Saturday, October 16, 2010

BARNABUS insights.

[1526] BARNABUS- This last week I have been doing some reading in the non canonical book of the epistle of Barnabus; the early church debated over a few books, whether some should be in the bible and others out. The few that some thought should be in were the epistle of Barnabus, Shepherd of Hermes [vision, dream type thing] and the Didache. Those that made it and were debated were letters like 2nd Peter, Jude, Hebrews and Revelation. As a believer I do accept what the church finally settled on, but it’s good to be aware of the other writings that never made it. Now, the Dan Brown books go way overboard in the idea that the Gnostic writings were also included in this debate- that’s not true. The early church unanimously rejected those works. But for today let me share a few things that I felt the Lord speak to me thru the letter of Barnabus. The letter quotes freely from the old testament- in chapter 12 I read ‘there are 2 nations in thy womb, and 2 people shall come from thee- the greater shall serve the lesser’ and ‘the Lord hath not deprived me of seeing thy face; bring me thy sons that I may bless them’. This last month or so has unexpectedly brought in a lot of old friends from New Jersey; they are now ‘sitting at the table’ so to speak. These friends are from an original group that I have prayed for, for 30 years! Though I have spent many years working with another ‘nation’ [Texas] yet these friends were there from the beginning, people I always wanted to be able to speak to, share with them things about the kingdom and stuff like that. I also had a few dream experiences where some of the ‘Texas crowd’ [lesser nation- in the sense that all of the guys I have worked with over the years are not in the same ‘upper class’ as many of my old friends] appeared to me, friends who have died- and I felt like I needed to post their stories on the blog/facebook site. What I did not realize was happening was in a sense God was using the ‘lesser nation’ as a witness to the greater one. God finally allowed me to re-connect with many old friends and thru the testimonies of my Texas friends the ‘greater has served the lesser’.

[1529] Still doing some reading from the Epistle of Barnabus; let me share a few thoughts from chapter 13. The writer [who by the way was probably not Barnabus!] speaks of the people of God as this corporate community that transcends space and time- we are a living temple of people, Gods completed work. He speaks about the 7 days of creation- God worked for 6 days and on the 7th day he rested, that as Gods finished work [the church] we also are in this ‘resting place’ [Sabbath] with God. In this community God uses prophetic voices to speak, these are the ‘gates’ of the temple- but the people are not enamored with the messenger- they are simply hearing God thru him. All these concepts of course are rooted in scripture; Ephesians says we are being ‘built together’ as an habitation of God thru the Spirit. Hebrews 12 [message version] speaks about the church as this invisible city that has this innumerable company of angels- and citizens who have already passed over to heaven, but they are still participating from the stands- cheering us on as we run our part of the relay race. I just want to encourage all my readers today- I have some old buddies from Jersey- some ‘ex-con’ friends from Texas, and friends all over the world who make up this spiritual community that gathers weekly around the table [radio, blog, etc.]. Listen for the voice of God, try and overlook the image of men- often times we say things and God is using what we say in a way that we don’t fully comprehend; that’s good- because the person being ‘talked to’ sees it as a confirmation from God, not men. The epistle of Barnabus says God uses 3 things to build this heavenly city; the word of faith, the promises he has made, and wisdom. He himself speaks within this community; he says things that nobody ever expected- not even those doing the talking! This community is an everlasting temple, a body of people that God resides in for ever- we are the people of God
COPERNICUS/GALILEO- Just a few posts on the famous controversy that is often mentioned during ‘religion/science’ debates.

(1396) THE NATURAL STATE IS MOTION- Jesus said there are 12 hours in the day [Jewish day] and that if we walk during the day we would not stumble. He said that he came to do and finish the work that the father gave him to do, that he had to keep moving to arrive at the final destination, he described this work as his meat- the very thing that sustained him. Ancient physics taught a theory that said the natural state of things on earth was ‘rest’. They observed that if you drop something from the air that it always finds the lowest spot and stops. But they taught that the natural state of motion in the heavens was circular, they observed the stars and moon and planets and saw that things orbit, they go in circles. The ancient view of Aristotle [Ptolemy] was the earth was the center of the universe and that there was this crystalline type sphere surrounding the earth and that the stars and moon and sun revolved around us. Galileo and Copernicus shook the world of science when they discovered that the earth really wasn’t the center of all things [Anthropic principle- man being the center of everything] but that our solar system was heliocentric instead of geocentric [we orbit the sun, not the other way around]. Isaac Newton is often said to have discovered gravity, in the sense that he observed things falling to the ground [the public school story of the apple hitting him on the head] but this observation of things falling was really no secret. What Newton discovered was that the motion of things in heaven [celestial motion] and things on earth [terrestrial] was the same- that is the natural state of things was not rest for the earth, nor circular for the heavens. But that all things would naturally flow in a straight line, unless acted upon by another force [classical view]. This ‘straight line motion’ [inertia- Newton’s first law] would be interrupted by gravity and cause the things in motion to be drawn off course. Thus when the apple falls to the ground, if it weren’t for the ground stopping the fall, it would keep going in motion- gravity is pulling it to the earth and the ground is stopping the motion. The same for the heavens. The earth’s gravity is ‘pulling’ on the natural straight line motion of the moon and causing it to deviate from a straight line path and orbit the earth. The same with stars and planets and our sun. Depending on the size [mass] and distance of one body from another, you get varying degrees of pull and this is how everything functions. During the turn of the 20th century we entered the era of modern physics, and Einstein and others would challenge many of the classical norms. Newton’s theories still hold true, but not everywhere at all times, when things approach the speed of light, everything changes. But for the most part Newton’s laws are still valuable when dealing with modern engineering and the basics of science. So what did we learn? That God created things to be in motion, not stagnant. Jesus said he had to keep moving ‘in the day’ because when the night comes no man can work. Proverbs tells us that the lazy person will not work during the planting season, and therefore will wind up begging in the harvest. The Old Testament says ‘get out of the city and dwell in the fields, even Babylon, and there I will be with you and deliver you from the hand of the enemy’. We all know the story of king David, when it was the time for kings to be leading their men in war, David stayed home and saw Bathsheba. What has God called you to do? Are you doing it? Have you organized your life around the priorities of his purpose for you? The natural state of motion on earth [and in heaven] is forward motion, what’s stopping you?

(951)MORE PROOF FROM SCIENCE- Yesterday I went to pick up my daughter from the airport and picked up a science magazine to read while waiting. The magazine was the December 2008 issue of ‘Discover’. They had a real interesting article on the reality of ‘fine tuning’ in the universe and how the only viable alternative [apart from God] to try and explain this fine tuning is this theory of multiple universes. The article kept referencing God! The interviewer went into all the unbelievable scientific discoveries that have been made in the field of Physics these last few years. He explained how these truly unbelievable measurements that must exist in order for life and man to exist, that these measurements have no naturalistic rational explanation of how they ‘just happened to be exactly right’ [I explain fine tuning in the Evolution section]. The article quoted other scientists as saying ‘even though the concept of a multi-verse is very, very doubtful, yet it is the only excuse for not having a creator in your system of belief’. The person being interviewed admitted that he did not want to accept the God explanation. The interviewer challenged him on the absolute shallow idea of a multi-verse [this is absolutely not true science!]. The scientist admitted the doubtfulness of the whole theory, but then said ‘what other options do we have? It must be true, because there is no other explanation apart from God’. The article was very revealing. The obvious bias of the defender of the multi-verse concept came thru clearly. The other scientists admitted the possibility of God as being the only true answer to the problem. They even showed the utter foolishness of the multi-verse theory as being true science. The fact that the ‘God question’ came up over and over again made me stop and look at the cover of the magazine to make sure I wasn’t reading this article from Christianity Today [Okay, I am exaggerating for effect]. The interviewer [also a scientist] explained the anthropic principle to the tee! This principle being the fact that the universe and all of its unbelievable components seem to be existing for the sole purpose of serving man. Returning to the old idea that things exist for mans benefit, man isn’t simply a blip on the cosmic radar screen. This concept was supposedly ‘undone’ by the Copernican revolution when he revealed that our Solar system was Heliocentric as opposed to Geocentric [the earth revolves around the Sun, not the other way around]. But all the recent developments in cosmology have turned the tables back to the idea that the universe really does exist, and has been designed for the purpose of mans survival. The multi-verse concept is a theory without any proof. Even if it were proven to be true, it still does not explain the obvious problem of ‘where did this universe spewing machine come from? How in the world did we ever arrive at a time in history where some unknown, non existent universe duplicator simply popped into existence from nothing?’ the multi-verse in reality is a desperate attempt to not believe in a creator. Even if it were proven true, you still haven’t really solved the problem.

(621)Let’s do another science one. I have told people that the most proof for the existence of God, in the scientific world, has come in the last 50 years. In the last century you had one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time. Do you know what that was? It was the theory that the universe was not only much greater than previously thought, but that it was ‘getting greater’ every day! It was actually expanding! When this theory was first espoused, many scientists rejected it. Why? If this were true [which it was!] it would show that the universe actually had a starting point. If it had a starting point, than ‘someone’ had to start it. At first many scientists rejected the theory. The leading Physicist who came up with this idea had another negative, he was a Catholic Priest. Many thought he was biased towards his theory. As time rolled on, his theory gradually gained support from many other scientists. He had ‘theorized’ that the proof of an ever expanding universe would be a residual ‘heat’ that you would be able to detect in the atmosphere. Another scientist, who was studying something else, released his proof of finding a background radiation that existed in the universe that was coming from all angles. He proved the Priest was right! Today 99 % of science believes that the universe had a starting point. This is accepted science. Very few hold to the old ‘static theory’ that it always existed at the current size. Now, some stayed with the old view. Do you know why? They actually said that if the new view were true [which it is!] that this would undeniably be proof of the existence of a creator. The doubters said this! They in essence were scientists who were not willing to go with the science! They were in the category of the religious skeptics who were not willing to go with science when it showed our solar system to be Heliocentric as opposed to Geocentric [our earth going around the Sun as opposed to the Sun and planets going around the Earth]. During the time of Galileo many scientists believed the old way. When Copernicus came up with the idea that we hold to today, the Church rejected science because of religious bias. Well today you have certain scientists who reject science because of religious bias [the religion of secularism- the worldview that sees a naturalistic explanation for all things]. The fact that science now holds to a ‘big bang’ theory, as well as all the overwhelming evidence against evolution, should rattle the unbelievers. We are at a time in history where science has come to the top of the mountain of exploration, and has found the theologians sitting at the top! NOTE; the story goes that Galileo was before the Bishops and was imploring them to ‘look into the Telescope’ and see for your self the evidence! And the church refused to look, saying all they needed was Gods word. How true this is no one knows. Many skeptics have used the ‘Helio/Geo centric’ argument to show the ignorance of the church. These skeptics say ‘see, the bible taught that all the planets and Sun revolved around the Earth, and science proved otherwise’. First, the church came to this understanding by the themes in scripture of the Planets and Stars in their course and stuff like that. The scripture never taught as fact that the Solar System was Geocentric. When the scientific evidence proved that the Earth revolved around the Sun, the church should have accepted this. Of course she has now. But this should work both ways. Another Catholic scientist wrote a book a few years back ‘Darwin’s black box’ he brought out undeniable scientific proof that Evolution was false! Too much to explain here, but the proof goes along the lines of man having in him ‘closed systems’ that had to have been complete and sealed from the start in order to work. Sort of like what I taught on ‘complex machines’ in this section. The author brought out the fact that man could not have slowly evolved. These parts of man had to have been fully formed and sealed at the time of creation. So the skeptics are just as guilty as the church when they refuse to ‘look into the Telescope’! NOTE- The catholic scientist in the above entry was not the first to espouse the idea of an expanding universe, but he was instrumental in proving this to be true.

[1530] Let me just give a short intro to these end times posts [on facebook]; the reason I think these posts are important right now [10-2010] is because our country is going thru a political conversation that ‘behind the scenes’ these end times views are effecting the most prominent voices. Last week Glen Beck played a bunch of clips that showed Obama saying ‘my individual salvation is tied to your corporate salvation’ now, Beck is a sincere man who comes from a fundamentalist background- the problem is most branches of Christianity- Obama’s [liberal] and conservative view Becks religion as problematic, beck is a Mormon [I love and respect Mormons!] but theologically- they have some serious flaws. But when Beck criticizes Obama for his statement- in reality this type of statement [corporate salvation] has very strong biblical and historical roots! I remember during the campaign, Obama was asked who his favorite philosopher was [Bush said Jesus!] Obama said Reinhold Neighbor [spelling?]. I thought that was interesting- he is a very influential theologian, somewhat on the liberal side of the argument- but the fact that he picked him showed me that Obama’s Christianity is real- though liberal. Now, you have Palin, Beck and others who hold to a fundamentalist/dispensationalist perspective- they have an end time view of the world that is closely tied in with the popular ‘left behind’ series of books from fundamentalist preacher Tim Lahaye- a view I don’t hold to. So that’s why some of the presidents critics really view him as some type of secret Manchurian candidate that wants to overthrow our country and institute socialism- this paranoid belief system permeates their religious view. So anyway keep this in mind as you read this next post- that’s the background.

(995)IS MODERN ISRAEL THE SAME AS ANCIENT ISRAEL? Why bring this up now? At the time of this entry [1-09] we have another one of those endless wars in the Middle East. Israel has been bombed over the past few years on a regular basis from Hamas. Hamas are the rogue ruling authority in the Gaza strip. Israel made a deal with the Palestinians to give them the strip of land, in return Palestine promised not to use the land against Israel. What happened? After the Palestinians took the land, they elected Hamas to be their ruling authority! Hamas are terrorists, make no mistake about it. So after a few years of regular bombings from the Gaza strip into Israel, Israel said ‘that’s enough’ and started a military campaign to up root Hamas. To be honest, they are using the exact same justification as the U.S. action against terrorism. Now, Israel as a modern state is quite a miracle. Or are they? After the destruction of their temple and the loss of their national identity in A.D. 70 they have been without a homeland for 2 thousand years. In the 20th century [1948] Israel once again became a state with a homeland for the first time in nearly 2 thousand years. Most evangelical Christians in the U.S. equate modern Israel with the promises made to Abraham by God in the Old Testament. God promised Abraham that he would give the land to him and his seed. In Deuteronomy 28 we see that the promise of Israel keeping the land was contingent on their obedience to his covenant. The history of Israel in the Old Testament shows them violating Gods laws at various times and God allowing them to be taken captive and losing their land. So the promise of inheritance was based in part on their obedience to God. Now, after W.W.1 the League of Nations made an agreement with modern Israel to give them a homeland. This promise was not carried out until after W.W.2. The United Nations agreed to give them the land and the British carved out a portion of the land and Israel became a nation once again. Let me make myself clear, as a nation Israel has a right to exist. After the initial taking of the land, the neighbors had various wars with Israel and in every case Israel won and took some more land. How Christians view the present status of the modern nation state is important. Most believers look at every modern conflict thru the promise of God made to Abraham thousands of years ago. The normal reaction by the fundamentalist/evangelical preacher is ‘God promised them the land, and by golly if Israel has to kill some poor Arabs to keep it, then that’s Gods will’! This is where we need to be careful. As an ally of the U.S. Israel is a small lone Democracy in a tough region of the world [there are other democracies, but they don’t border Israel]. Our country does have a responsibility to back up our allies. Israel does rule herself in a modern way with a rule of law and a humane judicial system that are rare for the region. So all in all they are a good ally who has a right to exist. But should believers equate this right with some biblical promise made to Abraham by God? Remember, God himself said that the promise of them dwelling in the land had to do with their obedience to him. Modern Israel is a religious nation. But they are also cultural. Many Jews presently living in the land do not practice Judaism, they simply see themselves as ethnic Jews. Those who do practice their faith practice a form of Judaism that can be called ‘Rabbinic Judaism’. This form of Judaism is what the Pharisees practiced during Jesus day. They elevate the traditions of the elders to a degree equal to [or greater than] the Old Testament law. If you remember Jesus rebuked this religious mindset when he told the Pharisees ‘by your tradition [the tradition of the elders] you make void the commandments of God’. So first of all, modern Israel is not in good standing with Jesus! [At least on covenantal grounds]. Second, did you ever wonder if the modern religious defense of Israel coincides with the actual Promised Land mentioned in scripture? If you go back and read the actual borders that God promised Abraham, you have a region extending to parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and a few other spots. In essence, many of the defenders of Israel’s right to the land, are not even talking about the actual borders mentioned in the bible! What does this mean? If God conditioned the obtaining of the land on the obedience of natural Israel to his law, is modern Rabbinic Judaism fulfilling it? If the promise of the land by God to Israel are what most evangelicals are fighting over, are they using scriptural borders to define ‘the land’ or are they using a 20th century land agreement made by human nations after the world wars? I believe Christians should stand for the right and freedom of all people [including modern Israel!] to exist and practice their religion freely. I believe modern Israel has as much right to the land they inhabit as any other nation who dwells on territory that used to belong to other people groups. That is if any nation engages with other nations in an aggression, if the nation who attacked you loses, you bet your gonna lose some land. That’s the way the ball bounces. The point of this entry is to simply call the American church to rethink the attachment she places on Gods promises to Abraham when making these arguments. A case could be made that modern Rabbinic Judaism is in fact still rejecting the law of God and does not fulfill the requirement, given by God himself, to ‘dwell in the land’. We as believers need to be careful when we simply jump headlong into these world affairs in a way that says to the world ‘God is on this nation’s side, and anyone who challenges their borders is in the wrong’. Understand, the ‘borders’ in these scenarios were carved out by human nations coming to certain land agreements. Be careful when you equate modern borders with Gods covenantal promise to Israel. We all need to pray for peace, we need to act justly in the world. We need to be against all racism, even anti Semitism! But we also need to stand true to the New Testament Ethos of all ethnic barriers being destroyed in Christ. We don’t want the world to think that King Jesus is going to return and physically war to protect a border made up by the United Nations! This type of end times teaching can get us into real trouble.
ILIAD, PLATO’S REPUBLIC- These are just posts where I mentioned some of the classics of western literature. Hopefully it will encourage people to become more familiar with the classics

(1332) Been doing some reading on church history/philosophy, it’s interesting to see the role that theology/Christianity played in the universities. Theology is referred to as ‘the queen of the sciences’ and philosophy was her ‘handmaid’. They saw the root of all learning as originating with the study ‘of God’. Many modern universities have dropped the term ‘theology’ and call it ‘the study of religion’. The study of religion is really the study of how man relates to God, his view of God; this would fit under anthropology/sociology, not under theology. Modern learning has lost the importance of the study of God and the role it plays in all the other sciences. The classic work of Homer [8th century BC] called the Iliad, has Achilles debating whether or not he should ‘stay and fight along the city of the Trojans’ and attain the legacy of a warrior; or to go ‘back to my homeland and live a long life’. He chooses to fight and lay his life on the line. The themes of the classics [courage, heroism, etc.] are biblical themes, even if God is not directly mentioned. The point being to try and exclude God from learning is silly, you can’t do it. Around the 17-18th century you had the philosophy of Existentialism rise up, as an ‘ism’ it really is a misnomer; ‘ism’ is a suffix that you add to the end of a word that makes it a system- ‘humanism’ ‘secularism’ etc. but existentialism is a word that means ‘anti-system’. Nevertheless the person who popularized this belief was a Christian, Soren Kierkegaard. The system he was rebelling against was the dead institutionalism of the Danish church, he felt that Christianity devolved into dead orthodoxy and lost all of its passion for true living and experiencing God. Nietzsche would pick up on this philosophy and apply it to atheism, and in the 20th century men like Albert Camus and John Paul Sartre would also embrace it from an atheistic worldview. They would say things like ‘man is a useless passion’ or write books titled ‘Nausea’ summing up the human condition. Though the 19th century atheistic humanists tried to give value and exalt the state of man, in their rejection of God and Christianity they were taking away the foundation for mans value. If you tell society that they arrived on the scene by some cosmic accident of evolution, and when you die you dissipate into nothingness, then how do you at the same time glory in his natural abilities to reach some point of Utopia? As the late Frances Schaeffer said ‘they were philosophers who had both feet planted firmly in mid air’. The point being when you neglect the reality and role that God and Christianity play in every sphere of life, you are then removing the foundation that these spheres were built on, true science and learning derive their basis from God. The greatest scientific minds of the past were either Christians or Deists, they were too smart to try and reject the reality of an eternal being.

(1346) In Luke’s gospel the parable of the pounds [money] has the master giving 1 pound to each servant and when he returns he takes the 1 pound from the brother who hid it and gives it to the other guy who made 10 more pounds with the first pound. Moral of the story, don’t squander your capital! One of the most influential works on human government was Plato’s ‘Republic’ Plato lived 4 centuries before Christ and in the famous work he has Socrates [his mentor] having a dialogue and discussing the elements needed for ordering a just society. The leaders must be educated and put the good of the people/community above their own personal desires. Leaders should be statesman and not politicians. As I was watching the news over the weekend they are still debating health care and both sides have stooped so low as to use the Haiti tragedy for political gain. On one of the Sunday shows, the person representing Bush was trying to be non partisan and praised Obama for his actions. Then the Democrat had the gall to contrast the quick response of Obama with the poor response of Bush to Katrina, these guys are never going to learn. Why are the Democrats willing to be the first party in history to push thru major legislation in secret meetings against the majority public opinion? They have calculated the cost, politically, of not passing something and have come to the conclusion that it would be better politically to pass something and take the heat, than to not pass something. Bill Clinton and others have openly said this, they have been found out on more than one occasion to have made this crass political choice. So in the minds of many of them it’s not a matter of telling many American workers ‘you are going to pay an extra 40 % tax on your health ins.’ and then tell the other worker, doing the same job ‘you do not have to pay the tax because you are a union member and we need your votes’ this is not statesmanship, this is political expediency- do whatever it takes to get your side to win, even at the expense of the public. President Obama [who I just finished praying for, and his family!] had lots of political capital at the beginning of the year, much more than any other president in recent history; but he took the ‘1 pound’ and squandered it, he blew it by making these terrible political calculations. As this new year begins it seems as if he really hasn’t made much out of the ‘pound’ that was given him at the start. It looks like the voting public is about to say ‘take from him the pound and give it to someone else’.

-[1462] ANSELM- Over the next few months I will do some brief overviews on important historical figures from church history. They will be under a separate section after the same name. Anselm was born in Italy in the year 1033, he eventually became a very influential church teacher and is famous for a few things; he came up with an argument for the existence of God called ‘the Ontological argument’ ontology is a word that means the nature of being. His idea went like this ‘Because there is no other greater conceivable being than God, that means God must exist’ in so many words he said because humans have this conscious belief in God as the greatest being, that therefore he must be that being. I’ll admit when I first read this argument I had some difficulties with it, I think you can find problems with it. But he nevertheless introduced it and it has become one of the classical apologetic arguments for God’s existence. The second major teaching that Anselm gave us was the teaching on the Atonement; Anselm taught that Jesus died to ransom man back to God, the penalty of death was a penalty paid to God. You say ‘what’s so new about that’? Many other church teachers taught that Jesus died to pay a ransom to the devil, that at the fall of man satan gained dominion over man and that Jesus death purchased us back from satan. Though there is some truth to man being under the dominion of satan after the fall, yet Anselm was ‘more right’ in the way he approached it. As a matter of fact His teaching eventually became the norm for the church. Anselm introduced Reason into the argument for the existence of God. Many teachers used scripture and appealed to the church fathers to prove the reality of God, Anselm was one of the first to lean heavily on logic when arguing for Gods existence. He is considered one of the greats of church history and we still benefit from the influence of Anselm to this day.

[1469] AQUINAS, THOMAS- Thomas is considered to be one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time. Born in Naples around 1225, he studied in Cologne under the Dominican order. During Thomas lifetime there was a rediscovery of the ancient writings of the philosopher Aristotle. Thomas would write commentaries on the philosophy of Aristotle and he would attempt to introduce reason into the arguments to prove the existence of God. He was a follower of that form of Christian teaching called ‘scholasticism’ this method used reason and logical debate to arrive at truth. Other scholars would reject this method [Bonaventure] they felt that using these rationale methods was a contradiction to faith. Thomas would become famous for his ‘five ways’ also referred to as Natural Theology. Thomas taught that there were 5 basic ways man could examine the natural created order and come to a rational belief in the existence of God; Thomas taught that the first cause of all things had to be God, you logically needed a first ‘causer’ to start the ball rolling [prime mover]. John Duns Scotus was a contemporary of Aquinas and he disagreed with the scholastic method. Scotus would become famous among the Franciscans; Aquinas would be famous among the Dominicans. Today many Catholic scholars pride themselves in being ‘Thomistic’ in their thought. Thomas also spoke much about ‘just war’ theory, originally introduced by Augustine. He taught that the means of war had to be just in order for the war itself to be ‘justified’; in today’s wars [Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan] I believe the use of unmanned drone attacks that kill civilians can be considered an unjust method. Thomas’ great works are Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae, Thomas is called the ‘angelic doctor’ of the Catholic faith.

[1486] ARIUS- a priest from Egypt who would challenge the deity of Jesus in the 4th century. Arius taught that Jesus was the Son of God, but not eternally the Son. He said Jesus was a created being whom the father ‘bestowed’ son ship upon. He taught that Jesus was ‘like God’ but not God. The emperor Constantine would call the famous council of Nicaea in 325 a.d. and the council would agree with Athanasius and say that the Son and the Father were of ‘the same substance’ [homoousios] and Arius’s belief would be rejected. The debate would still rage on thru out the century as Constantine would die and the new emperor from the east would hold to ‘Arian’ views. Eventually Orthodoxy would win out and Arianism would be rejected by the majority of believers. I should note that many of the oriental churches would go the way of Arianism till this day; some of these churches are not like the modern cults that we would automatically reject, but they do hold to beliefs that Orthodox Christianity has rejected. As I have written about before, it’s easy to see how various believers have struggled with these issues over the years, some of the ways people express things can be deemed heresy a little too quickly in my view. There are believers who express the deity of Jesus in ways that some Arians express it, and they are not full Arians! The point being, yes- Arian went too far in his belief that Jesus was a created being, Johns gospel refutes this belief strongly [as well as many other portions of scripture] but too say that Jesus was/is the full expression of the father, because he ‘came out from God’ is also in keeping with scripture. Today we should be familiar with the issues and also use much grace when labeling different groups of believers; and we should strive for a unity in the Spirit as much as possible. As believers we accept the full deity of Christ, one who is of the ‘same substance’ of the father- true God from true God. He who has seen the Son has seen the father- Jesus said to Phillip ‘I have been with you a long time, if you see and know me, you have seen and known my father’ Jesus is God come down in the flesh to dwell among men, the true Immanuel, God with us.
[1520] THE GREAT SUPPER- These last few weeks I have felt kind of swamped; I have had some friends [guys I am/was working with in ministry stuff] come by and they are doing well, they wanted to hook up with me in the things the Lord is doing with them. Yet as much as I wanted to get involved [halfway house, fellowship in Kingsville] I just seemed to be unable to ‘get out of the city’. Then I launched my facebook site and it has been great- lots of old friends that I have wanted to contact for years are now keeping in touch, but some felt kind of offended [the Christian thing and all] and I got mad that I have prayed for some of these friends for 30 years and when the ‘supper was ready’ they had no time to sit at the table! In Luke 14 Jesus tells the story of a man that made this great meal [God] and at suppertime [Galatians- when the right time came God sent forth his Son] the master sent forth his servant and invited all the intended guests to come and eat- I mean the meal was free of charge for heaven’s sake! Yet they responded with excuses- one said ‘I just bought some land, sorry’ another ‘I bought some cattle- can’t make it’ the last one said ‘just got married, wife won’t let me come’ [okay, he’s got a legitimate excuse- sorry]. So when the servant came back and told the master what happened, the master got angry ‘what, I have been preparing this meal for years- everything is ready, it’s good food’. So he quickly sends the servant back out and he goes and gets all the poor homeless bums [sound familiar?] and they fill the house with these guys. He then tells the servant ‘none of those guys who rejected me will eat from the table’. I found it interesting that after the initial rejection the master made a compelling urgent appeal to the others- it’s like the rejection was needed in order for the urgency of the situation to be seen. When I first started posting on old classmates type sites, I simply shared the web site in my profile, but I really didn’t ‘urgently’ post stuff, figured if people are interested they will visit the site. But when I realized some people will not ‘come to the table’ I felt an urgency and went ballistic! I mean I began posting like a bat out of hell! Sometimes it takes stuff to wake us up- to make us reconsider the way we are operating and change some stuff. To all my friends who came by the house, to those who have tried to get in touch- I realize that I can’t personally be involved with all the various good projects you are all doing- I am going to try this week to make it to the halfway house and hopefully make a trip to Kingsville; but I just want to let everybody know that I am rooting for them, praying regularly for them [by name!] and am real excited about some of the old friends who have recently joined the conversation. Oh, and to those of you who had excuses, well I guess you guys will find another table to eat at.

[1523] LUKE 15- In this chapter we find the story of the missing pieces; a lost coin [1 out of 10] lost sheep [1 out of 100] and the prodigal son [1 bad son out of 2]. The interesting thing I saw this time around was the response of the people that found the missing pieces, they were so overjoyed about finding the lost thing that it seemed as if the lost piece was more valuable than the other things that never ‘went astray’. Jesus makes it clear that the other ‘non lost’ items’ were just as valuable, the reason for the excitement over the found piece was because it completed the set- it was the last piece in the puzzle, that which was supposed to be in on everything from the beginning- and only now has the missing link be found. Then when the prodigal son came home, the older brother was ‘standing outside’ he was observing the whole scene- to him it seemed wrong that this younger son had rebelled at a very young age, he went to a far country and when he finally showed up back home, the Father [God] killed the fatted calf and had this huge party for the boy. The older son was angry and would not ‘go in’. The dad comes out and says ‘what’s wrong’? The son says ‘you know dad, I spent my whole life doing what I thought was right, I even went to church a few times over the years- never got into the whole drug scene, made a few mistakes, yeah- but nothing even close to this guy who left when he was young. And now he’s back and he has all this stuff going on, this huge party, and look at me- I really have nothing to contribute to the party, me and my friends never had a calf to celebrate with!’. This son was observing the reunion and it just didn’t seem right. The father tells the boy ‘look son, don’t feel bad- you have been trying to do right for a long time, sure you had some struggles, but I see where you’re coming from. Just remember that I have always been with you, I am grateful for all the times you tried and made a sincere effort at honoring me. Don’t take the current excitement over the returning son the wrong way, the only reason for the excitement was because he was gone for so long and finally made it home’. It’s interesting that the son who never left was struggling with this feeling of rejection, this sense of ‘it’s just not fair’. And it did seem unfair that the boy who should have either been dead or serving time in prison; that this kid actually had a bigger party going on than the kid who always tried to do right. Just remember, the father [God] was not saying to the good son ‘I like the other boy better’ he was simply saying ‘now the family is complete, the part that was missing has now come home’.

[1525] THE UNJUST STEWARD- This week I have been reading Luke 16. Jesus gives us the parable of the manager who was stealing money from the boss; the boss finds out and calls him on the carpet. The manager realizes he will be out of a job and quickly devises a scheme- he goes to all the people who owe his boss money and he gets them to write off a bunch of debt- he basically cheats his boss and endears himself to these people who owe his master a great debt. When the boss finds out about it he commends the manager. At the end of the story Jesus tells us that this manager was wise, and that the ‘children of this world’ are wiser than Christians when dealing with real life stuff. A lot of people question this parable; was Jesus commending dishonesty? Jesus was giving us a strategy- not to cheat- but to side with people and win them over as you advocate for them. In the story the steward released the debt that the people owed. This steward was often seen as the debt collector for the loan shark type of a thing, but now he is actually taking the side of the people, he is helping them get out of debt- and they really are being forgiven the debt, based on no merit of their own! Jesus of course did this for us at the Cross, he came to people who viewed God as a stern master whom they owed a great debt to- yet Jesus sided with people to forgive the debt that they could never pay. For the first time these ‘average folk’ saw the steward/servant take their side- seemingly against the harsh boss! The world is full of people who owe a great debt, they need someone who will side with them- who will risk their own lives to help them against the master whom they owe a great debt to- befriend people, let them know that you are there to help them get out of debt- debt that they could never pay on their own- if you do this the master will commend you.