New Book: Early Christian Commentary of the Sermon on the Mount

early-christian-commnetary-coverMy new book, Early Christian Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, is now available. From the description:

What the world needs today is not a new definition of Christianity, but a present-day demonstration of Christianity. Rather than re-define Christianity to accommodate our present generation, we must re-discover Christianity from the apostolic generation. In this regard, the early Christian writings are a helpful tool.

During the first three centuries of Christian history, many books, commentaries, letters and sermons were being circulated among the ancient Church. Many of these writings have survived until our own time. Capturing the true essence of apostolic Christianity, the early disciples provide an extremely valuable post-New Testament history and commentary on the New Testament Scriptures. Today, their writings provide us a record of primitive Christianity during the time period directly following Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

The beliefs and practices found within modern Christendom most often part ways with early Christianity when it comes to interpretation of the Lord’s sayings in the Sermon on the Mount and participation in the divine life. Moreover, there are men of education and expertise, esteemed widely as safe and sound expositors of Scripture, who make it their business to hinder the disciples of Christ who would go up the mountain where Christ’s own words are to be heard.

A substantial number of the early Christians–Barnabas, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Apollonius, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Methodius, and Origen–died as martyrs. Like the apostles, the early Christians were willing to die for their beliefs. Therefore we ought to seriously consider what they have to say to us today, especially when it comes to their understanding of history’s greatest sermon ever preached. May the reader be edified and blessed as we ascend the mountain together with the early Christians to hear the words of eternal life from our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .

Read the book here! [The book is temporarily unavailable until the release of the second edition in the near future. Thank you for your support and patience!]

On The Celebration of Christmas

Christmas FireplaceThe Christmas celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25th has long been a tradition of professing Christians. But when did the Church begin celebrating this day as the birthday of Christ? More importantly, should Christians celebrate Christmas today?

Two common objections to Christmas are that the Bible speaks against Christmas Trees in Jeremiah 10 and that Santa is actually Satan. Actually Jeremiah 10:1-5 refers to heathen idol worship, not Christmas Trees. And Santa Claus’ real name is St. Nicholas of Myra, an Orthodox Christian bishop from Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in the fourth century who suffered for Christ under the persecution of Diocletian and is remembered for his charitable life.

It is often suggested that Christ’s birthday was celebrated when the wise men presented to him gifts (Matthew 2:11). But this was not the birthday of Christ, nor was it even the birth of Christ. Matthew said, “Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men” (Matthew 2:16). Therefore, the wise men offered gifts to Christ when he was as old as two years. But the birth of Christ is recorded earlier in Matthew 1:18-25.

Moreover, the only birthdays which are celebrated in the Bible are Pharaoh’s birthday (Genesis 40:20) and Herod’s birthday (Matthew 14:6), both of which ended in murder. Along these lines Origen (c. 245, E) wrote,

And on birthdays, when the lawless word reigns over them, they dance so that their movements please that word. Someone before us has observed what is written in Genesis about the birthday of Pharaoh and has said that the worthless man who loves things connected with birth keeps birthday festivals. And I, taking this suggestion from him, find nowhere in Scripture that a birthday was kept by a righteous man. For Herod was more unjust than that famous Pharaoh. For the latter killed a chief baker on his birthday feast. But the former killed John. (9.428)

This indicates that the early Christians did not celebrate birthdays during Origen’s time. If we find nowhere in Scripture that a birthday was kept by a righteous man, then why would we all of a sudden make a precedent for celebrating Christ’s birth? [Read more…]

On the Veiling of Christian Sisters

Head-CoveringThe purpose of this article will be to provide a thorough exposition of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, on the veiling of Christian sisters, by concentrating on each verse, its meaning, the various words from the original Greek, and consulting the historical evidence.

There is no escaping the passage’s relevancy for Christians today. Paul addressed his epistle to “the church of God which is at Corinth” and with “all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2, NKJV). Paul was perhaps foreseeing that his letters were going to be widely circulated. Paul’s apostolic teachings were not unique to Corinth but applied to every church. Paul taught his ways in Christ “everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17, NKJV). Again, he wrote, “But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches” (1 Corinthians 7:17, NKJV). Paul had a universally applicable message.

The Ordinances – 1 Corinthians 11:2

[2] Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

The Apostle Paul indicated that the following instruct-ions pertain to the ordinances which he gave to the churches like Corinth. The word “ordinances” is from the Greek word παράδοσις (paradosis) which is defined by Strong’s as transmission, i.e. a precept specifically the Jewish traditionary law:– ordinance, tradition. However, Paul was not here referring to the Mosaic traditions of the Law. Neither were these human-manufactured church traditions. Paul also wrote, [Read more…]