Apr 20, 2012
James Cameron is best known for his films Titanic and the Terminator series. Cameron is somewhat of an entrepreneur. He seems to always find himself in the middle of some edgy project beyond his movie making. Camerons’ latest endeavor is launching a meteor mining company with Ross Perot and Google Founder Larry Page. Sometimes I wonder if Cameron really believes what he said when he received the Oscar for Titanic, “I’m the King of the World.”
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was putting together a documentary in March 2007 intended to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. According to the Discovery Channel description of the show we learn,
Since the 1970s, hundreds of tombs and thousands of ossuaries (limestone bone boxes) have been discovered in the Jerusalem area. These ossuaries served as coffins in first-century Jerusalem. One of these tombs was found to contain ten ossuaries. Six of the ossuaries in this tomb have inscriptions on them. As it turns out, every inscription in this particular tomb relates to the Gospels. In the feature documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus a case is made that the 2,000-year-old “Tomb of the Ten Ossuaries” belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.
In other words, the “King of the World” has found the tomb of the King of Kings – Jesus of Nazareth, thus proving the resurrection never took place. Now that the invincible James Cameron has successfully destroyed Christianity he can get back to making inane anti-U.S. military films like Avatar.
When I first watched The Lost Tomb of Jesus I was surprised at how naive viewers were in even considering the validity of the documentary. In response, I started to do my own research about the Talpiot Tomb, where the alleged bones of Jesus have been hidden for 2000 years just waiting for Cameron and his camera crew to come along and expose Christianity to be founded on a lie.
In 2007 I wrote a short booklet in which I examined the “proofs” offered by James Cameron and writer Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-born filmmaker. To give you an example of the content of my book entitled, “Burying the Jesus Family Tomb Controversy,” here is the opening chapter:
The Lost Tomb of Jesus, a documentary recently aired on the Discovery Channel, claims an ancient tomb discovered in Jerusalem may have held the bones of Jesus. The project’s producer, James Cameron, commented that the implications of such a find could drastically change the sacred faith of Christianity.
If Jesus’ bones really are among those found in the tomb’s ossuaries ¾ limestone bone boxes ¾ believers around the world have a major problem with their faith. His resurrection would be proven false, and Christians could no longer attest to the fact that they have been born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. As the apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 15:7: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version).
TV host Ted Koppel interviewed several religious scholars immediately after the feature ended. He asked a priest on the panel, “What if Jesus’ bones are in the box?” The priest responded that it would not affect his faith. “My faith would go on,” he said.
While watching the panel discussions, I asked myself, “What is my faith in? If there is no resurrection, am I going to continue in the faith? Faith in what, assuming the resurrection — the foundation of our faith — has been ripped away?”
As I considered my own questions in the days that followed, a member of my church admitted to me, “Well, if Jesus’ bones are in the box, we have to close down this congregation.” This believer grasped the implications of the claims made by Cameron and his team.
If Jesus had an ossuary, it would contradict the major tenet of the New Testament faith: that Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4). “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3).
The New Testament is built on the veracity of the resurrection of Yeshua. It is neither an option nor a hypothesis; it is the bedrock of our beliefs. In answer to my own questions, if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, my life and faith are in ruins!
Unfortunately, many spirit-filled and active believers have chosen to ignore the documentary, feeling they do not want to increase the ratings of the show or to lend credibility to the program. However, this attitude robs us of an opportunity to share the reliability of our faith with others. Since the show aired, I have encountered many secular individuals who watched the program and had serious questions about what it all means.
After prayerfully pondering the Discovery Channel documentary, I wrote this brief booklet “Burying the Jesus Family Tomb Controversy” to equip my fellow Christians and interested seekers with a response to Cameron’s fictitious documentary . This booklet addresses the fallacy of Cameron’s documentary — and others like it — that dispute the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua, our Lord Jesus the Messiah. I trust that my words will strengthen your faith, and give you the confidence to talk to any who may have questions about this controversial documentary.
I want to give you a copy of this booklet – for free. All I ask is that you become a subscriber to the ScriptureSolutions blog and I will send you the booklet. For the first fifty people who sign up as subscribers to ScriptureSolutions, the booklet is yours. No strings attached. ScriptureSolutions is not a non-profit organization so I can’t even accept a donation even if you wanted to offer one. I’d rather you give the gift to your congregation.
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Mar 15, 2012
In the last installment of my examination of Rob Bell’s Love Wins, the focus was on the character of God. Bell continues his questioning of the person of God in the remainder of chapter seven, “What is God like?”
Throughout Love Wins Pastor Bell struggles with the idea of a God who is just and punishes sin and a God who demonstrates His love by sending His Son into the world to die for our sins. A quote from a sermon by Pastor Alistair Begg best summarizes the interchange between God’s holy character and love – concepts Rob Bell cannot swallow:
If God in His love . . longs to forgive sinners . . . longs to enjoy friendship with sinners . . and if in His justice He cannot ignore our sins, how then He display His love and execute His justice? The answer lies in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the cross Jesus is an emblem of the Father’s love and Jesus is the one who bears the Father’s wrath. If He [the Father] were to excuse sin, He would not be true to Himself in the perfection of His holiness. Therefore, sin must be punished. But because of the magnanimous, unbounded nature of His forgiving love, He execute His justice on His Son so that those who deserve that judgment may find in the Son forgiveness, love and eternal life.
The Mars Hill Church pastor feels this kind of statement from Alistair Begg communicates a gospel that “subtly teaches people that Jesus rescues us from God” (pg. 182). Rather Bell offers his Love Wins Gospel as an alternative, “We do not need to be rescued from God. God is the one who rescues us from death, sin and destruction.” It is that Rob Bell ha a foggy notion of the biblical doctrine of salvation. On this point alone Love Wins loses out.
From the Old Testament we learn an innocent animal had to die in exchange for the life of the guilty sinner who offered the animal to find forgiveness of sins. Yes, under the Jewish sacrificial system an innocent goat had to die so the guilty sinner can have his sins atoned for.
In addition, much to Bell’s chagrin,we cannot escape the fact our sin earns God’s wrath as explained in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” and Romans 1:18, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
When Jesus died on the cross, He satisfied the wrath of God against sin. The nature of God is not separate from the “death, sin and destruction” He pronounces against our sin. In fact, the consequences to our sin flow out of the holy character of God and not removed from His character as Bell implies. It is because God is just in dealing with sin that there sin death, sin and destruction. The wrath of God against our sin is due to God’s just character. It is this wrath that Jesus had to deal with on the cross for us to be forgiven. (more…)
Mar 9, 2012
As kids we compared one another’s fathers to prove “my Dad is better than your Dad”. When my son Justin was attending kindergarten, he informed me about a kid in his class who boasted his father played baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since I am a baseball fanatic, I had to check it out.
After spending an hour investigating the Dodger website, I concluded Justin’s friend was lying. In fact, the kid’s father did not even work in the Dodger front office as a business executive let alone as a baseball player. I told my son his friend is making up stories about his Dad. I then proceeded to tell my kindergartner that I used to play first base for the New York Yankees!
Speaking of dads, in chapter seven of Rob Bell’s controversial book Love Wins, the Pastor compares our earthly fathers to God the Father.
The Theology of a Bi-Polar God
In light of Bell’s comparison, the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grandville, Michigan comes up with the reason why people do not accept Jesus. Bell wonders, “If your God is loving one second and cruel the next, if your God will punish people for all of eternity for sins committed in a few short years . . . no amount of clever marketing . . . will be able to disguise that one, true, glaring, untenable, unacceptable, awful reality” (page 175). In light of this statement the author sums up what his view of hell is: hell is refusing to trust and refusing to trust is often rooted in a distorted view of God (pg. 175).
If we had a human father who like the God of Christianity was loving one second and then cruel the next, we would tag him an “abusive father.”
Therefore, the God portrayed by followers of Jesus is both loving and cruel. Therefore, how can Christians expect anyone to accept the Christian message of a cruel, abusive God the Father after also being told God so loved that world that He sent His Son to die on a cross to save people from eternal torment? (more…)
Dec 13, 2011
Raise your hand if you like the biblical teaching on the existence of hell. My hand is not raised. No, I am not enamored with what the Bible teaches about hell. I take no joy knowing a person I care about may spend eternity in conscious torment, separated from God. I am not sadistic nor do I enjoy seeing people suffer.
In light of my dislike of this biblical teaching, I have two choices. I can accept what the Scriptures teach about hell or I can revise the doctrine until I feel comfortable with it and share my watered-down version with others to make them less comfortable as well.
Welcome to the wild and wacky world of Rob Bell, author of Love Wins. Bell, a competent writer, who has a way with words which he employs to weave a tapestry that makes his hearers feel warm and fuzzy about difficult biblical concepts, but his quilt is filled with broken threads and mismatched patterns.
In chapter 7 called, “The Good News Is Better Than That,” the pastor grapples with the questions, “Why would a compassionate God send good people to hell? Is He really a good God? Isn’t it unfair for a person to spend a brief life span of 70-80 years committing sins and then receiving an eternal punishment that lasts forever?
Bell asks good questions. I don’t like his answers.
Throughout his chapter “The Good News Is Better Than That,” Rob Bell leans strongly towards the view the hell the Bible warns us against is experienced during this life not the the afterlife. The conclusion about hell drawn by the writer of Love Wins, is that hell is our experience of life on earth. (more…)