In this special episode, Podcast Seminary Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, answers the questions:
What does Islam teach?
What do Muslims believe?
Why are factions of Muslims frequently at war with one another?
What is Sharia Law?
What are the Five Pillars of Islam
Who was Muhammad?
What was Muhammad’s Night Journey?
Is the Quran Inspired?
Who is ISIS? Al Qaeda? Boko Haram? Al Shabaab?
And much more!
Also, over 30 hours in the making, get the 90 slide presentation on “Understanding Islam and ISIS” at http://podcastseminary.download
Little is more important in life than making good choices.
And daily we find ourselves making dozens and dozens of choices. In fact, a recent study by Cornell University reported that the average person in the United States makes 227 choices daily– just involving issues related to food! Some estimates are that we make, through big and small choices, up to 35000 choices daily.
Whatever the number, we make a lot of choices. And our choices should be good ones.
In this important episode, Podcast Seminary Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, helps you build a decision-making model based on scripture. He names and explores three categories informed by God’s Word, then explains what each is, followed by examples of each, and exactly what believers should do in making decisions in each category.
Prepare to learn about:
1) Matters of Conviction
2) Matters of Conscience
3) Matters of Choice
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How do you have a clear conscience? Human behavior confounds us– and even the scientific community. This is because of fundamental confusion about the nature of humanity.
Because human nature is misunderstood, the reasons for behavioral problems (habits, behaviors, addictions, issues, dysfunction, etc.) are also misunderstood– simply because they are related and one follows the other.
In this instructive podcast, Podcast Seminary Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza (Ph.D., Leadership) will use his 20 years of experience as a pastor and 22 years as an academic professor at the graduate and post-graduate level to explore this vital topic.
We’re excited about how well our 3-month old podcast has been received. This is a special thank you for the more than 6000 downloads our podcast has received in only the first 3 months.
Here you’ll see the covers of each of the first 20 episodes. You can click it and link to our new podcast page OR go below and see our new audio courses that we think are the cat’s meow. Thank you for your support of Podcast Seminary as we help people grow in their faith and relationship with God.
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The Didache (literally “Teaching” but commonly called “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”) is an ancient spiritual formation discipleship book. It is an extrabiblical (non-scriptural) booklet that provides an orthodox understanding of essential Christian teaching. It is the earliest known discipleship manual from the Early Church in existence, believed to express the core teachings of the Twelve Disciples, which would have ostensibly included the Original Twelve, minus Judas Iscariot, who was almost immediately replaced by Matthias (Acts 1:12-26).
A depiction of Matthias, the Apostle replacing the deceased traitor, Judas Iscariot
Matthias (Acts 1:12-26) replaced Judas Iscariot, after Judas betrayed Christ and committed suicide.[/caption]
The Teaching of the Apostles.
Translated by J.B. Lightfoot; Modernized and abridged by Stephen Tomkins; introduced, edited and prepared for the web by Dan Graves and partially re-edited by Freddy Cardoza.
The Didache meaning “Teaching” is the short name of a Christian manual compiled very early in the history of the Christian faith. The full title is The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Some Christians thought Didache was inspired, but the church rejected it when making the final decision which books to include in the New Testament.
Didache contained instructions for Christian groups; and its statement of belief may be the first written catechism. It has four parts: the first is the “Two Ways, the Way of Life and the Way of Death;” the second explains how to perform rituals such as baptism, fasting, and Communion; the third covers ministry and how to deal with traveling teachers; the fourth part is a reminder that Jesus is coming again, with quotations from several New Testament passages which exhort Christians to live godly lives and prepare for “that day.” Baptism
This is how you should baptize:
Having recited all these things, [the first half of the Teaching, “The Way of Life and the Way of Death”] baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in running water. If you do not have running water, then baptize in still water. The water should be cold, but if you do not have cold water, then use warm. If you have neither, then just pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Both the one who is baptized and the one who baptizes should fast beforehand, along with any others who are able, the one that is baptized being told to fast for a day or two. Prayer and Fasting
Your fasting should not be like the hypocrites’. They fast on Monday and the Thursday: you should fast on the Wednesday and Friday. You should not pray like the hypocrites either, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name; Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debt, as we forgive our debtors; Do not lead us into trial, but deliver us from the evil one; for yours is the power and the glory for ever and ever. Say this prayer three times a day.
This is how you should give thanks at the Eucharist: First, for the cup:
We give you thanks, our Father, for the holy vine of your son David which you revealed to us through your son Jesus. Yours is the glory for ever and ever.
Then for the broken bread:
We give you thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you revealed to us through your son Jesus. Yours is the glory for ever and ever. As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and being gathered together became one, so may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom For yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever and ever.
No one should eat or drink this Eucharistic thanksgiving, unless they that have been baptized into the name of the Lord. As the Lord has said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs.” After everyone has had enough, thank God with these words:
We give you thanks, Holy Father, for your holy name, which you have revealed to us through your son Jesus. Yours is the glory for ever and ever. Almighty Lord, you created all things for your name’s sake, and gave food and drink to people for their enjoyment, so that they would thank you, but you gave us spiritual food and drink and eternal life through your son. Above all we thank you that you are powerful Yours is the glory for ever and ever. Remember your Church, Lord. Deliver it from all evil, perfect it in your love, sanctify it and gather it together from the four winds into your kingdom which you have prepared for it. Yours is the glory for ever and ever. May grace come and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If any man is holy, let him come; if any man is not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.
Let prophets, however, give thanksgiving as they see fit. Teachers, Apostles and Prophets
Listen to anyone who comes to teach you such things as these, but if a teacher is led astray and teaches a different doctrine that undermines what you have been told, do not hear him. However if he comes to the increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as you would the Lord.
You should treat apostles and prophets as the Gospel commands. Receive every apostle that comes to you as you would the Lord. But he must not stay more than one day, or two if necessary: but if he stays three days, he is a false prophet. When an apostle leaves you, give him nothing except bread until he finds shelter. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. Do not test or evaluate any prophet speaking in the Spirit – this is the one unforgivable sin. But not every one that speaks in the Spirit is a prophet, only those who live in the way of the Lord.
Thus it is by their conduct that you can tell false prophets from true. Similarly, no prophet shall eat while he is in the Spirit; if he does, he is a false prophet. Even if a prophet teaches the truth, if he does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. However, if a prophet that has been approved and found true, and lives out the cosmic mystery of the Church, does not teach you to do all that he does himself, you should not judge such a prophet. His judgment must be left to God, for the prophets in the past also did such things. If anyone says in the Spirit, “Give me silver”, or asks for anything else, do not listen to him. But if he tells you to give to others that are in want, let no one judge him.
Receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord. When you have tested them you will know them, for you will be able to discern true from false. If the one who comes is a traveler, assist him, as well as you can, but he should not stay with you more than two days — or three if necessary. But if he is a craftsman who wishes to settle with you, let him work for his bread. If he has no trade, use your discretion to provide a way for him to live as a Christian among you, but not in idleness. If he will not do this, he is trading Christ for profit. Beware of such men. But all true prophets and teachers who wish to settle among you are, like workers, worthy of their food.
Therefore you should always give the first fruits of the produce of the wine-press and of the threshing-floor, and of your oxen and sheep, to the prophets, for they are your chief-priests. If you do not have a prophet, give them to the poor instead. In the same way you should give the first fruits to the prophet when you make bread, or open a jar of wine or oil, and the same goes for your money and clothes and all possessions, as you see fit, in accordance with the commandment. Sunday Worship
On the Lord’s day, come together, break bread and give thanks, having first confessed your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. Anyone who has a dispute with another, must not join your assembly until they have been reconciled, so that your sacrifice may not be defiled, for this is the sacrifice spoken of by the Lord: ‘”In every place and at every time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great king,” says the Lord, “and My name is wonderful among the nations.’”‘ Church Leaders Therefore appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men who are meek and not lovers of money, who are true and approved, because they also perform the service of prophets and teachers to you. Do not despise them, for they are worthy of honor alongside prophets and teachers.
Wrongdoers and Doing Right
And reprove one another, not in anger but in peace, as the Gospel tells you. If one of you does wrong to another, do not speak a word to him until he repents. Your prayers, your giving to the poor and all your deeds, should be done in accordance with the Gospel of our Lord. The End Times
Be careful how you live. Do not let your lamps be quenched, nor your loins ungirdled, but be ready, for you do not know the hour our Lord will come. Meet together frequently, pursuing what is good for your souls, for your whole time as a believer will come to nothing if you are found to be imperfect at the end time. In the last days the false prophets and corrupters shall multiply, and the sheep will be turned into wolves, and love will be turned into hate. As lawlessness increases, they will persecute and betray and hate one another. And then the deceiver of the world will appear as a Son of God, performing signs and wonders, and the earth will be delivered into his hands. He will do things more unholy than any since the beginning of the world.
All of humanity shall come to the fire of testing, and many will fall and perish. But all who endure in their faith shall be saved from the Curse. Then the signs of the truth will appear: firstly a rift in the heavens, then the sound of a trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead. But not all will rise, because, as it is said, ‘The Lord shall come, and all his saints with him’. Then the world will see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.
The Didache gives us a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the earliest converts to Christianity. It’s a treasure trove of insight and instruction that we are grateful to possess. Read and re-read it, and be blessed!
What the Global South Needs to Know About Postmodernism
I was asked by a fellow believer and reader of my blog about the problem of Postmodernism. As of late, Postmodernism has begun making more headway in Africa, particularly Zambia, and further into the Global South. He invited me to respond with a blog, so I wanted to include it here. Following are a handful of my thoughts on Postmodernism. Later, I will be offering a 2 hour audio course from Podcast Seminary on this issue. For now, this is a brief response.
Christianity Always Has Tension with Culture and Society
Christianity has always had a degree of tension with society. This is because of the Apostle Paul’s injunction in Romans. There, in Romans 12:2, he charged believers who were surrounded by a culture generally hostile to the values of the Christian gospel not to be “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (NASV).
Because of the reality that Christians live in an environment that is increasingly hostile to the gospel and to believers themselves, Christian educators must seek how to prepare believers to live in the world without being conformed by it. That critical task is made more difficult due to the onslaught of Postmodernism which is seeking to dominate the next several decades of Western thought—and that now threatens the Global South as well. What is Postmodernism?
One might pose the questions, “What is postmodernism?” and “Why should a familiarity with it be considered important?” It has been said that “Postmodernism is a throw-away word that means everything and nothing” (Goetz, 1997). It is a word which did not secure a dictionary definition by the end of the Twentieth Century. Nevertheless, according to one of the foremost writers in postmodern thought, Jean-Francois Lyotard, postmodernism can be reduced to the simple common denominator of incredulity toward metanarratives (Knight, 1998).
Put plainly, Postmodernism (in its many forms and expressions) rejects the possibility of a cohesive worldview that explains reality. It is similar to the idea of Existentialism or, better, Nihilism, saying that life has no essential meaning, but then allows individuals to flagrantly choose their own truth, their own meaning, and their own values—as their individualized personal worldview. The Essence of Postmodernism’s Ideological Bankruptcy
Obviously, such an approach inevitably leads to conflicts with nearly everyone else in the world about things such as meaning, truth, morality, ethics, and the nature of knowledge, language, truth, and destiny. ***Even so, Postmodern proponents wish to live in that state of constant moral and existential confusion, because the ambiguity of life, ethics, morality, and meaning promise what they seek: complete personal autonomy (Subjectivism) and the rejection of all authority except their own (Moral Relativism).***
Ah, but alas, the Bible teaches that there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9), as the Postmodern way of life is nothing more than a warmed over philosophy popular during the days of the Old Testament judges when “each man did what was right in his own eyes” (Jud 17:6). The ultimate result of Postmodernism is beginning to be seen in the West: the breakdown of personal ethics, rejection of law and order, resistance of justice, and personal ruin. The Onslaught Against Christian Virtue by Postmodernism
Meanwhile, Christians continue to insist on the existence of truth, morality, and meaning—but are beginning to be targets of mild persecution for holding positions contrary to Postmodernism. In these last days, postmodern people in Western society “will not put up with sound teaching” (2 Tim 3).
But in their rebellion against God and their war against logic and sound reason, the unexpected result of Postmodernism in the United States seems to be a twofold outcome: First, believers and churches struggle to maintain their witness in the cultural decay and societal chaos that Postmodern has wrought. And second, people willingly deluded by Postmodernism’s false promise of freedom are now being victimized, scandalized, exploited, and destroyed by living out their valueless worldview. The Disintegration of Culture, Society, and Possibly Civilization
The result is that civilization itself is being shaken here, as we watch others’ lives disintegrate before our very eyes.
Our word of warning to the Global South and believers there is simple: Avoid the error of European and American Postmodernism and learn to think for yourselves. You do not want to enter in to this pain and decay that is the only possible outcome of the Postmodern belief system. It is a bankrupt view of life that only makes promises of autonomy that it cannot fulfill, leading to even greater bondage and personal disrespect than one thought possible. I have seen this and plead with you to fight against Postmodernism in order to preserve your faith, culture, and dignity.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many different opinions about different biblical passages, ethical issues, and other matters addressed in the Bible? It’s a good question.
After all, why (or even better, how) could people reading the same Bible and the same scriptural passage come to such diametrically opposed positions on different issues?
Some, for example, read Genesis 19 as God metes out punishment on Sodom and Gomorrah, and conclude that God punished those cities after multiple warnings and rebellion over unrepentant sin, particularly sexual/homosexual sin, while others (such as those sympathetic to homosexuality) will say that God punished the people of Sodom and Gomorrah for a lack of hospitality to its divine guests/angelic visitors. Other examples abound. There are people who profess to be Christians who believe in “just war” and others who believe the Bible teaches pacifism. Some believe in capital punishment while others believe in rehabilitation of prisoners without thinking of incarceration as either a deterrent or extracting hard time to “pay back society” for evils done. Other self-described Christians believe in abortion, while others strongly oppose it.
People use scriptural passages to posit teachings and perspectives that are quite novel. For example, some read the Bible and come, somehow, to believe that Jesus was not a historical figure and the Bible is not an accurate record of his life. Others believe Jesus was a real man, but that he was a homosexual who enjoyed frequent orgies with his Twelve Disciples and women having troubled pasts, like Mary Magdalene– whom many believe was a former, reformed prostitute. These are only a handful of examples but, really, need I continue? So, what about the two questions I have posed? Why Do People Interpret the Bible Differently?
If you’ll stick with me, I’ll use a couple of technical words– but I believe it’ll make perfect sense. I think it’s important, however, to keep in mind that the problem I’ve described is usually due to all of the following issues I’ll describe, so it’s important to keep them all in front of you when you discuss matters like this with those whom you disagree.
People claiming to be Christians come to different opinions about ethical and other matters because of: differing views on biblical inspiration, different hermeneutics, different exegesis, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who helps illuminate one’s mind to ‘truth.’ 1. Differing Views of Inspiration
How you “approach” the Bible makes all the difference in how you interpret it. There are numerous different approaches to or “views of” inspiration. These range from vague notions where the biblical writers felt ‘inspired to write’ just as Shakespeare was inspired… to views of inspiration that imply the human recorders of scripture fell into a trance where they were controlled by a divine force who wrote through them, without regard to their own experiences, emotions, or perspectives– they were merely “mediums” or something like that.
Those who take a “low” or loose view of scripture invariably come to looser and more liberal views of ethics, morality, and biblical teachings– while those who take a high view of scripture invariably come to a more solid view of Biblical teachings and, generally, come to hold views more consistent with a clear, straight-forward reading of the Bible– which is often considered more conservative or progressive, but not often liberal.
How does one decide which view to take? It’s simple… If one is a believer in Christ OR if one has come to believe that the Holy Bible is from God and that it articulates God’s perspective and, literally, “truth,” then that person would hold a high view of scripture. Such people naturally believe that God is our ultimate authority, so they want to know exactly what He says. In addition, those people believe that God knows everything– so learning from Him and seeking to live consistently with scriptural teachings– is a way to live a blessed life and one with great meaning, regardless of how much pain life may or may not deal out. In this view, pain doesn’t imply God’s disfavor– what matters is devotion to God, obedience to His Word, and seeking His perspective in order to gain meaning in life. 2. Different Hermeneutical Methods
Hermeneutics simply means “the art and science of interpretation.” More specifically, it is the discipline that investigates the principles and theories that govern how to properly interpret a text– especially the Bible, and its different parts.
As such, hermeneutics is also concerned with understanding how the human author of a particular Bible book should relate to the content being presented, and how that should relate to the original readers of the biblical passage and to those who read those same verses of scripture today. So that is the so-called “hermeneutical bridge”– namely, what did it mean in the mind of the writer as that person understood the mind of God, and what did that mean to the people to whom it was addressed… and what application does that timeless truth have for us today? That is the job of hermeneutics– and that is the job of every person who teaches the Bible or seeks to properly interpret the Bible. 3. Different Approaches to Exegesis
People also come to different beliefs on ethical/moral/biblical issues because of their “exegetical approach” which is closely related to their hermeneutic, mentioned above. Exegesis is related to the word “educate” but, in this sense, means “to draw meaning out of.” To educate means “to draw out” or “to lead.” Certainly, when one does proper exegesis, he or she is educating a person in the purest sense of the word.
At any rate, exegesis is the process of seeking to understand what a text means or communicates in its unretouched, unfiltered original meaning. In other words, good exegesis seeks to provide the plain sense of what a particular portion of scripture (verse/verses) means. Metaphorically, it implies looking closely at the scriptures with spiritual glasses that have exacting and accurate lens that are able to view the accurate meaning of the original author. Exegesis is concerned with telling us what the original author meant– as opposed to simply telling us “what it means TO US.” The point of exegesis is that it doesn’t matter what we think of it UNTIL WE FIRST find out what it meant originally. Only after we apprehend the original meaning can we properly and accurately apply it to us. So in this way, hermeneutics provide the means for us to exegete scripture. Proper hermeneutics leads to proper exegesis– and that can safely lead us to an accurate interpretation and application of God’s Word on all matters of importance in human life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 4. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who helps illuminate one’s mind to ‘truth.’
1 Corinthians 1:18-through chapter 2 in the New Testament talks a lot about this. In short, it simply means that people who profess to be Christians but who do not possess the presence of God within them, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, may be religionists or socially religious practitioners, but they fail to meet the biblical description of a person who is a biblical or born-again Christian (1 John, chapters 4-5), especially 1 John 4:13-17.
When a person has this type of intimate, indwelling reality of “Christ in us,” such a person is given a special type of relationship with God in which truth is more readily realized, perceived, and experienced. Illumination has to do with God guiding you in and toward “truth.” People without this indwelling– whether or not they ‘profess’ to be Christians (because professing and possessing are two different things), do not have the same capacity to apprehend truth as a person who legitimately enjoys a relationship with God through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God.
Why Does It Matter?
The reason it is important to properly interpret the scriptures and where they land on different issues, is because “truth matters.” Truth represents reality. And if we are incorrect on our view of what is true, that means we are living in a false reality. Our perception does not create reality– all that really matters is what is ACTUAL and REAL. When we base our beliefs on false ideas that are not true, but only propaganda, the problem is that we then ACT on those false beliefs. When we act on false beliefs, ramifications follow– and those ramifications are often destructive.
So when a person interprets something wrong or comes up with the incorrect position on a moral or ethical or political or economic view, there are real consequences to those ideas. This could include making mistakes that lead to many detrimental effects on our lives that affect both ourselves and others. That is why, however painful reality can be, it’s less painful than living in false hope, holding onto a lie, that only ends up allowing one’s life to collapse like a house of cards. “And great was the fall of that house, for it was not built upon a rock.” That’s why truth matters.