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Tag: Romans

How Many Guards at the Tomb? A series of essays and ebook.

howmanyguardsEbookI have a post, simply titled “How many guards at Jesus’ tomb?” that has proved to be one of the most popular ones on this blog, drawing ten thousand visitors or so each year.  The bulk of these come during the Easter season.  I suspect that there are a lot of churches putting on Passion plays and they’re looking for some guidance on this topic (eg, how many costumes should they make for the guards, and should they be Roman costumes, or Jewish temple guard costumes?)

This year, to enhance the service that this post has evidently provided, … continue reading...

Guards at the Tomb: The Discipline of the Roman Soldier

howmanyguardsEbook(this is the continuation of a series of essays discussing the number and make-up of the guards at Jesus’ tomb.  It can be purchased as an ebook, cover to the right.    Main essay | Previous section | Next section: The Romans and Jews:  So (un)Happy Together )

The Discipline of the Roman Soldier

Most acknowledge that the Roman military was very good at what it did without really looking at the details.  The concession is made easily enough because most of us learned in history class that the Romans conquered a great deal of territory, and we infer, without … continue reading...

Should Christian Non-profits Consider Giving up their Tax Exempt 501(c)3 Status?

The keyword in the title is consider.

I don’t want anyone thinking that I believe in every case it would be desirable or necessary.  I do think, however, that accepting the status quo without persistent reflection is dangerous in general.  Just because it has ‘always’ been this way doesn’t mean it should continue to be that way.  After all, the whole notion of the 501(c)3 didn’t come until the 1950’s.  There were many centuries prior to that when things were not ‘always done this way.’

For the record, the ministry of this website, Athanatos Christian Ministries, is a … continue reading...

Prelude to an Argument for Christianity: The Jewish People

It took a few years after my personal battle with atheism for me to realize the importance of Jesus’ Jewishness in understanding Christianity- and defending it.  The character of the Jewish people at that time is well documented by both the Old Testament and extra-biblical sources.  Some things about Christianity, or perhaps more precisely, the New Testament, make no sense apart from the Jewish context that it arose in.  The brief video presentation below is not an argument for Christianity but rather foundation laying for such an argument.  Everyone loves a puzzle!  Puzzle me this- how has the Jewish nation … continue reading...

Easter is no Legend, the Resurrection is no mere myth: Myth Made Fact is a Different Story

It is that time of year again, when skeptics begin leveling their claims that Christianity is just a re-packaged bit of borrowed paganism and [insert your conspiracy theory here].  For the sake of this post, let’s merely concede that there are similarities to ancient myths and train our minds on the critical distinction:  none of them are set against a historical backdrop as fleshed out as Christianity.  In other words, it may be absolutely true that Christianity is ‘borrowed’ but the fact that the resurrection actually happened, nonetheless, only means looking with less skeptical eyes on the ‘ancient myths.’  For … continue reading...

The Growth of the Early Church: A Testimony Believed. Martyrs for what they saw not what they believed.

The Growth of the Early Church: A Testimony Believed.

This essay was written in response to challenges to demonstrate that the early Christians died because of their testimony, and their unwillingness to reject their testimony. In other words, they believed that they had actually seen certain events, and chose to die rather than deny what they had seen. Contrast with an event like 9-11, where we talk about 19 Muslims flying into the towers ‘because of their beliefs.’ I will contend in this essay that the early martyrs were driven on by what they witnessed with their own eyes- externally- continue reading...

Do not do tomorrow what you know is good to do today.

And by ‘good’ I mean in the theological, moral sense.

Over the last five years or so, the sntjohnny household has endured various sorts of troubles that were truly unpleasant.  To keep it in context, I should add that at least very little was ‘tragic.’  That has not been lost on me.  One of the things that has come out of the experience that I am glad to have is a better appreciation of the nature of generosity.  I have always seen generosity as a logical fruit of faith in Christ but I never understood or appreciated the fact that … continue reading...

Politics and Christianity

A discussion thread commenting on similar themes is here:

http://www.sntjohnny.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2200

Today I attended a study at church on ‘Politics and Christianity.’ I don’t think many people who consider this question understand that the American situation is extremely unique in that our system explicitly allows Christians to express themselves, just as it does anyone else. For example, by contrast, in Romans 13 the context is such where the average person on the street, and Christians especially, are just outsiders. This complicates things a great deal for the Christian trying to make heads or tails on how or what our government should … continue reading...