Which Religions Have the Most Followers?

Joel Watts of Unsettled Christianity has posted Howard Steven Friedman’s list of the five religions that have the most adherents.

Actually, what I’d be curious about is how many followers Jesus has.  Note that this is a very different question from asking how many followers Christianity has.  Of course, no one on earth knows the answer to my question.  That answer rests with the Lord Himself (2 Timothy 2:19).

Larry Hurtado on Crucifixion

I love this short post on crucifixion from Larry Hurtado’s blog.

And here is perhaps my favorite part of it:

It’s probably significant that Jesus alone was seized and crucified.  To crush a movement, governments often round up the circle of ring-leaders, the better to make a statement about the movement’s failure.  But it appears that the authorities believed that executing Jesus would suffice to snuff out the movement he represented.  That suggests that he was seen as in some special sense “the” leader of those linked to him, not one among others.  As I’ve written elsewhere, it suggests that already during his own career Jesus had become “the issue” that polarized people, either for or against him, and at least some people in the most extreme ways.  (Anytime some people forsake their livelihoods to follow someone, and others regard him as such a threat that execution is necessary, I’d say that’s a pretty clear case of polarization!)

Two Other Books About the Completed Second Coming

Readers of my blogs know that I have written Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? which is a biblical case for believing that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is fait accompli.  This expository book is summarized in the post Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

There are two other books which also make a scriptural case that Jesus kept His promise to return before His own generation had completely passed away that I would like to mention.  I have not read either of them but I do know the thesis of each book and that they are on the right track though there may be details that vary between them and between each of them and my book.  (There may be many books that make this case; I am offering these two as examples, not as the complete list of such books.)

The first book was written in the 19th Century by James Stuart Russell and is titled The Parousia: A Careful Look at Our Lord’s Second Coming.  You can find the Wikipedia article on Russell here and the on-line version of the book here.

The second book was written in 2009 by Brian L. Martin and is titled Behind the Veil of Moses: Piecing Together the Mystery of the Second Coming.  Here is its Amazon page, and there is a Google Books page for it, too.

Contrary to the assumptions of many, there is ample documentation to the fact that “end-time fever” is not necessary or warranted in our age.  Nonetheless, it is always timely to repent and follow our Lord Jesus Christ.

Was the New Testament Canon Settled by 150 A.D.?

David Trobisch in his book The First Edition of the New Testament (Oxford University Press, 2000, 175 pages) claims that the documents to be part of the New Testament were determined as early as the mid-2nd Century CE.  Contrary to the traditional methods of dating the canon which look for testimony from church fathers, Trobisch focuses on the extant copies we have of the biblical texts and believes a complete Greek Bible including all the New Testament books was produced in that time period.

You can check the Google Books preview of the book, or its Amazon page.  And here is a review of the book from The Good Book Blog, which is produced by the faculty of Talbot School of Theology titled The Most Important Book on Formation of the New Testament Canon You’ve Never Heard Of.