A Lamp and a Bible

A portion of William Tyndale’s letter to an unnamed prison officer in the castle where he was detained for 18 months until his execution in October 1536.

“…and I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commissary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study…

His verdict was sealed in August, 1536. He was formally condemned as a heretic and degraded from the priesthood. Then in early October (traditionally October 6), he was tied to the stake and then strangled by the executioner, then afterward consumed in the fire. Foxe reports that his last words were, “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes!” He was forty-two years old, never married and never buried.”

Excerpted from John Piper’s Always Singing One Note- A Vernacular Bible

When God is Taken Out of the Picture

What happens when we deny that there are moral absolutes? What happens when we take God out of the picture and insist that morals and ethics are cultural and are, therefore, relative?

D. James Kennedy, author of Why I Believe, wrote of what happened at the Nuremberg War Trials after World War II:

During the Nuremberg War Trials after World War II, Nazi leaders were brought before that court and charged with all manner of crimes, including the slaughtering of millions of Jews and other people.

What was their defense? It was a clever one. The Supreme Court in Germany had declared that Jews were nonpersons. So these indicted Nazi leaders said, “We have done nothing wrong. We acted according to our own culture, according to our own mores, according to our own laws. We were told that they could be killed. Who are you to come from another culture, another society, and impose your morals on us?”

The Allied attorneys were thrown for a fifty-yard loss. They didn’t know what to say. If there are no absolutes, if everything is relativistic, if everything is culturally induced and we have no authority to impose our culture upon another, how dare we say that the Nazis were wrong for killing millions of people.

The lawyers were so taken aback, that after huddling for some time, they finally decided to retreat. Since they apparently were not willing to retreat to the moral law of God, they retreated to “natural law,” which has been held through many centuries. Although it is less precise, more vague, it nevertheless still has some moral content to it.

The lawyers appealed to natural laws, and it was on that basis that the Nazis were convicted.

A Dagger to the Sky

“Julian the Apostate endeavored to destroy Christianity. He wrote a whole book against it, but in the book, instead of destroying Christianity, he affirms that Jesus was born in the reign of Augustus at the time of the taxing made in Judea by Cyrenius.

He also confirms the fact that the Christian religion began its rise in the times of the emperors Tiberius and Claudius. He affirms the authenticity of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the authentic sources of the Christian religion.

This same Julian went to Jerusalem to disprove the Bible, but he failed. When, unknowingly, he destroyed the wall of Babylon, he confirmed the Biblical prophecy.

When he finally came to his death, pointing his dagger up to the sky at Jesus, he gathered his blood after being wounded on the battlefield, threw it into the air, and said, “Thou hast conquered, O Galilean.”

Julian left behind no trace of the paganism he endeavored to rebuild. All of his efforts evaporated before the power of the Galilean.”

Source: D. James Kennedy, Why I Believe (Thomas Nelson; Revised edition, 1979) p106.

Jesus and History

Jesus Christ, the greatest man who ever lived, changed virtually every aspect of human life—and most people don’t know it. The greatest tragedy of the Christmas holiday each year is not so much its commercialization (gross as that is), but its trivialization. How tragic it is that people have forgotten Him to whom they owe so very much.

Jesus says in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Behold! [idou in Greek]: “Note well,” “look closely,” “examine carefully.”) Everything that Jesus Christ touched, He utterly transformed. He touched time when He was born into this world; He had a birthday and that birthday utterly altered the way we measure time.

Someone has said He turned aside the river of ages out of its course and lifted the centuries off their hinges. Now, the whole world counts time as B.C., Before Christ, and A.D. Untartunately, in most cases, our illiterate generation today doesn’t even know that A.D. means Anno Domini, “in the year of the Lord.”

It’s ironic that the most vitriolic atheist writing a propagandistic letter to a friend must acknowledge Christ when he dates that letter. The atheistic Soviet Union was forced in its constitution to acknowledge that it came into existence in 1917, in the “year of the Lord.” When you see row after row of books at the library, every one of them—even if it contains anti-Christian diatribes—has a reference to Jesus Christ because of the date.

Source: D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (Thomas Nelson, 2005), pp. 1- 2.