Is Jesus Dead?

by Tower Man 26 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • funkyderek
    After Constantine "converted"(?), he forced the conversion of his empire at knifepoint.
    I am a Christian

    Don't you see a connection between the two?

  • bebu
    Don't you see a connection between the two?

    I'm sorry, Funky, I'm kind of thick-headed. Are you saying that my conversion is directly related to Constantine's methods? ?

    God allows for lots of crazy things, but that doesn't mean He puts His stamp of approval on everything that happens.

    I think Constantine was probably syncretistic himself. Many of his actions belie some major misunderstandings of Jesus' teachings. He was a bit like Nebuchadnezzar, in a sense, who, after the 3 exiled Jews got thrown in the fiery furnace--and survived--made a really strict decree:

    DAN 3:29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.

    I can't be confident that God endorsed Neb's words, but they do reflect his zeal and his culture's method of working with gods. One would hope that Constantine understood better, but it doesn't really seem to show.

    But again, I don't have to wonder about Constantine. The mystery is why God allows anyone who calls themselves a Christian to ever sin, in either big or little ways. We're such a total liability!


  • Francois

    Bebu, he allows us to sin because our right to our own free will is absolutely absolute. Simple, huh?

    Just hang around and you'll find out for yourself. Be still and know.


  • funkyderek
    Are you saying that my conversion is directly related to Constantine's methods?

    In a way. Had it not been for the enforced conversion to Christianity by the Roman Empire under Constantine, Christianity would be no more than a long-forgotten sect of Judaism. You would most likely never have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, much less worship him.

  • qwerty


    You would most likely never have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, much less worship him.

    So are you 100% certain of that?


  • bebu
    Simple, huh?

    Not for me!! But I don't think that not understanding God is hardly proof against Him.

    "Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so. It is not so. It is so. It is not so."--Benjamin Franklin ...

    There are things that shouldn't be possible at all either from the logical/scientific point of view. Ex: despite the staggering odds against life in the universe, it exists. To whom do I complain that I should not logically be here?

    I believe that the resurrection of Christ is a miracle that has enough evidence behind it to support its veracity. It makes no sense for me to look elsewhere for a religous/philosophical base until someone (Francois?) can give convincing prove that Jesus is still cold and dead.

    Funky, if the resurrection of Christ is true, then nothing is stopping God on the way to allowing His message of forgiveness to be heard everywhere in the world. God let great miracles accompany the believers--this gave the church better momentum than Constantine. Persecutions from outside or even inside the church hasn't stopped this message. The blood of martyrs has been the seed of the church, not Constantine.

    God says concerning Cyrus (a Persian who wasn't Jewish, but who would rebuild the temple):

    ISA 45:4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
    of Israel my chosen,
    I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge me.

    God is not limited in whom He uses for His good purposes. Why did God involve Cyrus?--He could surely have used another method. ...Why Constantine? I dunno. (But if the WT also reviles him because of doctrinal issues, perhaps he wasn't all that bad... )

    I don't understand God. But I am convinced of these two things nonetheless: God is good, and Jesus is alive.


  • funkyderek
    So are you 100% certain of that?

    No, that's why I wrote "most likely" (which you actually highlighted). I concede that even had Christianity not been adopted by the Roman Empire, it might still somehow have survived, but there is no reason to believe so.

  • bebu
    I concede that even had Christianity not been adopted by the Roman Empire, it might still somehow have survived, but there is no reason to believe so..

    You are right. There is no reason. ...Unless God is behind it.

    Christianity was thriving even during the Roman persecutions of the first centuries, not just surviving, as you imply.

    Also consider:

    Christianity is NOT related to the traditional religions of China, has NOT been adopted by its government. European missionary efforts there began mostly with Hudson Taylor, around 1865. There were about 227 million people in China and 581 missionaries by 1887. The rate of Christianity's growth was negligible--perhaps to 1% of the population by 1950, when Communism entered as government.

    Quickly, all foreign missionaries were expelled and some were executed. National Christians were pressured to recant or face imprisonment, re-education, and/or death. What's left of the scant church was driven underground, while the Chinese gov't created a parody of Christianity, the Three-Self Church. This Communist-party church borrowed whatever suited its purposes from the Bible, like obeying leaders, etc., and forbade teaching Christ as a resurrected King who is coming again (they just didn't like the thought of competition). The "priests" are appointed by the government, and these priests must act like spies to report any real individual spiritual devotion that develops to the Party.

    What is the number of Christians in China, today? Reliable estimates put it at at least 10% of 1 billion people. Ten years ago, for every 50 days that passed, another 1 million Chinese became Christian. (At that rate, in less than 1 year the WT's current membership would be reached) It is still mostly underground, but very active. There are more Christians in China right now than are members of the Chinese Communist party. There might be more Christians there than in the US.

    There were no knife-point conversions here, in fact, it has been the opposite. Christians are still regularly arrested and beaten, and occasionally beaten to death (some provinces have tougher cops than others.) People who print or distribute Christian literature (that isn't printed by the communist party--which, by the way, only prints one Christian magazine for all of the registered Chinese Christians to show to any visiting foreigners) are also imprisoned for years. They lose their apartments and jobs. I've met and talked with folks who were tortured there within the last ten years.

    Now, if Christianity is always bound to die except for sponsoring governments, it should have stayed within the Western World, and never thrived where people are threatened to remain unconverted at knifepoint. It seems strange to see that many times it grows even better in these conditions.

    So, logically, you are right--there is no reason to suspect that it would survive. But history keeps showing that it does not just survive, but illogically thrives.

    Why? My thoughts turn back to the Bible.

    Daniel 9:35 But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

    Psalm 118:22, 23:

    `The stone the builders rejected
    has become the capstone;
    the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes' ?

    PS 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
    its builders labor in vain.

    ISA 43:13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
    No one can deliver out of my hand.
    When I act, who can reverse it?

    MATT 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

    Acts 22:38 (Gamaliel speaking) "Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. [39] But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."


  • funkyderek


    Do you attribute the rapid growth of Islam to the same cause?

  • bebu

    No. There's obvious differences.

    That is a good question, though.

    Luckily for you, I lost a very long (monotonous and clever) reply to your question. Drat.

    But I found an interesting compact answer online. This has also interesting overviews of Mohammed's example, Muslim nations, Apostates, and Women in Islam. Hope you find it as interesting as I did.

    (Scroll down to the numbered areas for all the best info. Number 4 deals with History of Islamic Expansion.)


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