Category Archives: Apostle Paul

Paul, Apostle of Christ, The Movie

Nero’s Torches , 1876, by Henryk Siemiradzki (1843–1902). Nero used Christians as torches in Rome, in the last days of Paul.

Who was the Apostle Paul, and what was it like to be a Christian in Nero’s Rome, in the A.D. 60’s? Paul, Apostle of Christ, a film directed by Andrew Hyatt, and made by Affirm Films (who also made Fireproof and Courageous), tells the gripping story in a creative way.

Normally, I am a bit skeptical about Christian films, but this one was fantastic. The premise behind the film is that Luke, a physician and companion of Paul, comes to visit Paul, when he is imprisoned in Rome’s Mamertine prison, awaiting execution. Unfortunately, while the film’s premise is very interesting, there is a lot we do no know about the last days of Paul, or how Luke wrote Acts, with any particular degree of certainty. We know from Eusebius, an early church historian, that Paul was held in the Mamertine, and we also know that the madman, Emperor Nero had blamed the great fire in Rome on the Christians, using Christians as torches to light the city.

Did Luke write the Book of Acts, in Rome, during the last years of Paul’s life? Were Priscilla and Aquila in Rome, when Luke came to visit? We have no evidence for these speculations made in the movie. But to focus on these historical questions misses the point of the film. In Paul, Apostle of Christ, we get a glimpse into what motivated Paul, as well asking some very real questions as to how the Christians might have thought about Nero’s persecutions.

Should the Christians fight back and resist Nero? Should they flee Rome itself, and avoid the Romans? Should they stay in Rome and pursue a non-violent course? These are tough questions, and the film rightly explores them, as the persecuted Christian community looks to their imprisoned leader Paul, for help.

Many Christians today think of the so-called “Great Tribulation” solely in terms of a future event, that will happen prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Yet Paul, Apostle of Christ makes a very convincing case that the “Great Tribulation” was just as real, and bad enough, in those terrifying days, in Nero’s Rome. Along the same lines, another recent film, Tortured for Christ, tells us that such “Great Tribulation” even happens in our own day, but that much of American Christianity seems rather oblivious to that reality.

If anything, viewing Paul, Apostle of Christ, should encourage any person, believer or non-believer to take the time and seriously read the Book of Acts. Be thankful for the freedoms that many of us take for granted. Find your faith in the Risen Jesus, just as Paul did. Pray for the persecuted church.


VIDEO: Romans 9-11 Panel Discussion Night Two

Veracity thanks everyone who participated in the panel discussion over the past two weeks in the Williamsburg area, those on the panel, as well as everyone who put their questions forward. I personally learned a lot, and it prompts me to study God’s Word even more! Hopefully, this will be a blessing for those who wrestle these issues, engaging the heart and the mind.

UPDATE: 10/19/2016

Hunter Ruch went to the trouble of going through the video and marking the time segments, allowing you to skip to particular questions you are interested in.  Thanks, Hunter (though it was his wife’s idea to do this)!

WEEK 2 (9/4):

  • Introduction, Review & Definition of Terms by Clarke Morledge (0:00-23:11)
  • Question #1: Election and Salvation? Why do I need to understand the theory of election? (23:12-34:11)
  • Question #2: Clarify the use of “Hebrew,” “Israelites,” and “Jews.” (34:12-42:26)
  • Question #3: The Land of Israel? (42:27-1:00:45)
  • Question #4: One or Two Paths to God? (1:00:46-1:02:44)
  • Question #5:  The Dangers of Neglecting Ethnic Israel? (1:02:45-1:08:49)
  • Question #6: Obsession vs. Negative Views of Israel? (1:08:49-1:18:57)
  • Conclusion by Travis Simone (1:18:58-1:37:44)

 


Who is the “All Israel” in Romans 11?

Is the secular nation state of Israel a fulfillment of Bible prophecy? Veracity tackles a "hot potato."

Who is the “all Israel” in Romans 11? Is it the church? Is it ethnic Jews? Or something more nuanced?

One of the most difficult set of verses in the Bible to understand is found in Romans 11:25-26a:

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved….(ESV).

There is a lot going on in these verses, so in this post I would like to focus on the meaning of two words, found in verse 26: “all Israel.” This is a crucial part of the Bible as this passage comes near the end of Romans 9-11, where Paul is making an extensive argument, trying to explain why so few Jews in his day were accepting Jesus as their Messiah. Paul is demonstrating that God has indeed kept his promises to Israel, and in these key verses, he is drawing his argument to a conclusion.

However, there are very different views as to who is meant by this “all Israel.” What does Paul mean by this? Let us examine the views and see if some sense can be made about this question.
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VIDEO: Romans 9-11 Panel Discussion Night One

Veracity invites everyone interested, in the Williamsburg area, to attend next week’s conclusion to our Romans 9-11 Panel Discussion. Enjoy the video from this past week!

  • Williamsburg Community Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Highway, Williamsburg VA, 23185
  • Student Ministries Worship Room
  • Sunday, September 4, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

UPDATE: 10/19/2016

Hunter Ruch went to the trouble of going through the video and marking the time segments, allowing you to skip to particular questions you are interested in.  Thanks, Hunter (though it was his wife’s idea to do this)!

WEEK 1 (8/28):

  • Introduction by Clarke Morledge (0:00-25:28)
  • Question #1: Why is Paul so burdened about his fellow Israelites? (25:29-31:07)
  • Question #2: Why would a knowledge of the Old Testament help us to understand what Paul is trying to say in Romans 9-11? (31:08-37:43)
  • Question #3: What is “election?” (37:44-1:02:18)
  • Question #4: Does God still have a plan for ethnic Israel? (1:02:19-1:18:24)
  • Question #5: Final panelist questions  (1:18:25-1:22:00)
  • Question #6: Who is “all Israel?” (1:22:01-1:24:58)
  • Wrap Up & Prayer by Clarke Morledge (1:24:59-1:27:20)

 


Why Second Timothy was Written Under Paul’s Authority (and Why We Should Care)

My friend, Hunter Ruch, invited me to participate in a “Summer Reading Challenge” interview, for our church, this past Sunday. We had read 2 Timothy during the prior week, and I talked about an experience in college when I was told that “Paul never wrote 2 Timothy… it was a forgery.”

Unfortunately, we ran out of time for me give an adequate response to the forgery claim. So, after you view this 9-minute video, stick around and read my response below…. But most importantly, consider with me why it is important for Christians in our culture to care to know about these things.

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