Saturday, December 25, 2021

All These Things Accrued To Us Through His Poverty

"Then he proceeds afterwards to the head and crown of his persuasion. 'For ye know the grace of our Lord, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich.' [2 Corinthians 8:9] 'For have in mind,' says he, 'ponder and consider the grace of God and do not lightly pass it by, but aim at realizing the greatness of it both as to extent and nature, and thou wilt grudge nothing of thine. He emptied Himself of His glory that ye, not through His riches but through His poverty, might be rich. If thou believest not that poverty is productive of riches, have in mind thy Lord and thou wilt doubt no longer. For had He not become poor, thou wouldest not have become rich. For this is the marvel, that poverty hath made riches rich.' And by riches here he meaneth the knowledge of godliness, the cleansing away of sins, justification, sanctification, the countless good things which He bestowed upon us and purposeth to bestow. And all these things accrued to us through His poverty. What poverty? Through His taking flesh on Him and becoming man and suffering what He suffered. And yet He owed not this, but thou dost owe to Him." (John Chrysostom, Homilies On Second Corinthians, 17:1)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

David's Horn Exalted

One of the passages of scripture I often read at Christmastime is Psalm 89. Jesus' Davidic ancestry is a prominent theme in the infancy narratives, as well as in the accounts of Jesus' adulthood. Psalm 89 says a lot about how David's throne will be eternal (verses 3-4, 29, 36-37). Yet, the psalm concludes mostly with despair:

Videos On Christmas And Paganism

Wesley Huff and Michael Jones recently put out videos arguing against the supposed pagan nature of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Luke 2:39 In Context

One of the foremost objections critics raise against the infancy narratives is the alleged contradiction between Luke 2:39 and Matthew 2. Supposedly, Luke 2:39 suggests that Joseph and Mary had lived in Nazareth prior to being in Bethlehem and stayed in Bethlehem for only a little over a month, after which they returned to Nazareth. So, they shouldn't be in a house in Bethlehem in Matthew 2, and Matthew 2:22-23 shouldn't be worded as it is. I've answered that argument in the past, such as here. But an article I wrote earlier this year adds some points that are rarely made.

As I explain there, Luke's material leading up to 2:39 suggests that Joseph had lived in Bethlehem prior to 2:4, that the wedding of Joseph and Mary occurred there, and that they were in the city for about six months prior to 2:39. In that context, 2:39 can't be saying that Joseph and Mary had both lived only in Nazareth prior to 2:4, and it can't be assuming that they would have had no reason to stay in Bethlehem after the fulfilling of the law referred to in 2:39. If Joseph had lived in Bethlehem prior to 2:4, the wedding occurred there, and they had spent about half a year in the city leading up to 2:39, then the view that there was a larger rather than a smaller amount of time that passed between the fulfilling of the law and the move to Nazareth is more plausible accordingly.

In fact, it makes more sense in the larger context for the family to have stayed in Bethlehem longer. Most likely, Joseph and Mary would have at least gathered their belongings and made other preparations for the move to Nazareth between the time when they fulfilled the requirements of the law and the time when they left for Nazareth. They wouldn't have gone to Nazareth immediately after the last requirement of the law was fulfilled. There's nothing in the context of taking Jesus to the temple prior to verse 39 that suggests the family would uproot themselves from Bethlehem to move to another city and one so far away. The move makes more sense under the circumstances Matthew refers to, and that probably is when it occurred. If the reason for moving occurred in a timeframe not covered by Luke, such as Matthew's timeframe close to when Jesus was two years old (Matthew 2:16), then Luke's not providing a reason for the move becomes more coherent. Furthermore, it's clear that Luke is encapsulating a large amount of time in a short space in verse 40, and Jesus is already at age twelve when we get to verse 42. So, a compressing of a large amount of time into one verse in verse 39 would be consistent with the verses that immediately follow. We have to explain not only the text of verse 39, but also the context. And the context substantially weakens the critics' view of the passage.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Video Of The McGrews And Others Discussing Christmas Issues

Than Christopoulos recently hosted a good Christmas program on his YouTube channel. There were several guests: Tim and Lydia McGrew, another Tim (I don't know his last name), Erik Manning, Bram Rawlings, Lucas (I won't use his last name, since he doesn't use it in the video and may not want it mentioned), and Michael Jones. They made a lot of good points about the historicity of a traditional Christian view of Jesus' childhood and the supposed pagan roots of Christmas.