise music” to students unless it is “common societally recognised music” (whatever that means).

As well, teachers will only be allowed to teach carols if it is part of “general religious instruction”.

The new rules have already caused at least one school to decide to remove traditional carols from their end of year performance, before reversing the decision after parent protest.

Next year, many more schools are likely to decide it is easier to scrap Christmas carols altogether rather than try to work out whether or when they are allowed to have them under the new rules.

It’s not clear whether these new rules are part of a deliberate move to drive out Christmas carols from schools, or the unintended consequences of bureaucratic incompetence and bad drafting.

Either way, the government must withdraw these new rules and allow students at government schools to learn, sing and enjoy Christmas carols as they have for generations.”

Member for Mildura, Peter Crisp, is under the same impression and yesterday began a petition asking for Daniel Andrews to reverse his decision in banning Christian carols from our schools

Education Minister, James Merlino, has today released this response,

“You may have heard ridiculous claims from Coalition MPs that we have banned Christmas carols in schools. That is just untrue.

To be absolutely clear, traditional Christmas carols have been and will continue to be sung at our government schools (including my girls’ school).

These lies are creating unnecessary angst within the community and those spreading this misinformation should be ashamed.

Don’t let the grinches get you down. I hope you all enjoy singing your favourite carols with family and friends this Christmas…I know I will!”

I am pleased to hear Mr Merlino repudiating the claims being made by what is now a growing number of Victorian MPs. However if the new policy is so clear, why are the media continuing to suggest that songs referencing Jesus and God will be prohibited? Are concerned MPs simply playing politics with this issue or is their concern legitimate, and if so, what is the basis for their concerns except for a Government directive which is ambiguous?

We all know that there are Christmas Carols and there are Christmas Carols. While most of us enjoy singing secular favourites about Santa, reindeer and snowmen, will ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘The First Noel’ be permitted in our schools next year? I do not mean to sound disingenuous but clarity is lacking, and recent history gives Victorians reason to ask questions. After all, even now our schools can only sing verse 1 of ‘Away in a Manger’, such is the danger attached to singing its other verses!

I have asked Mr Merlino for clarification on this matter, and am waiting to hear back. I will be encouraged to hear a guaranteed ‘yes’ from the Minister.

For a State that alleges to celebrate diversity and freedom, it is sad to see us having this discussion, even school children singing Christmas songs about Jesus has become contentious, and perhaps to intolerable.

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Shortly after publishing this post it came to my attention that I had misquoted James Merlino.  I rectified the mistake immediately to ensure it is accurate. Apologies to anyone who read the misquote

Christians are to blame for Climate Change Inaction

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Michael Pascoe wants to throw much of the blame for Australia’s apathy on climate change at the feet of those who believe in God. I share his frustration at the lack of action Australia has taken, but his account of the Christian view carries with it the flair of a Donald Trump argument, vociferous but empty.

No one doubts there are climate change skeptics among theists, but evidence suggests that they are few.

Let’s leave aside the cascade of “Christian” figures whom Pascoe names and shames (none of whom are practicing evangelicals, and seriously, would Alan Jones or Andrew Bolt consider themselves anything more than agnostic?), does the evidence stack up? Is the Christian ‘right’ somehow to blame? Does Australia even have a Christian ‘right’?

Long before Paris 2015, and prior to Copenhagen, Poznan, and Bali, Churches in Australia were vocal advocates for taking Climate Change Science seriously.

In 2006, the Baptist Union of Victoria called the Federal Government to take more action on Climate Change. Included in the resolution was the following:

“Commit to a target of 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and develop policies towards this goal, such as:

  • Funding significant research and development in renewable energy sources;
  • Introducing a carbon-trading scheme in which reduced carbon emissions are rewarded financially;
  • Promoting much greater use of public transport and fuel-efficient vehicles”

Similarly, in 2007 the Anglican Diocese of Sydney accepted the emerging scientific consensus and called for action from both Governments and from Diocesan parishes.

The reality is, Christian leaders and denominations have readily accepted scientific consensus and have been calling Government to account for a decade or longer. If anything, the issue is that no one has been listening.

Perhaps though these Christians are acting despite their biblical convictions, preferring the light of science rather than the darkened halls of faith. After all, science and faith oppose each other like the positive and negative forces of magnets. Michael Pascoe adopts this now popular myth when he says,

“Religious faith, by definition, is a matter of faith – not evidence.” 

This may be true for some religions, but it certainly not true of Christianity, which is the group Pascoe targets.

Faith is not the exercise of belief where evidence is absent; the word used in the Bible means belief or trust. What (in)validates faith is the object in which the person puts their trust. Reason is an aspect of faith, as are ethos and pathos, as was notably argued by Aristotle. What forms our beliefs is a combination of truth, social and ethical influences, and desire.

I accept the science of climate change, not because I am a qualified scientist who grasps all the data, but because I am trusting the scientific community of whom the vast majority  have reached consensus (having a climate change scientist in my church hasn’t hurt either!). Unless Michael Pascoe is himself a scientific expert, he too is trusting the information being presented, and with warrant. Christianity is not dissimilar in that demands scrutiny, it anticipates verifiability. The Apostle Paul wrote of the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

“if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Perhaps then, the problem is the Bible itself. Far from inciting rubbishing the environment, the Bible reference that Michael Pascoe quotes, Genesis 1:28, is in fact about responsibility. When read in its context, this is an important verse that calls for humanity to care for creation.

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28)

I suspect this is a case of reading meaning into the text, which is somewhat understandable given how the language of ‘subdue’ and ‘rule’ hold negative connotations in our minds. But if one allows the text to speak for itself, we discover that the responsibility to oversee creation is given a framework; humanity was to rule in a manner similar to God himself. Genesis ch.1 demonstrates a God who blessed the cosmos through his creative and caring power. So too, humanity was to rule under God by looking after the world he had made. The positive language of blessing, being fruitful and increasing, suggests this, and it is further demonstrated by the following chapter of Genesis where man and woman cultivate the garden, giving names to the animals, and bringing order and beauty to this astonishing world. Perhaps the closest analogy we can have is that of a gardener. In the same way a gardener works his garden, she/he does not destroy or harm it, but cultivates it so that it grows in its beauty. That is the mandate given in Genesis 1:28, but sadly we have failed miserably.

Michael Pascoe, you may lay blame at the feet of the Republicans, an absent Cardinal, Tony Abbott, Aussie shock jocks, and poor biblical exegesis, but your hypothesis is evidence light.

If there is a difference between Christians and other members of the community on this issue, it is not about agreeing with the science or with proposed action, but with the question of hope. For the God-skeptic this world is all there is, and so it makes sense that they would invest so much effort into minimising rising temperatures. Christians on the other hand, while valuing creation and seeking to obey the mandate of Genesis 1:28, believe with reason that the one day there will be a new creation; the resurrection of Jesus Christ being the guarantor of this event. Christian hope does not diminish the responsibility that lays before us, but it offers a perspective that humanity needs. Imagine a world without pain and suffering, without disaster and death? For all our science and genius, we have not achieved these things, and most often we lack the resolve to do so. It is wise to take action on climate change, but it is foolish to bank all our hope in the endeavour.

Jesus, the Son of God?

In the lead up to Christmas and Easter, Jesus deniers and antagonists reappear on the media circuit espousing their speculations. They are entitled to express their opinions but it would be nice if they occasionally observed the evidence, rather than hanging their theories on innuendo and cockeyed imaginations.

On Late Night Live with Phillip Adams (November 25), author and Academy award winning screenwriter, Frederic Raphael, was being interviewed on the topics of anti-semitism and screen-writing. What was an otherwise intriguing conversation about cinema and anti-semitism, was interrupted by  some odd ahistorical claims, including that Jesus never said he was the Son of God, “…the Jews who would not accept that Jesus was the Son of God, nor of course did Jesus…but what does he know about it”.

Raphael’s argument isn’t that Jesus and his followers were wrong in believing that he was the Son of God, but that Jesus himself did not believe that he was Son of God.

Presumably, however, the same sources that Raphael depends on for  historical figure of Jesus Christ, are also the very same the sources that insist upon the idea of Jesus’ Divinity. It is one thing to reject that Jesus is the Son of God, but it simply impossible to escape the fact that Jesus identified himself as God the Son. The only way one can arrive at his conclusion is if we were to erase the historical record.

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Here are some examples (and please note that these are only samples) from the historical record indicating Jesus’ self-belief in his Divine nature. The documents I am quoting are also considered by academics as the most reliable and earliest sources for the words and life of Jesus.  It is therefore incongruous to consider Jesus without them.

Jesus’ words

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:6-7)

‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32)

“It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.  Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life”.  (John 6:45-47)

“Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live”. (John 5:25)

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)¹

Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. (John 8:54)

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)

“Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.  But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:36-38)

“When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)

“How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 14:9b-10)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”(John 3:16-18)²

The many ‘I AM’ sayings of Jesus in John’s Gospel are less about English grammar and is the holy name of Israel’s God, revealed to Moses at the burning bush. The religious intelligentsia rightly understood Jesus’ use of the phrase as calling himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

In addition, Jesus’ most frequently used title was ‘Son of Man. While it’s meaning was somewhat enigmatic, Jesus spoke and acted in ways that accorded with the Old Testament and therefore it is difficult to conclude that Jesus viewed the title, ‘Son of Man’, in a way that differed from its use in Daniel chapter 7, where the ‘Son of Man’ is described as one who is given the authority and power of God, and is worshiped accordingly.

Words from others that Jesus did not repudiate

“The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” ((Matthew 4:3)

“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29)

“Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33)

“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

“Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” (John 9:16-17)³

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:20-21)

“Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:31-33)

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)

“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

The reason for Jesus’ crucifixion

“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God”. (John 5:18)

“The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” (John 19:7)

Conclusion

The conclusion is simply inescapable, Jesus believed he was the Son of God. The volume of statements spoken by Jesus about his Divinity is significant, and is perhaps greater than the number of recorded words spoken by President Obama whereby he addresses himself as the President of the United States! In addition to the words of Jesus, when considering whether Jesus is the Son of God, one must also attest to his character and works, all which draw us to the same conclusion. We may question the conclusion, but it is poor form to excise parts of the historical record simply because it doesn’t fit your agenda.

To summarise the evidence:

  • On numerous occasions Jesus indicated that he is God’s Son.
  • Jesus’ opponents believed that Jesus was claiming to be God, and for the said reason they had him killed.
  • Many people believed that Jesus was God and Jesus did not correct them
  • Jesus’ life, character, works, miracles, death and resurrection are unique in the entire history of the world, and each adds weight to his claim of Divinity, not detracts.
  • The first Christians, many of whom were eye-witnesses to the life of Jesus and others were at one time opponents, were prepared to suffer imprisonment and even death for the confession, Jesus is Lord.

“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31)

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  1. Jesus is suggesting more than that he was living prior to Abraham’s birth (at least 1600 years earlier!)
  2. There is debate over whether these words were spoken by Jesus or are a commentary on Jesus’ words to Nicodemus by John. Either way, the understanding is clear.

  3. This debate between Pharisees implies that some people indeed believed Jesus was God

Christmas Carols in Melbourne

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I love Christmas and singing Christmas Carols.

At a time when there is much uncertainty and sadness across our world, what better way to spend a Sunday evening in the lead up to Christmas than for people to get together, and to enjoy singing timeless songs that remind us of a God who brings joy and peace.

You don’t have to be a Christian to come along, or religious in the slightest.  Every one is welcome at Mentone Baptist Church on Sunday December 20th at 6pm.

We also have a service on Christmas morning, 9:30-10:15am.

Click on the picture for further details about these events.

Hope to see you there