Tag Archives: Theological studies

To find ways of Godly understanding

Chad Graham of Onetheology.com is not affiliated with any religious organization, denomination, or church. He thinks

pastors have a responsibility, just as doctors and mechanics do, to become experts in their field for the benefit of society and the expansion of the kingdom of God. {Pulpit Authority}

In his article Pulpit Authority he looks at our world where people try to find specialists in different fields. For him it seems theology, doctrine, or philosophy are essential parts of a church community. It looks like a church cannot exist for him without such leaders who have gone to colleges where they were trained to become specialists in theology, doctrine, and/or philosophy.

He also gives the impression that people are not able to get authority without such an education. Though he forgets for the Word of God, they should not so much receive their education from man but more from God Himself. It seems that a lot of religious leaders, pastors and priests exclude God Himself from the educational field. Too many forget that it is the Word of God as given to mankind in the Holy Scriptures which can educate and edify man. Real knowledge about the True God can come straight ahead from the Bible itself. We do not need lots of theological works to give us an idea about Whom God is and what He has done. All is written down in the Bible. That Book of books is sufficient enough. though we do agree other books may help further to give more insight or to make the way of understanding shorter.

Also when we have several believers it is best that they do come together at regular times. We may not forget one of the tasks Jesus had given his followers was to come together, to  assemble or to gather with like minded, at regular intervals. The followers of Christ had to become part of the Body of Christ and should find unity in that body (the Church). Organising such a system or community demands work and organisation itself. Wherefore certain people can take charge to organise those meetings and to make the arrangements to keep that community of believers alive. Pastors or elders may well be the persons to do such a thing.

Pastors

Pastors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Church needs pastors and leaders who wield their pulpit with authority. {Pulpit Authority}

writes Chad Graham, who also finds that

We need pastors who see their lack of knowledge and work hard to remedy it. {Pulpit Authority}

For him it looks like everything in the church-community turns around a or the Sunday service.

Next Sunday is right around the corner and congregations will show up to hear their beloved pastor deliver his sermon—with authority. {Pulpit Authority}

He does know that reason is not necessary for, or is even opposed to, faith.

However, this position will be showed to be false and the enterprise of apologetics shown to be biblical and worthwhile through the survey of the theological justification for it. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

It is not because the Elohim frequently throughout the Old Testament got His prophets use rational arguments and verifiable evidence to justify their beliefs in God, that today we do need people to show up arguments ,by having full proof of they being educated by a college enabling them to reason about those matters.  Those prophets in the past, not all, went to a high school (universities did not exist yet). God also used non-educated people to go out and to throw out the fishnet for man. Jesus his disciples were not all doctors in medicine like Luke, or doctors in philosophy, nor where the apostles or preachers learned scholars like Paul, but were also ordinary labourers, men and women who used their hands to earn their living.

The writer seems to overlook what he himself quotes:

God, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, said,

“’Come now, and let us reason together’” (Isaiah 1:18). {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

Clearly it was the Most High who invited man to reason with Him. Together they had to plan things. Today it is not different. We too, ourselves have to reason with God. We ourselves have to go into conversation with God. We do not need priests any more, other than the high priest Jeshua (Jesus Christ).

The Supreme Being was,

and is, not opposed to reason when it comes to God, the truth, and the Bible. It is even possible that the account in Genesis 1 of creation was written as an apologetic against the mythical creation stories of other cultures in the Near East. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

As written already in earlier writings, each individual is created in the image of God and has some inner feeling to look for his own being and for that Divine Creator Who made it possible to be, without Him “The I am Who Is the Being” there is no life possible. Chad Graham knows what we all should come to know, that

The stars, oceans, mountains, and planets were not gods nor were they controlled by gods. Rather, the one true God, Yahweh, brought those things, and everything, into existence and continues to sustain them in their existence. This latter element is a testament to the fact that God exists and has a plan and purpose for creation. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

“The Old Testament does not often dwell on why we need to do apologetics, but rather it simply sets out its apologias for those with eyes to see. {Philip Johnson, Apologetics, Mission, and New Religious Movements: A Holistic Approach. electronic edition (Salt Lake City, UT: Sacred Tribes Academic Press, 2010), 125-26.}

It is handy and best to have some one to encourage people in the community of faith to engage in spiritual warfare and intellectually struggle for religious truth. But it surely do not all have to be people who had a university degree in theology. It is not to have much knowledge about the different gods and about different human theories about those gods and forms of worshipping. We do need people leading a congregation who have sufficient knowledge and belief in and about the Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Other gods are not really of any importance. Scriptural knowledge must lead in the forefront and not a knowledge about all sorts of human fantasies and human writings around godheads.

From the evidence in the Old and New Testaments, the examples of Jesus and His apostles, and God’s character in wanting Himself to be made known, there is much theological justification for Christian apologetics. Thus, fideism and any other argument against apologetics fall flat. Rather, it is shown to be a duty of the Christian to “contend for the faith” and “give a defense.” And it is also shown to be useful in evangelism since many biblical accounts record people being saved after hearing a reasoned account of the gospel. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

That reasonable account of the gospel is best given by some one who truly believes and lives according to that faith in the gospel, being the Word of God. We can find many priests and pastors who earn their living by ‘holding church’, but do not really belief in God and some even not in Jesus (the son of God). Also we may find lots of priests and pastors who are as weak as any other man, also elders, who are not able to live up to the faith, Christ and God requires from godly man. The last few years lots of scandals came in the news and many priests, pastors and so called educated theologians became defiled by atrocious things they had done. Church can do without them. Church can better use people who really belief in what they preach and do what they demand from others to do.

In the world of theology we can find lots of different writings bringing words against each other, words for sure which could potentially spark a lot of controversy, but worse, also lots of words which could bring people further away from Biblical truth.

Some theologians do know and

oftentimes think what seminary enrollment would look like if they pose a picture of Dr. King dead on a balcony on their fliers. What if they made a banner of Bonhoeffer hanging from the gallows? What if they Really showed what happened to Paul, Peter, James, and our Lord? What would enrollment look like if they showed us what would happen if we truly allowed our academics to be the impetus for our actions?

They know exactly what would happen.

That’s why our brochures are filled kids playing ping-pong. {The Subversive Scholar: The Danger of Being a Theologian in the 21st Century}

Theology without spirituality is a sterile academic exercise. Lots of countries do have universities offering courses in theology, where more time is spend on human writings about philosophy and theology than on the study of the Holy Scriptures themselves. The spiritual factor is often missed out and mostly the courses are given from the only point of view to be taken, that of the own denomination. As such in Belgium most Christian universities are Roman Catholic and offer theology to form people thinking the Roman Catholic way. In Leuven there is also an opening for protestant thinking, but also there only one way or protestantism is allowed to be the backbone to succeed end of year tests.

Street pastors

Street pastors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not so much the words of human beings we do have to study, but we should make sure that we come to know what is written in the Bible, God’s infallible Word and take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Elohim commanded to God’s people. If we want to belong to God’s people we should live up to it and love the Adonai, Almighty God and worship Him as our only One God, walking in all His ways, keeping His commandments. It is not required from any person to be a follower of any other man than Christ Jesus. He is the cornerstone of the church and not a theologian or some one who can proof that he has received a degree in theological studies. We have to follow Christ Jesus and to hold fast to his heavenly Father, Jehovah God. We do not have to serve churches of man, but be part of the Body of Christ serving the only One Eternal God with all our heart and with all our soul.

We should remember Joshua who gave the departing ones from Egypt a word of exhortation,

Jos 22:5 RNKJV  But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of YHWH charged you, to love YHWH your Elohim, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

The writer of etsop95.wordpress.com remarks

You will note in this word from Joshua two important ideas. First, the Israelites were to pay attention to the Lord and do exactly what He said. Second, they were to have their motivation (love) properly in place. This is the idea behind what some people disparagingly call “pattern theology.” Those who do so speak about that which the Lord set in place! {The Pattern}

When people do find God and decide to become baptised, receiving a “new birth”, we and theologians may not forget that it is the work of God and not of us, elder or theologians

since one can’t “join” the family of God (a work of man, presumably), it is a work of God when one is “born” into the family of God. {The New Birth (2)}

Portrait of a pastor at the age of 35.

Portrait of a pastor at the age of 35. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Too many people stay in the tradition of their family and keep to the faith-group they were born into, though they may not believe or not practice their views. Real faith should come from own choices being made by adult thinking and wise decision.

It is not the result of parental descent, of one’s own willpower, or by “any of man’s religious creeds, systems, or ceremonies.” The new birth is of God; it is a miracle and only God can perform it. {The New Birth (2)}

It is by allowing the Power of God come into our body that our soul (our being) can be transformed. It is the individual who has to make the right decision and allowing God to work in him or her. Only then a spiritual birth, not a miraculous one, can take place.

Nothing in nature has been suspended for one to be “born again.” {The New Birth (2)}

It is when one hears God, and is prepared to do what He wants form His creation that one can become whitewashed and be baptised by the Spirit. Those receiving the Spirit of God than can take up the tasks Jesus has given his disciples and go out to the world, to others, so that they too may find God and convert to the true faith.

Without the foundation in place the strength of a local congregation is only perceived (imagined), not real. {Strength in the Local Church}

It is not necessary by an education institute that we shall come to the God of gods. All Christians should recognise that it is Jesus is who is the way. The Bible tells us even more, that he is the truth, and he is the life. Not the theologians are going to be able to give us life.

Thus, if anyone would know of truth, if anyone would know the way, if anyone would enjoy life, then one must go through Jesus.{Strength in the Local Church}

Furthermore, Jesus said,

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

We should believe what Jesus says and not so much what theologians say, certainly not when in contradict with what Jesus says. so, when we go to a church where things are preached which contradict Bible sayings we should sincerely reconsider what we want to do and where we want to stay. Do we want to follow human doctrines or Biblical doctrines?

We should look at those theologians and question their thoughts and remember what some students could say about their college

With so many of our finest finishing up at denominational institutions, however, breathing the air of seminaries and schools of theology and salivating at the feet of theologians, we’ve lost our mettle against the idea of theology. {Harding University, twice}

As members of the Body of Christ we never may forget that in the church “educated” men also make mistakes.

There are numerous instances when you have two highly degreed men on the opposite sides of an issue. Some do not have an understanding of the implications of certain “facts” that they read. For example, if someone says

“Scholars believe that Mark was written before the other gospels.”

Would we question that? Is it even important? Some may teach that Mark was written first and have no other implication in mind; however, there is a large group of religious scholars that do not respect the inspiration of the Bible and the dates of the completion of the gospel is one of their places of attack.{Systematic Theology, Rex A. Turner, Sr.}

Too often in theology the focus is not on the subject we as members of the Body of Christ should worry about. It does not matter when and by whom a certain book is written. We do need to know the content and where to look for. The order in which the gospels were written is not the issue per se. What matters most is what is written between the lines and not a Pharisaical theological explanation and historical facts. Historical facts may help to place everything and to see the truth of it, but are not the main issue.

G.C. Berkouwer said:

“We live in a time when even theology is exploding with new and revolutionary problems. There is a danger that the serious student will be so impressed by all the problems in theology that he will circle all certainties by a ring of questions. When this happens, an inverse Pharisaism sets in. The doubting student says:

I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as certain as those naïve people. Let Luther say it again: Spiritus Sactus non est scepticus. Indeed, the Spirit is not a skeptic.” {Bales: certainty is not Pharisaism}

English: Example of appendix from New World Tr...

Example of appendix from New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures, study edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the ecclesia, our Christian community, house church or church-hall or other church-building, we can come together, meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ, having elders, pastors or priest, non-educated and educated people, all together in humbleness wanting to share the same gospel. In that gathered community, the parish, it is not so much the teaching of a theologian, but the teaching of the Spirit which will unsettle false positions and false attitudes,

but it unsettles them by means of truth and not by means of relativism.  {Bales: certainty is not Pharisaism}

It are all members of the ecclesia who have to work together and to share ideas together, not one thinking the other better or worse to give gospel messages. All should follow the task given by Jesus to explain to the lost who the people of God are and why we have to make the right choice to be distinct from the false religions that exist, including those that call themselves Christians but are not, fail to do their duty of proclaiming the gospel of Christ or the gospel of salvation and of the Kingdom of God.

We do not have to have a special platform or pulpit and especially trained people as the only speakers in our community. All people do have to have their ‘input.’ all have to make an effort to help each other to grow in the faith. All have to help the ecclesia to grow and have to make sure that the Body of Christ can continue to grow.

Lets make work of it!

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Preceding articles:

Living in the Wilderness

Getting out of the dark corners of this world

An uncovering book to explore

May we have doubts

Passover and Liberation Theology

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

In Defense of the truth

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

How To Get Started In Sharing Your Faith As a Christian

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

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Further reading

  1. The gods or mighty ones
  2. Jehovah God Almighty – greater than all gods
  3. People Seeking for God 6 Strategy
  4. God giving signs and producing wonders
  5. Elohim, Mar-Yah showing His wonders
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 12 Words assembled for wisdom and instruction
  7. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  8. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  9. Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism
  10. Which Christian sect is the only true Christian church?
  11. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  12. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  13. Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …
  14. The Presence of God
  15. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  16. Bible God’s Word – to edify
  17. Looking for wisdom not departing from God’s Word
  18. Bible in the first place #3/3
  19. The holy spirit will bring back to your minds all the things told
  20. True God giving His Word for getting wisdom
  21. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  22. Eternal Word that tells everything
  23. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  24. We should use the Bible every day
  25. Feed Your Faith Daily
  26. God’s wrath and sanctification
  27. Bible containing scientific information
  28. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)
  29. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  30. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  31. How Many were Bought
  32. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  33. An anarchistic reading of the Bible—(1) Approaching the Bible
  34. An anarchistic reading of the Bible (2)—Creation and what follows
  35. Van Til’s An Introduction To Systematic Theology
  36. Van Til interacting with Bavinck and Calvin on Natural Theology
  37. Christianity without the Trinity
  38. Position of the Bible researcher
  39. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  40. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  41. Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
  42. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  43. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  44. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  45. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  46. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  47. Pulpit reserved for the pastor
  48. May the Lord direct your hearts to …
  49. Victory in rebirth
  50. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  51. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  52. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  53. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  54. Meeting – Vergadering
  55. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  56. Faith is a pipeline
  57. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  58. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  59. Being Missional
  60. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  61. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  62. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  63. Politics and power first priority #2
  64. Belonging to or being judged by
  65. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  66. Good or bad preacher
  67. What Should I Preach ?
  68. Determined To Stick With Truth
  69. Oratory Style
  70. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy

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Continued reading:

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39 Comments

Filed under Educational affairs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Living in a multicultural environment, in a democratic capitalist world, you may wonder how much freedom of speech and freedom of religion people are willing to give to each other.

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our world which says it is a free democratic world you would expect religious freedom to be a fundamental right. It might well be recognised by international human rights documents, and one which is integral to our human dignity, but that does not mean yet that people are so open minded they accept other’s people way of thinking and certainly not their sort of faith. In our surroundings the countries may enable its citizens to live in accordance with deeply held values and beliefs about what it means to be human, but by the different population groups we encounter often those who only are prepared to have their way of thinking, their faith, to be the one to be the main value and to which everybody has to adapt to. For sure that can not be called an open mind.

The exclusion of other Christians can be felt mostly by evangelicals, especially pentecostal new-born Christians. They shall in many cases fiercely react against non-trinitarian Christians, even would deny their right to call themselves Christians. Strangely enough by those evangelicals who call for unity under Christians and say we should come to religious freedom, we find many who oppose Muslims or people belonging to an other religion than their Christendom. Are those who are calling for religious freedom accepting the theists (those who accept a or the godhead exist) and atheists who belief that he doesn’t

(glossing over wrinkles in which god we may be talking about…). {Does not believing result in belief?}

Often we do find they close the doors for such other believing people, instead of trying to go into conversation talking about the differences in belief. Often they complain that their faith is threatened by all the immigrants and by the many converts to Islam. They also often complain that the other groups seemingly have little understanding of, or respect for, the rights of their religious communities to maintain the religious identity of their organisations, but often it are they themselves who oppose the religious laws like halal and kosher food or religious killing of animals without sedatives. In Belgium we can clearly see this with the opposition against the slaughter of sheep for the Jews and Muslims.

In Australia some may call to withdraw all government funds from organisations that ‘discriminate’, but often they do not see in own bosom, often bringing wrong and discriminating messages over other believers.

As Babamboga from Nairobi,Kenya, writes:

Christians at time are so side blinded they believe that the only way is Jesus Christ and anything else is going to hell including Muslims and the Buddhists and if go further on some a bit open minded Christians will say that Allah is the same God but does that mean anyone worshipping Buddha or Seth are already sinners but really is that their problem. It is like judging people who grew up knowing Santa Claus exists, is it really their problem that they believe such old folk tales are real? And oftenly in most of those movies it is faith that ensures these fairy tale super heroes are still alive. {Oh, My brother testify.}

This person is right to remind people what is written in the Bible were God is letting the world know that

there will be prophets who will spread his word

and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be pastors who give wrong renditions of the Bible based on their useless understanding of the word. Too many people still give too much preference to those theologian writings instead of clinging to the Bible Words, of which we are told that they are the Words of God.

In Belgium, the last thirty years, church attendance became minimal whilst the attendance at mosques grew intensively. We do agree that in our juridical system only the recognised religions agreeing with the council shall have their priests, pastors, rabbi‘s or imams paid by the government, but that did not withdraw many who believe in only One God to go out and preach and to attract those Christians who got muddled up by the many human doctrines.

By those monotheist believers we do find the non-trinitarian Christians who are outnumbered by the many different non-recognised or non-official or not Islam council associated Muslims, who often get together in packed garage mosques.

At the same time we do find several fanatic fundamentalist Christians who bring in hell for everything they can. They come up with saying that the Bible actually condemns some behaviour and wonder how the church will outright give justice to drunkards and prostitutes.

… yet in the bible itself, mind you in the new testament, weren’t prostitutes part of His plans, weren’t thieves there too…. {Oh, My brother testify.}

Those who call themselves Christian should come to see the difference between Christendom and Christianity and should distance themselves from human doctrines, looking for Biblical truth there where it is to find, in the Bible itself.

Some Christians are so into their religion and they fail to see when pastors apply simple mind games of the interpretation and soon a whole congregation enjoys in the feasting of snakes and you wonder has it really got to the point that if I do a couple of acted miracles and tell people the Lord wants us to eat sinners you will all follow. {Oh, My brother testify.}

In our surroundings where, this way, we do find many who fled from the Catholic and other Christian denominations to find a stronghold by Muslims, it is important that followers of Christ take up the Bible and perhaps also the Quran to show others where it went wrong in Christendom and what is really written in the Holy Books and how our society should come to the Abrahamic faith.

When there is an open mind and freedom of religion, each faith-group, monotheist, unitarian or trinitarian, or having a whole bunch of gods to worship, should have the same rights to be there and to speak out.

That outspokenness we not often enough do find by Christians. Many of them just keep their beliefs for their own and do not dare to speak about it with others.

The agnostic is saying that they don’t think there is a way to transform a belief about god’s existence into knowledge. But they could still hold a belief on the matter. You could be an agnostic atheist, or, for that matter, an agnostic theist. {Does not believing result in belief?}

For many the issue of a god has become so complicated by theologians and philosophers

that we think it is some totally different concept that we can treat differently. Maybe people just don’t want to take a stand, they’re too unsure or don’t want to offend. {Does not believing result in belief?}

The one who really believes in the One True God, need not to be afraid to express his opinion. He has good reason to let others know what he believes.

Many would say

Of course there is no chance of “proving” God by strict logical syllogisms (but can we prove anything outside of mathematics this way?) Every logician knows that there’s nothing in the conclusion that is not already latent in the premises. But neither is this inability any proof that such a being as God does not or cannot exist. You may as well say that since I cannot prove to you whether life exists on other planets by sheer argument it therefore cannot exist. An unprovable proposition is not any more false (or true) simply because it cannot be proven. {Pascal’s Possibility}

We have the Book of books to give us an idea of the nature of the Most High Divine Being. For some it seems manifestly impossible to prove an image of God,

formed by a haphazard, subconscious blending of our moral intuitions and deepest wishes, it is not simply a figment of our imagination {Pascal’s Possibility}

The real believer knows exactly it is not just some imagination and wants others to know it. It is like you found something incredible or you ‘invented’ something extraordinary. You cannot be quiet about it.

Some might think the fact that the ideal is too good to be really possible.
But

It is a trick of the mind to think that the goodness of a thing counts as positive proof against its existence. You may as well be lying on the beach and say the sun feels too good to exist. {Pascal’s Possibility}

Encountering so many people today who laugh at the saying that there would be a god Who created everything and Who is so good that He has a Plan that will bring eternal life and peace for many, there is reason enough to tell them that the question about such a God existing has nothing to do with if logic proves it

… logic either does, or does not, make such a God’s existence possible. {Pascal’s Possibility}

But we should listen to our inner being and look around ourselves. We also should not be afraid not to claim absolute demonstrable knowledge, but “reasonable belief”. And that “reasonable belief” should be founded deep in our heart and fed by a thorough knowledge of the Bible.

From somewhere we received the Good News and came into the faith. Now it’s up to us to share it wherever we are. We now should come to the conclusion that it is marvellous that we came into the faith to become children of God. Knowing and accepting the Divine Creator as our heavenly Father to Whom we own everything, we also do know that it is a privilege and a responsibility that God gives to us to go and speak others about His wonderworks.

When we came into the faith we wanted to become part of the Body of Christ, the church, and one of the highest things that you can do in the church, is to be an active member willing to share the truth. For sharing that truth we do not have to give a theological or biblical lecture and we do not have to have a theological education (though it might help, but could also distract, because most theological colleges are formed from one or the other denomination and focussing more on the worldly writings than on the Bible itself.)

What the community of faith demands of their members is an openness to others and words that can make the community grow. Though it is also not bad to have words which will remind those in community of how the world really is now. Therefore we too are looking for writers who are willing to share how the world is evolving. What happens around us may not let us be untouched. We have to notice it and should react accordingly how that God would like us to behave in such surroundings.

When looking at this reality of the world we are living in we can show the difference of this world with the different world in God’s Plan. Writing about it or preaching we can become preachers exposing the lies that are driving people’s lives,

ripping them to shreds, sapping them of strength and energy. {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

A ‘Lead Pastor’ from Bloom in Denver believes preaching is

standing up in a tradition that reaches back to Moses and Isaiah and finds its consummation and climax in Jesus of Nazareth and saying, “The reign of God is here. Change your mind, and believe yourself into this shocking good news.” {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

It is following up the task Jesus has give to his disciples, to go out into the world to tell about that Good News. We have to come to understand that we are messengers called to this –

to employing all of the resources our speech to construct alternative modes of understanding for the people of God so that they can leave every dehumanizing Egypt and Babylon they find themselves in. Week after week, we summon them saying, It is time to go home! {10 Years of Preaching, 10 Lessons: Lesson 1}

It is not by praying often out loud, while driving down the road, for all to see, listening to a lot of Christian music with sometimes cheesy, weird beats and no cuss words, letting yourself be seen at the church-building and certainly not by going to church and

worship a man named Jesus who you may believe has saved the world by dying and coming back to life. {Why Being A Christian Isn’t Cool}

that you will find the way back home and would bring others to home-base. But when you keep to the words as they are written in the Bible and to a honest form of worship, without all the cirque and circumstance, concentrating on the truth instead of letting yourself and others be diverted by entertainment, you shall be able to go together with other devoted people on the right path. And, yes, that way you perhaps have lesser people in your congregation and would not be able to build a mega church, but better to have a good quality church than a quantity church.

We, who label ourselves as “Christians” need to re-focus.  We need to speak the truth, even when it hurts.  We need to replace the luke warm water in our mouths with hot sauce baby, confidently sharing God’s peace, grace and power.   {Why Being A Christian Isn’t Cool}

We should not have fear, like the apostles, when Jesus was caught, where very much afraid to let others know they were with Jesus. After he died and raised from the dead they even did hide in houses. We should not hide ourselves in our house, but go out, like the apostles did after they received the Holy Spirit.

We as Christians should be baptised with water but also with Holy Spirit and be encouraged to speak. Opening our heart to God we can let God’s Spirit enlighten us and guide us on our way. Trusting Him using His Word as our backbone we shall be able to enter many sorts of gates of this world, which is in the hands of ‘Satan,’ the adversary of God who more than once shall try to question you about the existence of that One God.

When questioned about God, what we belief and be tested, let us never compromise the truth ourselves for anything or anyone. We always do have to be carefully how we treat the Word of God. It is sacrilegious. That Holy Word we should sincerely seriously investigate and reflect on ourselves and those around us. When we want to tell others about that word we sincerely honestly should show the facts of it, showing that it presents good but also bad in all people, even in men of God. Bring the gospel-message we should dare to show good and bad of all and that we dare to let others see the brutal forces or battles which took place in the past. We may not present it as if everything is moonshine but also never may be guilty of turning the sweet gospel into something sour by our own surliness.

If we do, we might cause the hearer to turn away from God wincing instead of turning to him rejoicing. {Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Preaching (3)}

We also should remember that we

Don’t Have to Be Vicious with Truth to Be Strong for Truth {Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Preaching (3)}

We may not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. Our ordinary speech should be  always with grace and as a sacrifice.

Col 4:6 RNKJV  Let your speech be always with favour, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Col 3:8 RNKJV  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Eph 4:24 RNKJV  And that ye put on the new man, which after Elohim is created in righteousness and true holiness.

It is a vain effort to try to exorcise the evil only. Character is not a negation. Having put on the new self by our baptism we should be proud to show to others that renewed body which is created in God’s likeness and let it reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

By saying

You have learned the Christ

the apostle Paul puts the members of the ecclesia their faith upon a high level; it is the faith of approved disciples in Christ’s school. For such men the “philosophy and vain deceit” of Colossae and the plausibilities of the new “scheme of error” will have no charm.

Also for us who want to go out in the world to bring the Word of God to as many as we can, we should be so pleased that we have found the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Christ, that we want to share that treasure with as many as we can, because we do want to have the love of Christ also in our heart and bring the fire unto those around us.

Therefore also in trying to reach others we do not want to use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what we say will do good to those who hear us.

Eph 4:29-32 RNKJV  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister favour unto the hearers.  (30)  And grieve not the holy Spirit of YHWH, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as YHWH for the Messiah’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

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Preceding articles:

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

 

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Find also:

  1. Religious Freedom in a Multicultural World conference, 25 Sep 2015
  2. Freedom for faith
  3. Hope by faith and free gift
  4. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  5. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  6. Bible in the first place #2/3
  7. Bible in the first place #3/3
  8. The Bible and names in it; Proclaiming the Name of The One and Only Who Is and has EverBeen
  9. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  10. Necessity of a revelation of creation 10 Instructions for insight and wisdom
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Reasons to come together
  13. The Right One to follow and to worship
  14. Fools despise wisdom and instruction
  15. Those who love Jesus
  16. Risen With Him
  17. What is preaching to me… and what it is for others.
  18. Are You Afraid To Witness?
  19. Science, 2013 word of the year, and Scepticism
  20. 34th World Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF)
  21. See God’s wonderworks and hear His Voice
  22. Faith related boycotts
  23. European Parliament stands for human dignity
  24. Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter
  25. Texts, writers, accesibility and willingness
  26. Journal for and from bothered citizens
  27. Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit
  28. A small circle taking a nation hostage
  29. Being Charlie 2
  30. Lack of religious freedom South Sudan
  31. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  32. 2014 Religion
  33. Stepping Toes 2014 in review
  34. Blow to legitimacy of the capitalist system
  35. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  36. Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it
  37. Vatican against Opponents of immigration
  38. Migrants to the West #2
  39. Migrants to the West #3
  40. Migrants to the West #10 Religious freedom
  41. Freely & fairly
  42. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  43. Democratic principles for church
  44. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  45. Mormons, just an other faith
  46. Driscoll not wished as a guest at 2015 Hillsong Conference
  47. Vatican lifts ban on married priests for Eastern Catholic churches in US, Canada, Australia
  48. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record
  49. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  50. A beginning with many false starts
  51. Church sent into the world
  52. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  53. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  54. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  55. Using the name Jehovah but not a witness of that name
  56. To remove the whitewash of the Jehovah Witnesses as being the only true Bible Students and Bible Researchers
  57. Not many coming out with their community name
  58. Let us make sure we are not stiff-necked
  59. Christadelphian Auxiliary Lecturing Society in changed times
  60. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study
  61. Counting sands and stars
  62. Dealing with worries in our lives
  63. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  64. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  65. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  66. First Century of Christianity
  67. Breathing to teach
  68. Words to push and pull
  69. Good or bad preacher
  70. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  71. A true sermon is a real deed.
  72. What Should I Preach ?
  73. Truth, doubt or blindness
  74. Preachers should know and continue the task Jesus has given his followers
  75. How to Choose a Bible for Preaching
  76. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  77. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  78. A new school-, academic and church year
  79. Kill the messenger
  80. Biblereading statue
  81. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora
  82. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  83. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  84. Not all ability to preach

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Further reading:

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49 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Announcement, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs, World affairs

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

Universe exist already a long long time, and it shall continue to exist for a much longer time. Human beings in that universe have a lot of limitations. We are chained by our confinements. We do not like to have restrictions imposed on us and lots of people do think they can do a lot or even do think they can play for god.

We as perishable persons may look around us and either see the beauty of creation or miss it all. What is important that we should come to see the Hand behind everything. All being created in the likeness of the Divine Creator have not their eyes open to see their origin or to understand the ways of life.

For coming to insight it is important that people help each other. We have developed education centres and got printing and other media aids to provide educational material.

English: Rabbis Lesson with kids

Rabbis Lesson with kids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some two thousand years ago there was a simple man of flesh and blood in the Jewish community who warned the people around him that they better took account of what the previous rabbis told. The world had got prophets, men send by God, who gave warnings, but not many wanted to listen. With that prophet 2000 years ago it was not much different. He was considered a ‘stand in the way’ and therefore killed. Though making his mouth shut down, did not end his teachings. His disciples continued to go around wherever and whenever they could. They followed a big lesson they had learned from their master rabbi: going out into the world to preach the Good News of the Coming Kingdom of God.

Today Jeshua, as this rabbi was called (today better known as Jesus) is till alive in many hearts. Several people came to see what his death really means for the world. The eternal God, Who cannot die, told the world that there in the river Jordan was standing “His only beloved son“, given to the world to bring salvation. By the Grace of God, Jeshua his offering of his body is accepted as a ransom for us all.

But the story may not end there. The master teacher who had only a very short public life of three very active years, has asked his followers to continue in his footsteps. And there seems to lie a big problem. Not many do want to go out and preach in the name of Jesus.

Today it does not seem to be very much different than in the times of Jeshua. There are loads of discussions about the position of the Torah on issues that are out of date with our modern sensitivities. There are people who also come to see that there might be rituals which are supposedly similar to pagan festivals of the time. The reason for this is that often it were people who liked so much certain attitudes that they took over certain attitudes and feasts. But we always should consider if they would be something God would like to see.

It becomes more and more important to get to know what the Divine Creator really wants from us and what His Plans are. the task Jesus has given to his disciples has become more vital. It should be an essential part of the life of a follower of Christ (a Christian). Being Christian should mean that you are prepared to follow Christ his teachings and are willing to live according his rules (The Law of Christ)

Coming together, exhorting each other and preaching the gospel should be the core-business of a Christian.

Some may be convinced that a religion has to give to the people what they want to find, not having to change too much their life. Lots of people want that they get something familiar to hold onto? Perhaps they could call it “God modelled” “His new religion” after existing practices.

There is an established principal in Jewish thought (and a logical one as well) that “The Torah speaks in the language of man.” Among other things, this means that the Torah speaks in the context of the time in which it was given and in a way that is appropriate for the people of the time. Many of the commentators write that God had to gradually wean a pagan slave population off of it’s pagan ritual and belief system. It would not be effective for God to create brand new rituals that have no meaning for the worshipers. To give a silly example, if God were to create a brand new religion now, he would not create one where worship of God is done by standing on one’s head 5 times a day.{Why are some Jewish rituals similar to Pagan rituals?}

People have to come to understand it is not God Who has to adapt to them but that they have to come closer to God knowing Him and following up what God wants us to do.

To get to know what God really wants from us, we best look into what He has given the world to get to know Him better. God has given His Word for all mankind to find Who He is, what He wants and what we can do to come to Him and to become Children of God.

People write history or similar for a reason; what someone did may not be as important for their memory as what someone later needed to do with it. Jeshua his followers had their own worldly job, but they knew how urgently needed was their preaching, telling others about the works of their master teacher. Whether or not all these who tried to bring the gospel to others were really talented orators we probably can’t tell. In a certain way it does not really matters. What matters is that they got the message across.

Also today, you may perhaps not be so eloquent, or not so good in many languages, but you should know you too can have a story to tell. Everybody can help to contribute getting the news of the coming Kingdom spreading all over the world.

Many may think it is sufficient when they preach in their own church. For them it is sufficient (they think) to give exhortations to their own church or ecclesia members. Many may find the opportunity to stand in front of congregations and crowds many times. How many time do they think about the responsibility they bear? Though may shall have the hope some of the people in the congregation will hear their voice and carry the thought with them to ponder.

But we do not have to preach for those who already believe. We do need preachers for those who do not yet know the truth. Those who do not know the importance of Christ yet, should come to know it. We need announcers of the Good News, not a bellman for the own flock or to bring just recreational or bad news, like the journal offers it every day over and over again.

It is true others may not understand the energy it takes to get up in front of others to proclaim God’s word and lots of people would call it a silly activity. But it is not what the worlds find interesting to do what we should do. The love of the world is not for the Holy Word. People are not interested in God, His Plans or His world. Though they should know it really matters to know Him.

Importance of coming together to study the Word of God - Bible time at Shunem

Importance of coming together to study the Word of God – Bible time at Shunem

Those who love God should not be afraid to come out for it. They should also trust Him, what He can do with them is they are willing to go to others to tell about Him and His son. They shall be surprised to come to feel the Hand of God in what they do, when they try to do it honestly. They can be surprised to feel how God can guide them and how God is willing to give His Power and presence in a mighty way. Often we shall be amazed at the insight He gives, the words He brings, the abilities we recognize, not because of our skills, but because of God’s power and presence within us.

Today time seems to be spares for everybody. Pastors and everybody else are busy.

They hardly have time to prepare their sermons every week while at the same time visiting, counseling, planning, fixing, etc. Ask most pastors what good theology books they’ve read recently and you’ll be greeted by blank stares. {The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors}

How many can, or better said, are willing to take time to come to study the Bible and to share their findings with others? How many are willing to come to a God-centered search and preaching?

In certain churches the priest may have the idea that:

Pastors who do not study theology tend to preach atheological sermons. They may be able to atomistically expound a text, but they will have difficulty connecting the text to the grand redemptive truths that give the texts weighty significance. {The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors}

but they forget that the essence is all in the Word of God and can be found when really looking in that word, not having to have had theological studies in universities. God Himself has provided everything in His Word to be found by every man, educated and non-educated. Man does not need a theological study to come to understand God His Word. They also do not a university tittle to go out preaching the gospel. Jesus nor his followers, except Luke and Paul, got high degrees or were known scholars. common people in the first century of Christianity took care that the word spread and that it could reach lots of people, from child, slave, uneducated up to educated people. Many came to know the truth by simple people who took their time to spread the news.

Van Til saw a definite connection between the study of systematic theology and the ability to preach the whole counsel of God. If a pastor is not well-versed in theology, he may shy away from Scriptures that his flock needs for growth in grace. Or worse, he may shy away from Scriptures his flock needs for spiritual and doctrinal protection.{The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors}

He also writes:

Many people believe that the basis and source of defending the faith is different than that of knowing the faith. That is, they believe that we do systematic theology by appealing to the Scriptures, and we defend our faith by appealing to reason or philosophy (since unbelievers don’t accept the Bible as the Word of God). {The Value of Systematic Theology for Defending the Faith}

Without being in the faith a person can not come over convincingly. The faith has to be in the veins and the spirit. When the person is wiling to give him or herself to the Words of God, those Words can feed him or her. It is in the Word of God that The Truth can be found and not in the words of human beings. Jesus wanted us to share that truth which we can find.

The distinctive of the presuppositional (or transcendental) approach to apologetics developed most extensively by Cornelius Van Til is its demand that Scripture be the starting point for all human knowledge, and that it be maintained as such in a believer’s defense of the faith against attacks by unbelievers.The best apologetic defense will invariably be made by him who knows the system of truth of Scripture best. The fight between Christianity and non-Christianity is, in modern times, no piece-meal affair. It is the life-and-death struggle between two mutually opposed life-and-world views

Both seem to forget the Power of God, the Holy Spirit, Who is the One Who has to guide the speaker or preacher.  It is not as they say that

He who has not been trained in systematic theology will often be at a loss as to how to meet these attacks.

It probably shall not be easy, that’s sure, but that we can see by theologians as well when they are brought down their pied de stall.

Van Till and

He may be quite proficient in warding off the attack as far as details are concerned, but he will forever have to be afraid of new attacks as long as he has never removed the foundation from the enemy’s position.

Those who go around telling about the prophets, Christ and the One who send all these men, should not consider the others as the enemy. Even when they may go in the position of attack, the one willing to preach for God shall be able to trust Him and would not have to worry man.

All those who come along and hear the words of the one who wants to preach in the name of God can either stop to listen or continue their way. Nobody should remain. Nobody is expected to take everything for what and how it is said. The preacher when he does not find the ground fertile, finds no one to listen can and shall continue his or her way to go further trying to reach people who are willing to listen and who are willing to investigate and to take the Word of God to compare with what is said.

Van Til starts stepping on toes:

The church will have to return to its erstwhile emphasis upon its teaching function if it is to fulfill its God-given task of bringing the gospel to all men. Its present recourse to jerky evangelism as almost the only method of propaganda is itself an admission of paupery…Revivalists ought to make themselves unnecessary as quickly as possible.

Reformed apologist and churchman Cornelius van Til preaching on the street

Reformed apologist and churchman Cornelius van Til preaching on the street

We only can hope Van Til was pleading for a return to a comprehensive instruction in sound doctrine, (what he and other  theologians may understand by that?) that would provide the foundation for both a deep and strong faith, and a solid foundation for a robust defence of the faith against attacks.

We are convinced that regular Bible reading (perhaps according to a strategic plan) is the right foundation for successful Bible study. And the principles of accurate interpretation will take that Bible study to the next level of spiritual blessing and benefit. Each person willing to get to know God and His works shall find the answers to his and others questions by reading God’s Word. True biblical sermons or exhortations don’t drive the biblical text, they are driven by the biblical text. Scripture speaks for itself.

But preaching is not all about giving sermons or exhortations it is also by showing your heart to others and letting others feel how vibrant the Word of God makes you. Feeling humbled by the privilege to study Scripture and teaching it to others we should love seeing God working out and confirming His calling on others, having us nearby them to give them our hand to go together on the path of God.

We should not be afraid to go out in the world to tell others what we do believe about the Creator and His son.

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Find also to read:

  1. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  2. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  3. Trying to get the youth inspired
  4. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  5. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  6. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  7. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  8. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  9. How should we preach?
  10. Our way of life
  11. Attackers silenced freedom of speech
  12. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit
  13. Van Til interacting with Bavinck and Calvin on Natural Theology
  14. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  15. Belonging to or being judged by
  16. Holland Week of billing
  17. Trying to get the youth inspired
  18. When discouraged facing opposition
  19. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  20. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  21. The Involvement of true discipleship
  22. Testify of the things heard
  23. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  24. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  25. A Voice to be heard
  26. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  27. Blogging for Jesus…
  28. Our openness to being approachable
  29. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  30. Words to push and pull
  31. Good or bad preacher
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. How should we preach?
  34. Breathing and growing with no heir
  35. Breathing to teach
  36. Bringing Good News into the world
  37. Reasons to come together
  38. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  39. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

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Find additional literature:

  1. Why are some Jewish rituals similar to Pagan rituals?
  2. Messages will be spoken! (Micah 3:8)
  3. The Value of Systematic Theology for Defending the Faith
  4. The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors
  5. Common Interpretive Pitfalls
  6. Seminar CXLIX: the importance of being eloquent in the Italian Church
  7. Van Til the Evangelist
  8. Van Til the Street Preacher
  9. Jehovah’s Message
  10. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  11. The Good News of God’s Kingdom
  12. Thoughts concerning the preacher
  13. On Preaching “To the Men”
  14. Expository preaching – friend or foe?
  15. How to Spread the Gospel
  16. 4 Principles for Collaborative Preaching
  17. 6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart
  18. Preaching is a two-way street
  19. How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God
  20. What do you need…?
  21. Preach It, Sister!
  22. Community Houses are Better than Church Buildings

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  • Who Is a Jew? (venitism.blogspot.com)
    Jews argue about everything, including who is a Jew. Disagreements usually develop along sectarian lines. Reform Jews are willing to accept into the tribe someone with a Jewish father and a gentile mother, but Orthodox Jews are not. Some ultra-Orthodox rabbis won’t even accept a child as Jewish when born to a devout Jewish mother from a donated gentile egg.All branches of Judaism allow for converts, but Orthodox Jews don’t recognize conversion of gentiles to Judaism unless that conversion is approved by a three-judge religious court comprised of three Orthodox men (usually rabbis), ritual immersion in a mikvah, and a commitment to perform all the Torah’s commandments according to Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law.
  • Generosity, Stewardship, and Living in God’s Economy (wawalker.com)
    So despite our smallness, our apparent insignificance, human beings are set apart and given a unique role. God gives us dominion over the earth and we’re to be stewards of it. It’s been entrusted to us. We’re to be a stewards, meaning we’re to be managers or overseers — caretakers — which means our responsibility is to do exactly what the owner wants us to do with the things that are not ours but Owner’s. The things that are God’s. So as it turns out, in spite of some obvious limitations, we nonetheless possess a certain degree of great power and freedom — and — responsibility, as stewards. Because Human beings have the capacity to do things that no other creatures can’t do.
  • Beware the Error of Replacement Theology! (pilgrimpassing.com)
    These are challenging and confusing times. With all the numerous and varied “winds of doctrine” that are blowing around us these days, many Christians find it difficult to discern the difference between truth and error. Here at CJF Ministries, one error we frequently encounter is Replacement Theology. Actually, it’s nothing new: in fact, it’s been around for centuries. Some of its roots are traceable to the writings of some of the Early Church fathers. And even today, oddly enough, this pernicious error is taught as a fact in many Bible colleges and seminaries worldwide. So let me ask you – how much do you know about Replacement Theology? If you were called upon to refute it, could you?
  • Interview with Yoel Glick – Part 2 (kavvanah.wordpress.com)
    Rabbi Yoel Glick just released a book  Living the Life of Jewish Meditation: A Comprehensive Guide to Practice and Experience. The book is billed as  a “comprehensive guide to meditation as a way of life draws on the knowledge of the East to vitalize and illuminate traditional Jewish practices in a whole new way.”

37 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Knowledge & Wisdom, Religious affairs