The Resurrection: Hoax or Hope?
Historically, the proclamation of the Christian evangelistic message contains the twins of the Gospel which are the Cross and the Resurrection. When my family and I were living in England, I was shocked by an article in the local “Portsmouth News, 13 April 2001.” It reported that it asked 50 clergy of churches in the area what they thought their congregation’s belief was regarding Easter. These professional pastors admitted that 48% of their church members did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and 60% believed that the spirit of Easter had been lost in favor of bunnies and Easter eggs. Needless to say, I was horrified by this dismal report of the Biblical illiteracy of the church members around me.
The apostle Paul makes it quite clear that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to the Christian Faith. In 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 he states,
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
The claim of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead makes the Christian Gospel totally unique in comparison to all other religions. In fact, it is at the heart of the evangelistic message. It is sited by:
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The Gospel of Mark ends with a simple command to the disciples of Jesus Christ, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:14) The term “gospel” simply means “good news.” Sadly, this instruction to the Church has been misrepresented by many well-meaning Christians today.
In an attempt to see membership increase, some modern churches have strayed into non-Biblical practices that actually eclipse the presentation of the true gospel message. These types of conversions require no understanding of God, sin, judgment, nor atonement.
Absent are the core elements of the true Gospel that it leaves the hearer to determine for themselves which Jesus they choose to believe in. For many, this leads to a metaphysical, self-validated experience that ultimately does not bring these new “believers” into a real understanding of the Biblical conditions for reconciliation with God.
This is a wide-reaching, experience-based Christianity, which seems to allow each participant to follow their own emotions as a guide to truth. The immersion of the senses is at the heart of this type of religious experience. Entertainment and excitation become key elements in their church services. This literally becomes showtime for the sheep.
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COVID-19: Koinonia House Update
Living in isolation can be both a blessing and a curse. Separated from the normal daily routines that previously filled our busy lives, we can struggle to find things to do during this unplanned free time.
Caught in the unalterable paradigm shift that is sweeping the whole world, I think that it is safe to say that “tomorrow will not be like yesterday, next week will not be like last week, and certainly next month will not be like last month.” Therefore, we are all witnessing the sweeping away of our previous life’s markers by which we measure and direct our daily lives.
During this time, we here at Koinonia House are analyzing and reevaluating our practices as a ministry. We acutely feel that we need to be making ourselves more available to those who look to us for assistance in their discovery of and/or journey through the Bible. Therefore, we are implementing some fundamental changes that we hope will be of some practical use to you during these days of isolation.
- Although we have implemented a work-from-home policy for our employees in the interest of their health and safety, our North American Customer Service Department is still available to help you 7-days a week, 6:00 am to 9:00 pm Pacific Time. Our toll-free number in the USA is 1-800-KHOUSE1 (1-800-546-8731).
- We are still able to ship physical products from our North American office, so don’t be afraid to order what you need.
- We are not able to ship physical products from our New Zealand office, but digital downloads can still be purchased as normal.
- We have discontinued the printed version of our “Personal Update” news journal. You can still get the electronic version for free through our website, khouse.org.
Please, please let us know if there is anything that we can do to help you. We may not have the answers, but we know a God who does. Are you stuck in isolation somewhere? Are you filling your day looking at your phone for answers? Are you overwhelmed by the constant flood of bad news that seems to fill your media portals to the outside world?
I have these three practical home remedies to suggest:
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Foreshadowing the Final Age?
In recent weeks, the world has witnessed a global phenomenon that is unprecedented in human history. National governments, businesses, churches, and local communities have responded to the COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic with, what appears to be, a sudden and severe suspension of people’s individual liberties. National borders are closed, travel is restricted or completely suspended, businesses are closed, and planned public events are canceled. One of the sad results of this global crisis is the panic-driven purchasing of essential goods by a bewildered public who have been forced into unwanted and unprepared isolation. At this point, it is very hard to discern what is really going on.
As I am writing this article, I have been communicating with friends in Italy, where they have been told that all citizens must remain in their homes until further notice. Limited to “essential errands,” the Italians are forced to remain in isolation. One gentleman told us that he was not allowed even to cross town to visit his own family. Restaurants are closed, coffee bars are silent, and streets are empty.
In the midst of these initial chaotic days, I was faced with a nagging question of “How did so many give up so much so quickly?” The speed of this blitzkrieg has surprised even the most pessimistic conspiracy-theory advocate. It has been said that Knowledge is Power. Therefore, it would appear that an informed and powerful elite can easily control an ignorant public if fear blinds the minds of the masses.
Now, the purpose of this article is not to debate the reasonableness of these actions or reaction as they are related to the current WHO declared pandemic but to examine a possible Biblical perspective that might give us insight into this current social phenomenon. In other words, is there a future parallel to the coming subjugation of the whole world as predicted in Scripture?
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Corona Crisis and the Concentration of Control?
Former President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel stated in 2008: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The Russian dictator Joseph Stalin stated: “Crisis alone permitted the authorities to demand – and obtain – total submission and all necessary sacrifices from its citizens.” From the beginning of history, people have given up freedom in a time of fear. Fear and insecurity caused people to give up the independence of their farms and gravitate together for protection in the first communities. They looked for someone good at fighting to be their captain.
An example of fearful people wanting a captain is in the Book of Judges 11: “And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went … unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.”
After captains won victories, people showed favoritism to them and their families, leading to a concentration of power in the hands of kings. An example this was after Gideon led Israelites to victory (Judges 8): “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.”
Another example is the Roman Republic, ruled by 600 senators. When there was an attack, they created an emergency one-year position called a “dictator.” After the year of crisis, the Republic went back to business as usual. Julius Caesar took the unprecedented step of making himself dictator for life.
Crises can be natural, such as the famine in Egypt, where people surrendered not just their freedom, but their cattle, land, and lives to the Pharaoh in exchange for food.
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