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Showing posts from February, 2011

Who Am I?

You can make the rocks cry out,
Who am I?

Before Your might the Behemoth and the Leviathan shudder,
Who am I?

You swing stars into their place and know the trillions of trillions by their names,
What am I?

I repent in dust and ashes and submit my heart unquestioningly to You,
Still, my Lord I always belong to You...

Secrets of Spiritual Strength (2 Tim. 2:1-6)

Text: 2 Timothy 2:1-6
Sanjaynagar, Feb 20, 2011

1. Strength in the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (v 1)
We can only be strong in His grace.
We can always approach His throne of grace in prayer (Heb 4:16)
Grace upon grace. (Jn 1:16)
But, grace is only given to the humble (James 4:6).

2. Strength through Sharing God's Blessings (v 2)
You only get strong in the thing you share with others
Example: Teachers know better the subject than those who just pass the class and never keep teaching the subject.
A stagnant pool gets dirty soon.
Sharing reinforces teaching
Share it with faithful ones who can pass it on to others.
Stewardship

3. Strength through Hardship (v 3)
Building Endurance
Building Strength
Spiritual Practice - Exercise
Example: Jesus' prayed so hard that His sweat was as blood drops.
Proverbs: The lazy man will never progress
Not being slothful but working hard and growing in strength
Do not be lazy in prayer, Bible reading, hospitality, witnessing, and fellowshipping.

4. Strength through P…

Punjabi Christian Gospel Song - Asi Rabde Bande Han by Domenic Marbaniang

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How One Can Know the Truth (2 Timothy 3)

Text: 2Timothy 3

Essentialities of Truth Perception

1. Moral Commitment to Pursuit of Truth (vv. 1-5).
In the last days, the decrease in the will-to-truth will occur by the increase of love for pleasure and a rebellion against absolutes. Atheism is a mind-set that can't hang on to absolutes and attempts all escapism from the truth of God. It is a moral problem, not a theological one. Those who wish to follow truth must make a commitment to obey it no matter what the consequences would appear to be. Only the ardent seeker will find.

2. Critical Mind-set (v. 6).
Gullibility is a dangerous evil. It usually follows a will-against-truth-towards-pleasure. The credulous are easily deceived. One must weigh things before submitting to them.

3. Truth-Orientation (v. 7).
All learning must be with the goal to know the truth, and not to heighten skepticism. Questions must lead to knowledge; not end in doubt. Too much of learning without any earning of wisdom is a wild chase after the wind (Ecclesiast…

Clear the Sky!

Shadows, these dark clouds,
They block the light -- it's hard!

Rainwater, running all over,
It blurs the vision -- can't ride!

What current now runs through my being --
I wish to think, to write, but the mind's veiled!

Holy Spirit, God of cloud and rain!
Draw Your scepter, clear the sky,
Let the faultless dove now fly!

Save Your servant
From the onslaught of influence!
Save Your bondslave
From the bondage of shame!
May Your kindness guide me through these storms,
And bring You glory through these clouds and this rain!

© Domenic Marbaniang, February 13, 2011

Winning through Discipline and Diligence

I remember a story by Leo Tolstoy in which the devil wishes to deceive and lure Ivan the Fool. After failing many attempts to lure him, he finally proposes to teach Ivan and all the fools how to do brain-work. He says that they who work with the mind can do better than they that work with the hands. This interests Ivan the Fool who remarks that he wanted to learn how to work with the head so that it'll help when they're tired working with the hands. So, the fools gather around the devil who ascends to a tower and begins his lectures on how to work with the head. They wait and wait and wait, until someone asks "Has he yet started working with his head?" to which another responds "No, he's just been talking all along." So, they all start leaving because they can't leave their works and listen to speeches when he promised them to show them how to work with the head. After three days of lecturing, the devil is exhausted and hungry. He asks for bread, b…

Rational Fideism

by Domenic Marbaniang[1]

There are three chief epistemological approaches to the study of God, namely, the rational approach, the empirical approach, and the revelational or Sabdic approach. Neither the rational approach nor the empirical approach is theologically effective; it is only through a subjective urge of faith and a rational fideistic appropriation of revelation that one can ever come to know God.

The rationalist tradition only leads to a monistic view of divine reality. This is so because with the expulsion of empirical categories, reason is left with nothing other than its own features of unity, transcendence, immutability, universality, and necessity. Thus, one sees in Zeno’s paradoxes that there is a seeming contradiction between the results of rational analysis and that of experience. Zeno showed that plurality and mobility of experience is rationally impossible. In the India peninsula, Gaudapada of the Advaita tradition (8th century AD), showed through analysis of cons…

Conformity Appeal

Modernization, contextualization, and indigenization are all good words with proper intention of appeal through being relevant.

However, when this is stretched to the point of conformity to the other group's ideals, one lands into danger.

1. It is easy to pull someone down than to pull someone up.

2. It may be necessary for you to bend as far as possible in order to reach out and grasp the one in need of help. But, don't bend so far that you lose your balance and fall into the pit yourself.

3. If one conforms to another's ideals, the point of difference is lost and the appeal fully nullified.

Getting off balance while attempting to relate and reach can lead to dilemmas, confusions, skepticisms, and finally fall. So, one needs to be very cautious.

The Search for Reality in Greek and Indian Philosophy

From Epistemics of Divine Reality, 2nd Edn. (2010) by Domenic Marbaniang, pp.92,93

While for the Greeks physical reality was a major concern, for the Indians conscious reality was the major concern. While the Greeks tried to find what the unifying basis of all physical reality was as such, the Indians wanted to find what the unifying basis of all conscious reality was as such. The Greeks began from physics and proceeded on to metaphysics. The Indians began from the self, from consciousness, and proceeded on to metaphysics. The Greeks tried to analyze the known in order to understand the known. The Indian analyzed the knower in order to understand the known. Thus, the Indian quest for ultimate reality can be described as a search for a psychological basis of the universe.

This has several implications:

In the search for the external, one begins with the attempt to first understand the internal, viz. consciousness.
Before knowing what is out there, one begins with the attempt…

Women as Ministers

I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. (Rom 16:1-2)
Paul referred to Phoebe as a servant (diakonos), a deacon and minister of the church in Cenchrea. The term diakonos in the New Testament is used for people in governmental authority (Rom 13:4), for the apostolic ministry of Paul (Eph 3:7, Col 1:23), for a servant-attitude service of a disciple (Matt 23:11), for deacons (1Tim 3:8), and for servants (Jn 2:5).

The context of Romans 16:1-2 indicates that Phoebe was a deaconess or a minister of the church in Cenchrea. She was to be received in a manner worthy of the saints, with respect. The next verse mentions Priscilla and
Aquila who are called fellow workers in Christ Jesus (v 3).

Women have an important role to play in the ministry of God's kingdom. As Phoebe…

Self-Control - An Essential Qualification of God's Servant

A man of God should possess a disciplined life-style (rising early, keeping things tidy, eating moderately, talking sparingly and wisely, behaving modestly, studying purposefully, avoiding all appearance of evil, pursuing excellence with all diligence). He should bear self-control. He should also first be a good leader in his own home before he could be qualified to lead the family of God.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1Co 9:27)

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Pro 25:28)

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will h…

A Dialogue on Trinity - III

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III

continued from “A Dialogue on Trinity-II”

Madeleine: Then, when did this become a problem?

Clarke: It became a serious problem some 300 years after Christ, when a certain presbyter named Arius began teaching that Jesus was not God but the first creation of God. God created Jesus first; then, all other things through him, he said. Many preachers did oppose him and a Council was called at Nicaea in 325 AD, in which, after rigorous debates from both sides for a period of two months, Arius’ teaching was declared heretical, or false.

Madeleine: Is the divinity of Jesus so important?

Clarke: Yes, very important. If Jesus is not God, He cannot give us eternal life; neither can He provide for us eternal redemption, nor can He be the author of the new creation, nor a proper mediator between God and man.

Madeleine: What if there were no Father and no Holy Spirit, but only Jesus is God?

Clarke: Then, Jesus could neither be moral nor relational. To be moral would require the presence of another pers…

How Could An Innocent Man Die for the Sins of the World?

The Scandal of Particularity questions how one Man could be God and also be the Savior of the whole world. There are two pictures in the Bible that answer this:

1. Surety. Jesus Christ is made the surety of the New Covenant by which participants in the Covenant share in the blessings of the Covenant (Hebrews 7:22). Now, a surety is someone who provides a warrant or guarantee for an other. If I wish to borrow Rs.5000/- from a creditor, and he doesn't trust me, he would ask for a guarantor or surety, who answers to him and is willing to pay in case I am not able to pay the amount back. Similarly, when we were weak and without strength, and in a state when we could not repay our debts, Christ paid the penalty of our sins.

2. Priest. A Priest is a legally appointed Mediator who represents man before God; as such, Christ, appointed after the order of Melchizedek as a Priest forever, provides a better sacrifice than the blood of animals that the priests after the Aaronic order presented…

The Sixth-Fifth Century BC in the Theology of History

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Proceeding from a Christo-centric view of History as a linear and purposeful succession of events that are centered around the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the consummation of all things in Him, we also observe that the 6th-5th c. B.C. had a significant role to play in the development of the preparatio evangelica towards the advent of Christ. This period of world-history was characterized by reform movements worldwide.

Middle-East:
The Babylonian invasion of Israel, the burning of the temple, and the rise of Prophetical reforms among the Jews. The shift of focus from the temple to worship in spirit and in truth. The prophets in action as Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, and also Haggai and Zechariah, while Ezra and Nehemiah lead the Jews who return to Jerusalem in true spirituality. The gentiles also witness the Sovereignty of YHWH and His rule over all the earth.

Zoroastrianism is widespread in Persia (the traditional view placing Zoroaster in the 6th c. B.C.).

Europe:
Greek Philosophy comes …

What is the Church?

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But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.. (1 Pet. 2:9)
The English word "Church" comes from the Greek Kyriakon meaning "of the Lord". The term used in the New Testament, however, is ekklesia (formed of ek, "out", and kaleo, "called"), meaning the "called out". Peter refers to the Church as not a building made up of bricks or stones, not of a place or a physical structure, but as a people who are "called out" of darkness into God's marvellous light. The terms used in this scripture reflect God's vision for His people when He called them out of the slavery of Egypt in the book of Exodus. He said:
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my cov…

Space as Non-reality: An Alternative to Kant

From Epistemics of Divine Reality (2007) by Domenic Marbaniang
The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge that between analytical and synthetic judgments once established, Kant easily proceeded to show that the quality of a priori did not just belong to analytical judgments but to some synthetic judgments too. Since these synthetic judgments like “2+2=4”, “Every effect has a cause”, and “Bodies occupy space” contained, according to Kant, predicates not contained in the subject, they meant added information; in other words the possession of knowledge a priori. According to Kant, then, these a priori data formed the conditions according to which all other empirical data were interpreted and understood by the mind. The world as one sees or perceives as a result is nothing but what the mind determines it to look as. Space and time are not objective realities but subjective forms of intuition in which all data is arranged by the mind. Thus, the mind is not able to conceive…

Brain Science and Conscious Reality (Philosophy of Science)

Modern studies in functions of the human brain have revealed that memory, understanding, reasoning, and imagination are all functions of the brain. Different parts of the brain are seen to possess different functions. The upper part of the brain, cerebrum, is associated with voluntary and conscious properties; the lower part, cerebellum, is associated with unconscious properties.[1] The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres: the left and the right. The left brain functions are number skills, written and spoken language, reasoning, scientific skills, and right-hand control. The right brain functions are insight, 3-D forms, art awareness, imagination, music awareness, and left-hand control.[2] Damage to any part of the brain can result in an impairment of the particular function associated with that part. Obviously, such a view of brain has led to several philosophical problems like the identity and reality of self, the survival of self, the epistemic certainty of matter-generated ‘…

Metaphysics of Science: Ultimate Reality

The major challenges to the problem of reality in modern physics have come from the theory of relativity and the quantum theory. The philosophical importance of both of their results will be overviewed here in order to appraise their contributions to metaphysics.

2.2.1. The Theory of Relativity. The theory of relativity is a theory of space, time and motion. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) published his paper on the special theory of relativity in 1905, in which he mathematically proved that motion is relative and not absolute. For this he assumed that light has a constant velocity that is never relative to any moving body. This, however, was not just an hypothesis for its factuality was proved by the Michelson-Morley experiment that the velocity of light was never affected by the velocity of the moving body emitting the light itself.[1] Another important principle on which the theory is based is that: a coordinate system (that with reference to which motion is measured) that is moved uni…

Living Reality (Metaphysics of Science)

Evolutionism concerns the problem of the origin and nature of living reality. Evolutionism, in science, refers to the theory that ‘the many complex organisms now existent descended or evolved from relatively fewer and simpler organisms.’[1] The hypothetical nature of evolutionism, despite accruement of evidences in support yet inability to verify in prediction or through experimentation, has led some to label it as being not a scientific theory but a philosophical one.[2]
Supposed evidence for organic evolution comes from comparative anatomy, study of vestigial remains, embryology, blood and fluid tests of animals, examination of fossils, study of geographical distribution, domestication and experimentation, and classification.[3]

The theory of evolution doesn’t simply end at ‘the fewer and simpler organisms’. The ultimate problem is how life itself originated. The religious or purely philosophical answers do not concern scientific metaphysics. However, though evolutionism has been l…

Epistemology of Science (Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge)

Epistemology of science is that branch of philosophy of science that concerns the study of the nature and scope of scientific methodology, scientific knowledge, and scientific language.

1.1. Scientific Methodology

It is evident that science has existed since time immemorial. History bears record of great scientific accomplishments that humans have achieved in past three millenia. However, the modern generation has witnessed a greater rapidity of scientific progress than previous generations. Moreover, there has also been considerations about scientific research and methodology. This has also given rise to several problems in the epistemology of science.

1.1.1. The Problem of Induction. Francis Bacon (1561-1626), regarded as one of the pioneers of modern scientific thought, in his Novum Organum, laid down principles for an empirical method of science that emphasized induction through observation and experimentation.[1] According to Bacon, hypothesis follows empirical observation and deter…

Theology of Revelation in the Bible

A study of the Bible shows that authentic revelation is chiefly verbal. By this is not meant that visions, dreams, theophanies, miracles, and spiritual understanding have not been means of divine communication. What is meant is that revelation comes in an authentic, reliable, and knowable form only through verbal communication. Even in visions, dreams, and supernatural phenomena what ultimately constitutes revelation is verbal testimony.

8.1. General Revelation Vs Revelation as Verbal Testimony

Nature cannot be revelatory of God in the same way that a watch is revelatory of a watch maker. Still in the case of the watch, one can have no idea of the specific watch maker, unless first of all he already knows the watchmaker or the watchmaker has inscribed his name on the watch. As far as nature is concerned, for some it may point to a Creator initially, but if the reasoning is taken to its logical conclusion then an entanglement in cosmology and ontology only proves to be a rational vexatio…