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The Jews already knew and believed the scriptural record of Creation and the Fall: they knew about sin and that the penalty for sin is death. They needed only to be shown from the Scriptures and from the Resurrection that Jesus was the promised Messiah. On the other hand, the Gentiles, and the Greeks in particular, were evolutionary in their thinking. The Epicureans followed Epicurus — BC , who denied that there was any purposive form in nature and taught that everything on the earth had evolved directly from the earth material itself.

It is not surprising then that the Epicureans believed that pleasure, and particularly sensuous pleasure, was the chief good of existence. The Stoics, on the other hand, stressed a simple life-style, but were completely pantheistic. Thus Greek society was both evolutionary in its thinking and idolatrous in its practice.

These Gentiles did not have the Jewish Scriptures. Paul therefore had to reach them in terms of something they did have—the foundational knowledge of God as Creator, almost obliterated by their philosophies and idolatries, but still there and witnessed to by nature and their consciences Romans , And so, in his address to the men on Mars Hill Acts —31 , Paul began with the power of God in creation, and moved onto the goodness of God in His providence.

He then spoke against their idols, and he urged them to repent in view of the fact that God was ruler and judge and there was a coming day of judgment. It was only after this that he mentioned the Resurrection. But note the order in which Paul developed his argument. Some expositors say that Paul failed in his approach at Athens, because he did not found a church there. In due course a church was begun at Athens, and the conversion of Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus or Supreme Court, was so genuine that he became the leader of it. In the West, evolution is the predominant belief system and, as a result of this denial of the one true God and rejection of His rules for holy living, the epicurean ideal of hedonism pleasure seeking has become the predominant lifestyle.

At the same time many people are turning to the Hindu philosophies of the New Age movement or to the occult to fill the spiritual vacuum in their lives caused by their own atheism. Similarly, most of the countries in which missionary societies work have religions which deny the existence of one holy transcendent Creator and are evolutionary in their beliefs about origins; for example they begin with a belief in pre-existing matter or creatures of some kind.

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These religions usually involve the placating of evil spirits, or the earning of merit by worship, as in Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, animism, etc. The lesson for preachers and Christian missionaries is clear. God has given us in the book of Acts a pattern of a way to effectively reach people today, which we can follow in our own preaching.

Demonstrated to us is the way in which the Apostle Paul adapted his approach and adjusted his method of preaching to best suit the culture of his hearers, both Jews and Gentiles—to begin where they were at. We also see the way in which he used creation evangelism to best penetrate the thinking of the Greeks.

Creation evangelism is a tool which works. Our society today, in its evolutionary thinking, ignorance of the one true living God, and preoccupation with sex, is much more like that of the Greeks than that of the Jews. Preachers today can therefore follow this pattern to their own advantage and the advantage of their hearers. We have supplied this link to an article on an external website in good faith. But we cannot assume responsibility for, nor be taken as endorsing in any way, any other content or links on any such site.

Even the article we are directing you to could, in principle, change without notice on sites we do not control. Three of the four gospels claimed God spoke but the messages were very different.

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So, too much variability in what God said and some variability in whether God spoke at all. Did the events surrounding the baptism happen? By these measures, probably not. Did the baptism itself happen and was it performed by John the Baptist? Probably, since there is little variability on the event itself or on the existence of John the Baptist. On the existence of Barabbas. They perceived Jesus as a threat to the established order. Did this really happen? In this case, all 4 canonical gospels agreed that it happened and was explained in similar ways.

The very low inter-. Betrayed by Judas, abandoned by his disciples, rejected by the Jewish leaders, condemned by the Roman authorities, mocked by the priests, the passersby and even the two criminals being crucified with him. In the end he feels forsaken by God himself. He is in deep despair and physical pain. Jesus is not silent on the way to the cross.

The love of God

He seems more concerned for the people around him. At the cross he is not silent. Jesus does not seem to be in despair at all and seems to understand what is happening to him.

Jesus appears calm and ready for what awaits him, a dramatically different recounting from Mark. So, A despairing Jesus, on the one hand vs a triumphant one, on the other. The Resurrection Narrative: This is my favorite one. Mark ends the narrative by describing how Mary Magdalene went to the tomb with two other women and found it empty where the stone had already been rolled away. A young man dressed in white announces the resurrection. In Mathew, Mary and another Mary came to the tomb. An angel descends upon the tomb and opens it, after incapacitating the guards, and instructs the women to tell the disciples that Christ has risen.

As they leave the area they encounter the risen Jesus.

Gluons and Gospels

Later he appears to his disciples in Galilee. In Luke, many women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem, went to the tomb. Two men in dazzling clothes appear next to them and the women are NOT instructed to go to Galilee for Jesus had foretold of his resurrection previously while he was in Galilee, long before his crucifixion. In John, Mary Magdalene travels to the tomb alone, finds it empty and then Jesus appears to her, speaks of his resurrection and instructs her to tell the news to his disciples.

Jesus then appears to his disciples. Did the resurrection happen? In summary, the mythical events surrounding Jesus fail the historical critical test since they cannot be verified by history, the laws of physics or the gospels themselves. However, if we gather all descriptions that have no inter-gospel variability, the picture that emerges is that of a real Jesus, who was born to Mary, who was baptized, whose ministry challenged the order of the time and who was crucified for it, in place of Barabbas. The historical critical method does not criticize, nor does it deny the importance of devotional studies of Jesus which rely heavily on the combined information in the canonical gospels, all assumed to be either true or have true value for spiritual guidance.

The devotional study of Jesus and what we can learn from it is beyond the scope of this presentation, but we allude to it now as we discuss the evolution of Christianity. Divergent paths: Jesus inspired many followers, leading to a proliferation of ideas and practices. The adherents of this path were known as the Gnostic Christians. Thus Gnostics — those who have knowledge, as opposed to.

We did not know about these gospels until very recently. They were discovered in in Nag Hammadi, Egypt where 52 texts were unearthed.

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All Christians at the time, agreed that only God and Christ have ultimate spiritual authority but where they differed was on who gets to administer that authority. Gnostics valued direct personal experience, not second-hand testimony and certainly not mediated by any hierarchical institution.

This made sense in the context of the time because early Christianity was heavily influenced by Hellenic thought and many of the early followers were highly educated and wanted to think for themselves. The Gnostic gospels attribute to Jesus acts and sayings quite different from those in the canonical gospels. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth.

The Relevance of Jesus' Own Gospel: The Views of a Physics Teacher

The rest of the disciples were offended. They said to him, - Why do you love her more than all of us? The Savior answered and said to them: - Why, do I not love you as I love her? Not something you will find in the bible.


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