I was talking with a long-time friend on the phone the other day. He lives in Massachusetts; I am in Virginia. Emails and phone calls are our friendship vehicles. Thank the Lord for technology. It was good to hear his voice, to catch up on news, to reminisce from events from 35+ years ago. In our conversation he mentioned that he is friends with some Oneness Pentecostals. (This is a unitarian cult.) He commented that even though they do not believe in the orthodox faith of the Bible, they still experience many healings and miracles. There is definitely a supernatural element in their churches. This got me to thinking. Continue reading
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
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
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).
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