Magic, Religion and the Kingdom of God

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This week I’m preaching on Paul and Barnabas in Cyprus and the encounter with Bar Jesus the magician.

The Magicians of Acts

There are three encounters with magicians in the book of Acts. All are highly conflictive. It is also interesting to note that all three magicians are Jewish. This is noteworthy because magic is something that was forbidden in the Mosaic law which locates the Christian Apostles on the side of Moses in opposing these magicians, something obviously important for a new religious tradition claiming to be the authentic heir of the old.

Looking Out from The Empirical Box

The topic of magic and religion is an interesting one. As I work through T.M. Luhrmann’s book “When God Talks Back” what interests me is how she approaches evaluating the Vineyard churches she is studying. She has to fit what she is encountering into a framework and the…

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