Coming Soon: Tabletalk Magazine

The Outreach team at the Red Door Church recently ordered ten subscriptions to Ligonier Ministries’ very popular Tabletalk Magazine, a monthly, meaty devotional aimed at helping Christians grow in their knowledge of God.  This month’s magazine features an article titled “Why Theological Study is for Everyone” written by a local Vermont pastor in Middletown Springs, VT.  Read it online here.

Outreach felt that the content in Tabletalk would be  helpful as an alternative to The Upper Roomthe Red Door’s current supplied devotional mag.  We will continue to subscribe to The Upper Room as well.

You can read more about Tabletalk here.

Technology Campaign Underway

The Red Door Church has decided to do a technology campaign with a view towards providing better teaching materials to the children of the church, small groups, and for reaching the community at large.

The goal is to raise $12,000.  As of last week, the church has already raised out of its own pockets, nearly $9,000.  Implementation is now underway as money comes in!

The money will purchase new locks for the entire building, new sound equipment for the worship services, a television screen downstairs, an updated phone for the pastor, and will also cover website expenses (webmaster maintenance, etc.).

The Case for Easter

This is the question of all questions for Christianity: Did Jesus Rise?  Many religious philosophers and historians believe that if you can adequately show that Jesus rose from the dead, then you can prove the whole of the Christian worldview from there.  Even hard core skeptics see the crucial place of this doctrine in the Christian worldview.  Lee Strobel writes of his perspective as an atheist, legal editor working for the Chicago Tribune before his conversion to Christianity:

The starting point [to disproving Christian claims] seemed obvious to me: clearly the resurrection was the linchpin of the Christian faith.  After all, anyone can claim to be the Son of God.  But if someone could substantiate that assertion by returning to life after being certifiably dead and buried–well, that would be a compelling confirmation that he was telling the truth.  Even for a skeptic like me. 1

We are in the middle of what we Christians call Lent: a season of preparation for Easter Sunday, the day when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead some 2000 years ago.  Appropriately, it is a time to ask the very real question: did Jesus actually rise from the dead?

On Easter Sunday this year we will be giving away a book that looks at some of the evidence for the resurrection.  The former skeptic turned believer, Lee Strobel, has penned a handy little book just over 90 pages long entitled The Case for Easter in which he gives his personal testimony about his journey sifting through the facts about Jesus’ resurrection.  He looks are three important questions:

(1) The medical evidence: Was Jesus’ death a sham and his resurrection a hoax?

(2) The evidence of the missing body: Was Jesus’ body really absent from his tomb?

(3) The evidence of the appearances: Was Jesus seen alive after his death on the cross?

Come out and get your free copy this Easter Sunday, April 20, and hear about the powerful evidence for the historical reality of this massive, earth shattering event!

  1. Lee Strobel, The Case for Easter: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 8.

Red Door Channel Sign-Ups A Huge Success

As of this posting 50% of all Red Door Channel invites have been accepted!  RightNow Media, the group who owns and operates the online video library, says that they consider 30% a big success in most churches.

The in-home accessibility has been a huge plus for our members.  Now, the goal will be to find appropriate avenues to utilize the Red Door Channel in church functions.

1 Peter 3:15

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (NIV)

Genesis 50:20

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (NAS)

Ash Wednesday

This coming Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.  Today we call the first day of Lent “Ash Wednesday.”  Lent is a 40 day long season of preparation for Easter.  For most Christians throughout history it has been a time of self examination and penitence.  The celebration goes all the way back to Irenaus of Lyons in the 2nd Century.

Until the 600s, Lent began on Quadragesima (Fortieth) Sunday, but Gregory the Great (c.540-604) moved it to a Wednesday, now called Ash Wednesday, to secure the exact number of 40 days in Lent—not counting Sundays, which were feast days. Gregory, who is regarded as the father of the medieval papacy, is also credited with the ceremony that gives the day its name. As Christians came to the church for forgiveness, Gregory marked their foreheads with ashes reminding them of the biblical symbol of repentance (sackcloth and ashes) and mortality: “You are dust, and to dust you will return” (Gen 3:19). 1

You can read more about the history of lent here.

The Red Door Church will have an Ash Wednesday Service at 7:00 p.m.  Hope you can come out.

  1. Ted Olson, “The Beginning of Lent,” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2004/lent.html. Accessed on 2/27/2014.

Rev. Moore’s Installation Service

Pastor Joshua Moore (pictured above with family) will be installed as the new minister at the Red Door Church on Sunday afternoon, March 16th.  Josh began ministry in South Royalton in September of last year (2013).  Prior to that, in May, he finished his seminary degree at Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.).  A special service will be held at the church at 4:00.  The Windsor-Orange Association of the UCC will receive Reverend Moore as a partner in ministry that day; many from their ranks will be in attendance and will contribute to the service.  Dr. Bob Thompson, pastor of Corinth Reformed Church (UCC) in Hickory, NC will give the “exhortation” to the church and to Pastor Moore.  Please come out if you can and support what God is doing in South Royalton.

Women and the Resurrection

The resurrection is one of the most central beliefs in Christianity.  It is also one of the most disputed.

Among the unchurched there is a commonly held conviction that the miraculous claims of the Christian faith were non-historical amendments created after the fact by religious zealots “with an agenda.”  For these folks, the resurrection would fall into this category.  It was a hoax; a concoction created to establish some kind of religious power structure.

Most Christians in the world would reject this idea.  For us, the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion is historical fact.  We know this because it is recorded in the Bible by eye-witnesses.  Time and space will not permit me to outline an entire defense of this belief, but here I offer one piece of evidence for skeptics to chew on for now: the Bible says that it was  a group of women that first discovered the empty tomb (see Mark 16:1-8).

What significance does this have on whether or not the resurrection is a historical fact?

Two things: First, skeptics have to explain how the belief in Jesus’ resurrection thrived in the very city where he was publicly crucified.  How could anyone have embraced such a ridiculous idea if Jesus’ body still lay in the tomb?  Could not the authorities have produced the body at any moment to silence them?  The belief in the resurrection hinges completely on the fact of the empty tomb.

It is safe to say that such a public and controversial execution as that of Jesus would have been well know in all its details; Jew and Gentile alike would have known where Jesus’ tomb was.  Street preachers declaring that he had risen from the dead would have no doubt induced examinations of the burial site.

Secondly, not only do we have no known record of anyone producing the body of Jesus after the disciples preaching on the resurrection began, but the Bible says that it was women who first discovered the fact of the empty tomb.

To see the significance a person must understand the low status of women at the time this event is supposed to have happened.  In first-century Jewish culture, the testimony of a woman was not considered credible.  Jewish historian Josephus (AD 37–100) wrote in his book Antiquities of the Jews, in a section describing the rules regarding admissible testimony: “Let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of their inconstancy and presumption of their sex.” 1  Paul L. Maier, an authority on Josephus and 1st-century Christianity, adds in the commentary on this section in Josephus’s Antiquities: “None of our copies of the Pentateuch say a word [about not legally allowing a woman’s testimony in courts of justice].  It is very probable, however, that this was…the practice of the Jews in the days of Josephus.” 2   In other words, this practice was not a biblical one, but had its roots in the patriarchalism of first-century Jewish culture.

Here’s the rub: if the story of the resurrection as we have it in the Bible is a product of legendary development or tinkering on the part of Biblical scribes hundreds of years later, why would they depict women discovering the empty tomb?  These women would have been the chief witnesses to the empty tomb, yet their testimony was considered worthless by the culture of the time; so why fabricate a story built upon such a sketchy foundation as this?

Don’t you think that if later writers were trying to amend the facts and make the story more believable they would have placed Peter or John at the empty tomb?

Mark’s placement of women at the empty tomb first can only be plausibly explained if they actually were the discoverers of the empty tomb, and the gospels faithfully record what for them was a very embarrassing fact.  3

This does not prove the whole of the resurrection account, but it does cast some doubt on the claim that the Bible is merely the product of later legendary development.

 

  1. Josephus, Antiquities, IV.8.15.
  2. William Whiston, trans., Paul L. Maier, Commentary, The New Complete Works of Josephus,Rev. (Kregal: Grand Rapids, 1999), 165.
  3. William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision (David C. Cook: Colorado Springs, 2010), 228-229.