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Putting Tradition on Trial

Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us this book to review!

Many Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th and Easter on a Sunday in late March or Early April.  What if our traditions were proven to be wrong?  Patrick Cavanagh is Putting Tradition on Trial using astronomy and ancient Greek texts as evidence against an Easter Sunday resurrection.

I recently did (and highly recommend) a Bible Study called The Life of Jesus Christ Love. Life. Message. Mission. with my small group at church.    It's a great study that's easy to read and one of the chapters had a nice day by day break down of the last week of Jesus' life on earth.   Most Christians accept that the Last Supper was on a Thursday and that he was captured later that night and put on trial and to death on Friday.   Traditionally, Christians believe and celebrate Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday.  

While united in celebrating Easter, Christians have often contemplated the year of Christ's death. Many believe it's either 30, 31, or 33 CE.    Using astronomical calculations of the full moon in 14 Nisan, Patrick Cavanagh suggests that Christ died on Tuesday, April 15th in 32 CE and that by late Friday (approximately 72 hours), the women were informed that He had risen.  These are some pretty bold statements and the author makes a compelling case for them by providing Greek text and the works of Josephus to analyze key dates and how they all piece together.  

Putting Tradition on Trial continues to assimilate other historical events like the births of John the Baptist and Jesus in 3 BCE and Herod's death in 1 BCE.  Most people believe that Herod died in 4 BCE.  The book also mentions how the former pope Benedict stated his beliefs that Jesus birth had to be sooner than the currently believed timeframe of 5 or 6 BCE.  Since I'm not Catholic, I usually take statements from the pope with a grain of salt.  

After the case for a non-Sunday resurrection is made, the author states the importance of not celebrating it and puts Christians in two camps, the Sunday keepers and the Sabbath keepers. Verses used in defending the Sabbath include Exodus 19:8, Matt 12:7-8,  24:15-21, Luke 6:5 and Isaiah 66:22-23.  

At the end of the book the author delves into current affairs and shares his thoughts on the end times and on abortion.  And yes, he believes that we are living in the end times and that abortion is indeed murder.  

Putting Tradition on Trial is not an easy or a light read, I've had to read it in small doses to absorb all of the evidence being brought forth.  Thankfully the chapters are relatively short at a few pages apiece.  In total this book has 163 pages and 20 chapters.  The paperback is relatively pricey at over $30 and the hard cover is over $47 on Amazon.  If you have a kindle and are interested in reading it, it's more reasonably priced at $4.99.


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Finding Jesus: Fact. Faith. Forgery.

Thank you St. Martin's press for sending us a review copy of this book!

CNN is doing a six-part series titled Finding Jesus and it discusses prominent figures and relics associated with Jesus and Christianity.  Finding Jesus: Fact. Faith. Forgery. is the companion book written by David Gibson and Michael McKinley.  The book covers John the Baptist's role and remains, The James Ossuary, Mary Magdalene's roles and remains,  the Gospel of Judas, the True Cross, and the Shroud and Sudarium.  

Each chapter discusses the relic or person's history, significance and authenticity.  According to the book, early churches were required to possess a relic in order to be considered credible.   The black market for Christian relics thrived then and it's still alive and well in the twenty-first century.  There are many verified hoaxes when it comes to bones of supposed prophets.  While some churches unknowingly acquired pig bones, other churches like one in Bulgaria, has a bone  from a Middle Eastern man.  Could it really be from John the Baptist?

The James Ossuary is another hot topic for several reasons.  Since Catholics believe that Mary remained a virgin, how could Jesus have a brother named James as the ossuary claims? The Catholic author(s?) suggests that Jesus had step brothers from a possible previous marriage of Joseph's.  The relic itself is a bit questionable since the inscription has two different authors and writing styles.   While the ossuary is genuine, the inscription on it could very well be fake.  The forgery was taken to court, but the accused forger was acquitted.

The gnostic gospels are brought up on two occasions with the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Jesus' Wife.  The Gospel of Judas paints the relationship of Jesus and Judas in a different light and shows them working together on the betrayal instead of it being one-sided as the other gospels proclaim.  The gospel claiming that Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife is just as sketchy with many words and context missing from the text used to base this argument on.   While that argument isn't very convincing, the book suggests that Mary Magdalene could have been the woman who had demons expelled from her, and possibly the adulterer that Jesus pardoned.  

The last chapter of the book discusses the mysterious Shroud of Turin and it's accompanying Sudarium from Oviedo.  Both of these burial clothes are cherished relics and believed to be used on Jesus's body.  The Shroud of Turin has a faint image of a bearded man with blood markings matching the wounds of the crucifixion and piercings from scripture.  When combined with the Sudarium from Oviedo, the blood markings match up perfectly.  Forensically, the Shroud of Turin hits a homerun, but when it comes to the carbon dating it's inconclusive.  Some of the carbon dating results show the samples to be from the renaissance.  This can be attributed to mishandling or repairs made to it after it nearly got destroyed in a fire.  One thing that the Shroud of Turin is not, is a photograph or a painting because of the 3D impression left on it.  

Finding Jesus: Fact. Faith. Forgery. is a fascinating read regardless if you have seen the CNN special or not.  I haven't seen it, but i have thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The hard cover edition lists for $26.99 but I have seen it for less than $20 online and even cheaper digitally.


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The Happy Christian

Thank you Thomas Nelson for sending us this book to review!

The world can be a pretty depressing place with natural disasters, murders and needless deaths occurring everywhere on a daily basis.  Turning on the evening news shows more bad news than good.  It doesn't take much for anybody, Christian or not, to lose heart with all of the negative media we're bombarded with.  

Dr. David Murray writes about ten ways Christians can be a joyful believer in a gloomy world.  To back up his claims he provides both Biblical and scientific anecdotes.    The foundation verse of this book is Nehemiah 8:10: "...for the joy of the LORD is your strength." No matter how down in the dumps we are, we can always call upon the Lord's strength.   Another verse referenced is Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."   How true is that verse?  Dr. David Murray suggests that Christians meditate on it daily.  I agree with him.  Not only can it improve our outlook on life, it can strengthen our bond with God and improve our physical and mental health. After all, happiness is 10% circumstance, 50% genetic and 40% choice.

Other suggestions from the book include forgetting the negative things and focusing on the positive influences in our lives.   No matter where we are: at church, at home, or at work.  We are to be biblical examples of being thankful, forgiving, praying, and celebrating diversity.  There is no sense in constantly reflecting on past mistakes, we are to live in the here and now and make the best of it.   The Happy Christian also tells us that we should actively praise people and to pray before criticizing people.  The healthiest balance of criticism to praise ratio is 1:5.  This is especially true in marriages and in the work place.  Positive workers have proven to be better performers.  Marriages last longer if spouses know that they are loved more than they are criticized.

Even though I consider myself pretty happy and laid back in general, I enjoyed my time in this book and learned a lot from it.  The Happy Christian is a great book for any believer who can use a little morale boost.


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The Golden Thread: A Memoir

Thank you Kelly and Hall Book Publicity for sending us a copy of this book!

Kristiane Cates was living the dream with a successful, handsome, and doting husband.  After three years of marriage they were having some difficulty getting pregnant and prayed to have children to which the Lord provided them with a boy, and later on a girl.  Things continued to go well for them - in fact too well as they had a feeling that they were soon going to weather a difficult time in their lives.  While their premonition was correct, looking back on it all, Kristiane recollects how the Lord was with them every step of the way.  It's amazing how He dropped several hints of His presence in the most trying of times.  

Just because we're Christians, we're not entitled to an easy life.  After losing her son in a car accident in which she was the driver, Kristiane struggled to cope with the grieving process and hold her family and marriage together.  It was a long and difficult journey that doesn't have a fairy tale ending.   While the book ending seems a little rushed, it was cool seeing how the Lord turned her into a powerful prayer warrior.  

There are many lessons to be learned from The Golden Thread.  Just because somebody looks like they have it all together on the outside doesn't mean that is the case.  If you're blessed with a wonderful family, do not take them for granted and thank God for them DAILY.  As a happily married mother of three, this book made me give thanks for my many blessings and it made me cry on several occasions.  While there were moments where I didn't want to put it down, other times I was afraid to pick it up in fear of it making me cry again.

 

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Gary Wilson
Wow! This is a great topic to discuss here. Thanks a lot!... Read More
Thursday, 17 August 2017 04:46
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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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