by Marsha Dowell
My brother, “Little Ernie,” is 19 years younger than I am. As young adults, Sid, my future husband, and I were able to observe my father, “Big Ernie” disciplining my little brother. After some misbehaving on my brother’s part, my father would mete out appropriate punishment. The little guy got what he deserved! My brother would be very sorry for what he did and promise, with tears, that he would not do it again. Then my father would wrap my little brother up in his arms and tell Little Ernie that he loved him. This was not a daily occurrence, but almost! (more…)
by Paul McQuien
Our immediate answer to the title question is probably “No,” yet Matthew 5: 48 from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount states: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (NIV). After all, it seems to contradict passages such as Paul’s echo of Psalm 14 in Romans 3 that “no one is righteous, not even one” (v. 10), and that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23). Without watering down the Matthew passage and making it say less than it should, an examination of the word “perfect” itself and the contexts in which it appears sheds light on the passage in Matthew. (more…)
by Mark Hammitt
CORPUS CHRISTI –This summer, young people from Weber Road and many other places throughout Texas will be attending Camp Bandina near Bandera, Texas. We will also send over 20 Weber Road adults to serve as staff members, counselors, and Bible class teachers during the session that includes July 4.
Weber students have been attending this camp since the 1960’s and many good things can be said about its value. Here are three of those things. (more…)
by Buck Griffith
CORPUS CHRISTI – “Making our world a safer place by teaching Christ to prisoners” is one of the goals of the Kings Crossing Prison Ministries. The work has been fruitful for over 40 years. This quick trip down memory lane highlights the many achievements and milestones along the way. (more…)
by Gene Vance
SAN ANTONIO — Manifold confusion has simmered in the Christian community since the 1700’s concerning the topic of predestination for individuals. The theory of Predestination is based on seven scriptures taken out of their specific context. The word “foreknowledge,” appears first and is followed by five, forced into six, more descriptive pictures: Acts 2:23, Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29-30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:5, and Ephesians 1:11. Verses 29 and 30 of Romans 8 have been made into separate verses, although the Greek text does not do so. (more…)
by Paul McQuien
That Joshua of the Hebrew Old Testament and Jesus of the New Testament share the same name is common knowledge. Earlier in his life Joshua was called “Hoshea,” which means “salvation” (Num. 13:8, 16). Later, Moses changed his name to Joshua, meaning “the Lord saves” or “the Lord gives victory.” In Matthew 1:21 the Lord told Joseph in a dream to name Mary’s baby Jesus, the Greek form of Joshua, along with the other names, Immanuel and Messiah, given in Matthew and Luke.
Traditionally, the Old Testament Joshua has been interpreted as a symbolic forerunner of the New Testament Jesus. The older terminology often used the terms “type” (Joshua) and “antitype” (Jesus) to designate such parallels between the two Testaments.
But the objection might arise that Moses would be a better “type” in this context than Joshua; after all, through the divine will of Yahweh (I AM), Moses rescued the Israelites from the Egyptians and entered the presence of Lord on Mount Sinai to deliver the Ten Commandments and the mosaic law to God’s chosen people.
Yet Moses was a flawed individual in some respects. His volatile temper led him to kill an Egyptian overseer (perhaps justifiably), which caused his flight into the wilderness and his later resistance to doing Yahweh’s will in the burning bush episode. His ego later motivated him to take credit for providing water from the rock the second time, instead of giving glory to God, which ultimately prevented his entering the “Promised Land” (Num. 20: 10-13).
In contrast, Joshua is portrayed as the morally upright deliverer who led his people across the Jordan River into Canaan, just as Jesus leads his faithful followers across the river of death into eternal rest. This is not to say that Joshua was literally perfect like Jesus, but there is no record of any transgressions on his part in the Pentateuch or Book of Joshua, which concludes with his famous farewell assertion, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (24:15 NIV).
There are at least two additional good reasons for comparing Jesus to Joshua. The first of these has to do with the word “rest,” which plays an important role in this context. The term appears at the very beginning of the book in 1:13—“The LORD your God will give you rest by giving you this land” and is repeated in verse 15. It reaches its culmination toward the end of the book in 21:44, 22:4 and 23:1, when “the LORD had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them” (23:1).
That the inspired New Testament authors saw a connection between Joshua and Jesus in terms of rest appears in the fourth chapter of Hebrews. Here the anonymous author wrote, “For if Joshua had given them [eternal] rest, God would not have spoken later of another day” (v. 8), which has been made possible by the second Joshua—Jesus Christ.
One final parallel between Joshua and Jesus and Joshua appears in their remarkable power over nature. In Joshua’s case, of course, the power of Yahweh was working through him on three dramatic occasions: the dividing of the Jordan River, the crumbling walls of Jericho and the sun standing still at Aijalon (10:12-13). Jesus’ feeding the multitudes, walking on the water and calming the storm provide familiar New Testament examples.
While skeptical Biblical critics have had a field day with these remarkable events, perhaps their purpose was to show how God’s two great deliverers, one earthly and one heavenly, have delivered God’s chosen people from despair and destruction. Also, the similarities between these two respective Old Testament and New Testament characters (type–antitype) help confirm the unity and divine inspiration of the entire Bible.
by Marsha Dowell
Holding hands.” Doesn’t that conjure up visions of romantic walks, Valentine’s Day, true love, and “they lived happily ever after”? (more…)
by Paul McQuien
One of the perplexing problems of the Bible is the contrast between the seemingly angry God of the Old Testament and the loving God of the New Testament. Some people have even gone to the extreme of rejecting the biblical revelation altogether, questioning how a loving God could cause, or at least allow, so much violence and suffering to occur. (more…)
Although the Jews abandoned their disastrous idolatrous practices after their return from Babylonian and Persian captivity, the worship of false gods was still universal among the Greeks and Romans of the first century A.D. And a form of idolatry still haunts us today in the 21st century. (more…)
In December, 2018, my 91-year-old father-in-law Cecil had a stroke. He was in Albuquerque visiting his 92-year-old sister Juanita. If you are envisioning two old people spending their days sitting in rockers, you would be wrong. These two spend their days sightseeing, exercising, and going out to eat. (more…)
by Marsha Dowel
“Embrace the change!” The first time I ever heard these words was when I was the assistant manager at a Disney Store. I was complaining to the manager about a policy modification. She had already accepted it mentally, but me – not so much. So my response to her “embrace the change!” statement was a cynical look, and an inward thought of “Yeah… Riiii-ght.” (more…)
One of the most familiar passages in the New Testament contains the blessings spoken by Jesus at the beginning of his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3-11), which we commonly refer to as the “Beatitudes.” These statements all begin with the English words “Blessed” because they usually convey a state of spiritual well-being that transcends a material this-worldly state of mind. Yet these so-called beatitudes can occasionally have an ironic twist. (more…)
by Marsha Dowell
In Matthew chapter 19, disciples and religious leaders were crowded around Jesus. The religious leaders were interested in the legalities of marriage and divorce; Jesus began explaining the differences between legalities, and the matter of the heart.
An interruption came when children were brought for Jesus to lay His hands on them and pray. The religious leaders and disciples were NOT amused. They had important things to learn. But Jesus stopped them in their tracks with this verse: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of Heaven.”
Heaven belongs to the children? Why? What about us? (more…)
by Paul McQuien
Attitudes toward the inspiration of the Bible range across the entire spectrum from the agnostic denial of divine inspiration of the text, other than in a literary sense, to the polar opposite that every word, at least in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, was divinely inspired. Other viewpoints accept the general inspiration of the Testaments but question the idea of “verbal plenary” inspiration of every word and sentence.
One helpful approach is to examine what the Bible itself, especially the New Testament, tells us about divine inspiration of the text, and the short answer is, not a whole lot. In general, the Scriptures assert their divine origin without attempting to prove them. After all, proof would negate the necessity of faith, which is central to Christianity. (more…)
by Marsha Dowell
When I was 11 years old, my mom told me I was adopted by my father. All I could think of from that point on was, “I have a stepfather! He must not love me as much as my younger sister.”
When traveling in the car, sometimes I would think, “He could just drop me off on the side of the road and leave me, ‘cause I’m not his real daughter.” After all, I was not as pretty as his real daughter, who was a blonde-haired beauty. (more…)