What is a concubine and how does it differ from adultery? If Herod killed so many Jewish children 2 years old and under, why is it not mentioned anywhere except in Matthew–especially by Josephus? Does Jesus actually cast disobedient believers onto a literal bed of suffering (Rev 2:22)? Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.
Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: The God that we serve is a God of love and a God of justice. They are both perfect reflections of His perfect holiness and when He acts in love and when He acts in judgment He is being consistent with Himself.
Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Look in the mirror and ask yourself; in any way am I ashamed of Jesus or His words? And if so, ask God for a spirit of boldness and faith; and for a fresh encounter with the beauty of the Lord.
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I was a little surprised to find myself whole-heartedly agreeing with Dr. Brown on the issue of non-Christians and judgment.
His answer was “God will judge fairly.” (or similar.)
I have been banished from a church for saying almost exactly this!
I was a guest speaker at a church youth group and one of the students asked, “Are all the Buddhists and all those billions of other religious guys going to hell?”
I answered as I honestly believe — “God is the judge, not me, but I believe God judges fairly.” (I immediately went to the next question since I know some people are touchy about this. )
That night, the youth pastor called me, yelled at me for what felt like an hour, and told me to never come back!
LOL @ “‘Where are you going?’ ‘We’re going to children’s church.'”
If Robert from (I believe it was) Grand Prairie, Texas reads this, I have some resource ideas that might help. Focus on the Family has a really good book called Teaching Kids About God. It’s an age-by-age plan for parents of children birth to age 12. It has lots of ideas. Also, if you go to http://www.heritagebuilders.com/, and click on the Family Night Series, there are a lot of tools and resources for getting your family involved in learning about God. Hope that helps!
Regarding the Slaughter of the Innocents in Matthew 2, we should keep in mind that there aren’t many ancient non-Christian sources we’d expect to mention it. People often ask why the event isn’t mentioned in non-Christian sources (plural), but then only mention Josephus as an example of such a source. If all they have in mind is Josephus, then the objection loses much of its force.
It’s easy to think of multiple reasons why Josephus might not mention such an event if it did occur. For example, the Slaughter of the Innocents has pro-Christian implications (Jesus’ fulfillment of the Bethlehem prophecy of Micah 5, his providential survival of Herod’s attempt to murder him, etc.), and Josephus wasn’t a Christian. Why should we expect a non-Christian to keep a record of such a pro-Christian event in a context in which refraining from mentioning the event would be so easy? And Josephus wasn’t trying to be exhaustive about Herod’s misdeeds. He wrote:
“And since Herod had now the government of all Judea put into his hands, he promoted such of the private men in the city as had been of his party, but never left off avenging and punishing every day those that had chosen to be of the party of his enemies.” (Antiquities Of The Jews, 15:1)
Since Josephus says that Herod “never left off” doing such things “every day”, will critics of Matthew 2 argue that Josephus mentions every one of those activities done each day? Of course not. Josephus was highly selective in what he reported.
I emailed Shaye Cohen, a scholar who’s studied Josephus, on this issue. He told me that he doesn’t recall any passage in which Josephus states or suggests that he’s going to be exhaustive. The New Testament scholar Craig Keener wrote back to me, “That Josephus includes some events in either the War or the Antiquities that he doesn’t include in the other one suggests that he doesn’t try to be exhaustive.”
Furthermore, an early Jewish source, the Assumption Of Moses, refers to Herod as a murderer of the young in a context in which he’s compared to the Pharaoh who ordered the execution of the Jewish children in Exodus 1. The most natural implication is that the author thought Herod was involved in killing children in a way similar to what Pharaoh had done. While the Assumption Of Moses doesn’t tell us that it’s describing the same event Matthew narrates in his gospel, I’m not aware of any other event mentioned in extant records that would align with what the Assumption Of Moses describes. A few hundred years after Matthew’s gospel was written, another non-Christian source, Macrobius, gives us a garbled account that seems to partially corroborate what Matthew reported. Given what the Assumption Of Moses and Macrobius report, it’s inaccurate to say that no non-Christian source corroborates Matthew. The silence of Josephus (which is easy to reconcile with the historicity of Matthew 2) is accompanied by corroboration of Matthew in two non-Christian sources.
If anybody is interested in reading more about this subject, I have an article that goes into more depth here.
Jason — wonderful answer. Thanks! (And thanks for the link.)
For the person who asked about people who have never heard the gospel and if they will be given a chance. It says in 1Peter 4:5,6 “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit.” God is fair.
I don’t get this “God is fair” copout answer. Lest ye be saved by the blood of the lamb, then no you won’t be saved. Why is this such a difficult thing to say, lest ye fear men more than God?
Your input is quite welcome. You need to moderate your tone, though, and avoid personal attacks. Thanks!
Jesus is the only way to the Father. There is no other name under heaven that can save. He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Those who are seeking God will find Jesus. Be it by angels, visions, or dreams. God makes Himself known to those who are seeking Him. God is fair. He is Righteous, Holy, and Just. Those who reject Jesus will spend eternity, apart from Him, in hell. Those who call on the name of Jesus our Messiah will spend eternity, with Him, in heaven. If I understood 1 Peter 4:5,6 out of context, I apologize. My thought was not that there are multiple ways to the Father, but that Jesus alone saves.
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