Fr. Jose Poch

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Authenticity of the Bible

The Bible is the divinely inspired and written Word of God. In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles writes: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17). When St. Paul says, “All Scripture,” he is referring primarily to the Old Testament and when he says, “inspired” he actually means, “God breathed.” It is this “God breathed” Word of God that is profitable for salvation, for eternal life and for correction of error and sins for all who read it and receive it in their heart as the truth.

It is no surprise that all who want to live their lives contrary to the Bible’s teaching have to begin the defense of their position by attacking it and attempting to cast shadows of doubt over its authenticity and authority. I recently heard part of an internet video from Skyline Church in San Diego (a wonderful and orthodox church), who hosted “A Conversation on the Definition of Marriage,” in which an Episcopal Bishop defending gay marriage does precisely this.

Then, this morning I began to read my latest Biblical Archeology Review in which an article from the magazine’s editor informs its readers of the archeological find of the Tablets of the Law which Moses broke at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus. 32:15-19).

“In 1969, barely two years after the 1967 Six-Day War, a team of Israeli archeologists made an exploratory excavation at the base of one of the numerous sites in the Sinai Peninsula proposed as Biblical Sinai. It was not long before a member of the team exposed a piece of rock with a single Hebrew letter on it. This naturally led to more intensive excavation in this area, as a result of which additional, larger pieces of inscribed stones were recovered.

When examined by paleographers, experts in dating inscriptions by the shape and form of the letters, they were in agreement that this inscription dated to about 1200 B.C.E.

Gradually, the pieces of stone were fitted together. In the end, a few pieces from the end and on the side were missing, but they did not appear to have contained letters. What could be read was clear. Word for word, the inscription was identical to the text of the Ten Commandments, (Deuteronomy 5).

It was difficult for the scholars to resist the obvious conclusion. These were the original Tablets of the Law that Moses destroyed when he came down from the mountain” (Biblical Archeological Review; Sept./Oct. 2012).

Obviously, once again the authenticity of the Bible we read daily is proven to be trustworthy and reliable. Once again, archeology shines a favorable light on the Bible and gives it validity. Those who ignore and purposefully disregard it do so at their own peril. 

I recommend the Biblical Archeology Review magazine for those who love these kinds of discoveries and want to keep up-to-date on them.

Keep reading your Bibles and, “be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Speak Up! I Can't Hear You!

This past weekend I read two articles that truly rattled my heart to its very core. Both said things that I myself have been feeling for a while. One is based on the silence of fellow Christians as is evidenced even in our own area of ministry in North Hollywood in the light of the persecution launched against us by our denomination. It is not expected of them to speak for us or even offer us financial assistance but just simply to speak to us, to encourage us, to pray for us and if possible to offer us a place of refuge if we had to leave our buildings. We did offer help to several of them when the earthquake damaged some church buildings in our area in 1994, even providing financial assistance to one of the churches that lost their worship space, offering our building for their use until they recovered. I am not placing blame on anyone but just expressing my feelings. The second article is on the state of our country today, and the words of the departed Ruth Graham, wife of Pastor Billy Graham.

Both of these articles, in their entirety, appeared on the weekly internet magazine of the American Anglican Council, (AAC). It is available on our website. The first article had to do with the silence of the Christian community, fellow believers, to the attacks leveled against Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A by three mayors of principal cities in the U.S., by a very vociferous homosexual lobby, activists around the country and the tremendous media coverage that this issue has received. Part of the article says:

When a Christian brother is beaten up by the world and left wounded on the side of the road why would church leaders just pass by on the other side and not get involved?

When are we going to recover our voices and speak up instead of just silently laying down our arms and letting another Christian brother or sister bear the brunt of these attacks? These liberal minded leaders and activists fight hard and shout loudly for “equality” but they do not offer the same to Chick-fil-A and want to shut down those who do not think like them. It actually seems illegal to me, to block a company from expanding because of the religious views of its owner. If one does not want to frequent an establishment that is one’s right, but to go against the expansion of Chick-fil-A seems to me unconstitutional and un-American.

This leads me to the second article, related to Billy Graham’s “Final Call” for America to Repent, also termed the “Living Room Crusade” (This amazing crusade will be held the week of November 7, 2013 and will coincide with Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. I pray that those reading this blog will plan on listening and being part of it). In the article Billy Graham is quoted as saying: “My heart aches for America and its deceived people,” and it also quotes Ruth Graham’s amazing words for all of us to hear and take to heart, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

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Thursday, August 9, 2012


I have been doing a study of one of my favorite subjects for several years; unfortunately taking breaks here and there because of other duties and other books that I am reading as well. The subject that truly is my passion is Church History, primarily, Patristics or the first five hundred years of the Church - from Jesus to the Fall of the Roman Empire and St. Augustine of Hippo. I have only gotten to the end of the 2nd century, as I am reading slowly and not just studying the period but also actually stopping to read the actual documents written by these Early Church Fathers. My intent is to one day teach this class at church for our learning and edification.
I want to share with you this week some of what St. Ignatius writes which I think will bless you and challenge you as it sweetly did me. He was the bishop of Antioch when he was brought before the Emperor Trajan for being a Christian and died a martyr in Rome around the year 107 A.D. As he was being taken to Rome to face the lions at the coliseum, he stopped at Smyrna where he was visited by many bishops, presbyters and deacons from surrounding churches. He later wrote to some of those churches some of the most fascinating letters on church unity, conduct, doctrine and the person of the bishop. In fact he wrote seven letters. It is from his letter to the Church at Ephesus that I offer you the following quote: 
 It is better for a man to be silent and be a Christian, than to talk and not be one. It is good to teach, if he who speaks also acts. There is then one Teacher, who spake and it was done; while even those things which He did in silence are worthy of the Father. He who possesses the word of Jesus, is truly able to hear even His very silence, that he may be perfect, and may both act as he speaks, and be recognized by his silence. 
I have very often affirmed in my sermons and teachings that “belief” and “behavior” are intricately attached. What we claim we believe in our hearts must be visible in our daily lives. Consider the following: 
A Christians who first said “credo” (I believe) did not do so lightly, but at a risk of their lives under severe persecution . .  To say “credo,” genuinely, is to speak of oneself from the heart, to reveal who one is by confessing one’s essential belief, the faith that makes life worth living. One who says “credo” without the willingness to suffer, and if necessary die, for the faith, has not genuinely said “credo.”   (Thomas C. Oden, The Living God, Systematic Theology, Volume One, pg. 11) 
Whom we worship must ultimately be transforming us into His very image, if indeed He is worthy of our true worship. “Never make piety a dress but a habit, not only a habit but a nature, not only a nature but a life.” (The Valley of Vision, pg. 117). 
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012


           I have recently begun re-reading one of my favorite books, The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer. I had barely got through the Preface and had to begin reading it again. This time prayerfully; allowing God to speak to me and show me areas of my life where I had grown distant from Him, where I had allowed thistles to grow and prayerlessness to take over. It was speaking to me so loudly that it nearly drove me to tears - tears of sorrow and of hunger and thirst after God. It made me realize how at times I had allowed the busyness of my private life and of the ministry to drown the search for the true and everlasting God, the search for His daily and very palpable companionship, the search for His Presence.
           Let me share with you some of what Tozer has to say to us believers and to the Church: 

"Current evangelicalism laid the altar and divided the sacrifice into parts, but now seems satisfied to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is no sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel... There are those who, while they love the altar and delight in the sacrifice, are yet unable to reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire... There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives." (Tozer A.W, The Pursuit of God)
          After quoting Milton:"The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed," Tozer concludes with these amazing and piercing words: 

“It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom of God, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table.” (Tozer A.W, The Pursuit of God)

          Read this last portion carefully and prayerfully, imagine the scene in your hearts and minds. Is this speaking of you and to you also? Are you thirsty and hungry for the very Presence of God in your life even though you do pray, attend church and participate at the Lord’s Table? What is missing? Is this a case of externals satisfying us, while the interior life starves for communion with the Author of Life? Are you open to what God wants to do in your life? Are you seeking God in all of His glory, inviting Him into your private space and holding Him there as a mother holds her precious child? Perhaps this image should be reversed; we are the child needing to be held in the most precious arms of God’s love.

          Would you consider joining me in reading The Pursuit of God? Let me know.

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