Examples include outlawing infanticide, child abandonment and gladiatorial games in ancient Rome, ending the practice of human sacrifice among European cultures, banning pedophilia and polygamy, and prohibiting the burning of widows in India. William Wilberforce, a committed Christian, was the force behind the successful effort to abolish the slave trade in England.
In the United States, two-thirds of abolitionists were Christian pastors. This is still true. Today, good governments promote literacy, advance just laws, provide religious liberty and allow churches to preach and teach. Good government can serve as a conduit for the furthering of the gospel and human flourishing. Christian witness in the public square contributes transcendent values about moral and ethical issues.
Christian withdrawal opens a moral vacuum susceptible to influences that pressure government to move outside the purview designated by God. Politics affects government, shapes society and influences culture. Because of what the Bible teaches and the inevitability of its effect on our culture, Christians must care about politics. Read More.
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In the Bible God is always someone else other than Jesus. Some will say that something Jesus said or something he did while on the earth proves that he is God. We will show that the disciples never came to the conclusion that Jesus is God. And those are people who lived and walked with Jesus and thus knew first hand what he said and did. Furthermore, we are told in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible that the disciples were being guided by the Holy Spirit.
Did Jesus Die for All Men, or the Elect Only?
If Jesus is God, surely they should know it. But they did not. They kept worshipping the one true God who was worshipped by Abraham, Moses, and Jesus see Acts All of the writers of the Bible believed that God was not Jesus. The idea that Jesus is God did not become part of Christian belief until after the Bible was written, and took many centuries to become part of the faith of Christians. They believed that he was the son of God in the sense of a righteous person. Many others too, are similarly called sons of God see Matthew Paul, believed to be the author of some thirteen or fourteen letters in the Bible, also believed that Jesus is not God.
For Paul, God first created Jesus, then used Jesus as the agent by which to create the rest of creation see Colossians and 1 Corinthians Similar ideas are found in the letter to the Hebrews, and also in the Gospel and Letters of John composed some seventy years after Jesus. In all of these writings, however, Jesus is still a creature of God and is therefore forever subservient to God see 1 Corinthians This is often misunderstood to mean that he must have been God. But to say that Jesus was God is to go against what these very authors wrote.
Although these authors had this later belief that Jesus is greater than all creatures, they also believed that he was still lesser than God.
The Content of the Gospel
And Paul declares that the head of every woman is her husband, the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God see 1 Corinthians Therefore, to find something in these writings and claim that these teach that Jesus is God is to misuse and misquote what those authors are saying. What they wrote must be understood in the context of their belief that Jesus is a creature of God as they have already clearly said. So we see then, that some of the later writers had a higher view of Jesus, but none of the writers of the Bible believed that Jesus is God.
The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one true God, the one whom Jesus worshipped see John 3. Jesus performed many miraculous wonders, and he without doubt said a lot of wonderful things about himself. Some people use what he said and did as a proof that he was God. But his original disciples who lived and walked with him, and were eyewitnesses to what he said and did, never reached this conclusion.
The Acts of the Apostles in the Bible details the activity of the disciples over a period of thirty years after Jesus was lifted up to heaven. Throughout this period they never refer to Jesus as God. They continually and consistently use the title God to refer to someone else other than Jesus. It was God, therefore, who did the miracles through Jesus to convince people that Jesus was backed by God. Peter did not see the miracles as proof that Jesus is God. For he always turns the title God away from Jesus.
Take the following references for example:.
In both passages, the title God is turned away from Jesus. So why he did this, if Jesus was God? For Peter, Jesus was a servant of God. The title servant refers to Jesus. They always spoke of God as the only God. Here, as in Matthew , Jesus is the servant of God. Matthew tells us that Jesus was the same servant of God spoken of in Isaiah The Old Testament repeatedly says that God is alone e. Isaiah All of the disciples of Jesus held this view. If Jesus was God, his disciples should have said this clearly. Did they fear men? They boldly preached the truth fearing neither imprisonment nor death.
The God of our fathers raised Jesus Were they lacking the Holy Spirit? They were supported by the Holy Spirit see Acts , , and Christians and Muslims agree that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. The Gospels show that Jesus was not all-powerful, and not all-knowing, since he had some limitations. Mark also tells us that when Jesus tried to heal a certain blind man, the man was not healed after the first attempt, and Jesus had to try a second time see Mark Therefore, although we hold a great love and respect for Jesus, we need to understand that he is not the all-powerful God.
In Mark , Jesus declared that he himself does not know when the last day will occur, but the Father alone knows that see also Matthew Therefore, Jesus could not have been the all-knowing God. Some will say that Jesus knew when the last day will occur, but he chose not to tell. But that complicates matters further. Jesus could have said that he knows but he does not wish to tell. Instead, he said that he does not know.
We must believe him. Jesus does not lie at all. The Gospel of Luke also reveals that Jesus had limited knowledge. Luke says that Jesus increased in wisdom Luke In Hebrews too Hebrews we read that Jesus learned obedience. He knows everything always. So, if Jesus learned something new, that proves that he did not know everything before that, and thus he was not God.
Another example for the limited knowledge of Jesus is the fig tree episode in the Gospels. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit.
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When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. It is clear from these verses that the knowledge of Jesus was limited on two counts. First, he did not know that the tree had no fruit until he came to it. Second, he did not know that it was not the right season to expect figs on trees. Can he become God later? Chapter 15 returns to the story flow with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. This initiates the pouring out of the seven last plagues contained in seven bowls verses 1—5.
A detailed description of these terrible punishments meted out by angels follows in chapter The third angel avenges the blood of the saints by pouring out his bowl on fresh water; it becomes as blood. The fifth angel targets the throne of the beast, plunging it into darkness, pain and anguish. They, too, do not change their ways. In the region of the River Euphrates, three unclean spirits are loosed as the sixth bowl is poured out.
They are demonic beings who stir up world leaders to assemble at Armageddon and go out to fight the returning Christ. Huge hailstones fall, and people once more curse God. John has alluded to the religious aspects of political order in chapter 13, where he introduced a lamb-dragon figure that promotes worship of the governmental beast and obedience to its economic commands Revelation — This false prophet represents a false religious system, symbolized by a great whore in the inset chapter The whore in turn rides the political beast, being transported by it but guiding its way.
The whole world has traded its goods and been dependent on it, acting immorally to gain her favor. The people of God will then participate in the marriage celebrations of Christ and His Church, pictured here as bridegroom and bride Revelation —9. The inauguration of the kingdom of God, which will span an initial 1, years on earth, will coincide with the return of the true Christ as a rider on a white horse verses 11— And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. The people of God will then join Christ in ruling on the earth.
Only after a thousand years will all others come back to life verse 5. At the close of the millennial period, Satan will be released for a short period. He will again deceive some of the nations and then suffer defeat and eternal punishment verse If they do, they will be given eternal life. If they choose not to participate, which would mean living contrary to the laws that guarantee happiness, God will mercifully end their existence.
In the symbolism of the book of Revelation, a lake of fire consumes all who refuse to follow God. This is known as the second death, from which there is no return. The last two chapters in Revelation speak about the time beyond the millennial rule of Christ. Though the book has dealt primarily with the end of the age of humanly devised rule, it now turns to the beginning of a limitless future. This is the time when God the Father will take up residence with His people on the earth. Finally, John is shown the river of the water of life that sustains the tree of life, whose leaves bring healing to all.
Night and day are no more, and everyone will see God and live in His light Revelation —5. So ends the last letter of the last surviving first-century apostle of Jesus Christ. Nothing definitive is known about when or how John died, but based on several early traditions it likely occurred around the end of the first century, possibly in Ephesus. What is clear, however, is that the church that reappeared, calling itself Christian, was hardly recognizable as the church Christ had founded.
It seems that despite the warnings issued by each of the first-century apostles, Gnostics and other false teachers gained an increasing foothold, so that followers of the Way eventually found themselves marginalized and vastly outnumbered. They show consistency of hope, purpose, intent and way of life.