Episode #10: Football, Football, Church Membership

Aug 30

To Membership or not to Membership, that is the question!

This Week in Church History

August 29, 28 – John the Baptist Beheaded – Dan Graves, MSL

Herod Antipas smiled and nodded with approval. His step-daughter Salome* swayed and twirled in front of him and his birthday-party guests, her graceful figure filling them with longing. Her performance done, Herod and the guests applauded. What a dance! Inflamed by his senses and the mood of the moment, Herod cried, “Ask me what you want–up to half my kingdom–and it is yours!” And he swore a great oath to confirm his promise.

As a Tetrarch (ruler of one quarter of a Roman province) Herod was more than able to provide a handsome gift even by first century standards. Would Salome ask for a jeweled necklace? A dowry? A house? Herod and the guests waited to hear her request. The girl herself hesitated. Uncertain what to ask for, she whispered with her mother.

Down in the dungeons of Herod’s fortress (named Machaerus) a man’s fate was about to be decided. John the Baptizer was under lock and key in one of those gloomy holds. The cause was this: he had rebuked Herod for stealing another man’s wife–Herodias. This woman had been married to Herod’s quiet half-brother, Phillip. Herodias was furious, and convinced Herod to arrest John. Herod was only too willing; he was suspicious of the large crowds John attracted.

However, once Herod got John in his lockup, he talked with him and found he liked the guy. He didn’t understand what John was saying about holiness and salvation, but it seemed to be something he should hear. Instead of executing John, he gave him visitation privileges. Execution would be a bad idea, anyway: John had a lot of followers; why make them mad and risk rebellion?

Salome approached Herod. Evidently she had made up her mind. The guests and the king turned to hear what she would ask.

“Give me now the head of John the Baptizer on a platter!” said the girl.

Even that reckless, hardened lot must have drawn sharp breaths at the gruesome request. How quickly the indulgent mood melted. Did Herod’s face change? Here was an awkward demand! Used to thinking of people as objects, used to beheading men at a whim, it never occurred to him to say, “An incorruptible prophet like John the Baptizer is worth more than my whole kingdom.”

Looking around at his guests, he saw only one thing. If he was to save face, he must fulfill his promise. He ordered the execution. According to a long-standing tradition, John was beheaded on this day, August 29, probably around the year A.D. 28.

What happened to John’s head, we do not know. His disciples came and buried the body. Remains alleged to be his were later taken to Alexandria, Egypt and placed in a specially built church.

When John’s cousin Jesus heard the news, it hit him as hard as it would any of us. He tried to get away by himself for a time. John, who had preached Christ’s coming and prepared for his messianic ministry was needlessly dead in the prime of his life.

We have no sure knowledge of Salome’s fate. Herod and Herodias stuck together, performing desperate and diabolical deeds until they died.

* The name Salome is not biblical, but is given by tradition.


  1. Baring-Gould, S. Lives of the Saints. Edinburgh: John Grant, 1914, source of image.
  2. Bible. New Testament. Various versions.
  3. Butler, Alban. Lives of the Saints. Various versions.
  4. “John the Baptist, St.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.
  5. Souvay, Charles L. “St. John the Baptist.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.

Last updated June, 2007 Find this article at: http://www.christianity.com/churchhistory

Theological Quotes

“The higher the hill, the stronger the wind: so the loftier the life, the stronger the enemy’s temptations.” – John Wycliffe


Theological News

 College football • Larsen brothers to battle when Utah State, Southern Utah meet


Bible Study Tech / Web Resources

SojournRadio.Net Comment:

David T: Hi Guys! Another app resource that I’d recommend for those of your listeners who are interesting in using their iOS, Android, or Kindle device to help them memorize verses or passages from the Bible is: “The Fighter Verse App”.
You are able to specify from several versions of the Bible which translation you’d like to memorize from. There are pre-defined lists of verses to memorize from that cover a wide range of topics. There is the ability to add your own lists of verses and topics. There are several ways that the app quizzes you to test your memory of the verses you are memorizing or have memorized previously. There really is a lot within the app to like and a lot of ways to use it.
This application is $2.99 in the iTunes App Store and is worth the cost. I have had it now for about a year-or-so. There have been a couple updates in that time that have helped to make the app better each time. I have also had the occasion to contact their support resource by email to offer suggestions for future updates. I found their support people to be responsive and helpful.
Information about the app can be found here: http://www.childrendesiringgod.org/resources/resource.php?id=14&productPageId=1
Included on that page is a short video message from Pastor John Piper, whom you have mentioned on your podcast on more than one occasion, promoting the app. There is also information on features that are included within the app.
If you are serious about memorizing verses from the Bible, regularly reviewing them and being able to recall them as necessary, this app will help you to do that. Memorizing is hard work. This app can’t memorize verses for you, but it sure can help.
iTunes Store Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fighter-verses-memorize-bible/id411711646?mt=8



Acts 2.41-47

A Generous and Growing Church

41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.
43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need.  46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

One comment

  1. Dave Teague /

    Perhaps this one could be filed under the category “Bible Study Resources” and “Apps.” The First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina has begun a series of lectures, presented on Wednesday evenings, as part of what they are calling the “First Presbyterian Church Centerpoint School of Theology”. http://fptheologyschool.com So far, they have released two lectures, the first being an Introduction to Theology and the second was about the concept of Natural Revelation. The lecturer is a theologian, professor and pastor by the name of Derek Thomas. Each lecture, so far, has been made available with an accompanying PDF file of lecture notes. The lectures are about fifty minutes to an hour. The course assumes no prerequisite except a desire to learn more about the discipline of theology. I have found them to be very interesting so far and can recommend them to your listeners enthusiastically.

    Under the category of apps, the church there in South Carolina is making the lectures available through a website called sermonaudio.com. Associated with that website are apps for iOS devices, Android devices, Kindles, Blackberry, Roku and AppleTV (through AirPlay). The app is free. One of the nice features of the app is the ability to download sermons for offline listening later.

    The Sermon Audio and sermon audio app also has content provided by numerous other churches and speakers besides those from First Presbyterian Columbia, so be advised, just because it is on Sermon Audio’s site or app does not make it Biblical or Biblically centered, always search the scriptures to see if what they are saying is so.

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