25 December 2022 |
- Satan is hardly mentioned in the Old Testament—just three times—and is present almost everywhere in the New Testament.
- Where does that emphasis on Satan come from?
- The Old Testament is silent about an afterlife: the dead know nothing, feel nothing, experience nothing. The New Testament shows a different picture.
- There is an eternal fire (Mark 9:45–28) and Jesus makes a trip to the underworld (1 Peter 3:19). Where does this belief in a hell and underworld come from?
Why is there such a difference between Melchizedek in Genesis and in Hebrews? The answers to these, and many more questions, can be found in extra-biblical texts. Many Christians are not aware of the large wealth of Jewish and Christian texts written in biblical times. Sure, we know that some Bibles include the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books, and maybe we’ve even read them once or twice. We’ve heard of some fake-sounding, hidden texts from novelist Dan Brown. But the true bounty of knowledge remains largely untapped.
Tom de Bruin will guide us through what is out there and see how it enlightens the Bible. He’ll give an overview of some of these ancient texts, and we’ll trace the development of some theological themes to solve New Testament enigmas.
Tom de Bruin received his PhD in Biblical Studies from Leiden University in 2014. His thesis was entitled “The Great Controversy,” and was a study of the forces of darkness in ancient Judaism and early Christianity. De Bruin lectured in New Testament at Newbold College for several years, as well as serving the church as pastor, church administrator, church planter, and youth director.
Spiritual abuse is a sensitive and largely neglected topic in the church.
We are accustomed to talking about it in the context of cults, such as the infamous Waco group. For some, any criticism of the church seems like cutting the branch we are sitting on. So to even suggest that spiritual abuse exists within the church seems risky—hence, the silence. The topic is complex.
There is more than one type of spiritual abuser. There are those who are 100% aware of what they are doing, who are deliberate and have clearly selfish goals. But there are also spiritual abusers who are sincere in their hurtful relationships with their children, spouses, neighbors, and friends, who are not always aware they are manipulating people. These people may be among the most helpful to the church and the pastoral staff, but they are nevertheless doing serious harm to people. In this class, I will define spiritual abuse, discuss its main features the way they appear within the religious context, and discuss two ways of dealing with it for those people who do not have the option of leaving the spiritually abusive environment.
Marko Lukic works as a pastor in Smederevo, Serbia. He holds a PhD in systematic theology from Lampeter, University of Wales (completed at Newbold College) in the area of Adventist Studies, with a focus on paradigms and paradigm changes.