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“The Theory of Everything” or the Great “I Am”?

A Perspective on Substitutive and Subsistence Coefficients

How Math May Quantify & Qualify One’s Satisfaction with God!

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Many people are under the assumption that any form of mathematics beyond an understanding of basic foundational level is not a necessity. Additionally, some have developed phobias associated with mathematics that lead to an almost hatred and avoidance of Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and other forms of  higher computation and logical problem solve methods. Yet, most Academic programs require at least Algebra or Statistics for Graduation. The Basis is for Algebra and other forms of mathematics allow an individual to bridge the gap between logic and reason and even to understand abstract concepts. Bass mentions, Math forms the foundation of all sciences (Bass, 2012) and may be the basis for all communication and thus is the language of the universe itself.

One can even make the claim that the never changing-changing mind, body and Spirit of The All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful God is ever reacting to a multitude of probabilities and an infinite number of possibilities which can best be expressed simply as,  “All things are possible through Christ ( Phil. 4:14). If we were to express this in a mathematical way Possibility is thus greater than or equal to probability but only to one who abides in Christ in faith – mercy and grace.

Stephen Hawkins is credit for his believe of “The Theory of Everything” in which he in a lifetime both proved and disproved the existence of God. In reality when one studies the later work and Hawkins’ work in its entirety one can conclude what Hawkins is, stating is that all life originated from an intelligent point that transcends time, space, all dimension and even nonexistence. Thus, for something to be everything, it must also include and transcend nothingness.

Additionally, Hawkins placed this intellectual entity in a central location in the dome that encompasses the entire universe and every dimensions. Finally, this deduction is similar to most of the near-eastern creation primordial concepts of creation most anthropological theories including those of the three monotheistic religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

From the Judo-Christian, prospective God created the world in seven days. However, some debate whether this is the actual first creation of our planet or whether it is a reforming of creation after an initial creation attempt. The first creation theory in Genesis 1 views the First Earth as a realm for the fallen angels that was created then became inhospitable in reaction to the revolt and expulsion of Lucifer as a result of pride and a desire to become God. The Seven-Day creation process may even be merely a blueprint or literary device to explain the forming and filling of the universe (Boyd & Eddy, 2009, pp. 70-97).

The use of the number 7 in Scripture or a variant such as 70 refers to life or creation whereas 3 refers to the persona or aspects of God, the trinity. One refers to God universally the Great I AM. Moreover, four can be seen to represent the cross. Many believe the top position to represent Heaven (Father), the Bottom to be Earth (even Satan, for some Humanity or Adam), and the sides to be Son and Spirit.

Eight is the number of infinity, nine in some sects of Christianity and Judaism represents adversary, the devil, or evil and six is the number of man. Seven-Seven-Seven is the Holy number in some sects as well representing the number of God. Additionally, many reference the seven seals within Revelation and the seven signs and wonders of Christ while other refer to 8 seals and miracles of Christ (Gospel of  John) depending on dogma and doctrine.

Finally, when God speaks 3 times it should be seen as all aspects of the trinity speaking or appearing and it is not a coincidence that many people need to hear things at the least 3 times to learn new task or skills.

“Mathematics within exercises of commerce is  a means to integrity which honors the Lord (Lev 19:35-36)”, Jesus however did warn against the evil of greed and unscrupulous business deals, think of the Statement of not being able to serve Two Master in Matt. 6:24 and the Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16: 1-15 NIV.

The Book of Acts views, ministry via proximity as first to the Jews then to the Gentiles. Thus, While Acts does speak of evangelism beginning where one is physically present and then sojourning to the Ends of the Earth.  If one studies The Book of Acts, the historical, cultural and theological concepts within the various missionary Journeys of Paul and others that God elected, or sent for to witness to the world as his servants from and to distant lands will become clear. Furthermore, both Paul and Peter remind us that we are to consider ourselves Ambassadors of Christ and that this world is not our home. Even Jesus reminds us the wind blows freely as it choices to do so and additionally that one must come to know Him by their own free volition.

Thus, from measurements for building the Ark, to the temple to the various rods and even the geology numbers hold a place of distinction of prominence within the Bible and the history, present and future of humanity.

Besides being useful to classify and quantify things, mathematics is a universal language all machines and all creatures communicate using codes. The basic form is the binary system a simple relay code of “on and off” or “ones and zeros that tell neurons to fire or switches to fire. The earliest of scientist and mathematicians from the Hebrews Arabs and well into the 19th century used math to prove and not disprove God. Even Sir Francis Bacon and Newton were Christians as was Galileo and many other great minds including Thomas Jefferson.

“If we do not find satisfaction in God we will seek it elsewhere (Beth, et al., 2003).” Thus, we become slaves to in subsistence or a life substitute of living (Beth, et al., 2003). The basic concept in subsisting living one becomes a beggar and lives off the affections of another to fill what only God can supply. Additionally, we may become thieves and steal the affections and even time and possessions of others. The concept of substitution is when we create idols of people, place or things, thus placing hang-ups, hold-ups or habits before Christ. Our reliance must come from him and all we do and live for must be for the Glory of God and the prosperity of his Eternal Kingdom (Beth, et al., 2003).

The relationship of this to math can be expressed simply in a math as 1*0=0 or reliance on, in and by an individual on false things = nothing. “For The Wages of Sin is Death ( Roman 6:23) or “Life is meaningless under the Sun (Theme of Ecclesiastes)” in either perspective no matter how hard one works or  how moral one is all are sinners and only can be justified and redeemed by Christ( Rm: 1-8).

The verse I draw most of my strength from in times of crisis is, “Whom Shall I Fear (Ps 27:1, Rm 8:31-40).” While the actual verse is in Psalms, the concept is further developed in Romans, which states as Champions of Christ No Power of this world or Spirit World can harm us.  Once in Christ one is in Christ, we made struggle even suffer, but in the end when we live for his glory and in his love since he is love and we express this love to everyone and everything we all will succeed. We are more than conquerors we are inheritors and citizens of the Kingdom being reborn in his exact Image How amazing and magnificent this Blessed Assurance is and eternal destiny unimaginable.

While math may not hold all the answer of God or even to ones’ worldview it is certainly a tool that can help build and shape a better tomorrow and understand one’s past.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1338

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References

Bass, A. (2012). Math Is Useless. In A. Bass, Math Study Skills (1st ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Beth, M., Briscoe, J., Wilson, S. D., Hart, K., Hager, D., Wells, T., & LaHaye, B. (2003). A Women and Her God: Life Enriching Messages: Extraordinary women. Brentwood: Integrity Publishers (AACC).

Boyd, G. A., & Eddy, P. R. (2009). Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. (2nd, Ed.) Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

 

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conflict

 

In Oneness of Differences

The Art of Negotiation Compromise in Marriage

 

Trenton Clark Rindoks

CCOU 304

Liberty University

October 17, 2016

 

Abstract

Within every social dynamic quarrels and discrepancies arise. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to develop skills of conflict resolution in all social situations especially in a marriage. A marriage is much more than a romantic arrangement or contractual obligation. Marriage is the second highest form of expression of love and is a covenant between two separate and yet unique people who have become one person joined together in union with God under a higher covenant or contractual agreement with the Trinity of God (Balswick & K, 2014). This concept is often misunderstood in our culture which values the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness, and places (Rindoks, 2015) . At times the desire to confirm to the ways of society or self-take priority over the biblical virtues of salvation, freedom/empowerment, joy and interdependence.

It is only from reshaping of one’s conceptions, action and mannerisms coupled with a will and need to work together in union as well as to search introspectively seeking growth that a successful foundation for marriage can be built.

Therefore, a virtuous marriage is a covenant between God and two individuals. “This union two people becoming oneness in flesh with the Trinity, should provide hope for in oneness with God the couple shall not need to have fear of going thru the process of change alone (Balswick & K, 2014).” Any growth, healing or repentance is not the any venture done by one or both parties alone but is inspired by the Holy Spirit and aided and blessed by God and as such “ If God is for  on our side  Whom Shall we Fear(Ps. 3).”

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Introduction

Disagreements are part of every marriage and can arise from busy schedules, financial setbacks, personality differences, views on religious, social, political beliefs, or simply out of fear. Furthermore, communication difficulties as well as unresolved feelings of hurt and influences from the couples’ families and one’s upbringing are precipitating influences of conflict or crisis in marriage and family life, Transitional or developmental stages also can cause discord within a marriage as well  feelings of feelings of low self-such as unworthiness or insignificance. (Clinton & Sibcy, Why You Do The Things You Do, 2006). If left unresolved this discord result in divorce in approximately ½ of all marriages.

Conflict Resolution in Marriage

Understanding Conflict

The greatest fear is the fear of separation or abandonment. This fear forms the foundational reason of why God created man and women to be in union or marriage with one another. Divorce not only affects and devastates the individuals directly involved but has long lasting consequences on the mind and action of the children and other family members and friends who are involved with the parties of the divorce as well. Thus, divorce is a social epidemic and the necessity for effective resolution skills and effective communication forms the foundation in the field of counseling and the lives’ of every couple.

The nature or cause of the conflict or situation at hand should be seen as the true problem by confronting the issues and facing them instead of avoiding them. This strategy allows for change by growth but it is wise to start with small areas of growth and focus on each other’s strength rather than shortcomings. “This however, often requires each party or person involved to view the problem from the other’s view (Duffield, 2013).” Patience, perseverance, courage and empathy and above all else love from God, self and each other is required during the negotiation process. Although some have a tendency to withdraw or detach from the person or situation of discord or hurt. “It is more common for men to become withdrawn from their spouse. The female satisfaction in the marriage greatly decreased especially when she used the engagement or pursuit method in an attempt to avoid strive (Kurdek, 1995). “

Many spouses have a desire to change the other person into an ideal image or self-conceived concept which in many cases is formed from preconceptions of one’s own family of origin, peer groups, religious –social – worldview and hang-ups, hold-ups and habits formed during the various stages of life before and during the marriage. This is in actuality a nearly impossible task (Beth, et al., 2003).

The key to acceptance and respect, or submission according to Thelma Wells can be found in an understanding of 1 Corinthians 13. “Within all of us is a deep bond that binds us to one another called ‘the glue of authentic love.’ This form of love is an expression of genuine care and compassion for one another.”   In meditating apply and  understanding  the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 7  the necessity of unity to be set free one’s insecurities through loving submission to Goad and another becomes  apparent.  Such insecurities and false believes form the basis for one to change another into an image of themselves rather than accepting and loving them for the diversity and uniqueness that has been created in them by God. For the primary purpose of all humanity is to love God and each other and to rely solely on him living for his glory above all else. A dependency on people, place or things will fail. Only in and through Christ can one truly find the substance of needs. When we lean to heavy on people for emotional or any other support we become beggars. When we turn to places or things or give our power to people other than God they become our Judas’ our false god’s and ultimately the means of sin and death (Beth, et al., 2003).

 

 

 The Nature of Forgiveness

A study conducted by Finchman and Beach concluded that the role forgiveness plays in resolving arguments and disagreements varies only slightly between men and women. “For wives on a 9 point scale forgives had a rating of 5.8 and for husbands 5.7 (Fincham & Beach, 2007).”Although surprisingly low, it does show that forgiveness is an ingredient in the resolution process but it illuminates there are many more variables such as the initial cause of the offense and that perception of data between genders and even the way one processes feelings of healing and hurt are often critical in reaching a mutual understanding during any actual or perceived situation of wrong doing  (Fincham & Beach, 2007). “Well-handled conflicts lead to mutual respect and closeness in an every relationships and between partners (Okafor & Osakinle, 2014).” However, this requires each person to empathize with each other’s thoughts, feelings and actions and to be able to communicate in an appropriate and effective manner so a solution to the problem at hand can bring closure. The Conflict Resolution Model offers a fruitful plan to resolve issues of dissention: “By developing expectations for win-win solutions and defining each party’s interests in brainstorming through creative options plus combining options into win-win solutions negotiation is achieved instead of compromise (Davidson & Wood, 2004).”

A Plethora of other techniques exist but all require effective and efficient communication and empathy and active listening skills. The main focus of this amended work is to provide insight and encouragement to couple in times of conflict so the social illness of divorce can be prevented or cured.

The original paper was written in the summer of 2015. However, the availability of new research and as errors were found within the original an amendment was warranted. The original contained a solid foundation of information to build upon thus it was used as the basis for the new work (Rindoks, 2015).  Although some may question this approach one may ask if the Epistle of Romans which is a synopsis of Paul’s writings and includes paraphrase from the Old Testament and contemporary works of his era has any merit or even any current work of many scholars and professional of this age. The emphasis on legalism over morality is best settled by the statement made by Paul and should be used to avoid conflicts, foster diversity and encourage unity while breaking down the barriers of pride and is included in the Epistle of Romans: “We who are strong (Moral) ought to bear with the failings of the weak (Legalistic) and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Rom. 15: 1-7 NIV).”

The Biblical Marriage Examined

The Biblical Model of Marriage is based on the doctrine of the trinity in which the Father, Son and Spirit each are three uniquely distinctive individuals of one collective body or personas.  In the beginning and throughout all the seasons of marriage the two separate personalities that make up the unified couple become one united entity.  While both parties   retain distinct personality traits, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses each person is united with the other and God in a covenant which is more than an arrangement. This pact of free submissiveness is not a contractual obligation or moral agreement but rather a juncture of mind, body, soul and spirit that forms the final cohesion or unity of the whole marriage – the covenant of trinity or oneness with God.

Both the bride and groom retain connection to their respective families of origin however each family is also incorporated in to the dynamic and additionally new family element is created and joined to form yet another trinity or cohesive unit. Each individual brings their respective individual strengths and weakness to the marriage which thus acts in a cumulative nature creating a stronger unit, based on interdependence, giving foundation ,empowerment and security to the whole family dynamic or unified structure as a whole (Balswick & K, 2014).

All of creation is driven to meet certain basic needs which can be divided into two primary categories of either significance or security. In a healthy marriage one must looks first to Christ to meet one’s needs and then relies on each other provide the necessary mutual support to meet matters of significance and security (Crabb, 1977).  All of mankind’s shortcomings, or sins  stem from insecurities and misplaced need which leads us to rely on our self or depend to heavily on others resulting in unhealthy relational types, false assumptions, maladjusted emotional responses, and inappropriate actions. This in turn results in conflict, as negative emotions, and communication errors lead others to react to what is perceived as hurt or harm (Beth, et al., 2003). Without the help of God and others, mutual understanding and growth conflict resolution is often unsuccessful for unmet issues of the past or present will keep resurfacing within all of one’s relationships or interactions.

While, many theories and worldviews hold the belief that one is to strive, declare and achieve independence from tyranny, seek the empowerment, and live for self-ambition. In truth all were justified and redeemed worthy only by the Blood of Christ and called to be live in an empowered interdependent relationship for the glory of God. This new citizenship and merit has freed all from the bondage of the sin and death yet is a gracious gift requiring the submission of love to God and another. Even Jesus did not act independently of his father and would frequently perform works alongside the aid of his companions. Submission can best be understood as an act of loving respect in which all parties involved merely empty themselves[1] to serve the greater good of all involved and not as an act of authoritarian control. Furthermore, submission is the action that binds though and feeling and empowers all members of the group to grow, prosper, learn develop, encourage one another, and strengthens unity of the dynamic. Through respect, trust, forgiveness, effective communication acknowledgement of strengths, the practice of disciplines submission enables the man to love the Church as Jesus loves the Church and the women to become the bride of Christ or helpmate of Adam.  In the case of marriage the two become one and are conjoined with God as they trudge the road as one in the service and glory of God.

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Effective Communication

Effective communication skills are not only important in resolving conflicts but the lack of proper communication is one of the primary causes of conflicts in relationships. Thus, effective communication skills are paramount for a marriage and all relationship in general. Communication consists of both verbal and nonverbal components (body language, reading etc.…) however verbal components are the more effective as they allow the listener to respond to errors of translation or miscommunication (Balswick & K, 2014). Non-verbal communication is reliant on symbolism and thus can be misinterpreted by the receiver and is easily taken out of context.

When verbal and nonverbal communication are blended effective – communication is created. Both parties interact using body language and verbal cues.  This higher form of communication is thus achieved but requires a certain degree of intuition and empathy. In using the ability to understand and define the feelings of another plus combing the aptitude to differentiate cultural, gender and personality differences effective communication and rapport is achieved. However, one must first be an active and effective listener to master the art of communication as communication requires both the ability to transmit, process and receive information if one wishes to master the art of communication.

Active-Effective Listening

Active and effective listening can be beneficial to couples in three primary areas. First, it reduces self-interest and increases interdependency. Second, it breaks down negative patterns in communication such as criticism, defensiveness (retaliation), contempt (insults), or stonewalling (avoidance, shutting down).  Finally, it proliferates the quality and quantity of the communication time and meaning (Clinton & Ohlschlanger, 2013). An efficient listening technique often taught to couples who undergo counseling is the L.O.V.E. method (Rindoks, 2015).

L.O.V.E.

L- Listen and Repeat. People frequently feel they are misunderstood because they actually are often misunderstood. To compensate for this problem in communication one party must listen reflecting on context and empathizing with the feeling of the one speaking. Then the one receiving should repeat the message. Clarification and repetition confirms that the proper context and feeling has been transmitted. Additionally, this allows the transmitter to fix any confusion of context or emotional misunderstanding aiding to harmony in congruency in communication.

O- Observe your effects. Pay attention to cues in that the message is not being misunderstood. If an error in communication occurs abruptly stop and apologize for the error.

V- Value your partner. Value uniqueness as you seek to resolve conflicts avoiding criticism and negativity.

E- Evaluate the interest of both partners. Consider substitutive resolutions that will serve the interests of all participants. Reflect on if the solution will advance spiritual growth and serve the Glory of God of both the marriage, each individual and the family and /or society in the spirit of truth, love and unity. (Clinton & Ohlschlanger, 2013).

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Forgiveness

In order to maintain harmony within a marriage, and for conflict resolution to be a success both parties must be willing to exercise forgiveness. The Bible teaches that in order to be forgiven one must first forgive (Matt. 6:15 NIV).  One practical model for forgiveness is known as the R.E.A.C.H. Model.

R.E.A.C.H.

R- Recall the hurt. Describe the transgression in writing and the aspiration for forgiveness including ways to transmit or receive an apology, means of understanding the transgressor(s) and transgression(s) in a new light, and finally seeking resolution to move on with one’s life through the reliance of divine intervention and is some cases with the aid of civil justice (Clinton, Hart, & Ohlschlager, Caring For People God’s Way, 2005) (Rindoks, 2015).

E- Empathize with the transgressor. Express compassion for the transgressor and attempting to see the situation from their prospective.  This allows negative feelings and loss to reducing the need to play the role or view oneself as the victim. It is helpful to reminisce on positive emotions, actions, or memories about the person or situation to aid in healing and forgiving process.

A-Altruistic gift of forgiveness. Bless the other person with the gift of forgiveness.  Focus on a time when you to committed a sin and were forgiven or even when the wrong was forgotten and embrace the feeling you received by the grace and mercy of forgiveness.

C-Commit publicly to forgiveness. In the case of serious wrong doing, hurt or abuse, many find comfort humility and healing by composing an affirmation of forgiveness and sharing this publicly with a witness. Some may wish to apologize publicly before a third-party verbally or in a group setting as a testimony of forgiveness. Others way wish to write a brief synopsis of the wrong and burn it as an offering to God. No matter the method taken all the above actions, thoughts and feelings illustrate a commitment to change and help hold each party accountable to the act of forgiveness and blossom growth, healing joy and love.

H- Hold on when in doubt. It is natural to feel anger or fear towards the offender even after one has forgiven the offense for some time. When such feelings turn to rumination, or perception of negative thought, feelings, actions, or consequences, one must not merely stop such a process but change the negative assumptions into positive thoughts or feelings about the person or situation (Clinton, Hart, & Ohlschlager, Caring For People God’s Way, 2005). When in doubt or overwhelmed hold on to positive thoughts and feelings of being forgiven yourself by others and the grace and mercy that you are forgiven in and justified by Christ alone.

Anger

Many people mistakenly confuse anger as a primary emotional response. Anger in actuality is a secondary emotional response and is a God given reaction simply telling the mind and/or the heart that some other emotion or thoughts is the cause of the disturbance (Rindoks, 2015). The Bible instructs us “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Eph. 6: 26-27 NIV).” Simply stated this instructs us to promptly deal with conflict and not react in an inappropriate manner. Rather to promptly confront the person or situation head on and deal with it in an appropriate and virtuous and constructive manner instead of one that will harm one’s self or others. Anger itself is not a primary emotion but an indicator that something else is going on within or around the person. Thus Anger, is much like what happen when we put are hand on a stove we feel the burn. We can decide to leave it on the burner continue experiencing pain damage to body and even become numb from nerve damage, we can throw a fit cuss, scream or blame other, or we can simply treat the wound, determine, the reason we put our hand in the fire in the first place and then take steps to not do it again. Additionally, if the fault is partially someone else we need to admit our part while peacefully negotiation measures so we and others do not get burnt in the future.

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Methodology of Conflict Resolution

The Rules of Fair Fighting

The Rules of Fair Fighting is a practical method of negotiation. Introduced in 1968 by George Bach and Peter Wayden it provides 14 guidelines for reaching a viable solution.  Before this time all instances of conflicts were regarded as negative and thus the tendency was to avoid issues of strife or for the stronger party to engage in control (The Compromise Resolution Method or Authoritarian Model) or use other forms of power such as overindulgences, or  engage in overprotection issues (Balswick & K, 2014). The following is a summary of the fourteen steps of The Fair Fighting Rules:

  1. Identify the issue. Identify the issue and when multiple matters exist prioritize to correlate their association handling each individually.
  2. Choose the right time. Allow time for emotions to diffuse. Chose time that is appropriate for all participants schedule.
  3. Choose an appropriate place. Choose A neutral setting that will not give an advantage or make any feel uncomfortable and is free from distractions.
  4. Begin in a positive manner. Begin with complements, praise and prayer. State the situation in an empathic manner.
  5. Stick to the issue. Stick to the issues and do not become distracted.
  6. Do not bring up the past. Some may use a tactic known as gunny-sacking in which frustration and anger is stored up and then released, thus it is important to avoid bringing up past harms and criticisms.
  7. Avoid using emotional attacks. Hitting below the belt or using emotional attacks is prohibited In Fair Fighting.
  8. Take the other perspective seriously. Avoid chuckling or ridicule, and value each other’s participation.
  9. Express anger nonabusively. Use decisive statements of feeling and avoid verbal abuse and personal badgering or other tactics of control and abuse.
  10. Do not play games. Common methods include: the martyr (“I cannot do anything right!”), faking neediness or dependency, or the victim, (poor me).  Such tactics are to be circumvented as they only stall or destroy any attempts of negotiation or sway the decision forcing a one-side outcome and thus not a mutual compromise or true resolution.
  11. Avoid passive / aggressive behavior. Passive aggression can best be defined as using sublime or even indirect means to retaliate against a person in a response to anger. This ploy is often used by passive aggressive types to gain an upper hand in an argument.
  12. Do not ask for explanation of behavior. Commonly viewed as blaming, the person being interrogated or accused cannot offer a reasonable explanation and as such this method is counterproductive as it serve to bring about discord and stall any attempts of reconciliation or forgiveness.
  13. Avoid stereotyping and name calling. Avoid derogatory words such as ignorant, stupid, childish, and the like as these only act to antagonize the situation and hurt the feelings of other person. Furthermore, stereotypes and generalities may be mistaken as attacks and should be minimized or avoid at all cost.
  14. Avoid triangulation. Triangulation occurs when a third party is brought into a dispute to gain an advantage by one side(Balswick & K, 2014).

The Rules of Fair Fighting were introduced to provide structure for conflict resolution however they serve only as the foundation for conflict resolution.

Conflict Resolution Model

“The Conflict Resolution Model was formulated by a group of Australian psychologists who studied a variety of sources in order to integrate various methods to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome in a conflict situation thus creating a best-practice prescriptive process for negotiation and resolution of discord (Davidson & Wood, 2004).” The model is composed of four parts and is designed to give both parties a win-win solution (negotiated dual compromise).

  1. Developing the expectations for win-win solutions. Mistakenly both parties enter into negotiating expecting to have an advantageous outcome. It is necessary that the problem is reframed to provide for a dual compromise, cooperation and/or mutuality if a resolution is to be reached.
  2. Defining the issue in terms of underlying concerns, needs, or interests. Using efficient communication, skills and active listening coupled with empathy; each party should define the issue without blame, criticism or negativity.
  3. Using creativity and insight various outcomes should be explored to bring resolution to the issue at hand that will be favorable to all parties involved.
  4. Combining options into win-win solutions. Select from the best available alternatives that will yield the maximum benefit and provide a resolution to the conflict at hand benefiting all parties. If an agreement is not reached repeat the process.

In a newer derivative model known as PET which is often considered a management strategy the results are reviewed at a later date and then if the issue is still relevant the negotiation procedure is reviewed, revised,  returned to and continued  until a satisfactory resolution is achieved (Davidson & Wood, 2004).

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Conclusion

Conflicts are part of life.  Efficient communication active listen skills and forgiveness form the basis for all conflict resolution. It is of the upmost importance that in conflict resolution a solution is reached that brings unity, harmony and is of mutually beneficial to all parties involved in the resolution process. Occasionally this may require sacrifice on the part of one party, however it usual result in a dual compromise after negotiation and sacrifice from all participants involved in the tumultuous action. In most cases it involves brainstorming. Conflicts arise from miscommunication, feelings of hurt or harm especially when one’s security or significance is actually or perceived to be threatened.

Often originating from insecurities in development and other issues during the various stages of life it is essential for one to heal from past transgressions and forgive the wrongdoing of self and others.

Marriage is a covenant between the Trinity or three personalities of God and the couple. Thus, it is essential couples learn to work out their differences using the skills of conflict resolution. All of creation was created for relationship and all relationship is based on love. Thus it is important we carry the virtue of love in all are interactions on a daily basis.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trenton Clark Rindoks

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8 ).

 

References

Balswick, J. O., & K, B. J. (2014). The Family. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

 

Beth, M., Briscoe, J., Wilson, S. D., Hart, K., Hager, D., Wells, T., & LaHaye, B. (2003). A Women and Her God: Life Enriching Messages: Extraordinary women. Brentwood: Integrity Publishers (AACC).

 

Clinton, T., & Ohlschlanger, G. (2013). Competent Christian Counseling (Vol. 1). Colorado Springs: Water Brook Press.

 

Clinton, T., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why You Do The Things You Do. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Clinton, T., Hart, A., & Ohlschlager. (2005). Caring For People God’s Way. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Crabb, L. (1977). Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

 

Davidson, J., & Wood, C. (2004). A Conflict Resolution Model. Theory into Practice, 43(1), 6-13. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3701559

 

Duffield, B. (2013). Reasons Why Conflict in Marriage Can Deter Divorce. American Journal of Family Law, 208-211. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1418169371?accountid=12085

 

 

Fincham, F. D., & Beach, S. R. (2007). Longitudinal Relations Between Forgiveness and Conflict Resolution. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(3), 542-545. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.21.3.542

 

Kurdek, L. A. (1995). Predicting change in marital satisfaction from husbands’ and wives’ conflict resolution styles. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57(1), 153. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/219763197?accountid=12085

 

 

Okafor, V. C., & Osakinle, E. O. (2014). CONFLICT RESOLUTION THROUGH EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 5(9), 321-334. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1511427147?accountid=12085

 

Rindoks, T. C. (2015, Summer). Conflict Resolution in Marriage. CCOU 301, Liberty Univeristy, 1-12. Munford, Tennessee, United States of America: Hades 1 Solution. Retrieved from http://hades1solution.tumblr.com/

Footnote:

[1]Kenosis: To free oneself of affliction, loss, control, over-indulgence, habits,  fear, anxiety, pride,  false assumptions and adopt the mind and heart of Christ… : “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-8) !”

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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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GRASPING & UNDERSTANDING THE TRUTH

&

RELEVANCY OF SCRIPTURE

 

A Home Study on Psalm 3 for Biblical Comprehension Relevancy

&

Overcoming Fear and Facing Adversity

 

 

TRENTON CLARK RINDOKS

RLGN 489

MAY 13, 2016

 

Grasping & Understanding the Truth & Relevancy of Scripture

A Home Study on Psalm 3 for Biblical Comprehension Relevancy

&

Overcoming Fear and Facing Adversity

I. The Proposition

” According to A Barna Research Group Poll, Only 18 percent of Christians, or than less than two of every ten read the Bible every day. Worst of all, 23 percent or almost one in four professing Christians—say they never read the Word of God (Whitney 2014).”  Paul makes it clear in Romans that while repentance, Baptism and belief in Jesus are necessary Sanctification and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit are required for salvation. For while Christ Atoning Sacrifice was offered and paid the ransom fully for all sin and death sanctification is the mean through the leading of Faith and Christian living in which one is transformed and restored into the image of  Christ ( Eikōn). Additionally, while Jesus is the door to salvation Faith or the Holy Spirit provides the keys to enter the Kingdom.  Romans 12:1-2  States, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In this passage, Paul is stating that sin originates and centers in our thoughts and therefore we must constantly renewal of our mind with truth and the ways of God or his Holy Word if we wish to live in Godliness, develop virtues, and not be overcome by vices or ways of the flesh.

Additionally Paul states that reading and meditation on the Word leads to the development of Spiritual character and dying to the  ways of old-self or the ways of sin (Adam), thus leading to our transformation to the New Adam or Eikōn. In  Second Timothy Paul states a correlation of this, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work ( 2 Tim 3:16-18).”

Finally, In Ephesians Paul states how scripture can form one of the most potent tools in our arsenal for spiritual warfare. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should (Eph 6: 12-18).”

“Jesus often asked questions about people’s understanding of the Scriptures, sometimes beginning with the words, “Have you not read . . . ?” (Matthew 19:4; Mark 12:10). He assumed that those claiming to be the people of God would have read the Word of God. And a case can be made that this question implies a familiarity with the entire Word of God. In addition, When Jesus said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).’  Surely He intended at the very least for us to read “every word,” for how can we “live . . . by every word that comes from the mouth of God” if we have never even read “every word that comes from the mouth of God (Whitney 2014)?” If Jesus commanded it, why are so many of us not doing it? Many of us blame it on time, but others on lack of ability comprehend or relate to the Word.

The purpose of this gathering is to illuminate minds and open hearts be better equipped to understand and relate to Word of God in a relative fashion while maintain the intent understanding the context of the occasion and audience while bridging the gap into our modern world. Additional the small group study will focus on Psalms 3 and is intended to address to areas of fear and overcoming adversity and depending on God to meet one’s needs and the necessity of prayer. Psalms 3 NIV states:

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”[b]

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

 

The method of analysis and instruction is the Crossing the Bridge Method outline by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays (Duvall and Hays 2012). A simplified version will be first introduced as a foundation and further studies will build upon the foundation should interest develop or needs arise.

The initial analysis for this event began in 2015. The initial project was to be a home study to overcome fear in Adults that never originated do to schedule conflicts. Further requests and assessments of social and personal needs are making this hypothetical project more of a reality than possibility. The question should not be a matter of why to start but when to start, and the answer should be as soon as possible.

II. Method

Interpretation of Psalm 3 Outline

Using Psalms: three as an example text for interpreting, study and mediating on God’s Word a concise theological/biblical method will be taught on some common applications for this verse for the Christians today. The method used to interpret this verse will be the four-step method known as the Interpretative Journey. This method starts by examining the text in relevance to the time, place and context when written and bridges the gap to a relevant meaning to contemporary society (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005). When interpreting The Books Psalms one needs to approach the verse or passage as a conversation with God as each Psalm in themselves convey one of three messages Praise, Laments or a cry for help, and Thanksgiving (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005).

Each Psalm contained within the Book of Psalms were written as songs thus much of the context is in an allegorical or, poetic and symbolic language. Interpreting the verses. We should not take all the context as literal but consider the metaphors as would do if one was  trying to gain understanding into a contemporary songs such as Bob Dylan’s “knocking on Heaven’s Door (Dylan 1973). ”  In the song, Dylan is not literally knocking on an actual door. However, in our mind and heart Dylan paints us a vivid picture of one approaching death.

The Biblical Meaning / Historical Setting

“Each Psalm is an independent unit isolated from its literary context and thus we must consider the historical context throughout the entire book first (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005).”

The Book of Psalms subdivision in a fivefold format parallels the first five books of the Torah or The Pentateuch. The first five books is the story of Mankind creation his Eternal blessed state or oneness with God and his separation-death as result of sin, and the process to recovery or reconciliation of his righteousness with God.

The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 songs that are a composition for worship in The Temple of Jerusalem. The Book of Psalms is divides in a Five-book format. At the end of each Psalm in the first four books is a conclusion with a doxology or “Word of Praise” (Ps 41:13; 72:18-19; 89:52, 106:48). The fifth book closes with a praise song, Psalm 150 (Hindson and Yates 2012).

Psalm 3 is a composition of King David and is a lamentation as he fled from his son Absalom who led a rebellion against him (his father) and used subterfuge and influential power as a Judge to proclaim himself rightful  authoritive heir to the throne. David fleeing Jerusalem and was pursued by Absalom’s Army. This Psalm was composed in and under the context of the constant face of fear and facing the uncertainty of death. David’s orders Absalom to be punished with kindness when captured.  However, when Absalom’s hair becomes entangled in a tree he is executed for his crimes. In reaction to David’s grief over his son’s actions, the morale of his army was low and his soldiers defy their orders. Instead of victory, David’s forces returned to Jerusalem in sorrow.

The Story of Absalom is recorded in 2 Samuel: 13-19 the main theme to remember is God has providence over all events in History (2 Sam: 17:14 NIV ). Another contextual point illustrated is the love and forgiveness of a parent for a child despite what action they may choose to do. This Psalm forms the basis to the parable of The Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. Psalms 3 concludes with a Doxology.

The historical-contextual meaning to the Biblical audience of this passage can be summarized in the following statement.   Psalms 3 is a prayer to God to protect one from harm of an enemy. Furthermore, God will conqueror fear, provide, and sustain one’s needs and assist in the deliverance from one’s enemies. At first glance, one may view the enemy to be the literal encroaching forces of Absalom but Absalom can also apply to Sin or principalities of evil as well. David’s metaphor as  God as a shield and is also used in New Testament Paul using such a reference in Ephesians 6:16 to the Faith we have in God the obedience and trust perseverance and endurance and ultimately empowerment and at time sacrificial living . The Obedience by faith that comes through the Authority of Christ and the  leading of Holy Spirit in our becoming and imitating of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Differences and Similarities

Although the Psalms were written under the Old Covenant (Law) and us as, Christians live under the New Covenant (Guidance or Virtues of the Heart). The differences are not that great. Jesus did not come to overturn the Law but he modified it to a manner in which it is easier for one to apply in their daily life. In The Great Commandment:  Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind.’ ‘This is the first and Greatest Commandment.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matt 22: 37-40  ).’” This Commandment if followed encompasses the Law. Thus, the Old Covenant serves as a guide for our actions and a determining factor for what is sin. Jesus also reminds us that all of us will fall short and none of us can uphold the law completely by our own accord: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20 NIV).”  Like the Israelites in David’s time, we face the threat of war, and need protection from enemies additionally forces both physical and spiritual threaten us on a daily basis.

 

 

The Meaning (Crossing the Bridge)

The theological/Biblical Statement can thus be stated simply in the following way. By an action of Faith (The Shield) God will protect, and provide for us. God will give us strength to defeat our enemies but we must always thank him and put him above all things.

Examples of Application

The application for this passage is in times of danger whether the force of opposition is a spiritual or physical The Presence of God will provide comfort, strength, and the means to defeat our enemies. We use our Faith, The Shield, The Word of God, The Sword, The Breastplate of Righteousness, or Spiritual Living, The Belt of Truth, and The Helmet of Salvation to protect us and defeat our adversaries.  Finally, we need not forget to praise God for what he does in our life. Like David in times of strife one should turn to prayer first as God will provide and meet all needs, protect and strengthen the body, mind, and soul and give us the Gifts of Spirit to persevere all circumstances in times of suffering and in times of abundance for the glory of his kingdom.

III. Strategy Plan

  1. Target: Adult Small Group
  • Assessment Date: May, 13, 2016
  • Assessed By: Trenton Rindoks & Associates
  1. General Age Group Characteristics
  2. Age Level: ____35-65_____
  3. Gender ☐ Males Only ☐ Females Only      × Mixed Group

 

Physical:

Some have illness (physical)

 

Some mental

 

 

 

 

Cognitive:

 

2 Scientific/ rational (deductive/Objective)

 

2 Abstract

( inductive subjective

Faith is firm is some

Able to read and Understand Modern Language Translations (NIV)

 

Linear view( Black/ White thinkers)

 

Some existentialist

 

Psychosocial:

Low Esteem

 

Fear /Anxiety/ Depression

 

Secondary need displacement

 

Rejection

 

Western Prospective of Culture Religion

 

Post-Modernism

Evangelical

Modernism view

 

Some Pluralist/  Universalistic / Agnostics

 

Mix of conservative and Liberal positions on Politics and Religion ( or Lack thereof)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual:

 

Accepted Christ

Basic  Bible Knowledge

 

Blame of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1.  
  1. Characteristics of the Ministry Setting

 

  • Kind of Group (Indicate the agency and type of ministry in which the teaching is to take place): Home Bible study

 

  • Size of Group (Indicate number of students who are anticipated or attend regularly):

4-6

 

  • Social-cultural Characteristics of Group (type of community, ethnicity, types of employment, economic level, community size, etc.): White, middle class, from small rural / suburb community 20 miles outside Memphis. Various occupations, some self-employed and disabled
  • Spiritual Maturity Level of Students: Beginner to mature, a few seekers and Agnostics

 

  1. Specific Group Characteristics

 

  • Interests:

Art, Music, Cooking, sports, movies. Music, philosophy, literature

 

  • Abilities: Construction / Handyman, Cooking, Auto repair, Pottery, Creative Writing, Care Giving,  Parents, Teaching

 

  • Limitations: basic Understanding of Bible, Some or Seeking Agnostic

 

 

  • Observed Needs: Many confusing Secondary needs as Primary and living in the flesh. Confusing the pursuit of happiness as the desired means of God instead of servitude and obedience. Many do not realize reliance on God produce Joy= Happiness and prosperity, Some are Agnostic and have a Pluralistic Understanding

 

 

  1. Points of Ministry: Examples from music, movies, art and contemporary life and other areas comparing contrasting worldly ways with Godly ways. Ask Questions How, What, Where, When, Why format to keep flow going.

 

 

 

Date:    11/20/14                    Location:    My Home  Munford, TN                                                              File Under: Psalms 3
Target Group:

A Home study group of 4-6 consisting of adults ranging in age 35-65 at various stages in their relationship with Christ. Some struggle with acceptance/ belonging issues and confuse secondary with primary needs relying on flesh nature to fill gaps of inferiority.

Passage:

Psalms 3

 

Cross-references:

2 Sam: 17:14; Matt 22: 37-40; Matt 5:20; Ephesians 6:10-20, Rom, 1-8, 12-15:3

Exegetical Idea:

By an action of Faith, or prayer, (the shield) God will protect, and provide for us.

 

 

Pedagogical Idea:

God will give us strength to defeat our enemies but we must always thank him and put him above all things

 

 

 

Lesson AIM(s)

Cognitive (Head): The student will see how reliance on prayer in a time of need will give strength and provide protection (Security Need). That reliance on God superior than instinctive action. Right thinking starts with God and fear often center in the mind.

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Affective (Heart): By turning to prayer, one can be a conqueror of fear as a change of thinking in a Godly direction conquers anxiety. The Holy Spirit comforts and Provides Gifts for all situations and circumstances although at times we must endure suffering for Growth as Christ himself suffered (Rom 1-8) Renewal of Mind and Transformity (Rom 12- 15:3)  Whom shall I Fear ( Rom 8)

 

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Behavioral (Hands): By continue reliance on prayer for one’s needs one will see that one’s needs are to be met by placing God first.  One over time will become less anxious and secondary needs (or worldly /compulsive outlets) will be replaced by spiritual right thinking and a change of heart.

 

 

 

Hook:

Take 15 Minutes alone and contemplate on the passage then answer the questions.

Break into Groups and Share and Discuss solutions.

1.      What would you do if you were threatened or your life is in danger?

2.      What is your instinctual response to fear?

3.      What world solution comes to mind to combat and adversary or fear?

4.      What would God have you do?

5.      What can you learn from David’s example on how to face fear

6.      Why should we thank God when closing a prayer?

7.      Why did Absalom die on a Tree?

8.      What can we learn from David’s Reaction to Absalom’s deviance?

9.      What Adversaries are we as society facing today?

10.  What is any Area of fear in your life?

11.  How does God provide the blessing in your life?

12.  Why is dependency on God superior to self-sufficiency or self-appointed authority?

13.   Whom do we Fear?

14.   Who is the provider of security or source of strength and comfort in your life?

15.  What is your ultimate Goal or strength and weakness and Why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book:

Content Outline

1.      Historical info explained

 

 

 

 

2.      Compare of Shield and combat of adversaries

 

3.       Group Analysis Psalm 3

 

4.      Review & Discuss Possible solutions and Alternatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

Methodology

Mini lecture from 2 Samuel:  13-19 to explain historical setting of Psalms 3. Explain difference of old and New Covenant (; Matt 22: 37-40; Matt 5:20)

 

Ephesians 6:10-20

 

 

Read and Analyze Psalm 3 Conclude with question and Answer from Hook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look:

1.      Ask each student to think of ways each could better use prayer to overcome fear, and better rely on God first.

2.      Suggest each  Student spend 10 minutes a day on awakening reviewing day ahead inviting God into their life and Thanking God at night before bed reviewing where they acted instinctual relying on self, and where prayer should have been used to overcome fear, or provide for a need.

 

 

 

 

 

Took:

Begin with Praise either singing Hymns or Listening to Praise Music and Sharing of snacks or a Meal.

Communion: Offer communion to any who wish to Partake of it in Remembrance of the Suffering of our Lord Jesus and his Atonement for the Sin of All Humanity.

Group Prayer: Conclude with prayer requests and a Lord’s Prayer Thank God for what he has done in all participants Lives. Read John 3:16-21 and offer to Pray a prayer of Salvation for those who wish to turn their life to Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rationale:

This study is designed to both provide a more concise method to comprehend the Bible while working on Issues, of Fear and increase dependency on the Holy Spirit, in Prayer and in Faith while promoting community and unity and fellowship.

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Carter, Terry G, J. Scott Duvall, and J.Daniel Hays. Preaching God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

 

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

Dylan, Bob. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Pat Gareet & Billy the Kid. 1973.

Hindson, Ed, and Gary Yates. The Essence of the OLd Testament: A Survry. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2012.

 

Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014.

 

 

 

 

SEARCHING FOR GOD IN THE CHURCH TODAY

AN APPRAISAL OF: Chester & Timmis, Everyday Church (2012)

 

Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012.

 

 

TRENTON CLARK RINDOKS

RLGN 489

MAY 13, 2016

 

 

 

 

AN APPRAISAL OF: Chester &Timmis, Everyday Church (2012)

Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012.

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Synopsis

“In America, alone eighty five million people are unchurched or non-believers while 15 million are Christians and approximately   2/3 of the World still remains still has not heard the Gospel or received Christ, or is unchurched (Chester and Timmis 2012, 13).” This places Christians on the margins of Society. Furthermore, attendance at church is following in some nations. Many claim the problem is in secularization or the acceptance of pluralistic views towards other religions others will place the blame on technology and modernization of society. While each of these factors may, have some limited influence on the decline of Christianity as a worldview.

According to Chester and Timmis is “In many ways the opposite of secularism is actually nominalism, so growing secularism is an opportunity to develop witness to Christ unclouded by nominal faith. Much of the decline in the church in the West has been the falling off of nominal Christians. As a result, what remains may be more healthy. We have the opportunity to become communities focused on Jesus and his mission. The number of true Christians may not be falling so steeply—if at all. What is fast disappearing is the opportunity to reach notionally religious people through church activities to seize these new opportunities; we first need to recognize that the Christian gospel has moved from the center of our culture to the margins (Chester and Timmis 2012, 12).” The purpose of the book is to provide alternative methods of evangelism and ministry that will focus on areas of needs and concerns and common interest to establish and build rapport with the community and reach out to lost and hurting souls.  The books focus on ways to focus of cultural distinctions and build relationships in an everyday social engagement format such as simply sharing meals, social gatherings and household Bible Studies, Pastoral Care.  This book also equips one to share The Gospel in a simple a relative manner focused on a creation story using the questions what and why to break down idols in an individual’s lives and show them the ways of Christ-like manner. The Scriptural basis for the Everyday Church Model is 1 Peter and the premise is such, As Christians we are “Aliens and Strangers” of a sometimes hostile world until or Lord Christ returns and reigns in the Eternal Kingdom our true home. However, we are under commission as Royal ministers of the true royal nation to welcome and extend citizenship into his inclusive kingdom while respecting and engaging in the customs of the cultures of or host nation as long as it does not infringe on the virtues of God himself.

Assessment

The integration of community relations and culture understanding is essential for the Spreading of the Gospel. While many models suggest simply planting churches of existing successful churches or integrating multimedia, drama or elements of culture within the supporting or performing special evangelical Events such models are not always successful The key is going to where the unreached people are, in their homes, jobs,  and community. Thus, where they gather and spend the majority of time while not abandoning traditional models. Hostility is expect for even Jesus was resisted and rejected by his peers (Chester and Timmis 2012, 12-35).

A New manner of communicating the Gospel must be established that is relevant to the people we are trying to reach. “We cannot talk about guilt, faith, religion, or even God and assume that people understand what we are talking about. The gospel used to have more plausibility structures supporting it than it does today. We cannot talk about Jesus and assume that people locate him in a framework of creation, fall, redemption, and future hope. Everything has to be explained. (Chester and Timmis 2012, 38)” Additionally, guilt has been replaced with apathy but  a desire to have ones needs and meet ones goals is a basic drive in every person a God given instinct. Additionally, lending a helping hand, showing compassion, empathy, giving one id imitation the servant manner of Christ and id walking in his footsteps and provides hope. Furthermore, every one serve as a Pastor-Counselor in some fashion. First, we do so in everyday life in our kind actions, words and deeds. Secondly, we all are called to minster to the community as a whole. Third, as sin is present in all of us and change and transformation takes place over a lifetime. (Chester and Timmis 2012). We all must encourage, convince and rebuke each other of our failing and serve as mentors and counselors as we are restored in sanctification through the practice of disciplines and the aid of the Holy Spirit -over all life- long race towards restoration in the Eikōn, or image of Christ. As Christ justified us through his atonement of grace and mercy we must show the same grace mercy in the Spirit of brotherly love toward everyone whom we mister, counsel and interact with in our lifetime. Finally, the Bible forms the foundation for counseling, teaching, and encouraging others (Chester and Timmis 2012, 65-75). The Scripture is our primary source our means faith and revelation of the truth of God and the nature of many things under and above creation. However, one may need other secondary source for areas of culture, health, social, or cognitive issues when dealing with people. Additionally experience can also serve as a wise teacher in areas of faith and culture, and relationships

One must remember what the authors call the four liberation truths: First, God is great, so we do not have to be in control.   Next, God is glorious, so we do not have to fear others.   Finally, God is good, so we do not have to look elsewhere and additionally, God is gracious, so we do not have to prove ourselves (Chester and Timmis 2012, 82-83).” These four truths insure humility and sacrificial service and that the glory is given to God and help maintain balance and stability when working with other, thus empowering them in a Christ-like manner.

Chester and Timmis provides a new way to give a testimony and Spread the Gospel based on the Creation plan God. “Creation= what is your Identity or What do You identify with or to Whom?   The Fall= The What is the problem or weaknesses in your life?  Redemption= is what is the solution and Why? This is used to try to break down and determine what “Idols”, assumptions or addictions/ afflictions (ways of the world) are keeping one from Christ. Consummation /Destination= Final Hope or Salvation the outcome (Chester and Timmis 2012). This plan not only works for spreading the news but also as a basic plan for setting goals overcoming obstacles, and setbacks, assessing progress and maturity and facing adversity and fear thus can be both a great tool for evangelism and counseling.

The authors also address that mission work mot only occurs in remote regions of the world to distant people but should be done in one’s own locality.  Several suggestions are provided and include, sharing meals with none-believers, walking, or using public transportation, instead of driving, participating in hobbies or community sporting events, striking up conversations with coworkers and building rapport while trying to incorporate Christ-like themes in the conversation. Volunteering, being active in social events within the community and being hospitable to one’s neighbors lending a hand to those in need and above all else showing  and loving God, people and life while living and expressing oneself in Christ-Mindedness ( Phil 1-11) is the best means to bring people to Chris and is the way of performing Everyday Church.

Rationale

While the authors provide a foundation on some key components of counseling, evangelism and social concerns in our postmodern society. Worldview and individual perspectives will vary from person to person and in each sub group, ethnicity, nation, people group and based on other variables. A complete assessment of an individual, group or society is or group is a necessity for evangelism. Additionally, once basic needs have been established the person group or society should be entrust with the authority of the maintaining and profession of the needs. However, in the early stages of development or maturation the mentor may need to evaluate the progress and make suggestion for improvement for growth focusing first on strengths rather than weaknesses unless the flaw is one of great determent to the individual, group or society. This was the missionary strategy of Paul and is the basis for both short term and long-term therapy programs and many strategic plans.

 In regards to Evangelism a source for planning, culture and other issues is,

Winer, Ralph D, and Hawthorne Steven C., . Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. 4th. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

 

 

For an understanding of Christian Counseling I recommend the two books,

Clinton, Timothy, and George Ohlschlager. Competent Christian Counseling. Vol. 1. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002.[1]

 

&

Crabb, Larry. Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977.

 

Overall, Chester and Timmis provide great insight for church planting, evangelism, building rapport, performing needs laymen pastoral care and being better stewards, shepherds and ambassadors of Christ in the ever-changing world as we prepare the way for the return of the King. We live in hope ,joy and suffering in this age until his return in humble servitude and praise Proclaiming his inclusive Gospel of inclusion and walking in likeness and mindset in the manner of love  In Hopes That all will See and know and hear ! Amen!

 

Bibliography

Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012.

 

Clinton, Timothy, and George Ohlschlager. Competent Christian Counseling. Vol. 1. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2002.

 

Crabb, Larry. Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977.

Winer, Ralph D, and Hawthorne Steven C., . Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. 4th. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

 

 

 

UNDERSTANDING THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS
Image result for cTrinity symbolsImage result for messianic jews

 

A Treatise on Faith & the Glorification of God

In the Mind & Hearts of all Believers

The Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans in the winter of 56-57 AD while visiting Corinth during his third missionary Journey and was preparing to deliver “the donations of the Saints to the mother Church in Jerusalem “and thus will be delayed in his anticipated visit of the Roman Church.[1] Many themes have been suggested for the Epistle of Romans however the overlying theme could be seen righteousness by faith and the necessity of faith and the glorification of God in all areas of one’s life. The purpose of Pauls’ visit and the treatise is to further to proclaim the Good News ,or inclusive Gospel of Salvation, to all People and to fulfill God’s divine provincial plan of Kingdom fulfillment.

This plan or reconciliation and redemption is available to all who are willing to be justified by faith by the gracious acts accomplished during the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Regardless of any cultural or any other prejudices of the law all are redeemed from sin and reconciled by Christ and faith alone and none can come to righteousness through any work or deed. However, Christian living requires a live of lived in faith and Glory to God which will require a transformation of the mind and result in the circumcision of the heart and rebirth into a new body and indwelling and transformation of Spirit.[2]

 The Date

Written during Paul’s third missionary before his departure to Jerusalem and during the period in which many Jews were in exile from Rome and Italy (Acts 18) under the orders of Claudius but According to Moo, many were slowly returning to the city.[3]

The Audience

The Epistle to the Romans was written to the believers or Body of Christ living in Rome. The congregation was composed mainly a gentile community, some of whom may have been “Godfearers” or Gentile converts to Judaism and then Christianity but the vast majority would have been those from the general gentile populous those who lived outside the Law of Moses and thus were uncircumcised and practiced the customs of eating the unclean foods. Even though the Council of Jerusalem ( Acts 15)  had decided that such restriction should not prohibit one from being a brother in Christ or disciple fear of assimilation and loss of national identity and misinterpretation and a desire to hold true to the ways of the Old Covenant still remained among Judaic believers and their Hellenistic ( Gentile) brothers[4]. However, as mentioned above many Jews were returning to the city after being expelled under the edict of Claudius and as such, there was a Judaic presence in the city both in the body of the believer and the synagogue and as was Paul’s custom and God’s directive Paul would witness first to the Jews then to the Gentiles. Thus, the Letter is attended for all believers, or saints, regardless of nationality or cultural identity.

 

The Occasion

As briefly mentioned above Paul wrote the Epistle during the winter of AD 56-57 in Corinth while preparing to deliver the gifts of the Saints to Jerusalem to help with the needs of the church and the people. This universal church offering was most likely a crisis relief effort to meet the needs that occurred from the three-year famine that occurred during the reign of Emperor Claudius around 45-48 AD and would have had financial impacts on the area and the people of region (Acts 11).

Additionally Paul writes the Epistle with a sense of regret for not being able to visit Rome at an earlier date and having to be delayed but encouraging the church he is coming and Eager to proclaim the Gospel and the necessity of faith to the Church.[5] Finally, Robert Stein adds it was “Paul, not Peter, responsibility to mister to the Roman Church as the church in this city was primarily a Gentile and not Judaic Church. Additionally He commits on the uniqueness of the introduction of the Epistle in which Paul states how he was divinely appointed by Christ to serve as the Apostle to the Gentiles. This divine appointment by the risen Christ and through the Spirit was received by faith and is done so to bring about the obedient faith in to whom have received gracious faith in the risen Christ as he has.[6] Moo also comments on this adding that the purpose is the Proclaim the Gospel to the People of Rome.[7] Additionally, the assignation of Claudius has placed a new Emperor Nero in on the throne who would eventually become a vicious persecutor of both Jew and Christian.  This persecution and attempted assimilation onto the Jews would lead to the failed uprising of the Jewish zealots and the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70.[8] Additionally, fulfilling the warnings of the prophets and the promise of the destruction of Jesus and proving that no one can be made righteous to God by works, deeds or upholding the Law along it must be accomplished in the inseparability of action and faith and a life lived for the glory of God.

In regards to the situation the Jews were allowed back in Rome due to the assassination of Claudius and thus as a political attempt by Nero to try to appease Jewish populous in the Empire and as an end the disturbance and thus a means to avoid a possible revolution. Nero ascended the throne in 54 AD but this pacification would not last long. In 64 AD, the fire of Rome was blamed on the Christians and was the catalyst for the Persecution of Christians and Jews under Nero, which lasts until 68 AD.  Most historians claim Nero actual started the fire of Rome as an attempt to discredit the Christian and Jews. Christians and Jews refused to worship the Emperor as God and Christians were accused of cannibalism (for the belief in the Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper), and for undermining Roman cultural traditions and in the Words of Tacitus “Nero Blamed Christians who are hated for their abominations and punished them with refined cruelty. Christ from whom they take their namesake were executed under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. Stopped for a moment, this evil superstition reappeared, not only in Judea, where was the root of all evil, but also in Rome, where all things sordid and abominable from every corner of the world come together. 

Thus, those who confessed [to being Christians] were arrested, on the basis of their testimony a great number condemned, although not so much for the fire itself as for the hatred of humankind.”[9]  The common fable that Nero played his lyre dressed as an actor singing about the destruction of Troy was done so he would be memorialized in Epic Poems as a hero of Rome, great Poet and savior of the people as the who order the setting of the fire. Two sections of the city, which were spared by the fire, were the Christian and Jewish sections. The fire burned ten of the fourteen sections and left the citizens vengeful and seeking justice with many, aware that Nero set the fire so he could rebuild Rome to be more to his liking and splendor. To apiece the people and his own cruelty Nero would dress Christian s dogs and have them killed, or parade them around in his garden in a circus where he dressed as a charioteer would exact cruel punishment.. In AD 68 was impeached and executed by the Senate and after a volatile year was replaced by Vespasian as Emperor ending the Persecution the Christians and Jews.

The term Godfearer can apply to Hellenistic Jews or Gentile Converts to Judaism and is associated with individuals who did not uphold to all the commandments of the Law of Moses, whether it be circumcision, dietary customs, or other restrictions listed in the Judaic Law in in the Old Testament. At times, it simply means one whom is chosen by God or lives in obedient faith. In contrast, a proselyte is a convert who uphold all the Judaic traditions of culture and religious Law. In the 1st century, a Pharisee would tend to be more inclined to view those who did not uphold the commandments that were more of a doctorial or religious nature were, as a Sadducee would tend to emphasize cultural and national identity.  Additionally, those of the Diaspora populous would be a bit more tolerant where as those in Judea and Palestine would view any one of a Hellenistic view or background and a Gentile in a negative manner.[10]

Purpose

Although, many sub themes run through the Epistle of Romans Paul’s intent or Purpose is clearly defined in the introduction. “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of Godthe gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him, we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1-7 NIV).” What Paul is stating it is by divine election and appointment and the leading of the Spirit he has been called and sent to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles. This divine election is his apostolic calling for seen by the prophets, that the resurrected decedent of David will be the Son of God and reign in Heaven at the resurrection. All people Gentile and Jews are called to live in obedient faith to the Son of God and all authority and power is given under his name alone. His salvation is only available by grace to those who live by faith alone.

Moo states although many purposes have been stated for the intent or theme for Romans the Gospel should be seen as the primary focal point or position of Romans.[11] The purpose of Romans is to spread the Gospel to all people of Rome first to Jews then Gentiles. Paul additionally plans to expand on this message in a different manner. Through encouraging, convincing and rebuking of the ways of Flesh and the rebirth of the Spirit.  This transformation of the mind that lead to a circumcised heart and a life of obedient faith for those justified thru faith. Justification and Salvation is the gracious gift, which was granted thru the crucifixion, resurrection and the hyper-exaltation of the Lord of All Creation the Son of God, in which one is born into a new image in the likeness of Christ or his Eikōn.

 

The purpose of the letter is thus to establish the need of obedient faith and proclaim the inclusive Gospel in Rome in order to fulfill God’s Kingdom calling. [12]Obedient faith includes such issues as justification by faith in which one is declared righteous or forgiven of past transgressions only by the grace of the sacrificial act of Christ on the cross and in his resurrection and exalted ascension.

Furthermore, justification is similar to when a judge pardons ones actions or a debt is paid in full by another and forgotten in addition to forgiven. Thus, no deed, work or human action can gain God’s favor and bring about restoration.

Additionally, Paul speaks of the need for the transformation of the mind, sensible thinking, the circumcision of the heart applying that a life live by faith also requires dying to the ways of sin, resisting temptation and total reliance and dependence on the Authority and Power of Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. A life that is to be live in service to God,  for the glory of God, and in a relationship with God lived on the precepts of love, a unity of heart and mind and a interdependence with the community and not live out of an independent selfish nature. Finally, all believers are called to proclaim the gospel and further the kingdom of God.

Although salvation may begin with the individual, it expands through the community and then explodes in an inclusive nondiscriminatory global fashion. As it was for the 1st century, Roman Church be today. We must set aside our difference so we can fulfil God’s plan of Kingdom fulfillment through the Good News of the Gospel.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

 

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Bibliography

Blackwell, Ben C., John K. Goodrich, and Jason Maston, . Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.

 

Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Vol. I. New York: Harper One, 2010.

 

Haris, M. D. The MD Haris Institute. December 11, 2011. http://mdharrismd.com/2011/12/19/proselytes-god-fearers-and-relations-between-jews-and-gentiles-in-the-bible/ (accessed March 26, 2016).

 

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

Stein, Robert. Biblical Training. Spring 2003. https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library (accessed March 25, 2016).

 

Towns, Elmer L., and Ben Gutierrez, . The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2012.

 

[1] Elmer L. Towns, and Ben Gutierrez, . The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey. ( Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2012), 132.

[2] Douglas J Moo. The NIV Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

[3] Douglas J Moo. The NIV Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

[4] As evident in Paul’s frustration with the Jews in Corinth & Macedonia during his third Journey (Act 18 :5-6)

[5] Douglas J Moo. The NIV Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

[6] Robert Stein. Biblical Training. Spring 2003. https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library (accessed March 25, 2016).

[7] Douglas J Moo. The NIV Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

[8] Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, and Jason Maston, . Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 24.

[9] Justo L. Gonzalez. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Vol. I. ( New York: Harper One, 2010), 43-46.

[10]  M. D. Haris. The MD Haris Institute. December 11, 2011.  The MD Haris Institute. December 11, 2011.

[11] Douglas J. Moo. The NIV Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

[12] Douglas J Moo. The NIV Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

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THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS

Justification by Faith

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:21-22 NIV).”

The issue of justification by faith and the relationship of works and the law has any role in salvation has been a doctrinal controversial since the Reformation. Martin Luther felt strongly that one is justified and thus restored to righteous by faith alone that he viewed this issue and Romans 3:21-26 is the central theme of the Bible.[1] Luther was strong in his conviction that faith and not works leads to one being declared worthy and significant, or righteous by God, he wished to have the Book of James declared uncanonical but included it in the Apocrypha of the Lutheran Bible with the following preface.

“In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works.  It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac; though in Romans 4 St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15. Now although this epistle might be helped and an interpretation devised for this justification by works, it cannot be defended in its application to works of Moses’ statement in Genesis 15. For Moses is speaking here only of Abraham’s faith, and not of his works, as St. Paul demonstrates in Romans 4. This fault, therefore, proves that this epistle is not the work of any apostle.[2]

“In the second place its purpose is to teach Christians, but in all this long teaching it does not once mention the Passion, the resurrection, or the Spirit of Christ. He names Christ several times; however, he teaches nothing about him, but only speaks of general faith in God. Now it is the office of a true apostle to preach of the Passion and resurrection and office of Christ, and to lay the foundation for faith in him, as Christ himself says in John 15, “You shall bear witness to me.” All the genuine sacred books agree in this, that all of them preach and inculcate Christ.[3]

Paul build his arguments with his thesis statement in Romans 3:21 22 No one can be redeemed righteous by the Law but is given to righteousness or justified in faith alone and by the profession of believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He then explains all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. This redemption is only available by the atonement, or blood sacrifice, that was offered up for all humanities sins on the cross, and in this act of ultimate justice, the sins of all humanity past, present and future are paid in full. This act was given out of grace alone.

He explains God is the God of all people both those under the Law although justification is achieved by faith not in observation or keeping the works of Law. He explains however, we do uphold the Law as faith does not nullify the Law but rather affirms the Law. It is in, by our Faith, and out of faith that all works and deeds therefore result. Thus work and deeds are a result of faith not a way of achieving faith or maintain righteousness or one is relational standing with Law.  The Greek word for faith, and believe chosen by Paul is Pistis / Pisteuo. In Greek mythology Pistis is the Spirit of faith, truth and honest who fled Pandora’s Box and abandoned humankind.

 

On the Issue of Continuity of Righteousness (James 2: 14:26)

Paul, continues his argument in Romans 4 illustrating the Life of Abraham and his obedience of Faith as result from the gracious promises and blessings bestowed on him as the result of his Salvation not  any actions or deed of his own intent as the results that led to the Covenant Relationship ( Righteousness.) Additionally Paul uses the illustration of the promise and blessing of an heir and nation to illustrate the inclusiveness of Salvation to all humanity. Furthermore, in the promise of the child being born to a barren mother shows ability as creator and originator of all thing. He who can create Life out of that which is formless or empty. He then states, “Abraham is the father of us all and God gives Life to the dead and call things that are not as though they were.” This passage, alludes to Eternal Life, and illustrates who Christ conquered sin and death.

Paul concludes by stating that Abraham offspring’s will be like him who had unwavering faith , when at 100 Sarah gave birth to Isaac and through his strengthened and unwavering faith he gave the glory to God and this is why we credit him righteous( romans 4:22). Finally concluding the words were not written credit to him for Abraham alone but for all of us also. However, for us this faith comes only in Jesus, our Lord raised from the dead, who conquered death and sin and was resurrected for our justification Romans 4; 23-25).

James 2: 14-26 states reasonable argument that on the surface level appears contrast Paul’s logical defense on Justification by Faith alone.  James contends faith, works and deeds are all necessary starts off by illustrating that if one has faith and does not practice deeds such as acts of charity can one truly be saved.  The key here I believe is a missing word James is not saying can one achieve righteous but can one who claims to have repented of sin and profess believe in Christ and thus have the Holy Spirit within truly be counted as righteous. Paul will build on this assumption himself in Romans 7, 8 and 12).

James states “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2: 17). After the initial process of repentance, justification, baptism, transformation and sanctification process occurs and is ongoing. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” James continues, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder (James 2: 18-19).”  James states that faith without deeds is meaningless but faith and resulting deeds illustrates true righteousness. He then compares the works and faith of Abraham (In his sacrifice of Isaac) and Rahab the prostitute (who was made righteous by assisting the spies and gave them lodging), as examples how faith works and deeds are inseparable. However, the key to understanding James is that faith and deed result from faith not lead to faith or righteousness.  The righteousness James references here is more in lines with obedience of faith or sanctification of Paul. This is evident in his closing statement “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead (2 James 26).”

Thus, why many theologians have argued about a debate in position on justification between Paul and James and the position of faith, works and deeds , the main issue is over a misunderstanding on what James understood as righteousness.  For James righteousness is a state of obedient faith that produces actions and deeds as a result of faith in an ongoing process in the Christian life similar to or even equivocal to Paul’s view of transformation, obedience of faith and sanctification. The issue is thus one of church doctrine and dogma and not an issue of historical or apostolic significance as Luther and others claim.

When on is considering the issue of justification by faith from the perspective of Paul it is clear the Paul is stating that one is declared worthy and significant to be a member of God’s people and entitled to all the privileges of citizenship. The entitlements of citizenship are freedom from rigid servitude to any form of the law.-in such things humanity will never earn God’s favor.

However, the principle of obedient faith is an ongoing process of sanctification and transformation of the mind and heart. By resisting the ways of worldly things, immoral actions, and the giving one’s self-over to the guidance, care and direction of Christ and the Holy Spirit (Romans 12).  Furthermore, one is to glorify God in all areas of one’s life by being a living sacrifice and serving others out of humility (Romans 12:1-8). Finally, a life of active love is living out of the obedience leading of faith.  This form of Christ-likeness forms the standard of Christian conduct (Romans 12:9-21).

The initial act of justification is a gift of both grace and mercy given freely offered by Christ to all and is the result of the atoning sacrifice which serves as the repaid of sin that was offered up and fully redeemed on the Tree of Calvary. Therefore, Paul is merely stating that no good deed, moral action, or even attempt to obey and live by the Law of Moses can grant one Eternal life. One must repent, profess in faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is a heartfelt and spirit led desire to trust and believe that a life lived in sin is futile. Only in and thru Jesus who is both man and God can on achieve eternal life.

The Epistle of James is a book of wisdom. It teaches one how to apply inseparability of deed and action through faith and become Christ-like. Thus, James is writing on sanctification and Christian living.   In contrast, Paul’s principle of justification of faith applies to the initial act of one entering into the covenant of God or being granted citizenship into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The church doctrine of justification is centered on a social and cultural view. For Luther, the sacraments and all the “unneeded requirements of the Catholic Church seemed to complicate the complicate the matter of faith and brought distress, confusion and even uncertainty of one’s eternal security.” Thus, Luther concluded that once one is justified one’s faith is sanctified all one must do is live by faith alone. “Sanctification is nothing over or above living obediently by faith alone for in Jesus all are declared holy and righteous[4].”

An Analogy from History

An analogy from history may help clarify this position: When we were under the oppressive rule of England and sought our founding fathers wrote a The Declaration of Independence and stated are decision to succeed from the reign of rule. When we repent of our sins and profess That Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior our Authoritative King who died-for all sin, we state our intent to be set free from the oppression of the reign of Satan, self and the world itself.

In response to the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War was waged as we fought for our Independence. The war we as believers wage is in part still going on and is why we must put on the Armor of God. In practice of the disciplines of truth, righteousness (morality), evangelism (Gospel), obedience of faith (trust and worship of God in all things), Salvation (   redemption, renewal, sanctification) and above all else study, mediation, and proclamation of the Word of God. Finally, we must pray for all people as well as we must under all occasions and circumstance whether we are in the face of adversity or giving the glory for blessings to God (Ephesians 6, Duet. 26:11).

However, the war is partial over as Christ conquered sin and death on the Tree of Calvary and the Bible provides all the necessary tools and serves as our Constitution or moral and spiritual guidebook, which is written on our heart.

As our nations is intended to be a melting pot of all oppressed and dispersed people we as soldiers under the commission of Christ and being restored to his Eikōn are commanded to make disciples of all people from every nations regardless of any cultural differences[5]. We serve as mentors as they strive by faith to enter citizenship into the Kingdom of God.

The main issue for Paul is how we become citizens to God’s Kingdom. Paul is merely stating throughout his argument on justification by faith alone we can never earn God’s favor. However after he builds his argument of how we are declared worthy and significant by the grace and mercy of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross and how the blood sacrifice fully paid the price for the sins of all humanity regardless of culture.  All must practice a life in obedience of faith.  This ongoing process of sanctification that he introduces in Romans 6:1-23 is one that involves a full transformation of mind and heart (Romans 12).  It requires of dying of selfish ways, and all though we are free from obligation of any form of the any laws we serve as living examples in our new body. This new image is a likeness of Christ or Eikōn. We live under a new moral code of ethics built on faith, love and for the Glory of God (Romans 12:3-Romans 15:13). Key points include being a good citizen, defense of the weak, not judging others sins as all are sinners themselves, encouragement, keeping the 10 commandments, not harming others and trust and hope in the power of the spirit which provides joy and in the scriptures. The last point simply is as a call for evangelism.

Many see salvation as only available to “The Elect as Paul speak of those who are predestined and chosen by God in Romans 8: 30-36. However if one carefully reads it is simply a statement of encouragement that for one who lives in obedience of faith and life that “ neither death nor life, angels or demons or any powers can separate us from creation once we are in the love and Eikōn of Christ and living for his Glory( Romans 8:38). For more on free will versus predestination on would recommend reading “The Salvation Debate” and Eternal Security Debate in Across the Spectrum  by Boyd and Eddy[6].

 

In God Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

Boyd, Gregory A., and Paul R. Eddy. Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. 2nd. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.

Diehl, D. W. “Righteousness.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, by Walter A Elwell, 1033-103. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

Luther’s Treatment of the ‘Disputed Books’of the New Testament. 2016. http://www.bible-researcher.com/antilegomena.html (accessed April 8, 2016).

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

Packer, J. J. “Justification.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, by Walter A Elwell, 643-646. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

The Lausanne Covenant. Vol. 4th, in Perspectives On the World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph D Winter, & Hawthorn Stephen C, 764-768. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

 

[1] Luther’s Treatment of the ‘Disputed Books’ of the New Testament. 2016. http://www.bible-researcher.com/antilegomena.html (accessed April 8, 2016)

[2] Ibid

[3] Douglas J. Moo, “Romans. NIV Application Commentary.” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

[4] Gregory A. Boyd and Paul R. Eddy, Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. 2nd. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 162-163.

[5] For more on diversity issues & world evangelism consult The Lausanne Covenant ( 1974):

The Lausanne Covenant. Vol. 4th, in Perspectives On the World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph D Winter, & Hawthorn Stephen C, 764-768. Pasadena: (William Carey Libary, 2009).

[6] Gregory A., Boyd,  and Paul R. Eddy, Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. 2nd. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009).

 

 

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Three Testimonies:

The Providence of the Holy Spirit

& the Early Believers in Acts

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One could argue that a suitable Title for Acts would be The Acts of the Holy Spirt as the Book of Acts of the Apostles depicts the Holy Spirit as the inspiration behind the preaching, the source of protection the provider, of miracles, healing signs and wonders and the comforter throughout the Book. The Holy Spirit is often depicted as fire, water or wind. Additionally, “In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is the instrument of Baptism, prophecy, and judgement and a source of unity and the instrument of service. Furthermore he is our seal of the inheritance of the kingdom and intercedes on behalf of the saints to serve the Father’s will.”[1]

The Significance of Stephen’s Dying Vision of Jesus

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The significance of Stephen’s vision  (Acts 7: 55-56 )while “being full of the Spirit and see Jesus standing at the throne as the son of man at the right side of the father serves a duality of meaning. First, the vision has Jesus Christ hyper-exalted and at the right side of the God-The Father it shows a position of Authority. Additionally, confirmation to the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected and ascended in both human form and divinity is stated by the usage of the terminology “Son of Man” as Stephen proclaims the vision before the Sanhedrin preceding his execution. It also, in the use of the Son of God confirms that Jesus is God, sent by God as Messiah and in his ascension equal to God. The Standing position serves a duality of purpose to show that God through the Authority of Christ is welcoming Stephen in Heaven. In Addition it serves to illustrate that Jesus Christ is standing to pass judgement on the Sanhedrin and those who persecute the faithful, rejected the teachings of all the prophets on the coming and fulfillment of Salvation through the righteous one. He finally charges them with being guilt of the murder of Christ, and it the future they will continue to persecute the saints (Acts 7:52-53). These saints are the  believers who spread the Gospel thus serving  the advancement of the Great Commission or  Kingdom Fulfillment of Salvation availability to All people as this is  the will of God and thus persecutors are guilty of not living under the Law  and failing to fulfil God’s will for Israel, and denying the Holy Spirit( Acts 7:51-53). Polhill states “In Daniel 7:14 the Son of Man vision is used to illustrate God’s Providence or dominion over All peoples of every nation, and every language.”[2] This supports the role of the Holy Spirit as the Agent of Inspiration, gifting provider of miracles, wonders,  and signs and the Authority of Christ as Ruler of Heaven and Earth and judge and the unstoppable nature of God’s will over any of manmade desires or creations ( Acts: 7: 39- 50) .

Cornelius & the Necessity of the Gospel

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Cornelius and his household are stated by Luke as being God-Fearers and one can easily draw an assumption this applies were familiar with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the disciples. However, a closer look at Acts 10:2 simply states he was God-fearing, prayed regularly, and gave to the needy. In Acts 10:4 God sends an Angel to him because his deeds of prayer and gifts have gained the notice and favor of God. He is told to send for Peter. The next day at noon during prayer, Peter has his vision of the eating of unclean food, as “nothing created by God is unclean. Followed by the Holy Spirit announcing the arrival of the entourage of Cornelius and invited the men in as guest and the next day sets out to meet with Cornelius(Acts 10: 9:23) .” At Cornelius house Peter stresses it against the Law of God for him even associate with a Gentile because he is unclean but God had called him to do so. They  share an exchange of the visions given by the God to them and Peter remarks that He knows that God does not discriminate or show favoritism accepting all who worship him and do what is right.(Acts 10: 34-35) . Peter then begins to preach the Gospel in a unique manner from his other speeches but is interrupted when the entire audience composed of Cornelius and his household, his relative and close friends are baptized by the Spirit and then begin Speaking in tongues. Later he orders them to be baptized in Water in the Name of Christ and brought into the Body of Christ. The question is if Cornelius is God-fearing then why did Peter feel the need to proclaim the Gospel? Polhill explains this in the following manner.” Peter’s unique tailoring of the Gospel is based on Peter’s view that God does not discriminate and thus there is no division of people from a divine perspective. However, God does discriminate on an individual’s actions and attitudes, He accept those who worship, him and live in a manner that is acceptable to his ways. Polhill goes on to state that although one may view this as theology of Saving Grace more accurately it can be seen more in line with the view presented by James the faith and works are inseparable.[3]

The Significance in a Name:  Christians in Antioch

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The term Christian is historically associated with Books of Acts and the Church of Antioch. It only occurs in Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The Term was not originally used by the believers themselves but by outsiders to designate members of the faith. The first usage to designate fellow believers can be traced to the second century to Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch; Roman writers to designate followers of Christ more commonly used it. The preferred term was Brother, Believer, or Disciple.[4] In contrast the Judaic Church preferred the term Disciple of the Way, Believer, Brother, or simply Disciple.  What is the significance of the term Christian between the Hellenist Church of Antioch and the Gentile Churches that sprang fourth from this movement? According to Polhill, this reflects the success of the Gentile movement and the distinction of identity.[5] No Longer could the church be seen as an exclusive Jewish sect or movement rather it had distinct identity. More so, it illustrates the view of the Global nature and inclusiveness of salvation and the breaking down of nationalism and cultural barrios. From now on God’s concern is nondiscriminatory except in manners of conduct and behavior that are against God’s own nature.

When the three testimonies on the Providence of the Holy Spirit are combined it illustrates God’s unstoppable nature authority, the inclusiveness of Salvation, the inseparability of faith and works, the Homoousios (of same form & essence), and ultimately the judgement of those who deny Christ and the will of God.

In God, Christ, & Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

Bibliography

Caulley, T.S. “Holy Spirit.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, by Walter A Elwell, 569-570. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

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[1] Caulley, T.S. “Holy Spirit.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, by Walter A Elwell, 569-570. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

 

[2] Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

[3] Caulley, T.S. “Holy Spirit.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, by Walter A Elwell, 569-570. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

 

[4] Caulley, T.S. “Holy Spirit.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, by Walter A Elwell, 569-570. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

[5] [5] Caulley, T.S. “Holy Spirit.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, by Walter A Elwell, 569-570. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

 

 

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The Authority of Christ

Three themes present in the sermons of Peter in Acts 2:5 identify the Authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: The bodily Resurrection and Ascension, The Exaltation and Providence and unstoppable – ability of God’s will over the will of man.

First, the bodily Resurrection and Ascension serves as prove that what the prophets foretold had happened. As stated by Polhill “ from Moses and from the time of Samuel onward The Resurrection and Ascension must come from One who was both fully Human and fully Divine. David still rests in Hades and thus, no human could serve as either a uniting king, conquer physical and spiritual death, and restore the separation from God that resulted from the sin of Adam and Eve or grant Salvation (Polhill 1992,2003).” One has to remember that the Prophets in the Old Testament served both the function of Judges, predictors of God’s future wrath and to warn of event that are will occur in the present age if one does not change their ways. Additionally In the section of the Major Prophets only 5% deal with the New Covenant, 1% deal with deal with events that will happen in our present era, 2% are Messianic in Nature the rest thus are event that occurred in history (Duvall and Hays 2012). Thus, all prophecy and signs have a relationship that are past, present and future in meaning.

God, The Father, being purely Holy divine & pure Holiness would destroy creation itself, as the father cannot look upon evil ( Hb 1:13) and the Holy Spirit being without human-form would not be able to fully experience or be an adequate sacrifice for the sins of the Humankind, thus only a Man-God would suffice.

Secondly, the Ascension and Exaltation of Our Lord Jesus Christ as the Man-God serves the function to illustrate that during the second-coming Jesus Christ will return in the same manner in which he ascended. This is important to show that although Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecy humanity is not fully restored to the image of God, The Nation of Israel is not yet fully redeemed, and all people of all nations who are willing have yet to accept and profess the authority and name of Jesu Christ as the Lord and Savior! Additionally, evil is not fully contained as temptation remains as principalities, and the Prince of the Earth still are in direct opposition with the Kingdom of Heaven. However, Jesus did provide a means for Salvation through the establishment of a New Covenant for the whole of humanity and a formula for the resisting of temptation. Christ gave us a comforter, a source of Inspiration and protector. Heaven and Earth or the New Jerusalem is a future prediction that will not come to pass until Old Israel is restored to God, our Savior-King returns to set up his Earthly Kingdom and all face the day of the Lord. The most important aspect is that upon Ascension Jesus current sits at the right hand of the father a place of glory or hyper-exaltation. Jesus-Christ thus is the ruler over all creation Heaven and Earth and is with God or the same as God of the same substance, authority, power. Prominence and sovereignty.

Finally, Providence and unstoppable force of God’s will over the will of man is illuminated by Luke in (Acts 5: 38-39) when Peter states in reference to Theudas and the uprising that resulted in response to his teaching in comparison to the martyrdom of Stephen that if such activities are of human origins they will fail.  When such endeavors of God’s will succeed and one will only be fighting a losing battle against God’s purpose, authority sovereignty itself. Peter used such literary devices in (Acts 4:12 NIV) When he states “Salvation is found in no one else name under Heaven.”  In Acts 4:19-20 Peter and John reply when commanded not to keep teach, proclaim, performing miracles and such  under the Authority or in the Name of Jesus “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!  As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4: 19-20 HCSB).” The implication of the above verses taken from the various speeches before the Sanhedrin is will of God has ultimate providence over the will of man.  The authority of Christ is the same as that of the father himself, God Kingdom calling is global in perspective and not reserved to Jews and the nation of Israel. All who go against the will of God will face judgement and will fail. Any who act out of their own self-ambition, concept or desires will fail and are not serving God’s purpose. Unity, faith, suffering for the glory of God, Prayer repentance, grace and the availability of Salvation to all people will become the central themes of the Universal church. Additional subthemes include defense of the weak, compassion to all, commodity, not giving into the status quo (being like the Sadducees), and being overly concerned with the Law (Like the Pharisees). From thenceforth, Salvation must come from willful receiving the gift of Salvation of Grace deeds or faith alone are not sufficient. One must have both.  Also all gifts, signs and miracles are performed in the name and Authority of Jesus Christ in conjunction with faith and assisted by the Holy Spirit anything else would be considered a sin against God. When all three pint are considered, it demonstrates and illustrates the Authority of Jesus Christ as well as Providence Of & Will of God and the Unity and Sovereignty of the Trinity.

In God, Christ, & Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

References

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

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary. Vol. 26. Nashville: BroadmenPress, B&H Publishing Group, 1992,2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for The PrototokosThe Prototokos Debate

The debate over what is meant by being first born as it pertains to Jesus Christ has perplexed theologians and has created a divide resulting in discord within the Body of Christ resulting in a lack of unity, dissention and in some cases rivalry and even hatred among those who profess that Christ is their Lord their Lord and Savior.

The word heretic and heresy is commonly a depiction of one who holds an ideology that is against God or against the Church. The meaning from the Greek and Biblical definition can refer to a sect or individual holding an opinion or choice as in Acts 5:17, Is. 24:5, to speak out against authority( Gal 5:20),  a person of questionable conduct “whose self – will questions (Titus 3-10)”,  or a division in the church itself ( 1 Cor. 11:19) (Easton 1897). A simple meaning could be stated as follows: any view, belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief, dominant theory, opinion, or practice of a particular religion, institution or system (Heresy 2015).”  However, deviancy is a definition of society and those considered deviant are often innovators of change in society. More so,  one could hardly argue Jesus was a bit of a revolutionary and considered a revolutionary and even considered a heretic by the religious leaders of his time.

What is Paul referring to in Col. 1:15 when He states, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” First, on the issue of first-born the story of Jacob and Esau comes to mind. Eric Lutzer states: “One should take the word “firstborn” to mean “first-bearer” implying Christ has preeminence over creation or the source of all things that which is above ,supreme and above all else, The Alpha the Omega. In addition, Lutzer points out “It is not a chronological matter but one of status that should be considered for Esau was older but Jacob received the blessing and inheritance (Lutzer 1998).” Secondly, John the Beloved writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn.  1:1 NIV).” John also restates this as; “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14 NIV).” The first quote refers to Jesus Christ as being present since before and at the beginning of time, One with God, and the author of creation. The second refers to the second persona of God, Jesus Christ descending from the father to be our savior fully human and divine both in form and in essence; complete in mind, body soul and spirit.

The councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon were called to debate the nature of God and Persona of Christ. In summary, Jesus Christ was of a unified nature of human form- and Divinity born of a virgin mother in a manner which is a mystery and ascended to Heaven in the same state and thus will return in such a state in the second coming. Only such form would be sufficient to pay the price for the penalty of the sins of humanity. Only a Man-God could experience temptation and serve as a teacher and example: A New Adam and role model for a fallen world in need of redemption, a savior who could crush the head of serpent (evil) and hold mastery over all matters of death physical and spiritual (Lutzer 1998).

However, there are some truth and merits to the views of heretics. The Gnostics view that much of the world is under the influence of unseen spirits and the Platonic view that all knowledge is derived from a heavenly origin and all creation has a soul is not without warrant. The Bible cautions of the powers of principalities and the need to put on” The Armor of God” In Ephesians 6. The Holy Spirit is the source of all Inspiration, and in Psalms 148, it is clear all Creation worships and praises God.  All has a soul and Spirit; however, we as humans are in a fallen state suffering a spiritual death because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Humankind must come into a decision of faith, and by the gift of grace of salvation to be redeemed and restored back to our rightful state being baptized of the Spirit.

To the Jehovah Witness who claims that the Father created the Son and the in turn created creation.  A full explanation of context, meaning, and historical as well as relative meaning of the passages from John coupled with the story of Jacob and Esau and the Blessing story should suffice. To the Mormon who claims Christ was born of a union between God the Father and a Goddess the passages from John may be a starting point. However, unlike many fundamentalist and many evangelist the focus should be on salvation, sanctification, and the seven core teachings of Jesus Christ[1] and on Love, unity and humility. It is my belief to overly emphasis doctrine. Dogma or Law is to place religion over relationship and to be more like a Pharisee than to be like our Lord and Savior. If culture, worldview and such can be incorporated into a fashion that does not threaten the Body as a whole it only adds to the dimension of the Church not subtracts from it. God created man in his image but each one of us id unique the world is not black and white but made up of many colors and even forces we cannot see. Even the Highest name of God YHWH means I am which is inclusive not exclusive either God is everything or He is nothing.

In God, Christ, & Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

References

Easton, Matthew George. Entry for Heresy. 1897. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/eastons-bible-dictionary/heresy.html (accessed 01 21, 2016).

Heresy. 2015. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heresy (accessed 21 2016, 01).

Lutzer, Eric. The Doctrines That Divide. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1998.

 

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[1] Repent & Believe (Mark 1:15)Baptism and Sanctification (Matt 28:18; 20; Acts 2:38; Rom 6:1:11), Love God/Others ( Matt 22: 37-40),Communion (Luke 22:17-20),Pray (Matt 6: 5-15),Give (Matt 6:19-21; Luke 6:38)Evangelize the world( Matt 28: 18-20)

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