Wayne's Worldview is a place to share my unique perspective of the world as formed from my interpretation of the scriptures and my experience as a Christian. As a pastor, I am asked a lot of questions about current issues, life dilemmas, personal problems, politics, biblical interpretation...etc.I offer these "How I see it" thoughts in effort to challenge people to think about their worldview, and to stimulate good conversations that will help us become more whole.
Welcome to the conversation.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hebrew made simple

Comprehending the Bible can be a challenge, but with a little attention you can identify some trends in the Bible that will help you get more out of God's word.For example: The place BETH-EL: A town on the border of the territory of Ephraim (Josh. 16:1–4), at an important road junction 11 miles north of Jerusalem. Abraham built an altar there, Jacob had a dream there (Gen. 28:10–22), and named it Bethel:

House (Beth) of God (El)- which is the meaning of the Hebrew name. We also find Beth in Bethlehem (house of bread), Bethesda (House of grace) and Bethshan (house of quiet). Maybe when all my children leave the home some day it will become Bethshan!

You might recognize the similar el prefix or suffix in other Hebrew words like Immanuel(God with us), Elijah (Jehovah is God), and Israel (He struggles with God)- The name given to Jacob when he struggled with God.

Now that you know that el means God, and Beth means house, you will recognize them in hundreds of texts.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Faith Resurrected

Jesus’ disciples suffered martyrdom for their convictions, but other religious people also demonstrate changed lives because of their religious beliefs. Many have willingly given their lives for their faith: Muslims; followers of various religious teachers and political ideologies have inspired life changes and even martyrdom. But transformed lives, whether the disciples or others, does not prove that what they believe is true- It only proves that those who are willing to suffer and die for their religious commitments truly believe them to be true. Is there a difference then between the two?
In general, people committed to a religious or political message really believe it to be true. But belief in something does not make it true. Like other examples of religious or political faith, the disciples believed and followed their leader’s teachings. But unlike all others, the disciples had more than just their beliefs—they had seen the resurrected Jesus. This is a crucial distinction; their faith was true precisely because of the resurrection. Their doubts are well documented in the scriptures, until they witnessed the resurrected Jesus.
Think about it. Which is more likely—that an ideology we believe in is true, or that I and a number of others saw my wife Amy several times during the last month? If eternity rested on our conviction, would we rather base our assurance on the truth of a particular religious or political view, or would we rather have that faith confirmed with repeated cases of seeing someone? Hundreds of people witnessed that Amy was here, in the last month, as hundreds witnessed Jesus after the resurrection.
Unlike the world’s faiths, which rest on certain beliefs being true, the disciples both heard the unique teachings of Jesus, his many miracles and him after being dead and buried! Jesus was the only founder of a major world religion who had miracles reported of Him in reliable sources within a few decades. But most of all, He confirmed His message by rising from the dead. The disciples, both individuals and groups, saw Him repeatedly. Even two skeptics—James the brother of Jesus and Saul of Tarsus (Paul)—witnessed the resurrected Jesus.
No wonder the disciples were willing to die for their faith!