Ask-A-Prof Questions

Did Jesus emphasize doctrine?

Question: 

Are dogma, doctrine, and orthodoxy really central to the message Jesus wanted to get across?  If not, what major historical events or figures or other reasons have caused the church to emphasize and become so distracted by such issues?

Are Moral Absolutes Biblical?

Question: 

Today, we hear a lot from televised Christianity and politically-conservative ministries about "moral absolutes." Are there moral absolutes in Christianity, especially those which must guide all personal (e.g., sexuality) and/or public morality?  If any exist, what are they, how do we recognize them, are they as and when should they be applied, and does ancient Biblical morality still apply to us today?  If you believe in moral absolutes, what is their Biblical basis?  If not, why is the assumption of moral absolutes questionable?

From my perspective, personally, I would think that the only real commandment within Christianity which would be the Great Commandment found in Matthew 22:36-40: to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  As Jesus notes, "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I also note in Ecclesiastes that there is a time to everything under heaven--and that many things that would ordinarily be deemed moral absolutes may be quite questionable as such.

I appreciate your help in advance with understanding this issue better, particularly as I seek to understand points of view that may differ from my own.

Is Tolerance Christian?

Question: 

I want to believe that Christians should promote religious tolerance, but I am unable to justify why we as Christians should, and that this would be truly Christian to promote religious tolerance.

If you know of any good resources, please let me know.

Are We in the End Times?

Question: 

Should the book of Revelation be read as a literal book? Are there any books in the Old Testament that correlate with the book of Revelation? Are we living in the times of tribulation?
 

The Historical Jesus

Question: 
I am interested in the distinction between the historical Jesus and the mythologized Jesus created by the Bible and numerous other texts and presentations. First, how do we know that the historical person, Jesus, really existed? Are there any historical records written by non-Christians? Second, what do we know about the real person? Is there anything written about him by contemporaries?

Woman Taken in Adultery

Question: 

Most Bible translations indicate that there are textual issues with John 7:53-8:11, which is the story of the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus for judgment.  Some are suggesting that this passage should not just be noted to have difficulty but removed from the text entirely.

What are the difficulties with this text and when should textual questions lead to the actual removal of a phrase or passage from the Bible?

Father, Forgive Them

Question: 

The Conservative Bible Project claims that Jesus' famous line from the cross "Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing" (in Luke 23:34) is a later addition and should not be included in a true translation of the Bible.  Is that true?

Where is the real Antioch?

Question: 

It is commonly assumed that the Antioch referred to in Acts and Galatians is Syrian Antioch.  However, Ignatius in the undisputed epistles from the early 2nd century always makes a point of emphasizing that he was from Syria.  The epistles where he mentions Antioch always include the modifer of "in Syria".  Eusebius does not offer a listing of Syrian Antioch bishops going back as far as he does for some other communities.  Now there is ample evidence suggesting that events that are recorded as occurring in Antioch closely parallel events occurring in portions of western Parthian Empire.  Now if the biblical "Antioch" could be linked to western Parthian Empire, it would imply that our church history is very misleading, and raise questions about the accuracy of our traditional theology in terms of the biblical message.  In fact, it would suggest a far different theology that is more in tune with what has been observed for at least 2500 years and conmfirmed by modern science in the person of Einstein among others.  Now the question becomes, is there any affirmative evidence that Syrian Antioch is the Antioch of the Bible or is this merely an unchallenged assumption.

How should we pray?

Question: 

How many times are we required to pray daily, besides our morning prayers ("after waking up") and before going to bed?

What should everyone know?

Question: 

People have greatly varying levels of familiarity with the Bible. Some know nothing, some know a lot, some think they know things that are not biblical at all and others attribute biblical quotes, stories, and ideas to other erroneous sources.

If there was one piece of biblical understanding that you could share with the world, what would it be?