Psalms 137 has long been one of my favourite biblical passages and not simply because of the shock value held by the final verses. Surely “a blessing on him who repays you in kind” and “a blessing on him who seizes your babies and dashes them against the rocks!” are the rarest of occurrences in any sermon (137:8—9)! This type of retaliatory language only piqued my interest in Psalm 137 and to avoid running the risk of a shallow understanding and interpretation I was forced to study the passages in detail. Apart from the obvious questions one could ask, such as “what on earth is something like this doing in the bible?” and “is this really condoning the dashing of babies as a form of retribution?”—certain theological questions arise for the Christian disciple reading such a passage. Namely what does this suggest about God, if anything, and the issues of faith the author was faced with during the time period this passage was constructed? Moreover, what does Psalm 137 suggest about the society it was written in? Continue reading
Episode 18 (Part I) of The Skeptics’ Testament Podcast available now on iTunes! This episode we continue our philosophical discussion with Tyler and Brandon. Here Brandon details his position on Nihilism.
Episode host (direct download): http://podcastlaboratory.libsyn.com/the-skeptics-testament-episode-18
Episode 17 of The Skeptics’ Testament available now on iTunes! This episode we take to some questions about failed prophecy, homosexuality in the Hebrew bible and NT (as well as briefly touching on masturbation), how marriage functioned in the Ancient Near East and the ban Ezra placed on intermarriage all according to the bible!
Episode host (direct download): http://podcastlaboratory.libsyn.com/the-skeptics-testament-episode-17
Gnosticism and the Early Church Fathers: Irenaeus and Clement
Following the death of Jesus a handful of followers continued to meet and prepared to carry on with his ministry. The author of Acts names the twelve disciples (and following this a replacement for Judas), Jesus’ mother Mary, and his brothers who continued to pray together. We are told here that Peter stood up among the handful, numbering about one hundred and twenty believers, apparently prepared to lead the way as a spokesman for the apostles. From here then, he and the others began preaching in Jerusalem (Acts 1:12—15; Acts 2:14—8:3). From what seems to be an early congregation and the beginning of the organization of the church, this group would eventually grow, almost exponentially following Paul’s conversion, and spread out from Jerusalem reaching as far as Rome (Acts 2:37—42; Acts 9; Acts 27) in Paul’s lifetime. Continue reading