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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples (Matt. 28:8 NIV).”

An Essay on the Ministry Roles of Women In The Church Today

Introduction

Egalitarianism and complementarianism is a topic of debate facing women today. Whether actively engaged in ministry or considering ministry this topic has been an issue for the theologians for centuries, Christian Egalitarianism can be defined as one Christian liberties, rights, or standings in the church. Complementarianism is a belief that excludes women from religious in a natural theistic setting (Primarily used in Judo- Christian or Islamic Society. However, this term can be used wherever women are restricted from taking part in any sort of religious activity in any society.) . This essay will exam some of the biblical requirements of deaconship, elders and ministry and the impacts and restriction women face in this role today.

Elders and Deacons

Deacons

The New Testament origin of deaconship can be traced to the Book of Acts Chapter six to a select group of seven who were ordained as servant for the disciples (Elwell 1984,2001, 320) . The word itself is a derivative of the Greek word for waiter and literally means “waiting on the table” or to serve communion. However , the deacons more than likely performed various roles and functions within the churches daily life and administration Deaconship originated in the Church of Jerusalem but spread to the Gentile Churches as well ( Rom. 12:6-8;1 Cor. 12:28, 1 Thess. 5:12; Eph. 4:11).” The description of elder in 1 Tim. 3:8-13 parallels that of a deacon many scholars speculate the role of a deacon and elder may have been the same at one time (Elwell 1984,2001, 320). The Catholic Church limited the number to seven until the fifth. The Apostle Paul allowed women to serve as deaconess as mentioned in Romans 16 where he commends Cenchreae for her loyal service to the Church: “commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me ( Rom. 16: 1-2).”

Elders

Elders are the leaders of the church and are concerned with the governing and administration. The elders also, are called upon to settle disputes and to counsel, and rebuke. Commonly called presbyters, Bishops, or by other formal names in some Churches where an ecclesiastical government exist they are made up of  the most mature member of the church body. Some are chosen by congregational election, others by appointment. Their secular counterpart would be the senate of Rome in the past or the U.S. senate of today.  1 Tim. 5:15 lists teaching as a desired trait and first appear in the New Testament in the Book of Acts (Acts 15:2, 6, 23; 16:4). The book of Matthew accounts elders as Scribes and in 2 John 3 John the author refers to some one of high esteem (Elwell 1984,2001, 369).

Can Women Serve as Elders or Deacons?

It is the Authors belief the bible supports the role of women as deaconess and elder.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Gal. 3:28-29).” At the time, Paul wrote this passage women were serving in the church. Christ instructed the disciples: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you ( Matt. 28:19-20).” This command extends to all man and women Jew and Gentile. Paul, further describes all Christians as ministers by our spiritual gifts: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13).” Another major premise would be that first record of Christian ministry and evangelism come from women. God had Chosen two women to reveal the resurrection of Christ to the disciples the first act of evangelism:

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you. ”So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me (Matt. 28: 5-10).”  A misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35 which is taking to mean women should remain silent in church but actual means not to speak excessively, engage in false talk, quarrels or the like. The historical context dates to two points the frequent nature of dissention and because of gossip among the Christian community and the rise of the Gnostic religion, which was often headed by priestess. The latter being used as a warning not to follow false teachings. A similar reference can found to the Church of Ephesus 1 Tim 11-15: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.  But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

 

Contributions of Women to Theology and the Church

One should not underestimate the role women have played on society, theology and church of the past and today. Women can serve beneficially in a one on one relationship role in counseling of other women: Especially in abuse related issues, issues related to children or issues where another female may feel uncomfortable speaking with a male. Many great female evangelists have reshaped history not only of the church but also of the secular world. In America, female evangelist played a huge role in advancing women rights and suffrage in America. Others like Argula Von Grumbach helped in the fight against oppression during the Reformation Movement increasing Christian Civil liberties.

For or against the concept women have been present in ministry and as elders since the beginning of the Church in the upper room during Pentecost. It is humankind’s own misunderstanding and will be our own misguided prejudices that enthrall women in Complementarianism and restrict Christian Egalitarianism.

 

In God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit,

Trenton Clark Rindoks

Word count: # 1255

Bibliography

Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1984,2001.

 

ProdigalSon

The Leading of a Prodigal back Home:

I chose to witness to my roommate who asked to remain anonymous. She has some knowledge of the Bible, has attended church, but has lost her child, is in a failing marriage, a victim of multiple repeated domestic assaults incidents by various boyfriends, sexual assaults and is fighting a battle with alcoholism. On top of all these struggles she has a strained relationship with her family and suffers from depression and anxiety. However, she wants to know Jesus. I saw the opportunity to help turn her life around and possibly help her ease her pain as well as guide her along the path of salvation. With the permission of my wife Sheryl we decided to take her on, reluctantly, as a border, during the beginning of the semester. I have tried to reach her in the past but to no avail. When she reached out to me this time my heart could not say no. Although, I was hurt by her in the past, as we once were engaged, I also, had an unsuccessful real estate deal with her and we have had a struggling friendship for many years as I have felt she has always came to me when she only needed something in the past. I prayed forgave her empathized with her and started fresh this time allowing the Holy Spirit to direct the friendship.

PART ONE – What method of evangelism did you use and how did you start the Conversation?

I would guess I it started initial as a gesture of friendship Evangelism but I employed a mixture of methods during the conversation. As I stated in the above introductory, she as some knowledge of the scripture so I pulled from the intellectual approach mostly. Using the outline of  “The Roman Road” and “The Principals of the Spiritual Laws” I was  able to redirect her thinking away from a secular view to a theological view.  I then asked some of the questions in “The masters Approach.

 

PART TWO – What was the reaction?

At first she was trying to impress me with her knowledge of scriptures and trying to say that some sin is ok in one’s life. All she has to do is pray after her sin and all is forgiven.

I had to switch gears hear and reminder of what James says on Scripture knowledge and Christ on deeds in Matthew.

James 2:15-19

New International Version (NIV)

“15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”[i]

Matthew 7:22-25

New International Version (NIV)

22 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”[ii]

At points she became agitated and stating “It is not right to force religion on someone” and “people should have the right to drink and have a good time.” I was able to calm her down by reading from Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 64:6-9

New International Version (NIV)

6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean,

    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

we all shrivel up like a leaf,

    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

7 No one calls on your name

    or strives to lay hold of you;

for you have hidden your face from us

    and have given us over to[a] our sins.

8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.

    We are the clay, you are the potter;

    we are all the work of your hand.

9 Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;

    do not remember our sins forever.

Oh, look on us, we pray,

    for we are all your people.”

 

She then started talking about worry doubt and fears. I reassured her that once she commits her life and trusts fully in the lord these things will start to leave her. That it is our self-reliance, or on things like our material success, other people, and things of the world that bring about happiness. Even our friends and family can let us down at times but our one true friend Christ will never let us down. Christ God and the Holy Spirit are always there. Are always are true friends are our real family. All we need to do his reach out and ask. She then said a marvelous thing. “We can do all things with the power of the Holy Spirit Amen?

I took this as a confession of Salvation and the presence of the Spirit.

 

 

PART THREE – How did you conclude the conversation in order to follow up? 

We concluded it with a copy of my evangelism paper as she wanted to review some of the scriptures and charts as used to illustrate our sinful nature. I invited her to attend Gateway Baptist Church with myself and my wife and gave her a meditation book and a book outlining Psalms 23 to carry to work with her. I informed her she can come to me at any time for prayer or counseling and as long as she will make an attempt to live righteously and not bring evil into my household she is welcome to stay. I will be a friend to her and love her in the way Jesus loves. I reminded her that Love is the greatest Commandment:

Matthew 22:37-40

New International Version (NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[iii]

 

 

 


[i] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%202:15-19&version=NIV. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[ii] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%207:22-25&version=NIV. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[iii] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2022:37-40&version=NIV. Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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