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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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In Regards to Salvation: Is One Truly Eternally Secure?

In regards to the issue on whether or not once a person professes faith in Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior can lose the gracious gift of salvation is based on ones view of freewill.  Many Evangelicals are forsaking the concept of eternal security or the basis that the Bible does supports the notion that once a person accepts Christ as their savior salvation is secure.  This  premise is based on a theological theory that sanctification is an ongoing process and thus one is may never be truly restored to the “Likeness of Christ”[1], and  is as result of the nature of sin, one’s free will and the accumulation of  unrepented sins in one’s life. Thus, one given a free agent may be able to surrender the gift of gracious salvation. Although, Some Evangelicals believe the only  mortal sins will result in the removal of salvation  such as  the Sins of apostasy   and blasphemy, which would include  a willful denial of  Salvation,  a denouncement of God to enter in the worship of false religions or to engage in the service of the beast and worship of the devil.[2]

Erwin Lutzer offers an apologetic defense in favor of unconditional security as stated the last five points of Calvinism affirmed at the Synod of Dort. “There it was spoken of the perseverance of saints, the belief that all who truly believe will persevere in Grace until the end.”[3]

Lutzer offers Scriptural support of Christ sovereignty and Authority as Savior and King to solidify his position, “And this is the will of Him who sent me, that all that He has given me will not be Lost (John 6:39).  Christ additionally states, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give Eternal Life to them and they shall never perish. No one shall snatch them out of my hands as the father has given them to Me an none is Greater than the Father and able to snatch them out of the Father’s Hands( John 10: 27-29).”

Further Evidence is provided in the Bible “for The Holy Spirit is the seal of inheritance (Eph 1:14) as well as the seal until the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).”[4]

Lutzer finally strengthens his position by explaining the Doctrine of Assurance. He states there are three witnesses that will attest to the fact of who is saved and eternally secure. “First Christ himself stated those who believe will have eternal life but one must understand the word believe as to trust and rely on him. One must acknowledge a personal need and an understanding of one’s sinful nature and one’s helplessness without the substitutionary sacrifice that was given by Christ on the cross. Additional faith must be directed on total reliance on Christ. Additionally some place trust in Baptism or good works or the Mass, or even in prayer. This misplaced trust or objective faith not Christ centered faith. Lutzer boldly states “’that all the prayed stated by all people never changed the mind of God on the nature of sinners.’”[5] The second Witness is the Holy Spirit who through his indwelling brings sanctification and regeneration and leads to the final witness “New Life” or outer change.[6] This is proven in testimony of action, and conduct as the Blossoming of the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5) Becoming Christ Minded (Phil 1-4) and exhibiting the characteristics of love (1 Cor 13, Matt 22: 36-40).

Those who hold the view of conditional security believe that although one’s Salvation is secure on God’s part man can return the gracious gift by either committing, apostasy, blasphemy, the hardening of the heart by the accumulation of unrepented sin and thus by blocking or removing the seal of protection, or the worship of false Gods or Satan. Any of the above must be an of self will enacted by the freewill of the free agent and it is debated among Evangelicals on whether or not once one chooses to give up the gift one can reenter the kingdom of God.  While some claim that Hebrews 10:26-27 supports this claim as the notion of freewill is based on the concept that God is Love and what a loving relationship it would beg to reason this is a misinterpretation y those who hold such a view. [7]

Additionally, scripture evidence for the redemption of the Lost is stated by Jesus in the parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15: 11-32). Additionally one could cite That Jesus holds the keys to death and Hades ( underworld), Jesus judges the living and the Dead so that the spirit may live as God does( 1 Peter 4:6) and the fact Jesus  descended into the lower parts of Earth before he conquered death( Eph 4:8-9; Rom 10:7).

Additional who are we to questions the providence of God and the will of Spirit or the Power and Authority of Christ. The main issue on free will is that for one to truly love one must be able to choice thus have fee will and if one must profess believe in Christ in order to come to Salvation the same free agent can denounce it.  It would be presumptuous to state Jesus have given us the Lord’s Prayer, stressed forgiveness and Emphasized love if sanctification was not at least partially are responsibility.   Paul teaches all people will be judged be for God and Christ in Romans 2:16 and 2 Timothy 4:1.

Additionally, while Lutzer holds the Blessed Assurance is proof of eternal security it could also argued simply against Lutzer that all this proofs is salvation is Eternally secure from The Divine perspective but from the human perspective it conditional. One could see this in the process of sanctification after the process of repentance, profession of Faith, indwelling of Spirit and the ongoing process of sanctification and spiritual maturation and the continual battle of flesh and Spirit the Paul warns about in his various Epistles( Rom 12:12; Gal 5…). In addition, one can also deduce the entire process of faith itself just like any relationship is one of interdependent for although the individual must come to belief by faith the Holy Spirit provides and strengthens the faith of the believer and the church. Providing the necessary gifts of inspiration, encouragement, protection, healing, signs, wonders and all else need to equip the individual and the Body for the Kingdom calling and serve the glory and will of God.

In God, Christ, & Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Bibliography

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

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

 

 

[1] Image Dei in Latin: Created in Image of God (Genesis 1:27,2:15,21) Eikōn in Greek: drawn from a direct image direct representation or not a mirror of but the same likeness of ( 2 Cor  4:4; Col 1;15, 2:21, 3:10)

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

 

[3] Lutzer, Erwin. The Doctrines That Divide. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1998.

 

[4] Lutzer, Erwin. The Doctrines That Divide. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1998.

 

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

 

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

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

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In Regards to the Salvation of Children

Do infants and children who die before reaching the age of accountability die and go to Heaven and if so what is the age of accountability? This question has been debated amongst the Universal Church often resulting in violent conflict for centuries. The premise on the surface seems to be based on the issue of baptism but in reality crosses into doctrines, dogmas and traditions of Salvation, the relevance of Sacraments and ordinances and issues of faith being a personal relationship, one of election, or a matter that is given by the Church through the Authority of God, Christ and Holy Spirit. In regards to the matter of sacraments, ordinances, issues of faith and such much has to come down to an issue of Church and State and the role if any The church plays in Salvation, redemption, and if election is predetermined by God or a matter of one’s own will. The sacrament of infant baptism is never explicitly stated in the Bible tracing its roots out of fear of infant condemnation to around the 200 AD in North Africa. However, it developed into an instrument of control by the Catholic Church and Roman Empire under Constantine and remained so until the reformation of the 15th century unifying Church and State and curbing heretics and rebellion (Lutzer 1998).

First, what is the age of accountability or when is one accountable or aware of one’s actions? Piaget’s theory of concrete operational thought states, “Children, of the ages of 6-11, are able to think logically and not bound by the limits of egocentricism. Additionally the ability to infer links and establish relationships also develops during this period.”  Vygotsky bridged the gap between potential, need and knowledge by confirming that social interaction, instruction, and are essential in the proper cognitive development of children through the need for teachers and older peers to avoid confusion who often are mimicked or imitated (Berger 2011) .” This ability for concrete learning is best exercises at age 6 as younger child are often confused by concept that interest older children. In regards to morality, Lawrence Kohlberg theorized that children of the ages of 6-11 are able to understand conventional morality. Conventional morality functions much like operational thought and is relative to logic and observable patterns. Additionally, patterns of morality are imitated and taught like stated in Vygotsky learning theory (Berger 2011). “Under the Old Testament, the Jews recognized that children could not be held personally accountable to the Law of Moses. They set the arbitrary age of twelve as the year when a child assumed adult status in religious matters (Theopedia 2009).” Likewise, Kohlberg’s next stage of Moral Development entails the ability to differentiate moral issue for oneself, the use of abstract ideas, logic and concrete operation and the ability to question, “What is or what should Be” and is not common until adolescence or adulthood (Berger 2011). Scriptural support for the Salvation of children and the innocent is evident in such passages as he one who sins is the one who will die. “The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged (Ez 18:20) NIV.” Additionally, Jesus Speaks of the Salvation of Child in Matthew 18:3 When He states: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” In Matthew 19:14 Jesus proclaims “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” “Finally Paul writes, ‘For apart from the law sin was dead I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died (Romans 7:8-9).’  The only time in a person’s life when he or she is spiritually alive in the absence of law is before he or she is a responsible, accountable adult (Miller 2003).”

 

In God, Christ, & Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

References

Berger, Kathleen Strassen. The Developing Person Through the Life Span. Edited by 8th. New York: Worth Publishers, 2011.

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

Miller, David. The Age of Accountability. 2003. https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1202 (accessed 02 11, 2016).

Theopedia. 11 24, 2009. http://www.theopedia.com/age-of-accountability (accessed 02 11, 2016).

 

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