Monthly Archives: August 2012

Heaven In Simple Terms

Some biblical illustrations are harder to understand than others, particularly in the 21st century.  Consider Jesus’ words in John, Chapter 10.  John noted in this passage that the disciples had difficulty with the sheep and shepherd metaphors.

When we asked Bill Warrick what he would say if he only had five minutes to tell someone about Heaven, Bill shared that he told his own father about Jesus representing himself as the great shepherd.  Bill’s video continues to get steady play on this blog, so obviously people are curious about Heaven.

Here’s a beautiful video short that illustrates Jesus’ metaphors about the way to Heaven.  It’s perfectly clear—there’s only one gate.


American Bible Challenge

So how well do you know the Bible?  The American Bible Challenge is a new game show debuting tonight on the GSN Network (channel 258 in Williamsburg, check your local listings).

Here’s a link to the show’s home page where you can get additional apps and information, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show.

I’m certain Veracity readers will do quite well.  Enjoy!

Historicity of the Bible

Is the Bible a reliable historical document?  This is a huge topic—too ambitious for a blog post—but here’s an attempt to whet your curiosity to dig a little deeper.

Sometimes it takes quite a bit of investigation, discovery, and thinking to connect the dots.  (For example, Rick Larson’s work on the Star of Bethlehem.)  But there are examples that are right in our faces.  Consider the Arch of Titus in Rome.  Titus was the Roman commander in charge of the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., which destroyed Herod’s Temple.  The Roman army carried off the Temple treasures, including the Menorah, Table of the Showbread, and Temple TrumpetsRecent research into the bas relief on the Arch of Titus has discovered that the Menorah in this frieze was originally painted gold.

Arch of Titus

Temple Plunder on the Arch of Titus, Rome

Here is an extra-biblical source showing the Menorah from the Hebrew Temple, carried off in the spoils of war, and sculpted into a Roman monument by the Roman people.  And it is identical to the lampstand prescribed by God to Moses in Exodus 25.  And it was described in detail by (non-Christian) first-century historian Flavius Josephus, and later rabbinical sources.  If you put that all together, we have extra-biblical evidence for the elements in the Holy of Holies, confirmation of a match between Scripture and what was found in the Temple, confirmation of the elements used in service by Hebrew priests, and a very big problem for those who deny that the Temple was ever on Mount Moriah.  It’s as close as we can get to an ancient photograph.  This particular sculpture was used to create an official seal for the modern State of Israel featuring the Menorah.  So there’s one small example of the historicity of the Bible.

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Why I Believe

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
1 Peter 3:15, NIV

So why do I believe?  Because the more I study, the more it all makes sense, and the more I find veracity in the wonderment of the Scriptures.  That veracity substantiates Christ as Lord.

Paris Carousel

Eiffel Tower Carousel, 2009

Personally, coming to faith is a lot easier if you’re somewhat of a thinker.  For example, take a moment to study the above photograph.  How much do you see?

People, a carousel, an interesting vignette?  A mother caring for her infant, an artist sketching a little girl, a father holding his small son on the ride, a man taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower at nightfall, people out in the late spring air?  Go a little deeper.  A street-corner amusement ride, yellow horses, lights, inertia, centripetal motion, commerce?  A woman enjoying a chocolate gelato—thermodynamics? Barely scratching the surface.  A woman wearing a Palestinian scarf—the struggles of displaced people.  What about the sounds and smells?  Music, emotion, soulful awareness?  A bunch of energy holding together particles interacting with their environment bound by the laws of the physical sciences bathed in photons?  All of this is happening in three-dimensional space and time.  Deeper still.  What might each of these people be thinking and feeling?  Love, loneliness, heartache, guilt, helplessness, grief, a moment’s rest, joy?  Now we’re getting somewhere.

Two overarching questions:
1.  Where did all of that come from, and
2.  Why is it there?

Intellectually speaking, this is where a lot of people just stay on the merry-go-round.  For whatever reasons they get lazy or distracted in their thinking and just try to enjoy the ride.  But that approach to life ultimately leads to the back end of where you were.

Conversely, if you think that picture through to a logical conclusion you can find Jesus Christ.  If you want to check the underpinnings of my faith, go to the Kaqexeß page of the Veracity blog and start reading.  I would recommend beginning with the Judge for Yourself post because it frames some really interesting facts that support Scripture, and because it challenges you to think about your burden of proof.  Specifically, it may be important to check your biases with objectivity.

But if you want me to give a reason for the hope that I have, here are just 50 of the reasons (in bulleted form).

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Podcasts & Podcatching

DowncastThis post describes how you can tap into a wealth of audio and video resources in the form of podcasts.

If you’re not familiar with podcasts, they are essentially online audio and video files that you can listen to or watch on your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone, and many other portable devices.

Videos, music, sermons, radio programs, TV shows,  lectures, debates—you name it—can all be delivered free or inexpensively and played back whenever and wherever you like.

Interested in personal discipleship?  Podcasts give you easy access to teachers like Andy Stanley, Tim Keller and Dick Woodward. Go for a walk while listening to Dan Wallace describe exciting work at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.  Listen to Hugh Ross explain why the universe is the way it is while stuck in traffic.  Cook dinner while Ray Vander Laan teaches about the Dead Sea Scrolls.  How about Mark Driscoll while waiting at the doctor’s office? OK, you may want to wait on that last one, but you get the idea.  Great teaching is easier to access than ever before.

There are lots of ways you can get podcasts, which is why I’m writing this post.  It’s easy to get lost in jargon and apps and how-to guidance.  There is a great app for podcatching (that avoids synching with iTunes) called “Downcast”  but there isn’t a lot of documentation.  So here’s a quick video to get you up to speed.

If you decide to use the Downcast app, here are a few more videos that go deeper into the features.  Enjoy!

1. Downcast Features

2. Downcast Additional Features

3. Downcast on iPhone and meet the Developer

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