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u/onemanandhishat · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Bible Reading:

Most important thing when choosing a Bible: pick the one you'll read. It doesn't matter if you prefer it because of how the cover makes you feel, if that will make you read it, then that's fine.

Most issues with translations only kick in when you find passages that are hard to understand and you want a sense of what the original writer was saying. Then something like the NLT may be less useful, because it paraphrases more. The one thing I'd say is that I wouldn't recommend a full paraphrase version like The Message, because it has a lot of the writer's own interpretation. It has its value, but not for regular study.

If you want an easy to access but still good for Bible study translation, then the NIV is a widely used version. With your background in mind, howevr, the ESV might be usable for you. It's a widely respected translation that is considered good for serious study because it gets closer to the original language than the NIV, with some sacrifice for ease of reading. It's not something I'd necessarily recommend for someone new to Christianity, but given that you grew up in a Christian family, you might not find the vocabulary as daunting.

Regarding annotations: feel free to skip them. They are intended to aid understanding, but are not part of God's word. Therefore they are not essential reading, although if you want help understanding a passage they may be useful. If you find the length of the Bible challenging, you may want to consider a Bible reading plan - it will give you a structured approach that just makes it all feel a bit more manageable. If you want to manage the whole thing in a year (4 chapters a day), then try For The Love of God by Don Carson. If that's too much you could give one of these a try. One popular approach is to just alternate reading Old Testament and New Testament books (e.g. read through Matthew, then Genesis, then Mark, then Exodus etc), and then, because the New Testament is shorter, starting over while you go through the 2nd half of the Old Testament. That one's good because it doesn't matter how much you read each day to fit the plan. But reading plans are just a tool, if you want to just sit and read, that's also great, reading whole books in one go has its benefits even. Whatever works for you.

Other resources:

There are many, many Christian books available. But if you want a couple of easy recommendations try:

  • The Cross-Centered Life by CJ Mahaney, it's super short but nails the essentials of the Christian life. Likewise Humility: True Greatness by the same author, also short.

  • Mere Christianity by CS Lewis - it's a good one for the atheist mindset, as CS Lewis was very talented at explaining Christian ideas in a way that makes logical and philosophical sense.

  • Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Mike Reeves - I confess I haven't read this one myself, but I love the author and I've heard him speak on this topic, and it really opened my eyes to explain the Trinity, which is one of the most mind-bending Christian teachings, yet it changes everything in an amazing way. Really worth checking out. Can also send you a link to his talks on it, if you prefer an audio option. He does some great church history stuff that warms my heart as well. We can learn a lot from those who came before us, and can shed light on our struggles and encourage us with their wisdom.
u/Repentant_Revenant · 4 pointsr/TrueChristian

The "problem" you seem to have is something that every Christian on earth struggles with - the disconnection between knowing something in your head and knowing it in your heart.

This is something I struggle with - there's a stark difference between being intellectually convinced of the existence of God and actually feeling like He exists.

There's a difference between knowing "Yeah, yeah, God loves me." And actually feeling the incalculable, unrestrained love of God.

There's a difference between knowing theologically that you're forgiven and actually feeling forgiven.

It's a difficult hurdle. Fortunately, God is there to help you.

God sends the Holy Spirit to us so that we can experience the presence of God, so that our knowledge of Him can drop down from our head to our heart.

For a long time, I sought an experience. I'm an extreme skeptic, so I'm always incredibly doubtful of any of the miraculous stories I hear from others. At the same time, it's because of this doubt that I so desperately wanted to experience God for myself.

I decided that, if I were to take God seriously, I would need to do whatever I could on my end to "press into" God and leave the rest up to Him. This meant that I would go to the front of the church during worship, or ask people lay hands on me and pray for me. As a skeptic and an introvert, these were huge steps for me. And many times, I wouldn't have a tangible experience with God, and I would get disheartened.

However, there have been a number of times now when I really did have experiences with God.

God lives in you. You have the Holy Spirit inside you; Christ Himself lives in you. However, for whatever reason, God sometimes gives us strong, palpable experiences and awareness of His presence, whereas most of the time we're not aware.

As someone who was originally skeptical of the "charismas," or of personal encounters with God and His Holy Spirit, I now urge you to pursue relationship with God.

That means spending time in prayer. I grew up always praying in my head with my eyes open, because I knew that God could still hear my prayers. However, I've discovered more and more that the act of going in my room, closing the door, kneeling, and praying out loud is richly rewarding. That's how people prayed throughout the Bible. I think that it helps me to connect that I'm praying the God of the universe, rather than just thinking to myself and projecting my desires.

For me, personally, walks alone and in nature have brought me closer to God. I'm someone who's always been deeply affected by nature - even in my doubt, I see the hand of the Creator in His Creation. And some of my encounters with God have been when I've been on a walk alone, not in a church.

Nonetheless, Christian community is extremely important. The Bible affirms repeatedly the importance of the church. If you're not already, try to attend church regularly and get involved with a youth group. I'm incredibly introverted, and in high school I would have thought I'd never be involved in a social group like that. However, our desire to know God should be higher than our desire for personal comfort. We need Christian friends and community surrounding us - people who will love and encourage us, people we can confide our sins and struggles to, people who will pray for us.

Worship is also incredibly important. I didn't used to sing in church. In fact, I went to a Christian school, and I would often remain seated during chapel worship. I was a Christian, but I thought that worship just "wasn't the way I connected with God." I thought that other people who are into praise music can connect with Him that way, whereas I connect with Him in other ways. While it's true that some people connect to God through certain channels more than others, we are all called to worship. I was making worship about myself - What can I get out of it? - instead of it being about God. Ironically, the more you make worship about God and not about yourself, the more you're bound to actually get out of it. This is one of the radical truths of Christianity - the more you give up of yourself, the more you truly are yourself. The more you live for others and for God, the more you're truly alive. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Lastly, I must mention that good sermons and good books are really helpful, especially if your mind works similarly to mine. I mentioned in another comment Mere Christianity and The Reason for God - I consider them both must-reads for any Christian, but especially the one struggling with doubt. There are other good books, some specific to a particular doubt. (For instance, if your doubt has to do with the relationship between Christianity and science, then The Language of God is a must read.)

As far as sermons go, I really recommend Timothy Keller. If you have a smartphone or mp3 player, you can easily get podcasts for free.

I'll be praying for you. Feel free to PM me with any additional questions, or any particular doubts.

u/Im_just_saying · 3 pointsr/TrueChristian

Here's something from my book on eschatology that addresses your question.

Why Should I Care About The Future?

I have a lot of pastor friends who don’t know what they believe about the future. They honestly don’t even want to explore it, because everything they have studied so far seems to them foggy and confusing. The deeper they get the foggier it gets. Many of them have already abandoned a strict Dispensationalist view, but are comfortably uncomfortable with saying, “I don’t know how it will all turn out, so I’ll just serve Jesus and wait and see.”

This is a relatively safe approach, and certainly easier than having to wrestle for themselves with heavy eschatological issues. But there are two problems with this attitude.

First, it isn’t biblical. My goodness! Jesus and Paul and John and Peter and Matthew and Mark and Luke and Jude and James and whoever wrote Hebrews all talked about it. So did Moses and David and Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Isaiah and Daniel and Malachi (I have to stop here...too much typing!). How can we, as people faithful to the Word of God, simply ignore or put on a shelf something that is so significantly present in the whole of Scripture? If we are going to be faithful servants, ably handling the Word of God, we have to come to grips with these issues.

Second, the future determines the past. Yes, I’ll say it again, the future determines the past. What I mean is this. If you and I make plans to go on a picnic next Thursday, that future event determines what we do before it arrives. We have to decide where to go. Someone has to bring the sandwiches. Someone needs to get the wine. Will there be a blanket to sit on? How will we deal with the ants? Plans must be made, or else the picnic might not happen at all!

Similarly, what we expect about the “big” future determines what we do before it arrives. Is Jesus coming back to rescue a few who are holding the fort awaiting his arrival? Then our best option is to dig in, save as many souls as we can, expect things to get worse, forget about transforming society, and hold on for dear life. But if Jesus is coming back to the welcome of a victorious church, then we have work to do; things like making disciples of the nations (not just a few in the nations), teaching the world to obey everything Jesus has commanded us, saving souls—yes—but also transforming cultures, influencing economics, recovering the arts, channeling technology toward godly goals, and a whole host of other things. If Jesus is coming back really soon, we don’t need to send people to seminary—there isn’t time for that. If he’s coming back after we have accomplished our purposes, then we have time on our side—send a kid to seminary and prepare him for a life of ministry, train up children to be good parents and grandparents, elect godly leaders, write books, and plant trees, for God’s sake (literally).

When the ancient cathedrals were being built in Europe, the Christians understood that it might take a hundred or more years to complete them. When the foundations were laid, forests of trees were planted to serve as scaffolding a generation later. Stonemasons trained their sons to follow them in the trade and multiple generations of families made their living working on the church. One cathedral in England took a thousand years to finish! But it’s been finished for five hundred years and is still used for the worship of God. This is a far cry from throwing up a tin building in the hopes that it will last 20 years until Jesus comes.

The future determines the past. What do you believe about the future?

(pages 27ff)

u/gr3yh47 · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Man, I'm really sorry to hear you feel like your faith is slipping. I have some resources that I think can really help you, but please first and foremost pray that God would strengthen your faith. Rely on your heavenly father in Christ, and ask Him to increase your faith.

If you'd like to have a conversation via discord I'd be happy to speak with you about this. You are not alone in this struggle, and I've been through some of this fairly recently.

Ultimately as Christians we believe that a man named Jesus lived, claimed to be God, and proved it by predicting and accomplishing His resurrection from the dead.
If this is true, then He is God and what He says is true - especially that He is the way to be reconciled to God.

I recommend checking out Frank Turek. Without using the bible, He covers the breadth of topics that you are concerned about, from the reasons to believe in God down to why the Christian God. If you enjoy reading, his book is a wonderful, thought provoking read. if you prefer video, I recommend watching his presentation at East TN Univerity

u/CaptLeibniz · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

Well, I actually grew up in the Pentecostal tradition. I converted to Southern Baptist about two years ago, and made the switch to reformed theology about one year ago.

It really depends on the church with Baptists; they're highly variable. Some groups, like free-will baptists, are emphatically opposed to Calvin and the like. Others, like self-proclaimed reformed baptists, welcome and celebrate Calvin and his contemporaries' contributions to Protestantism. I've never attended a baptist church that wasn't at least implicitly Calvinist, though I only recently started attending a properly reformed Church that observed the 2nd London Baptist Confession. Hence, it's kind of difficult to give much advice, as I've always been in friendly territory.

If you just want to get a better feel for reformed theology in-general, there are a couple of routes. Depending on your reading comprehension and Biblical competence, I would recommend a few books.

Novice: Bible Doctrine, Grudem.

This is a decent, modern introduction to systematic theology in-general. Grudem is not what many would call reformed, but he leans that way. Whatever the case, it is a helpful look into the terminology that theologians have utilized over the years. Good place to get your feet wet.

Adept: Systematic Theology, Grudem

Reformed Dogmatics, Bavinck

These ones are a bit more academically oriented, so if you're not used to reading this sort of thing, they might be difficult to read. Bavinck's work is highly recommended, and is properly reformed, though it takes a greater reading comprehension than Grudem.

Advanced: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin

Anything else earlier than the 20th Century (Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, etc.)

This is the bedrock of reformed theology, which I'm sure you're probably aware of. The only problem is that it can be very difficult to read. In some cases, much more than the content of modern academia. This is really a very very distilled list. There is literally so much good material out there, but these are some of the big names that I hear often.

As regards general advice, two things come to mind:

  1. I would keep in mind the primacy of the text of Scripture itself. This might seem obvious, but one of the pitfalls of the reformation is the romance with systematic theology. Though ST is a wonderful thing, some reformed guys do it at the expense of the textual significance of the Scriptures themselves. We must always ask ourselves if we, in our exposition, are doing justice to what the Scriptures themselves are saying. Again, this seems obvious, but it is rarely borne out the praxis of our theology and exegesis.

  2. Do not make Calvinism or Reformed theology the locus of your Christianity or your identity. Though reformed soteriology is seminal to our faith and practice, we must ultimately identify ourselves as the covenant people of God; those united to Christ through faith in His death and resurrection. Rest in the substance of your faith, not in its explanation.

    I'll be praying that you heed the Scriptures in all things, and that your life coheres with the will of God. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions or concerns as relates the reformation, theology, Scripture, or anything!

    Soli deo Gloria
u/DenSem · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I can't speak for the general population, but from my experience there seems to be a shift in understanding moving from "Genesis is literal" to Genesis is an awesome picture of what happened, written in practical language people of the day could approach and understand.

I believe in the big bang (and that God caused it), and that the 6 days of creation were not "days" (it has been almost 14 billion years after all), but more like a musical "count off" to the main point of the whole story: humanity and our relationship with God.

I love science. It simply explains the "what" and "how" of creation. Theology provides the "why".

For miracles, I believe they happened in the Bible. If you move in the right circles you can see (and experience) that they continue to happen- but then you get labeled as extreme and weird- even in Christian groups. It's always interesting talking about them- it's like there is a weird hushed tone you have to talk in because it's so counter-cultural and off the grid.

Hope that helps!

Edit: If you're interested there are a couple great books you may enjoy. The language of God written by the head of the human genome project and The Genesis Enigma. Both address how the Bible is scientifically accurate when read correctly.

u/tomb523 · 6 pointsr/TrueChristian

Wow! That portion of the article reeks of an atheist agenda and is totally false. God's character has not changed. It is the same throughout the bible, from Genesis to Revelation. While it is true God allowed His people to be enslaved, it was not that He necessarily caused it. In each case, the Israelites turned from Him and began worshiping false gods and idols. God merely took His hand off them and let things happen. He ceased protecting them to show them what happens when they reject Him. But this God loved His people. When they relied on Him, He didn't let them down. They defeated armies greater than they. Their crops and livestock grew in abundance. Sickness and illness were minimal. It reads like He caused it only because He knew what would happen when He removed His protection. God's strength comes from man's weakness.

I recommend to pick up, "Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God"

It was written to challenge many of the beliefs of modern atheist, but it does a good job of demonstrating the consistency of God's character.

In terms of the New Testament, this brings the good news of God's grace and extends the offer to His people to all nations. Jesus showed us who God is - a loving and nurturing God. He knows we cannot keep His commandments without His help, so He came as a man, kept the commandment so that we all can be seen as righteous in Him. Jesus is our intercessory with the Godhead just as Abraham was for Sodom and Moses was for the Israelites at Sinai. Remember passages such as (paraphrasing) 'he who puts his hand on the plough and looks back is not fit to inherit the kingdom of heaven' and 'if you love me, you'll keep my commandments'. Jesus provides ample warnings that judgement will be harsh, just as it always has been.

Jesus also said that without the Holy Spirit, the mysteries of God remain hidden. When you believe in Jesus and that He was raised from the dead, the scales are lifted from your eyes and your ears will hear. The writer of "Beyond Good and Evil" as well as Peterson is reading in the blind. They may be smart, but remember, God takes delight in confounding the wise with the foolishness of the cross.

u/saved_son · 4 pointsr/TrueChristian

Hey there, thanks for posting your questions - they are questions many Christians struggle with, and they are questions many have found satisfactory answers to, I hope you do too ! You may get many answers to your questions, some of them contradictory. It's worth remembering that each of us is at a different part of our journey with God and those different answers are more reflective of our own human understanding rather than any issue with God.

Here's some answers from me for you.

  1. I would say there is a lot of evidence for the resurrection. I could detail them but don't want to do a wall of text :) Check this page out. Josh McDowell is an apologist and has looked into this issue thoroughly. I recommend his book Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

  2. I don't feel like it's a guessing game. There is plenty of evidence for God. But God still leaves us with a choice of whether to believe in Him or not. But for some people it takes time. It took me years to make that leap. Years where I carefully studied and sought God out deliberately. If we don't search for God, how can we say God isn't real?

  3. They are wrong about certain beliefs, but there are also many similarities between the three major Abrahamic religions. I believe God has sheep in many flocks.(John 10:16).

  4. Trinity is not polytheism because we don't believe that the God head is seperate from each other. This one deserves it's own post and I'm sure there have been many about it.

  5. Different denominations understand the Bible, and to a degree God, differently. For instance, my denomination believes the Bible says the wicked will not suffer eternal torment and damnation. I can point to certain verses to support my view. But other people who believe differently could point to other verses. We congregate together with those who believe similarly because it makes worship and Bible study better, but I believe we are all a part of the worldwide fellowship of believers.

  6. The Bible is clear that believing in Jesus is what enables us to be saved. If people knowingly reject Gods offer of salvation then they will be lost because there is no other way to be saved. I can answer more specific questions if you have any.

    Hope thats helped a little ! Blessings !
u/3nvisi0n · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Academically its known that changes(be them scribal mistakes,intentional changes, paraphrasing or whatever) were most likely to add to scripture rather than remove scripture. This is part of why some have confidence that the original still exists within the manuscript traditions without any particular manuscript being the perfect one.

With that in mind, have you considered that its possible that its not that other translations removed anything but that the KJV added? You seem to have the assumption that KJV is the best version and deviance from there is deviance from scripture.

Its important to look at the differences, but its also important to look at WHY there are differences.

As an example the Comma Johanneum which is 1 John 5:7-8 lets look at verse 7 in the KJV

>For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

and in most other translations:

>For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

You can see clearly that the other translations have removed a significant section and one that even matters doctrinally with regards to the doctrine of the Trinity.. Of course we generally don't base our belief in the Trinity on a single verse but on the whole revelation from God but this change is significant none-the-less.

So was it removed in an attempt to suppress scripture? No I wouldn't say so, the additionally stuff first appears in the early 1500s. 1400 years of transmission without it.

So is everyone else omitting it....or is the KJV(and its tradition) adding it?

In addition to the debate you linked I recommend the book by one of the debaters, James White: The King James Only Controversy -

u/davidjricardo · 5 pointsr/TrueChristian

I know I already answered this when you posted the same question over at /r/Reformed, but I wanted to answer here as well, so that others could potentially benefit.

Here's my reading list on Christian Perspectives on Creation. I don't agree with everything written by all of the authors, but they are all worth reading. If you are looking more for a Scientific perspective I'd particularly recommend Collins, Jelsma, and Haarsma since those are the ones written by scientists instead of theologians. If you didn't see it already, I also listed a number of other resources by Collins yesterday in the post about his AMA.

u/A_Wellesley · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

If you are in any way interested in Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, visit a Mass/Divine Liturgy, having first contacted the priest and asked him to chat afterwards.

Also, I highly recommend this book. It'll lay out the history and Faith of the Eastern Church in a way that is fascinating and fun to read, without being pushy. Even if you feel led away from Orthodoxy entirely, you'll at least have a better idea of who we are :)

u/Theosophizer · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

You consider that perhaps God will not eternally torture someone in return for a minuscule amount of time spent in sin.

And I say that in all seriousness.

There is a lot of evidence that eternal hell is at least not a certainty, if not completely false.

I won't post all about it here in case you do not care to hear it. I will simply encourage you to read up on it. One of the best books written on the subject is dirt cheap:

I have gone through what you are feeling, only as an infantryman I wondered how I could live with myself having participated in sending brainwashed teenagers to an eternity or torment. Just because some young man had been led astray by an Imam in his search for truth, I would still the one that physically sent them to hell with a pull of the trigger.

I was saved after my time in the military, and I began to wonder about hell. If my heart was regenerated, and I have the heart of God now, why would God let my heart feel eternal torment was wrong if it was truly God's purpose. Thus, I set out to search for the truth of the matter.

I could tell you more about what I believe I found, or that book lays it out very well without taking a side.

I pray you find your peace AND the truth in all things.

u/Zybbo · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

I don't have the exact quote now but, christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga said something like "our interpretation of scripture and science are different ways to approach the objetive truth, thus, when they disagree about something, there may be a misunderstanding/error in one or both that we need to work out"

He wrote a book on the subject for those interested in a philosophical, more deep take on the issue.

For those more into YT, I strongly reccomend the movie [Evolution vs God](

The supposed conflict of science vs religion is false. The conflict is scientism vs religion. True Science deals with observation, theorizing and experimentation.

But it would be naive to think that what is sold today as science is free from bias and ideology.

My personal views on the subject are:

There is no macro evolution, and all species were created as they are, but are somehow making little adjustments tru dna combinations within the same kind.

Only life can create life, non organic chemicals cannot create the information imbued in the DNA of the living beings.

I got not strong stance on the age of the earth. It could be 6~7000 years or 4.5 Billions (radiometric dating has some issues..). Whatever the age doesn't change the fact that God did it.

Finally, I keep in mind that the ultimate truth will never be fully acknowledged by humans The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever Dt 29:29.

My humble opinion/understanding

u/SoCalExile · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Have you done any online research into these verses? It might be worthwhile to seek out a theologian's view before making any snap judgements. Often we do not see the cultural context, nor do we understand the language. An excellent example of this is the laws on "slavery", which some use to claim the Bible endorses slavery as it was in the antebellum south. This is false, because what is called slavery in the OT is entirely different than what happened in more modern times. This is an excellent explanation if you are interested:

A book I am reading through now that may be useful to you:

As for Lev. 26, it came true later on when the Israelites began to worship Canaanite gods, which involved child sacrifice. God then withdrew his protection and Israel was under siege from the Babylonians. The Israelites ate their own children rather than ask God for forgiveness and turn from their false gods.

u/Witty_Weasel · 11 pointsr/TrueChristian

For me I'm going to go a bit old school. First "The Abolition of Man" by C. S. Lewis, which argues for a sort of 'Universal Truth'. I thought it was endlessly fascinating, and it's really an easy, short read. (The audio book was only an few hours long). There's also Lewis's "Mere Christianity" which is once again easy and short. In it he sort of starts with a shortened version of the argument found in Abolition, and from there discusses why Christianity itself works as the 'Universal Truth'.

If your looking for something thicker, I would suggest G. K. Chesterton's "Heretics", which blasts away the philosophy of his contemporaries (Which is still applicable today), "Orthodoxy" which discusses his own conversion and his own search for truth, and "The Everlasting Man" which discusses the history of mankind and Christianity's role in it. (This was also the book that converted Lewis' intellect).

Chesterton is not necessarily a difficult read because of lengthy words, or because he references something no longer fashionable, but because of his ideas. I like to think I can understand things fairly well, but I had to pause often to go over a phrase, or to really think about a thought he presented. But both authors are very enjoyable.

u/nmshhhh · 3 pointsr/TrueChristian

I’ve been really enjoying this for daily readings before my Bible time: Daily Readings-the Early Church Fathers

Also this for help with prayer: The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Check these out! Hope they prove useful to you.

u/PaedragGaidin · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

From my perspective, no, it does not. I'm an amillenialist and partial preterist, and I reject the ideas of a pretribulation rapture and a literal millennial kingdom. I don't think people who hold these views are heretical or anything, but I strongly disagree with them.

What is heretical, and directly contrary to Scripture, is making detailed predictions of the when, where, and how of the End Times (e.g. Harold Camping). This particular page does not appear to engage in this, fortunately, but it's quite common.

Growing up, I'd never held to any set theory on the End Times; I believed in some sort of nebulously-described "rapture" and coming tribulation, and thought the Revelation of John was entirely about future events.

After coming to Reddit I read a book entitled The End is Near...Or Maybe Not! written by /u/Im_Just_Saying. It's an excellent and concise study of the End Times, and it pretty much single-handedly made me into the solid amil partial preterist I am today.

u/RumorsOfWars · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

I read Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp last year and very much enjoyed it. It really challenged my thinking in how to deal with children, not just my own. If two kids fight over a toy the automatic response is "who had it first?" but that puts the kid who originally had it automatically in the right, even if they were being unkind to the other child. The point of raising children is to, as the book discusses, aim the child's heart at God, and not at themselves or you.

I didn't agree with every single detail he discusses, but I can certainly recommend it as I learned so much.

u/Rex130 · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I would highly suggest The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer Its an awesome book. Aside from the Bible its one of two books I like best.

u/unsubinator · 13 pointsr/TrueChristian

>in the opinion of modern scholars

In the opinion of some modern scholars. The opinions to which you give voice are hardly universal and they're trending toward a minority among contemporary scholars. Such views were much more widely held at the beginning of the 20th Century, for instance, than they are today.

Among the scholars to which you can refer to good scholarship and a less Modernist point of view are N.T. Wright and Scott Hahn. Both are (as far as I know) well regarded scholars of the Bible. There are others but those are the two that spring to mind.

>the disciples didn't really believe Jesus was God (if he existed)

I think this is false on the face of it, and even Bart Ehrman concludes that it was their belief in the resurrection that convinced Jesus' disciples that Jesus was God in the years immediately following the crucifixion. See here for a radio interview with Ehrman about his book, How Jesus Became God.

Ehrman courted the disfavor of his atheist admirers in one of his other recent books, where he took aim at the Jesus mythicists, arguing that Jesus was definitely an historical character.

Again, I would refer you to N.T. Wright and his works on the historicity of the Bible.

> the Bible is a collage of stolen myths

Once again, this is just flatly false and is only believed by the most extreme "scholars" in the Jesus Mythicist camp (as far as I know).

>My second question: is there a term for someone who studies Biblical topics in general? As in one who studies ancient near-east cultures, comparative mythology, languages, Biblical source documents, Jewish literature, archaeology, and other "Biblical Humanities"? That's what I like.

I don't know about a "term", but check out Scott Hahn, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, this book (if you can find it), and especially (for this question), I would recommend John Walton and his books, The Lost World of Genesis One and Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible.

u/wordsoup · 0 pointsr/TrueChristian

I studied a dozen of translations and have become quite fond of literal translations based on the Textus Receptus which the majority here won't probably recommend. For me in Germany there are two options Schlachter 2000 and Luther 1545. For you there is probably the King James Version.

However, if you plan on thoroughly studying I'd suggest a commentary to accompany your bible.

Since most will recommend the ESV, which is a good option, I recommend the John MacArthur Commentary.

u/DJSpook · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

John Lennox is a great resource on the Christian vs. Science debate. Here is one of my favorite speeches by him. He explains why and how popularizers of atheism today enjoy forcing people to choose between science and God. In his book Where the Conflict Really Lies, Alvin Plantinga argues that the real debate of religion vs. science is Naturalism vs. Science. He defends the idea that Naturalism has become a religion, rather than a state of temporal ignorance--it is meant to be an assumption until indications of the supernatural arise, though now people will accept both premises and the conclusion of arguments such as the Kalam (for example, Richard Dawkins and Danniel Dennet)--but then deny it once they learn it has theological implications. So he attempts to move the debate to the view most scientists today hold, and then presents his own defeater for naturalism to add to the list that almost expelled it from academia until it was preserved in a sort of pretension by modern scientists. Why? Because academia has secularized on the basis of a misrepresentation of Christianity--that God is something to be found within His creation, instead of "outside of it" (immaterial, spaceless, timeless, uncaused...).

Alvin Plantinga also wrote Knowledge and Christian Belief (a more approachable version of his Warranted Christian Belief), which is part of how he restored intellectual credibility to the Christian worldview within academia. He has since caused a resurgence in Christian theism in the anglo American collegiate realm. Here he explains that argues that belief in Jesus is a properly basic belief, meaning that it is one that we arrive at without reference to anything else within reality. For example, you believe that you are not a brain in a vat being controlled by a mad scientist to think you are here---but you can't prove it! It is a metaphysical (the philosophy of existence) assumption that is epistemologically (the philosophy of what is justified/warranted as knowledge) justified. Thus, wholly apart from evidence besides the revelation of the Holy Spirit (perhaps noncommunicable), and in the absence of a defeater for Christian theism, belief in Jesus is an epistemologically warranted metaphysical initiative.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

One or two chapters a day is a good start. Begin in the NT and then read OT.

I always like to give the Orthodox Study Bible as a suggested tool as well when this topic comes up. Here is a link.

u/MyLlamaIsSam · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I'm glad you are open to re-studying it! Definitely don't take my word for it.

I think you'll find the annihilationist view squares most readily with judgment language. And, I have found, the reconciliationist view squares most readily with what God has revealed about his character and will. In no case to I find the ECT view offering a more compelling reading of judgment passages or God passages, with the possible exception of the Revelation mention that the devil, false prophet, and beast may suffer an eternally painful fate. But even there I see annihilationism having strong footing.

I strongly recommend this book. I found it very fair. Perhaps a bit harsh on ECT, but I think mostly because it is hoping to open an evangelical to considering other views. Each view is defended and attacked, mostly from scriptural grounds, with some logic and church history thrown in for good measure. I also love how he closes the book: At the end of the day, the point is not to figure out hell but to follow Jesus, and not to evangelize to save people from hell but instead to bring them into right worship of Jesus, because Jesus deserves more worshippers.

u/BamaHammer · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

Mere Christianity is excellent.

I happen to like Timothy Ware's The Orthodox Church, for obvious reasons.

u/SonOfShem · 19 pointsr/TrueChristian

The Case for Christ (the [book][1], although the [film][2] adaptation wasn't horrible) and Cold Case Christianity would probably be good reads for you.

Case for Christ was written by an investigative journalist and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. It details his transition from Atheism to Christianity, and how his attempt to debunk Christianity lead to him coming to Christ.

Cold Case Christianity was written by a detective who solved a number of high-profile cold cases. He has a similar story, as his book details his conversion from Atheism to Christianity through the use of cold-case investigation techniques.



u/jarklejam · 4 pointsr/TrueChristian

Read Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright. The concept of "Heaven" as a destination (as presented by the pastor you heard) is a lot different than the "New Heaven and New Earth" we are promised.

Jesus is the first fruits of a physical resurrection. He ate with the disciples to prove this point.

u/Lanlosa · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

Book of Concord.

And, because it's an awesome resource to be available,

u/rapscalian · 6 pointsr/TrueChristian

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - The Cost of Discipleship

EDIT: Just saw that someone else already said this. I won't change mine though because it's a great book.

u/PatricioINTP · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I have actually read this book…

... and trying to start reading (among a lot of others) this one…

You might say it is more of a history phase I am going through right now more than anything else. While I classify myself as a Protestant I consider myself non-denominational and more curious why we differ more than anything else. But on what you said online…

… yep. That is one of the specific examples why I asked.

u/Majorobviousphd · 3 pointsr/TrueChristian

In case you want to read up more on your question, you may be interested in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s struggle with the same thing. Give Ethics or The Cost of Discipleship a try. TLDR; he was a pastor in the end who decided it was biblical to conspire against Hitler and it cost him his life. Really smart, well-reasoned man who had a biblical basis for what he wrote. Found myself challenged by his books.

u/pilesofwater · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Have you ever read The Valley of Vision? I think you may enjoy it

u/tacos41 · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

My small group is going through Shepherding a Child's Heart right now by Ted Tripp. We really like it so far.

u/aletheia · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

The only Bible in English that I knew of that includes the full Eastern Orthodox canon is the 'Orthodox Study Bible.'

I actually short change myself and use a RSV-Second Catholic Edition because I like the way it reads more.

u/MInTheGap · 3 pointsr/TrueChristian

I suggest picking up the book New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. Good arguments for the Bible and the resurrection.

u/HuggableTree · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I'm not sure this is what your looking for but this is the closest book I can think of:


It talks about all those area's independently but from the perspective of a Christian.

u/pilgrimboy · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

I feel that I am in a pretty conservative church. We have only one adamant young earth creationist. I try to emphasize that one's view of origins doesn't matter in the sense that the Bible was not trying to be a science textbook in the relevant sections.

One of the more prominent OT theologians (who doesn't get as much exposure as the others who are opinionated but not theologians) wrote a useful book on the subject lately, The Lost World of Genesis One.

u/Jesusroseagain · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

I am also posting this as an apologetic resource for you to use.

Why Christianity?

Why suffering?

Evolution? Genesis?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Did Jesus exist?

Jesus claimed to be God?


The good news?


• A sin to exist?

• A call to love?


All You Want to Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God's Final Solution to the Problem of Sin

Never heard of Jesus?

Part 1

Part 2

Where did God come from?

You might also enjoy these reads below,

Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?: What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach

Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World

Jesus Among Secular Gods: The Countercultural Claims of Christ

Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God

u/Righteous_Dude · 0 pointsr/TrueChristian

> Hell, overall, doesn’t seem just. ... I still don’t think an eternity of torture is justified.

I recommend this book by Steve Gregg for a thorough discussion of the relevant verses and arguments for/against each of the main three views about hell (eternal torment, annihilationism / conditional immortality, and universal reconciliation)

I have the "annihilationism" and "conditional immortality" positions, for reasons such as these written by Greg Boyd.

u/EACCES · 11 pointsr/TrueChristian

>If it was to symbolize His spiritual rebirth

Nope nope nope. It was to prove that God does and will physically, bodily raise people from the dead, flesh, bones and all. If anything, the Resurrection is a symbol of God's love, but really, much of Christianity is itself a symbol that points us to the Resurrection. Christ was resurrected because God promised that one who would follow His commandments would live, and Jesus did that. Christ was resurrected to bring in the kingdom of God, and kingdoms need a King. (And the Resurrection made sure we know the name of the King: [romans 1:1-7 nrsv]. And Christ was resurrected to be the reboot of humanity, to be the new faithful Adam. Christ was resurrected for us.

Christ was resurrected for the same reason why Adam was created - because God thinks that the physical world is a pretty cool place, and wants to have fleshy, squishy meat humans bearing His image and running the place for Him. It's good for Jesus to be the eternally begotten Son of God, it's even better for Jesus to have a real human body.

When Jesus died, He went to the grave, the Pit - to Sheol. (Sometimes we use the world Hell, but we don't mean the Lake of Fire, since it wasn't time for that place yet. In this case, Hell = Sheol.) He went there because that's where dead humans go. In Sheol, Jesus "preached to the spirits who in former time did not obey" - [1 peter 3:18-22 nrsv]. Most of us believe that at this point, all the righteous who died before Jesus - starting with Adam and Eve and everybody from then on - were released from Sheol and brought into Heaven to worship God.

Jesus committed no sins, but he did take on sin, in the flesh, to kill sin in the flesh. And Jesus was not judged, because Jesus is the judge

It's not a sin to question this. The resurrection is just plain weird. That's one of the many reasons why we were considered "foolish" - our crazy devotion to this weird Jewish god was bad enough, but to say that people got their bodies back after death, and that it was a good thing? Nonsense! And to say that all this happened to some poor Jew, and that was reason to call him King? What nutters!

This is a great book: Surprised by Hope by NT Wright.