How Do Islam and Christianity Define Our Problem and Solution?

Jeremy Bouma on 1 day ago. Tagged under ,,,.

ngb1Earlier this year my family moved to a diverse neighborhood in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The next day, we discovered we moved next to a Muslim family. Perhaps you would have done what I did: prayed for opportunities to show them Christ’s love; and wondered how to navigate a conversation about the differences of our faith if a door opened. Thankfully, we have a new book to guide those conversations.

In No God but One, the highly anticipated follow-up book to his New York Times bestselling spiritual memoir Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi addresses the most important questions at the interface of Islam and Christianity: How do the two religions differ? Can we be confident that either are true? And most important, is the truth worth dying for?

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Was Jesus In A Lonely, Deserted, or Uninhabited Region? (Mark 1:45) — Mondays with Mounce 258

Bill Mounce on 2 days ago. Tagged under ,,,.

The sermon yesterday was on the need for solitude, planned margin. Always a good reminder for those of us who tend to define ourselves by what we do — do I hear the amens?

The passage was Mark 1:45. “Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but stayed out in unpopulated areas (ἐρήμοις τόποις; NASB).”

What caught my eye was the NASB’s use of “unpopulated.” For a translation that tends away from excessive interpretation (although all translations are interpretive), their use of “unpopulated” was a very good choice.

ἔρημος is technically an adjective meaning, “pert. to being in a state of isolation, isolated, desolate, deserted” (BDAG). When used substantivally, ἔρημος means “an uninhabited region or locality, desert, grassland, wilderness.” ἔρημος…

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What are the differences between Islam and Christianity? An Excerpt from No God but One: Allah or Jesus?

ZA Blog on 5 days ago. Tagged under ,.

In No God but One: Allah or Jesus? Nabeel Qureshi provides a thorough and careful comparison of the evidence for Islam and Christianity—evidence that wrenched his heart and transformed his life. In today’s excerpt, Nabeel tells of his conversion and introduces us to the differences between the world’s two largest religions.

Right now you can get free bonus content when you pre-order Nabeel’s book

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ngb1In August 2005, I came to the most painful realization of my life: I no longer believed Islam. I had no recourse left and could no longer delay the eventuality I had been fighting for years. As a child, I was raised to love Islam. I enjoyed memorizing chapters of the Quran and reciting them in my daily prayers. I looked forward to fasting…

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Should Christians Defend Jesus’ Virgin Birth?

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310520924_image“The notion that Jesus was born to a young Galilean girl who was still a virgin has proven to be one of the most objectionable and mocked beliefs of the Christian faith” (99), Michael Bird contends in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe.

Even a Christian pastor once suggested that it should make no difference to our faith if archaeologists found definitive, biological, DNA proof that Jesus had an earthly father named Larry.

“And yet,” Bird continues, “there it is right in front of us, right there in the Apostles’ Creed, to be confessed by Christians as part of our holy faith.” (99)

What are we to make of this stanza from our creed: “[Jesus] was conceived by the power of the Holy…

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Ellipsis’ Ugly Head (John 12:7) —Monday’s with Mounce 254

Bill Mounce on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,.

We don’t talk much about ellipsis in first year Greek, but it is a grammatical fact that occurs more than you might think.

An ellipsis is when words are left out, and the assumption is that the context is sufficient to fill in the gaps. It especially happens in the second of two parallel thoughts, words from the first assumed in the second.

But John 12:7 gives us a good example of ellipsis when there is no parallel. Mary anoints Jesus’ feet, Judas objects, and Jesus responds, “Leave her alone…. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial” (NIV). ἄφες αὐτήν, ἵνα εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ μου τηρήσῃ αὐτό. In other words, the words “It…

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What’s so good about being good? – An Excerpt from Introducing Christian Ethics

ZA Blog on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,.

Introducing Christian Ethics: A Short Guide to Making Moral Choices is based on the best-selling college and seminary ethics textbook Moral Choices and distills nearly two decades of teaching and study into a succinct and user-friendly volume. In today’s excerpt, author Scott Rae explores moral being, the good life, and what it means to be human.

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9780310521181_imageImagine that you live in a world where you can do anything you want, and no matter what you do, you will never get caught. Nor will you ever have to worry about any consequences for these actions. For example, you can rob a bank, cheat in school, take revenge on whomever you want to, commit violent crimes, lie whenever you want, go back on your word…

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Why learn Aramaic?

ZA Blog on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,.

blue contrast with text

We recently looked at why you should learn Ugaritic. Today, we’re going to take a look at why you should learn Aramaic.

Who spoke Aramaic?

The short answer: just about everyone in the ancient world.

Aramaic was the lingua franca in the Ancient Near East for more than two thousand years. It was first spoken by the Arameans around 1,200 B.C. Then, when the Assyrians conquered the Arameans and brought them into captivity, they brought their language with them. From that point on, Aramaic replaced Akkadian as the language of commerce and government in Assyria and beyond.

After the collapse of the Assyrian empire, the Babylonians and Persians inherited the language. With each successive empire, Aramaic was exported…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Ineffability in Scripture

Fred Sanders on 1 week ago.

psalm 40 from st albans psalter.jpgOur current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

It seems odd that the doctrine of divine ineffability should be found among the crucial presuppositions of trinitarian theology. To confess God’s ineffability is to confess that God exceeds, eludes, and finally escapes our statements about him. That confession would seem to be a conversation stopper, or at least an objection preemptive enough to shame any lecturer into quietly filing away his or her notes for a learned discourse on the Trinity. Clever philosophers of religion have even observed that…

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5 Things I Learned About Kierkegaard’s Work from Stephen Backhouse

Jeremy Bouma on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310520887_image“Whatever your take on modern life, there are two things that can be said about [Søren] Kierkegaard: his influence on our various modes of thought is widespread, and the exact nature of that influence is difficult to articulate.” (12)

Part of the task in Stephen Backhouse’s new biography on this enigmatic figure, Kierkegaard: A Single Life, is to make sense of this influence. He accomplishes this magically through a nearly-one-hundred page overview of his works. He also does so by chronicling his work through vivid portraits of his major life moments.

Through prose so compelling it often reads like a novel, I learned five things about the style and substance of Kierkegaard’s work and influence.

1) His Work Marinated

A striking aspect of Kierkegaard’s work is that much of it sat…

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Back to School Sale! Study the Bible with the world’s best professors

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

Back to school

For a limited time, get 25% off all Zondervan Academic Online Courses with the Back to School sale! View all courses.

Now is the perfect time to start or re-start your theological education.

Zondervan Academic has partnered with dozens of leading scholars to create seminary-level online courses for everyone.

These are the exact same courses used in numerous schools across the U.S. and Canada.

Dig into systematic theology with Wayne Grudem. Get an overview of the Old Testament with John Walton and Andrew Hill. Understand the differences between Islam and Christianity with Nabeel Qureshi. Study Jesus and the Gospels with Mark Strauss. Learn New Testament Greek with William Mounce, or

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Is “Has Been Causing to Grow” Redundant? (1 Cor 3:6) — Mondays with Mounce 259

Bill Mounce on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,.

One of the important steps every Greek student must make is to move beyond the formal structures of first and even second year Greek, and start considering other issues such as the meaning of a word.

Take for example 1 Cor 3:6. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God has been causing the growth (ηὔξανεν).” Because ηὔξανεν is an imperfect — past time; imperfective aspect — every first year Greek teacher would expect an explicitly durative translation: “has been causing.”

This is great for first year Greek, but let me ask the question. Isn’t the actual meaning of “grow” a durative idea? Do we have to explicitly say “has been causing” to get the durative idea across? Of course not.

In fact, it could be argued that having both “grow” and “has…

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A Controversial Life – An Excerpt from Kierkegaard

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago.

In today’s excerpt from Kierkegaard: A Single Life, Stephen Backhouse introduces us to the fascinating life of the infamous philosopher whose writings have eminently influenced our Christian thought.

SorenA Controversial Life

The new bishop stands at the window, looking at the crowd milling in the courtyard below. He cranes his neck, trying to get a better view of the church door opposite, but it is difficult. He cannot see, but at the same time he does not want to be seen. That would never do. The bishop has pushed himself to the limits of his reputation to avoid any connection to the distasteful funeral going on across the way. Yet he knows, along with all of Copenhagen, that the events below are all…

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