Storied is a podcast that tells stories about faith and failure. And sometimes it recounts stories that are so ridiculous that they seem more fitted to Monty Python than to real life. So, listen in to learn about the past, to enjoy a good story, and to know more than you did before. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here or Stitcher here.
Some of you have probably seen the video where Pope Francis comforts a young boy (Emanuele) whose father died. Emanuele comes up to Francis and privately asks him if his father is in heaven. With Emanuel permission, Francis answers publicly and gives the young boy comfort. The entire scene is moving.
But it is also seemingly un-catholic. More than that, Francis appears to deny that salvation comes through faith in Christ. [Read more…] about Does the Pope Believe in the Gospel?
One of the trickiest challenges for Christians is how to read the Old Testament. In particular, the stories of the Old Testament challenge believers. Sometimes we read Old Testament stories as inspirational tales. But these narratives often present rather unsavoury elements such as David’s affair with Bathsheba. So the desire to “be like David” comes to a full stop. At other times, we read the Old Testament as fascinating records of history but with little practical value to today. After all, do we really need to build a parapet on the roof as Deuteronomy commands?
So let’s take a moment to look at how the earliest Christian writer (that we know of) read the Old Testament and applied it to his life. And that writer is the apostle Paul. [Read more…] about How to Read Old Testament Narratives
Many argue that Jesus’ disciples were unlearned peasants. Some might conclude that these disciples could not have written the Gospels consequently. Others might conclude that we should have a simple faith like the disciples did (or what we overcomplicate things). But the argument and its implications are wrong.
Jesus’ disciples came from all parts of life (from peasant to learned person), and these same disciples did, in fact, write New Testament books, a feat that shows not only some of the early disciples’ ability to read and to write but their ability to create art (i.e., literature).
To be clear, I am not arguing that all of the early disciples’ could read and write nor that they were all learned people. I am arguing that some were and that many learned how to read and to write (or made use of people who could write). [Read more…] about Were Jesus’ Disciples Unlearned Peasants?
One of the oddest arguments that I have seen recently is that the title Son of God means that Jesus was an exalted man, a messiah, and so he is not God.
I wasn’t aware that the title, “Son of God,” entailed Jesus’s divinity (as if this alone was the argument!)? I am not sure anyone argues for Jesus’s divinity on the basis of this title alone (although the title Son of God contributes to a fuller picture of how the Son relates to the Father).
The reason why someone might deny the divinity of Jesus on this basis is baffling. And yet an entire movement (a so-called restorationist group) argues that this is nonetheless true (or at least this is one leg of the argument).
The major problem here is that the New Testament affirms Jesus’ divinity with clarity apart from the title Son of God. [Read more…] about Jesus Claims to Be Divine
One of the most common words to describe salvation until the Middle Ages was deification. Deification describes how someone can by grace become like God. The African Christian Athanasius famously summarized the doctrine by saying, “God became man, so that we could become God.”
Now, the language of “become God” ruffles our feathers today. But these Christians did not mean that we possess God’s being or something like that. They basically meant the same thing that we mean by the word sanctification.
The reason why the language of deification troubles us today is possibly because we divide the human and divine realms sharply in the West. God is up there; we are down here. And there is no connection (see Bart Ehrman, How Jesus Became God, 2014: 3–4). In this paradigm, the term deification seems especially unhelpful and misleading: why say deification if you simply mean that you become like God?
Part of the answer lies in how ancient peoples (including Jews and Greco-Roman peoples) conceived of the divine-human divide. [Read more…] about Greco-Roman Deification as a Possible Backdrop to the Early Christian Doctrine of Deification