Vampire Panic !

Have you heard about what is happening in Malawi?  Well, first of all, you may be asking yourself—who or what is a Malawi?  Malawi is a rather small country in southeastern Africa.  It is bordered by Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania.  So what is happening?  Malawi is like many other countries in Africa.  Belief in witchcraft and the supernatural is common.  In recent weeks much of Malawi has been in a panic because of rumors of vampirism.

It is believed that there are blood-suckers on the prowl, looking for victims whose blood they can drink.  The purpose of this particular vampiric activity is to use the blood in witchcraft rituals.  In addition to the vampirism, the people of Malawi believe these vampire witches can also shape-shift, or skin walk—that is, they can change their form from human into the shape of dog, cat or some other animal.

The situation has become very serious.  People are so frightened that they have formed vigilante groups who are hunting vampires.  There are accounts of people being dragged from their cars at roadblocks set up to catch vampires.  As of this writing (Friday, October 13, 2017), there have been seven people killed by these vigilante mobs.  Things have deteriorated to the point where U.N. workers have been pulled out of their posts.  The President of Malawi has declared a 5:00 p.m. curfew in hopes that this will curb the activity of the vigilantes and restore some order.  (Here is a U.N. report on this situation.) Continue reading

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Eternal Son of God?

Q:  The Bible does not use the expression “the eternal Son of God.”  Does this mean that Jesus was not the “Son” before he came to earth?  Is he eternally the Son of God?  Or is this a role he assumed in the plan of salvation?

A:  This is an interesting question.  There are two schools of thought regarding this matter.  There are some who believe that the preexistent Christ existed only as the Logos, or Word of God.  As a member of the Trinity, he was a distinct Person himself.  However, he was not the “Son” of God.  The Father/Son relationship within the Godhead only came about through an act of God in time, most likely at the Incarnation.  The other position is that two of the three divine Persons in the Trinity exist in an eternal relationship of Father and Son within the Godhead.  For all eternity the Father has been the Father, and the Son has been the Son.  The real issue is what do the Scriptures say?  I believe that the Bible is clear that the Logos has always been the Son of God.  Let me explain why I say this. Continue reading

Africa and Africans in the Bible

There are some who attack Christianity as being a “white man’s religion” and they say that the Bible is a “white, European, racist book.”  Such assertions are not only false, they are ridiculous to the point of being absurd.  Those who make such assertions apparently have no true acquaintance with the Scriptures and it’s content.  The Bible is at its core a Hebrew book written from the perspective of Middle Eastern Jews.  Indeed, every book of the Bible was written by a Jew, except for the New Testament books of Luke and Acts.  How can a book that is Jewish and Middle Eastern be considered a European, Anglo or white man’s book?

However, even though the Bible is largely Hebrew in perspective, it is also a multi-cultural book.  It reflects the influence of other cultures—e.g., Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Hellenistic—on the people of Israel.  It also records encounters with individuals and people from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  And this includes individuals and groups from the continent of Africa.  In this writing we will examine some of what the Bible says about Africa and Africans.  But first, let us examine the origin of the people groups of Africa as recorded in the Scriptures. Continue reading

Race and Racism

I live in small town only about 10 miles from Charlottesville, VA.  Like everyone else, I was horrified and angered by the events occurring in our community on August 12.  I also was left with a deep concern because there is a growing focus on racial division in this country.  Racism is a hot topic.  And one that needs to be addressed, especially by the Christian community.  With this in mind, I am offering some thoughts on a biblical perspective of the concept of race.  Most of this article was actually posted quite a while back on this site.  However, in light of current events, I feel like it is worth considering again, with a few additions.

 

According to the Scriptural account, there is actually only one human race.  Biblically all humans are part of one family.  We are all descended from Adam and Eve.  This is plainly taught in the Scriptures.  Indeed, Eve’s very name means “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20), thus indicating her as the primal ancestor of all men.  We are also all descended from Noah.  During the Flood, all human beings were destroyed on the earth, leaving only Noah and his family (see Genesis 7:21-23 and 1 Peter 3:20).  This is why the New Testament says that God has made all the peoples of the earth from one blood, one human stock (see Acts 17:26).

Continue reading

Grace: God’s Empowering Presence

Recently I heard an excellent Bible teacher present a seminar on grace.  During the course of this seminar, he made several statements that truly arrested me.  It has made me think about the nature of grace.  Exactly what is grace?  This teacher asked those in the seminar to define grace.  The immediate response was “God’s unmerited favor.”  The teacher affirmed and agreed with this definition.  But he was another question, is there more to grace than just God having a favorable attitude towards us. Continue reading