Is Jesus Dead?

By this time I am sure that most of you have heard about the latest new “archaeological finding” about Jesus. This time it is as far-fetched as ever; a documentary (to accompany a book) will be coming out revealing that Jesus’ body has been found in a tomb in Jerusalem. It seems like every year just before easter something like this comes up (just like around Christmas someone always shows up to disprove the virgin birth). The bottom line is that this is completely media driven. There is not a single reputable scholar who would back any of the evidence that the makers of the documentary are pointing to. It is ridiculous! I have heard several debates on this topic on the radio, and inevitably those who support this finding will accuse dissenting Christians of not wanting to deal with the evidence. Well let me just scratch the surface of the evidence and show just how ridiculous this claim is. First, the type of family tomb that these people claim to have found would have been accessible only to the wealthy. Jesus’ family, with Joseph being a carpenter, was not wealthy enough to afford such a tomb. Additionally, if Jesus’ family had owned such a tomb then why did Joseph of Arimathea have to lend his tomb for Jesus’ burial?

John 19:13

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.

Second, why would a family from Nazareth have a family tomb in Jerusalem?

Luke 4:16

And He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

Third, how could Jesus’ body (They claim to have DNA to prove it is Jesus, but since we have no samples of Jesus’ DNA this could not be possible.) be in this tomb when he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven?

1 Corinthians 15:3-6

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

Luke 24:50-53

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.

Don’t let someone tell you that you just don’t want to deal with the facts because you don’t want to loose your faith. The fact is that those who have come out with this (and those who support this) do so because they would rather suppress the truth about Jesus than obey Him. The men behind this have made the claim that you can believe their findings and still remain faithful to the Christian faith, but this proves that they have no idea what the Christian faith is. The Christian faith is all about belief and submission to a RISEN LORD:

Romans 10:9-10

…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

To read more about this story go here.


William Tyndale (pt. 5) The Conclusion

Throughout Tyndale’s entire ministry every attempt was made to capture him. In light of all the resources devoted to capturing Tyndale it was clearly the hand of God the delivered him from many close calls. Tyndale had to live his life in constant secrecy, trusting very few people. Tyndale was even able to return to Antwerp where he had a group of friends sympathetic to the cause of the reformation. It was there that Tyndale met a man by the name of Henry Phillips. Phillips was an Englishman who gained an audience with Tyndale through a group of merchants who were friendly to the cause of the reformation. Tyndale almost immediately was impressed with easy manner and eloquent speech of the student lawyer. Phillips gained the confidence of Tyndale and his friends while in Antwerp and learned a great deal about how this group kept Tyndale safe. On May 21st 1535 Phillips showed up at the home Tyndale was residing in and invited himself to lunch; Phillips even borrowed two pounds (enough for a poor family to live on for two months) claiming that he had lost his purse. Brian Edwards described what happened next in this way,

“As the left Poyntz’s home… Tyndale courteously stepped back to allow his guest to precede him. Phillips, a tall, handsome man, stood aside and insisted that the great reformer should have precedence. Tyndale came to the opening and saw two officers ready to seize him, he hesitated and moved back, Phillips stood over him, pointing down with his finger as a sign that this was the man; he then jostled Tyndale forward into the officers who bound him with ropes and brought him to the attorney’s residence and finally the grim castle of Vilvorde, just six miles north of Brussels.”

As Edwards stated Tyndale was taken to the castle of Vilvorde and placed in the dungeon. Tyndale was too godly a man to have any thoughts of revenge against Phillips, but that being said Phillips never received the reward he was promised for delivering Tyndale.
 Tyndale was prepared for this fate; in fact he had always expected that his life would be taken from him for his work. His only surprise was that it took so long for him to be captured. With this attitude Tyndale wasted no time mourning while in prison. He knew that even though his trial would be a farce he might have the opportunity to speak on behalf of his savior. And so, Tyndale began preparing for his defense. In the beginning of his imprisonment Tyndale was even able to continue his work of writing and translating.
 As the winter of 1535 approached Tyndale became ill due to the cold and wet conditions of his cell. All day and night Tyndale would shiver from the conditions, but this did not keep him from his work. Tyndale knew that he would need warm clothes if he was going to survive much longer and continue his work, so he wrote a letter to the prison governor. This letter is the only letter in Tyndale’s own hand that has survived, and as far as we know it may have been the last letter he ever wrote. Here is what that letter said:

I believe, right worshipful, that you are not ignorant of what has been determined concerning me; therefore I entreat your Lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here during the winter, you will request the Procureur to be kind enough to send me from my goods, which he has in his possession, a warmer cap, for I suffer extremely from cold in the head, being afflicted with a perpetual catarrh, which is considerably increased in the cell. A warmer coat also, for that which I have is very thin: also a piece of cloth to patch my leggings: my overcoat has been worn out; my shirts are also worn out. He has a woollen shirt of mine, if he will be kind enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth for the putting on above; he also has warmer caps for wearing at night. I wish also his permission to have a candle in the evening, for it is wearisome to sit alone in the dark.

But above all, I entreat and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the Procureur that he may kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar, and Hebrew Dictionary, that I may spend my time with that study. And in return, may you obtain your dearest wish, provided always it be consistent with the salvation of your soul. But if any other resolution has been come to concerning me, before the winter is over, I shall be patient, abiding the will of God to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose Spirit, I pray, may ever direct your heart. Amen.

W. Tindalus

Finally Tyndale’s trial came. His charges were as follows 1) maintained justification by faith alone, 2) maintained that belief in the Gospel alone could save, 3) believed that human tradition was not binding, 4) denied the freedom of the will, 5) denied the existence of purgatory, 6) he affirmed that neither the Virgin nor the Saints pray for us in their own persons, 7) and finally he asserted that neither the Virgin nor the Saints should be invoked by us. The list is much longer than this, but these were the main charges. And in August of 1536 Tyndale was condemned as a heretic. A few days after this verdict was rendered a public and humiliating ceremony took place to officially remove Tyndale as a priest and cast him out of the church. It was not until early October of 1536 that Tyndale was led out of the castle and through the southern gates of the town. Tyndale was taken to the place of execution. Before being bond up Tyndale made one final public intercession with the cry “Lord open the King of England’s eyes!” These are the last words that we have from Tyndale, for after this he was strangled to death and then burned at the stake.
 Later in this same year the Coverdale Bible, which contained Tyndale’s NT virtually unchanged, was taken before the king for approval. The bible was dedicated to him and it did not contain the name of William Tyndale, so the King authorized its printing. The bibles were so popular that two years later, in 1538, the King ordered that every church in England display a copy of the bile for its parishioners to read. The Lord answered the dying prayer of William Tyndale, and the ploughman had his bible. Today we can thank God that he used men like William Tyndale to provide us with his precious word.

William Tyndale (pt. 4) The Translation

Not only did Tyndale’s translation of the NT transform the Church it also revolutionized the English language. In many of our bibles we still have the words that Tyndale chose. Additionally Tyndale introduced new words and phrases into the English language to better transmit the teachings of Scripture. Here is a list of just a few of the words and phrases that were coined by Tyndale:

  • Jehovah (from a transliterated Hebrew construction in the Old Testament; composed from the tetragrammaton YHWH and the vowels of adonai: YaHoWaH)
  • Passover (as the name for the Jewish holiday, Pesach or Pesah),
  • Atonement (= at + onement), which goes beyond mere “reconciliation” to mean “to unite” or “to cover”, which springs from the Hebrew kippur, the Old Testament version of kippur being the covering of doorposts with blood, or “Day of Atonement”.
  • scapegoat (the goat that bears the sins and iniquities of the people in Leviticus Chapter 16)
  • let there be light
  • the powers that be
  • my brother’s keeper
  • the salt of the earth
  • a law unto themselves

Here is how Tyndale translated the familiar passage John 3:16-18,

God soo loved the worlde/that he gave his only sonne for the entent/that none that beleve in hym/shulde perisshe: Butt shulde have everlastynge lyfe. For God sent not his sonne into the worlde/to condempne the worlde: But that the worlde through him/myght be saved. He that beleveth nott/is condempned all redy/be cause he beleveth nott in the name off the only sonne off God.

After completing his first edition of the NT Tyndale did not stop working. Tyndale continued to write fervently producing several helpful books. In these books Tyndale displayed an amazing ability to handle the Scripture. Tyndale did all of this despite the most grueling of circumstances. At every step of the way Tyndale was a fugitive whose life was always in jeopardy. In most instances Tyndale would work in closed up room somewhere for days at a time with using only candle light. Brian Edwards said wrote this about this period in Tyndale’s life:

“How often his head and eyes must have rebelled against the constant attention to small letters in the half-light; how much his cramped body must have ached in every limb and have cried out for exercise after hours and days hunched over his desk in a small spare room kindly lent to him by a friendly merchant!”

Tyndale also continued his translations work by expanding to the OT. Tyndale wanted to print the Pentateuch but he knew that would be difficult to do with the mounting pressure from England to find Tyndale and bring him before the Church as a heretic. In 1529 Tyndale was forced to move his operations from Antwerp to Hamburg in order to remain safe. Tyndale, the fugitive, boarded a ship carrying all of his manuscripts with him. His intention was to land in Hamburg where he had friends and a printer would be easy to find. But God, in His providence, had other plans for Tyndale’s voyage. On the coast of Holland Tyndale’s ship wrecked. Tyndale was left unharmed however his precious manuscripts were lost. Despite this catastrophic set back Tyndale was able to have his translation of the Pentateuch published in the summer of 1530. The determination and perseverance that it took for Tyndale to accomplish this could have only been the result of God’s grace. Thanks to Tyndale’s humble submission to this Grace the ploughmen of England now had both the NT and part of the OT available to them.

William Tyndale (pt. 3) The Work of Translation

Soon after this encounter Tyndale decided it was time to leave Little Sodbury. With the blessing of the Walsh family Tyndale left for London in 1523. Tyndale went to London hoping to obtain permission from the church to translate the NT into English. Tyndale knew of Bishop in London named Cuthberttyndale_small.jpg Tunstall. Tunstall had received praise from Erasmus, and so Tyndale (some what naively) thought that Tunstall would be of help to him. Tyndale could not have come to Tunstall at a worse time. Tunstall had just recently settled into his office, and with the influence that the German Lutherans were having on the church it would not have been a wise political move for Tunstall to employ a zealous bible translator. Consequently Tyndale was turned downed by Tunstall. Later Tyndale would describe Tunstall as a “ducking hypocrite.” Tyndale did everything he could to translate the NT legally with Church permission, but when we was turned down he did not quit. Tyndale’s burning passion to give the man behind the plough God’s word in simple language never died down.While Tyndale was in London waiting to meet with Tunstall he had the opportunity to preach on a several occasions at the Church of St. Dunstan-in-the-West (In fact there is now a monument to Tyndale on that very church). This church was known to be a place of reformed thinking, and so it attracted many who were friendly to the reformation movement. One such man, Humphrey Monmouth, had recently become a “scripture man” and began attending the church. After a few Sundays of hearing Tyndale preach Monmouth introduced himself to Tyndale. This friendship that developed between the two men would prove to be profitable for Tyndale throughout his ministry. After Tyndale was rejected by Tunstall Monmouth took Tyndale into his own home. Monmouth, who would be imprisoned for his association with Tyndale, said of Tyndale “He studied most part of the day and of the night at his book, and he would eat but sodden (boiled) meat by his good will, no drink but a small single beer.” Monmouth’s support for Tyndale was extremely important because he had the resources of a wealthy and well connected man.One of the great connections that Tyndale had through Monmouth was to the London Steelyard. The Steelyard was the landing spot for many of London’s imports, and was controlled primarily by the Germans. This was significant because many of these Germans from the Steel yard had been influenced by Lutheran teaching. Through these connections at the Steel yard Tyndale was able to get his hands on the works of Martin Luther. As Tyndale read Luther he realized that Luther had come to many of the same conclusion that he himself had come to. Tyndale found a theological reassurance from Luther that spurred him on even more in his desire to translate the NT into English. However, Tyndale knew that because of the persecution from the Roman Church there was nowhere in England that he would be able to safely translate and print the Scriptures. (Remember Tyndale could not just run down to Kinko’s and have a few copies run off.) Tyndale would need to enlist a printing press for this work, and he knew that it would be impossible to do in England. With this in mind Tyndale left England under a false name and went to Germany.
 It is thought that upon arrival in Germany Tyndale first went to Wittenberg and met with Luther. After this short tyndale-portrait.jpgperiod of time Tyndale left Wittenberg and went to Hamburg. Tyndale left the safety and fellowship of Wittenberg because Cologne on the Rhine, where Tyndale actually began his printing, was much closer to England. It would be far easier for him to smuggle these Bibles into England from this location. (It is worth noting that William Tyndale had no one to help him in his translation work, nor were there any other English versions of the Bible available for him to reference. In contrast, Luther had all the resources of Wittenberg University, as well as 19 other German translations to work from.)
 Tyndale had to move his work again when he was almost captured in Cologne. John Cochlaeus, who has a bitter opponent of the Reformation, had heard rumors that learned Englishmen were lurking in the city, and that they were printing the NT in English. Upon hearing this Cochlaeus received permission from the local government and began searching for Tyndale. Word got out and Tyndale immediately slipped out of town by night literally with armfuls of printed sheets, and went to Worms. In 1526 Tyndale completed his translation work from Worms, and copies began trickling into England and Scotland. There were two significant events that helped Tyndale get his translation to the people. First, there had been a horrible harvest the year before in England. This meant that the English were depending greatly upon imports from other countries. What the English authorities would soon learn is that bibles were being smuggled in with these imports. The Second significant event that helped Tyndale in his work came after the English and Church authorities realized that bibles were coming into the country. They did not know how to stop this, so they kept buying up the bibles. Their goal was to prevent the people from getting them, however what they did instead was fund Tyndale to continue printing.
 Tyndale faced this opposition because the Roman Church felt that his translation of the NT contradicted the teaching of the church. They were partly correct in this assertion; Tyndale’s NT did contradict their teaching. But it was not the translation that contradicted the Church it was a literal rendering of the scripture that contradicted the church. Tyndale contended that the Greek New Testament did not support the traditional Roman Catholic readings, and he was correct. Using words like Overseer rather than Bishop and Elder rather than Priest Tyndale transformed the doctrine of the Church.

William Tyndale (pt. 2): “I Defy the Pope”

In 1521, after finishing his time at Cambridge, Tyndale became the private tutor to the Walsh family at the “Little Sodbury Manor.” This proved to be one of the most important stages in Tyndale’s development. Tyndale’s responsibilities were light at Little Sodbury; he was in charge of teaching the Walsh boys to read, write, and count. In addition to these responsibilities Tyndale preached the Sunday Morning sermon in the little church of St. Adeline. Tyndale preached at St. Adeline, but was not officially the chaplain of the church, nor did he have charge over the village. This left Tyndale with quite a bit of free time, and he used that time to study the Scriptures. The room that was provided for him was a quiet room, and as far away from the two boys as possible. While at “Little Sodbury Manor” Tyndale began translating. His first work was the translation of the Manual of the Christian Soldier by Erasmus. This book described the spiritual armor of a Christian, and the guidelines by which he must live his life. It was filled with Scripture references, and quotations. Upon completion of his translation Tyndale presented his work to Sir John and Lady Walsh. The Walsh’s were proud of their tutor’s scholarship, and impressed by his humble diligence.A look back at Tyndale’s life will reveal that he was skilled in seven languages besides English (French, Greek, Hebrew, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish), many of which he learned while studying at Little Sodbury. It was during this time that God began to implant a desire within Tyndale to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular. Tyndale saw how the peasants lived. They were poor beyond our comprehension. In addition, the people lived in fear of the church. Their money and allegiance were required, and, as we will see in the life of Tyndale, refusal was not taken lightly. Tyndale would later give his life so that these people could have the Scriptures, the very power of the Gospel, made available to them.Sir John and Lady Walsh were known by all for their hospitality. More often than not the Walsh’s would invite traveling friars or Church dignitaries to dine in the Great Hall at little Sodbury Manor. Invariably the dinner conversation would turn to the great political issues of the day, as well as church issues (for the two were inseparable at the time). Tyndale’s presence for these conversations added a new element to the conversation. In the eyes of the church dignitaries Tyndale was a mere priest and tutor who should not have been allowed to be a part of the meal. But Sir John and Lady Walsh knew that their scholar would be able to handle any conversation. Tyndale’s use of Scripture in these conversations turned debates was maddening for his opponents because they rarely studied the Scriptures. More and more Tyndale knew that he needed to leave the safety of Little Sodbury Manor to fulfill his great calling. His country-men were dying without God’s word, and without the gospel. Eventually Tyndale came to the point where he could no longer hold in his fervor. Here is how Brian Edwards described the exchange:

“A learned man had been debating some point over the table, and finding he could not get the better of this troublesome Scripture-quoting priest he rose in a rage and stormed, ‘We were better be without God’s law than the pope’s.’ That, thought Tyndale, aptly summarised the prevailing view in the Church of Rome. He broke the pregnant silence that followed: ‘I defy the pope and all his laws; if God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth a plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doust.’”

In these seemingly prophetic words Tyndale summarized what his life would be about for the next decade.

to be continued…

William Tyndale (pt. 1)

William Tyndale is one of my favorite individuals in Church History. Over the next few days, maybe even a week, I will be doing a series of post about William Tyndale. This post will serve only one purpose, to inform my readers more about the life and godliness of William Tyndale. There are many things that could be said about Tyndale’s life, however I will stick to “just the facts.” This is of course a partial lie because my opinions and partiality toward Tyndale will definitely bleed through. But I will try to give you an idea of what Tyndale’s life was like.

William Tyndale

William Tyndale is one of the most important men in the history of the church, in the history of western civilization, and in the development of the English language. Tyndale had this influence despite persecution, imprisonment, and constant loneliness. The story of William Tyndale’s life is an amazing story, and it is a story that we can learn a lot from. As we look at His life we can clearly see that He was not only called by God, but he was also equipped by God. Tyndale depended on Christ as his strength. And his life is proof that the Apostle Paul was on tyndale-portrait.jpgthe mark when he wrote Romans 8:28ff:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Throughout every trial that Tyndale faced we can see that God was working for good in his life. And even though Tyndale, more often than not, found himself without any companions it is clear that there was nothing that could separate him from the love that Christ had for him.

Tyndale’s Development

Tyndale was raised in a modest home. We do not know a lot about his childhood just a few facts. It is thought that Tyndale was born around 1494, probably in North Nibley near Dursley, Gloucestershire. The town of Nibley, to this day, claims Tyndale as its own. There is even a Tyndale monument in Nibley. This monument is a tower that was constructed in 1866 and is 111 ft tall. One of the things that we know about Tyndale’s childhood is that he was well educated. In fact, at 13 Tyndale entered the equivalent of a College and earned his degree by 1512. It was then, at 18, that Tyndale entered Oxford to begin studies for his master’s degree. Three years later Tyndale was ordained as a priest and was made Master of Arts. It was not until after receiving this additional degree that Tyndale was finally permitted to study theology. To Tyndale’s great disgust the theological studies that he so looked forward to had very little to do with the study of Scripture. Tyndale loved the Scriptures, and he loved to talk about the Scriptures. But with little to no Scripture in his school studies Tyndale had to find another outlet. And, in much the same way that we might meet at Starbucks, Tyndale would gather his fellow students together for discussion and debate about the teachings of Scripture.

tyndale02.jpg Thankfully Tyndale was a gifted linguist, for without this gift Tyndale would not have been able to read his bible. We must remember that at this time there was not an English Bible available to people. Thus Tyndale toiled in the languages (Greek and Latin at this time; it was not until later that he taught himself Hebrew). It was this gift, and love for the biblical languages that led Tyndale to leave Oxford and pursue further education at Cambridge. Cambridge, with the influence of Erasmus (the leading Greek scholar of the time), was the hub of Greek and NT studies. Under the influence of the Scriptures in their original languages Cambridge became the University of the Reformers. Tyndale was drawn to this atmosphere, and clearly it was God who was at work in these events.

There is little record of Tyndale ever being at Cambridge, and we can almost imagine him quietly listening, learning, and committing himself to his studies. This was the character of William Tyndale. As we look at his life we can see that he was the personification of James 1:19:

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…

Even Thomas More, who was the most bitter enemy of Tyndale on this earth, acknowledged that Tyndale was “as men say, well known, before he went over the sea, for a man of right good living, studious and well learned in Scripture, and in divers places in England was very well liked, and did a great good with preaching… (he was) taken for a man of sober and honest living, and looked and preached holily.” I can’t help but wonder how many of us, in the face of unjust persecution, would be described in this manner by our most bitter of enemies.

to be continued…

The State of the Union

bush5.jpgI had to work last night so I was unable to see the President’s speech live. I have caught a good amount of it on-line, and read other parts of it. My initial reaction is positive; especially that part about not raising taxes! I also think that if we want to get out of Iraq then we need to go over there in full force and wipe out our enemies. Some of the issues that Bush brought up, i.e. earmarks, are good ideas but will never happen.  I really would like to get that tax cut for health insurance, but I am not sure about giving out grants for health insurance.  I really think that the health savings accounts are the way to go.  The only way that our government can right the ship is if we get away from the entitlement mentality of the government, and promote personal responsibility.  This mentality of entitlement at the expense of personal responsibility is a major cultural problem that we as Christians are facing.  It is more than just a hindrance on the government; it is a hindrance on the spread of the gospel.

Of course I had many other thoughts as I was listening to the speech, but at times it was hard for me focus. It was not because it was boring, or I do not have the attention span for it. No, it was because Nancy Pelosi was blinking 35 times a second. Didn’t notice it, go see the video here.