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Bible 101 The gospel
Category: Dr Denis says

Dr's Denis and Marti O'Callaghan

by Dr. Denis and Marti O' Callaghan



Please note these studies can not in any way take place of your personal Bible study I am just pointing you a directions that I have taken in the past. If they are hard to follow let me know and I’ll try to break them down for you a wee bit. The purpose is to get you to think outside your comfort zone and grow in the Grace and knowledge of Our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus.

Gentle Reader,

It has been assumed by many that simply calling yourself a Christian is the same as walking into a car park and calling yourself a automobile!

Christians need to understand that they (like so many others) are a faith based on a Book [which we call God’s Word]. The problem is that so many are willing to take their denominations perspective, or their pastors or deacon....they carry their Bible which sits on their lap for most of the worship service (Protestant not Catholic) {note: Catholic have a liturgical service which is built around a mass with prayers and music leading up to the communion service, but I digress).

The Protestant service for the most part revolves around music and a message and or teaching from a selected Bible verse or verses, chosen by the Pastor/Principle teacher or by a committee of their denomination. If there is any Bible study (most people hate that word "Study" because they never received a good impression from their teachers in primary school and have carried with them ever since a distaste for learning which also is unfortunate as their opportunity to learn more about their Lord and Saviour is also lost.

Do you remember that meeting in the Book of Acts?

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he

would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? (Act 8:26-36).

So Gentle reader God intends for us to learn of Him for Scripture has said: "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Mat 22:35-40)

We cannot worship God without the use of our mind for "God does not do His deepest work in our shallowest part!"

The Gospel: Which one did you find? Or which one do you follow?

Here are 15 different gospels for you to consider:


1. Mat 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

2. Mar 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

Mar 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

3. Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

4. Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

5. Rom 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

6. Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

7. Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

8. 2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

9. Gal 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

10. Gal 2:7 the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

11. Act 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

12. Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

13. Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

14. 1Ti 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

15. Rev 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

In addition we can add Ephesians 3:6 and 2 Timothy 1:10,11 where the gospel is defined as that which Paul has been a minister, a preacher, an Apostle and teacher of the Gentiles.


It would be as untrue as it would be absurd to say that because we have compiled a list of 15 different titles of the Gospel, that there are 15 different "Gospels", but it would be equally harmful and untrue to sweep them aside and heap them altogether in a pile and not notice all the manifest differences that are here and to think there is little or no importance.

Next time we’ll look at two different gospels and consider the sameness as well as their differences.



Denis Columbo


Biblical Prophecy
Category: Dr Denis says

Dr's Denis and Marti O'Callaghan

by Dr. Denis and Marti O' Callaghan



I had originally made a chart whose main purpose was to convey where eschatological (simplistically defined as concerning the summation of Biblical Prophecy) schemas (frameworks) overlap. The problem with this chart is that it doesn't convey the disparity between the different POV regarding Future (or Past), just where they have overlapping features. So here’s the chart for reference sake. So here's a link to the chart that has absolutely nothing to do with the defining of the terms below.

Now the immediate problem (if you click the link) is that the chart makes you think that Historicism means Preterism or Dispensationalism means Futurism and vice versa…but that’s not the case. Preterism during specific points of time can be very Historicist (but Historicists almost always take issue with the Preterist view of the events in the Olivet Discourse, the book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation) likewise Dispensationalists are Futurists but many Futurists will take issue with Dispensationalism’s take on the events occurring in the now (or in the past) and question many dispensational interpretations.

The thing we have to realize is that the reason there’s so much overlap is because they rely on the same passages and same history. They all base their eschatological interpretations on the Olivet Discourse, the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation and from there are influenced by John’s Gospel or Galatians 3 or Romans 11 and further confirmed (or denied) by what happened in history.

Historicism says the events happening now in the history of the church (in regards to apostasy, false teaching and anyone taking the place of honor in the center of worship) are the events spoken of in those key passages. For example Luther would say "The Pope IS the anti-Christ" and have no qualms about it while relying on the same text. This sort of thing happened throughout the history of the Church but usually there was some qualifier that left enough camps able to say “Okay, these events might not be referring to The Actual Events in Scripture”. Usually, but not always.

Preterism is not Historicism except in this context: that it looks back and says the events spoken of in Daniel and Revelation (depending on which Preterist camp) happened in history of the church but in a specific time frame: 70 A.D. Preterismis broken into three schools: Classic, Modern and Full (or how Modern’s pejoratively describe it “Hyper”).

Classic Preterism sees the events in 70 A.D. as A Time of Trouble but not The Time of Trouble. They're Futurist in that respect (I’ll explain what Futurism is in a second). They would say that there’s things that will actually Come To Be (a future fulfillment of prophecy) whereas the events that have happened are a type of the events that will Come To Be. So 70 A.D is a type for something that will happen in the Future.

Modern Preterists see most of prophecy being actually fulfilled in 70A.D. but some major events (return of Christ, resurrection of the dead, summation of all things in Christ) occurring later in the Future--so they're also partial Futurists.

Full (or Hyper Preterists) see complete fulfillment of all eschatological events occurring at the destruction of the Jewish Temple at 70 A.D.

Futurists are the group concerned with the eschatological events occurring in the future. They’re broken up into a couple of schools as well: Total and Partial.

Total Futurists see all the Biblical prophecies finding their only fulfillment in the future. Some Total Futurists would have a problem saying that the destruction of the Jewish Temple puts them in a Partial Futurist camp so they see that as a fulfillment of a specific prophecy (the early verses of the Olivet Discourse) yet the totality of the Biblical Prophecies find their fulfillment later.

Partial Futurists are split in two ways. Some Partial Futurists see much of Biblical Prophecy being fulfilled at the destructions of Jerusalem (the Temple in 70 AD and later Jerusalem in 135 A.D. with the first recorded actual self-proclaimed Messiah). Other Partial Futurists see the events in 70A.D (and 135 A.D. and Hitler’s Germany) as types of a later actual fulfillment of prophetic events.

Premillenialists believe that there will be an actual Millennium (a time where Christ reigns on Earth) which begins with Christ’s return before said Millenium. The prophetic events will happen (they would say) culminating eventually with an actual millennium even if some of the events have already transpired. As such you can actually have Preterist Premillenialists!

Amillenialists believe that there is no actual millennium but that the events occurring throughout the history of the Church in the Now are those events during which Christ is reigning and conquering. Christ’s actual return (to Earth) sums up all things but it can happen whenever. Some Amillenialists hold to an actual future time of tribulation though many see Times of Trouble continuing until the end (sounding very Historicist in this respect). Amillenialists are opposed to full Preterist eschatology but many might adhere to a partial preterism (be it in actual events or in typological occurrence). Amillenialists are never Premillenialists.

Post Millenialists are a group that looks at the events occurring now in the Church History culminating with the millennium as the Church continues to conquer the World and finally heralding in the return of Christ. Post-Millenialists are sometimes Historicists and sometimes Preterist in their interpretation but always Futurist in their expectation of the conquered world and the returning Christ.

Both Amillenialists and Post-Millenialists can safely be described as Idealists in that the events in Revelation and Daniel are pictorial or symbolic representations of things that occur throughout Church History. Where Post-Millenialists become more solid in their Futurism is in regards to the affect of the ministry of the Church throughout space and time.

Dispensationalists are Premillenialists who have a specific purpose in looking at prophetic events. The prophetic events listed are in regards to a specific people (Israel). As such the events must occur just as they occurred when it came to Christ.

But you'll find enough diversity in Dispensationalism (Classic Dispensationalism vs. progressive Dispensationalism) that would see some prophetic events already finding some fulfillment if not actually then typologically. For example, some Progressive Dispensationalists would say events in 70 A.D. (and 135 A.D) were typological fulfillments (like historical preterists) and Christ is actually reigning on a throne now (like Amillenial interpretation) but not reigning on earth yet.

Lastly Chiliasm was the belief held by many of the early church fathers and can also be described as Millenialism.We are currently living in the Age before the Last Age. Sometimes you would see them believing in the 7 Consecutive Ages of This World consisting of a solid thousand years each. Chiliasm is a form of Premillenialism which expects This Age (just as every Age) to culminate in Apostasy and Tribulation. Chiliasts not only expected a future return of Christ, they expected to die in a Tribulation in the name of Christ. Chiliasm found its roots in Jewish thought (and likely persecution) just as much as it did the interpretation of key passages (including Genesis 1 if you believe it).

Hope this helps.

UPDATE: After some discussions down below I'm adding a chart which I think shows how the interpretive schemas start crossing over with the view of the course of events in space and time. Also adding some links to further reading if wanted. Eschatology and the Book of Revelation (pdf); The Meaning of this Generation in Matthew; The Return of Christ; Harry gave me this but I haven't gotten a chance to read through it (60 pages);

Gentleness can you understand?

Do you really understand?


Gentle Readers,

The last time that I wrote about how to engage in theological conversation or controversy, especially on the Internet. In this post I want to take this one step further in talking about our attitude. I have had the sad experience of one of our Brothers and sister who determined that I was attacking them and personally and women in general I tried to explain myself and even suggested that they might want to read my 4 part blog ""Women in the ministry" in which I took an unpopular position of showing from history haw women have been demeaned and slighted by those in power in the "church", Now does that sound like I was hateful toward women? (You can read the 4 part blog on Dr Denis says or one of my other blogs -in fact it my be posted here) In any case this brother, felt I insulted his wife to the point that I recused myself from ever writing for them again. I could have argued with them but if one will not hear after the 2nd warning then leave them alone. In my opinion, one cannot underestimate the importance of having the right attitude. Chuck Swindoll says that life is about one-percent what happens to you and ninety-nine percent how we respond.

I often talk about the importance of having an irenic approach to doing theology. It would seem that this term, "irenic" is suffering because of its overuse and misidentification with those who would choose to abuse it. To be irenic means that we are peaceful in our approach to issues. This does not involve compromise, but a willingness to engage issues fairly.

Here are some of the characteristics to being irenic in theological conversation and controversy:

You accurately represent all theological positions, even when you strongly oppose them.
Your tone of engagement comes from a humble respectful attitude.
Your primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding.
Your defense of your position recognizes that strengths of the opposing side.
You are gentle.
Here are two important Scripture references concerning how we are to engage in theological discussion irenically:

2 Timothy 2:24 "The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

Notice the key phrases:

"not be quarrelsome"
"kind to all"
"patient when wronged"
"with gentleness correcting"
This describes the irenic method of theological engagement.

1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."

Notice a few things about this passage:

The context has to do with a believer "suffering for righteousness"
We are to give an answer (apologetic) to those who ask
This is to be done with gentleness
This is to be done with respect
Many of us only hear the first part of the verse "give an defense," and upon this we justify our apologetic polemic ready to destroy, slander, or misrepresent any who disagree with what we believe to be the truth. We fail to recognize that this defense, in this context, is to be given to people "who ask." This is requested information based upon a life of integrity in the midst of our suffering. As well, this defense is to be done irenically---with gentleness and respect.

I can hear the "what abouts" coming. And in the spirit of this post let me tell you how stupid you are for questioning my . . . ahem . . . Ok, let's deal with them.

There seems to be examples in the Scripture where the prophets, apostles, and even Christ did not engage irenically. In other words, they often seemed to engage people with a fierce resolve, respecting the truth more than the person with whom there is conflict. I admit this is true. I also admit that there are times when such polemics are important. But we need to look at the context in which this type of polemic is brought about.

1. Should we defending the faith like Christ cleansed the temple?

We often think we should speak with the authority of Christ. In defense of our attitude we will appeal to Christ's attitude toward the pharisees or his cleansing the temple. But to refer to the example of Christ in these instances can be problematic seeing as how Christ's actions are not always intended to set examples for us. I know this sounds off, but think about it. He worked great miracles in order to demonstrate his unique authority, he engaged people with a divine introspection knowing their thoughts, motives, and intentions, and he was the ultimate divine judge who has every right to judge all people. As well, this was not the modus operandi of Christ. Do you ever notice that he was only polemic in such a way to the self-righteous who arrogantly believed they had all the answers and were a step above all the rest?

2. Defending the faith like Paul encountered the Galatians.

Many times we will appeal to Paul's example. His polemics, especially to the Galatians, are used to defend our own less than gracious encounters. But this has problems as well.

First, Paul was an apostle who carried the authority of an apostle. Being such, he had both divine authority and the divine ability to speak to a situation with infallible guidance. This is something that most of us we cannot claim. Can we?

Second, Paul primarily only spoke in such a way to those who were under his authority. He was their leader and had the right and obligation as their leader to engage them in a candid way. He was their pastor. Pastor's can and sometimes should speak in such a manner to their flock.

Third, like Christ, Paul did not always engage people in such a way. In fact, as noted above, the encouraged his people to be gracious, humble, and respectful in all their dealing with those with whom there is disagreement. In 1 Thess 2:7 he describes his own ministry as one of gentleness, comparing it to a mother caring for her children.

Sadly, it often seems as if there are people out there who not only think they are an apostle, but also think that they are talking to their own congregation. Some even seem to enjoy polemical engagement in an unhealthy manner. In fact, I think that a lot of ministries would not know what to do if they did not have someone to fight.

Sadly, many times this attitude is found more in my own conservative Calvinistic circles than in any other. For this I am sorry and ashamed. Sometimes Calvinists make the worst Calvinists. But, of course, it can be found in any group. Baptists have a knack for it. Even emergers can display the most angered, discounting, and arrogant spirit that I have ever seen.

Why do we sometimes act this way?

I am not sure.

Maybe its because we are so confident in the particulars of our faith that we feel we have the right to shout the loudest. We have the greatest message. We feel our polemic will force the truth into the mind of those who oppose.

Or . . .

Maybe we think that we have to set an example of the truth to those who are listening from the outside. Like in a debate, we don't really think we are going to convert our opponent, but we hope to solidify our position among those who are listening.

Or . . .

Maybe it is because we are so insecure in our position that we think the louder we are the more true our words are. As I tell students, if you are not confident about what you are saying, you can first speak deeper, second speak louder. And if both of these don't work, speak with a British accent!! In truth, I have found that the most fundamentally uninformed folk believers are often the most polemically militant because they, deep down, don't really know why they believe what they believe. Their only recourse is not a gentle engagement, but a raised voice.

What part of gentleness and respect don't we understand. Ironically, the original title of this blog was going to be "What Part of Gentleness and Respect Don't You Understand." I had to change it in order to keep with the spirit of the post.

I am certainly not perfect with this issue. Believe me. This, as with the last post, is self-therapy. Awww . . . aren't I humble? Let us all try to be more gentle, humble, and respectful when defending the faith. In earnestly contending for the faith, let us be irenic.

For those of you who will respond to this by posting with a sawed off shot loaded with your favorite Scripture, take you proof-texting and shove them . . . Ahem . . . Please deal with the Scriptures in such a way that takes into account their context. So gentle reader, lets us all remember that not everyone is as knowledgeble as you are, nor interested in studying Scripture for what they mean. Let's be gentle out there.


Need a Hug?

 "Tis Himself" J. R. O'Callaghan

ear Gentle Reader,  

When we decided to move we never thought that it would bring back so many memories  like that of my Grandson who lives an ocean away a wee lad when I saw him last. see his picture above. and the fact that time goes by so fast. We need to -

Capture the Moment

The baby is teething, the children are fighting, and my husband just called and said to eat dinner without him. Okay, one of these days youíll shout, "Why donít you grow up and act your age?"

. . . and they will.

Or, "You guys get outside and find yourself something to do and donít slam the door."

. . . and they wonít.

Youíll straighten up their bedrooms all neat and tidy with bumper stickers discarded, bed-spread tucked and smoothed, toys all displayed on the shelves, hangers in the closets, animals caged, and youíll say out loud, "Now I want you to stay this way!"

. . . and they will.

Then youíll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasnít been picked to death, a cake with no finger traces through the frosting, and youíll say, "Now thereís a meal for company."

. . . but youíll eat it alone.

And youíll say, "I want complete privacy on the phone! No dancing around, no pantomimes, no demolition crews! Silence! Do you hear me?"

. . . and youíll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti, no more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, no more wet-knotted shoe strings, no more tight boots, or rubber bands on pony tails.

Now, imagine your lipstick with a point. No baby sitter on New Yearís Eve. Washing clothes only once a week. No PTA meetings, no car pools, no blaring radios, having your own roll of tape, no more Christmas presents made out of toothpicks and paste, no more wet-oatmeal kisses, no tooth fairy, no giggles in the dark, no knees to Band-aid.

Only a memory of a voice crying, "Why donít you grow up?"

And in the silence will come the echo, "I did."

 Take time this weekend to hug your kids (if they'll let you) and remember that we only have just a wee time to spend with them.

Love your kids  and spend time with them and you'll never say and the end of your life "I wish I spent more time at work"!



Heroes and Saints


What is a hero Gentle Reader?

A hero one might say this way  " There are thousands willing to do great things for one willing to do a small thing"
 It's not the big things that count in your life but the small mundane work-a-day activities (that you never give a thought too that makes you a hero and by the same token a Saint) . We are all called to be great Saints  and we don't want to miss the opportunity.   Take for example Joe, Ruth and Doug Brodt. Just ordinary people who thought nothing of taking a couple days to help us move. A big deal perhaps not to them but to us Marti and me it was big deal! Should we nominate them for Sainthood (I think God will take care of that, don't you gentle reader?)
How about Danny (our beloved maintenance man who came back repeated times to fix out leaking sink, with a kind word and a smile each time. Only to point out that the bucket we had placed under the sink was leaking. with a straight face.
And then then there are the police and firemen who risked their lives to help those trapped in the holocaust that was the Twin Towers massacre. Yes, gentle reader heroes all, some out of love, others because it was their job, still others because they had no choice.
 Like the Irish who gave up their home during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-47 where over an estimated One Million were caused to die and two million others to emigrate to America, Britain, Canada, and Australia
 Heroes all, Not because they wanted to to be a hero but were in a place to help others, that is what makes a hero! helping those who could not help themselves.
That what makes America the most loved and hated country on earth. The country that gives its people that chance to be a hero each day. 
 The words of  the President of Ireland Mary Robinson  stated  still applies today to America... "To feel again that it is the [Irish] American strength to celebrate the people in our past, not for power, not for victory, but for the dignity of human survival."
God Bless the USA.  
 Remember Gentle reader, God has called us all to be great Saints, don't miss the opportunity !
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