Sunday, November 29, 2015
THOR GOES DOWN- Alabaster box [todays update]
https://youtu.be/3AXlZLzk5ck [Alabaster box- update]
.Wizard of Oz n Christmas story
.Cop’s 3 Hail Mary’s
.You killed my dad!
NEW STUFF- I’ll try and mention a couple of things I talked about on the video- and have never written about before
BONIFACE- After the fall of the western empire [Rome] the Church took up the slack during the middle ages and provided a stability that the empire could no longer do.
The eastern part of the empire- Constantinople- lasted till the 15th century- it fell to the Turks at that time.
Russia was converted to orthodoxy in the 10th century- and saw itself [Moscow] as the ‘New Rome’- sort of like the standard bearer that would keep the flame going for Orthodoxy.
Ok- the Roman Church did indeed evangelize the Germanic ‘barbarians’ from the north.
One of the most famous stories took place in the 8th century- a Christian missionary [who later became the bishop of Mainz] by the name of Boniface-
He entered the ‘sacred’ forest where the god of thunder was worshipped [Thor].
They had a sacred Oak tree dedicated to Thor.
As the story goes- Boniface had a type of Elijah confrontation with the false God- and he took an ax- and with one chop- felled the cultic oak [oh yea- God sent a strong wind- that helped].
How true many of these stories are- we never know.
But the northern barbarians were indeed converted to a form of Christianity over time.
They leaned toward the teaching of Arianism [which I taught about over the years] and technically are not considered 'Orthodox’ [in this sense- meaning they did not hold to the true teaching of Christianity about the Deity of Christ].
But they did abandon their ‘gods’ for the Christian God- and the story of Boniface and the Oak- might have helped.
PAST POSTS [verses below]
.[these are old posts- but as you can see- I’ve been talking politics for a while]  ‘LIL’ KIM- LUTHER AND HITCHENS
Okay- we had the passing of some famous folk these last few days. Havel [former Czech President] - a great man indeed.
Then we had ‘lil’ Kim die [not the singer- the leader of North Korea. Though there was an on line rumor it was Lil Kim- yeah the fans cried- until they realized it was the crazed leader of one of the world’s most dangerous countries- you know- the hair trigger Nuke. Well when the fans found out it was him- not the singer- they relaxed]
Actually- the surreal video of the North Korean people crying in the streets- the look of shock and despair on their faces- I mean I haven’t seen the followers of any political leader act this way in a long time- not since the Perry debates.
Then old Hitchen's kicked the bucket- yeah- he was a famous atheist.
I really do not hate atheists- some are nice people- most don’t know the real case for the existence of God. But Hitchen's- well when I reviewed his book- ‘God is not great’ I did get into the many distortions and misrepresentations that he made.
He simply lied- and often. He was mean and arrogant and insulted people often- he has referred to princess Diana as a ‘land mine’ [she had a charity that worked for the abolition of these weapons] he said she was like a land mine ‘she was laid all over the country- and when you stepped on her everything blew up’.
No- many Christians and leaders have come out and done the ‘we respected him for his views’ type thing- not me- I’m not gad he died- but won’t make him sound like he was a ‘good’ man- he was not.
I read a piece form the N.Y. Times- they went into Libya and investigated the reports of the deaths of many civilians caused by NATO and the U.S. during the ‘no fly zone’ debacle.
They found evidence of many civilians that were killed. They presented the report to the new leaders of Libya- they could care less.
In Benghazi- the main city in the eastern half of Libya- they were openly flying the Al-Qaida flag. We just spent 10 years and many lives fighting in Afghanistan. Why? Because they gave territory to Al-Qaida- they gave them a place to work out of.
We fought the Taliban for 10 years over this. Yet in a few months NATO and the U.S. gave Al-Qaida their own capitol to fly their flag- I mean the terrorists must be thinking ‘if we knew these guys were this stupid- we would have never bombed the towers’.
In Tripoli- the real capitol of Libya- the various militia groups [terrorists] are all claiming they are the security/armed forces of Libya. I heard a doctor- on N.P.R. - not a right wing radio show- he said in his hospital these various militias are all trying to take charge- they walk around with guns- sometimes walk into a room and shoot a patient who they think is not on their side- and the doctors say they have no security at all.
Under Gadhaffi things ran well- like a normal society- now their country is a terrorist haven- run by these guys.
I could go on and say the same for Egypt- and tell the stories of how the military have been killing protestors in the street. All these things are being done under people that the West [we- NATO- France] have enabled by removing their former leaders.
And France this week passed a law making it a crime to deny the genocide that took place in Turkey in the early part of the last century.
Yes- the Ottoman Turks did slaughter many Armenians- Christians- at the time. And getting Turkey to officially admit this has been a problem for years. But France passing a law to make it a crime to deny it- while they just finished committing ‘crimes against humanity’ themselves- by killing all the Libyan civilians- it’s just too much.
Okay- let’s start a brief overview of some church history. Over the next few weeks I want to hit on the 16th century Protestant reformation and try and cover some of the key figures of the movement.
Martin Luther- the German reformer who had the most influence in the movement was born and raised in Germany.
As a boy his parents were peasant farmers and eventually his dad became a miner and became a very successful businessman- he would go on and eventually own 6 foundries.
He sent his son to law school- and young Luther excelled. At the age of 21 he accomplished more than many of his peers. One day on his way home from the university a thunderstorm broke out and Luther was almost struck by a bolt of lightning.
In fear he cried out to Saint Ann [the mother of Mary] and said ‘Saint Ann- if you save me I will become a monk’ [Ann was the patron Saint for miners- thus Luther was familiar with her].
He was spared and off to the monastery he went. Luther eventually became an ordained priest and even though his dad initially was upset that his son became a priest- yet he was proud of his boy later on.
Luther would eventually make a Pilgrimage to Rome- on foot [a few month walk from Germany to Rome!] and what he saw devastated him. Rome- and the Vatican- were in bad shape. Many of the priests lived in open sin- and the city that he saw as his headquarters for the faith- well it was a mess.
Luther made the famous penitent walk/crawl up the stairs of the Lateran church [this church was the most famous church before the construction of St. Peters. The actual stairs of the church are the same stairs that Christ walked up during his trial under Pontius Pilate. Yes- you hear many ‘stories’ while studying church history- things like the relics or left over pieces of the Cross- well these stories are usually fake. But the stairs of the Lateran church are indeed the same stairs that Christ walked on- the early ‘church’ builders dismantled the stairs at Pilate’s court in Jerusalem and installed them at this church building in Rome].
When Luther got to the top of the stairs- it is reported that he questioned the faith- he had a crisis of faith and thought that maybe the whole thing was a sham.
Okay- as we do a few more posts over the coming weeks- I want you guys to see that the main players of the Reformation were sincere Catholic men who had many questions about what they saw as corrupt in their own church. These men did not want to start a breakaway church- they simply wanted to reform the church they loved.
Keep in mind that Luther excelled during his legal studies- he had a keen legal mind- this will be important later on when we see the debates he has with Rome over the doctrine of Justification by faith- the letters of the apostle Paul [Romans- Galatians] use lots of legal language- and his early education will help him in these debates.
Okay- that’s it for today. Maybe do a Google search on Luther and familiarize yourself a little with the history.
The ‘readings’ for this week are 2nd Samuel 6-7 and Psalms 89. See what they have in common.
 LUTHER- THE TOWER EXPERIENCE
Let’s start with some church history. In the last post I covered the early years of Martin Luther- probably the most significant figure of the Protestant Reformation.
Luther studied for the priesthood in Erfurt, Germany. He would eventually wind up in Wittenberg- one of the major university cities of the Reformation. Wittenberg was actually a small insignificant town- but the political leader over the region- Frederick the Wise- sought to put it on the map.
He wanted to turn Wittenberg into a German ‘Rome’. He wanted it to become a major Pilgrimage city where Christians would see Wittenberg as a destination- just like they saw Rome.
So Frederick embarked on this plan and he searched thru all the Catholic learning centers of the time and finally recruited 3 top scholars to teach out of the university at Wittenberg- Luther was one of the 3.
Just as a side note- Frederick would succeed at making Wittenberg a major catholic center. He would eventually obtain over 19,000 Relics for the Cathedral church there [Relics were used in the ancient system of buying indulgences and making special pilgrimage trips to important Churches. If the church/city that your making the Pilgrimage to has a lot of Relics- bones or other famous material objects from church history- then the value of the Pilgrimage was high. In theory Frederick collected so many that if you added up all the ‘time off’ from Purgatory- you would get 1 million, 900 thousand years off! Some of the famous relics at Wittenberg were a hair from the beard of Jesus- straw from the manger Jesus was born in- and even a branch from the famous burning bush of Moses! As you can see- there was a lot of commercializing going on- even back then].
When Luther arrived in Wittenberg- he made a name for himself as a top scholar. Many protestants- who revere Luther- usually are not aware that he was a master Linguist [sort of like Rick Perry!]
Yes Luther mastered language- and he showed it in his teaching on the book of Psalms.
In 1515 he began his famous study on the book of Romans and as he went thru the very first chapter- something shook him. He came across the passage that says the Just shall live by faith. This verse first appears in the O.T. book of Habakkuk- and is quoted 3 more times in the N.T.
Luther was very aware of the concept of the righteousness of God- he struggled for many years trying to reconcile his own sinful nature with Gods holiness- but he never really ‘saw’ the biblical concept of righteousness as a free gift that God ‘imputes’ to the sinner.
Yes- for the 1st time in Luther’s life- after his years training for the priesthood- the pilgrimage he made to Rome- the thousands of hours he spent confessing his sins while a monk in Erfurt- he never really understood that the righteousness of God was a free gift given to those who have faith.
It was a giant weight lifted from his shoulders- Luther did not need to try any more to live up to the standards of God- in a way that would earn for him forgiveness- but he would simply believe- and the righteousness of God would be counted to him as a gift.
Luther would go on to call this an Alien Righteousness- that is it is not found within the person who tries to do all the church works he can- or buying all the indulgences- or any other of the many religious actions he was practicing- but this free gift of being right with God- it came to those who had faith- the Just shall live by Faith- this was indeed good news for the scholar.
As time went on- Germany would get embroiled in the political machinations of the day- Luther’s top political cover was Frederick the Wise- hardly a Protestant Reformer! He spent lots of time trying to make Wittenberg the major Catholic center in Germany.
But at the time there was a political fight raging between Rome and some of the other nation/states. There was a figure head office called the Holy Roman Emperor. This office was really in name only- but it rose up during the first Millennium of Christian history and sought to replace the influence that Rome was losing.
So you had France, Spain and England all vying for the title. Eventually it would go to King Charles of Spain- but the Pope- who played a major role in nominating the person- he did not want any of these top 3 to get the position. Henry the Eighth was the king of England at the time- and these ‘3 kings’ were sort of in competition with Rome- so the Pope tried to get Fredrick the Wise to throw his hat into the ring.
Frederick just happened to be one of the Electors of this position.
His actual title was The Elector of Saxony.
So Fredrick had lots of influence- and as Rome would eventually but heads with the stubborn bull of Wittenberg [Luther] Frederick would become the major protector of Luther.
Okay- I think we’ll stop here for today. The experience that Luther had- the enlightenment that came to him while teaching the book of Romans- this is often called The Tower experience of Luther- it took place in the year 1515.
 TREASURY OF MERIT
Let’s pick up where we left off 2 posts back. We were talking about Martin Luther and the events that led up to the Protestant Reformation.
In order to understand the key act that caused the protest- we will have to teach some Catholic history/doctrine.
In the 16th century Pope Julius began the effort to build St. Peters basilica in Rome. He got as far as laying the foundation and died. Pope Leo the 10th would pick up after him.
The church needed to raise money for the project- and the German prince- Albert- would play a major role.
It should be noted that both Catholic and Protestant scholars agree that the Popes of the day were pretty corrupt. They came from what we call the Medici line of Popes.
If you remember last month I wrote a post on the Renaissance- I talked about the Medici family and how they played a major role in supporting the Renaissance that took place in the 13th century in Florence Italy that would spread to the region.
Well this very influential family also played a big role in who would get top positions in the church.
At the time of Luther and prince Albert- if you had the right connections and the money- you could literally buy a position in the church.
Albert already held 2 Bishop seats- and there was an opening for an Archbishops seat in Mainz [Germany] and he wanted that one too.
It should be noted that official Canon law [church law] said you could only hold one seat at a time- Albert was bidding on his 3rd one! And he was too young for all of them.
So even the Pope and the officials held little respect for what the church actually taught at the time.
So Albert opens up negotiations with Leo- and the bidding starts AT 12,000 Duckets [money] Albert counters with 7,000- and they agree on 10,000. How did they justify the numbers? 12- The number of Apostles. 7- The 7 deadly sins. 10- The 10 commandments.
Yes- the church was pretty corrupt at the time.
So Albert works out a plan with Leo- he will borrow the money from the German banks- and pay the banks off by the Pope giving Albert the right to sell Indulgences.
What’s an Indulgence?
Okay- this is where it gets tricky.
The ancient church taught a system called The Treasury of Merit. This was a sort of spiritual bank account that ‘stored up’ the good deeds of others over the years.
You had the good deeds of Jesus at the top- but you also had Mary and Joseph- the 12 Apostles-
.  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.
 ‘This is why I Paul am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so called. I take it that you are familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody… none of our ancestors understood this, only in our time has it been made clear thru God’s Spirit… this is my life work, helping people understand and respond to God’s message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details’ Ephesians 3, message bible. As I said earlier in this study, the ‘mystery’ that God revealed to Paul was the reality that thru Christ all ethnic groups would be on the same footing with God. This specifically related to the religious belief of the day that the ethnic nation of Israel were the only ones with special access to God. For Paul to have been preaching this message in his day would be like us teaching that God’s plan for all people today- Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians, etc., it would be like saying Gods purpose for our day is to accept all of these ethnic groups as one group thru Christ. To be frank about it, I believe many evangelicals today are not fully seeing the reality of the Cross when they exalt the natural heritage of Israel as Gods special people. Though I realize many of these teachings mean well [end time scenarios and stuff] yet in practice they deny the equal footing that all people have in Christ. Paul was preaching the great news that your ethnic/cultural background no longer made any difference- thru Christ we are all Gods special people. This does not mean that we are all accepted whether or not we believe in Christ, a sort of religious syncretism, but it does mean that the offer of Jesus is available to all.
(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.
[parts] In Rand’s work- she tells the fictional story of John Galt [who is John Galt? This sign pops up every so often]
Galt is the leader of the ‘productive’ class in society- the thinkers- producers- etc.
These noble ones rebel against what they see as an all encroaching Entitlement society- a ‘world’ that keeps blaming them for the ills of man.
Eventually these productive people have had enough- and they withdraw from the world and start their own world- based on the principles of Objectivism.
‘Every man for himself’ type of thing.
There is one line in the book- where you have this image of Atlas [the man who has the world on his shoulders].
He is bowing and bending and struggling under this Entitlement world.
The ‘have nots’ keep seeing the ‘haves’ as the cause for their problems.
The more pressure put on Atlas- does not seem to appease the Entitlement class.
So- he shrugs- and walks away.
A couple of years ago when we did a short history of Philosophy- I never covered Rand.
She never came up in any of the stuff I was reading at the time.
Rand was a Russian American who came to the states in the early 20th century.
She saw the rise of Communism in her homeland- and she believed that the U.S. was in danger of going down the same road.
She lived to see the presidency of FDR- and his creating of what we call the Entitlement society.
But Rand- like other thinkers of her day- also rejected Faith and Religion [Marx].
She believed that Reason was enough to establish morality- and build an adequate Ethical society.
To be honest- Ayn was wrong about this.
But- because she angered the Left with her capitalist thought- and the Right with her anti God ideas- well she would alienate not just the 47% [Romney’s gaff] but both ‘47’s’.
Thus- Rand never came up on the radar when I was studying philosophy.
I have not read the book- but from what I picked up on line- I can see how Christians would indeed have a hard time with Objectivism.
In scripture- we don’t see ‘statism’ per se- but we do see a sort of collective ideal.
In the books of Acts we see the early believers selling their goods and giving to those in need.
We read many-many portions of the bible that speak about helping the less fortunate.
Yet- the argument is ‘should the state force man to do this’.
The state- govt. - according to scripture- has the right to tax.
Rand’s argument [and others] is ‘fine- but don’t demean me because I am one of the producers- don’t demonize those in society who are holding the system up’.
Rand did not teach that you should never help another- but she rejected the govt. forcing you to do it.
In Ayn’s Utopia- the John Galt’s of the world withdraw- they take their toys and go home.
From a biblical perspective- we are indeed our brother’s keeper.
That does not mean we encourage people to be non productive- to live off the wealth of others.
But we see the goal of our lives as more than seeking happiness- more than pursuing the Dream.
No- we often give things up- material things- in order to pursue a more just society.
In our World- Atlas doesn’t shrug.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.
 WEEK [OR 2] IN REVIEW- Okay, I haven’t been commenting as much these past few weeks, basically doing a lot of posting of old stuff. But these last few weeks have been important so let’s do a little. First; the Pope made an historic visit to the U.K. - he went first to Scotland, than England. It was the first official visit- where the titular head [Queen Elisabeth] officially greeted the Pope, the first time since the official split in the 16th century! I kinda covered the history of it in the past and don’t want to do it all over again here- suffice it to say that Henry the 8th wanted his divorce, the Pope said no and England split off- the church of England [Anglican church] became the official church of England. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. is part of this communion. Now, the visit was historic for these reasons, the Pope surprised some church historians by making a speech where he invited the Anglican Church back into the Catholic fold-many thought he would not do this. Actually, it just seemed to be the right thing to do, being it’s the first official visit since the historic split [never mind all the theological issues involved]. So I was glad to see the very good reception he got. Europe in general has suffered from a severe case of rationalism/skepticism that has left many of the great church buildings either empty or they have been converted into Mosques! The Pope challenged them to have both faith and reason, a theme that Pope John Paul emphasized a lot during his pontificate. Overall I think the visit went very well, and all Christians should be happy about it. We also had Newt Gingrich write an article [or comment?] on Obama being an ‘anti colonialist Kenyan’ [Yikes!]. Basically Newt read an article from Dinesh Desouza, a fine Catholic writer/intellectual, who espoused the idea that President Obama is the first U.S. president who has a socialist mindset- that when most European nations went the way of socialism in the last few decades, that the only real holdout was the U.S. But in the economic world all the smart money fled the socialist type economies and would find its way into the U.S., leaving the socialist economies to suffer. So when Obama became president, as a believer in big govt. [a form of socialism] he would eventually bring the U.S. into alignment with the ‘enlightened’ world and that would balance out the scales. In Desouza’s mind [and Gingrich] this is why Obama is so loved in the rest of the world, while his ratings are not so great at home. Okay, it’s an interesting idea, but a little too ‘Beckish’ for me. But it shows you where the country is at right now, that some serious thinkers are making this case. I like Desouza, he is a fine Catholic Christian, he wrote ‘God is great’ in response to Christopher Hitchens [the atheist] ‘God is not great’ but I have read a few articles from Desouza and I thought he was a little ‘lacking’ in the field of theology [like he really didn’t know his stuff as well as he should have].The liberal columnist Eugene Robinson has basically said the same thing. So any way these last few weeks have had some notable events happen and we should be grateful that no bad incidents took place when the Pope was in England. I was happy to see the good response he got, though I’m not Catholic- as a fellow Christian I respect the effort that the Pope made to defend the Christian faith and to challenge a secular society to return to her Christian roots.
- Jesus said when people hear the ‘word of the kingdom’ and don’t understand it; that the devil comes and takes the word out of their hearts. Right now in our country there is a rise in anger over the Muslim versus Christian traditions; many have made a ‘cause célèbre’ over the mosque being built close to the 911 tragedy. Over the years as I have studied the various faiths and the history of Christianity, I have come to see that many sincere people of various faiths have been a victim of the ‘devil stealing the word of the kingdom’ from their hearts. That is many sincere people have never truly understood or grasped the real kingdom message of Jesus. As the Christian church progressed thru the centuries, many have come to define the faith as a strict orthodox interpretation of the Trinity, the 2 natures of Jesus, and other historic declarations of orthodox Christianity. While I fully agree and hold to these historic creedal truths, what has happened is the other 2 major world religions- Islam and Judaism- have come to define the historic faith by these statements. They have never really understood the main Christian message of God reconciling man thru Christ. They see Christianity thru the lens of ‘that religion is
[parts] (1360) Lets do a little Catholic/Protestant stuff. First, those of you who have read this site for any period of time know that as a Protestant I am ‘pro Catholic’ that is I read and study Catholic scholars, believe in the ECT statement [Evangelicals and Catholics together] and for the most part am pro Catholic in that sense. I have offended more Protestants because of this stance than Catholics. But sometimes I need to state the differences and be honest about them, true ecumenical unity should never be achieved on the altar of doctrine, we should not sacrifice sincerely held beliefs while seeking unity for Christ’s church. Last night I caught the journey home show with Marcus Grodi as well as Catholic scholar Scott Hahn [EWTN- the Catholic network]. Scott was doing a teaching on the sacraments of the church and shared a common belief in the ‘incarnational’ aspect of matter. Some theologians believe [both Catholic and Protestant] that since God became man in Jesus, that this united/sanctified matter in a way that never occurred before. They will carry this thought into sacramental theology and teach a kind of ‘connection’ with God thru material things; both Baptism and the Eucharist would be major examples. I believe the historic church was well intended when they developed this idea, they were combating the popular Greek/Gnostic belief that matter is inherently evil, not a biblical doctrine. As Scott Hahn made the argument I simply felt that he gave too much weight to the idea that because of the incarnation [God becoming man] that now there is a special ‘sanctity’ to material things when connected with the sacraments. Does the bible teach that there are actual physical things in this world that carry out the truth of the incarnation in a material way? Actually it does, the bible teaches that the bodies of believers have this special aspect because Gods Spirit lives in us. In essence the idea of ‘special matter’ that is often taught by well meaning scholars can be applied to the physical church in the earth, all who believe. I do not totally dismiss sacramental theology, many Protestants who dismiss it out of hand are not aware of the strong beliefs that the reformers held too in these areas. Luther is often misunderstood when it comes to his disagreement with Calvin, many teach and think that he split with Calvin over the doctrine of Predestination, he did not- Luther’s written views on the doctrine were just as strong [if not stronger] on the subject. Calvin never wrote a book dedicated solely to the doctrine, Luther did [bondage of the will]. But they did split on the sacrament of the Eucharist, Luther’s view [consubstantiation] was much closer to the Catholic view than Calvin, and Zwingli [the Swiss reformer] was further away than both Calvin and Luther. Lutheranism would eventually be developed by a protégé of Luther, Philip Melanchthon, and the Lutheran church would bear the image of Melanchthon more than Luther. The point being many good men have held to very strong views on these matters. I believe the biblical doctrine leans more heavily on the ‘material body’ of the believer as being the major material change since the incarnation, I do not hold to the idea that ‘God becoming man’ fundamentally changed the nature of matter when dealing with the sacraments. Matter is not [nor ever was] intrinsically evil, Greek dualism got it wrong from the start- we do not need a strong sacramental theology to refute this, scripture itself will do.
. He had a few theological battles in his day. With Pelagianism and Donatism- these were early Christian movements that broke away from the standard teaching of the church- they derive their names form the Bishops/priests who espoused these ideas.
Pelagius denied the doctrine of original sin- and he taught that men were indeed capable of obeying Gods law- out of their own moral integrity- and thus ‘save themselves’. Augustine rejected this view and taught that men were saved only by the grace of God- that men were indeed sinful and corrupt- and if left to their own designs would end up in hell.
There were various adherents to Pelagius’ view- and his ideas have carried down thru the centuries to varying degrees- sometimes you will hear [read] the term ‘Semi- Pelagian’ this refers to those who have various ideas about man’s ability to save himself through good works.
Some in the Reformed church [the original Protestant belief system that came out from the 16th century Reformation] accuse the Catholic Church of this very thing- yet the Catholic Church has made it clear that they do reject Pelagianism- and they agree with Augustine on the matter.
The Donatists taught that the Sacraments were dependent upon the ‘holiness’ of the Priest who ministers them. That if you were in a Parish where the priests were bad- lived in sin- rejected a holy life- then if you were Baptized by these men- that the Baptism didn’t ‘stick’.
The Donatists formed there own break away church in the 3rd century- and a few very influential men would join the group. A well respected early church father- Tertullian- eventually joined their ranks.
Augustine argued against the Donatists teaching- and taught that Gods grace- and the grace given to believers thru the sacraments were not derived from the holiness of any priest or preacher- but if a believer in good conscience received the sacraments- that that’s what really counted.
Saint Augustine is one of the titans of church history- he is loved by Protestants and Catholics alike. He is famous for his belief in the doctrine of Predestination [that those who are saved were chosen by God before they were born] and for this reason he is loved by the original protestant theologians [Luther, Calvin, etc.]
He also taught a very ‘Catholic’ form of Ecclesiology [church govt.] and is well loved by many Catholics as well.
The Catholic Church refers to him as the Doctor of Grace- later on in the 13th century we will meet Saint Thomas Aquinas- who the church refers to as the Angelic Doctor.
Both of these men played a major role in the development of western thought and Augustine made an effort to distinguish true Christian thought from the philosophy of Neo Platonism which was very strong in his day.
When reading Augustine [he wrote a lot] you need to be careful to distinguish some of his earlier writings from his later ones.
Early on you still see forms of Platonic thought in Augustine- but as the years rolled by his thinking
. HEBREWS 10-13
There’s more on the video- Kant, John Mill- Moral Theory- Utilitarianism, Kantianism. Dead Sea Scroll-s ‘Lost Books’ of the bible- Septuagint- Jerome- Alexander the Great- Ptolemy- Seleucids- Essenes- Qumran community- Ecclesiology- Local Church etc.
[parts] (890)SAMUEL 7- The
Ark arrives at
Abinadab's house in Kirjath Jearim, it will remain there until David retrieves
it [it was there for around 100 years in total-1100 BC- 1004 BC]. Samuel calls
the people to repentance and makes intercession for them at the same time. This
leads to great victory over the enemy. Jesus ‘lives forever to make continual
intercession for us’. We need to combine repentance and dependence upon
Christ’s mediation in order to gain victory. This chapter also has the famous
name ‘Ebenezer’ that makes it into the history of the church. Both songs and
churches will use it in their names. Martin Luther King preached at Ebenezer
Baptist church. This stone was simply a rock of remembrance for the victory of
God. It spoke of Gods help for man. Jesus is the ultimate ‘stone/rock of
defense’ for man. Scripture says ‘there is no rock like the Lord’ ‘Jesus is the
precious stone, all who believe will be delivered’. The imagery of Jesus/God as
a rock of defense is all throughout scripture. We see Samuel as the key leader
and scripture says he judged them at this time. He lived in Ramah and ‘rode a circuit’
between the various cities on a rotating basis. He was the first ‘circuit
rider’! The circuit riders were the famous American evangelists during the 19th
century. As the Puritan east coast churches were becoming well established in
the original colonies, there was a need to reach out to the West [and south]
with the gospel. The circuit riders were the evangelists who traveled to
various areas preaching the gospel and establishing churches [The great
Methodist Frances Asbury became famous for his circuit riding and church
planting]. During this time you had the famous ‘camp meetings’ where many
believers from all over would gather at these outdoor ‘brush arbors’ and hear
the gospel preached and commit their lives to the Lord. Over time the more staid
Reformed churches of the east coast would view the ‘camp meeting’ brothers as a
little ‘un hinged’. You would also have some of the ‘Spirit led’ groups condemn
the old time reformed brothers as ‘unconverted’. There was a tendency to lean
towards one side or the other. The various Quaker [shaker] type groups would
emphasize the Spirit being premiere in all Christian understanding. While this
is of course true, this in no way means believers do not learn thru the normal
means of study and reading. Some of the more ‘Spirit minded’ believers would
come to view the more ‘head knowledge’ brothers as ‘unconverted’. One of the
worst cases was the Ann Hutchison controversy. She was a believer who began
teaching under the ‘Spirits guidance’ and would give the impression that the
more refined ministers were not of God. She would ultimately pay with her life
for her beliefs. NOTE- The terminology
of ‘New lights’ versus ‘Old lights’ was often used to describe the different
emphasis between these 2 camps. There was a brother by the name of Davenport who would travel
around and accuse all of the old time preachers as being unconverted. While it
is possible for a minister to have never truly made a strong commitment to
Christ, to paint them all with this broad brush was very unbalanced.
VERSES-. Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.
Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Hebrews 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Hebrews 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2nd Tim. 4
For we know that if our earthly house of thistabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2nd Cor. 5
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
1st Jn. 2
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John.*
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
.Why did Paul work to support himself and others?
.Did I relapse?
.Will you pray for me?
.Baptist- Catholic- Orthodox
.Should we tithe?
.Law or Christ?
.Russia goes Orthodox
.Moscow the new Rome?
.John of Damascus
NOTE- It just so happened that I mentioned Istanbul Turkey- and Moscow on this teaching- a day or 2 before the recent events. I posted a short video yesterday about the downing of the Russian plane by Turkey. https://youtu.be/LLmMWnq8uQY
Brief overview- we [U.S.] are ‘in’ Syria because we are supposed to be fighting terrorists- and nations that support them. Russia is also in Syria to fight terrorists.
Russia is fighting all of them [including the ones that Turkey supports- and backs- also called ‘rebels’- some of these groups we too support- because even though they are similar to ISIS- yet we overlook it- because they are fighting Assad [strange- I know].
Now- Turkey is also a member of NATO- meaning we will ‘back them up- like one of our own’.
So- in our war against terror- we will also theoretically ‘go to war’ against any nation that threatens nations in the NATO alliance [meaning we will defend nations that support terrorism].
Ok- Turkey shoots down a Russian plane [in Syrian airspace- an act of war- which president Obama defended] because the Russians are also bombing the terrorists that Turkey supports.
They shot down a Russian plane because the Russians are killing terrorists [though the ones Turkey backs don’t have the title of ISIS].
Now- after the plane was shot down- the Russians sent in a rescue helicopter- which too was shot at- by ‘rebels’ on the ground [who were the terrorists Russia was bombing].
These so called rebels- shot at the helicopter- using U.S. weapons- provided to them- wit U.S. backing [in theory- we supplied the terrorists that killed the Russian rescue team].
Now- Russia is mad- and we are supposed to support Turkey- even if it means war- because Turkey shot down a Russian plane- who were targeting terrorists.
Utterly amazing to me.
PAST POSTS [verses below]
I told him ‘did you know that Muhammad- the founder of Islam in the 7th century- had many of the same protests that other Christian groups would later voice too’.
I explained that Muhammad’s rise in defense of the poor and down cast [by the way- that’s actually a biblical characteristic of prophets- in the bible] were similar to Christian movements that would rise later on- like the Salvation Army.
I went on to show that he also felt like the growing use of statues in Christian worship was a violation of the commandment that says you should not make images/idols.
Now- to my Catholic friends- I have taught the entire history of the use of art- and yes- statues- in Christian worship.
I have also taught against the Iconoclasts- those Protestants who destroyed the statues in the Catholic churches- during the times of the Reformation [16th century].
So- I’m not ‘Catholic bashing’ at all.
The point is- Muhammad had some of the same objections- based on the bible- that later Protestants would have.
Gee John- I never knew this? That’s why I teach it- it helps to have less of a negative view of Muslims as a whole.
So- after I try to look at some of the good things that Islam has done [Hamas- in the Palestinian area. Why do they garnish so much support among the populace? Because they start hospitals- they feed the poor- they start welfare programs for the kids. Do they do this as some sort of trick- a way to gain the hearts and minds of people? No- they do this because it’s a basic tenet of their faith].
Okay- then what do I say to any Al-Qaida on the site?
I say that the historic divisions- the things that divide the East from the West- many of them are actual misunderstandings.
Yes- some of the religious objections were misunderstandings.
The classic one.
Muhammad believed that the Christians worshipped 3 Gods- what we call the Trinity.
But he thought the believers worshipped God- Jesus- and Mary-the mother of Jesus.
That’s of course not the trinity- this is simply a misunderstanding.
Christians believe that there is one God- in 3 persons.
Those persons being the Father- Son and Holy Spirit.
But the biggest thing I like to show my Muslim friends- my friends form other faiths- is that the message of the Cross- it’s one of grace.
Christians believe that Jesus kept all the commandments of God- then he died to pay the price for our sins.
As Christians- we don’t teach against the 10 commandants- but we don’t use them to gain acceptance with God- the acceptance we have with God comes because of the death of his Son on our behalf.
In actuality- this message is a great relief for all people who live ‘under the law’.
That is- if your Muslim- if your Al-Qaida- you too can take this.
Yes- Jesus died for you too.
That’s the appeal I make- I’m not asking my friends from other faiths to convert- if they want to- fine.
But that’s not my appeal.
I’m saying to all my friends- this message of the Cross- this is for all people.
Heck- if you want to stay Muslim- stay- but just accept the reality of this post.
Yes- Jesus is spoken about much in the Quran.
The prophet Muhammad respected Jesus.
(635) Yesterday morning I got up early and prayed a weekly prayer that includes the nations. Part of this time goes like this ‘Lord I pray for all religions outside of the covenant of your Son. All Jewish people, that they would see Jesus their messiah. All Muslim people, that you would give them signs and prophetic visions and dreams to show them Jesus is the way’. Then this morning I had a dream that family members were converting to Islam. That they were being ‘attacked’ or influenced by the ‘spirit of Islam’. In the dream I felt helpless against this force. We went to sleep [in the dream!] and I awoke [still dreaming this] with a radical spirit of intercession. I began praying and breaking the power of Islam off of the family members that just a few hours earlier seemed to be fully lost to Islam. I felt this dream spoke to the effectiveness we have been having recently with Muslims. These last few weeks have given opportunity to share with a homeless Muslim Iraq war veteran. Good friend. Then a Muslim friend from
started conversing with me and asking how to become Christian. He is reading
this site! It never dawned on me that these were fruits from the prayer time!
Like I said before, I can be dense at times. Let me cover some church history.
I have had someone argue with me about the history of Islam. Not a Muslim, but
a Christian who was saying ‘why do you say Islam started in the 7th
century, it started around the 11th’. My answer was ‘Muhammad lived
in the 7th century’. Not to hard to see this. So I thought I should
cover some history. During the time of the rise of Islam, the Christian church
was already dividing from east and west. After Constantine [4th
century Roman emperor] consolidated the Roman Empire in the 4th
century he set up the capital city of the eastern empire, Constantinople
[named after him]. As time progressed the western church would take on the form
of Roman Catholicism, the eastern [ Constantinople
area. Modern day Turkey-Istanbul] would be known as ‘Orthodox’. Though the
official split of eastern and western [Catholic-Rome!] churches occurred in
1054 AD, yet the division started years before. The official split is called
‘the great schism’ of the 11th century; it would not be until 500
years later that the church would have her ‘reformation’. The official reason
for this split was over a rather silly thing. For centuries the Catholic church
had an expression that said ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father’ than
they included ‘he proceeds from the father and the Son’. Well the eastern
brothers didn’t like Rome
telling them what to believe and used this as the official reason to ‘have the
schism’. To be honest the divisions were coming for years. After the Roman
Empire consolidated under Constantine,
he tried to strengthen the eastern territories of his empire and for centuries
you had the struggle for which region would be the most influential. At first
you had 5 major areas that were divided under 5 main Bishops. As time went on
the argument would be ‘which bishop has the most say so’ and it was really a
power struggle. Finally Rome said ‘the bishop of
Rome is the
FIRST AMONG EQUALS [a term that many in the Protestant strain of the discipling
movement would later embrace] he holds Peters seat’ and this is really where
the divisions started. Eventually Muhammad would rise and Islam would take
control of the eastern capital. This later became the reason for the crusades.
The Catholic church wanted to regain the territories that she lost in the east.
The eastern churches are very much Catholic in many ways. They also hold to a
view of Christianity that sees man being ‘joined’ with God and becoming
pleasing to God thru Christ’s grace uniting with us and making us like him. A
perfectly scriptural view, but a different emphasis from the strong
intellectual power that you read about from the western fathers of the church.
The Catholic church is noted for her social action in ways that the eastern
church is not. So both of these communions have good things to bring to the
table. The Orthodox [eastern] churches would not be affected by the major
social and political upheavals that took place in the west. The Renaissance,
the Reformation and the Enlightenment had major impacts on western
Christianity, while not affecting the eastern church in the same way. During
the 13th century you would have ‘pre reformers’ rise up in the
western church. John Wycliffe, the great Catholic Priest who was at the center
of learning in France
would become known for his translating the scriptures into the common language.
Then you have John Huss and John Knox [3 Johns, scripture says 3 fold cords are
not easily broken!] who would have their own influence in western Christianity.
At this time you had whole movements of believers who would be seen as neither
‘western or eastern’ but restorationist [the restoring of the early practices
and beliefs of the church] Peter Waldo would be the Father of the Waldensians
and in the 12th century you would have the Albigenses in the south
These groups would be looked upon as ‘cults’ [though the term was not used yet]
by the traditional church. So you can see how the church has been growing and
reforming ever since the first century. Even though we see many divisions that
exist till this day, there are strides being made for unity. The eastern and
western church are very close to‘re uniting’ once again. While I do not
personally hold to the doctrine of the Pope being the occupier of Peter’s seat,
I also see him as a Christian man who is striving for unity in Christ’s church.
Some believe the whole attempt for outward unity is futile. The more ardent
Protestants see it as ‘the one world church of the anti christ’ I reject that
language out of hand. Well I hope you got something out of this short overview
of world history [real short!].
(820) . ROMANS 6- Lets talk about baptism. To start off I believe that the baptism spoken about in this chapter is primarily referring to ‘the baptism of the Spirit’, that is the work of the Holy Spirit placing a believer in the Body of Christ. The Catholic and Orthodox [and Reformed!] brothers believe that Paul is speaking about water baptism. The MAJORITY VIEW of Christians today believe this chapter is referring to water baptism. Why? First, the text itself does not indicate either way. You could take this baptism and see it either way! You are not a heretic if you believe in it referring to Spirit or water. You are not a heretic if you believe in Paedo baptism [infant baptism]. ‘What are you saying? Now you lost me.’ Infant baptism developed as a Christian rite over the course of church history. The church struggled with how to ‘dedicate’ new babies to Christ. Though the scriptures give no examples of infant baptism, some felt that the reason was because the scriptures primarily show us the conversion of the first century believers. There really aren’t a whole lot of stories of ‘generations’ of believers passing on the faith to other generations. So some felt that the idea of dedicating babies to the Lord through infant baptism was all right. The examples they used were the circumcision of babies in the Old Testament. Infants were circumcised [a rite that placed you under the terms of the Old Covenant] though they weren’t old enough to really understand what they were doing! This example was carried over into the Christian church and applied to infant baptism. Now, I do not believe in infant baptism. But I can certainly understand this line of reasoning. As Christian theology developed thru the early centuries, particularly thru the patristic period, you had very intellectual scholars grapple with many different themes and ideas. Some that we just studied in chapter 5. Some theologians came to see infant baptism as dealing with original sin. They applied the concept of infant baptism as a rite that washes away original sin. The church did not teach that this meant you did not have to later believe and follow Christ. They simply developed a way of seeing baptism as ‘sanctifying’ the new members of Christian households. This basic belief made it all the way to the Reformation. The Reformers themselves still practiced infant baptism. It was the Anabaptists [re-baptizers] who saw the truth of adult baptism and suffered for it, at the hands of the reformers! Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss reformer, would have them drowned for their belief. Some Protestants stuck with the infant rite, while others [the Restorationists] would reject it. Today most Evangelicals do not practice infant baptism, the majority of Christians world wide do. Now, the reason I did a little history is because Evangelicals [of which I am one] have a tendency to simply look at other believers who practice this rite as ‘deceived’. Many are unaware of the history I just showed you. The reasons the historic church developed this doctrine are not heretical! They used scripture and tradition to pass it down to future generations. I do not believe or practice infant baptism, many good believers do.
(821) ROMANS 6: 1-11 ‘shall we continue to sin, so grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ Now begins the ‘actual part’ the result, if you will, of being ‘made righteous by faith’. One of the main accusations against Paul, by the Jewish believers, was that he taught ‘sin a lot, because you are no longer under the law’. Paul spends time defending himself against this accusation thru out the New Testament. Here Paul teaches that the believer has been joined unto Christ [baptized, immersed into him] and this ‘joining’ identifies him with Christ’s death. So how can ‘we, who are dead to sin, live any longer in sin’? Paul’s argument for righteous living comes from the fact that we have died with Christ unto sin. ‘We have died with him, and we have also been raised with him to new life’. In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul says we who were dead in sins have been made alive in Christ. Now, we live a new life, free from sin [practically speaking- not absolute sinless-ness!] because we are identified with Jesus in his new life, we are ‘alive with and in him’. ‘Since we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection’! Jesus died once, and now he lives forever unto God ‘likewise count yourselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God thru Jesus Christ our Lord’. Paul’s basis for the transformed life is Grace and being ‘in him’. Paul does not appeal to the law to try and effect holiness in the believer, he appeals to Christ ‘in him you have died to legalistic practices, trying to earn salvation and acceptance; and now because of this new position [placement] you too have died to the old man [lifestyle] and are alive unto God’. Paul obviously did not teach ‘sin hardily’ to the contrary he taught ‘live unto God’.
(834)Romans 6:12-23 ‘Let not sin therefore rule in your mortal body’ if we have died with Jesus, we are ‘dead with him to sin’. If we are risen with Jesus ‘we are alive unto God thru him’ for this reason don’t sin! Paul makes sure his readers understand him, he in no way was teaching a sinful gospel. He encourages the believers to renew their minds to this truth. ‘For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace’ Paul clearly saw the dangers of
I mentioned above that Caesar Augustus did indeed take the title of ‘son of God’.
And some critics of the Church say ‘see- there were all types of religions that had Sons of God’.
I watched one show a few years back- and it stated that these religions had ’12 disciples- a leader named Lord and Savior- and he healed and claimed to be God’s Son- and rose from the dead’.
Ok- that show was ‘fibbing’ to put it lightly- they went too far [historically speaking] in trying to diminish the Christians claim of Christ by doing this.
Now- is there some truth to this at all?
Yes- like I just mentioned above- Octavian did indeed claim deity- a ‘son of god’.
So- how do we explain this?
In the book of Galatians the bible says ‘in the FULLNESS of times God sent forth his Son’.
Jesus came at a set time in history- in fulfilment of the Jewish Prophets- to be who he was- and to do what he did.
Now- this is not special pleading here- but I find it a masterpiece that God’s Son came at a time when the Roman Empire had one sitting on the throne- who too claimed deity.
Yet Jesus was in a region of the lower class- his men were not highly educated- and his followers were people under oppression.
Augustus lived in the wealthy and influential capital of ‘the world’- he had all you could ever ask for- he was worshiped as a god.
Yet in 3 short centuries- one of the heirs of the empire- Constantine- would have an experience – not with a former Caesar- but with a vison of a Cross-
He would convert to Christianity- and declare Christianity to be the religion of the realm.
He would then ‘convert’ the pagan temples- into churches for these followers of Christ.
So I don’t see the fact that Augustus claimed to be a son of god right before Christ- as some type of discredit to the claims of Christ.
No- I see it as God’s way of pulling the rug out from the oppressor- see? [Oh- by the way- only one of them rose from the dead- can you guess?]
(594) Yesterday morning I got up early and prayed a weekly prayer that includes the nations. Part of this time goes like this ‘Lord I pray for all religions outside of the covenant of your Son. All Jewish people, that they would see Jesus their messiah. All Muslim people, that you would give them signs and prophetic visions and dreams to show them Jesus is the way’. Then this morning I had a dream that family members were converting to Islam. That they were being ‘attacked’ or influenced by the ‘spirit of Islam’. In the dream I felt helpless against this force. We went to sleep [in the dream!] and I awoke [still dreaming this] with a radical spirit of intercession. I began praying and breaking the power of Islam off of the family members that just a few hours earlier seemed to be fully lost to Islam. I felt this dream spoke to the effectiveness we have been having recently with Muslims. These last few weeks have given opportunity to share with a homeless Muslim Iraq war veteran. Good friend. Then a Muslim friend from England started conversing with me and asking how to become Christian. He is reading this site! It never dawned on me that these were fruits from the prayer time! Like I said before, I can be dense at times. Let me cover some church history. I have had someone argue with me about the history of Islam. Not a Muslim, but a Christian who was saying ‘why do you say Islam started in the 7th century, it started around the 11th’. My answer was ‘Muhammad lived in the 7th century’. Not to hard to see this. So I thought I should cover some history. During the time of the rise of Islam, the Christian church was already dividing from east and west. After Constantine [4th century Roman emperor] consolidated the Roman Empire in the 4th century he set up the capital city of the eastern empire, Constantinople [named after him]. As time progressed the western church would take on the form of Roman Catholicism, the eastern [Constantinople area. Modern day Turkey-Istanbul] would be known as ‘Orthodox’. Though the official split of eastern and western [Catholic-Rome!] churches occurred in 1054 AD, yet the division started years before. The official split is called ‘the great schism’ of the 11th century; it would not be until 500 years later that the church would have her ‘reformation’. The official reason for this split was over a rather silly thing. For centuries the Catholic church had an expression that said ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father’ than they included ‘he proceeds from the father and the Son’. Well the eastern brothers didn’t like Rome telling them what to believe and used this as the official reason to ‘have the schism’. To be honest the divisions were coming for years. After the Roman Empire consolidated under Constantine, he tried to strengthen the eastern territories of his empire and for centuries you had the struggle for which region would be the most influential. At first you had 5 major areas that were divided under 5 main Bishops. As time went on the argument would be ‘which bishop has the most say so’ and it was really a power struggle. Finally Rome said ‘the bishop of Rome is the FIRST AMONG EQUALS [a term that many in the Protestant strain of the discipling movement would later embrace] he holds Peters seat’ and this is really where the divisions started. Eventually Muhammad would rise and Islam would take control of the eastern capital. This later became the reason for the crusades. The Catholic church wanted to regain the territories that she lost in the east. The eastern churches are very much Catholic in many ways. They also hold to a view of Christianity that sees man being ‘joined’ with God and becoming pleasing to God thru Christ’s grace uniting with us and making us like him. A perfectly scriptural view, but a different emphasis from the strong intellectual power that you read about from the western fathers of the church. The Catholic church is noted for her social action in ways that the eastern church is not. So both of these communions have good things to bring to the table. The Orthodox [eastern] churches would not be affected by the major social and political upheavals that took place in the west. The Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment had major impacts on western Christianity, while not affecting the eastern church in the same way. During the 13th- 15th centuries you would have ‘pre reformers’ rise up in the western church. John Wycliffe, the great Catholic Priest who was at the center of learning in France would become known for his translating the scriptures into the common language. Then you have John Huss and John Knox [3 Johns, scripture says 3 fold cords are not easily broken!] who would have their own influence in western Christianity. At this time you had whole movements of believers who would be seen as neither ‘western or eastern’ but restorationist [the restoring of the early practices and beliefs of the church] Peter Waldo would be the Father of the Waldensians and in the 12th century you would have the Albigenses in the south of France. These groups would be looked upon as ‘cults’ [though the term was not used yet] by the traditional church. So you can see how the church has been growing and reforming ever since the first century. Even though we see many divisions that exist till this day, there are strides being made for unity. The eastern and western church are very close to‘re uniting’ once again. While I do not personally hold to the doctrine of the Pope being the occupier of Peter’s seat, I also see him as a Christian man who is striving for unity in Christ’s church. Some believe the whole attempt for outward unity is futile. The more ardent Protestants see it as ‘the one world church of the anti christ’ I reject that language out of hand. Well I hope you got something out of this short overview of world history [real short!].
Recently saw an appeal to give. The teaching [TV] was well meaning. They were showing how the scripture is loaded with the doctrine of ‘first fruits’. All good stuff on the ‘secret’ of first fruits. The teacher was being hailed as an authority on Jewish history and why ‘first fruits’ is so important. The main problem with this whole mindset is they ALWAYS seem to see giving in the context of sending money to ministries. Jesus taught THEE NUMBER ONE priority of GIVING TO GOD was to be expressed by meeting the real needs of people. Now, you do find the woman
VERSES-. Acts 20:16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Acts 20:18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
Acts 20:19 Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
Acts 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 20:22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 20:25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
Acts 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
Acts 20:34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Acts 20:36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
Acts 20:37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,
Acts 20:38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Matthew 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Matthew 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Matthew 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Matthew 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Matthew 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Matthew 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Matthew 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Matthew 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Matthew 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John.*