web analytics

Sex and the Body

Embracing not only God's love for all he has created, but at the most immediate level, also the universality of sin is how we learn to love one another outrageously.

The denial of the universality of sin impact on our bodies and sexuality is the fundamental issue that fundamentalist-conservatives deny and the GLBTQ Christian thinkers deny.

One, because they can claim extreme holiness (complete) in traditional marriage, the other because they are either reacting against number one; or are, two, claiming the same fundamentalist-conservative extreme holiness for all covenant-couplings.

Both reject crucial scriptural revelations about the work of sin in our bodies (and this include the arrogance in Western reasoning), which is not fully redeemed UNTIL the universal resurrection. In other words they are the "word-faith" "name-it! claim-it!" about our bodies as regards sex. Same coin, different sides. This is also true and enabled by a blind cultural uptaking regarding identity categories of CIS, LGBTQ, etc. into their theological arguments. Same coin, different sides.

If a true third-way is possible it will be rooted in the affirmation of our "not yet" state in regard to the body and sex as fallen and not fully (at best partly being redeemed) redeemed until "the life of the world to come." Jesus makes this abundantly clear in his response to the Leverite Marriage question, "they will be like angels...no marriage" in heaven.

The universality of sin also must inform the structures and posturing around the false-holiness of the right and left. All we're doing in American culture is switching which team we cheer and punish. That is not true justice, nor does it make for reconciliation. The "owning" of universal brokenness and sin is a real work that we have all been avoiding through identity-language games.

Now this does not solve what do you do then as a church regarding people not experiencing, nor choosing a behavior that aligns with the classic/traditional applications. But it should at the very least turn down the heat and show a theological-practical new direction.

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

Initial Reaction Reactions to Orlando

My first reactions are grief for/with those who have lost loved ones, and anger when lives are cut short and a prayer to God "come quickly Lord Jesus!" This world is a warzone because of human and spiritual freedom misused. A spiritual and physical warzone. Believers are to fight - but not with weapons as the New Testament makes explicit. Rather love, truth and grace, prayer and worship.

I am disheartened by:

(1)Those who jump on their left/right political bandwagons about solving evil that is in every human heart.

E.g. ban guns or

ban all Muslims or

make saints out of people - who are image bearers BUT saints-in-process at best or

demonize people, or

Hilary/Trump/Johnson is right! or

love is a simply a "feeling", etc. etc.

(2)All the trotted out false equivalency (AKA: equivocation) arguments against Christians. These are old. "Well this could have just as well have been a Christian!" Except you will not find in the teachings of Jesus (who is the fulfillment of all the OT in Christian teaching) a call to kill ANYONE! PERIOD. FULL STOP. Even in Hebrew Bible there is a progression by the time you get to the prophets where the old law/Torah is being altered significantly (don't have time to unpack that).

(3)Then there are those who denounce calls to pray. Prayer is one variable of many that influences our world. To deny the power of processing through prayer, let alone any spiritual realities behind evil and violence is claiming far more than anyone actually knows. If there had been more prayer and less "rash acting" the hate level on all sides would be lowered and perhaps 49 people would alive today.

So what does one do? Avoid answers that demonize another segment of society for starters. Name (pray and talk it through with others if need be) your anger blinding you to violence in your heart no matter how justified you think it is.

Love outrageously.

Look past categories of spiritual, religious, atheist(lot's of real state violence here too). Reject the ancient ethnic categories and modern reductionist of categories of orientation - both are tools of division and creating false identities that rob us of humanity (ironically claiming to give us more of our "humanity" back through division).

Love outrageously.

Give your life FOR life, not an ideology. The ideology battles are not worth it, they always make someones life just a little less human.

Society is changed by real relationships and tearing down walls. The ideology mongers in our media and political establishment need wall-builders to flourish. Jesus calls believers to tear down walls - not erect new ones with our ideologies and cheap-trick "solutions".

BTW this article I found quite good: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/owen.jones.right.about.homophobia.wrong.about.religion/88237.htm

And this from Nabeel Qureshi

"As an ex-Muslim who loves America and my Muslim family, my heart is hurting beyond expression. Today we witnessed the worst mass shooting in American history: 50 tragically killed in an ‪#‎Orlando‬ gay bar. The authorities announced the details just a few minutes ago: it was Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a devout American-born Muslim who had pledged his allegiance to ISIL. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/florida-gay-nightclub-shootin…/) Mateen's father has said the shooting had "nothing to do with religion," and that his son may have committed this crime because he saw "two men kissing in Downtown Miami a couple months ago." But no one goes on a killing rampage for seeing two men kiss. Clearly there's more to this that his father doesn't see. I do not blame him, though. His son has just died, and he's not in a state to think clearly. We ought to be praying for him. None of us can think entirely objectively, especially on the heels of a terrorist attack charged with so many political controversies. The rhetoric and agendas are flying, even though the dust has not yet settled. Gun control? Homophobia? Islamophobia? As we are clouded by agendas and struggling to react, two opposing positions are coming to the fore: "Islam is a religion of peace and Mateen's actions therefore have nothing to do with Islam," or "Islam is inherently violent therefore we must see all Muslims as latent threats." As an American and a former Muslim, my heart is torn by these two poles of rhetoric. Those who take the first position are endangering my country by overlooking the very real cause of Jihad, which are the teachings and history of Islam. Those who take the latter position are endangering my Muslim family and friends, loving and patriotic Muslims that are as innocent and American as the rest of us. The fact is, the vast majority of Muslims are loving, peaceful people who would never want to hurt any American or homosexual. I know this because I was deeply rooted in the Muslim community, and not a single Muslim out of the thousands I knew were violent or harbored violent tendencies. (The community I am referring to is in Norfolk, Virginia, with Sunnis, Shias, and others attending the same mosque. It was an open-armed and diverse Muslim community.) Regardless, Islam itself has always taught that gays should be executed. Muhammad commanded: "If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done." (Sunan Abu Daud 4447) Imams who have been trained in these Islamic teachings are teaching in our communities. Just three months ago, an imam who is well known for proclaiming Muhammad's teachings on homosexuality spoke in Orlando. In a prior speech about homosexuals he was noted to have said, "Let's get rid of them now." (video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBlwxqqAprQ; news article: http://www.wftv.com/…/iranian-doctors-planned-tal…/185803158) The imam spoke at an Islamic center that is less than 20 miles from the site of today's atrocities. Some American-born Muslims, such as Omar, are taking teachings like these at face value, listening to their imams and following Muhammad. How can we understand this dilemma? How do we not react against all Muslims despite the fact that Islam has always taught such violence? My answer is simple: truth and love. This may sound trite or fanciful, but I am not advocating a whimsical or baseless love, which would never stand in the face of Jihad. I think we must respond with a love grounded in truth and self-sacrifice, reflecting the person and heart of Jesus Christ. We need to acknowledge the truth about Islam while holding that in tension with a respect and love for Muslims. (If you want more on this, I wrote a book on the topic after San Bernardino, ‪#‎AnsweringJihad‬: http://www.nabeelqureshi.com/answering-jihad). Orlando marks the beginning of a new phase in our nation's history: The worst mass-shooting on American soil is now an Islamist terror attack. Our country has to respond, and it will respond. I pray that those of you who have taken the time to read this (thank you) will be a voice for responding with truth and love."

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

The Unseen Realm

One of the great things I learned in Pentecostalism was an enchanted worldview. Spiritual warfare matters that material is not all there is to the world we inhabit. It's been encouraging to see this coming back into the Western Church. If you want to learn more there is a new book Im reading that points to much of this: The Unseen Realm by Dr. Michael S. Heiser Also I would recommend God at Warand Satan and the Problem of Evil by Greg Boyd also check out: http://www.patristics.co/2016/06/08/what-are-demons/

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

Authors I Read

A pastor friend recently posted an article on author's they approve of. The list was primarily in the fundamentalist neo-reformed wing of the American church. Several of whom in my mind border on Gnosticism, and all of whom are hard-core "God is an extreme control-freak determining everything" types. They start with a view of God that says this, them impose it on all of the Bible and life.

Here is a sampling of theologians, Biblical scholars and pastor’s that speak to the non-Augustinian, non-Anselmian, Anabaptist, Wesleyan, Pentecostal/charismatic and grand orthodoxy of the Church.

NT Wright
Walter Brueggemann
Craig Keener
Richard Bauckham
Ben Witherington III
Brian Zahnd
Valdimir Lossky
Roger E. Olson (Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, Against Calvinism, )
Amos Yong
Dallas Willard
Randy Maddox
Clark Pinnock
Greg Boyd
Robert Menzies
Frank Macchia
Roger Strontad
James KA Smith
Wolfgang Vondey
Miroslav Volf
Gordon Smith
Roger Stronstad
Martin Mittelstadt

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

Bible Translations

Recently I had a conversation about the Septuagint vs the Hebrew for Old Testament/Hebrew Bible study, devotional, etc. use. In my efforts to summarize that Jesus and most Jews in that time used the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible we got lost in the weeds. Ken Collins has a good summary of the issue when he recommends a study Bible. Here it is: (For his recommendations - which I do not all agree with: http://www.kencollins.com/bible/bible-t2.htm#osb) "...The Orthodox Study Bible is unique among all the translations on this page, because its Old Testament comes from the Septuagint , not the Hebrew text. The Orthodox Study Bible contains the first translation of the Septuagint into English since the nineteenth century.

In biblical times, the city of Alexandria, in Egypt, was famous for its voluminous library, its schools, and its intellectuals. It also had the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora, that is, anywhere other than Judea. When Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to Egypt, this is most likely where they settled, so Jesus’ early education took place in the Alexandrian school system, which was the best in the world at the time.

Since Alexandrian Jews spoke Greek, they undertook a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures about two centuries before Christ. It is called the ‘Septuagint’ because there were about seventy translators. The Septuagint was well entrenched as normative Scripture for Greek-speaking Jews by the time of the events in the New Testament. Since Galilee was a Greek-speaking territory, the Septuagint was normative Scripture in Galilean synagogues and for Jesus and His disciples. We know that because the New Testament quotes the Septuagint, not the Hebrew scriptures that we have today.

The Septuagint is more messianic than the Hebrew text, which meant that early Christians could easily mine it for proof texts to make converts. They were so effective that the rabbis standardized on the Hebrew text for the synagogue scrolls, and the Septuagint fell out of use among Jews. Many lay Christians accused the Jews of editing the Hebrew text to make it less messianic. (See Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, chapters 71-73.) This is hardly possible, because the Jews have too much respect for the text to do such a thing. The motive for this accusation was mainly emotional: Christians were under persecution because the rabbis had disowned the church as a Jewish sect, making it an illegal religion; therefore, Christians were quick to accuse the Jews. Since the switch took place in reaction to Christian use of the Septuagint, my guess is that there was more than one Hebrew text to choose from and that the rabbis chose an accurate text whose phrasing was less conducive to Christianity than the Hebrew text underlying the Septuagint.

Here is how it happened:

the Temple in Jerusalem sent Hebrew scrolls containing the Scriptures to Jewish scholars in Alexandria. The Jewish scholars translated the Scriptures into Greek. The Septuagint became authoritative Scripture among Jews in the Diaspora. It was considered divinely inspired. Many of Jesus’ arguments presuppose the wording of the Septuagint. (John 10:34) When people checked up on Paul in the Scriptures, they were in Greek, otherwise they would not have been able to read them. (Acts 17:11) The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the library of Alexandria was burned down. The Hebrew scrolls in both places were destroyed. The rabbis gathered Hebrew scrolls from other locations to produce a new standard Hebrew text. The current Hebrew text is younger than the Septuagint and the scrolls on which it was based. The rabbis discontinued the use of the Septuagint in the synagogues and started using only the new Hebrew text.

The Septuagint was the canonical Old Testament of the ancient church, and has remained so in Orthodox churches to this day, which explains its presence here in the Orthodox Study Bible.

In the early fifth century, Jerome translated the Bible into Latin for western use. He switched to the Hebrew text for the Old Testament. His translation, called the Vulgate, became the standard Bible of the Roman Catholic Church until well after the Protestant Reformation. Therefore, under Jerome’s influence, Catholics and Protestants use the Hebrew Scriptures for their Old Testament. However, Jesus, the apostles, the New Testament, and the ancient Church all used the Septuagint as their Old Testament. The Septuagint is older than the Hebrew scriptures we have today.

Even though this is a study Bible, I have included it in this list because it contains the only modern translation of the Septuagint, which is not available separately.

Disadvantages The Old Testament in the Orthodox Study Bible does not match the Old Testament in any other Bible, because this is the only English-language Bible in existence that uses the Septuagint as its Old Testament. The footnotes do not represent the findings and opinions of modern western scholars, but the historical use of the texts in eastern Christian theology. If you are a seminary student, your professors may object to using it in Old Testament studies, because it is not the Hebrew text, and because the footnotes Christianize and allegorize the Old Testament text. Within the bounds of academic study, they do have a good point.

Advantages The Old Testament in the Orthodox Study Bible gives better insight into the New Testament, because it is the version that the New Testament writers read, used, and quoted. It can give depth and context to the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament and in the theology and interpretive techniques of ancient Christianity and contemporary Orthodoxy. Since Jesus, the apostles, the New Testament, and the early Church Fathers all use the Septuagint as their Old Testament, one could make the argument that the Septuagint is the canonical Old Testament for Christians.

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

Brian Zhand: War of the Lamb

Zhand: "Christ always rules from the cross, never from an Apache attack helicopter!" "Those who want to hold onto a primitive vision of a violent and retributive God often cite the white horse rider passage from Revelation. They will say something like this: “Jesus came the first time as a lamb, but he’s coming back the second time as a lion.” (Despite the fact that no lion is ever seen in Revelation — the lion is the Lamb!) By this they mean the nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels is going to mutate into what they fantasize is the hyper-violent Jesus of Revelation. Sadly, the proponents of this flawed interpretation seem to prefer their imagined violent Jesus of the future over the nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels. At a basic level they essentially see the Bible like this: After a long trajectory away from the divine violence of the Old Testament culminating in Jesus renouncing violence and calling his followers to love their enemies, the Bible in its final pages abandons a vision of peace and nonviolence as ultimately unworkable and closes with the most vicious portrayal of divine violence in all of Scripture.... Read the rest here! http://brianzahnd.com/2016/05/war-of-the-lamb/

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

Understanding the Apostle Paul

An Anabaptist acquaintance of mine, Kurt Willems, who is planting a BIC (Brethren in Christ) in Seattle has done a good series on the various perspectives on Paul. You can get out his stuff here:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2016/04/11/study-paul/
Kurt writes:
We also have the challenge of trying to catch up on a theological conversation that has been going on for about 2,000 years. Augustine had an opinion or two which Luther [traditional view] built upon and the New Perspective rejected and the radical New Perspective has pushed even further. What I’m referring to specifically is the way that interpreters of Paul’s letters have framed his famous interaction with his heritage as a Second Temple Judaean in the first century.

Did Paul reject the Law as a mere custodian of God’s impossible standard until Christ came to offer righteousness by faith [“traditional” view]? In other words, is the Law opposed to God’s grace revealed in Christ–universally so.

Did Paul believe Torah practices were grace-filled for the Jews, but in order to include the gentiles, it was now time to tear down the specifically exclusive Jewish boundary markers (ie circumcision) to expand God’s family [New Perspective]? In other words, the Law is not about “works righteousness” but core elements of it are exclusive to Jews, so those things have now been relativized in Christ so all can equally be included.

Did Paul himself remain Torah observant and uphold the Torah for Jews, but use negative rhetoric about the Law to persuade the gentiles that they need not become Jewish to be included in the covenant with God [Radical New Perspective]? In other words, there are two paths (a Jewish path and a gentile path [Christ]) to enter the single covenant of God.

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

Truth Bomb

I would repost almost everything from the Babylon Bee - a Christian version of the satire news "The Onion". After 12 Years Of Quarterly Church Attendance, Parents Shocked By Daughter’s Lack Of Faith April 7, 2016 null This one is powerful: http://babylonbee.com/news/after-12-years-of-quarterly-church-attendance-parents-shocked-by-daughters-lack-of-faith/

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

If You’re Interested in Learning About Speaking in Tongues

If you're interested in learning about speaking in tongues I highly encourage you to read: Speaking in Tongues: Jesus and the Apostolic Church as Models for the Church Today Paperback – March 10, 2016 by Robert Menzies (Author) And then my thesis ;-) -Shel

Social Top Sharing

Share on Myspace

submit to reddit

Share on Tumblr

A pastor-theologian who loves the questions…