This law is about the implementation of a leftist agenda, not healthcare!
Where is the Muslim condemnation of the Nairobi massacre by maniacs in the name of their religion?
A child runs to safety during the fighting Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
Picture the scene if you can bear to. A bustling shopping precinct where a group of men, women and children are surrounded by armed men. As one of the terrorists moves among them, he demands that the person quailing in front of him names the mother of Jesus or recites the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father which art in Heaven,” says one woman. She is spared. Her neighbour, a Muslim boy, racks his brain for any line of the Bible, anything he has heard in school or on TV. But it’s too late. The boy is shot through the head; put to death for not being Christian.
Imagine the uproar if that ethnic and religious cleansing had taken place this week. Picture the hollering human-rights activists, the emergency session at the United Nations, the promise of action against the perpetrators who had singled out non-Christians for execution.
Yet this is a hellish mirror image of what took place in the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. Islamic fundamentalists murdered scores of innocent shoppers for failing to name the mother of the Prophet Mohammed or recite from the Koran – sufficient proof that they were despised “kafirs” or unbelievers.
Radio presenter Saadia Ahmed said she saw people say something in Arabic “and the gunmen let them go. A colleague of mine said he was Muslim and they let him go as well.” But she added: “I saw a lot of children and elderly people being shot dead. I don’t understand why you would shoot a five-year-old child.”
Roughly the same reason you would stroll down a street in Woolwich and behead a young squad die wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt – which is to say, no reason at all, unless blind ideological hatred counts as a reason.
“You’re a very bad man. Let us leave,” four-year-old Elliott Prior shouted at the gunman in Westgate mall who had just shot his mother, Amber, in the leg. The startled jihadist gave Elliott and his six-year-old sister, Amelie, a Mars bar and allowed mother and children to go after urging Amber to convert to Islam. As if.
There is a photograph of Elliott and Amelie standing next to a dead body, still clutching their unopened Mars bar. The children’s eyes are brimming with what they have seen, and can never un-see. Amid the carnage and inhumanity, an off-duty SAS man went back 12 times into the mall and was said to have personally rescued a hundred people. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil.
We have grown squeamish about using the word evil. We feel it’s a little black and white, a bit too judgmental for modern tastes; but what other description will do for the slaughter of Australian architect Ross Langdon and his partner, Elif Yavuz, a vaccine researcher? The couple was shopping for clothes for their first baby, who was due in a fortnight. The two humanitarians died with their arms around each other and the child they would never meet.
All of this may sound as if it’s taking place at a safe distance. In fact, it’s perilously close and could be coming to a mall near you. There are reports that British-born Somalians were among the gunmen and that Samantha Lewthwaite, aka the White Widow, was leading the attack.
Lewthaite, who is already wanted for terrorist offences in Kenya, was married to Germaine Lindsay, the July 7 London bomber. She said her husband’s mind had been “poisoned by radicals”. A nervous Britain, bending over backwards to soothe Muslim fears in the wake of the attacks married to Germaine Lindsay, the July 7 London bomber. She said her husband’s mind had been “poisoned by radicals”. A nervous Britain, bending over backwards to soothe Muslim fears in the wake of the attacks actually gave Samantha Lewthwaite police protection before she did a runner on a false passport. All the while, it was us who needed protecting from her.
Because the killing of Christians and other “kafirs” took place in a shopping mall and because some of the victims were white, the Nairobi story has dominated the headlines. Another massacre in Pakistan on Sunday barely registered. Some 350 worshippers at All Saints in Peshawar were laying on a free lunch for the needy when two suicide bombers killed 80 people. The attack is part of a savage pattern of assaults on Christians, from Iraq to Egypt.
Why the embarrassed silence when it comes to Islamist persecution of Christians? In Pakistan, a bishop called John Joseph committed suicide in protest at the execution of a Christian man on “blasphemy” charges introduced by fundamentalists. In Germany this week, a Green Party MP of Turkish origin received death threats after urging her Muslim sisters to take off their headscarves and live like Germans.
Here in the UK, we tolerate the increasingly intolerant. It was revealed a few days ago that non-Muslim members of staff at the Al-Madinah School in Derbyshire had to sign contracts agreeing to wear the hijab and make girls sit at the back of the class while boys sat at the front.
Jesus wept. And so should we, quite frankly. Mohammed Shafiq, head of the Muslim Ramadan Foundation, condemned calls to ban the burka, but where is his denunciation of the Nairobi massacre? Where are the voices from Britain’s Somali community condemning the murder of innocents by maniacs acting in the name of their religion?
As aformer Sunday schoolteacher, I sort of get the point of turning the other cheek. But, really, enough is enough. Time for a crackdown on fundamentalism in all its poisonous guises. Time to stop appeasing those who hate us and our way of life. Time, in fact, for the clear-eyed moral judgment of a four-year-old child.
“You’re a very bad man,” said Elliott Prior to the jihadist. And he was, and they are.
By Michael Snyder
Over the past couple of days, we have witnessed some absolutely horrific examples of Islamic terror groups specifically targeting Christians and those from other non-Muslim religions. Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon. Radical Islamic jihadists are constantly attacking churches and slaughtering Christians all over the planet. The recent events in Pakistan, Kenya and Egypt may have taken this persecution to a new level, but this is just the continuation of a trend that has been building for years. Unfortunately, Barack Obama does not seem too concerned about Islamic terrorism. In fact, he specifically directed that “all references to Islam” be removed from terrorism training materials that the federal government uses. If that wasn’t bad enough, now Obama is actually supplying weapons to the radical jihadist rebels that want to take over Syria, and he appears to be very ready to use the U.S. military to attack the Assad regime directly if “negotiations” with the Syrian government fail. In essence, Obama wants the United States to be allies with psychotic jihadists that have the exact same radical philosophy that those who are killing Christians in Pakistan, Kenya and Egypt have.
Is Obama insane?
In Pakistan, the Taliban (a very close cousin of al-Qaeda) has already claimed responsibility for the worst church bombing in the history of that nation. The attack left 85 dead and nearly twice that many wounded. To say that this was a horrific attack would be a massive understatement…
The attack on All Saints Church, which also wounded 140 people, underlines the threat posed by the Pakistani Taliban at a time when the government is seeking a peace deal with the militants.
The attack occurred as hundreds of worshippers were coming out of the church in the city’s Kohati Gate district after services to get a free meal of rice.
‘There were blasts and there was hell for all of us,’ said Nazir John, who was at the church with at least 400 other worshippers.
‘When I got my senses back, I found nothing but smoke, dust, blood and screaming people. I saw severed body parts and blood all around.’
Who would do something like that?
In Kenya, a team of Al-Shabaab gunmen stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi and murdered at least 62 people.
What makes that attack even more disturbing is that the terrorists specifically targeted non-Muslims.
In fact, hostages were given a test by the terrorists to determine whether or not they were actually Muslims. Those that failed the test were executed…
The reason the Islamists targeted the Westgate shopping centre was clear from the moment they stormed inside brandishing AK-47s and grenades. Anyone who was not a Muslim, or could not prove that they were, was immediately targeted. Reports from separate floors of the building in the first hours of the assault told how the attackers, speaking rough Swahili and English, shouted at Muslims to identify themselves.
Many people came forward. They were ordered to speak in Arabic, or to recite a verse from the Koran, or to name the Prophet Mohammed’s mother. Those who passed this test were allowed to flee. Those that did not were executed, including children.
You can find some very graphic pictures of the attack right here.
Are you starting to understand why I use words such as “psychotic” to describe these terrorists?
And all over the world these radical jihadists seem to have a particular hatred for Christians.
Just consider what has happened in Egypt over the past few months. After the Egyptian military removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power, radical Islamists responded by destroying more than 80 Christian churches…
On July 4th, the day after the Egyptian military liberated the nation of Muslim Brotherhood rule, Christian Copts were immediately scapegoated and targeted. All Islamist leaders—from Brotherhood supreme leader Muhammad Badi, to Egyptian-born al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri, to top Sunni cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi—made it a point to single out Egypt’s Copts as being especially instrumental in the ousting of former Islamist president Morsi, ushering in a month of pogroms against the nation’s Christian minority.
Among other things in July, unprecedented numbers of Christian churches were attacked, plundered, desecrated, and torched. According to one Egyptian human rights lawyer, “82 churches, many of which were from the 5th century, were attacked by pro-Morsi supporters in just two days.” Al-Qaeda’s flag was raised above some churches; anti-Christian graffiti littered the sides of other churches and Coptic homes. Due to extreme anti-Christian sentiment, many churches ceased holding worship services until recently. Dozens of Coptic homes and businesses were also attacked, looted, and torched.
Should the U.S. military ever be used to help radial jihadists that would commit such horrible acts?
That is such a crazy question that you would think that nobody would ever have to ask such a thing.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what Barack Obama wants to do.
In Syria, radical jihadists are doing all of the same kinds of things that you just read about. As I have written about on numerous occasions, the Syrian “rebels” are savagely killing Christians, repeatedly using chemical weapons and dismembering little girls.
“The Christian residents were offered four choices: 1. renounce the ‘idolatry’ of Christianity and convert to Islam; 2. pay a heavy tribute to the Muslims for the privilege of keeping their heads and their Christian faith (this tribute is known as jizya); 3. be killed; 4. flee for their lives, leaving all their belongings behind.”
And now this sick philosophy is even rubbing off on little children. In the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, children were recently filmed pretending to behead their enemies while shouting Allahu Akbar.
What kind of place will Syria become if Obama is successful and the Assad regime is removed?
Will it become a jihadist paradise where Christians and all other non-Muslims are systematically exiled or exterminated?
These jihadists are a cancer, and Obama seems absolutely determined to help that cancer spread in Syria and beyond.
What in the world is he thinking?
These are a couple of good friends who just took their first overseas mission trip, and their reflections.
From August 15-30, 2013, Pastor John and Janet Lindblom of the Radisson Evangelical Free Church, (Radisson, WI) were privileged to minister as part of a US mission team to Kenya. After flying into Nairobi, they spent their two week stay visiting churches around Naivasha, Nakuru, and Eldoret.
Throughout this trip, the American mission team was refreshed by the Lord’s strong presence in the Christian nation of Kenya. How wonderful it was: to hear people speak of the commitment of their Christian President; to see recently persecuted people now walking victoriously in forgiveness through Christ; to meet so many young but mature pastors; to witness 3 or even 4 generations of a family worshipping together (and continuing to pass on Biblical family names like Samuel, Leah, Jonah, Miriam); to see children and youth ministering in song and dance; to share in fervent prayer and worship with sincere believers of all ages; to see so many Christian stickers on vehicles and Christian names on storefronts! Proverbs 14:34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation” and surely Kenya will know the favor of the Lord as she continues to openly follow Jesus.
In contrast, the American team often spoke sadly of the decline of Christianity in the USA. Like the church in Ephesus, over the past 50 years America has “lost her first love” for Jesus. The United States has pridefully turned her heart to lean on the arm of the flesh, and the pursuit of idols of pleasure (entertainment, material wealth, drugs and alcohol), and the open endorsement of immorality and wickedness (sexual promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, corruption, violence). As the rest of Proverbs 14:34 says, “sin condemns a people” and as Galatians 6:7 warns “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”. Having brought herself under God’s judgment, America is now beginning to reap what her sin has sown.
As Kenya celebrates her Jubilee of 50 years of national independence, the mission team urged Kenyans to learn from America’s spiritual mistakes. We prayed that neither cell phones, nor cars, nor Western/Eastern/European ideologies, nor any other worldly distraction would keep Kenya from continuing to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33)! For our beloved America, we came back with an urgent understanding of Genesis 26:12-18. Just as in that Bible account of Abraham and Isaac’s time, we are in a day when enemies have come and filled in our Christian wells, attempting to cover up the truths of the Word of God. Now is the time in America that we Christians must labor together to unstop our spiritual wells, so our children and our children’s children can once again drink of the pure Living Water of Jesus Christ.
It’s surprising what you learn when you’re least expecting it. About yourself. About leadership.
About 6 years ago I bought my non-garage sale bike as an adult. It was a mountain bike, and while I love the trails, I found I loved the road even more.
So two years ago I bought my first new-to-me road bike. (No, that’s not me in the photo. I would be…larger.). Since then I’ve logged almost 5000 km (3000 miles) of riding.
I’m not a pro by any means, but cycling is something I enjoy.
Whatever you think of the spandex wearing crowd, cycling has given me some leadership lessons that have impacted my thinking, my prayer life and the ministry I do.
Here are a dozen I’ve learned so far that go far beyond cycling and that I hope can help you.
Each insight contains a question I hope can help you make direct application to your context:
1. Most of my unwillingness to ride in a group stems from insecurity. I usually cycle alone 90% of the time. True—I do like the solitude and reflection time. But that’s not the whole story. Looking back, my unwillingness to cycle with other people has been related to insecurity. I’m not as fast. I’m not that good. You know what I find? Sometimes I’m like that as a leader. I get intimidated by people who are ‘better’ than me and sometimes I end up going it alone when I could go further in a group. Is insecurity holding you back?
2. People who are better than you make you better. I’m riding with others more these days. My fastest rides are almost never solo. Yesterday I went out with a friend who could be a semi-pro rider. 15 minutes into the ride we were average 3 km an hour more than I would ever do on my own. And it wasn’t that hard. People who are better than you make you better. Are you around people who can make you better?
3. There are advantages to being behind a strong leader. When you ride in a group, cyclists enjoy something called ‘drafting‘. The lead rider creates a ‘draft’ or slipstream behind him that other cyclists follow which makes them go faster without as much effort. The same is true in leadership. If you get behind a strong leader, you’ll enjoy advantages in not having to break all the ground yourself. What advantages might you be missing that you could capitalize on among strong leaders?
4. Most people who are faster than you want to help you, not compete with you. When I started riding with better riders, I discovered they weren’t out to compete, they were out to enjoy the ride and help. In leadership, I’ve discovered that too. Almost every leader I know who has a bigger church, larger following or more influence isn’t trying to compete with me, they usually try to help. Do you assume other leaders are out to help you or compete with you?
5. You have to start somewhere. When I first started riding, a 20 minute ride was all I could do. Now a 2 hour ride is easily doable. Just because you don’t look like the pros, ride like the pros, or have the savvy of the pros, just get started. I’m by no means a pro, but I love riding now. Why haven’t you started?
6. Equipment makes a difference. Riding my garage sale bike was like riding a cement block with wheels. When I got my first ‘real’ bike from a bike shop, riding became enjoyable. Sometimes you just need better equipment to get going. Do you have the equipment you need?
7. But equipment only makes so much difference. I’ve upgraded three times in seven years, but I’m done now. I ride with people who have bikes worth 10x more than I paid for mine, but I realize that I would enjoy none of the benefits of their bike until I become a better rider. I figure I have 2-3 years before I even come close to realizing the potential in my current bike, maybe more. Are you blaming your equipment for your lack of progress?
8. Some things that work against you are measured in dog years. I was listening to a podcast recently from the great folks at Cycling360 who said the best way to be a better cyclist is to lose 10 lbs. In cycling, pounds are measured like dog years. A 10 lb weight loss is like 70 lbs for a non cyclist. I could easily lose 140 dog pounds then! Been thinking about that – What in your leadership is working against you in dog years?
9. Setting goals makes a difference. I decided to cycle 3000 km (1800 miles) this year. I just cycle more when I set goals. Do you have clear goals?
10. Measuring your results against others can bring out healthy competition. I decided to start using Strava about a month ago. Its social media for cyclists and it posts your time and compares it to others and your personal best. It’s motivated me to improve like nothing else. Does a sense of healthy self-competition motivate you?
11. Progress carries its own adrenaline. Because I’m able to see through Strava how much I’ve improved since my last outing, I’m motivated to go out even more. Being the best you can be carries an adrenaline that’s kind of amazing. Do you let progress motivate you?
12. Banishing excuses helps you realize new levels. At first I was fair weather cyclist. I hate headwind most of all. But last year I decided the wind was going to be no excuse. Had a couple of rides that almost blew me off the road, but now I go out even on the windiest of days, in light rain and even when it gets cold (yes, I stop when it snows, but some friends don’t). What excuses can you stop making today?
That’s what I’m learning from cycling. What are you learning from your hobbies?
– See more at: http://careynieuwhof.com/2013/08/12-unpredictable-leadership-lessons-i-learned-from-cycling/?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=bufferdb1b0&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.Tk5iaCkI.dpuf
I work as an executive coach. Working in this field has taught me the easiest way to help people grow is to ask questions and listen. Though I make my living in the business world, I give much of my time to the work of the church here at Soma in Tacoma, Washington.
I want to talk about two approaches to disciple making. First, The University Classroom Approach and the second, we will call The Listening Approach.
Before I began coaching executives, I had been working in vocational ministry and was very familiar with the University Classroom Approach. It worked like this: put lots of people through classes and they will learn things. One day, however, I realized the folks going through my own private university were not growing how I imagined. They had learned things, but for the most part, their lives seemed unchanged.
As I thought and prayed on this, I came to the conclusion that the University Classroom Approach to discipleship wasn’t working. This is because disciples aren’t made in tame environments like classrooms. Disciples are made by doing life together, in the wild.
This made a problem for me. Realizing most churches weren’t going to pay someone to just live life normal life with people, I had to start my own business. Coaching has allowed me to focus on my calling to serve people, both in my professional life, and on my own time. It’s a wonderful thing to see disciples made in the normal rhythms of life instead of pulling them out of life to attend an event.
My experience has taught me something simple. If you’ll ask people how they’d need to grow, generally, they already know the answer. I’ve seen this Listening Approach play out in our church community here in Tacoma.
Whenever I can, I join clusters of leaders from our missional communities who gather weekly to get care through coaching on the real issues they face as they open up their lives to their neighbors and friends.
A few weeks ago, I heard Jeff Vanderstelt share a simple tool he uses to help discern the needs of people within his missional community. Jeff says “If Jesus goal is for us to be disciples who make disciples, what would it take this year for you to be ready to do that?” Then he listens as the answers pour forth.
One person might say… “I’ve never read the bible.” Another, “my marriage has problems.” Someone else, “I don’t even believe in Jesus!” Then Jeff coaches them and gives them tools to grow in the particular area they’ve brought up. He then pairs them with each other and lets them work it through together in a DNA group (Discipleship, Nurture & Accountability).
I do something similar in the leadership world too. I ask the leader “What are 2-3 wishes you have for your professional life?” Then I follow it up with, “What commitments would you like to make to take you from where are at to where you want to be?”
Too often leaders think they have to have the answers. This puts enormous pressure on that person. Scripture says, however, God gave the Spirit to teach, convict and empower for mission. Do you know what this means? It means the pressure is off you to make things happen! The Spirit is already working, but many of us would never know because we’ve never slowed down to ask.
Are you experiencing a lack of forward movement within the group entrusted to your care? If you are working as a church planter or pastor, ask your people, “If Jesus goal for us is to be a disciple who makes disciples, what would it take this year for you to be ready to do that?” What you hear will show you how you can serve your people. Truthfully, people don’t need your class. They need someone who will pause long enough to make space for the Spirit to speak, convict and teach. With a little follow-up, this will go a long way.
If you are a leader outside a church context, the approach is similar. Ask your people, “If this is our vision, what do you need to better carry it out this year?” What they tell you will show you how you will serve them.
Jesus spoke about how the rulers of the Gentiles lorded authority over people. Then he added, “not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:42-45) Now that’s good leadership.
The university approach of getting people in classrooms to teach them things might inform people, but it won’t change lives. What changes everything is when people listen.
The recent release of the book, Zealot, by Reza Aslan, has been getting a lot of positive press, especially by the liberal media. While it is a highly readable book, it is a disappointing rehash of old, discredited, liberal higher criticism wrapped in an attractive new package.
Nineteenth century higher criticism of the Bible attempted to make sense of the scriptures by first assuming there is no God, or at least no divine inspiration. The Bible needed to be demythologized by the modern scholar for the modern unbelieving mind and a its real underlying message discovered.
The same insurmountable critique that destroyed higher criticism stands over and against Aslan’s effort. In the end it is pure subjectivity. To take Aslan seriously, we must assume he has the ability after 2000 years to tell us what parts of the gospel stories are authentic from those that aren’t. We also have to assume he is merely an objective historian rather than the Muslim apologist he is.
According to Aslan’s methodology, later secular sources regarding Jesus are to be taken as true, but only the parts of the gospels Aslan approves of are reliable. That’s not to say Zealot isn’t seductive or clever. To the uninitiated, Aslan’s positions may appear to be some new startling revelation that finally gets to the truth about Jesus.
So what is that truth?
For Aslan, Jesus of Nazareth is NOT the Christ of faith. The divinazation of Christ is a later invention of the church. Christ’s death was not to atone for sin, but is merely a tragic ending to a failed attempt to destroy Roman rule in the Holy Land. No news here. The rejection of Christ as the Savior of sinners has been the position of Islam for 1400 years and of higher critics for the last 150 years.
The Jesus of Zealot is merely a tragic, failed, nationalistic zealot. Jesus suffered the same fate of other seditious “messiahs” of his time – a criminal’s death on a Roman cross. It was only later that the church surrounded Jesus with legends and myths in an attempt to divinize him.
Of course, as liberal higher critics and orthodox Muslims all assume, Jesus could not have been divine. They arrive at their assumptions for different reasons. Higher critics have a materialistic worldview built on anti-supernatural assumptions. Muslims reduce Jesus to the status of a prophet akin to other mere human prophets so they can elevate Mohammed as a later and therefore more authoritative prophet.
Because higher critics can’t affirm the Bible that we have, they went in vain on a search for the historical Jesus. The journey ended shipwrecked on the rocks of subjectivity. Aslan is merely regurgitating their flawed findings with an Islamic twist.
To find the “historical Jesus” they redacted the Bible, chopping it up into in to a hypothetical source document “Q.” No one has ever seen “Q,” but it must exist for their theory to be maintained. They do this by picking and choosing passages they consider to be true between Matthew, Mark and Luke.
In all their wisdom they discover what only their unbelieving presuppositions could allow, a purely human Jesus. The humanists have given Muslims another way with which to undermine Christianity, but the quest for the historical Jesus was a failure and as wrong as the Islamic view of Jesus.
Aslan constantly makes swipes at the Bible in an attempt to undermine its authority. But even though he attacks the Bible when it contradicts his point of view, he then uses it for his purposes when he needs to advance his argument. So is the Bible reliable or not? Only Aslan apparently has the ability to enlighten us as to what parts of the Bible we are to take seriously.
The best part of Zealot is the history. It is important to place Christ in His proper historical setting and to acknowledge His full humanity. But Christians have always held to the full humanity of Christ as well as His full divinity. While Zealot can be used for general historical purposes, it is filled with many flawed, speculative assertions.
Aslan is keen to not overtly divulge his Islamic faith, but you can see it peeking through in various ways. For instance, he tries in vain to associate Jesus with the sacarri, a vicious, nationalistic band of violent cutthroats. I can only assume this is an attempt at moral equivalency to mitigate the viciousness of the prophet Mohammed, as if Jesus was an advocate of violence, too.
Aslan also makes sweeping and erroneous assertions about the Bible. For example, he declared the Old Testament never prophesied a divine messiah. Except, it does. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Daniel tells us that the coming “Ancient of Days” is “the Son of Man.” (Daniel 7:13)
Jesus, we are told by Aslan, had no affection or concern for anyone other than the Jews and their nationalistic aspirations. The ethic popularly ascribed to Christ to “love your neighbor” means only to love your fellow Jews. But Christ’s parable of “The Good Samaritan” explicitly contradicts this assertion.
Aslan also has to posit Christ’s resurrection as a fraud. But he does not explain why, for no personal advantage, eleven of twelve Apostles, including the Lord’s own brother, James, died for their false testimony of the risen Christ. He simply chalks it up to misguided fanaticism.
Christ’s miracles of healing and exorcisms are too well attested for Aslan to dismiss. So he does what has been done throughout history, he reduces them to magic in an age of magicians. Jesus was different from the healers of that era only in that He performed His magic for free.
One of the principle bad guys in the Christian “hoax” of a divine Christ, according the Aslan, is the scoundrel Apostle Paul. He is the one who corrupted the truth about Jesus the Zealot and advanced new novel doctrines about a divinized Christ. The world has suffered ever since. Except, he didn’t.
From the earliest recorded sermon in the Book of Acts, preached years before Paul was converted, we read the Apostle Peter declaring Jesus is the divine judge, both Lord and Christ. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)
Stephan, the first martyr of the church, proclaimed in the hearing of Saul, who would later become the Apostle Paul, he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56) Clearly the truth of the divinity of Christ was present from the very beginning of the church.
It’s hard to imagine how or why a small, insignificant group of common people who aspired to follow the highest ethical system the world has ever seen would conspire to deceive the world? They stubbornly insisted Jesus was the risen and exalted LORD even under persecution and to the point of death.
The reason is hundreds of them witnessed Him raised from the dead, (I Corinthians 15:6) and saw him ascend into heaven. (Acts 1:9) Their lives were the supernaturally transformed by the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus, and who came in power on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2)
After hearing all the buzz in the media about Zealot I was disappointed to find a book long on style with helpful historical materials but falling short with old, dubious theological speculation. I suppose if you are a skeptic and enjoy caustic broadsides directed at Christianity Zealot will suffice, but it is simply that. No new invincible or un-refuted arguments here.
Indeed, Jesus was a zealot of sorts, but not the one Aslan contrived. Jesus Christ was zealous for God. Reflecting on Christ’s cleansing of the temple, “His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.’” (John 2:17 cf. Psalm 69:9)
God also has a zeal for His Christ. “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”(Isaiah 9:7)
So which Jesus are we to believe in? Is it the failed, messianic zealot of Aslan’s Muslim imagination or the biblical, risen Lord Jesus Christ- King of Kings, Savior of His Church and Judge of all mankind?