It is one thing to teach about Christian history, and it’s a entirely different experience when you actually behold the subject of your lesson right in front of you. And that’s the experience I had when I visited the British Library and saw on display several amazing biblical historical texts, dating as far back as c. 200 AD (only about 150 years after the last New Testament writing).
Recently I presented a few lectures derived from a book my wife bought me titled “Evidence for Christianity” by Josh McDowell (for PowerPoint lessons see below). He is a professor who teaches on this subject and collected his wealth of knowledge into a book. He is not an Orthodox Christian but most of what he writes does not disturb Orthodox theology or teachings, but for a few things here or there that should be obvious or are otherwise mostly benign. He presents evidence in support of the Bible, Christ, and His Resurrection from a historical and scholarly perspective, bringing to light writings and some archaeological finds that reflect the validity of the historical underpinnings of Christianity. I highly recommend his book, especially if you are seeking to stabilize your beliefs upon more solid evidentiary grounds. Believing on faith is best, but if you need evidence, there’s plenty of it!
Here is a list of the most interesting highlights I found in the book:
Did you know that the 14th Coptic Pope did not believe it was written by St. John the Evangelist? The Eastern Orthodox Church doesn’t include it anywhere in its lectionaries. A 9th century Patriarch of Constantinople rejected the book altogether. Martin Luther called it “neither apostolic nor prophetic,” and it was the only New Testament book on which John Calvin did not write a commentary. So why is it part of the Bible and accepted by pretty much all Christians today? Before someone shakes your faith in trusting the Bible canon we have at present, here is what you should know. Continue reading →
Looking for a Sunday School lesson with a PowerPoint? Periodically I’ll upload my Sunday School lessons and PowerPoint slides for you to download. To see all the Sunday School Lessons I’ve uploaded on my blog, click the following link: Sunday School Lessons. For many more that I’ve uploaded previously, check out copticmusician.com.
[This post is derived from a Sunday School lesson given 12/14/2014. You can download the presentation here] [Also, click on the above image for a full high resolution version that you can download and share as you wish!]
St. Athanasius’s “On the Incarnation” is a must read for every Christian, Orthodox or not. (A free public copy is provided at the end of this post). Don’t take my word for it; C.S. Lewis, famous author and writer of the Chronicles of Narnia series (among many other works), called it “a masterpiece.”
St. Athanasius answers fundamental questions in the work, including:
Why couldn’t Adam and Eve have just repented?
What does it mean that they would “surely die”?
Why was Christ born?
Why couldn’t Christ have just saved us by appearing in spirit, without becoming incarnate?
Here is a summary of what the 20th Archbishop of Alexandria had to say in the first couple of chapters:
As I was preparing to speak to the Adult Sunday school group at my church on the subject of obedience as it can be found in the Book of Joshua, I feared this would be a difficult task. When I think of the Book of Joshua, I think of the Israelites going into Canaan and taking over the place and all its inhabitants, and then dividing their new promised land (present day Israel) among all the tribes. That’s what this book is about in a nutshell, so where will I find stuff about obedience? In the few chapters (5–7) assigned to me to speak about, I was surprised to find at least 5 ways we can extrapolate practical lessons on obedience. Continue reading →